How to ask a helmet question?

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.
TonyR
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How to ask a helmet question?

Postby TonyR » 10 May 2011, 1:47pm

Ellieb wrote: I personally, on an individual basis think it is worth wearing a helmet, because I can see it does provide a form of protection.


Whereas I don't because I estimate it would take at least 25,000 years on average cycling twice a day every day before I got a fatal injury cycling in which a helmet might have helped. That level of risk really doesn't justify for me the day in day out hassle of using a helmet.

byegad
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Re: How to ask a helmet question?

Postby byegad » 10 May 2011, 2:37pm

Short answer is 'Don't ask'.

Longer answer is 'Please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, don't ask.'
"I thought of that while riding my bike." -Albert Einstein, on the Theory of Relativity

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Steady rider
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Re: How to ask a helmet question?

Postby Steady rider » 10 May 2011, 7:36pm

You ask first post
Which are the best designed studies on this subject?


The following is useful as it shows an outcome on a population level, this reflects all cyclists. It also relates to a good change in helmet use over a short time period and provides an indication of risk level.

Robinson DL; Head injuries and bicycle helmet laws; Accid Anal Prev, 28, 4: p 463-475, 1996 http://www.cycle-helmets.com/robinson-head-injuries.pdf

Clarke CF, The Case against bicycle helmets and legislation, VeloCity, Munich 2007.. http://www.ta.org.br/site/Banco/7manuai ... helmet.pdf

Comparing impacts for helmeted and non-helmeted
http://www.cycle-helmets.com/head-helmet.doc

It appears that helmets may offer protection in the range of 10-16% but they may increase the accident rate by 14-20-30%.

From a personal point of view you should try to enjoy your cycling and not rely on helmets.

TonyR
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How to ask a helmet question?

Postby TonyR » 10 May 2011, 8:57pm

Steady rider wrote:You ask first post
Which are the best designed studies on this subject?


The following is useful as it shows an outcome on a population level, this reflects all cyclists. It also relates to a good change in helmet use over a short time period and provides an indication of risk level.

Robinson DL; Head injuries and bicycle helmet laws; Accid Anal Prev, 28, 4: p 463-475, 1996 http://www.cycle-helmets.com/robinson-head-injuries.pdf

Clarke CF, The Case against bicycle helmets and legislation, VeloCity, Munich 2007.. http://www.ta.org.br/site/Banco/7manuai ... helmet.pdf

Comparing impacts for helmeted and non-helmeted
http://www.cycle-helmets.com/head-helmet.doc

It appears that helmets may offer protection in the range of 10-16% but they may increase the accident rate by 14-20-30%.

From a personal point of view you should try to enjoy your cycling and not rely on helmets.


And [url="http://youtu.be/07o-TASvIxY"]Mikael Colville-Andersen[/url] puts it all in perspective.

StopHeadway
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Re: How to ask a helmet question?

Postby StopHeadway » 11 May 2011, 1:54pm

alicej wrote:My problem is this;

I usually wear a helmet, but not always.

I'm not entirely sure of my own reasons for this, and would like to make more informed decisions about it.


There are some good replies in the topic so far and I hope they will prove useful to you.

Ultimately nobody can give you a firm answer. If you're brushed by a car and hit your head - were you saved by your helmet, or were you only hit because the driver didn't leave you as much space as they otherwise would?

At the end of the day the effects on an individual level are extremely small, because whether a helmet works or not (or causes people to drive with less care around you or not) the bottom line is that cycling is incredibly safe.

Take the Boris bikes as a really pertinent example. Central London, no need for users to be keen enough cyclists even to own a bike. Extremely minimal helmet use. Widely ridden in London rush hour (or as pub transport!) yet, to date, there have been no serious head injuries despite the bikes being used for over 20,000 journeys every day.

Against this backdrop, really, it's hard to make any conclusion other than it doesn't really matter. The argument only starts when either you consider the effect on wider society (i.e. your use of a helmet contributes to the status of cycling as an unusal sideshow rather than continental mainstream) or whether you are determined to know whether helmets work out for better or for worse (when the numbers kick in).

If you are unlucky enough to have an accident, if you were wearing a helmet you'll wonder if you'd have hit your head (or had the accident at all) without it - while if you weren't, you'll inevitably wonder the opposite.

thelawnet
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Re: How to ask a helmet question?

Postby thelawnet » 11 May 2011, 2:00pm

StopHeadway wrote:Take the Boris bikes as a really pertinent example. Central London, no need for users to be keen enough cyclists even to own a bike. Extremely minimal helmet use. Widely ridden in London rush hour (or as pub transport!) yet, to date, there have been no serious head injuries despite the bikes being used for over 20,000 journeys every day.


I think there is some 'no-helmet effect' with the Boris Bikes. Drivers know that Boris Bike readers are disproportionately likely to be unskilled cyclists and give them more space. Hence a very good safety record so far. Riding along the road is not all dangerous, the danger comes from other road users. When you see a Boris Bike ahead you give it extra room because it is slow and the rider is likely to be wobbly.

OTOH someone on a full-carbon 23mm-tyred bike with aero helmet is going to be treated like a skilled professional and given far less room.

TonyR
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How to ask a helmet question?

Postby TonyR » 11 May 2011, 4:51pm

thelawnet wrote:
StopHeadway wrote:Take the Boris bikes as a really pertinent example. Central London, no need for users to be keen enough cyclists even to own a bike. Extremely minimal helmet use. Widely ridden in London rush hour (or as pub transport!) yet, to date, there have been no serious head injuries despite the bikes being used for over 20,000 journeys every day.


I think there is some 'no-helmet effect' with the Boris Bikes. Drivers know that Boris Bike readers are disproportionately likely to be unskilled cyclists and give them more space. Hence a very good safety record so far. Riding along the road is not all dangerous, the danger comes from other road users. When you see a Boris Bike ahead you give it extra room because it is slow and the rider is likely to be wobbly.

OTOH someone on a full-carbon 23mm-tyred bike with aero helmet is going to be treated like a skilled professional and given far less room.


I agree from my anecdotal observations. And it points to it being in the cyclist's interest to ride without a helmet or Lycra.

Vorpal
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Re: How to ask a helmet question?

Postby Vorpal » 12 May 2011, 11:12am

I don't believe that helmets make much difference. As others have said, if they did, it would show up definitively in the statistics.

I also think the chances of me being involved in an incident where a helmet would make any difference (one way or t'other, whichever statistics you want to believe) are miniscule.

But I wear one. Why? I am required to do so by my employer.

I still wear one (most of the time) when I'm not working. Why? The Highway Code says I should (it's stupid, but it's there).

Because the HC says I should, there is a possibility that should I be involved in an incident an insurance company (or it's lawyers) may attempt to deny me of or reduce my compensation. I don't want to have to fight for compensation, and I don't want my family to have to fight for it on the basis of something so stupid.
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TonyR
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How to ask a helmet question?

Postby TonyR » 12 May 2011, 11:45am

Vorpal wrote:I don't believe that helmets make much difference. As others have said, if they did, it would show up definitively in the statistics.

I also think the chances of me being involved in an incident where a helmet would make any difference (one way or t'other, whichever statistics you want to believe) are miniscule.

But I wear one. Why? I am required to do so by my employer.

I still wear one (most of the time) when I'm not working. Why? The Highway Code says I should (it's stupid, but it's there).

Because the HC says I should, there is a possibility that should I be involved in an incident an insurance company (or it's lawyers) may attempt to deny me of or reduce my compensation. I don't want to have to fight for compensation, and I don't want my family to have to fight for it on the basis of something so stupid.


Curious logic. The chance of you having an incident is minuscule enough for you not to wear one but the even more minuscule chance of an incident that is then contested in Court makes it worth wearing one?

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meic
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Re: How to ask a helmet question?

Postby meic » 12 May 2011, 11:52am

You are missing out that bit which explains the logic rather well.

chances of having an accident where a helmet would make any difference.
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Re: How to ask a helmet question?

Postby Steady rider » 12 May 2011, 8:08pm

HC - pedestrians

http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/TravelAndTr ... /DG_070108

Help other road users to see you. Wear or carry something light-coloured, bright or fluorescent in poor daylight conditions. When it is dark, use reflective materials (e.g. armbands, sashes, waistcoats, jackets, footwear), which can be seen by drivers using headlights up to three times as far away as non-reflective materials.


I better get an arm band ready if going out tonight or I may not get full compensation.

Vorpal
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Re: How to ask a helmet question?

Postby Vorpal » 12 May 2011, 11:19pm

Believe it or not, I follow the HC for pedestrians, too. :roll:

I don't believe that reduced compensation is likely. But my experience is that insurance companies will use anything to reduce their liability to pay. And fighting them can be stressful, time-consuming, and soul-destroying. :evil:
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Re: How to ask a helmet question?

Postby Steady rider » 13 May 2011, 3:35pm

interesting and I agree about being seen with bright colours etc.

The recent results from NZ, shows an increase in the injury rate for cyclists of 20%. 25 to 31 per million hrs.

http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2458/10/655/table/T1

The CTC could fight any claim for fair compensation.
http://www.rjw.co.uk/fileadmin/user_upl ... cident.pdf

I would sooner have fewer accidents by not wearing one and hopefully not be making any insurance claims.

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Re: How to ask a helmet question?

Postby Vorpal » 14 May 2011, 5:48pm

Steady rider wrote:I would sooner have fewer accidents by not wearing one and hopefully not be making any insurance claims.


I don't blame you, but that doesn't change the fact that the HC says I should wear one.

How do I justify asking anyone else to follow the letter & spirit of the HC if I don't do it myself? Yes, I know the 'should' means I don't have to, but there are plenty of other 'shoulds' that I want other road users to follow.
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TonyR
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Re: How to ask a helmet question?

Postby TonyR » 14 May 2011, 9:00pm

Vorpal wrote:
Steady rider wrote:I would sooner have fewer accidents by not wearing one and hopefully not be making any insurance claims.


I don't blame you, but that doesn't change the fact that the HC says I should wear one.

How do I justify asking anyone else to follow the letter & spirit of the HC if I don't do it myself? Yes, I know the 'should' means I don't have to, but there are plenty of other 'shoulds' that I want other road users to follow.


I am sure you follow all the rules meticulously, only crossing the road at night by a streetlamp (Rule 17), crossing onto the other side of the road and back again on right hand bends without pavements (Rule 2), always using cycle tracks no matter how bad they are or where they go (Rule 61), always give other cyclists plenty of room when you overtake them (Rule 163), never filter through traffic (Rule 167) and get off and walk round roundabouts (Rule 77). Of course you won't be using clipless pedals because they don't have pedal reflectors (Rule 60) but you must be an impressive track stander to keep both feet on the pedals (Rule 66)

Rule 59 though is a curious one because the helmet is clearly intended to be a visibility aid according to the accompanying illustration - not a reason I had ever considered for wearing a helmet I must admit. It also considers a black shirt to be light coloured. But who am I to argue with people that know best?