Simplification to cut through the mis-perceptions?

This sub-forum all discussions about this "lively" subject. All topics that are substantially about helmets will be moved here, if not placed here correctly in the first place.
User avatar
mjr
Posts: 14993
Joined: 20 Jun 2011, 7:06pm
Location: Norfolk or Somerset, mostly
Contact:

Re: Simplification to cut through the mis-perceptions?

Postby mjr » 15 Feb 2017, 3:55pm

Ruadh495 wrote:I wonder how much the Dutch style of bicycle influences their low head injury rate? They tend to chose very upright riding positions and so are perhaps better able to protect their heads in a fall than those who are leaning forward to begin with.

There might be a slight bike effect (more from steel and wider tyres still being more common than here), but I suspect it could be simply better bike-handling ability in a population that cycles more.

Ruadh495 wrote:They also tend to ride a little slower than we do.

Do they? Says what? ;-) According to Strava's 2016 figures, Dutch cyclists were faster than those in the UK (Dutch average speeds of 26.92 km/h for men and 21.36 km/h for women, compared to 25.61 km/h and 19.84 km/h in the UK). It's not a great dataset, but it seems like few exist.

Ruadh495 wrote:I normally ride a "Dutch" bike and when I ride an ordinary bicycle (either what we used to call a "racer" or a mountain bike) I do get a distinct impression of leading with my head and tend to feel that a helmet might be a good idea.

I normally ride a Dutch bike, but I don't particularly feel that I lead my road bike with my head so maybe it's your setups? (And a road bike / racer is not an ordinary bike - an ordinary is the early name for what most now call a penny farthing!)

Ruadh495 wrote:The infrastructure in Holland does a good job of protecting cyclists from motors, which should result in a higher proportion of their cycling accidents being either single vehicle or involving only cycles. These are the type of accident cycle helmets are designed for, so one would expect helmets to be effective in Holland.

And yet they're not, which I feel should be ringing flaming huge alarm bells among sincere helmet promoters, like the absence of dummy crash helmet tests did for me.
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.

reohn2
Posts: 37817
Joined: 26 Jun 2009, 8:21pm

Re: Simplification to cut through the mis-perceptions?

Postby reohn2 » 15 Feb 2017, 4:29pm

Ruadh495 wrote:
I wonder how much the Dutch style of bicycle influences their low head injury rate? They tend to chose very upright riding positions and so are perhaps better able to protect their heads in a fall than those who are leaning forward to begin with.

Perhaps they're able to see more :wink:

They also tend to ride a little slower than we do.

Mainly because for the most part they aren't dashing about like a scalded cat trying get wherever they're going,they,like most Europeans, tend to take a more relaxed attitude to life :)
I normally ride a "Dutch" bike and when I ride an ordinary bicycle (either what we used to call a "racer" or a mountain bike) I do get a distinct impression of leading with my head and tend to feel that a helmet might be a good idea.

You could sit up more on your other bikes :wink:

The infrastructure in Holland does a good job of protecting cyclists from motors, which should result in a higher proportion of their cycling accidents being either single vehicle or involving only cycles.

Nail,head,on(sorry) :mrgreen:
These are the type of accident cycle helmets are designed for, so one would expect helmets to be effective in Holland.

Only if they fall off,yet NL use bikes more than any other European country(correct me if I'm wrong as I'm going off perception when I've cycled there compared to other countries),yet have the least number of head injuries according to the CB video.

The key is word is civilised,civilised,transport,laws,and people,with respect for the cyclist as a person and not an obstruction or something to be pushed out of the way and marginalised.
For anyone who hasn't ridden there please do and be amazed at how relaxed and enjoyable cycling can be.
-----------------------------------------------------------
I cycle therefore I am.

Ruadh495
Posts: 413
Joined: 25 Jun 2016, 11:10am

Re: Simplification to cut through the mis-perceptions?

Postby Ruadh495 » 16 Feb 2017, 12:29pm

mjr wrote:[

Ruadh495 wrote:They also tend to ride a little slower than we do.

Do they? Says what? ;-) According to Strava's 2016 figures, Dutch cyclists were faster than those in the UK (Dutch average speeds of 26.92 km/h for men and 21.36 km/h for women, compared to 25.61 km/h and 19.84 km/h in the UK). It's not a great dataset, but it seems like few exist.


What percentage of Dutch cyclists are Strava users though? That it's possible to ride faster in the Netherlands than in the UK, and therefore fast riders are faster isn't a big surprise. I get the impression that most Dutch cyclists are utility riders and wouldn't be using Strava, while most UK cyclists are enthusiasts who do. The head injury stats, though, cover both recreational and utility cycling.

mjr wrote:
Ruadh495 wrote:I normally ride a "Dutch" bike and when I ride an ordinary bicycle (either what we used to call a "racer" or a mountain bike) I do get a distinct impression of leading with my head and tend to feel that a helmet might be a good idea.

I normally ride a Dutch bike, but I don't particularly feel that I lead my road bike with my head so maybe it's your setups? (And a road bike / racer is not an ordinary bike - an ordinary is the early name for what most now call a penny farthing!)


I knew someone would say that, but I couldn't think of anything else to call it. I suspect you ride other bikes rather more often than I do and so are somewhat used to leaning forward. I ride my Dutch bike regularly, the others rarely and it always takes me a moment to get used to the posture, though neither is an extreme set up. I can also get down to near horizontal on the Dutch bike, but I don't do it because I can't see forward properly. The chance of riding into a lamppost is greatly increased and it's not worth it just to get an extra 4mph down hill.

User avatar
mjr
Posts: 14993
Joined: 20 Jun 2011, 7:06pm
Location: Norfolk or Somerset, mostly
Contact:

Re: Simplification to cut through the mis-perceptions?

Postby mjr » 16 Feb 2017, 12:50pm

Ruadh495 wrote:What percentage of Dutch cyclists are Strava users though? That it's possible to ride faster in the Netherlands than in the UK, and therefore fast riders are faster isn't a big surprise. I get the impression that most Dutch cyclists are utility riders and wouldn't be using Strava, while most UK cyclists are enthusiasts who do. The head injury stats, though, cover both recreational and utility cycling.

Strava keeps user numbers secret, so it's difficult to say, but http://markslavonia.com/stravas-global- ... -sampling/ suggests it's about 2% in both.

I don't recognise your caricatures of Dutch and UK cyclists, but I know I live in an unusual part of England and most of my Dutch cycling has been rural, where enthusiasts are more likely to be seen practising their pacelines. I also don't really recognise the Strava heat map of my local town because the busiest cycle tracks are mostly missing.

If the fastest 2% are faster, why should we expect the skew of the two populations to be different and the Dutch population average speed to be lower? If anything, I'd suggest that Dutch infrastructure and near-universality of things like cycle bypasses of major junctions and "WACHT" countdown lights at crossings means that even pootling Dutch cyclists are actually travelling faster than many Brits because they need to brake less, either bypassing junctions or being able to time coasting until the light goes green.
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.

Ruadh495
Posts: 413
Joined: 25 Jun 2016, 11:10am

Re: Simplification to cut through the mis-perceptions?

Postby Ruadh495 » 16 Feb 2017, 1:32pm

I think there is a population skew. I suspect that a high proportion of the Dutch cycling population are not particularly interested in cycling but just find it a convenient way of getting around. The comparable population in the UK does not cycle at all. Enthusiastic cyclists are probably a similar proportion of the overall population in both countries, and Strava users are self-selected from this group.

Missing busy cycle tracks is also a sign of the self-selecting nature of Strava. Strava users are the type of cyclist who uses the road, because it's faster, while the path users are not the type of cyclist who uses Strava.

So I think it's quite likely that Strava averages are higher in the Netherlands but overall cycling speeds lower. I also think you are correct about the infrastructure allowing higher averages with lower top speeds, by reducing stops. Certainly (anecdote) it's usual to see a Dutch cyclist who appears to be in a hurry.

User avatar
Wanlock Dod
Posts: 556
Joined: 28 Sep 2016, 5:48pm

Re: Simplification to cut through the mis-perceptions?

Postby Wanlock Dod » 16 Feb 2017, 1:35pm

A few observations about Dutch cyclists:

They all have awesome bike handling skills, even the young lady in a miniskirt and heels
They rarely have to ride up hills
They ride their bikes a lot
They rarely ride a long way
Commuters are often in a bit of a hurry
The slipstream effect of a busy cycle path can be quite surprising

It's no surprise to me that the average Dutch cyclist is faster than the average UK cyclist, although I would have to agree that their cycling infrastructure is designed to keep you rolling, whereas UK cycling infrastructure seems designed to try to persuade you to buy a car

pjclinch wrote:"Anti" would generally require active discouragement of helmets.

You can count me amongst that number, given the widespread effect of helmets dangerising peoples perception of cycling to the point that most people feel that cycling is far too dangerous an activity for them to participate in, coupled with the fact that as more people cycle cycling itself becomes safer, I feel that an active anti-helmet approach is more likely to have a positive outcome in terms of my own personal safety than wearing a helmet.

Ruadh495
Posts: 413
Joined: 25 Jun 2016, 11:10am

Re: Simplification to cut through the mis-perceptions?

Postby Ruadh495 » 16 Feb 2017, 1:56pm

Just checked and that 2% Strava users is a percentage of total population, not cycling population. I'm not sure what percentage of the Dutch population cycle, isn't it about 70%?, while in the UK it's about 4% (sure that's low). So Strava users represent the UK cycling population quite well, but not the Dutch one.

User avatar
mjr
Posts: 14993
Joined: 20 Jun 2011, 7:06pm
Location: Norfolk or Somerset, mostly
Contact:

Re: Simplification to cut through the mis-perceptions?

Postby mjr » 16 Feb 2017, 3:27pm

Ruadh495 wrote:Just checked and that 2% Strava users is a percentage of total population, not cycling population. I'm not sure what percentage of the Dutch population cycle, isn't it about 70%?, while in the UK it's about 4% (sure that's low). So Strava users represent the UK cycling population quite well, but not the Dutch one.

I missed that because I was just thinking about population in a statistical sense, which is the pool the Strava users are drawn from aka the population of cyclists. :oops:

I'm not sure about the Netherlands cycling prevalence. http://www.fietsersbond.nl/de-feiten/fietsen-cijfers says 84% of Dutch people own a bike and I guess the small number of people who ride someone else's bike (including hiring/OV-fiets) without owning one might cancel out the number who own but don't ride.

In England, 42% own a bike but it's only about 15% who ride (Local Area Walking and Cycling
Statistics: England, 2014/15), but the share of journeys is your 4% if not lower. 2011 census commuting figure was 3% or thereabouts.

Ruadh495 wrote:I think there is a population skew. I suspect that a high proportion of the Dutch cycling population are not particularly interested in cycling but just find it a convenient way of getting around. The comparable population in the UK does not cycle at all. Enthusiastic cyclists are probably a similar proportion of the overall population in both countries, and Strava users are self-selected from this group.

Thinking about it some more: I don't see why any of those suspicions would necessarily make Dutch cyclists skew to slower - enthusiasm does not itself make one go faster. It's some combination of physical ability, knowledge and application... and maybe enthusiasm makes it more likely you'll seek out knowledge, but such knowledge may be easier to acquire when in a cycling population.

Ruadh495 wrote:Missing busy cycle tracks is also a sign of the self-selecting nature of Strava. Strava users are the type of cyclist who uses the road, because it's faster, while the path users are not the type of cyclist who uses Strava.

And yet, when I look at the Netherlands, I can see the cycle tracks on the Strava heatmap (as well as some people cycling along the beach near the Hook :lol: )

Have you cycled in the Netherlands? The racers there are also mostly on the cycle tracks/lanes too because the overwhelming majority of tracks are fit for purpose, so they can and only masochists would want to play in motor traffic.

Ruadh495 wrote:So I think it's quite likely that Strava averages are higher in the Netherlands but overall cycling speeds lower. I also think you are correct about the infrastructure allowing higher averages with lower top speeds, by reducing stops. Certainly (anecdote) it's usual to see a Dutch cyclist who appears to be in a hurry.

So why wouldn't that mean that they're cycling faster? Or are you saying that British cyclists need helmets more because they're spending more time stopped still, so more likely to have the sort of 0mph fall that a helmet is designed and tested for? :?
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.

User avatar
Mick F
Spambuster
Posts: 48193
Joined: 7 Jan 2007, 11:24am
Location: Tamar Valley, Cornwall

Re: Simplification to cut through the mis-perceptions?

Postby Mick F » 16 Feb 2017, 4:21pm

mjr wrote:Have you cycled in the Netherlands?
Yes, but only in Amsterdam, and it was horrible on the cycle ways, so I rode on the roads instead.

Main issue was the traffic lights for bikes on the tracks. Slow, narrow, had to wait for ages. The motor traffic had a better light system and quicker too.

This was back in the 1980s, so it could be different now.
Mick F. Cornwall

Ruadh495
Posts: 413
Joined: 25 Jun 2016, 11:10am

Re: Simplification to cut through the mis-perceptions?

Postby Ruadh495 » 17 Feb 2017, 1:07pm

mjr wrote:[
Ruadh495 wrote:I think there is a population skew. I suspect that a high proportion of the Dutch cycling population are not particularly interested in cycling but just find it a convenient way of getting around. The comparable population in the UK does not cycle at all. Enthusiastic cyclists are probably a similar proportion of the overall population in both countries, and Strava users are self-selected from this group.

Thinking about it some more: I don't see why any of those suspicions would necessarily make Dutch cyclists skew to slower - enthusiasm does not itself make one go faster. It's some combination of physical ability, knowledge and application... and maybe enthusiasm makes it more likely you'll seek out knowledge, but such knowledge may be easier to acquire when in a cycling population.


I don't think enthusiasm / competiveness affects how fast you are able to go as such, I do think it affects the desire to go fast. This in turn influences both the amount of effort and the assessment of acceptable risk. So I'm suggesting that the Netherlands has a larger proportion of cyclists who are not riding as fast as they are able to and are more likely to trade off speed for safety. This is suggested by their choice of cycle. This is what skews them to slower and also results in a smaller proportion of cyclists crashing.

That 2% of each population who use Strava are directly comparable in going as fast as they can. Here it's no surprise that the Dutch are slightly faster. They have a better cycling environment and also tend, on average, to be physically larger (IRC the Dutch population averages the tallest in the world).

mjr wrote:Have you cycled in the Netherlands? The racers there are also mostly on the cycle tracks/lanes too because the overwhelming majority of tracks are fit for purpose, so they can and only masochists would want to play in motor traffic.


I have, though only briefly. I had some mild trepidation about it before I went, expecting a lot of unwritten rules I didn't know and to be pushed aside by far stronger cyclists. Actually found I could keep up quite easily and the rules are simple and clear. The most striking thing, though, was making a left turn on a fairly major road which (unusually) didn't have cycle infrastructure, with a bakfiets full of small children, and not being hassled by motorists. The thought was "no way I could do this at home". Unfortunately that proved to be true, I liked the bakfiets enough to buy it and bring it home, but the combination of hills and homicidal traffic made it almost unusable here.

I also drove there (it was cheaper to ship the car over than park it this side). Driving is a lot more relaxed in the Netherlands too. That was in Den Haag, which should be fairly comparable to Southampton.

mjr wrote:
Ruadh495 wrote:So I think it's quite likely that Strava averages are higher in the Netherlands but overall cycling speeds lower. I also think you are correct about the infrastructure allowing higher averages with lower top speeds, by reducing stops. Certainly (anecdote) it's usual to see a Dutch cyclist who appears to be in a hurry.

So why wouldn't that mean that they're cycling faster? Or are you saying that British cyclists need helmets more because they're spending more time stopped still, so more likely to have the sort of 0mph fall that a helmet is designed and tested for? :?


Depends what you mean by faster. I suspect (again) that speeds are more consistent in the Netherlands (less hills). That means no 5mph slogging up but also no 40mph downs, which might influence injury rates.

User avatar
pjclinch
Posts: 3872
Joined: 29 Oct 2007, 2:32pm
Location: Dundee, Scotland
Contact:

Re: Simplification to cut through the mis-perceptions?

Postby pjclinch » 19 Feb 2017, 9:53am

Ruadh495 wrote:
I don't think enthusiasm / competiveness affects how fast you are able to go as such, I do think it affects the desire to go fast. This in turn influences both the amount of effort and the assessment of acceptable risk. So I'm suggesting that the Netherlands has a larger proportion of cyclists who are not riding as fast as they are able to and are more likely to trade off speed for safety. This is suggested by their choice of cycle. This is what skews them to slower and also results in a smaller proportion of cyclists crashing.


It's worth noting the clear divide between the wielrenner and the fietser, although in practice I suspect the former are also the latter, but on their fast bike and in their club racing kit, rather than in their work clothes commuting or their everyday clothes shopping, visiting friends etc.
Along with this, I doubt it's typically a trade of speed for safety, but more often a trade of speed on the road for overall convenience. If I save 20 minutes riding to work and then spend another 10 minutes changing and showering, and then another 10 minutes cleaning away the effects of winter gritting to keep my racing bike pristine once I'm home, I'm not actually ahead. Maximising cycle performance is such a faff compared to chugging along on an opafiets for a bit longer.
I turned up at a local cycle meeting recently, arriving at the same time as a sporty-cycling friend. While he was removing his lights and digging out a lock he bemoaned how going anywhere by bike involved so much faff. I spent 15 seconds folding my Brom, and as we walked in, me in what I'd been wearing and him in "proper" cycling kit, I suggested maybe he was doing utility cycling wrong? He agreed, but the "cycling is a special activity benefitting from special kit" mentality, reasonably applied to, say, touring or sports, is routinely mis-applied in the UK. I suspect in turn this relates to how my (Dutch) wife says she never realised she was "a cyclist" until she moved to the UK, despite having got about by bike all her life.

Pete.
Often seen riding a bike around Dundee...

Ruadh495
Posts: 413
Joined: 25 Jun 2016, 11:10am

Re: Simplification to cut through the mis-perceptions?

Postby Ruadh495 » 20 Feb 2017, 4:48pm

Thanks Pete,

That's what I was trying to get at, though I couldn't remember the terms. Now, is it valid to assume that a fietser is at significantly lower risk of head injury than a wielrenner, due to both riding style and machine style? That could lead to a large fietser population "masking" the weilrenner rate of injury where both are recorded as "cyclist" in the injury stats and in comparison with a country where fietser are rare and the majority of cyclists are weilrenner.

User avatar
meic
Posts: 19355
Joined: 1 Feb 2007, 9:37pm
Location: Caerfyrddin (Carmarthen)

Re: Simplification to cut through the mis-perceptions?

Postby meic » 20 Feb 2017, 4:53pm

There are statistics to back up this rather obvious conclusion.
The rate of accidents in Holland for helmet wearing cyclists is around 20 times that for non-helmet wearing cyclists. Unless somebody is suggesting the helmets cause the injuries, we can deduce that the helmet wearing weilrenner do ride much more riskily than non-helmeted fietser.
Yma o Hyd

User avatar
deliquium
Posts: 2105
Joined: 9 Mar 2007, 3:40pm
Location: Eryri

Re: Simplification to cut through the mis-perceptions?

Postby deliquium » 20 Feb 2017, 5:29pm

meic wrote:There are statistics to back up this rather obvious conclusion.
The rate of accidents in Holland for helmet wearing cyclists is around 20 times that for non-helmet wearing cyclists. Unless somebody is suggesting the helmets cause the injuries, we can deduce that the helmet wearing weilrenner do ride much more riskily than non-helmeted fietser.


Do you have a reference?

Cos it would be very useful with sound data/statistics :)
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
meic
Posts: 19355
Joined: 1 Feb 2007, 9:37pm
Location: Caerfyrddin (Carmarthen)

Re: Simplification to cut through the mis-perceptions?

Postby meic » 20 Feb 2017, 5:45pm

Buried somewhere in this subforum.
viewtopic.php?f=41&t=65625
Yma o Hyd