"You wear a hat, why not wear a helmet?"

For all discussions about this "lively" subject. All topics that are substantially about helmet usage will be moved here.
Vorpal
Moderator
Posts: 18667
Joined: 19 Jan 2009, 3:34pm
Location: Not there ;)

Re: "You wear a hat, why not wear a helmet?"

Postby Vorpal » 28 Dec 2016, 10:46pm

I don't know what my top speed is. I guess that I get up to ~60 kph on the downhill from work. I honestly find that a bit scary, with or without a helmet. The part that bothers me the most I go a bit slower; there is a bend with one of those metal guard rails on it, and I cannot go along that at speed and not think about the damage it would do if I came off on the bend.

PhilWhitehurst wrote:By all means push your limits on the bike but please stay below 14 mph and avoid sharp edges or objects or other vehicles or any frontal impacts. The above studies showed that cars at 37 mph and 4x4s at 31 mph your odds are pretty low, with or without helmet. If your helmet is to the lower standards then please stay below 10mph.

Does that mean all cyclists should stay below 10 mph? Or only those wearing helmets made to a particular standard? I'm not sure I understand the point?
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

Stevek76
Posts: 667
Joined: 28 Jul 2015, 11:23am

Re:

Postby Stevek76 » 28 Dec 2016, 11:50pm

wahoofish wrote:Perhaps it is just me, but I rarely cycle without seeing how fast I can go, either down or up a hill, and when I am off-Road, then I push myself to the edge of my ability, often beyond as evidenced by multiple injuries over the past few years. This is the stick by which I measure cycling, so this might explain my inability to understand those who do not push all the time. I shall crawl back under my rock and no longer make assumptions about others and how they ride.


I think for many it really depends on the situation.

On my mtb? Yes, unless I'm using it as backup transport on a rare snowy day, I generally ride in such a manner that some offs are inevitable and deploy some armour accordingly, though I consider the most useful to be the wrist guards, the helmet is mostly there for undergrowth protection and light mounting.

On my other bikes no. I'm either on a fairly leisurely road ride where if a limit being pushed it's overall length of ride (also possibly hill climbs but that's not exactly dangerous) or using it as a method of transport where I'm in normal clothes and not wishing to get sweaty. I don't tend to push downhills as being on a public road I operate on a similar basis to how I drive - to be able to brake in time should something unexpected be in the road within the visible distance. It's a little different for those in an organised road race where the road is guaranteed to be free of traffic.

User avatar
Cunobelin
Posts: 10798
Joined: 6 Feb 2007, 7:22pm

Re:

Postby Cunobelin » 29 Dec 2016, 6:02am

wahoofish wrote:
hufty wrote:I don't think I'm undermining my pro-choice stance by saying that yes that video looks like an example of an occasion where wearing a helmet lessened the damage to the rider caused by falling and hitting her head on a curb, although it's always better when the helmet breaks in half as that demonstrates incontrovertibly that A Life Has Been Saved. On the other hand if the rider took a leaf out of my book and rode a lot slower and left more of a gap between her and any bike in front she probably wouldn't fall off in the first place and therefore wouldn't need a helmet.

I agree with Stevek76, it's time to deploy the "Dutch cyclists on an icy corner" video again so that wahoofish can enjoy a few anecdotes where heads don't hit tarmac!

The beauty of being pro-choice is you get to make your own mind up on things, and you don't have to worry about what other people are doing.



Love it - so your advice is to ride your bike very carefully, never to race and never test yourself or your equipment at the edge. Have I understood that correctly?


A worthless piece of junk ! : my wobbly bog brush using hovercraft full of eels



In other words exactly the way that most cyclists do ride?

User avatar
The utility cyclist
Posts: 3590
Joined: 22 Aug 2016, 12:28pm
Location: The first garden city

Re:

Postby The utility cyclist » 30 Dec 2016, 9:51am

wahoofish wrote:
hufty wrote:I don't think I'm undermining my pro-choice stance by saying that yes that video looks like an example of an occasion where wearing a helmet lessened the damage to the rider caused by falling and hitting her head on a curb, although it's always better when the helmet breaks in half as that demonstrates incontrovertibly that A Life Has Been Saved. On the other hand if the rider took a leaf out of my book and rode a lot slower and left more of a gap between her and any bike in front she probably wouldn't fall off in the first place and therefore wouldn't need a helmet.

I agree with Stevek76, it's time to deploy the "Dutch cyclists on an icy corner" video again so that wahoofish can enjoy a few anecdotes where heads don't hit tarmac!

The beauty of being pro-choice is you get to make your own mind up on things, and you don't have to worry about what other people are doing.



Love it - so your advice is to ride your bike very carefully, never to race and never test yourself or your equipment at the edge. Have I understood that correctly?


A worthless piece of junk ! : my wobbly bog brush using hovercraft full of eels

I ride down the back road hill to the supermarket around 3 times a week, it was also the hill my son cycled to school on since the age of 10, it's a bumpy 6-7%, if I pedal hard I can just about hit 40mph though the bottom part of the hill where it levels out is horrible so mid 30s is my usual. My son even when he was 10 hit over 20mph and when he became a better bike rider could do 30mph also.
He chose not to wear a helmet, funnily enough he didn't die or have a serious incident even when his crank snapped he was able to maintain control.
Me, I've never worn one and never will, I simply don't need one, I've also 'pushed the envelope', come down descents at around 55mph, I've come down alpine switchbacks with huge drop-offs at the side at high speeds, I've pushed the boundaries but I leave a fraction in reserve, i understand the limitations, i build up to know what that is, you gain experience and you learn what to do/not what to do.

Some pro riders are just micturate poor bike handlers, they just happen to be elite athletes, you see this time and time again, pros making ridiculous decisions, no thought process just head down and pedal, panic braking, locked wheels, no ability to judge speed and distance, same old mistakes in the wet, oh look my tyre lost traction and I crashed out again, lucky I was wearing my helmet...YAWN!!
The average modern pro is a far worse bike handler than days gone past by a massive distance, the kit on modern bikes makes riding at high speed a doddle, vibration dampening frames, tyres that stick like poop to a blanket, brakes that are epic at stopping you and yet what happens...they crash more and suffer more injuries including deaths.

Do you know how many pro riders died from head injuries before helmets became a thing over the 100+ years preceding helmet compulsion? I can tell you that from the info out there it wasn't until the 1930s that the first reported competition road riding fatality occured.
Do you know how many have died since, deaths in the pro ranks since helmet compulsion is higher than that for the same period before... :roll:

Do you understand that racers BITD pushed the envelope but still managed not to die/have serious head and brain injuries in their hundreds of thousands which by all accounts/anecdotes (such as the one you highlighted) couldn't possibly be true and there would be no old racing types left to tell the tales, do the math, it really is not rocket science, seriously, give your head a bang! :roll: :lol:

wahoofish
Posts: 91
Joined: 20 May 2015, 10:41am

Re:

Postby wahoofish » 30 Dec 2016, 12:03pm

The utility cyclist wrote:
wahoofish wrote:
hufty wrote:I don't think I'm undermining my pro-choice stance by saying that yes that video looks like an example of an occasion where wearing a helmet lessened the damage to the rider caused by falling and hitting her head on a curb, although it's always better when the helmet breaks in half as that demonstrates incontrovertibly that A Life Has Been Saved. On the other hand if the rider took a leaf out of my book and rode a lot slower and left more of a gap between her and any bike in front she probably wouldn't fall off in the first place and therefore wouldn't need a helmet.

I agree with Stevek76, it's time to deploy the "Dutch cyclists on an icy corner" video again so that wahoofish can enjoy a few anecdotes where heads don't hit tarmac!

The beauty of being pro-choice is you get to make your own mind up on things, and you don't have to worry about what other people are doing.



Love it - so your advice is to ride your bike very carefully, never to race and never test yourself or your equipment at the edge. Have I understood that correctly?


A worthless piece of junk ! : my wobbly bog brush using hovercraft full of eels

I ride down the back road hill to the supermarket around 3 times a week, it was also the hill my son cycled to school on since the age of 10, it's a bumpy 6-7%, if I pedal hard I can just about hit 40mph though the bottom part of the hill where it levels out is horrible so mid 30s is my usual. My son even when he was 10 hit over 20mph and when he became a better bike rider could do 30mph also.
He chose not to wear a helmet, funnily enough he didn't die or have a serious incident even when his crank snapped he was able to maintain control.
Me, I've never worn one and never will, I simply don't need one, I've also 'pushed the envelope', come down descents at around 55mph, I've come down alpine switchbacks with huge drop-offs at the side at high speeds, I've pushed the boundaries but I leave a fraction in reserve, i understand the limitations, i build up to know what that is, you gain experience and you learn what to do/not what to do.

Some pro riders are just micturate poor bike handlers, they just happen to be elite athletes, you see this time and time again, pros making ridiculous decisions, no thought process just head down and pedal, panic braking, locked wheels, no ability to judge speed and distance, same old mistakes in the wet, oh look my tyre lost traction and I crashed out again, lucky I was wearing my helmet...YAWN!!
The average modern pro is a far worse bike handler than days gone past by a massive distance, the kit on modern bikes makes riding at high speed a doddle, vibration dampening frames, tyres that stick like poop to a blanket, brakes that are epic at stopping you and yet what happens...they crash more and suffer more injuries including deaths.

Do you know how many pro riders died from head injuries before helmets became a thing over the 100+ years preceding helmet compulsion? I can tell you that from the info out there it wasn't until the 1930s that the first reported competition road riding fatality occured.
Do you know how many have died since, deaths in the pro ranks since helmet compulsion is higher than that for the same period before... :roll:

Do you understand that racers BITD pushed the envelope but still managed not to die/have serious head and brain injuries in their hundreds of thousands which by all accounts/anecdotes (such as the one you highlighted) couldn't possibly be true and there would be no old racing types left to tell the tales, do the math, it really is not rocket science, seriously, give your head a bang! :roll: :lol:


Love your point. Can't help smiling though at the "I did it and I was ok" thought process. By your logic, I should be telling people that it is ok to smoke with kids in the car as my mother did it and I turned out ok.

Anyway, you make a good point. Not sure I agree with the points about today's pro's not having skills. Perhaps there are more people in the peloton, the cycling is faster...... oh no, that's right. They can't ride as well.

niggle
Posts: 3424
Joined: 11 Mar 2009, 10:29pm
Location: Cornwall, near England

Re: "You wear a hat, why not wear a helmet?"

Postby niggle » 1 Jan 2017, 10:33am

Watching the dutch cyclists on the icy corner it is clear how Darwinian evolution has provided us with very effective instincts to protect ourselves from injuring our heads when falling, even the child in the child seat instinctively held it's head up away from the ground.

It also shows that several of them came close enough that if wearing a helmet it would have made contact with the ground, especially if you add in the likely effect of the added weight of the helmet. If the identical incidents had happened to a helmet wearing cycling population I can imagine many of them thinking the helmet had protected them from injury, when in fact it had not and in some cases it may have actually caused some level of injury.

I fell on a slippery corner some years ago and hit the road with my face, resulting in a cut eyebrow and heavy bruising on my cheekbone. I was wearing a helmet so it is not known whether the helmet simply did nothing to protect me or actually caused or exacerbated the injuries...

atoz
Posts: 426
Joined: 5 Jan 2007, 4:50pm

Re: "You wear a hat, why not wear a helmet?"

Postby atoz » 1 Jan 2017, 12:19pm

Yes I'm used to this one also. The vast majority of cyclists you see now wear helmets in this country, and it's pretty ususal these days for people to query why you choose not to wear one and wear a hat instead. I have to say in my experience that citing the evidence based research that tends to cast doubt on why everyone thinks it's a good idea to wear a helmet doesn't help you win friends and influence people. So I'm sorry to to say I don't mention this now. I just avoid discussing the subject, unless I am provoked. It has got to the point that some cyclists see a non helmeted rider as a problem. This would not have arisen in the past, and it's my guess that this points to a lack of experience in some of the current riders (I have been riding nearly all of my life, and am now in my fifties). I also suspect that some older riders who are aware of the issues feel the need to "toe the line", getting pressure from other riders, and very often, their partners. In these latter cases, given the fact that BC events and many others insist on helmet use, it's just easier to conform and keep a low profile, despite the reservations you may privately have.

I have worked in libraries for many years, as a qualified professional librarian. This has included spells in NHS libraries, where I had to have some familiarity with the concept of "evidence based research" in order to do literature research for medical professionals. This is why I am not convinced by the pro helmet arguments, especially the pro compulsion ones. With the best will in the world, many cyclists you will meet may not be aware of issues surrounding publication bias, agenda driven bias, etc. It is the job of medical professionals to understand it, which is why opinion is so divided on cycle helmet use. As far as I am aware, the research has not looked at whether wearing a beanie/woolly hat would be useful (lol!).

Ironically I am considering, against my better judgement, to buy a helmet, so that I am involved in an accident, I cannot be legally held at fault over the helmet issue- yet the evidence based research suggests this is less safe. A truly ridiculous situation.

hjd10
Posts: 297
Joined: 25 Feb 2010, 9:43pm
Location: Originally from Lancashire but now in Lincolnshire

Re: "You wear a hat, why not wear a helmet?"

Postby hjd10 » 1 Jan 2017, 1:06pm

PhilWhitehurst wrote:There are a number of studies done by those who have the scientific background to properly understand how useful helmets are.

Hillman[i] stated "they do not protect the head from rotational trauma which can seriously damage the brain and brain stem and which is quite common when cyclists are hit a glancing blow from a motor vehicle rather than in direct collision with it (McCarthy, 1992)".

The distribution of head contact points with CSDM levels showed that the red marks appeared mostly on the upper part of the A‐pillar in both sedan and SUV cases (Fig. 16). The marks on the rear end of the hood indicated relatively low CSDM level. High CSDM values were found at 16.7 m/s (60 km/h) in the sedan cases and at 13.9 m/s (50 km/h) and higher in the SUV cases (Table VI). This suggests that high kinetic energy is necessary to generate DAI. The cyclist’s head reached the upper part of the A‐pillar in high speed impacts. That is the reason why the high CSDM values were concentrated on that area. Watanabe et al. conducted car‐to‐pedestrian collision simulations and reported that DAI was likely to occur when the car speed was 11.1 m/s (40 km/h) and higher [7]. Although impact kinematics was different among pedestrians and cyclists, the two study results suggested that high impact energy generated DAI.

Scientific analysis of the data reveals

That a helmet increases the volume of the head by 46%
That it increases the forces transmitted to the skull by 77%
That in the event of an accident your head will make contact with the ground more than twice as often when not wearing a helmet.
In an impact involving a motorised vehicle or frontal impact the helmet will see forces up to 20 more times its design limitations.

By all means push your limits on the bike but please stay below 14 mph and avoid sharp edges or objects or other vehicles or any frontal impacts. The above studies showed that cars at 37 mph and 4x4s at 31 mph your odds are pretty low, with or without helmet. If your helmet is to the lower standards then please stay below 10mph.


Its like reading the equivalent of an NRA pro gun blog.........

reohn2
Posts: 40711
Joined: 26 Jun 2009, 8:21pm

Re: "You wear a hat, why not wear a helmet?"

Postby reohn2 » 1 Jan 2017, 1:10pm

atoz wrote:Ironically I am considering, against my better judgement, to buy a helmet, so that I am involved in an accident,I cannot be legally held at fault over the helmet issue - yet the evidence based research suggests this is less safe. A truly ridiculous situation.


This is the worst part of the whole helmet thing,and shows that not only are cyclists questioning their safety but feel the need to protect themselves against negative effects of litigation of negligence for not wearing something that has only very limited effectiveness.

Which also shows possibly how bad things have become for cyclists on UK roads,if not in actuality then in perception.
-----------------------------------------------------------

User avatar
deliquium
Posts: 2129
Joined: 9 Mar 2007, 3:40pm
Location: Eryri

Re: "You wear a hat, why not wear a helmet?"

Postby deliquium » 1 Jan 2017, 4:44pm

^ +1

:(
Current pedalable joys

"you would be surprised at the number of people in these parts who nearly are half people and half bicycles"

User avatar
mjr
Posts: 16609
Joined: 20 Jun 2011, 7:06pm
Location: Norfolk or Somerset, mostly
Contact:

Re: "You wear a hat, why not wear a helmet?"

Postby mjr » 1 Jan 2017, 7:40pm

atoz wrote:Yes I'm used to this one also. The vast majority of cyclists you see now wear helmets in this country, and it's pretty ususal these days for people to query why you choose not to wear one and wear a hat instead.

Not true in West Norfolk, much of Cambrigeshire or London IMO. Only a minority use helmets and it's a tiny minority in Cambridge proper. More use in London than the other two and even more in Norwich, but even there, no-one challenges non-users. It's been a long time since I've been challenged except at "organised" events. The tide started turning a year or two ago - maybe linked with the second attempt at Cycle Superhighways in London.

Latest official stats were about a third using helmets, two-thirds not, but that was 2008 and then the government stopped counting (probably because it was already going in the "wrong" direction, I suspect).

atoz wrote:Ironically I am considering, against my better judgement, to buy a helmet, so that I am involved in an accident, I cannot be legally held at fault over the helmet issue- yet the evidence based research suggests this is less safe. A truly ridiculous situation.

To reduce your payments, as Iunderstand it, the respondent would have to show that you had failed to act as a reasonably prudent person would and that that failure to act contributed to the injuries you suffered. So, it would need to be a head injury, they would need to show that a cycle helmet would have reduced or prevented the injury and that you had failed to consider helmet use like a reasonably prudent person. My page on my website explaining my reasons for not using a helmet is my attempt to undermine the last of those requirements, even if a motorist kills me.

However, no case seems to have reached court where damages have been reduced because it's been held that a helmet would have helped. There may be many reasons for that, though. I think there's been one where the helmet or lack has been mentioned but ruled irrelevant because it wasn't a head injury and that's about it so far. I don't have much truck with those people trying to use contributory neligence to scare cyclists into helmet use. We should stand up to such bullies!
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
All the above is CC-By-SA and no other implied copyright license to Cycle magazine.

Vorpal
Moderator
Posts: 18667
Joined: 19 Jan 2009, 3:34pm
Location: Not there ;)

Re: "You wear a hat, why not wear a helmet?"

Postby Vorpal » 1 Jan 2017, 9:04pm

mjr wrote:However, no case seems to have reached court where damages have been reduced because it's been held that a helmet would have helped. There may be many reasons for that, though. I think there's been one where the helmet or lack has been mentioned but ruled irrelevant because it wasn't a head injury and that's about it so far. I don't have much truck with those people trying to use contributory neligence to scare cyclists into helmet use. We should stand up to such bullies!

The vast majority of cases are settled without a court case. Insurers and solicitors typically offer a 25% reduction in compensation if the victim was not wearing a helmet. Such offers are frequently accepted by victims or family who may not realise they are due full compensation.

However, fighting it may be time consuming and expensive, even if it does not go to court.

Only a very few cases have gone to court over this issue, and the victims have won the majority.

http://www.cyclistsdefencefund.org.uk/c ... cent-cases
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

PhilWhitehurst
Posts: 260
Joined: 9 Aug 2011, 4:14pm

Re: "You wear a hat, why not wear a helmet?"

Postby PhilWhitehurst » 1 Jan 2017, 9:13pm

Vorpal wrote:I don't know what my top speed is. I guess that I get up to ~60 kph on the downhill from work. I honestly find that a bit scary, with or without a helmet. The part that bothers me the most I go a bit slower; there is a bend with one of those metal guard rails on it, and I cannot go along that at speed and not think about the damage it would do if I came off on the bend.

PhilWhitehurst wrote:By all means push your limits on the bike but please stay below 14 mph and avoid sharp edges or objects or other vehicles or any frontal impacts. The above studies showed that cars at 37 mph and 4x4s at 31 mph your odds are pretty low, with or without helmet. If your helmet is to the lower standards then please stay below 10mph.

Does that mean all cyclists should stay below 10 mph? Or only those wearing helmets made to a particular standard? I'm not sure I understand the point?


He says he wants to push the limits because he's wearing helmet. The point is, he's going way beyond the limits of the helmet. Therefore wearing a helmet should not be seen as mitigation against the risks he's taking. In words we are seeing a classic case of risk compensation where use of a helmet is inadequate a compensation.

I make no comment about all cyclists, as it should be. We are adults able to make our own decisions on the risks we take.

Vorpal
Moderator
Posts: 18667
Joined: 19 Jan 2009, 3:34pm
Location: Not there ;)

Re: "You wear a hat, why not wear a helmet?"

Postby Vorpal » 1 Jan 2017, 9:45pm

The limitations of a helmet shouldn't make any difference to how a cyclist behaves. I can see that they could affedct a decision to wear (or not) a helmet, but not how to behave whilst wearing one.

There may be some risk compensation in cyclists who frequently push personal boundaries wearing helmets, or those who wear helmet feeling safer in pushing those boundaries, but if all helmet wearers should cycle within the capabilities of helmets, shouldn't they ride recumbents so that they are wihtin the the test drop distance of the ground?
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

atoz
Posts: 426
Joined: 5 Jan 2007, 4:50pm

Re: "You wear a hat, why not wear a helmet?"

Postby atoz » 2 Jan 2017, 11:22pm

Where I live (up North) very few cyclists don't wear helmets. The only reason I posted to this forum is because on a recent run I was questioned why I was not wearing one. In recent years this has happened rather more frequently. I cycle to work from time to time when the weather is better, and I have had a few queries there as well. People just assume you have to have one. The official Cycling UK line seems to carry no weight with many these days. As for the "comic" (aka Cycling Weekly), it's just a given, despite what Chris Boardman's said on the subject.

Interestingly enough, another person on this run queried my choice of winter kit (white and black Giordana top and matching dhb bib tights). Again, this type of query wouldn't have happened years ago. I do make the effort these days to look reasonably smart on the bike, because as I work full time with no dependants, I can afford it- although my ancient Claud Butler Dalesman winter hack bike is rather less flash. Perhaps I was expected to wear flo green for "safety"- ironically I am pretty sure that the white and black kit is good for night riding as the white catches in car headlights- flo green is of limited use in the dark. So it would appear I am caught between the the helmet afficionados and fashion victims-- lol. And beware of turning up with a saddlebag, you might be labelled as a cycling dinosaur, or as someone elsewhere else put it, a grumpy old fart. Mind you, it does have retro cudos.