Northern Ireland proposes cycle helmet law

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.
Jonty

Re: Northern Ireland proposes cycle helmet law

Postby Jonty » 30 Sep 2010, 3:35pm

[quote="byegad"]The worry is that a well meant helmet law (I don't subscribe to conspiracy theories on why compulsion may be enacted.) will reduce cycle use and so we lose the well documented safety in numbers for those of us who continue to ride.

We can add in lots of reasons why cycling is good for you and so on, but the bottom line is all of us who would continue to cycle will be made less safe by a reduction in cycle use such as has been seen wherever compulsion is enacted.

If this is indeed the case - and I suspect it is - I accept that it is a very good reason for not making the wearing of helmets compulsory. However are we sure that it is the case in the UK?
I appreciate that we can only know for sure if they were made compulsory and then monitored the results. Having said that is there any evidence which suggests that compulsory helmet use would significantly reduce the incidence of cycling and/or its growth in the UK?
Have any Attitudes surveys been undertaken on this in the UK?
It's a good argument against compulsory use if it can be sustained.
jonty

byegad
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Re: Northern Ireland proposes cycle helmet law

Postby byegad » 30 Sep 2010, 4:14pm

It reduced cycling in every country which made helmets compulsory. Australia lost over 40% of its cyclist miles IIRC AND THE FREQUENCY OF ACCIDENTS PER MILE CYCLED WENT UP! Sorry to shout but that's my point, the remaining cyclists will be individually at a greater risk from accidents after a reduction in cycling.

More importantly it stops utility cycling, the very type of cycling that leads to lower carbon footprints for the riders. My wife will ride to the shops but will not wear a helmet as it messes her expensive hair do. The risks of head injury are small, no matter what the pro helmet people want us to think. So small that walking or home head injuries are more likely.

There is no reason to expect that UK users are any different in their reaction to compulsion.
"I thought of that while riding my bike." -Albert Einstein, on the Theory of Relativity

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Jonty

Re: Northern Ireland proposes cycle helmet law

Postby Jonty » 30 Sep 2010, 5:19pm

byegad wrote:It reduced cycling in every country which made helmets compulsory. Australia lost over 40% of its cyclist miles IIRC AND THE FREQUENCY OF ACCIDENTS PER MILE CYCLED WENT UP! Sorry to shout but that's my point, the remaining cyclists will be individually at a greater risk from accidents after a reduction in cycling.

More importantly it stops utility cycling, the very type of cycling that leads to lower carbon footprints for the riders. My wife will ride to the shops but will not wear a helmet as it messes her expensive hair do. The risks of head injury are small, no matter what the pro helmet people want us to think. So small that walking or home head injuries are more likely.

There is no reason to expect that UK users are any different in their reaction to compulsion.


Thank you. In other words you are not aware of any evident which applies specifically to the UK.
jonty

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[XAP]Bob
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Re: Northern Ireland proposes cycle helmet law

Postby [XAP]Bob » 30 Sep 2010, 5:36pm

Jonty wrote:
byegad wrote:It reduced cycling in every country which made helmets compulsory. Australia lost over 40% of its cyclist miles IIRC AND THE FREQUENCY OF ACCIDENTS PER MILE CYCLED WENT UP! Sorry to shout but that's my point, the remaining cyclists will be individually at a greater risk from accidents after a reduction in cycling.

More importantly it stops utility cycling, the very type of cycling that leads to lower carbon footprints for the riders. My wife will ride to the shops but will not wear a helmet as it messes her expensive hair do. The risks of head injury are small, no matter what the pro helmet people want us to think. So small that walking or home head injuries are more likely.

There is no reason to expect that UK users are any different in their reaction to compulsion.


Thank you. In other words you are not aware of any evident which applies specifically to the UK.
jonty


None - but the universality of evidence from other countries means that the "UK specific" evidence would be required to suggest that we would buck the trend
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byegad
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Re: Northern Ireland proposes cycle helmet law

Postby byegad » 30 Sep 2010, 6:01pm

If we are to get UK evidence we apply a helmet law. Then it's too late. That what you want Jonty? People are people, all around the world we make decisions for the same reasons.
"I thought of that while riding my bike." -Albert Einstein, on the Theory of Relativity

2007 ICE QNT
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Steady rider
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Re: Northern Ireland proposes cycle helmet law

Postby Steady rider » 30 Sep 2010, 6:04pm

It is difficult to forecast how effective cycle helmet may be or not. After more than 20 years the issue is still not very clear because they do have a major effect on saving lives perhaps.

If they examined pedestrians or motor vehicle occupants who had died, wearing helmets may save a proportion perhaps.

Going back to 1985 and the NZ report Sage et al, who examined 20 cyclists, they concluded that helmets were unlikely to lead to a great reduction in cyclist’s deaths. They noted one cyclist who was wearing a helmet died on head injury alone due to a fall at moderate speed.

The 10% to 16% estimate is based on saving 50% of ‘fatal head injury due to impact with the ground (17 cases)’. This part of the assessment may be worth trying to gather data on to see if it is reliable.

They estimated helmets could prevent 10 to 30% of fatal head injuries in cases due to impact with a vehicle (31 cases). Dr Hillman stated "they do not protect the head from rotational trauma which can seriously damage the brain and brain stem and which is quite common when cyclists are hit a glancing blow from a motor vehicle rather than in direct collision with it (McCarthy, 1992)".

The above 2 estimates were the basis for making the 10-16% claim. From 113 fatality cases, they estimated 9 saved from the 50% aspect (17) and 3-9 saved from the cases due to impact with a vehicle (31).

They do not include any estimate related to increased accidents or extra impacts due to helmets being larger than the bare head. Deaths of 17 from 113 fatality cases, due to head injury from an impact with the ground seem high. I am not sure how typical this aspect is.

With Safety in Numbers, if about 30% fewer cycle this could reduce safety for all cyclists by about 20%, but my figure need checking.

The CTC provided an assessment of a helmet law found it had a negative outcome.

USA data ‘Health and safety assessment of state bicycle helmet laws in the USA’ did not show a clear reduction in fatality cases for cyclists compared to pedestrians.
http://www.ctcyorkshirehumber.org.uk/US ... t_laws.pdf

In practice, the main effect of the laws was to reduce cycling rather than improving safety.

Robinson DL,No clear evidence from countries that have enforced the wearing of helmets
BMJ 2006; 332 : 722 doi: 10.1136/bmj.332.7543.722-a (Published 23 March 2006) http://www.bmj.com/content/332/7543/722.2.full
Robinson examined data from several countries and found helmets did not provide clear evidence of a benefit.

http://www.ctc.org.uk/DesktopDefault.aspx?TabID=5339
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/ho ... 45736.html
http://road.cc/content/news/12058-ctc-s ... ring-cycle
http://www.ctc.org.uk/desktopdefault.aspx?tabid=4688
http://www.ctc.org.uk/DesktopDefault.aspx?TabID=4641
Last edited by Steady rider on 30 Sep 2010, 9:25pm, edited 4 times in total.

Steady rider
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Re: Northern Ireland proposes cycle helmet law

Postby Steady rider » 30 Sep 2010, 6:10pm

UK
Children expelled from school in Derby for not wearing etc,
postmen dismissed
postmen having to change duties at work
reduced compensation in accident cases
riders excluded from events perhaps
focus on helmets rather than other road safety issues
public mislead by helmet claims and misleading reports provided

Philo123
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Re: Northern Ireland proposes cycle helmet law

Postby Philo123 » 25 Feb 2011, 8:41pm

I do understand the discussion about the statsand all that but this is not the point for me. I just don't want to be forced to wear a helmet for riding a bike. For goodness sake, I know if I were to to a downhill section, wear a lid... 25 mph in a race strong possibility... Touring about, no thanks. I am fed up with the state of things. Our hospital service in NI is a shambles but we are going to fine someone for not wearing a helmet. Catch a grip. We have a massive problem with suicide of young men, spend the money ther or start sorting out some of the drug barons over here. I am not usually a political animal but this has driven me into that realm for the first time. Just sent an email to the comittee investigating this issue, and I will protest (peacefully if necessary including critical mass). Government...SORT YOURSELVES OUT!! :x