Problems with the Highway Code’s advice to wear cycle helmet

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Steady rider
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Problems with the Highway Code’s advice to wear cycle helmet

Postby Steady rider » 4 Aug 2012, 8:45am

Sorry for such a long post but it may help cyclists.


Problems with the Highway Code’s advice to wear cycle helmets

The advice to wear cycle helmets first appeared in the Highway Code in 1993. It followed from reports claiming that helmets may prevent up to 90% of cyclists deaths and similar claims of saving head and brain injuries , . About this time another report found that helmets may increase the fatality risk . A New Zealand report from 1985 detailed that out of 20 bicycle riders fatally injured in Auckland, between 1974 and 1984, 16 died (80%) of injury to multiple organ systems and suggested that not many lives could be saved by wearing helmets . Another report provided details suggesting that helmet users may have a higher accident rate . Several members of the UK Parliament signed Early Day Motion 764, 3 March 2004, noting the substantial disparity between claims made for the efficacy of pedal cycle helmets and their measured effect in real populations . The UK's national cycling body, the CTC, voted at their AGM in 1997 for the removal of the questionable advice to wear a helmet from the Highway Code . A detailed consideration of the Highway Code’s advice is provided with suggestions for improvements.

The Introduction to the Highway Code includes:
Failure to comply with the other rules of the Code will not, in itself, cause a person to be prosecuted. The Highway Code may be used in evidence in any court proceedings under the Traffic Acts (see 'The road user and the law') to establish liability. This includes rules which use advisory wording such as ‘should/should not’ or ‘do/do not’.

Problem No 1 - Discrimination

Cyclists, rule 59 Clothing.
You should wear
· a cycle helmet which conforms to current regulations, is the correct size and securely fastened
· appropriate clothes for cycling. Avoid clothes which may get tangled in the chain,
or in a wheel or may obscure your lights
· light-coloured or fluorescent clothing which helps other road users to see you in daylight and poor light
· reflective clothing and/or accessories (belt, arm or ankle bands) in the dark


Pedestrians rule 3 states
“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.”

Note cyclists are told they ‘should’ wear and pedestrians are advised without using the word ‘should’. This sets the legal framework for cyclists having potentially a weakened legal position compared to pedestrians.

Several cases have come to court regarding cyclists and helmets , , . In compensation cases without going to court, reportedly cyclists may lose 25% due to not wearing a helmet . Discrimination may occur in accident compensation cases where a cyclist was not wearing a helmet, compared to pedestrians or indeed motor vehicle occupants who suffer head injuries. The advice in the Highway Code forms the excuse or legal loophole to base a case for reducing fair compensation. In court proceedings the cyclist not wearing a helmet, a vulnerable road users, is also effectively being criminalized because they're not wearing a helmet. The 1948 United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, Article 7 states ‘All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.’ The Highway Code’s advice on cycle helmets acts as an incitement to discrimination in accident compensation cases and legal proceedings.

Porter details the reasoning behind cases such as Smith v Finch [2009] EWCH 53 (QB) to considering reducing compensation.
“The justification for finding fault on the part of Smith is encapsulated in para 44 of the judgment where the judge applies the well known judgment of Lord Denning MR in Froom v Butcher [1976] 1 QB 286, [1975] 3 All ER 520 (on the wearing of seatbelts): “It matters not that there is no legal compulsion for cyclists to wear helmets and so a cyclist is free to choose whether or not to wear one because there can be no doubt that the failure to wear a helmet may expose the cyclist to the risk of greater injury; such a failure would not be a sensible thing to do and so, subject to issues of causation, any injury sustained may be the cyclist's own fault and 'he has only himself to thank for the consequences'.””
The CTC 1997 AGM cycle helmet motion included several ‘Notes’; one read;
“The case for helmets is not conclusive because several reports contain details which raise serious doubts whether helmet wearing improves safety overall”

The Smith judgement is questionable for several reasons, reasonable doubt about the safety issue, not giving due weight to the fact of there being no legal requirement to wear one and not relating to relative risk. Human rights acknowledge that people have different beliefs and enabling them to pursue what suits them without harming others. Courts need to fully respect Human Rights.

Problem No 2 – The case for helmets is not conclusive

Several reports contain details which raise serious doubts whether helmet wearing improves health and safety overall. Some evidence suggests they may increase the risk of cyclists having falls or collisions in the first place, or suffering neck injuries. Listing a selection of reports;

2.1
Clarke 2012 concluded, “This evaluation of NZ’s bicycle helmet law finds it has failed in aspects of promoting cycling, safety, health, accident compensation, environmental issues and civil liberties. It is estimated to cost about 53 lives per year in premature deaths and result in thousands of fines plus legal aspects of discrimination in accident compensation cases.”

2.2
Erke and Elvik (Norwegian researchers) 2007 stated: “There is evidence of increased accident risk per cycling-km for cyclists wearing a helmet. In Australia and New Zealand, the increase is estimated to be around 14 per cent.”

2.3
Clarke 2007 provides a detailed report showing how helmet use and legislation has reduced both health and safety in general terms. Many reports are included plus extra information in the appendix.

2.4
European Cycling Federation 1998 reported , “The evidence from Australia and New Zealand suggests that the wearing of helmets might even make cycling more dangerous.”


2.5
Robinson 1996 report, Table 2 shows data for children in NSW. The equivalent number of injuries for pre law level of number of cyclists increased from 1310 (384 head + 926 other injuries) in 1991 to 2083 (488 head + 1595 other injuries) in 1993. For NSW the helmet laws discouraged cycling and reduced children’s safety. The increased injury rate was 59%, from 1310 to 2083.

2.6
The UK’s National Children’s Bureau (NCB) provided a detailed review of cycling and helmets in 2005, stating that the case for helmets is far from sound and the benefits of helmets need further investigation before even a policy supporting promotion can be unequivocally supported.

2.9
Curnow 2008 concluded, “Compulsion to wear a bicycle helmet is detrimental to public health in Australia but, to maintain the status quo, authorities have obfuscated evidence that shows this” and “Cycling declined after the helmet laws by an estimated 40% for children, with loss of the benefits of the exercise for health. As serious casualties declined by less, the risks to cyclists, including death by head injury, increased.” A link to the paper is at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18481926

2.10
In tests on helmets by the consumer magazine Which?, they reported that only 9 from 24 passed all tests and therefore even new helmets may not be reliable.

A reasonable doubt exists about how sensible it is to purchase a product that is only designed for low speed impacts and can easily break and are not tested for rotational accelerations aspects. Helmets in general are not designed to limit rotational acceleration and Lane reported "it has been recognised since the work of Holbourn (1943) that rotational acceleration of the head plays a major part in brain injury". 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)". Great Britain accident data25 for 2009 include the proportion of road casualties with injury to head/face. For the age group 0–15 years, pedestrians 53%, car occupants 46%, pedal cyclists 40%. For all ages, pedestrians 46%, car occupants 32%, pedal cyclists 37%. Where a reasonable doubt exists about any product providing a net benefit then the consumer should have the right not to use it. It is simply, but importantly, respecting human rights by allowing the individual to decide. Cycling is more convenient without a helmet and if a person decides not to wear one they have just cause and cannot reasonably be considered to be at fault.


Problem No 3 - Contributory Negligence

When an accident occurs a cyclist who is not wearing a helmet could be subject to claims that their compensation for head injuries should be reduced. The flawed basis for applying this approach to cycle helmets is as follows.
The Law Reform (Contributory Negligence) Act 1945 provides as follows:
Section 1
Apportionment of liability in case of contributory negligence.

(1) Where any person suffers damage as the result partly of his own fault and partly of the fault
of any other person or persons, a claim in respect of that damage shall not be defeated by
reason of the fault of the person suffering the damage, but the damages recoverable in respect
thereof shall be reduced to such extent as the court thinks just and equitable having regard to
the claimant’s share in the responsibility for the damage.

Section 4
Interpretation.
The following expressions have the meanings hereby respectively assigned to them, that is
to say—

“damage” includes loss of life and personal injury;
“fault” means negligence, breach of statutory duty or other act or omission which gives rise to
a liability in tort or would, apart from this Act, give rise to the defence of contributory negligence.

5.A failure to comply with the advice in the Highway Code has been held to be sufficient to
found a finding of Contributory Negligence.
Froom v Butcher [1976] 1 QB 286 was decided when seatbelts were recommended in the then
Highway Code but were not required by law; likewise the earlier case
O’Connell v Jackson [1972] 1 QB 270 in relation to moped riders’ helmets.
6.The current Highway Code recommends the use of helmets.
7.A helmet can protect against the severity of injury in some circumstances.
8.Therefore failure to wear a helmet is contributory negligence justifying a reduction in the
damages where injury would have been avoided or reduced by a helmet.


How the Contributory Negligence approach is flawed

Contributory negligence is a man's carelessness in looking after his own safety. In general terms the health benefits of cycling have been calculated to exceed the risks by a clear margin, by a factor of 20 to 1 according to one report. Cycling involves both health and safety issues. One important aspect is for a person to enjoy their cycling so that they continue to gain the health benefit and by comparison the injury risk is lower. The evidence for wearing helmets is not conclusive. Deciding not to wear a helmet is not carelessness but a conscious decision to cycle without one having regards to their own health and safety. In this regard the cyclist is not at “fault”.

Rule 59 of the Highway Code says cyclists should wear helmets, reflective materials, belts, arm bands, ankle bands and this allows for a wide range of accident compensation cases to be challenged on a contributory negligence basis if the cyclist does not comply with any of the listed suggestions. The situation is ridiculous in terms of not allowing people to go about their normal lives dressed in normal cloths without the possible legal challenges to fair accident compensation.

The examples provided of “A failure to comply with the advice in the Highway Code’ regarding seat belts and moped riders’ helmets is unsound as a basis for comparison. Seat belts and motorcycle helmets are required by law. The issues involved and evidence available shows that comparing either seat belts or motor cycle helmets may not be relaible. Proposed cycle helmet legislation has been presented to parliament in several bills over a number of years , , but parliament has not supported any of the bills to create legislation.

Part 7 above states
“A helmet can protect against the severity of injury in some circumstances.”

A cyclist has to consider overall safety and convenience of using their bicycle and their personal likes or dislikes. Robinson’s 1996 report (section 2.5 above) details the risk of hospital admission, for cyclists 2.2 cases per million hours of travel. Assuming the average person cycles 50 hours per year, then about once in a 9000 years of cycling would a hospital admission for head injuries result. Mills reported that 66% of cyclist's who were admitted, were detained for just one night and most of the casualties with cranium injuries were admitted for overnight observation. Statement No 7 could apply to anyone, a pedestrian, motorist, anyone at work, play or doing any sport or other activity who may bump their heads. Statement No 7 needs to be considered against the level of risk and section 2.2 above; -
Erke and Elvik (Norwegian researchers) 2007 stated: “There is evidence of increased accident risk per cycling-km for cyclists wearing a helmet. In Australia and New Zealand, the increase is estimated to be around 14 per cent.”

With helmets being tested for impact speeds up to about 12 mph, this means in practice many impacts from motor vehicles will be outside of the range that helmets are designed to protect from. In court proceedings not only can the issue focus on if they should have been wearing a helmet but how the speed of impact may have affected the outcome or the actual impact location on the head. The justice process is bordering on becoming a lottery process, who was wearing what, circumstances of the accident, if a head injury resulted. Instead of a simple case of who was at fault and compensation due, a cyclist could be subject to a complicated mixture of evidence including speculation and unjust comparisons with seat belts and motorcycle helmets

Section 8 states
“8.Therefore failure to wear a helmet is contributory negligence justifying a reduction in the
damages where injury would have been avoided or reduced by a helmet.”

The conclusion reached in section 8 is based on inadequate advice in the Highway Code. The Code setting a legal framework suited to discrimination and a flawed approach in considering issues of contributory negligence.

For general cycling and accident compensation claims, the non-use of cycle helmets should not be used as a basis for reducing compensation.

Recommendations

1
A change to the Highway Code ‘Introduction’, page 4
Adding “however, liability should not be based on wearing extra safety aids in the case of pedestrians and cyclists”

“The Highway Code may be used in evidence in any court proceedings under the Traffic Acts (see 'The road user and the law') to establish liability. This includes rules which use advisory wording such as ‘should/should not’ or ‘do/do not’, “however, liability should not be based on wearing extra safety aids in the case of pedestrians and cyclists.”

2
A change to Rule 59 and omitting the word ‘should’

Suggestion is;

Cyclists rule 59 Clothing states;

· “Help other road users to see you. Wear 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.”

· Avoid clothes which may get tangled in the chain, or in a wheel or may obscure your lights


3
Cycle helmets should have a separate new rule provided.
It is important that helmet users are aware of the limitations of helmets and the Highway Code needs to provide suitable warnings, for example;

Cycle helmet
Evidence for cycle helmet use is mixed with reports supporting their use and others finding safety may have been reduced. A helmet may protect against the severity of injury in some circumstances.

Warnings;
· Helmets are designed for low speed impacts and they may not provide sufficient protection in many accident situations.
· Children should not wear helmets on playground equipment or when climbing trees. The helmet can snag and the strap can asphyxiate them. Several deaths have been recorded in various countries
· Some research evidence suggests helmets may increase the accident rate, extra care may be advised.
· Helmets are not tested for rotational acceleration that is associated with serious brain injury.
· Helmets may result in extra impacts compared with the smaller size of a bare head.
· The health benefits of cycling generally exceed the injury risk and children or adults should not be forced or coerced into wearing them if it discourages them from cycling.

References
Dorsch M M, 'Do bicycle safety helmets reduce severity of head injury in real crashes'. Accid. Anal. & Prev. Vol 19, pp183-190, 1990.
Thompson RS, Rivara FP, Thompson DC; A Case-Control Study of the effectiveness of Bicycle Safety Helmets; New England Journal of Medicine, May 1989.
G. B. Rodgers, 'Reducing bicycle accidents: a re-evaluation of the impacts of the CPSC bicycle standard and helmet use', Journal of Product Liability, Vol 11, 1988, pp307-317.
Sage M D, Cairns F J, Toeimeyer T D, Sweeton W M I, 'Fatal injuries to bicycle riders in Auckland' New Zealand Med J, 25 Dec, 1985.
Wasserman RC; Bicyclists, Helmets and Head Injuries: A Rider-Based Study of Helmet Use and Effectiveness; AJPH Vol 78, No 9, pp 1220-21, September 1988.
Griffiths J, Cycle helmets, http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2003-04/764
Minutes of the 1997 CTC, AGM published 2008
Highway Code, Introduction, http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/TravelAndTr ... /DG_070236
Highway Code, Cyclists, http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/TravelAndTr ... /DG_069837
Highway Code, Pedestrians, http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/TravelAndTr ... /DG_070108
Drinkall v Woodhall [2003] EWCA Civ 1547
Smith v Finch [2009] EWCH 53 (QB), 2009 http://www.newlawjournal.co.uk/nlj/cont ... ame-victim
Court in A (a child) v Shorrock [2001] All ER (D) 140 (Oct).
Fulbrook J, Cycle Helmets and Contributory Negligence, http://www.cyclistsdefencefund.org.uk/f ... lbrook.pdf
Porter M, Personal injury: Blame the victim http://www.newlawjournal.co.uk/nlj/cont ... ame-victim
Clarke, CF, Evaluation of New Zealand’s bicycle law, NZMJ 10 February 2012, Vol 125 No 1349;
http://journal.nzma.org.nz/journal/125-1349/5046/
Erke A, Elvik R, Making Vision Zero real: Preventing Pedestrian Accidents And Making Them Less Severe, Oslo June 2007. page 28 http://www.toi.no/getfile.php/Publikasj ... 7-nett.pdf
Clarke CF, The Case against bicycle helmets and legislation, VeloCity Munich, 2007. http://www.ta.org.br/site/Banco/7manuai ... helmet.pdf
IMPROVING BICYCLE SAFETY without making helmet-use compulsory
http://www.ecf.com/wp-content/uploads/2 ... ure_13.pdf
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
Gill T, Cycling and Children and Young People, A review, National Children’s Bureau, 2005. http://www.cycle-helmets.com/cyclingreport_timgill.pdf
Curnow WJ. Bicycle helmets and public health in Australia, Health Promotion Journal of Australia, 2008 Apr;19(1):10-15.
Which?; Get a head start, p 28 – 31, October, UK, 1998.
Lane J C, 'Helmets for child bicyclists some biomedical considerations' CR47, FORS, Canberra, Oct 1986.
Hillman M, 'CYCLE HELMETS the case for and against' Policy Studies Institute, London 1993.
2004 Parliamentary Bill, Eric Martlew MP,
2007 Parliamentary Bill, peter Bone MP
2011 Parliamentary Bill, Annette Brooke MP
Mills P; Pedal Cycle Accidents: a hospital study; Transport and Road Research Laboratory, Research Report RR 220, Crowthorne, UK, 1989.

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Tigger
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Re: Problems with the Highway Code’s advice to wear cycle he

Postby Tigger » 4 Aug 2012, 1:01pm

Wow Steady Rider, that's a really detailed and informative post!

I'm new to the forums and haven't yet assimilated all the pro/ anti-helmet arguments (tho, I guess, enough to abandon my helmet a few weeks ago) so this is a really useful summary for me. Thank you!

I await the pro-helmet backlash with interest :wink:

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Re: Problems with the Highway Code’s advice to wear cycle he

Postby yakdiver » 4 Aug 2012, 2:08pm

Tigger wrote:
I await the pro-helmet backlash with interest :wink:

Wear what you like it's your head, and I won't come back and say I told you so
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Re: Problems with the Highway Code’s advice to wear cycle he

Postby theenglishman » 4 Aug 2012, 2:19pm

Jesus - life's too short. Wear one, don't wear one - you have a choice. But spend time cycling instead of raking over tired old arguments.

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Re: Problems with the Highway Code’s advice to wear cycle he

Postby irc » 4 Aug 2012, 2:33pm

yakdiver wrote:Wear what you like it's your head, and I won't come back and say I told you so


theenglishman wrote:Jesus - life's too short. Wear one, don't wear one - you have a choice. But spend time cycling instead of raking over tired old arguments.



This is the helmet sub forum. It is for discussing the issues relating to helmets. If you aren't interested you don't have to read it or comment on any of the posts.

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Re: Problems with the Highway Code’s advice to wear cycle he

Postby yakdiver » 4 Aug 2012, 3:47pm

irc wrote:
yakdiver wrote:Wear what you like it's your head, and I won't come back and say I told you so


theenglishman wrote:Jesus - life's too short. Wear one, don't wear one - you have a choice. But spend time cycling instead of raking over tired old arguments.



This is the helmet sub forum. It is for discussing the issues relating to helmets. If you aren't interested you don't have to read it or comment on any of the posts.

I did - Wear what you like it's your head
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Re: Problems with the Highway Code’s advice to wear cycle he

Postby Tigger » 4 Aug 2012, 6:33pm

theenglishman wrote:But spend time cycling instead of raking over tired old arguments.

I am spending time cycling, thank you.

I don't know what prompted Steady rider to start the thread but, as mentioned, I found it a very useful piece to read, and appreciate the time and effort he/ she has taken to construct such a long post, with references an' all! And they are not tired old arguments to me since, as mentioned, I am new to the forum and the whole pro/ anti helmet thing. As irc says, you don't have to read the sub-forum... but I find it fascinating how evangelical/ heated/ downright rude some people get over something that is a personal, and hopefully informed, choice.

In case my 'await backlash' comment was misconstrued, I am genuinely interested in the pro-helmet counter-arguments to Steady rider's post. Hopefully they will be more informative and eloquent than theengishman's and yakdiver's replies.

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Re: Problems with the Highway Code’s advice to wear cycle he

Postby meic » 4 Aug 2012, 6:46pm

Note that there are in fact two different arguments going on and the people are not always on the same side for both arguments.

So Yakdiver and Englishman's comments are pro-helmet and even if a little scornful, they are quite acceptable and we can all agree to live and let live with a technical/academic argument for information's sake. He wears his, I dont wear mine and everybody is happy.

The big problem is the compulsion, where some people feel that they know best and wish to compel us to obey their will by threat of criminal prosecution. Which does really need a LOT more justification.
The evidence to support them is rather elusive and it should not be based on their faith alone.

Last of all there is the singling out of one group for this attention when this group is neither a high risk nor majority risk. All the arguments given apply at least as well, and often more so, to many other activities.
Yma o Hyd

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Re: Problems with the Highway Code’s advice to wear cycle he

Postby Vorpal » 4 Aug 2012, 7:44pm

And then there are those of us who think that the great helmet debate is a big red herring.

Roads and laws in the UK are relatively poorly designed for road safety. The UK is statistically one of the safest places in the world to use the roads, but that is largely down to the improvements in car safety and investment in accident reduction.

The proportion of pedestrian and cyclist fatalities is much higher for the UK than most European countries, and increasing steadily. **

Studies in Sweden, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands report that when road engineering and speed management measures have been implemented in tandem to reduce the probability of impact speeds exceeding 30 kph, there have been fatality savings for vulnerable
road users of 25% to 35% *

Unfortunately, road engineering and speed management measures are expensive. Helmets are cheap, and telling people to wear them looks good.***

** http://www.internationaltransportforum. ... sZeroE.pdf
** http://www.dft.gov.uk/statistics/series ... nd-safety/

*(Koornstra et al., 2002)

*** except to those few, stubborn cycle campaginer sorts at the CTC
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Re: Problems with the Highway Code’s advice to wear cycle he

Postby BigFoz » 4 Aug 2012, 8:14pm

I CHOOSE to wear a helmet, and on at least 3 occasions it's* saved me from injury. Possibly the most illuminating was not either of the two "impact" type crashes, but one where I lost the front wheel, went down the road vertically on my head for long enough to wonder what it was doing to the helmet and whether I was about to get my head cheese grated.... Helmet was shaved down 2-3 mm with the central "band" completely worn through into the polystyrene. My head was untouched. An unusual accident? Sure, but think of the mess I'd have been in had I not been wearing it. Agree 100% that in a vehicle / head interface, it may not be as safe as some suggest, but it's safer than nothing at all.

* "It's" - "they - each time the helmet was trashed and I was not.

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Re: Problems with the Highway Code’s advice to wear cycle he

Postby hubgearfreak » 4 Aug 2012, 8:57pm

Tigger wrote:In case my 'await backlash' comment was misconstrued, I am genuinely interested in the pro-helmet counter-arguments to Steady rider's post. Hopefully they will be more informative and eloquent than theengishman's and yakdiver's replies.


when i read this, i though of writing that the responses you can expect will be along the lines of 'it saved my life'. now, having read to the bottom of the thread, i see that they're already appearing

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Re: Problems with the Highway Code’s advice to wear cycle he

Postby Tigger » 4 Aug 2012, 10:15pm

hubgearfreak wrote:
Tigger wrote:In case my 'await backlash' comment was misconstrued, I am genuinely interested in the pro-helmet counter-arguments to Steady rider's post. Hopefully they will be more informative and eloquent than theengishman's and yakdiver's replies.


when i read this, i though of writing that the responses you can expect will be along the lines of 'it saved my life'. now, having read to the bottom of the thread, i see that they're already appearing

Thank you hubgearfreak... now you mention it, I have seen that trend in other threads. However, coming from a scientific background it's highly unlikely that I'll be persuaded by anecdotal evidence. Obviously we can't run parallel lives (excepting Gwyneth Paltrow in Sliding Doors) so there's no way of knowing the outcome in that exact scenario if there had been 'absence of helmet'....

Also thanks to Meic (efficacy vs compulsion) and Vorpal (helmets vs road safety) for further points on top of Steady rider's discrimination/ efficacy/ contributory negligence arguments. Vorpal, I shall look at those refs later, thank you.

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Re: Problems with the Highway Code’s advice to wear cycle he

Postby Vorpal » 4 Aug 2012, 10:43pm

There's a huge amount of stuff to wade through in the links I posted. They include a 250+ page document from the International Road Transport Forum, and the RTA statistics from the DfT. They are summarized in various places. I don't have all of the links saved, and can't be bothered to go looking them up. But I made this graph from data published by the DfT (same link as in my previous post).

What you can see is that whilst the trend is generally one of improvement, the proportion of vulnerable roads users amongst those killed in road traffic accident is increasing.

This graph does not include the users of goods vehicles, buses, coaches or motorcycles (except in the all road traffic deaths category)
Image Attachments
road casualty graph.JPG
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Re: Problems with the Highway Code’s advice to wear cycle he

Postby hubgearfreak » 5 Aug 2012, 4:00am

Tigger wrote: However, coming from a scientific background it's highly unlikely that I'll be persuaded by anecdotal evidence.


well, if you insist on having your opinion swayed by a meta analysis of the available statistical data.... :wink:

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Re: Problems with the Highway Code’s advice to wear cycle he

Postby SilverBadge » 6 Aug 2012, 1:16am

Vorpal wrote:Studies in Sweden, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands report that when road engineering and speed management measures have been implemented in tandem to reduce the probability of impact speeds exceeding 30 kph, there have been fatality savings for vulnerable
road users of 25% to 35% (Koornstra et al., 2002)

CS Downing's "Pedal Cycle Accidents in Great Britain" (TRRL, 1985) found helmets came a very poor seventh out of seven measures evaluated for improving cyclist safety.
TRL Published Research Report 580 concludes that motorist behaviour at junctions, and high speed limits are the major risk factors that cyclists encounter, followed by poor and defective road surfaces.
TRL Published Research Report 445 concluded (just like plenty of earlier work) that it is the motorist at fault in the vast majority of cyclist/car collisions. Only in age groups containing children were cyclists more likely than the motorist to be at fault in the accident.
So:
If you want to improve cyclist safety, do something (preferably not segregation) about poor driving.
If you want to do something about head injuries, encourage helmets for motorists, pedestrians, stair users and maybe then cyclists.
If you want to avoid upsetting (and losing the vote of) the average motorist whose casual complacency and negligence causes the bulk of the RTA casualty toll, carry on as usual.