"Decide for yourself"

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.
thirdcrank
Posts: 28687
Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 2:44pm

Re: "Decide for yourself"

Postby thirdcrank » 27 Mar 2018, 9:51am

... I'm undecided about where I think CUK should stand on the matter, ....


Cycling UK is a charity and so is required by law to follow its charitable purposes.

Off the top of my head :oops: :oops: :oops: - I can't find anything on the www and I'm not sufficently bothered to search - these are "the promotion of cycling," or words to that effect. So, with regard to helmets, and compulsion in particular, they should be guided only by their effects on the promotion of cycling.

Is there any evidence that the availability of helmets promotes cycling? I don't know, but I doubt it.

Is there any evidence that compulsory helmet wearing promotes cycling? Here is where the evidence seems strongest and it's to the contrary, so a policy of "no compulsion" seems to me to be evidence-based, (edit to add) even though it was originally reached by the CTC for reasons of expediency, as I tried to explain earlier.

There is the obvious point that "common sense" based virtual compulsion is not much different from a statutory requirement, but how can that realistically be opposed? Would a decision by Cycling UK to oppose everything to do with helmets make a significant difference to that social pressure?
Last edited by thirdcrank on 27 Mar 2018, 10:17am, edited 1 time in total.

amediasatex
Posts: 755
Joined: 2 Nov 2015, 12:51pm
Location: Sunny Devon! just East of the Moor

Re: "Decide for yourself"

Postby amediasatex » 27 Mar 2018, 10:08am

@thirdcrank

I think that's exactly why they've taken a sit on the fence approach isn't it?

Would a decision by Cycling UK to oppose everything to do with helmets make a significant difference to that social pressure?


If they were to swing one way or the other then they would potentially be at odds with the goal of "promoting cycling" as they could back themselves into a corner, maybe it's simply that they don't want to open that particular can of worms on an official basis. They could very well end up damaging their reputation both inside and outside of the cycling community and thus harm their own goals.

Anti-compulsion is about the only stance they can take. :-(

I'm very much torn on this as I think the baton need picking up, but I'm not sure by who, or how they should proceed with it when they have it. Arguably it's not about helmets at all, it's about the perceived level of risk on our roads, if no risk were perceived the helmet debate would have been knocked on the head (sorry) a long time ago!

Perhaps it would be intriguing to see someone take that approach more storngly, and instead of arguing against the item (helmet/hi-vis), argue that it's looking at the wrong problem. ie: "If we can fix the risk/environment/safety issue on our roads then we wouldn't even need* to be thinking about helmets and hi-vis"

Is there any evidence that the availability of helmets promotes cycling? I don't know, but I doubt it.


I doubt it too, but there is evidence that helmets are seen as a requirement by the public when there are other perceived safety related barriers to cycling. So we (as a society) approach it backwards, instead of 'promoting' we aim to 'mitigate the demotive'. Helmets won't promote cycling, but an environment where helmets are not perceived as necessary would. So an organisation aiming to promote cycling could quite reasonably say they should ignore the should you/shouldn't you aspect of helmets, and aim at the bigger picture of making cycling an easy an attractive option.

Helmet arguments are a symptom of the problem, not the problem itself, but they're easy to target for both sides to pick on.

*not that they actually make you safe, it's about the perceived benefits by society. We need to turn that round to the point where they don't think they're needed anyway.

User avatar
bovlomov
Posts: 4202
Joined: 5 Apr 2007, 7:45am
Contact:

Re: "Decide for yourself"

Postby bovlomov » 27 Mar 2018, 11:14am

amediasatex wrote:I'm very much torn on this as I think the baton need picking up, but I'm not sure by who, or how they should proceed with it when they have it. Arguably it's not about helmets at all, it's about the perceived level of risk on our roads, if no risk were perceived the helmet debate would have been knocked on the head (sorry) a long time ago!

Perhaps it would be intriguing to see someone take that approach more storngly, and instead of arguing against the item (helmet/hi-vis), argue that it's looking at the wrong problem. ie: "If we can fix the risk/environment/safety issue on our roads then we wouldn't even need* to be thinking about helmets and hi-vis"

This is, more or less, Chris Boardman's approach. He is saying - whenever they let him get a non-helmet-promoting word in edgeways - that helmets aren't in the top ten things that keeps cyclists safe. The helmet debate is a distraction from the things that will actually make a difference.

Unfortunately, this often falls on deaf ears. (I'm talking about the likes of Chris Bryant MP, who listened to those words and then expressed disapproval at Boardman for not talking about helmets).

Edited for logic: Added 'promoting'.
Last edited by bovlomov on 27 Mar 2018, 12:00pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
leftpoole
Posts: 993
Joined: 12 Feb 2007, 9:31am
Location: Thornbury, South Gloucestershire.
Contact:

Re: "Decide for yourself"

Postby leftpoole » 27 Mar 2018, 11:38am

Having read and re read, my own opinion is that, CTC is now (?) run by a bunch of wet Liberals.
Regards,
John


I'm a trendy consumer. Just look at my stupid phone.

User avatar
mjr
Posts: 14988
Joined: 20 Jun 2011, 7:06pm
Location: Norfolk or Somerset, mostly
Contact:

Re: "Decide for yourself"

Postby mjr » 27 Mar 2018, 11:40am

Cugel wrote:... and worn by nearly every cyclist you see out there. ...

Can we knock this one on the head, please? In some pockets, it may be like that, plus I suspect usage rates are higher among the more conspicuous cyclists (long-distance cyclists on rural major roads and cyclists in big events) but according to the best available statistics (themselves 10 years old gov.uk numbers, but so be it - I feel that helmet use is decreasing with increasing utility/hire cycling, especially in London which is a big chunk of the population), only a minority of UK cyclists wear them.
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
mjr
Posts: 14988
Joined: 20 Jun 2011, 7:06pm
Location: Norfolk or Somerset, mostly
Contact:

Re: "Decide for yourself"

Postby mjr » 27 Mar 2018, 12:12pm

amediasatex wrote: [...] but one thing it does do with almost 100% certainty is stop minor abrasions and scrapes to my scalp which I'm thankful for on a regular basis offroad*, and have had reason to be thankful for a couple of times on tarmac too.

But you can get most of that road rash protection at lower cost/risk with a simpler hat.

Also, is it 100% certainty? I think I've seen someone's helmet disintegrate after impacting on the less-protective front and then part of it apparently stab into and cut their head - but it's only "I think" because it was in real life, it all happens so fast and I didn't have a superslowmo camera aimed correctly.

amediasatex wrote:The other really disappointing thing it does is mean that should the worst happen, at least any insurance payout to my family will not be reduced, nor prosecution hindered due to a cry of 'contributory negligence' or other such guff, that is the truly dangerous side of societal (rather than legal) compulsion. Were it not for that I would probably only ever use it when racing and riding offroad.

No, a weasel lawyer or insurance adjuster may well just find some other spurious reason to propose a reduced payout, in the hope that the bereaved family will accept it to bring closure.

In most cases I've found, if it actually reaches court, the judge requires the respondent to show that the helmet would probably have reduced the risk of death... which as helmets are not designed/tested for vehicle collisions and no manufacturer will stand behind it to that degree, that seems unlikely. Heck, most manufacturers explicitly say that it won't protect against all simple falls.

My preferred defence against this has been to publish an explanation of my reasons for not wearing, in an attempt to show that I have taken the decision on a prudent, sober and evidence-based basis - more so than the decisions to include and retain helmet use in a Highway Code rule!
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.

amediasatex
Posts: 755
Joined: 2 Nov 2015, 12:51pm
Location: Sunny Devon! just East of the Moor

Re: "Decide for yourself"

Postby amediasatex » 27 Mar 2018, 1:21pm

But you can get most of that road rash protection at lower cost/risk with a simpler hat.

Also, is it 100% certainty? I think I've seen someone's helmet disintegrate after impacting on the less-protective front and then part of it apparently stab into and cut their head - but it's only "I think" because it was in real life, it all happens so fast and I didn't have a superslowmo camera aimed correctly.


Careful, you're starting to sound like a zealous non-wearer trying to convert me ;-)

Of course its not 100%, which is why I said 'almost' you will always be able to conjure up an exception to any rule. Perhaps I should have clarified with 'in my experience', I have had a my helmet save me a from few minor abrasions and scrapes in the past, anecdote to you, evidence to me.

I find hats even hotter than helmets, and they don't offer the same protection in terms of having a hard shell for bouncing branches off my head, and in fact on some occasions where I have worn a hat I've had it tugged off instead, so a helmet suits my needs fine thanks. No need to justify it any further, I'm perfectly capable of deciding when I do and don't want to wear PPE, the important bit is I'm deciding, not defaulting. Of course I'm forced to when I race, but that's the rules, I can argue as much as I want but if I want o participate I have to wear one.

No, a weasel lawyer or insurance adjuster may well just find some other spurious reason to propose a reduced payout, in the hope that the bereaved family will accept it to bring closure.

In most cases I've found, if it actually reaches court, the judge requires the respondent to show that the helmet would probably have reduced the risk of death

...My preferred defence...


There have been examples of exactly that scenario happening, reduced payouts and blame apportioning due to a cyclist not having been wearing a helmet, and if it is the worst case I may not be around to construct such a defence or give my explanation. Which is why I think it's such a dangerous a creeping diversion from the real issue, not why I was or wasn't wearing a helmet, but why society thinks it's necessary. Let me be 100% (yes 100% this time) clear, I do not think that this is a good reason to wear a helmet, merely that it is (very sadly) a real thing and thus necessary of consideration, no matter how wrong it is in principle.

Even when it's not used in the legal sense we see it time and time again in the media, it's a very sneaky way of influencing opinion and I absolutely hate it with a passion.

User avatar
LinusR
Posts: 345
Joined: 24 May 2017, 7:27pm
Location: London
Contact:

Re: "Decide for yourself"

Postby LinusR » 27 Mar 2018, 2:36pm

Cugel wrote:In the intro to this helmet forum, the following statement is made to describe the CTC official attitude:

".... the CTC view is not anti-helmet (despite what some would have you believe). It is anti-compulsion. It believes that each individual should have the right to weigh up the pros and cons for themselves and then decide whether or not to use a helmet".


I think you are being selective (and simplistic) about Cycling UK's position here.

The policy is:

* Cycling UK is opposed to both cycle helmet laws and to helmet promotion campaigns because these are almost certainly detrimental to public health. Evidence shows that the health benefits of cycling are so much greater than the relatively low risks involved, that even if these measures caused only a very small reduction in cycle use, this would still almost certainly mean far more lives being lost through physical inactivity than helmets could possibly save, however effective.

*In any case, there are serious doubts about the effectiveness of helmets. They are, and can only be, designed to withstand minor knocks and falls, not serious traffic collisions. Some evidence suggests they may in fact increase the risk of cyclists having falls or collisions in the first place, or suffering neck injuries.

*Neither enforced helmet laws nor promotion campaigns have been shown to reduce serious head injuries, except by reducing cycling. The remaining cyclists do not gain any detectable reduction in risk, and they may lose some of the benefits from 'safety in numbers'.

*So instead of focusing on helmets, health and road safety professionals and others should promote cycling as a safe, normal, aspirational and enjoyable activity, using helmet-free role-models and imagery. Individual cyclists may sometimes choose to use helmets, either for confidence or because of the type of cycling they are doing. However, [i]they should not feel under any pressure to wear them. For the sake of our health, it is more important to encourage people of all ages to cycle, than to make an issue of whether they use a helmet when doing so[/i].

(my emphasis) The full policy statement is here: https://www.cyclinguk.org/campaigning/views-and-briefings/cycle-helmets

The (headline message of the) policy clearly states CUK's view on the effectiveness of helmets and the possible risks of wearing a helmet. It also clearly states people should not feel under pressure to wear one. It makes a slight concession with regard to "choice" in the above. It is not sitting on the fence.

Personally I have become increasingly irritated and annoyed by the preachy (and emotive) attitude of some helmet advocates who think they have a right to lecture others on helmet wearing. I am moving from a pro-choice position to becoming borderline anti-helmet.

User avatar
LinusR
Posts: 345
Joined: 24 May 2017, 7:27pm
Location: London
Contact:

Re: "Decide for yourself"

Postby LinusR » 27 Mar 2018, 2:42pm

Cugel wrote:(and perhaps high-viz)


I think hi-viz needs its own sub-forum as it is an emerging area for emotive discussions...

User avatar
Cunobelin
Posts: 10140
Joined: 6 Feb 2007, 7:22pm

Re: "Decide for yourself"

Postby Cunobelin » 27 Mar 2018, 2:45pm

Cugel wrote:In the intro to this helmet forum, the following statement is made to describe the CTC official attitude:

".... the CTC view is not anti-helmet (despite what some would have you believe). It is anti-compulsion. It believes that each individual should have the right to weigh up the pros and cons for themselves and then decide whether or not to use a helmet".

The various helmet debates and referenced data sources studying cycling helmet-improved safety (or lack of it) illustrate that it's very difficult to decide for yourself. In effect, we choose one opinion from a contradictory range offered by experts or (more likely) by fashion. Our "choice" is often a construct of our social situation, including peer pressure and the tremendous weight of advertising. We didn't decide; a mob (mass media)or a syndicate (the manufacturer advertisers) did.

Even the CTC/Cycling UK organisation is ambivalent. It is not for or against helmets ... but the general weight of the photos employed show a huge "choice" by various pictured cyclists "for" helmets. This too is a peer-pressure on others to buy one and wear it in the expectation that it will make them "safe".

Cycling UK itself references various studies and meta-analyses that indicate that helmets (and high viz clothing) seem not to offer any overall safety benefit. If this is so, why does Cycling UK sit on the fence concerning these things? If Cycling UK policy of non-compulsion is based in an agreement with, or acceptance of, those studies that show that helmets (and perhaps high-viz) contribute to a greater number of (head) injuries in the wearers, surely Cycling UK policy should not be just anti-compulsion but anti-helmet (and perhaps anti-high viz).....?

Discuss. :-)



Photos are an irrelevance....

There is a thread from a while back discussing helmet that was poorly worn.

These are NOT pictures taken for a magazine, the most common are simply "stock" photos from other companies, the fact they are wearing a helmet (or not) is probably of less concern as to whether you get to use it for free or pay a considerable charge for the use

User avatar
Cunobelin
Posts: 10140
Joined: 6 Feb 2007, 7:22pm

Re: "Decide for yourself"

Postby Cunobelin » 27 Mar 2018, 3:06pm

Some years ago I introduced the wonderful "Thudguard" into the mix as it is a useful tool in the helmet discussion


I remember one Casualty Doctor who regularly harangued parents of children on scooters, bikes etc without helmets, yet he would not accept the fact that his own professional organisation would support anything as silly as the Thudguard

Dr John Heyworth, president of the College of Emergency Medicine

“As an Emergency Medicine consultant I have seen a number of children present with serious head injuries resulting from bicycle riding.
“It is extremely frustrating to know the extent of these injuries could have been dramatically reduced had the child worn a helmet.”



Yet the same "expert also supports the Thudguard:

It is a pleasure to support the 'Thudguard' in my capacity as President of the British Association for Accident and Emergency Medicine. Any device which helps to reduce the number of head injuries sustained by young children each year is most welcome


He supports both, yet it is amazing how many will argue that statement A is a prime example why helmets should be worn, yet dismiss the same "expert opinion" if you suggest the use of a Thudguard



The other "expert" I like is Ian Maconochie (President, Association of Paediatric Emergency Medicine)
“Children can face an estimated 70 per cent reduction in brain function after a traumatic brain injury and some never recover. As an expert and a parent I feel it is just common sense - anything that can protect our children from this risk should be compulsory.”


My emphasis, but surely such a bold statement suggests compulsion for the Thudguard?

User avatar
Mick F
Spambuster
Posts: 48190
Joined: 7 Jan 2007, 11:24am
Location: Tamar Valley, Cornwall

Re: "Decide for yourself"

Postby Mick F » 27 Mar 2018, 3:26pm

Mrs Mick F worked at the local school for the past decade or more.
Children running, playing, kicking balls, jumping, climbing ................. all in a hard tarmac playground with granite surrounding walls.
Heads bang, knees grazed, arms and elbows hurt.

Not one of them wore a helmet or any padding.
Mick F. Cornwall

thirdcrank
Posts: 28687
Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 2:44pm

Re: "Decide for yourself"

Postby thirdcrank » 27 Mar 2018, 3:51pm

LinusR wrote:
Cugel wrote:In the intro to this helmet forum, the following statement is made to describe the CTC official attitude:

".... the CTC view is not anti-helmet (despite what some would have you believe). It is anti-compulsion. It believes that each individual should have the right to weigh up the pros and cons for themselves and then decide whether or not to use a helmet".


I think you are being selective (and simplistic) about Cycling UK's position here. ...


The OP made it very clear what they were quoting, so to suggest they were being "...selective (and simplistic)" seems both inaccurate and unfair.

The answer is to request that the relevant forum introduction should be expanded to prevent further misunderstanding, including my own, or at least to include a link to the policy you quote.

User avatar
LinusR
Posts: 345
Joined: 24 May 2017, 7:27pm
Location: London
Contact:

Re: "Decide for yourself"

Postby LinusR » 27 Mar 2018, 4:14pm

thirdcrank wrote:The OP made it very clear what they were quoting, so to suggest they were being "...selective (and simplistic)" seems both inaccurate and unfair.

The answer is to request that the relevant forum introduction should be expanded to prevent further misunderstanding, including my own, or at least to include a link to the policy you quote.


I agree with you that the forum intro should be changed and a link to the policy provided. But the OP did also state "Cycling UK itself references various studies..." which indicated that the OP had looked at CUK policy statements elsewhere besides the forum. So I think my comments on the OP are fair.

amediasatex
Posts: 755
Joined: 2 Nov 2015, 12:51pm
Location: Sunny Devon! just East of the Moor

Re: "Decide for yourself"

Postby amediasatex » 27 Mar 2018, 4:26pm

(Previous Text)...The (headline message of the) policy clearly states CUK's view on the effectiveness of helmets and the possible risks of wearing a helmet. It also clearly states people should not feel under pressure to wear one. It makes a slight concession with regard to "choice" in the above. It is not sitting on the fence.


I still think they're on the fence so to speak.

They're not going to specifically promote helmets, compulsion or otherwise, nor back campaigns that do. They are also not campaigning against them, nor are they going to promote anti-helmet campaign.

They simply take the middle ground* of saying the evidence is limited and at times contradictory, and that people should make their own minds up, but they prefer to focus on the 'other' bits of making cycling safe, enjoyable and easy.

*There is a slight no-helmet feeling to the material, in that they highlight the lack of evidence and that on the whole it can harm cycling participation at a population level, if they were actually anti there would be a stronger anti-helmet bias, I think they're treading the line in the middle quite carefully.