'You don’t make it safe by forcing cyclists to dress for urban warfare'

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.

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The utility cyclist
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Re: 'You don’t make it safe by forcing cyclists to dress for urban warfare'

Postby The utility cyclist » 22 Mar 2017, 1:44am

I'm actually anti helmet, I don't want people to have a choice, I want them banned, people wearing them to be fined and given a criminal record, why not, we have it the other way around already don't we?
Those wearing them propel the myth that they are needed, those wearing them have more incidents, those wearing them are abusive, surly and put themselves and others at greater risk of harm because they are wearing a helmet. Helmets take away notice from the real harm that has being done to people on bikes, helmets have never demonstrably prevented a death or serious TBI, the manufacturers of such would never claim this as they know it's bullocks.
Helmet wearing does far more damage than the vast majority seem to realise or are able to understand and as such I think removal of choice is the way forward, however it's the removal of choice to wear one that I'm after, it'll be safer for everyone, safer for me, the direction of safe cycling can be then pushed toward that that will really make a positive difference (not a negative one as helmets have).

Removal of helmets at competition level should be first on the agenda, it's pretty clear that racing cyclists are having more crashes/injuries compared to the latter day breatheren and yet the governing body ignore this. Take the ruddy things away and watch as competing cyclists actually start to take greater responsibility, ride less like a complete @@@@@@ and won't be impinged any more because the naffing hats didn't work to prevent injury barring a few scrapes anyway (which will occur less because of said increased care/less risk taking)

We also need to ensure that helmets are banned for children, not giving them the chance to be aware of boundaries is far more dangerous than letting find those boundaries in the first place. Again, a plastic hat cannot be proven to prevent death and in any case compared to other child deaths in any country you care to name cycling deaths isn't at the top nor close to any of the lists with respect to head injuries.

Ban them now or make them compulsary for everyone from the bed and back again.

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Re: 'You don’t make it safe by forcing cyclists to dress for urban warfare'

Postby mercalia » 22 Mar 2017, 12:06pm

"The lessons seem clear and worrying. For one thing, no matter which outfit was worn, a small percentage of drivers still overtook dangerously near, at a distance of 50cm or less. More than this, it seemed drivers were perfectly able to distinguish between different types of rider, and to read and absorb any message displayed. But rather than adjusting their driving to the perceived experience of the cyclist, it was only when faced with a threat to their own welfare – a police rider filming their actions – that many allowed a cyclist more space on the road. Most alarming still, some seemed to treat the mild attempt at deception of “polite” as a reason to almost punish the cyclist." :shock:

uwidavid
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Re: 'You don’t make it safe by forcing cyclists to dress for urban warfare'

Postby uwidavid » 22 Mar 2017, 1:16pm

Skimming through the comments on the Guardian article it is surprising how many pro-helment cyclists there are with "a helmet saved my life" anecedote.
I don't visit the UK that often but on the last two visits I thought I would try to assess the amount of helmet usage.
During the summer traveling throughout britain I got up to a count of 50 helmeted cyclists versus 9 without (then I gave up).
In the winter the figures were comming out at about four to one in favour of helmets (I think some had switched to warmer headgear).

So I'm getting a little worried that the argument may have already been lost to the "it stands to reason innit" line of (non-)thinking.
I am BTW anti-helmet. I did fall on my head once and I think that not wearing a helmet actually made it less serious (I feel the extra weight and poor design would have pushed my face into the gravel more tha if bare-headed).

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Re: 'You don’t make it safe by forcing cyclists to dress for urban warfare'

Postby bovlomov » 22 Mar 2017, 9:51pm

uwidavid wrote: I did fall on my head once and I think that not wearing a helmet actually made it less serious (I feel the extra weight and poor design would have pushed my face into the gravel more tha if bare-headed).

Yeah, but if you'd been wearing a helmet, you'd be alive to tell the tale.

Most of the Guardian comments are depressingly ill-informed - despite the information being available only a few lines above.

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Lance Dopestrong
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Re: 'You don’t make it safe by forcing cyclists to dress for urban warfare'

Postby Lance Dopestrong » 7 May 2017, 9:32pm

So so many folk claim that they think a cycle helmet saved their life.

I prefer to think there are so so many people who can't ride a bike or read the road properly.
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Re: 'You don’t make it safe by forcing cyclists to dress for urban warfare'

Postby mjr » 8 May 2017, 12:20am

It is truly incredible how many users have been saved by their helmets when twice as many UK cyclists don't wear them and yet aren't dying at that rate. Are helmets making crashes worse that they then "save" users from, or are they disintegrating spectacularly in trivial crashes?
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Lance Dopestrong
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Re: 'You don’t make it safe by forcing cyclists to dress for urban warfare'

Postby Lance Dopestrong » 8 May 2017, 7:33am

When I was in the Army (I fought in the Napoleonic Wars :wink: ) I'd have been jolly upset if I'd taken a round or explosion in the head or torso and my PPE had been shredded like some of the "my cycle helmet saved my life" pictures, and would regard them as having failed spectacularly.
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Re: 'You don’t make it safe by forcing cyclists to dress for urban warfare'

Postby sjs » 8 May 2017, 8:05am

mjr wrote:It is truly incredible how many users have been saved by their helmets when twice as many UK cyclists don't wear them and yet aren't dying at that rate. Are helmets making crashes worse that they then "save" users from, or are they disintegrating spectacularly in trivial crashes?


Nearly everyone who uses a mirror has had their life saved by them as well, apparently. Not that I'm anti-mirror.

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Re: 'You don’t make it safe by forcing cyclists to dress for urban warfare'

Postby pjclinch » 8 May 2017, 9:52am

mjr wrote:It is truly incredible how many users have been saved by their helmets when twice as many UK cyclists don't wear them and yet aren't dying at that rate. Are helmets making crashes worse that they then "save" users from, or are they disintegrating spectacularly in trivial crashes?


The latter is quite likely, given the pretty low spec they're built to. It's worth remembering that the current breed of cycle helmets started off as something to improve on an olde-style hairnet, which is a pretty low bar of protection.

As a coach at a JCC and a Bikeability instructor I get to see quite a few lids close up for inspection (dozens rather than hundreds in a given year), and it's not too surprising to see examples that need binning because they're cracked despite never having been in an accident. One of my fellow coaches reported her son's lid had cracked when it was... dropped on to a hard bathroom floor. They are quite clearly one-shot devices, and it doesn't have to be much of a shot: we're not talking serious armour.

It doesn't take much to crack a polystyrene cycle helmet. It usually takes a lot to crack a skull. So people assuming that their cracked helmet would have meant a cracked skull are entirely possibly over-estimating the seriousness of the incident, but this is a very common assumption looking at the anecdotes. A cracked helmet is good evidence you'd have had a nasty bump and a headache, not that your life would have been at risk. And it's here we go back to their inspiration, which was a better hairnet. The idea is that you can get back on your bike and finish the race without losing too much time, rather than sit by the side of the track/road going "owwww!" and possibly seeing some stars. Life saving not on the agenda.

Another coach at the JCC is quite convinced a helmet saved her son's life. It was one of those comedy starts on the track where it goes immediately wrong and he toppled over the bars before he'd got anywhere and head-planted from 0 mph before the gun had gone. Helmet was split. Would that have killed him? In the century plus before helmets were about, how many people have done something like that? In the millennia before bikes how many people have done something broadly like that? Quite a lot, I'd venture to guess, and yet nobody really worried about helmets until they appeared as a solution to a problem nobody realised we had.

A pretty big clue is look at what the manufacturers claim for their helmets. Not much beyond marketing stuff about style and coolness, and somewhere what standard they meet. Nothing about safety improvements or life saving. They leave that to cyclists to sell them to ourselves with great dollops of FUD.

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Re: 'You don’t make it safe by forcing cyclists to dress for urban warfare'

Postby RickH » 8 May 2017, 11:11pm

Back in the days when I wore a helmet most of the time & was doing the regular school run, I'd collected child from school & on our way back home we'd stopped at the park to play for a while. While this was happening my bike was leaning against a fence with my helmet hung from one brake hood. Bike fell/got knocked over. I'm not sure that any part of the bike hit the helmet, if it did it was the bottom of the drops falling from less than 3ft to the ground. The outcome was a significant chunk completely broken off one side of the helmet.

My other observation has been using expanded polystyrene sheets to line the inside of my new shed. Now the material may not be identical, but I found I could break offcuts of 25mm thick sheets by holding a piece between my second finger & thumb and simply pressing a couple of cm away with my index finger!

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Re: 'You don’t make it safe by forcing cyclists to dress for urban warfare'

Postby [XAP]Bob » 9 May 2017, 7:43am

It's brittle, but good at absorbing energy by plastic deformation (crushing).

A snapped helmet has failed, one that has a patch that is now significantly thinner than the rest has probably done some good. Photos of such helmets are vanishingly rare...
A shortcut has to be a challenge, otherwise it would just be the way. No situation is so dire that panic cannot make it worse.
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Lance Dopestrong
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Re: 'You don’t make it safe by forcing cyclists to dress for urban warfare'

Postby Lance Dopestrong » 9 May 2017, 7:49am

A snapped helmet has not failed, provided the prices remain in situ. If they all go flying off up then road then you've got problems, but if they remain in place they will still be capable of compressing and absorbing energy (for those that believe they do).
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Re: 'You don’t make it safe by forcing cyclists to dress for urban warfare'

Postby meic » 9 May 2017, 8:43am

It may be semantically correct to say it hasnt failed because it was never subjected to a significant impact that needed absorbing. It is also probably a good thing that by cracking it has presented a very good indicator that it has already been subjected to an impact and has lost some of its absorption capacity.

On the other hand, cracking has broken the helmet while failing to absorb any significant amount of energy. If the wearer was injured in the crash, you could also say the helmet failed to reach (unrealistic) expectations.
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Lance Dopestrong
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Re: 'You don’t make it safe by forcing cyclists to dress for urban warfare'

Postby Lance Dopestrong » 9 May 2017, 9:06am

You're making a presumption.

How many joules of energy is required to crack a typical helmet?

When you can give us a number, and describe the methodology by which it was obtained, then and only then can you tell is with any authority whether the energy required to cause a crack is significant or not.

You may be correct. You may not, but making presumptions does nothing to advance our understanding of helmet function and safety.
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