Why Are You Not Wearling a Helmet?

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Psamathe
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Re: Why Are You Not Wearling a Helmet?

Postby Psamathe » 19 Sep 2014, 10:27am

(Hope I've not already posted this and hope I'm not repeating myself ...)

I'm now at the point where the only reason I wear a helmet now is in case I was hit by a vehicle and seriously injured to the point where financial compensation was very important - and I would not appreciate a judge reducing my compensation "because I was not wearing a helmet".

And I recognise that this must be one of the daftest reasons for wearing a helmet (i.e. wearing a helmet to protect against the shortcomings of our legal system). And I hope somebody can persuade me otherwise.

Ian

beardy
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Re: Why Are You Not Wearling a Helmet?

Postby beardy » 19 Sep 2014, 10:36am

This is one of those cases where you do something for a personal advantage but is detrimental to the group (as in because people start wearing helmets, people are then expected to wear helmets) then eventually when everyone wears helmets you have to, inorder to get your full compensation but if nobody wore helmets you would get your full compensation anyway.

Just like taking your kids to school in the car to protect them from car danger.

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pjclinch
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Re: Why Are You Not Wearling a Helmet?

Postby pjclinch » 19 Sep 2014, 10:38am

horizon wrote:One passing thought I had when reading this thread is that helmets are a reflection of a non-cycling population. Proponents of helmets for others (e.g. adults for children) don't, it seems. cycle themselves. Those who wear cycle helmets seem to be new riders (as witnessed by lots of photographs of organised rides).


I don't think that's entirely the case. I bought a helmet in '89 along with my first "proper" bike. I wasn't new to cycling (it'd been my daily transport for well over a decade), but I was new to what you might term "serious cycling": touring rather than just getting about.

As for adults getting kids to wear them, it is, IME, relatively unusual for cycling adults not to put their kids in helmets in the UK. Islabikes appear to be mainly sold to keen adult cyclists for their children: take a look at their gallery pages. Pedal On Parliament in Edinburgh earlier this year has lots of kids with their parents, and my daughter was one of very, very few without a lid.

Quite a few folk I've spoken to have moved over to helmets thanks to guilt-trips. They assume helmet wearing is a good example and feel pressured to comply if they have any contact (parentally of professionally) with children. It still seems to be quite widely assumed in instructional circles that helmet = good example. When I suggested to Perth and Kinross's Education Department's Cycling Officer that wearing for Bikeability should be up to individual carers rather than a council policy she couldn't grasp even the possibility that any sane parent might not want to insist their children wore helmets. And amongst the keen cycling parents at my kids' school I am the only one that doesn't routinely use a helmet.

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pjclinch
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Re: Why Are You Not Wearling a Helmet?

Postby pjclinch » 19 Sep 2014, 10:49am

Psamathe wrote:I'm now at the point where the only reason I wear a helmet now is in case I was hit by a vehicle and seriously injured to the point where financial compensation was very important - and I would not appreciate a judge reducing my compensation "because I was not wearing a helmet".

And I recognise that this must be one of the daftest reasons for wearing a helmet (i.e. wearing a helmet to protect against the shortcomings of our legal system). And I hope somebody can persuade me otherwise.


The CTC and the Cyclists' Defence Fund Are Your Friends. Contributory negligence compensation downgrades don't actually have much of a history of getting anywhere in court if there is Clueful representation of the cyclist, though they have plenty of form with insurance companies trying it on. That is a big "if", but if you're in CTC you've given yourself a very good head start.

Germany has demonstrated a bit of brain in the last year by their Supreme Court ruling that cycling without a lid is not negligent, see http://www.ctc.org.uk/news/german-appeal-court-says-helmet-free-cycling-negligence. That will (hopefully!) help matters.

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horizon
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Re: Why Are You Not Wearling a Helmet?

Postby horizon » 19 Sep 2014, 10:49am

I've no evidence for my assertions (just reflection :) ), but I'm trying to imagine how a boy or girl of say 10 (that was my age when I first ventured out on a main road alone on a bike) grows into a person that believes he or she needs to wear a helmet. You've already factored in what happens when you ride no hands or take corners too fast and you're not nervous in traffic. The risks are in a sense accounted for.
When the pestilence strikes from the East, go far and breathe the cold air deeply. Ignore the sage, stay not indoors. Ho Ri Zon 12th Century Chinese philosopher

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meic
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Re: Why Are You Not Wearling a Helmet?

Postby meic » 19 Sep 2014, 10:55am

My seven year old daughter has already picked up that "it is alright not to wear a helmet".

She used to always wear her helmet because it was "part of the kit" and she loved wearing the kit. She still adorns her helmet when she has put on cycling shorts and shirts for a proper ride. Most definitely if we are going for her Go-ride with her cycle club. However she is now not bothering with the helmet for small fun rides, like when I bring her bike with me to meet the school bus.

Neither of her parents even own a cycle helmet and her big brother hasnt worn his for years that I have seen.
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Lance Dopestrong
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Re: Why Are You Not Wearling a Helmet?

Postby Lance Dopestrong » 19 Sep 2014, 11:04am

meic wrote:She used to always wear her helmet because it was "part of the kit" and she loved wearing the kit.


Same with my 3 year old. She adores her Peppa Pig cycle helmet and mitts, although at the moment its balance bike only or trailer. She sees Daddy in his kit and wan't to follow suit, although strapped into the trailer I reckon she's pretty safe should I fall off or the trailer overturn, so I'd have no qualms if she didn't want one. My 17 year old is now old enough to make her own decisions, and she rides without - fine by me.

My 22 and 26 year old girls have never worn lids. Of course, when a 40 tonner ploughs across you it matters not one jot what you're wearing, you're stuffed.



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TonyR
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Re: Why Are You Not Wearling a Helmet?

Postby TonyR » 19 Sep 2014, 6:31pm

Vorpal wrote:
rmurphy195 wrote:Which leads on to another aspect of many of the discussions I see on this and other forums - we see a lot of comments about risk, but when I did risk analysis at various depths as part of my job, there were 2 initial aspects - What is the risk of something happening, and what is the impact if it does. Then we go onto to mitigation or redesign strategies based on a combination of the score (High risk + high impact = 9), or the level of impact ("It's got a low risk of happening but if it does the business fails, so we'd better think of something").

'We'd better think of something' could be a knee-jerk reaction that includes all sorts of things that don't actually work.

IMO, a risk assessment system that doesn't include verification of the mitigating actions is an inadequate system.

In other words, do you have any evidence that the mitigation will be effective?

If not, you'd better think of something else

Also, according to the heirarchy of controls, personal protective equipment is the very last thing that should be implemented.


The unintended consequences of mitigtion are also relevant. After the Hatfield rail crash which shut down the railways, there was a significant and totally predictable increase in road traffic. You can easily estimate that the incremental road death toll from that extra traffic exceeded the death toll in the crash in just a few weeks. And yet the railways were shut down for months. As a public risk mitigation it was a disaster that killed far more people than keeping the railways open and taking the increased risk would have. There are elements about the helmet situation that are similar.

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pjclinch
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Re: Why Are You Not Wearling a Helmet?

Postby pjclinch » 22 Sep 2014, 10:46am

horizon wrote:I've no evidence for my assertions (just reflection :) ), but I'm trying to imagine how a boy or girl of say 10 (that was my age when I first ventured out on a main road alone on a bike) grows into a person that believes he or she needs to wear a helmet. You've already factored in what happens when you ride no hands or take corners too fast and you're not nervous in traffic. The risks are in a sense accounted for.


I don't think it's much to do with risk, I think it's primarily a case of people taking themselves too seriously, especially as they get older. With UK cycling dominated to the extent that it is by Enthusiasts I think it's the case that as one enters that particular peer group there is a perception that it is right to grow from being someone that happens to ride a bike to being A Cyclist. And Cyclists tend to wear Proper Cycle Clothing, and that includes a helmet.

As I trundle in to work most morning on my Brom in my work clothes I am typically passed by be-lycra-d and lidded folk on rather serious racing/touring/mud-plugging machinery, and they'll lose all of that time advantage changing when they arrive. If you cut back 20 years to my Helmet Years I'd be one of those people too... It's about wearing a uniform, it's not much to do with safety. Again, ask me that 20 years ago and I doubt I'd have seen eye to eye with it. I think I'd have told you it was Common Sense, and Daft Not To.

See Also, the people that used to tramp around country parks as kids in jeans and trainers suddenly finding it necessary to wear walking boots and head-to-toe Goretex or down to do the same thing as adults. After all, you need that ankle support and hypothermia can be a killer, etc., and it's nothing to do with wanting Toys that say "I don't just do this as a hobby, I'm serious about it!".

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Re: Why Are You Not Wearling a Helmet?

Postby Bicycler » 22 Sep 2014, 12:44pm

pjclinch wrote:
horizon wrote:I've no evidence for my assertions (just reflection :) ), but I'm trying to imagine how a boy or girl of say 10 (that was my age when I first ventured out on a main road alone on a bike) grows into a person that believes he or she needs to wear a helmet. You've already factored in what happens when you ride no hands or take corners too fast and you're not nervous in traffic. The risks are in a sense accounted for.


I don't think it's much to do with risk, I think it's primarily a case of people taking themselves too seriously, especially as they get older. With UK cycling dominated to the extent that it is by Enthusiasts I think it's the case that as one enters that particular peer group there is a perception that it is right to grow from being someone that happens to ride a bike to being A Cyclist. And Cyclists tend to wear Proper Cycle Clothing, and that includes a helmet.

I don't doubt that there is a lot of that going on when it comes to purchasing cycle kit but it doesn't explain the way that helmets are worn by people who wouldn't consider themselves cyclists and don't wear any of the other gear (except maybe hi-vis). I think it has more to do with what people are told about helmets being necessary and "life saving". Many will just have accepted that helmets are an important safety item for cyclists. Others will just have tired of being lectured. Those of us who don't wear a lid will know how many times we have to justify our decision to others. How many times do we hear on here of people who wear helmets because their spouses insist? It is slowly becoming a choice between wearing a helmet or being willing to debate them ad nauseum.

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Re: Why Are You Not Wearling a Helmet?

Postby pjclinch » 22 Sep 2014, 1:10pm

Bicycler wrote:I don't doubt that there is a lot of that going on when it comes to purchasing cycle kit but it doesn't explain the way that helmets are worn by people who wouldn't consider themselves cyclists and don't wear any of the other gear (except maybe hi-vis). I think it has more to do with what people are told about helmets being necessary and "life saving". Many will just have accepted that helmets are an important safety item for cyclists. Others will just have tired of being lectured. Those of us who don't wear a lid will know how many times we have to justify our decision to others. How many times do we hear on here of people who wear helmets because their spouses insist? It is slowly becoming a choice between wearing a helmet or being willing to debate them ad nauseum.


Horizon's comment was (I felt) in the context of folk who'd grown up without "realising that helmets were vital" (including people like me). These days it is the case that People Who Ride Bikes are typically coming to it from the sort of background radiation you mention that in places like the UK you are practically sure to fall off and suffer from a fractured skull should you not be wearing one.

Back in 2006 I had a letter published in the BMJ, part of which said:
When asking why the UK public (including its legislators, civil servants, journalists, and doctors) has lost its confidence in the safety of cycling, a highly plausible answer is the extraordinary amount of time, money, and effort spent telling us that cyclists are in terrible danger so they should wear a helmet. In comparison, pedestrian safety campaigns do not tell us we are always in terrible danger without a piece of armour: they tell us we are typically quite safe if we behave sensibly, which is also true for cyclists.


Plus these people will see the vast majority of Cyclists around them in lids. If the people who presumably know what they're at do that then it's probably important, yeah?

Having said all this, at least around Dundee it seems to be the case that more and more People Who Ride Bikes are doing without. Good for them, I say!

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Re: Why Are You Not Wearling a Helmet?

Postby Bicycler » 22 Sep 2014, 1:43pm

Good for all of us :)

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Lance Dopestrong
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Re: Why Are You Not Wearling a Helmet?

Postby Lance Dopestrong » 22 Sep 2014, 5:55pm

I don think helmet wearers should be pressured not to wear lids, and non lid wearers should not be pressured to wear one, just so long as both are educated in the pros and cons and has made their decision.

I say good on them regardless of their head attire, or otherwise. Cycling is under enough pressure from son may different directions from the outside that we're stupid to entrench ourselves against each other from within over something like this. Do what you think is best for you, and let others do the same.
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Re: Why Are You Not Wearling a Helmet?

Postby Bicycler » 22 Sep 2014, 6:31pm

Lance Dopestrong wrote:I don think helmet wearers should be pressured not to wear lids, and non lid wearers should not be pressured to wear one...

Agreed.
...just so long as both are educated in the pros and cons and has made their decision

Doesn't really bother me to be honest. People can do as much or as little research as they want to do. With so much about the efficacy of helmets being disputed it would be hard to provide an objective list of pros and cons and any attempt to 'educate' could easily descend into zealotry. If people/organisations could refrain from telling others that they should (or must) wear a helmet and everybody could just get on with wearing whatever they preferred then that would be fine
Lance Dopestrong wrote:I say good on them regardless of their head attire, or otherwise. Cycling is under enough pressure from son may different directions from the outside that we're stupid to entrench ourselves against each other from within over something like this. Do what you think is best for you, and let others do the same.

I don't think anybody has a dislike of people who wear helmets or disagrees with people being free to choose to wear them. We would all agree that it is better to have people cycling no matter what they wish to wear. The risk is not that somebody will stop those who wish to wear helmets from wearing them, it is that people who do not wish to wear them will be forced to wear them both through club/event policies and eventually through legislation. Many clubs and organised events already mandate or "strongly advise" helmets which either excludes or deters non-helmeted riders. There is already enough zeal in some quarters to campaign for compulsory helmet laws. I am in no doubt that the biggest obstacle to any such legislation is that the majority of people who cycle do not wear helmets. Once we are a significant minority the calls will grow ever louder.

So it is good for choice that a decent proportion of people feel that they can ride without a lid. It also gives a better image of the safety of cycling if some everyday cyclists are seen to ride bareheaded. If all wear helmets it gives the impression that cycling is a dangerous activity and that helmets are required. If everyday cyclists are seen helmetless it doesn't give that impression of danger and indicates that wearing helmets is a matter of personal choice not a mandatory part of cycling or "just common sense" versus "having a death wish".
Last edited by Bicycler on 22 Sep 2014, 6:49pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Lance Dopestrong
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Re: Why Are You Not Wearling a Helmet?

Postby Lance Dopestrong » 22 Sep 2014, 6:40pm

I doubt such a law will ever come, if only for purely pragmatic reasons. M[vimeo][/vimeo]ost existing legislation from lighting to RLJ ing is largely unenforceable, so it seems unlikely we'll have another unenforceable law foisted upon us.

That said, there is one risk that it might, and that's the unelected EU lawmakers. They pushed for leg protectors on motorbikes, even though the research proved they saved riders legs at the expense of tearing them in half at the hip. They imposed DRLs for cars, despite their being no evidence that they actually improve accident rates, and some evidence to suggest they can increase the odds of certain type of collision. If these Muppets ever have a mind to do it they won't care about proof, or evidence, no coherent or rational argument against will sway them, they'll just push to do. These lawmakers are unelected and unaccountable. They're the Agent Smith of legislation.
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