poetd wrote:I'd barely call it logical when it's the same re-using of poor statistical analysis and hand picking the same couple of flawed studies to defend the anti-helmet position.
Take the famous Walker study.
Surely if helmets increase risk taking as people seem so insistent on, then the fact that Walker wore a helmet completely nulls his findings as the differences he measured could easily have been caused by his increased risky behaviour.
Or the fact that people repeat that helmet laws in Australia reduced cyclist numbers, when the current figures show a large growth.
Or the fact that the majority of known studies show that helmeted cyclists are less likely to be law breakers and are generally safer riders.
No, there's very little in the way of logical argument, just the usual cherry picking of data to protect a cherished position.
However, this idea of any criticism aimed at cyclists who refuse to take personal responibility for their own safety is "victim blaming" is exactly that - pathetic and child-like.
Now, you could argue that it isn't people's fault that they exist in a near permanent infantilised state as so much of the media and social infuence we are exposed to is designed precisely to bring about that child-like mental state as it makes for a more obedient and compliant consumer or citizen - and it would be a fair argument.
But that doesn't take away from the fact that it is still both pathetic and childish - whether the individuals sensitivity to outside influence is to blame or not.
You neglect to mention that the immediate effect of the Australian helmet law was a large reduction in cycling. The level has gradually increased, with natural population growth, to a level rather lower than it might have been without compulsion. The level of cycling in Australia, that sunny, sporting country, is still a fraction of ours, but the cyclist casualty rate, in spite of helmets is a multiple of ours.
The results of the NZ law were very similar, an immediate large reduction in cycling and a big increase in casualty rates.
There is no country where compulsion has made cyclists safer.
The best collection of evidence on helmets that I know can be found at cyclehelmets.org. This site assembles as many studies as it can find, whatever "side" they are on, and comments on them.
I appreciate that this is a huge amount of data to take in. That is why I mentioned the conclusions of two experts in risk data and public interventions in health problems. Did you read their article from the British Medical Journal?
Ben Goldacre, Wellcome Research Fellow in epidemiology calls this edition of his blog,https://www.badscience.net/2013/12/bicycle-helmets-and-the-law-a-perfect-teaching-case-for-epidemiology/
You probably know that epidemiology looks at the health problems of populations and the efficacy of interventions. It is precisely relevant to this question. It also involves skill with handling statistics.
With his colleague, David Spiegelhalter, Winton professor for the public understanding of risk, he wrote the article I link to. The relevance of his
job does not need to be pointed out.https://www.bmj.com/content/346/bmj.f3817.full?ijkey=I5vHBog6FhaaLzX&keytype=ref
Here is another extract. I recommend you read the whole.
This finding of “no benefit” is superficially hard to reconcile with case-control studies, many of which have shown that people wearing helmets are less likely to have a head injury.3 Such findings suggest that, for individuals, helmets confer a benefit. These studies, however, are vulnerable to many methodological shortcomings. If the controls are cyclists presenting with other injuries in the emergency department, then analyses are conditional on having an accident and therefore assume that wearing a helmet does not change the overall accident risk. There are also confounding variables that are generally unmeasured and perhaps even unmeasurable. People who choose to wear bicycle helmets will probably be different from those who ride without a helmet: they may be more cautious, for example, and so less likely to have a serious head injury, regardless of their helmets.
There is much more worth reading.
I repeat their conclusion.
The enduring popularity of helmets as a proposed major intervention for increased road safety may therefore lie not with their direct benefits—which seem too modest to capture compared with other strategies—but more with the cultural, psychological, and political aspects of popular debate around risk.
I suggest that to cling to a belief that putting a scrap of expanded polystyrene on your head can keep you safe is not rational or fully adult, when the evidence is otherwise.
Safety is not something you wear, it is something you do.
Helmets are promoted because they are thought to save head injuries and lives. If they did, we should be able to tell.