Do you wear a helmet?

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.

Do you wear a helmet?

Yes
36
31%
No
55
47%
Sometimes
27
23%
 
Total votes: 118

Steady rider
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Re: Do you wear a helmet?

Postby Steady rider » 20 Mar 2015, 4:47pm

Previously P/C% referred to the proportion of cyclists v pedestrians in number. I gather the graphs relate to pedal cyclists P/C so some people may be confused.

The first graph may tend to lead, i.e. show a picture that people will assume a benefit from helmet use with fewer serious injuries.
If pedestrians are added for comparison it may indicate far less of a benefit to the average viewer.

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mjr
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Re: Do you wear a helmet?

Postby mjr » 20 Mar 2015, 5:35pm

Steady rider wrote:Previously P/C% referred to the proportion of cyclists v pedestrians in number. I gather the graphs relate to pedal cyclists P/C so some people may be confused.

Oh yes sorry. The earlier use of C/P% confused me for a while and I forgot to mention the difference - P/C and P/Cycle are often used in official publications.

The first graph may tend to lead, i.e. show a picture that people will assume a benefit from helmet use with fewer serious injuries.
If pedestrians are added for comparison it may indicate far less of a benefit to the average viewer.

Plotting helmet usage %s against cycling Killed and Seriously Injureds as a % of pedestrian (left) KSIs or all KSIs (right) makes me think that the percentages don't reduce with increasing helmet use. In other words, cycle KSIs are about 6 to 9% of All KSIs and a greater proportion of helmet usage didn't reduce that (if anything, the 9% had the highest helmet usage claims). On both charts, R² is low (below 0.3). I'm not sure if there's other useful information conveyed by these plots, so I didn't publish them before.
Image Attachments
helmetscaled.png
Plots of cycle KSIs with other baselines against helmet usage %s
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
All the above is CC-By-SA and no other implied copyright license to Cycle magazine.

fluffybunnyuk
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Re: Do you wear a helmet?

Postby fluffybunnyuk » 23 Mar 2015, 6:14pm

lol 376 posts later...all i asked is if you wear a helmet.... :lol:

Steady rider
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Joined: 4 Jan 2009, 4:31pm

Re: Do you wear a helmet?

Postby Steady rider » 23 Mar 2015, 7:18pm

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-26973783
28000 deaths due to pollution, so is there a higher need to wear a face mask, 'Do you wear a face mask?'
or is the need much higher, 28000/110 = approx 254

TonyR
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Re: Do you wear a helmet?

Postby TonyR » 23 Mar 2015, 8:33pm

To lighten the tone.......
Image Attachments
ImageUploadedByTapatalkHD1427142786.092320.jpg

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SimonCelsa
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Re: Do you wear a helmet?

Postby SimonCelsa » 25 Mar 2015, 7:48am

Vote posted.

Another 'No' but not for any political reason. Being 'only' 50 I cannot remember if helmets were around when I started cycling and I've maintained the lidless approach upto now.

My youngest 2 kids wear them but my eldest daughter now doesn't bother, she's made up her own mind.

Perhaps I'm lazy, I tried SPD pedals but didn't like having to put on the special shoes every time I fancied a ride.

Each to their own and long may that remain. I'm normally fairly apathetic regarding regulations but if a helmet law was introduced I think I would wholeheartedly join this rebellion,

all the best Simon

pwa
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Re: Do you wear a helmet?

Postby pwa » 25 Mar 2015, 10:36am

Simon

helmets first became available in the shops in the mid 1980s, so they were definitely not around when you were a child. They were a bit of a novelty back then, and you needed a thick skin to wear one.

gregoryoftours
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Re: Do you wear a helmet?

Postby gregoryoftours » 28 Mar 2015, 11:33pm

I've been off and on wearing a helmet in my cycling lifetime. They've got a lot better in recent years, in terms of weight, fit, ventilation and overall comfort, but it's always nicer not to wear one, more comfortable and open, less wind noise.
The first time I got one was years ago after a nasty accident when I came off on grit going round a corner on my paper round. I smacked my head into the ground, blacked out for a few seconds and looked like Frankenstein's monster for a week.
I last bought one again after a gap of a few years a couple of years ago. Two months after I started wearing it again I came off on some black ice, I'd seen the first patch and had eased off, got past it and stood up again on the pedals and was giving it some real welly when the bike was whipped from under me like a tablecloth trick. I went down very hard on my hip and smashed my head extremely hard onto the road. If I hadn't been wearing a helmet I would have been hurt, no two ways about it. I would rather not wear one, and quite often don't, but in the event of a crash where my head's going to hit the ground I've no doubt that in most cases I'm going to be less seriously injured wearing a helmet.

drossall
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Re: Do you wear a helmet?

Postby drossall » 29 Mar 2015, 12:10am

I think everyone's going to be glad that you weren't more seriously hurt. Equally, we're all happy for you to make your own choice, whatever you read here.

But the point of discussions in this thread is that your faith in helmets is based on your faith in helmets. The statistics don't really support you. There's no real way to say what would have happened if you had been wearing one when you weren't, and vice versa.

People who are injured wearing helmets tell us that a helmet lessened the injury. People who are not injured tell us that the helmet saved them. Whatever the outcome, then, it is always evidence for the value of the helmet.

Of course, there were both good and bad outcomes before helmets. I smacked my head on the ground before helmets were invented, and would definitely have been told a helmet had saved me, if I could have been wearing one. As it was, though, I might as well argue that my lack of a helmet saved me; I've got the same evidence. Helmets could be anywhere on the scale from highly effective, through somewhat effective, then through ineffective to actively making things worse, and you'd still get some people injured wearing them, and some not, even for quite serious impacts.

That's what makes me look at statistics rather than my own experience, because statistics are my best shot at knowing in advance whether a helmet is likely to help, and at being able to compare outcomes with and without helmets. Personal experience helps with neither of those.

Mind you, the statistics don't help as much as I'd like either :(

TonyR
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Re: Do you wear a helmet?

Postby TonyR » 29 Mar 2015, 7:42am

gregoryoftours wrote:I went down very hard on my hip and smashed my head extremely hard onto the road. If I hadn't been wearing a helmet I would have been hurt, no two ways about it.


Maybe, maybe not. I came off on ice similarly at Christmas but without a helmet and my head didn't hit the road. It could be that your head would have hit the road without a helmet or it could be that your head hit the road because the helmet made your head much bigger and heavier. What might have been a 50mm gap between the road and your head could have become a contact because your helmet filled that gap.

I would rather not wear one, and quite often don't, but in the event of a crash where my head's going to hit the ground I've no doubt that in most cases I'm going to be less seriously injured wearing a helmet.


Maybe, maybe not. All we know is overall helmets confer no safety benefit which means that if you are correct, then there is at least an equal probability that you are going to be more seriously injured or else the benefit you are claiming would be visible in the stats. Either that or helmets in fact make no difference one way or the other.

The good thing though is at the moment you have the freedom to make your choice and I have the freedom to make mine. The trouble is there are lots of people who want to take that freedom away from me because of unproven and unprovable anecdotes like yours.

pwa
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Re: Do you wear a helmet?

Postby pwa » 29 Mar 2015, 10:15am

Gregoryoftours, like myself, related his own personal experience. And, like myself, he had it dismissed as an unproven anecdote. Well, all this theorising may amuse some people, but some of us have first hand experience of what can happen on the roads. We have fallen, some of us have hit our heads on the ground, and we have drawn our conclusions, one way or the other, from this direct information. To me that is more reliable than any number of academic papers. I have done academic stuff and worked with academics, and I know how unreliable their output can be. Real world experience, like that of Gregoryoftours, wins every time for me.

irc
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Re: Do you wear a helmet?

Postby irc » 29 Mar 2015, 10:21am

pwa wrote: Real world experience, like that of Gregoryoftours, wins every time for me.


My Real World experience is that in over 40 years of cycling I've never hit my head. Why should I wear a helmet. I'm not saying I'll never hit my head but my Real World experience, and the stats, tells me the risk is low enough I don't have to.

I've hurt my head more walking into cupboard doors in the kitchen. Cooking helmet?

pwa
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Re: Do you wear a helmet?

Postby pwa » 29 Mar 2015, 10:25am

Irc

I hear and respect your experience. You are telling me about conclusions drawn from life.

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Cunobelin
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Re: Do you wear a helmet?

Postby Cunobelin » 29 Mar 2015, 11:23am

mjr wrote:
Steady rider wrote:Previously P/C% referred to the proportion of cyclists v pedestrians in number. I gather the graphs relate to pedal cyclists P/C so some people may be confused.

Oh yes sorry. The earlier use of C/P% confused me for a while and I forgot to mention the difference - P/C and P/Cycle are often used in official publications.

The first graph may tend to lead, i.e. show a picture that people will assume a benefit from helmet use with fewer serious injuries.
If pedestrians are added for comparison it may indicate far less of a benefit to the average viewer.

Plotting helmet usage %s against cycling Killed and Seriously Injureds as a % of pedestrian (left) KSIs or all KSIs (right) makes me think that the percentages don't reduce with increasing helmet use. In other words, cycle KSIs are about 6 to 9% of All KSIs and a greater proportion of helmet usage didn't reduce that (if anything, the 9% had the highest helmet usage claims). On both charts, R² is low (below 0.3). I'm not sure if there's other useful information conveyed by these plots, so I didn't publish them before.



Is this important though?


The helmet is an inert piece of plastic with no function at all for most of the time!

It is only when an impact happens that any function becomes apparent

This is why most research looks at actual head injuries in cyclists and whether there was any benefit or not

Surely therefore the comparison should be of the similar pedestrian incidents

Of course the obvious reason why is that the number of pedestrian admissions far exceeds those of cyclists and any research involving ALL hed injuries requiring treatment would end up as "unequivocal" proof for pedestrian helmets

gregoryoftours
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Re: Do you wear a helmet?

Postby gregoryoftours » 29 Mar 2015, 2:35pm

TonyR wrote:
gregoryoftours wrote:I went down very hard on my hip and smashed my head extremely hard onto the road. If I hadn't been wearing a helmet I would have been hurt, no two ways about it.


Maybe, maybe not. I came off on ice similarly at Christmas but without a helmet and my head didn't hit the road. It could be that your head would have hit the road without a helmet or it could be that your head hit the road because the helmet made your head much bigger and heavier. What might have been a 50mm gap between the road and your head could have become a contact because your helmet filled that gap.

The good thing though is at the moment you have the freedom to make your choice and I have the freedom to make mine. The trouble is there are lots of people who want to take that freedom away from me because of unproven and unprovable anecdotes like yours.


No, really I can tell you my head would have hit the ground very, very hard, and I would have been a lot worse off. I am in a position to judge according to the circumstances that I experienced, and I can tell you that there was no maybe, maybe not about it in this particular case. Your experience was different.

I can understand why people react against people's personal experience of helmets 'working', because it leads into an extremely fraught debate over responsibility and blame on the road, where cyclists are second class citizens as
road users, in addition to being very vulnerable.

Anecdotes are more attractive at an emotional human level than statistics, but are open to misuse, and don't provide a broad picture. It's when anecdotes of personal experience are misused in politics, media and public debate and when deciding legislation that they become a problem, and the danger of this happening seems to be particularly strong in relation to the helmet debate. For example that whole thing of when a cyclist gets killed on the road, maybe squashed by a truck and the news reports will invariably mention that the cyclist wasn't wearing a helmet, if that was the case, implicitly attributing some level of blame to the cyclist.

However that doesn't mean that anecdotes are necessarily worthless or untrustworthy. In the case of my icy off, what is an unproven/unprovable anecdote for you is concrete experience for me, because I alone have full access to the facts of what happened and I am intelligent enough to interpret them in a reasoned way. It informed my personal decision as to whether or not to wear a helmet, as has your experience for your decision, and I interpret the original post as an invitation to state my own personal decision and the reasons for it.

I'm not saying that everyone should base their decision on my experience, and I don't think that they should. I think that everyone should make their mind up as they see fit based on their own experiences and views. But I also think that it's not really much use to tell me that my decision is flawed, because in my case real personal experience has been the exception to the statistical probability.
Last edited by gregoryoftours on 29 Mar 2015, 3:18pm, edited 1 time in total.