Study finds that wearing a cycle helmet may diminish ability to assess risk

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Psamathe
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Re: Study finds that wearing a cycle helmet may diminish ability to assess risk

Postby Psamathe » 22 Aug 2019, 6:20pm

mjr wrote:Is there any reason to think this will make a difference to irrational helmet users when the work of Walker et al didn't?

My hope from a new study is that it adds to the body of evidence that I'd hope cycling organisations would submit when the Government has its "reviews of cycle safety laws" with a consideration of making helmet wearing obligatory.

I suspect maintaining the current situation where cyclists have a choice is going to be an ongoing struggle as the pro-compulsion groups push for changes and more Government reviews, etc. hence more scientific research to show there are negative effects as well can only help.

Ian

poetd
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Re: Study finds that wearing a cycle helmet may diminish ability to assess risk

Postby poetd » 22 Aug 2019, 6:35pm

Mike Sales wrote:

In a situation where there is a real physical risk which you clearly believe is mitigated with a helmet, why do you think the effect is lessened, not increased, as might be thought?
I apologise if my assumption that you generally wear polystyrene is mistaken.


I do chose to wear a helmet, I'm getting on in years and don't have the reactions I did as a younger man, so I'll take even 5% safer cycling.
And yes I "believe" helmets do offer "some" level of improved safety.

I don't care what you or anyone else chooses to do though as long as it's not impacting mine or anyone else's safety.

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Wanlock Dod
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Re: Study finds that wearing a cycle helmet may diminish ability to assess risk

Postby Wanlock Dod » 22 Aug 2019, 6:36pm

poetd wrote:I look forward to this study being used as concrete proof helmets are not safe!

It’s not that helmets are not safe, but that they seem to affect the wearers preference for safer options.

poetd
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Re: Study finds that wearing a cycle helmet may diminish ability to assess risk

Postby poetd » 22 Aug 2019, 6:39pm

Wanlock Dod wrote:It’s not that helmets are not safe, but that they seem to affect the wearers preference for safer options.


Fine, as long as you add "in a sterile safe lab environment" otherwise it's not a valid point to make.

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Wanlock Dod
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Re: Study finds that wearing a cycle helmet may diminish ability to assess risk

Postby Wanlock Dod » 22 Aug 2019, 6:40pm

poetd wrote:I don't care what you or anyone else chooses to do though as long as it's not impacting mine or anyone else's safety.

One of the effects of cycle helmets is to deter people from cycling, which in turn reduces the safety of all people cycling through the safety in numbers principle.

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mjr
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Re: Study finds that wearing a cycle helmet may diminish ability to assess risk

Postby mjr » 22 Aug 2019, 6:42pm

poetd wrote:And yes I "believe" helmets do offer "some" level of improved safety.

Blow beliefs! There's approximately no evidence for it.

poetd wrote:I don't care what you or anyone else chooses to do though as long as it's not impacting mine or anyone else's safety.

Ironically, that's why I do care that you still use a helmet because - amongst other things - it seems you will probably take bigger risks and thereby negatively impact your safety and the safety of any road users around you, possibly including me!

It's a similar reason to why I care about discouraging phoney drivers even though I don't use my phone while driving...
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
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mjr
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Re: Study finds that wearing a cycle helmet may diminish ability to assess risk

Postby mjr » 22 Aug 2019, 6:43pm

poetd wrote:
Wanlock Dod wrote:It’s not that helmets are not safe, but that they seem to affect the wearers preference for safer options.


Fine, as long as you add "in a sterile safe lab environment" otherwise it's not a valid point to make.

Do you know of an experiment showing any reason to expect these results to be different outside the lab?
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.

Mike Sales
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Re: Study finds that wearing a cycle helmet may diminish ability to assess risk

Postby Mike Sales » 22 Aug 2019, 6:47pm

poetd wrote:
Mike Sales wrote:

In a situation where there is a real physical risk which you clearly believe is mitigated with a helmet, why do you think the effect is lessened, not increased, as might be thought?
I apologise if my assumption that you generally wear polystyrene is mistaken.


I do chose to wear a helmet, I'm getting on in years and don't have the reactions I did as a younger man, so I'll take even 5% safer cycling.
And yes I "believe" helmets do offer "some" level of improved safety.

I don't care what you or anyone else chooses to do though as long as it's not impacting mine or anyone else's safety.


The evidence is that helmets do not affect the rate of cyclist head injury in whole populations.
A hypothesis is that wearing a helmet affects a rider's assessment of risk. Since the risks in a situation undoubtedly affect behaviour, it seems likely that changing the perceived risk changes behaviour is a reasonable conclusion.
This experiment tries to catch that process happening.
You believe a helmet makes a significant difference but presumably believe that wearing does not affect your behaviour.
Would you ride without one? Because that is a gross change in behaviour.

poetd
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Re: Study finds that wearing a cycle helmet may diminish ability to assess risk

Postby poetd » 22 Aug 2019, 6:48pm

mjr wrote:Do you know of an experiment showing any reason to expect these results to be different outside the lab?


Experiment no, but set and setting are well known to affect the outcomes of psychological studies.

Psamathe
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Re: Study finds that wearing a cycle helmet may diminish ability to assess risk

Postby Psamathe » 22 Aug 2019, 6:51pm

Mike Sales wrote:
poetd wrote:
Mike Sales wrote:

In a situation where there is a real physical risk which you clearly believe is mitigated with a helmet, why do you think the effect is lessened, not increased, as might be thought?
I apologise if my assumption that you generally wear polystyrene is mistaken.


I do chose to wear a helmet, I'm getting on in years and don't have the reactions I did as a younger man, so I'll take even 5% safer cycling.
And yes I "believe" helmets do offer "some" level of improved safety.

I don't care what you or anyone else chooses to do though as long as it's not impacting mine or anyone else's safety.


The evidence is that helmets do not affect the rate of cyclist head injury in whole populations.
A hypothesis is that wearing a helmet affects a rider's assessment of risk. Since the risks in a situation undoubtedly affect behaviour, it seems likely that changing the perceived risk changes behaviour is a reasonable conclusion.....

Makes sense which then suggests that poetd's concern about "I don't care what you or anyone else chooses to do though as long as it's not impacting mine or anyone else's safety." would make cycling on a road with other helmet wearing cyclists more dangerous as those helmet wearing cyclists feel safer so go faster, brake later, etc. increasing the risk to other cyclists, pedestrians, etc. as well as to themselves.

Ian

poetd
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Re: Study finds that wearing a cycle helmet may diminish ability to assess risk

Postby poetd » 22 Aug 2019, 6:51pm

Wanlock Dod wrote:One of the effects of cycle helmets is to deter people from cycling, which in turn reduces the safety of all people cycling through the safety in numbers principle.


So this is all about stopping helmets being made compulsory because it might deter some people from cycling?

Isn't that exactly the same as saying we should reverse seatbelt laws because it puts some people off driving? It is isn't it? Yes it is.
Because if safety in numbers applied, then more cars on the road = safer roads.
Good logic.

poetd
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Re: Study finds that wearing a cycle helmet may diminish ability to assess risk

Postby poetd » 22 Aug 2019, 6:54pm

Also, safety in numbers applied to cycling seems off to me.

I live in Leeds, we have a fair cyclist population, increased this year for sure, but nothing major.
Watching the swarms of cyclists in London horrifies me. So little disregard for traffic laws or anyone else's safety.
If that's "safety in numbers", then no thanks.

Psamathe
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Re: Study finds that wearing a cycle helmet may diminish ability to assess risk

Postby Psamathe » 22 Aug 2019, 6:56pm

poetd wrote:
mjr wrote:Do you know of an experiment showing any reason to expect these results to be different outside the lab?


Experiment no, but set and setting are well known to affect the outcomes of psychological studies.

It becomes a Catch 22 situation. Do a lab experiment and you eliminate other factors that could be affecting the results so you are testing just the factors of the experiment. Move to a "real world" situation and there are so many variables that people can question the results because of poor reproducibility (because e.g. each repeat has different numbers of cars, different road conditions, different lighting, etc.), other explanations for the results, etc.

I think having both lab based investigations and real world based investigations is the best. And Walker have done a number of real world experiments (e.g. the passing clearance with and without helmets, hi-wiz and other clothing and riders (e.g. the famous "blond wig").

Ian

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Wanlock Dod
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Re: Study finds that wearing a cycle helmet may diminish ability to assess risk

Postby Wanlock Dod » 22 Aug 2019, 6:57pm

Have seat belts made the roads a safer place to be?

poetd
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Re: Study finds that wearing a cycle helmet may diminish ability to assess risk

Postby poetd » 22 Aug 2019, 6:58pm

Mike Sales wrote:
The evidence is that helmets do not affect the rate of cyclist head injury in whole populations.
A hypothesis is that wearing a helmet affects a rider's assessment of risk. Since the risks in a situation undoubtedly affect behaviour, it seems likely that changing the perceived risk changes behaviour is a reasonable conclusion.
This experiment tries to catch that process happening.
You believe a helmet makes a significant difference but presumably believe that wearing does not affect your behaviour.
Would you ride without one? Because that is a gross change in behaviour.


I rode for many years and many miles without one as a young man. I'm not that young man any more, also there is vastly more traffic on the roads these days.
Would I ride without one now? Would depend on the journey and location. In city centre rush hour traffic? Probably not no to be honest.
It was only the fact that I saw NO-ONE wearing knee and elbow pads that put me off buying myself a pair.
I just want to get home from work alive. Thanks.