"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
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Re: "Decide for yourself"

Postby thirdcrank » 27 Mar 2018, 4:37pm

We can discuss the meaning of words like "campaign" but I've been enlightened by a post above about CyclingUK's policy with this link

https://www.cyclinguk.org/campaigning/v ... le-helmets

No obvious sign there to me of sitting on the fence, although it might be argued that a bit more publicity might have prevented threads like this one.

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bovlomov
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Re: "Decide for yourself"

Postby bovlomov » 27 Mar 2018, 4:42pm

Cunobelin wrote: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?


Your emphasis is good, but I propose another:
“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.”

Anything that can..? Blimey! That's loose language for an expert (and a parent). By his logic, Carmen Miranda's fruit hat would be compulsory.

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Re: "Decide for yourself"

Postby Vorpal » 27 Mar 2018, 4:46pm

I think that Cycling UK's stance is entirely reasonable.

One of the best reasons for them not to make any definitive statements about helmets is that they already get far too much attention. As Chris Boardman says (approximately) if we want to do something about improving safety for cyclists, helmets aren't even in the top ten.

The last thing a campaign organisation needs to do is draw more attention to a red herring.
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

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mjr
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Re: "Decide for yourself"

Postby mjr » 27 Mar 2018, 5:18pm

Sorry for missing the "almost" from in front of 100% in my reply. I think it's not "almost 100%" either, but we can't really know.

As for zealous... maybe, but it's not a reactionary zeal - it's one formed after looking at the evidence and changing my opinion on them.

amediasatex wrote: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.

Rules basically following on from Verbruggen-era UCI exploiting a couple of rider deaths to force adoption based on no evidence :-( I wonder if the helmet manufacturers' association bought Verbruggen a drug testing machine like Lance did?

I feel it's probably better to have a hat dragged off by a branch than helmet straps yanking one's head, but you're quite right, you've no need to justify it any further.

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.

Have there been any except foolish out of court settlements of the type I describe? In other words, has any judged yet dare contradict the ruling in Smith v Finch, which is summarised on https://www.cyclistsdefencefund.org.uk/ ... ty-to-wear ?

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.

Well, society is being lied to, often by people who intuitively hate the idea of cyclists having more freedom and being sociable humans who say hello as they pass each other in the street - just today, I said hello to the chap on the MTB I overtook, I waved to the lady walking a terrier who I often see (whose terrier goes nuts at bikes, but she keeps it on a tight lead), I exchanged a few words with some schoolchildren (one said my music was cool... probably taking the P) and so on.

Leaders and opinion-formers seem to want us cut off from each other as we move around, ideally behind bars and glass, but if not, then hidden behind armour and having to buy garish clothes. I'm not sure why. I expect conspiracy theorists would say it makes us easier to control and more willing to accept further profitable development of our public spaces, or that it keeps us dependent on the fuel supply (to be replaced by the electricity supply soon), or what... but I'm not sure it's been thought through that much. Maybe it's simply that a majority of them currently motor (with some notable cycling exceptions) and they fear change - and lumbering cyclists with helmets and fear is an effective way to oppose change.
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Cugel
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Re: "Decide for yourself"

Postby Cugel » 27 Mar 2018, 6:30pm

LinusR wrote:
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.


The larger point I was making is that which you delineate at length - the CTC recognises many studies that, in general, demonstrate that helmet compulsion and helmet usage do not improve cyclist well-being or reduce head injuries overall. My conclusion was that, this being so, the CTC is being somewhat disingenuous in not opposing helmets in a less ambiguous fashion.

They should be doing so in line with their own stance, which seems to be saying that helmet use, not just compulsion, has at least no benefits and at most actually increases the risk of head injury. Moreover, the brouhaha around helmets obscures and demotes policies that would address and reduce the real risks, from bad driving and the bad laws that allow it to continue in all but the most extreme cases. And it stops people cycling because they see helmets as an indicator that cycling is much more dangerous than it is.

On the other hand, I take the point made in many posts above that it is politic of the CTC to publicly have a policy that is, in practice, merely one of anti-compulsion. Imagine the glee of The Daily Hate Mail and The Daily Frightener should the CTC go full-Boardman! Pitchforks would be waved and bonfires lit!

*****
There is a case for helmet use in some circumstances, I think. If one is cycling in a way that involves lots of falls (e.g. vigorous MTBing or road racing with sprogs) a helmet might reduce painful, albeit not truly dangerous, head-bangs. But there is also a case for helmets (and other protections) for all kinds of human activities, in which such safety aids are never mentioned, proposed, invented or adopted.

Cugel

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Wanlock Dod
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Re: "Decide for yourself"

Postby Wanlock Dod » 27 Mar 2018, 7:51pm

Cycling UK wrote: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.

I think that they could do rather better at this bit themselves. I feel that whilst they do seem to try to picture some unhelmeted cyclists in their materials it is no more than a token gesture. Perhaps they could start by trying to set an example and practice what they preach. Cyclists are overwhelmingly pictured helmeted in the most recent issue of Cycle, yet they rarely seem to be in situations that would really warrant a helmet.

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LinusR
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Re: "Decide for yourself"

Postby LinusR » 27 Mar 2018, 10:32pm

Cugel wrote:
The larger point I was making is that which you delineate at length - the CTC recognises many studies that, in general, demonstrate that helmet compulsion and helmet usage do not improve cyclist well-being or reduce head injuries overall. My conclusion was that, this being so, the CTC is being somewhat disingenuous in not opposing helmets in a less ambiguous fashion.

They should be doing so in line with their own stance, which seems to be saying that helmet use, not just compulsion, has at least no benefits and at most actually increases the risk of head injury. Moreover, the brouhaha around helmets obscures and demotes policies that would address and reduce the real risks, from bad driving and the bad laws that allow it to continue in all but the most extreme cases. And it stops people cycling because they see helmets as an indicator that cycling is much more dangerous than it is.

On the other hand, I take the point made in many posts above that it is politic of the CTC to publicly have a policy that is, in practice, merely one of anti-compulsion. Imagine the glee of The Daily Hate Mail and The Daily Frightener should the CTC go full-Boardman! Pitchforks would be waved and bonfires lit!

*****
There is a case for helmet use in some circumstances, I think. If one is cycling in a way that involves lots of falls (e.g. vigorous MTBing or road racing with sprogs) a helmet might reduce painful, albeit not truly dangerous, head-bangs. But there is also a case for helmets (and other protections) for all kinds of human activities, in which such safety aids are never mentioned, proposed, invented or adopted.

Cugel


I broadly agree with you here. I think that CUK could alienate a lot people (including its membership) if it took a stance to actively dissuade people from wearing helmets. The evidence is too contradictory and it has become too much of an emotive issue. CUK basically provides consumer advice for its members and fights for public policy to improve conditions for cyclists - fighting road danger at source. But I'd like to see a better mix in the photos CUK uses in its publicity material.

I never wear a helmet whether I am road cycling, or cycling off-road on my MTB or CX bike. Except on the road in Spain (the police will book you). Most of my immediate riding companions do not wear a helmet but most of the people in my CUK affiliated club do. Living in London I observe probably a majority of people using helmets (I haven't done a count though). Out cycling on Sunday on my MTB in the Chiltern hills I'd say the majority of people riding had a lid on. Three guys on MTB's actually got into an argument with me about not wearing a helmet. Not a pleasant experience when I'm enjoying the countryside on a Sunday. No helmet off-road is frowned upon by most MTB-ers. But most people live and let live on this issue as do most of the members of my club. Some of my best friends wear helmets! I'd like to do a MTB leadership course but all courses require lids to be used. I'm not gonna turn up and argue and try to fight a battle I cannot win. I'll do the course and take the skills to lead off-road rides with my local club which follows CUK's choice policy. I can decide for myself, I suppose.

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Re: "Decide for yourself"

Postby RickH » 27 Mar 2018, 10:47pm

Wanlock Dod wrote:
Cycling UK wrote: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.

I think that they could do rather better at this bit themselves. I feel that whilst they do seem to try to picture some unhelmeted cyclists in their materials it is no more than a token gesture. Perhaps they could start by trying to set an example and practice what they preach. Cyclists are overwhelmingly pictured helmeted in the most recent issue of Cycle, yet they rarely seem to be in situations that would really warrant a helmet.

The trouble is, in my experience the vast majority of riders on the CTC group rides that I participate in, or see photos of in their linked Facebook groups & webpages, wear helmets. My tandem partner & I are usually the only ones, or maybe one other, out of a group of often 20, sometimes 30, riders. If other member groups & affiliated clubs are similar (I've no idea if we're typical or not) then getting many photos of riders without helmets is going to be an uphill struggle.

"Transport" cyclists are probably a lot less likely to wear one, but even then quite a few do.

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LinusR
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Re: "Decide for yourself"

Postby LinusR » 27 Mar 2018, 10:53pm

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Cunobelin
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Re: "Decide for yourself"

Postby Cunobelin » 28 Mar 2018, 6:06am

Mick F wrote: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.



Years ago, we had a parent pushed for the local school to make helmets compulsory.

At the time we got hold of the Schools accident figures for the previous 5 years.

Over a hundred head injuries reported on the books and none involved cycling. Bizarrely the parent involved had three head injuries in there family, and all in the playground.

We then argued that helmets were good, but should be worn in the areas where the head injuries occurred...... again that was a silly suggestion

It was dropped

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Cunobelin
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Re: "Decide for yourself"

Postby Cunobelin » 28 Mar 2018, 6:09am

bovlomov wrote:
Cunobelin wrote: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?


Your emphasis is good, but I propose another:
“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.”

Anything that can..? Blimey! That's loose language for an expert (and a parent). By his logic, Carmen Miranda's fruit hat would be compulsory.



Melons are good.

A local teacher use to use the disproven "hit your head against a wall, and repeat with a helmet, which hurts more" as an argument

We used to use a melon to prove they were equally worthy as they would reduce injury as well

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Wanlock Dod
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Re: "Decide for yourself"

Postby Wanlock Dod » 28 Mar 2018, 9:19am

RickH wrote:.....then getting many photos of riders without helmets is going to be an uphill struggle...

I tend to agree although I'm not sure that it needs to be as difficult as that, it would simply take CUK to decide to lead by example, and be clear about why they are doing it. I don't doubt that there would be some backlash initially from various evangelical sources, and it wouldn't actually be about telling anybody whether or not to wear helmets, it would simply be about the way in which cyclists are portrayed in any imagery associated with CUK.
It would be possible to define a set of rules regarding when a helmet might be acceptable in an image
Anybody who is not actually riding a bike at the time doesn't really need their helmet on.
It seems that the greatest advantages are likely to come from increased utility cycling so it would seem sensible to try to completely exclude helmets from any images relating to any kind of utility cycling.
Riding on well surfaced traffic free paths probably shouldn't need a helmet, except perhaps for small children.
Any kind of racing is likely to require helmets throughout.
Whilst there needs to be an element of choice for recreational riding, if the aim is to portray it as safe and desirable then that would be easier if there were relatively few helmets in the imagery used.
It would be possible to make it clear to potential contributors that pictures would be more likely to be published if they did not show helmets being used in situations where it might not be deemed necessary (e.g. sitting by a tree). That need not affect what people actually wear on their heads whilst riding, although I suppose some staged photos might be necessary so that riders who would usually wear a helmet can be pictured happily riding unhelmeted.
At the moment there is a clear default position that deciding for yourself means wearing a helmet because it is the responsible thing to do and it can't do any harm anyway can it? A move to try to associate helmets with racing (where risk compensation offers an advantage) and portray everyday utility and leisure cycling as safe and enjoyable might well be a good thing. At the moment I think that the portrayal of cycling by CUK in the images they use is overall one that suggests that you should choose to wear a helmet.

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Re: "Decide for yourself"

Postby thirdcrank » 28 Mar 2018, 10:15am

The question it seems is why doesn't CyclingUK follow the spirit of its own published policy on helmets?

https://www.cyclinguk.org/campaigning/v ... le-helmets

There's nothing obvious in there about the depiction of helmet-wearing to illustrate articles about cycling more generally, but it's implicit that it contributes to a sort of moral compulsion. So, a policy of a 50/50 split in helmet/helmetless pics, in say the CUK mag conflicts with the spirit of that policy. I'm not saying there is such a policy in the mag or other publicity, I simply don't know, but IMO any helmet picture where the wearer is not under an obligation to do so - eg racing - must contribute to the growing impression that cycle helmets are a "good thing."

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Re: "Decide for yourself"

Postby leftpoole » 28 Mar 2018, 11:09am

thirdcrank wrote:The question it seems is why doesn't CyclingUK follow the spirit of its own published policy on helmets?

https://www.cyclinguk.org/campaigning/v ... le-helmets

There's nothing obvious in there about the depiction of helmet-wearing to illustrate articles about cycling more generally, but it's implicit that it contributes to a sort of moral compulsion. So, a policy of a 50/50 split in helmet/helmetless pics, in say the CUK mag conflicts with the spirit of that policy. I'm not saying there is such a policy in the mag or other publicity, I simply don't know, but IMO any helmet picture where the wearer is not under an obligation to do so - eg racing - must contribute to the growing impression that cycle helmets are a "good thing."


Cycle helmets are a good thing!
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mjr
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Re:

Postby mjr » 28 Mar 2018, 11:51am

leftpoole wrote:Cycle helmets are a good thing!

Is it pantomime season already?

Oh no they're not!
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