Weird helmet psychology

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mark a.
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Weird helmet psychology

Postby mark a. » 30 May 2012, 11:29am

I don't bother wearing a helmet when I'm cycling into town, as it's under 10 minutes on roads that aren't very busy. I do wear a helmet when commuting because it's longer and busier.

With the recent hot weather I found my head overheating on the final stretch of my commute, so I took my helmet off. Even though the section is shorter and quieter than my town trips I found that I felt very exposed.

So, if I didn't wear a helmet at all, I'd feel fine. If I take it off, I feel like I'm going to get a head injury any second now.

Does anyone know what weird psychology is making me feel that way? Does anyone else have the same effect?

MartinC
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Re: Weird helmet psychology

Postby MartinC » 30 May 2012, 12:51pm

Human nature. When the National Lottery started I made the mistake of picking the same set of numbers every week - now I'm frightened that if I don't have them every week then they'll come up and I'll kick myself. No logical basis for this but you can't help feeling it.

thelawnet
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Re: Weird helmet psychology

Postby thelawnet » 30 May 2012, 1:24pm

mark a. wrote:So, if I didn't wear a helmet at all, I'd feel fine. If I take it off, I feel like I'm going to get a head injury any second now.

Does anyone know what weird psychology is making me feel that way? Does anyone else have the same effect?


Hmm.

Perhaps this makes you more cautious and less likely to have a head injury?

mark a.
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Re: Weird helmet psychology

Postby mark a. » 30 May 2012, 2:05pm

Perhaps it's the fear of "death by irony" if I have a crash 2 seconds after taking off my helmet.

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CJ
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Re: Weird helmet psychology

Postby CJ » 19 Jun 2012, 2:50pm

mark a. wrote:Does anyone know what weird psychology is making me feel that way?

It's called Risk Compensation, google it. Strictly speaking it's the other side of the Risk Compensation coin.
Does anyone else have the same effect?

Almost everyone has it around every item of safety equipment they use, but most of us are in denial. :wink:
Chris Juden
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fimm
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Re: Weird helmet psychology

Postby fimm » 19 Jun 2012, 3:05pm

Yes. I'm slowly coming to the conclusion that I "shouldn't" be wearing my helmet when out on the Brompton (let's not go down the reasoning, or we'll have another 100-page gereation of a lot more heat than light) but I can't quite bring myself to actually do it!
Of course it's a race...

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Si
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Re: Weird helmet psychology

Postby Si » 19 Jun 2012, 7:02pm

fimm wrote:Yes. I'm slowly coming to the conclusion that I "shouldn't" be wearing my helmet when out on the Brompton (let's not go down the reasoning, or we'll have another 100-page gereation of a lot more heat than light) but I can't quite bring myself to actually do it!


That's the thing. Head vs heart. Even if the helmet had a 1 in 1000000000* chance of doing you any good, on the first ride without it you still think "what if this is the 1000000000th time?" despite logic dictating otherwise. And when you do go without you might find that you become so tense and nervous for the first few miles that you end up coming near to grief! But then it'll all become perfectly normal and you'll wonder what all the fuss is about.

* compared to many other things that will have a much greater statistical probability of making you safer, but which you don't do anyway because they have so little chance of making any difference.

Regarding the that I "shouldn't" be wearing,perhaps that would be better as "don't need to be wearing"?

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RickH
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Re: Weird helmet psychology

Postby RickH » 19 Jun 2012, 7:47pm

There is one hill that I go down regularly that is my "fastest hill".

Until October my maximum recorded speed on it was done on one of the few times I was riding without my helmet! Until then I had recorded a max of 46.6, managed 48.4 in October. I'm not sure for me it makes much, if any, difference whether I have a lid on or not.

Rick

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simonineaston
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Re: Weird helmet psychology

Postby simonineaston » 20 Jun 2012, 12:36am

Excuse me for being a bit blunt, but a few months ago I watched a cyclist come whizzing happily down Cumnor Hill, lose control near the bottom and pitch head over handlebar to wack his head on the pavement. 25 mph to zero in one hard flip. I stayed with him & after the ambulance carted him off I vowed I'd never waste any more precious 'reasoning power' trying to figure out why wearing a helmet isn't a good idea...
And you think it's not going to happen to you, do you?
(rides: Brompton nano & ever-changing Moultons)

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meic
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Re: Weird helmet psychology

Postby meic » 20 Jun 2012, 12:43am

If I thought it was going to happen to me, then I would wear a proper helmet (motorcycle type) which would do some good rather than a silly piece of plastic (cycle type) which wouldnt make much difference.

Logically if you are preparing for the worst you should do it properly, not with a talisman.


Oh and I wouldnt take it off when I get off the bike either.
Yma o Hyd

irc
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Re: Weird helmet psychology

Postby irc » 20 Jun 2012, 3:34am

simonineaston wrote:Excuse me for being a bit blunt, but a few months ago I watched a cyclist come whizzing happily down Cumnor Hill, lose control near the bottom and pitch head over handlebar to wack his head on the pavement. 25 mph to zero in one hard flip. I stayed with him & after the ambulance carted him off I vowed I'd never waste any more precious 'reasoning power' trying to figure out why wearing a helmet isn't a good idea...
And you think it's not going to happen to you, do you?


Excuse me for being a bit blunt, but a few months ago I watched a pedestrian slip on ice and fall rapidly to the ground knocking himself unconscious. I phoned 999 and made sure he stayed breathing until the ambulance arrived. I vowed I'd never waste any more precious 'reasoning power' trying to figure out why wearing a helmet isn't a good idea... And you think it's not going to happen to you, do you?

I've yet to hear anyone explain why helmets are needed for everyday non competitive cycling but not for any other everyday activities.

And that ped was not a made up example to oppose Simon's. Over the years I've seen dozens or scores of people with head injuries from falls or assaults. Only 1 cyclist though.

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Si
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Re: Weird helmet psychology

Postby Si » 20 Jun 2012, 8:34am

simonineaston wrote:Excuse me for being a bit blunt, but a few months ago I watched a cyclist come whizzing happily down Cumnor Hill, lose control near the bottom and pitch head over handlebar to wack his head on the pavement. 25 mph to zero in one hard flip. I stayed with him & after the ambulance carted him off I vowed I'd never waste any more precious 'reasoning power' trying to figure out why wearing a helmet isn't a good idea...


And not bothering to think about safety issues logically and with reason is probably what's going to get you killed out on the roads (if you will excuse me being blunt).

Tis funny how you go straight for the helmet option rather than first thinking - was his speed appropriate for the road, does he need training to improve his riding, does his bike maintenance need improving, etc? All the things that could have prevented the crash from happening. Nope, you appear happy to ignore all of these other factors and just assume that that wearing a helmet will mitigate against any possible injury.

Yes, I know that it is a very emotive experience to have a badly injured cyclist lying there in front of you, but if we want to get past emotional knee jerk reactions and address the likelihood, severity and solution to particular issues then we need to use some reason and logic. All you have done to to relate an account that is totally untestable scientifically as we have no idea what so ever if a helmet would have helped this chap, and much of the more reliable data suggests that it would not (although it might have given him the confidence to go even faster :wink: ).

pwward
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Basic physics

Postby pwward » 20 Jun 2012, 9:13am

Helmets probably provide some protection against linear acceleration forces when the head is struck. They are overcome at about 13mph, equivalent to a fall from 1-1.5m. Once shattered the forces are transmitted to the head as if no helmet was worn.

As energy = 1/2 mass x velocity squared, at an impact speed of 25mph the helmet may mitigate this to a 22-23mph crash. Those thinking a helmet is going to provide any useful protection at high speeds are kidding themselves.

stewartpratt
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Re: Basic physics

Postby stewartpratt » 20 Jun 2012, 10:15am

pwward wrote:As energy = 1/2 mass x velocity squared, at an impact speed of 25mph the helmet may mitigate this to a 22-23mph crash.


I make it 21.3mph ;)

Michael R
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Re: Weird helmet psychology

Postby Michael R » 20 Jun 2012, 12:45pm

Years ago when driving I nearly knocked a boy off his bike. He was with his mummy who had made sure that he had a helmet. The trouble was that his brakes didn't work so slithered to a stop with his feet.