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

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.
Vorpal
Moderator
Posts: 17916
Joined: 19 Jan 2009, 3:34pm
Location: Not there ;)

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

Postby Vorpal » 23 Aug 2019, 8:53pm

poetd wrote:
All of which stands only if you chose to ignore the vast body of research done that shows helmets do offer a signification level of injury prevention.
Or is all that just Big Helmet propaganda? Standards Agencies bought and paid for, entire governments taken over by their undercover agents?

What vast body of research shows that helmets offer a significant level of injury prevention?
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

Mike Sales
Posts: 4460
Joined: 7 Mar 2009, 3:31pm

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

Postby Mike Sales » 23 Aug 2019, 8:55pm

poetd wrote:All of which stands only if you chose to ignore the vast body of research done that shows helmets do offer a signification level of injury prevention.
Or is all that just Big Helmet propaganda? Standards Agencies bought and paid for, entire governments taken over by their undercover agents?

But that's not the topic on discussion anyway.
This is about risk assessment.

IF you assert that riders chose helmets because they "think they'll be safe" then the risk increase argument could make sense.
But if you frame it that people chose helmets because it will add SOME protection to the head (and some being better than none) then the attempted correlation stands on shakier ground.


And while yes, 10 out of 23 studies found no correlation, only 2 did. Did we forget to omit that part?


What body of research would that be? You should point it out to Goldacre and Spiegelhalter, they must have missed it.
Standards Agencies test helmets in artificial situations like the anvil test. A headform of specified weight in a helmet is dropped a specified height. That is all. It tells us nothing about a helmet's performance in the real world.
I doubt you really think that the Road Safety establishment manages road safety in a rational way, in the interests of vulnerable road users. It is concerned with putting up a smokescreen for motors. Which is precisely what helmets are.
And as for politicians.....

Someone above suggested reading Risk UCLP. It is a very stimulating read. [url]http://www.john-adams.co.uk/[/url

It would give you a better understanding of Risk Compensation.

fastpedaller
Posts: 2334
Joined: 10 Jul 2014, 1:12pm
Location: Norfolk

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

Postby fastpedaller » 23 Aug 2019, 10:29pm

All very well saying the cyclists may take more risks when they are wearing a helmet, but leaving that aside........ The BIG issue here is the risk assessment of other road users (in their 1.5T + machines)who may take more risks when encountering the helmeted cyclist. I can just hear what's going through their minds "the people in the know say the cyclist wears a helmet to protect his head, and I KNOW this is true 'cos it makes sense. SO I CAN JUST SQUEEZE THROUGH THAT GAP BEFORE HIM. I won't hurt him if I knock him off, he's wearing a helmet!"

User avatar
Wanlock Dod
Posts: 556
Joined: 28 Sep 2016, 5:48pm

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

Postby Wanlock Dod » 24 Aug 2019, 7:10am

poetd wrote:Except you won't read them, we both know that.

That’s a very bold claim, it might be worth considering where the quote which forms the second post in this thread was taken from.

Mike Sales
Posts: 4460
Joined: 7 Mar 2009, 3:31pm

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

Postby Mike Sales » 24 Aug 2019, 8:38am

fastpedaller wrote:All very well saying the cyclists may take more risks when they are wearing a helmet, but leaving that aside........ The BIG issue here is the risk assessment of other road users (in their 1.5T + machines)who may take more risks when encountering the helmeted cyclist. I can just hear what's going through their minds "the people in the know say the cyclist wears a helmet to protect his head, and I KNOW this is true 'cos it makes sense. SO I CAN JUST SQUEEZE THROUGH THAT GAP BEFORE HIM. I won't hurt him if I knock him off, he's wearing a helmet!"


You might call changes in the behaviour of riders and drivers which use up any safety benefit of helmets, micro risk compensation. I do not mean to dismiss the importance of this, but to distinguish it from macro risk compensation.
By this I mean the way in which helmets for cyclists are used by the road safety establishment as a panacea for the road danger which we suffer, instead of actually making interventions like safe facilities, or policing which might reduce aggressive driving.
Time and money is wasted trying to get us into helmets. This effort should go into proven safety interventions.

Phil Fouracre
Posts: 817
Joined: 12 Jan 2013, 12:16pm
Location: Deepest Somerset

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

Postby Phil Fouracre » 24 Aug 2019, 6:03pm

Exactly!
Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity

slowster
Posts: 1197
Joined: 7 Jul 2017, 10:37am

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

Postby slowster » 24 Aug 2019, 6:11pm

It appears that there is little prospect of any new studies definitively proving a statistically significant and worthwhile benefit from helmet wearing, and so further such studies are likely not to be the best use of resources (something I think already stated by Goldacre) .

I think a far more interesting field for study is the attitudes and beliefs about risk of those who are so convinced of their value, and so evangelically strident that others should wear them, despite knowing that the scientific evidence for their value is at best very weak. Understanding not only why such individuals cling to the belief that their helmet makes them significantly safer, but more importantly why so many of them are so vocal and forthright in telling others that they should/must wear a helmet and will be safer doing so (despite the lack of good evidence), would probably tell us much more than yet another helmet study, and I imagine the results would probably provide insight which would be more useful in improving safety for cyclists.

I suspect that many of those who are so adamant about the effectiveness of helmets, are like that because they are not comfortable with the risks to which they are themselves exposed riding on many UK roads, and they need to believe that they have some control over the level of risk and have reduced it by wearing a helmet. In essence it's the same as worshipping a volcano: accepting that it could erupt completely unpredictably and wipe out your village out is too horrific to contemplate. Day to day life is much better if you convince yourself that saying some prayers will keep the volcano happy. But it's very difficult to maintain that faith if others do not participate in your belief system. Non-believers are a threat to your self delusion and need to be converted, whether voluntarily or forcibly. In the same way some helmet advocates will go to a great deal of effort trying to convince non-believers, and many would like a law to make them compulsory.

Incidentally, I thought poetd's comment "When I'm cycling through the City centre dodging traffic and idiot pedestrians, I'm on full risk alert" was telling. 'dodging traffic and idiot pedestrians' suggests riding at an excessive speed for the conditions and making unsafe manoeuvres. If there is a road hazard ahead of you, you slow down/brake. If you see it from far enough away you can check behind you to see if it's clear to pull out into the centre of the road to avoid the hazard. 'Dodging' however implies changing direction suddenly/at the last minute, potentially without properly checking the road behind you and without warning to other road users. If 'dodging' describes how you ride in city centre traffic, then you are a danger to yourself and to other road users.

User avatar
Syd
Posts: 384
Joined: 23 Sep 2018, 2:27pm

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

Postby Syd » 24 Aug 2019, 6:29pm

I commute, daily, through the middle of Edinburgh and an constantly amazed at the riding style and risk taken by some riders, albeit the minority.

The afternoon commute, particularly in August, can be interesting due to distracted tourists and visitors to the Festival and Fringe yet a small number of cyclists hurtle through at perilous speeds and dart through the tiniest of gaps in traffic.

They are a mixed bag of helmeted or helmet-less people dressed in a variety of ways from jeans / casual-wear to lycra. The only thing I do notice is that the vast majority of those risk takers are a fair bit younger than me. As I get older I appreciate more and more my own fragility when compared to cars and larger vehicles. Yes I wear a helmet but that wont stop road rash, broken bones or worse..... my bike getting damaged.

Mike Sales
Posts: 4460
Joined: 7 Mar 2009, 3:31pm

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

Postby Mike Sales » 24 Aug 2019, 6:36pm

Syd wrote:I commute, daily, through the middle of Edinburgh and an constantly amazed at the riding style and risk taken by some riders, albeit the minority.

The afternoon commute, particularly in August, can be interesting due to distracted tourists and visitors to the Festival and Fringe yet a small number of cyclists hurtle through at perilous speeds and dart through the tiniest of gaps in traffic.

They are a mixed bag of helmeted or helmet-less people dressed in a variety of ways from jeans / casual-wear to lycra. The only thing I do notice is that the vast majority of those risk takers are a fair bit younger than me. As I get older I appreciate more and more my own fragility when compared to cars and larger vehicles. Yes I wear a helmet but that wont stop road rash, broken bones or worse..... my bike getting damaged.


The setting of a person's risk homeostat will vary with a variety of factors. Age, mood, recent scares, personality and more.
Helmet wearing too will affect the setting, as this study shows.

User avatar
Syd
Posts: 384
Joined: 23 Sep 2018, 2:27pm

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

Postby Syd » 24 Aug 2019, 7:19pm

Mike Sales wrote:
Syd wrote:I commute, daily, through the middle of Edinburgh and an constantly amazed at the riding style and risk taken by some riders, albeit the minority.

The afternoon commute, particularly in August, can be interesting due to distracted tourists and visitors to the Festival and Fringe yet a small number of cyclists hurtle through at perilous speeds and dart through the tiniest of gaps in traffic.

They are a mixed bag of helmeted or helmet-less people dressed in a variety of ways from jeans / casual-wear to lycra. The only thing I do notice is that the vast majority of those risk takers are a fair bit younger than me. As I get older I appreciate more and more my own fragility when compared to cars and larger vehicles. Yes I wear a helmet but that wont stop road rash, broken bones or worse..... my bike getting damaged.


The setting of a person's risk homeostat will vary with a variety of factors. Age, mood, recent scares, personality and more.
Helmet wearing too will affect the setting, as this study shows.

I do know for sure I take more chances on my commute with an overfull bladder.

Mike Sales
Posts: 4460
Joined: 7 Mar 2009, 3:31pm

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

Postby Mike Sales » 24 Aug 2019, 7:22pm

Syd wrote:I do know for sure I take more chances on my commute with an overfull bladder.


Are you not worried that a sudden fright might relax a sphincter?

User avatar
Syd
Posts: 384
Joined: 23 Sep 2018, 2:27pm

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

Postby Syd » 24 Aug 2019, 7:46pm

Mike Sales wrote:
Syd wrote:I do know for sure I take more chances on my commute with an overfull bladder.


Are you not worried that a sudden fright might relax a sphincter?

Having not experienced a sudden fright in 40 plus years of cycling I’d rate the chances of that very low indeed.

Cyril Haearn
Posts: 12358
Joined: 30 Nov 2013, 11:26am
Location: Between the woods and the water

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

Postby Cyril Haearn » 26 Aug 2019, 6:15am

fastpedaller wrote:At a cafe recently the proprietor said to me 'don't you wear a helmet?' to which I replied 'no I don't'
She then went on to say 'I think all cyclists should wear helmets' so I replied 'why do you think that?' the conversation went thus....
prop. Because they should
me. But what is your reason for suggesting they should be worn?
prop because they should - it's simple
me. If you think it's to protect the head, why don't you wear one when going up and down stairs, that's a dangerous situation.
prop They should wear them. there's no reason why they shouldn't!

I decided it wasn't worth carrying on the debate, and the only thing that was simple was her...... Not because she had a different opinion (we're all entitled to have those), but because she couldn't present any reason why. I don't suspect I'll be eating there again. :?

I should be prepared for such situations, pretend not to have thought about Helmuts, tried to listen and find out how she formed her opinion
Nice one Cyrille, nice one son..
Cycling-of course, but it is far better on 49" fixed
We love safety cameras, we love life "1330"

tim-b
Posts: 1197
Joined: 10 Oct 2009, 8:20am

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

Postby tim-b » 26 Aug 2019, 8:15am

Hi
So car drivers who don't wear cycle helmets on the road will show an increased ability to assess risk and will be less likely collide, which is why drivers have instinctively taken the decision not to wear cycle helmets. We're all really lucky that drivers have taken this magnanimous decision, because as we all know it's led to drivers having an enviable ability to assess risk correctly
Sitting in a lab playing cards isn't the same as the real-world stimuli of cycling on our roads, hence the the thread title, "Study finds that wearing a cycle helmet may diminish ability to assess risk"
Regards
tim-b
~~~~¯\(ツ)/¯~~~~

merseymouth
Posts: 1516
Joined: 23 Jan 2011, 11:16am

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

Postby merseymouth » 26 Aug 2019, 8:20am

Hi all, How would you rate the "Risk Assessment Capability" of the folk who ride around on Fixed Wheel Bicycle with NO Brakes, yet wearing a re-cycled egg box helmet on their head??? :roll: :roll: :roll:
A few do it in Liverpool, one said he didn't have a front brake because he would have to drill the fork-crown on his classic steel track iron!!!!!!!!!!!
They don't creep through the shared use spaces. IGICB MM