Helmets ... Again ..!!

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.
irc
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Re: Helmets ... Again ..!!

Postby irc » 20 Dec 2010, 9:56pm

snibgo wrote:I would hope so. And for pedestrians, of course, where cycle-type helmets are probably sufficient.


This very day I saw a group of children being led by the hand through the streets of Dumfries. They were all wearing hi viz bibs and 3/4 of them were wearing cycle helmets. Very sensible in the conditions.

Last week in Glasgow I saw a ped slip and crack his head open. Had to call the ambulance for him. A helmet might have helped.
No one believes more firmly than Comrade Napoleon that all animals are equal. He would be only too happy to let you make your decisions for yourselves. But sometimes you might make the wrong decisions, comrades, and then where should we be?

Steady rider
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Re: Helmets ... Again ..!!

Postby Steady rider » 20 Dec 2010, 10:18pm

In Canada 2003-04, 16811 hospital admissions for head injury,
7637 falls
5970 motor vehicle collisions
1470 assults
1734 other (includes 815 cyclists)

you could wear a helmet 24/7 if you so wish

drossall
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Re: Helmets ... Again ..!!

Postby drossall » 20 Dec 2010, 10:39pm

There's a real danger of going around the old argument yet again. However, the difficulty I have is that it doesn't seem that, on a national level, cyclist head injuries reduce when widespread helmet wearing is introduced. There is at least some evidence that they increase.

This is my difficulty with the cautious approach taken by the original poster. Like him, I'm looking again at my winter riding and whether it is risky. In my case, I'm going to use winter tyres more, where thirty years ago I'd cheerfully ride my normal ones.

True caution lies in taking measures that are really effective, and avoiding anything that increases risk. Hence, at this time of year, I'm thinking harder about the decision, but I'm not about to forget my questions.

SilverBadge
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Re: Helmets ... Again ..!!

Postby SilverBadge » 21 Dec 2010, 12:29am

Steady rider wrote:A team of Australian researchers concluded from real-life crash data that helmets for motor vehicle occupants might prevent 28%, 40% and 26% of minor, moderate and severe brain injuries. Thus a helmet law for motorists (in addition to seatbelts) could potentially save $1.9 billion (over 5 years, all vehicles equipped with airbags) to $2.2 billion (50% with airbags). This works out at $95-110 per helmet. (possible pinch of salt)
Is this the Monash work? Or even if it isn't, I'm curious (not disputing it) as to the methodology for determining the percentages. For TRL report 446 on helmets, I'm sure the first reference I saw to it left me with the impression they had cherry-picked those who had only a non-enormous head injury fatality and then police forensics had made a body by body evaluation of that subsample, however now having had the time to read the whole report at leisure they merely took all the fatalities, classified them as to how the head injury was caused (i.e what they hit) and applied guesstimate survival percentages for the addition of a helmet - 50% of simple falls, 10-30% of flung into air by vehicle impact (higher height, bigger impact) and zero percent for head hit by vehicle / other fatal injury.

The benefits of helmet laws for vehicle occupants could be offset by risk compensation, but there would be no other problems such as discouraging healthy exercise and environmentally friendly transport.
Other than being on the receiving end of it, this is what really bugs me - of all the activities to be focussed on as especially dangerous, "they" choose one that actually lengthens life for the vast majority.

snibgo
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Re: Helmets ... Again ..!!

Postby snibgo » 21 Dec 2010, 2:38am

SilverBadge wrote:... of all the activities to be focussed on as especially dangerous, "they" choose one that actually lengthens life for the vast majority.

In the same way that traffic law (creation, enforcement and prosecution) is biased against vulnerable road users.

In the same way that road and street planning is biased against vulnerable road users.

For much the same reasons, I'd say: people with power tend to be drivers, and vulnerable road users tend not to have power.

Rocket69
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Re: Helmets ... Again ..!!

Postby Rocket69 » 21 Dec 2010, 4:05pm

Finally I have been driven to add my sixpence worth on this old nutshell . Reading the Cycleclips 'Putting the lid on helmet laws' has done it.
I shall itemize where I am coming from.

1. I don't think that wearing a cycle helmet should be compulsory.

2. I am certain they have saved many a cyclists from a more serious head injury, even death when worn correctly.

3. I do believe that more research should go into making them even safer and more particularly safeguards by design to ensure that they 'sit' on the users head properly. I have seen to many children in particular and Denise Lewis (at the front of a charity ride recently) with the helmet perched above their foreheads ready for the broken neck when they hit something and the helmet slides back rapidly.

4. I fully support the concept that the CTC must prioritize the the use of the bike for health and clean transport motives.

5. I don't accept that the CTC must either be in favor of making the use of cycle helmets a legal requirement or must somehow not be willing to promote helmet use.

6. I stand through personal experience totally convinced that helmets are potentially both on injury and life saver. Statistics don't stand up, to say that there has been no decrease in head injuries as a result of helmet use is frankly 'politician speak' ie. suits the argument. We have a growing number of cyclists 'thank goodness' but with that comes an increase in injuries 'pure mathematics' unfortunately we can't have a comparison of number of injuries if we were all not wearing helmets.

7. I speak as someone who was mown down whilst cycling by a hit and run driver last March and potentially 'left for dead' by the driver and it would be fair to say had it not been for me wearing a good fitting cycle helmet I might well have been and unable to make this appeal now.

8. I firmly believe that the CTC should indeed promote the use of the bicycle with riders wearing a helmet but without the need for legislation because the health benefit to the nation of getting bums on saddles is paramount. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't promote helmet use especially the CTC.

9. Finally no way is no protection better than some (arms, collar bones, legs, ribs etc mend, I know been there but the brain is not quite so straight forward).
Where we do need more legislation is around HGV'S and visability issues. :wink:

ps. I spoke to the cycling author William Fotheringham a few years back at a book signing after the Autumn Epic Sportive regards his book 'fallen angel' which he signed for me and amongst other things I mentioned about Serse Coppi, Fausto's younger brother who also raced and crashed in a sprint in the Giro del Piemonte and died of a cerebral haemorrhage. I asked Will as he had spent 3 years researching for the book whether in his opinion would Serse have lived if he was wearing a helmet, Will's answer was without hesitation "probably". :(

LANDSURFER74

Re: Helmets ... Again ..!!

Postby LANDSURFER74 » 21 Dec 2010, 4:32pm

A considered approach thank you.
I was returning from a hillclimb event in Wiltshire in which i had competed .. with my club members around me .. RAFCC .. we where staying at RAF Lynham and as we rode on to the station my friend Mick G turned left to get to his accomodation .. i was inside him ,, my block was straight ahead i went down and struck my head on the tarmac ... Mick wobbled off across the grass... later that evening during the club dinner in the mess i aprarently stood up .. threw up .. and fell forward in to the pool of food and vomit ,,, that will be concussion then .. i woke up in the Med centre at RAF L ynham none the worse for wear ... a helmet would have helped ...maybe....... we where pounding along at pack speed .. who knows .....

kwackers
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Re: Helmets ... Again ..!!

Postby kwackers » 21 Dec 2010, 5:19pm

And lets not forget that a glancing blow to the side of the head whilst wearing an helmet can cause brain injury by virtue of rotation.

Of course statistically almost everyone who fell off whilst wearing a helmet is here because of the helmet... Puzzling, since lots of people fall off without them and aren't in a position to claim "if I'd been wearing an helmet I'd have brain damage".

I've waited for years to see conclusive evidence either way, the fact there appears to be none (or it's in hiding) suggests it's an argument that will go on and on and on and on, fuelled by nothing other than speculation and anecdotes.

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hubgearfreak
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Re: Helmets ... Again ..!!

Postby hubgearfreak » 21 Dec 2010, 6:03pm

Rocket69 wrote:6. Statistics don't stand up, to say that there has been no decrease in head injuries as a result of helmet use is frankly 'politician speak' ie. suits the argument.

7. I speak as someone who was mown down whilst cycling . . . had it not been for me wearing a good fitting cycle helmet I might well have been and unable to make this appeal now.

8. I firmly believe that the CTC should indeed promote the use of the bicycle with riders wearing a helmet

9. Where we do need more legislation is around HGV'S and visability issues. :wink:

ps. Will's answer was without hesitation "probably". :(


6. in countries where helmets are compulsory and consequently almost every cyclist wears one, surely we'd see a reduction in head injuries/1000miles cycled if helmets had any benifit? to belittle the one bit of research that actually shows anything by calling it politician speak is just plain silly.

7. there we go. might, maybe, probably. unless you want to recreate the accident exactly sans plastic hat, we'll never know. accept that we'll never know, and study some proper statistical anylasis

8. by promoting safety gear for an ordinary, everyday & already safe activity is to make it appear more dangerous than it actually is. this isn't going to promote it to non cyclists is it? it'll discourage them taking it up, along with taking up a. daily exercise, b. reducing fossil fuel dependancy, c. reducing congestion & d. reducing pollution. a., b., c. & d. are all backed up by evidence

9. agreed 8)

ps. see 7

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Cunobelin
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Re: Helmets ... Again ..!!

Postby Cunobelin » 21 Dec 2010, 6:55pm

LANDSURFER74 wrote:a helmet would have helped ...maybe....... we where pounding along at pack speed .. who knows .....


But a far less entertaining dinner? :wink:

Steady rider
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Re: Helmets ... Again ..!!

Postby Steady rider » 21 Dec 2010, 7:31pm

The UK's National Children's Bureau (NCB) provided a detailed review in 2005 stating "the case for helmets is far from sound", "the benefits of helmets need further investigation before even a policy supporting promotion can be unequivocally supported" and "the case has not yet been convincingly made for compulsory use or promotion of cycle helmets."

The ECF (European Cycling Federation) stated "the evidence from Australia and New Zealand suggests that the wearing of helmets might even make cycling more dangerous," indicating safety was actually reduced. It is not certain that helmets actually improve safety.

There is not a reliable case for helmet promotion or use.

LANDSURFER74

Re: Helmets ... Again ..!!

Postby LANDSURFER74 » 21 Dec 2010, 8:35pm

Cunobelin .. i dined on that story for a long time .. mike g was so upset we had to ply him with alcohol ... after the season had ended of course .... to cheer him up ... but as so many on here have said .. no helmet ... no long term effect .... mmmmmmmm

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Re: Helmets ... Again ..!!

Postby SilverBadge » 22 Dec 2010, 1:38am

Rocket69 wrote:2. I am certain they have saved many a cyclists from a more serious head injury, even death when worn correctly.

I am certain many motorists and pedestrians have died needlessly due to their failure to wear a helmet.

6. I stand through personal experience totally convinced that helmets are potentially both on injury and life saver. Statistics don't stand up, to say that there has been no decrease in head injuries as a result of helmet use is frankly 'politician speak' ie. suits the argument. We have a growing number of cyclists 'thank goodness' but with that comes an increase in injuries 'pure mathematics' unfortunately we can't have a comparison of number of injuries if we were all not wearing helmets.
Yes the statistics don't stand up - almost certainly due to false assumptions. The lack of improvement is unfortunate for politicians - saying all that is needed is for cyclists to wear helmets if they can't ride their bikes properly is the easy cop-out. TRL report 446 has a more realistic outlook on the limitations of helmet effectiveness (nowhere near the evangelism of Thompson Rivarra and Thompson) but avoids spelling it out by conflating the serious injuries (which we all fear but helmets do little for) with the superficial injuries which we rightly regard as trivial. As an analogy it is not actually false to say matching 3 numbers on a Lottery ticket (a 1 in 49 chance?) is sufficient to win the majority of Lottery prizes, which range from £10 to several million pounds. However it is misleading as your chance of winning more then £10 with only 3 numbers is zero. Casualty rates are what we should be comparing - unfortunately when the NAO scrutinised the DfT they hailed a 30% drop in cycling casualties and glossed over a 10% drop in cycling mileage as "broadly constant", when that alone would have accounted for a third of the improvement.

snibgo
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Re: Helmets ... Again ..!!

Postby snibgo » 22 Dec 2010, 6:24am

While the AA and RAC don't promote helmets for car occupants, and the Ramblers Association don't promote helmets for walkers, I see no reason for the CTC to promote helmets for cyclists. If they did, it would give the misleading impression that cycling was unusually unsafe.

It's worth repeating, if anyone didn't know, that an hour cycling is about as safe as an hour in a car, and a kilometre cycling is about as safe as a kilometre walking.

Steady rider
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Re: Helmets ... Again ..!!

Postby Steady rider » 22 Dec 2010, 12:17pm

http://www.monash.edu.au/muarc/reports/atsb160.pdf

I personally do not think wearing helmets provide benefits to pedestrians, cyclists or motorists(exception for racing car drivers). More acceptable and cost effective means to improve safety can be promoted in general terms. Finding good alternatives so that cyclists do not fall off as often and improved cycling techniques to avoid accidents is worth considering.