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Re: Stop Headway

Posted: 19 Jul 2010, 6:43am
by Cunobelin
snibgo wrote:Unfortunately (from our point of view), the DfT report also says:

Of the on-road serious cyclist casualties admitted to hospital in England (HES database):
• 10% suffered injuries of a type and to a part of the head that a cycle helmet may have mitigated or prevented; and a further
• 20% suffered ‘open wounds to the head’, some of which are likely to have been to a part of the head that a cycle helmet may have mitigated or prevented.

So it might mitigate or prevent 30% of 2450 injuries. Later, it says:
Therefore, if cycle helmets had been worn, a proportion of this 7% may not have required hospital treatment at all.

I don't know what to make of this difference.
(edited)


It depends on how the figures were compiled and if they were the old Stats 19 forms it was the Police and not medics who classified the head injuries.

It is also possible that an individual could incur both types of wound and appear in both sets, but be only saved once.

Re: Stop Headway

Posted: 19 Jul 2010, 7:30am
by irc
snibgo wrote:I think his point is that if the law had compelled him, he would have.


I know his point. My point is that we should all assess the risks we take and be able to choose them. We could reduce all sorts of injuries if the law compelled pedestrians to wear helmets. If the law banned motorbikes. If the law compelled anyone, anywhere who had been drinking to wear a helmet.

We have enough of a nanny state as it is.

Re: Stop Headway

Posted: 19 Jul 2010, 9:19am
by EdinburghFixed
OK. So what would be a good way to proceed?

In the interests of fairness I am minded to try and communicate with them before setting up some kind of 'stop-headway.com' site, although I'm certain that they're not going to reverse their position based on anything as squalid as evidence.

pwward wrote:One important point to make when debating with them is that by supporting initiatives that reduce cycling many more people will end up head injured. This is because the largest cause of head injuries in Britain (by far) are cerebro-vascular accidents (CVA's or strokes) and the protective effects of cycling (and other forms of regular exercise) against cardio-vascular disease are well established and acknowledged, even by others keen on helmet laws like the BMA.


I found this very interesting. Another clear example of the public health VS narrow interest conflict.

The evidence chain is quite short - there is good evidence of causation between sedentary lifestyle and increased mortality / reduced quality of life. All that we really need is to display a link between helmet legislation and reduced cycling levels, and it's in the bag, evidence-wise. The huge number of sedentary deaths and tiny number of cycling deaths make the sensible course self-evident.

Re: Stop Headway

Posted: 19 Jul 2010, 9:27am
by essexman
I think the point about understanding where they are coming form is a very valid one. A lto of the ardent Headway supporters are coming from a personal tragedy. Maybe a different approach is required as well. Headway uses tragic personal stories and selected facts to gain high profile recognition.

We use just facts, but perhaps a few personal stories would work as well? I know amongst my fellow dads, we all recognise that one of the best things we can do for our children in this modern world is to teach them about risk taking and responsibility. It is a hard line to follow. It would be easy to wrap our children in cotton wool and say no you cant go to the playpark alone. Letting them go alone is hard for us. Its hard to watch our children take risks on the bike as well, but i know its better for them to take the bike\walk\bus than to be driven.

A publicity campaign with a series of stories about this could be more effective. Look at the reaction to the children banned from walking to school stories.

Re: Stop Headway

Posted: 19 Jul 2010, 9:55am
by EdinburghFixed
Hrmm. That's actually a really good idea. I wonder if it would be possible to find a variety of people who have escaped sedentary health issues by taking up cycling, and getting testimonials from them that imitate the Headway ones.

Re: Stop Headway

Posted: 19 Jul 2010, 11:35am
by meic
Your campaign group would be starting off with a "negative" agenda.

In order to set off with a "positive" agenda we should be campaigning to save lives!

We would like our children to get out and live healthy, active outdoor lives.
However there is a vast array of things preventing them from doing so, which we must fight against.
Amongst those things is this group seeking to set up extra, unjustified hurdles to kids' easy access to cycling.

Same thing applies to us adults too.

Re: Stop Headway

Posted: 19 Jul 2010, 12:19pm
by EdinburghFixed
Great point. I guess that's what would be good about testimonials, in that they are positive stories of real people not dying left right and centre while enjoying an active lifestyle?

'Removing barriers to a healthy active lifestyle" sounds like a good tagline, actually.

Re: Stop Headway

Posted: 19 Jul 2010, 12:41pm
by SilverBadge
snibgo wrote:16% of 115 is 18.

You (and others) have overlooked the small print. The 100 fatalities assessed for helmet effectiveness were a cherry-picked selection, omitting cases where death was either nothing to do with head injury, or from a head injury of immense magnitude (don't waste a rocket scientist telling you the bleedin' obvious). So that percentage applies to a far smaller sample than 115 fatalities annually.

Re: Stop Headway

Posted: 19 Jul 2010, 12:46pm
by Phil_Lee
At the risk of being negative (it's better to concentrate on how safe cycling is).

You can also use incidents where a "near miss" was only so because a helmet was NOT worn.
I parted my hair with a tree stump falling off on a track. If I'd had a helmet on, it would have hit, hard, right on the cut edge of the stump.

We had Headway on local radio today, beating the cycle helmet drum.
I phoned in and pointed out that cycling is far safer than many of the things we take for granted - like motor traffic.

It would be better to encourage Headway to support the 20s plenty campaign - more effective for their aims and ours.
I pointed out that the usual objection is cost, but this could be near zero just by passing legislation to make speed limits km/h instead of mph.

An urban guerilla campaign could even go around with stickers or stencils and spray cans, adding km/h underneath speed limit signs.

Re: Stop Headway

Posted: 19 Jul 2010, 3:53pm
by irc
SilverBadge wrote:
snibgo wrote:16% of 115 is 18.

You (and others) have overlooked the small print. The 100 fatalities assessed for helmet effectiveness were a cherry-picked selection, omitting cases where death was either nothing to do with head injury, or from a head injury of immense magnitude (don't waste a rocket scientist telling you the bleedin' obvious). So that percentage applies to a far smaller sample than 115 fatalities annually.


Good point. The small print also says of one selection of fatals that only 61% were due to head injury. So say half that 61% were so severe a helmet would obviously not have helped. We are left with roughly 30% of fatals due to head in jury in the range where a helmet might work. Taking the 2008 annual fatals of 115 around 65 might be due to head injury. Maybe 35 in the range a helmet might help. So the 10-16% of times where a helmet might work would save 10-16% of 35. What's that? 4 or 5 lives a year? Sounds reasonable. Not worth a new law, wasting police and court time, and criminalising people for though.

Re: Stop Headway

Posted: 19 Jul 2010, 3:57pm
by downfader
If you want positive stories speak to Gaz of the Amazing Shrinking Gaz site/blog. The guys a legend, not only is he a powerful cyclist, he lost 20 stone doing it. 8) Or to the BHF who have several people raising money for them on cycles after heart attacks.

Re: Stop Headway

Posted: 19 Jul 2010, 5:44pm
by snibgo
snibgo wrote:16% of 115 is 18.


I was pointing out an arithmetic error. In a campaigning context, errors don't help.

I like the thought that £40 spent on cyclist training is more effective at reducing injuries than £40 on a helmet. Can we prove this? Does anyone have statistics?

Mind you, I suppose there is an argument against training. Why should we need training to avoid being hit by cars?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but Headway seem to be concentrating on compulsion for helmets for under-16s. If they achieve that, I suppose they would move on to other targets.

I feel a campaign should be directed politely, peacefully and legally towards the Headway people, and the general public, to ensure we don't get compulsory helmets for children. It would point out, with references to unbiased reports:

1. KSI through head injury in children is small compared to being driven, or even being killed or injured by their own parents.

2. Helmets on kids would mitigate very few injuries compared to whatever.

3. The BMA say cycling without a helmet is twenty times more likely to be beneficial than not cycling.

4. Compulsory helmets will put many kids off cycling, with long-term effect of shorting lives, increasing pollution etc.

The campaign would need to be armed against the usual quotes of "88% chance of reducing injury" and other nonsense.

I believe we should aim to convince the Headway people that they are misguided. Not easy, beacause they claim "common sense" is on their side.

Re: Stop Headway

Posted: 19 Jul 2010, 6:48pm
by Cunobelin
irc wrote:
SilverBadge wrote:
snibgo wrote:16% of 115 is 18.

You (and others) have overlooked the small print. The 100 fatalities assessed for helmet effectiveness were a cherry-picked selection, omitting cases where death was either nothing to do with head injury, or from a head injury of immense magnitude (don't waste a rocket scientist telling you the bleedin' obvious). So that percentage applies to a far smaller sample than 115 fatalities annually.


Good point. The small print also says of one selection of fatals that only 61% were due to head injury. So say half that 61% were so severe a helmet would obviously not have helped. We are left with roughly 30% of fatals due to head in jury in the range where a helmet might work. Taking the 2008 annual fatals of 115 around 65 might be due to head injury. Maybe 35 in the range a helmet might help. So the 10-16% of times where a helmet might work would save 10-16% of 35. What's that? 4 or 5 lives a year? Sounds reasonable. Not worth a new law, wasting police and court time, and criminalising people for though.


You also have to consider those where the head injury is listed as the cause of death, but may have been survivable if the other injuries had been less.

Re: Stop Headway

Posted: 19 Jul 2010, 7:09pm
by EdinburghFixed
Yes, I'm sure I read somewhere on cyclehelmets.org a statistic that 50% of cyclists with fatal head injuries had fatal non-head injuries too.

Re: Stop Headway

Posted: 19 Jul 2010, 7:18pm
by snibgo
Then you need to answer a pro-compulsion campaigner who will say, "If we only save one child's life, it is worth it."

My answer might be: "No, because X children won't then exercise, leading to Y person-years lost." It's a weak argument, because it is a death now versus others later.