Near miss, saved by helmet.Lesson learned

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mnichols
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Re: Near miss, saved by helmet.Lesson learned

Postby mnichols » 19 Aug 2014, 1:22pm

Just out of interest, after 135 posts, 1050 views, upteen stats, charts and points of view: Has anyone changed their personal opinion enough to affect their actions, i.e., is there anyone that will now start or stop wearing a helmet when they wouldn't have done before?

Psamathe
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Re: Near miss, saved by helmet.Lesson learned

Postby Psamathe » 19 Aug 2014, 2:31pm

mnichols wrote:Just out of interest, after 135 posts, 1050 views, upteen stats, charts and points of view: Has anyone changed their personal opinion enough to affect their actions, i.e., is there anyone that will now start or stop wearing a helmet when they wouldn't have done before?

My opinions are more of a continuum rather that a yes/no (wear/don't wear).

And the earlier parts of this thread have probably moved me closer towards the "not wear" end of the scale. I did find the link to the BMJ letter particularly interesting.

Ian

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Re: Near miss, saved by helmet.Lesson learned

Postby fast but dim » 19 Aug 2014, 2:47pm

mnichols wrote:Just out of interest, after 135 posts, 1050 views, upteen stats, charts and points of view: Has anyone changed their personal opinion enough to affect their actions, i.e., is there anyone that will now start or stop wearing a helmet when they wouldn't have done before?


I suspect that the majority of people go from no helmet > helmet, and not the other way.

I never used to wear one, but no one did.
I bought one in the early 90's, and never wore it, riding all over Europe in my 20's, and not owning car riding all over for work.
I started cycling seriously again in 2000 ish. club rides and TT's. I wore the lid for TT's, but not to ride there or back. At this point I had a kid, and the risk- benefit ratio changed, so I wore it more often,
I got back into club riding this winter, and see a helmet as a necessity in fast paced group rides. Left it off occasionally for flat solo rides, and slow family rides.
Fell off last week, from now on it'll be part of my cycling outfit. If I wear padded shorts I'll wear the lid.

You can produce whatever statistics you want: there's no substitute for personal experience. I can't see any real negative to helmet wearing, and have experienced a positive.

Facts are stubborn, statistics are more pliable. Mark Twain.

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Re: Near miss, saved by helmet.Lesson learned

Postby alant82 » 19 Aug 2014, 3:03pm

So let's see, you rode your bike no-handed and fell off, hitting your head. As a result you will always wear a helmet from now on, as you can see no negative to wearing a helmet. If that were me, I'd be thinking: as a result I will always keep my hands on the handlebar, as a I see no negative to always keeping my hands on the bars.
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Re: Near miss, saved by helmet.Lesson learned

Postby pjclinch » 19 Aug 2014, 3:17pm

fast but dim wrote:
mnichols wrote:Just out of interest, after 135 posts, 1050 views, upteen stats, charts and points of view: Has anyone changed their personal opinion enough to affect their actions, i.e., is there anyone that will now start or stop wearing a helmet when they wouldn't have done before?


I suspect that the majority of people go from no helmet > helmet, and not the other way.


But let's think about why... I've changed both ways, back in the late 80s I started wearing one because it was Common Sense, it was starting to get Dangerous Out There, etc. etc. and more and more people were starting to say they were a useful thing. That doesn't take any sort of detailed investigation, it just takes going along with the groundswell around you. Changing back was a lot harder. It involved a great deal of detailed reading of very dull literature, pitched at a level beyond what most people have available to them and that they can understand, working very hard to overcome my in-built prejudices of 10 years wearing one for every trip and trying to see the issues as objectively as possible.

So yes, more people have gone from nothing to a helmet... but amongst scientifically literate people with access to the literature who have taken the trouble to bother going through it, I suspect the traffic isn't quite so biased in that direction.

fast but dim wrote:You can produce whatever statistics you want: there's no substitute for personal experience.


This is clearly wrong. There are quite a few people who have been unfortunate enough to experience traumatic train accidents, but have never been in a traumatic car accident. So according to their personal experience, for which there is apparently no substitute, trains are far more dangerous than cars. Which is not so...

Personal experience will be swayed by relatively uncommon events. Statistics, done properly with a suitable sample size, generally won't, which is most of the point. Personal experience will also be swayed by apparently related things that don't actually mean much, so if we look at this year's Tour we can see cycling is "clearly" very dangerous with lots of accidents, 3 GC contenders dropping out injured, all sorts of talk about dangerous stages, video montages of crashing pelotons etc. etc. It's like basing my perceptions of driving to Tesco on saloon car racing: cars are involved, but there's a bit more to it than that.

fast but dim wrote:I can't see any real negative to helmet wearing, and have experienced a positive.


Okay, since the greatest number of traumatic brain injuries arise from trips and falls keep it on all the time you're walking anywhere, particularly if you're using stairs, or untreated pavements after frost. Wet bathrooms are a major cause of head injury too, so make sure you wear one getting in and out of the bath. After all, there's no real negative, so what reason is there not to?

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meic
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Re: Near miss, saved by helmet.Lesson learned

Postby meic » 19 Aug 2014, 4:28pm

mnichols wrote:Just out of interest, after 135 posts, 1050 views, upteen stats, charts and points of view: Has anyone changed their personal opinion enough to affect their actions, i.e., is there anyone that will now start or stop wearing a helmet when they wouldn't have done before?


It is something that I would never even have considered as being worthy of consideration.

There was a time when everybody cycled without helmets and there still are countries where this remains the case. The problem, to which these claim to be an answer, was not a problem that was important enough to be given consideration.

Now it has become a fashionable subject and if somebody raises the issue often enough, it starts to give it more substance, you spend more time dwelling on the possibility of this terrible accident that will need a helmet to protect you or even as they claim to save your life.
Some call it scaremongering.

If I really ever got convinced by this hype and thought there was a high enough probability of a serious injury to justify the wearing of something to save my life, I would just not put myself in that position in the first place. There are bits of road that I consider unsafe to ride, so I dont ride on them. There are speeds of descent that I consider risky on hills (I really dont like gravel rash) so I dont go that fast, I also have at least one hand ready to grab the bars when riding no handed. :wink:

The helmet debate puts far more weight and emphasis on what is probably the very least important thing to consider as a cyclist. That is why wiser people have put it in a ghetto.
The argument goes on forever because there is very little evidence out there that helmets make any difference either way. If there was some good evidence proving the point either way then minds could change but in my case that would more likely result in stopping cycling than wearing a helmet.
When my friends have a nasty crash and go to hospital (just heard one this weekend) my thoughts are to take that bit of road with a bit more caution rather than to wear a helmet.
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Re: Near miss, saved by helmet.Lesson learned

Postby fast but dim » 19 Aug 2014, 4:33pm

Your "you don't wear a helmet whilst doing x " tenous at best personally I think they are irrelevant.

I go winter climbing, (only easy routes) and don't wear a helmet. I have no idea of the statistics, but suspect it's safer to wear a helmet whilst doing it, but I've done it for years with no ill effect, but suspect if I have a near miss Ill start to wear one. Maybe I'll just re-consider the risk vs the benefits, and just buy one.

I've recently retired from competitive Judo. I was unusual in that I always wore a gumshield, even in training: I chipped my teeth a coule of times, weighed up the risk-benefit ratio, and bought a decent gumshield. I certainly didn't read the British dental journal before making the decision. I wonder if anyone has choked to death on a gumshield? Does that make wearing a gummie more dangerous than wearing one, statistically?

See a pattern? I'd like to think it's learning from experience.

Before you point out I was riding non handed, can you produce any empirical evidence that it's safer to ride with both hands on the bars? or are you willing to state from your experience that it "just is"?

I'll still ride non handed, I'll just be more careful when doing so.

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Re: Near miss, saved by helmet.Lesson learned

Postby MartinC » 19 Aug 2014, 4:54pm

fast but dim wrote:...................I've recently retired from competitive Judo. I was unusual in that I always wore a gumshield, even in training: I chipped my teeth a coule of times, weighed up the risk-benefit ratio, and bought a decent gumshield. I certainly didn't read the British dental journal before making the decision............................


Hmmmm. The function of a gumshield is to help prevent head injury by enabling more muscles to resist rotation of the head in impacts. Perhaps a little research would help. There's quite a lot that needs understanding.

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Re: Near miss, saved by helmet.Lesson learned

Postby meic » 19 Aug 2014, 4:56pm

Your "you don't wear a helmet whilst doing x " tenous at best personally I think they are irrelevant.


I dont think this was a question for me, as I havent said as much but I will answer anyway.

We are born without helmets, we dont wear helmets normally.
We only wear helmets when we make a conscious decision to do so, sometimes that is because we are ordered to do so or we see a significant enough risk to benefit from wearing one.

For some reason (which totally baffles me) cycling has been singled out as being such a risk activity compared to so many other equal or higher risk activities, for which wearing a helmet is considered ridiculous.

With motorcycles it was done as a direct response to a lot of serious head injuries and helmets were produced with the ability to mitigate these injuries to a noticeable extent, there are few other activities that really make us feel obliged to wear a plastic hat, I have had a few head injuries in my life but never from falling off a bike.
Really the emphasis should be to justify why cycling needs a helmet rather thinking that it is different just because people in this country suddenly think that is the case without any good reason ever coming up.
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Re: Near miss, saved by helmet.Lesson learned

Postby meic » 19 Aug 2014, 5:07pm

Before you point out I was riding non handed, can you produce any empirical evidence that it's safer to ride with both hands on the bars? or are you willing to state from your experience that it "just is"?


This is self evident and you can easily prove it yourself, if you are brave enough.
You dont have to prove it though, you are no doubt willing to accept on faith that if you had your hands on the bars you would have controlled the bike against the wind. You have the experience of the past that every time you lost control no-handed you regained it using a hand.
If you want proof just go out and try two similar rides in a windy environment, each time that you try you will get the same result. Though I am sure there are exceptions for the like of McGaskel.

Unfortunately the replicating of the effect of the helmet in a crash is much more painful and certain to create injury in both trials so we cant really test it scientifically, ethically.

Despite all that, I fully agree that just because something has not been shown through scientific method that doesnt mean it isnt the case.
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Re: Near miss, saved by helmet.Lesson learned

Postby Phil Fouracre » 19 Aug 2014, 5:11pm

Yes! See (TonyR), it's got to 10 pages, I was right. Now the burning question, has anyone changed their opinion about wearing a helmet. Some more great thoughts, but, I've not seen anything to change my cranial attire; Buff in winter, baseball hat! In the summer. Sun shining, so off out on the bike, floppy hat and shades, byeee!
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Re: Near miss, saved by helmet.Lesson learned

Postby TonyR » 19 Aug 2014, 5:24pm

fast but dim wrote:You can produce whatever statistics you want: there's no substitute for personal experience.


Ah yes, that time honoured approach that led doctors to bleed people and feed them arsenic to cure their ills while wafting posies of herbs around to protect themselves from the plague. That convinced people the earth was flat and at the centre of the universe and led to doctors encouraging people to smoke for their health. And even today is leading people in Africa to drink salt water (and kill themselves doing it) to protect them from Ebola. Of course its very effective because very few of the people who drink the salt water will contract the disease.

I think though we've moved on these days, except with cycle helmets it seems, to having evidence based interventions.

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Re: Near miss, saved by helmet.Lesson learned

Postby TonyR » 19 Aug 2014, 5:27pm

Phil Fouracre wrote:Yes! See (TonyR), it's got to 10 pages, I was right. Now the burning question, has anyone changed their opinion about wearing a helmet. Some more great thoughts, but, I've not seen anything to change my cranial attire; Buff in winter, baseball hat! In the summer. Sun shining, so off out on the bike, floppy hat and shades, byeee!


See Phil Fouracre, you're back. Clearly can't resist coming back to read more of it.

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Re: Near miss, saved by helmet.Lesson learned

Postby pjclinch » 19 Aug 2014, 5:49pm

fast but dim wrote:Your "you don't wear a helmet whilst doing x " tenous at best personally I think they are irrelevant.

I go winter climbing, (only easy routes) and don't wear a helmet. I have no idea of the statistics, but suspect it's safer to wear a helmet whilst doing it, but I've done it for years with no ill effect, but suspect if I have a near miss Ill start to wear one. Maybe I'll just re-consider the risk vs the benefits, and just buy one.

I've recently retired from competitive Judo. I was unusual in that I always wore a gumshield, even in training: I chipped my teeth a coule of times, weighed up the risk-benefit ratio, and bought a decent gumshield. I certainly didn't read the British dental journal before making the decision. I wonder if anyone has choked to death on a gumshield? Does that make wearing a gummie more dangerous than wearing one, statistically?

See a pattern? I'd like to think it's learning from experience.


Statistics allows you to learn from everybody's experience, not just your own.

Winter climbing without a helmet... not terribly bright, because when you're seconding your leader is above you hacking away at a sheet of ice with an axe (or two) and crampons and it will bring debris down, some of it sizeable, and gravity ensures it will be heading your way. That's not a matter of stats, it's a matter of the simple mechanics of the activity: you will be in the firing line of falling objects that are steered your way by gravity, so there are very good reasons things will hit you on the head (and practical experience dating back to the 80s backs that up, btw). Cycling, if you're not racing or on dodgy surfaces, there's no particular reason you should fall off. and even if you do no compelling reason to bang your head.

Judo without a gum shield... my daughter's sensei (with a Coommonwealth Medal to her name and a brother who's up near the top of Scottish Judo's coaches, so she probably knows her stuff) doesn't particularly recommend them. My daughter hasn't chipped a tooth doing judo, but she has chipped a tooth in a swimming pool. So "obviously" she should wear a gum shield for swimming, if she's learning from that experience?

That you are remarkably inconsistent with your PPE choices shows that personal experience is not the trump card you seem to think. Sorry, but helmets for riding a bike while not for winter climbing... deary me.

fast but dim wrote:Before you point out I was riding non handed, can you produce any empirical evidence that it's safer to ride with both hands on the bars? or are you willing to state from your experience that it "just is"?


You can produce it yourself. Try negotiating a pothole and then a busy road junction first with your hands on the bars and then without. See which one works better (my own experience is primarily Moultons, Bromptons, an 8 Freight and a Streetmachine 'bent which have pretty much zero fork trail and don't work no-handed, though I have certainly tried).

fast but dim wrote:I'll still ride non handed, I'll just be more careful when doing so.


I'll still ride without a helmet, I'll just be careful when doing so. You can do that too. It means not having accidents to start with, which I think is better than having them with some fairly dubiously reliable PPE.

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Re: Near miss, saved by helmet.Lesson learned

Postby fast but dim » 19 Aug 2014, 6:25pm

MartinC wrote:Hmmmm. The function of a gumshield is to help prevent head injury by enabling more muscles to resist rotation of the head in impacts. Perhaps a little research would help. There's quite a lot that needs understanding.


Get that from boxing site? In Judo and wrestling they're worn primarily to stop you teeth getting chipped. :roll:

pjclinch: you state your daughter's sensei doesn't recommend gummies: not many judoka's do ( as stated ) I don't know why. I wore one for rugby, boxing and wrestling, and so continued to wear one for judo. I've never chipped teeth with one in, and have done so when I've not bothered to. I'm not talking little kids Judo, which is why your daughter analogy is useless.

As for my ppe choices, I know theyr'e inconsistent. I should wear a helmet when scrambling, but don't, mainly because I come from an era where no-one really wore them, hate wearing them and don't want to buy something I won't really use. I am really careful when winter mountaineering, and have been going out for the last 20 plus years with no incident.... sound familiar :wink:

I knew a couple of pages in this thread was going no where - but I'm laid up on crutches and bored, so have stuck with it. At one point I was getting wound up, but we all know what they say about arguing on the internet :D but I'm just amused now.

For some reason the arguments all read like Americans who are afraid the government are out to take their guns from them, which is not a good thing.

I have learned that if you ride sensibly, choose your roads carefully and maintain your bike you are staistically no safer wearing a helmet than not wearing one, statistically, which is why, when I pop the shops I don't wear one. I'll certainly wear one the next time I go out on a chain gang ( which hopefully won't be too soon) even if it puts me at risk.

I've also learned that hi-viz is less visible than black, stastistcs are never misleading, statisticians are more intelligent than than average Joe, academic studies are always correct in their findings, clinical scientists are always right, anyone who wear a helmet is misguided......oh, and I would have been OK if I'd fallen off my bike last Tuesday without a helmet.

I really wish I'd not mentioned I was glad I had a helmet on when I fell off. I know what this sub section is like.

Clipless pedals anyone?