The utility cyclist wrote: Mick F wrote:
mjr wrote:................. which would make CUK's policy of informed sceptical freedom of choice about right.
I think you are only right-ish.
Sitting on the fence is all well and good, but you need a specific policy.
Choice is fine, but advice is another.BMX and off-road MTB you would think needs helmets
and knee pads and gloves etc. Do the CTC/CUK advise on this but sit on the fence for other cycle activities?
isn't this a cyclical problem and made even worse in higher risk activities, those in competition push to the limit, feel more protected push even more and then have more incidents. This is replicated in many sports including motor-racing.
You only need look at the incident rate in competitive cycling (deemed hi risk of incident) cycling since helmet mandation, half a dozen crashes a stage seems to be the accepted norm these days and despite all the extra on course safety, better medical care, more marshals etc there are more deaths.
I'd say for safety's sake these high risk variations of cycling need to have helmets taken away ASAP.
Yes, but... It's almost certainly a bit more complicated than that.
First up, Mick F's thoughts about e.g. off-road MTB. Would you think you need a helmet? That would depend on all sorts of things. On a typical Saturday morning I trundle up to some local off-road and school some of the generally younger and less capable members of Discovery Junior Cycling Club in the basics of bike handling as a precursor to competitive MTB racing. We wear helmets, partly because the insurance demands it but also because that's the way the game of MTB racing is played. We also insist on gloves but not being in the downhill game we don't worry about pads (which just make cycling up
hills harder). Though I traverse the forest to get to our meeting point I don't put my helmet on until I arrive because I'm taking a gentle trundle and not taking much in the way of risks. When we're encouraging people to overtake while tired in restricted spaces then that's a very different matter: same place, same me, very different context. Similarly, if I'm using my MTB to save an hour's walk on a landy track when potting a remote Munro I won't bother with a helmet, any more than I would if I was walking. If I was racing on the same path, even if the rules didn't require it, I'd think about it at least. Comfort and convenience wouldn't be an issue, but put it in to a racing context and the chances of falling off go up a lot. And the design spec of a helmet is the sort of thing where the main point is not saving your life, but getting back on your bike without losing much time rather than saying "ow!" and nursing a throbbing head.
For sport we've a couple of problematical issues. Firstly, sport cycling is more dangerous than everyday cycling but exactly how dangerous is quite often up to the competitors. People were getting dead before compulsory helmets, and indeed it's arguably the case that part of why we have compulsory helmets is a "we must do something; this is something; so we'll do this" reaction to another fatal head injury. But taking some recentish high profile crashes as examples, in both men's and women's Olympic road races in Rio and when Ritchie Porte crashed out of last year's Tour de France amid complaints that the courses were dangerous... They were as dangerous as the competitors were willing to make them, and I could easily negotiate them at my own comfortable speed
and the folk that won the races weren't complaining! Does a helmet make you take more risks there? Well, maybe, but what about the prospect of an Olympic gold medal or le maillot jaune? Any of those is an entire career justification for a sports professional, and since they're getting paid for it too, there's the money. These things were all enough to kill riders long before helmets were part of the scene.
Secondly, very little hard evidence is available for helmet effects within the context of sporting events. With general effects for everyday riders we have a situation where we don't know if they're any good because the studies aren't conclusive, but in the sports arena we don't know because nobody's really got much data to work with (impossible to collect any now to show the differences, because everyone's wearing...). While both boil down to "we just don't really know", they are necessarily treated differently. For everyday cycling you have a public health policy intervention built on sand with possible negative public health effects from discouragement, and for sport you don't.
The utility cyclist wrote:Deem that protection is needed so wear helmets, more risks and more crashes which equal more injuries, rinse and repeat, that's why no sport or activity has become safer due to helmets being introduced, not one!
But sport isn't just about being safe. When I go downhill skiing I cruise down easy blues on my light telemark gear and am laughed at for making my life difficult with free heel skis, making things deliberately awkward in return for Style Points. "Sensible" people bolt their heels down and wear much stiffer boots to give them more control... which they then use to up the ante and do far more difficult runs at higher speeds (i.e., making things deliberately awkward in return for Style Points).
The utility cyclist wrote:CUK should be anti helmet not because of how futile it is wearing them and the little protection they offer but because of the damage promotion of helmets and wearing of such has done to people riding on bikes as a whole.
Yes, but... It's almost certainly a bit more complicated than that.
There is nothing wrong with a helmet per-se for an individual that wants to wear one, and CUK has a lot of members that, for whatever reasons of their own, do want that. The problem comes when helmets are misconstrued as "essential", and while a lot of this is down to their over-promotion (often with wildly inaccurate estimations of their efficacy) for blanket values of "all cycling" it's not helmets that need to be black-listed but that over-promotion bereft of context. CUK shouldn't be anti-helmet, because if one of its members wants to practice for a TT they shouldn't be discouraged from doing that in what they'd wear on the day, or any one of countless little reasons specific to individuals and their own contexts. Being universally against helmets for all cycling would be similarly myopic to deeming them "essential".
The utility cyclist wrote:It's got to a point where cycling clubs are excluding people from rides if they don't wear a helmet, it means mass participation rides are excluding and not being inclusive, it makes cycling seem dangerous, it's meant cycle training at schools excludes children, it's meant schools/headteachers/local authorities are effectively blaming kids for their harm (As giov like to do) and enforce rules outside the boundaries of their powers and in doing so further discourage cycling. Let's not even get to the criminalising of cycling and punative penalties for riding without a helmet in some countries, that riding without a helmet is illegal (I won't say unlawful because it simply isn't despite ACTS of parliament)
That CUK are not anti helmet is frankly a mystery and extremely disappointing, or maybe it's not because it would seem some people within the charity aren't capable of making a stand, don't want to upset some people. Yet they claim to be an organisation that fights for rights and yet my right to cycle in various activities has reduced dramatically, my right not to be victim blamed is reduced massively, my right to have a fair trail in court or civil case is reduced, scrutiny on those that present the harm is reduced (Recent focus on the Aliston case and dangerous cycling law backing disgusting mis-use of cycling funds for infra that does nothing for safety only increases motor traffic flow, the list goes on.
What I want to happen is for Rule 59 to be gutted (the bit about avoiding clothes that get caught in the transmission can stay) and for the government to take a lead in realising that a pile of confused and contradictory evidence is no basis for public health advice and to stand up and say "we made this advice on what seemed like a sound basis at the time, we no longer think the evidence is good enough to support the advice so we're withdrawing it, if you want to keep on using these things we don't have clear evidence they're bad for individuals so you go right ahead". That's what's needed, and CUK being "anti-helmet" wouldn't actually help that. Indeed, it would give politicians an excuse to ignore them.
The utility cyclist wrote:If the pedestrian who died in the collision with Aliston was wearing a helmet surely it would have saved her life, why didn't the charity stand up and make a point about that as they're clearly not anti helmet? They could have made a very valid and important point if they had done so!
You seem to think being right would be a sound basis for winning the argument. I'm afraid that's probably naive, because we're talking about culture and psychology and it's much fuzzier than logic.
The utility cyclist wrote:They won't even come out and state the facts regarding the extremely low reduction of forces a helmet can offer in best case in lab testing, to my mind I think the majority of people at CUK headquarters actually believe helmets are a good thing and have as seen by inaction and by stealth (more photos of helmeted riders in the magazine) will lazily sit on the fence because they know that a pro choice stance doesn't stop people from wearing but equally it doesn't make people think that helmets are a bad thing, which they clearly are for all the reasons and more that I've stated and that many others have.
I'm most definitely in the anti-helmet camp
You need to understand that telling people they're wrong will typically not change their minds. What it's far more likely to do is give them what they see as an excuse to ignore you. This is true even of people with scientific training and some knowledge of cognitive bias, let alone Joe & Jane Public. What you have to do is persuade them that they have made sensible choices which were right in the contexts they originally made them, but that things have moved on and it's time to re-evaluate. This is non-trivial in the best of cases, and this is not the best of cases. I know this is so, and yet I seem to spend a lot of time telling people they're wrong, it doesn't work, etc. etc. You'd think I'd be through the learning stage by now, but there's a few light-years to travel yet.
Often seen riding a bike around Dundee...