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

kwackers
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Re: Do you wear a helmet?

Postby kwackers » 22 Feb 2015, 11:02am

squeaker wrote:
al_yrpal wrote:Every time I do a real ride I do.
"real": what's unreal about riding to the shops? :roll:

That is real. Utility cycling, commuting etc all count for 'real' in my book.
OTOH, going for a ride with your mates on a Sunday, that's just for fun.

There's no doubt though that the weekend warriors and part time cyclists are over-represented in the helmet wearing stakes. Us 'real' cyclists that are out there dodging traffic in the rush hour seem to have a more realistic view on helmet wearing IME.

landsurfer
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Re: Do you wear a helmet?

Postby landsurfer » 22 Feb 2015, 11:58am

Frankly I'm fed up reading "helmet saved my life" stories in the letters pages of cycling mags. I recently crashed on ice, badly cut and bruised my hip. I wasn't wearing a helmet. So what !
It was my hip that was injured, but if an ambulance had been called it would have been recorded as a cycling accident without wearing a helmet.
utter rubbish! ! !
It's just like that, it's just the way it is.
The road goes on forever.

pwa
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Re: Do you wear a helmet?

Postby pwa » 22 Feb 2015, 12:37pm

Don't wear a helmet if you don't want to. It's fine by me.

I'm a "real cyclist" if that term means much, and I've been wearing helmets for most of my riding since the 1980s. I know lots of other "real" high mileage cyclists who wear helmets. Not wearing a helmet is becoming a minority thing. But others not wearing a helmet is not something that bothers me. In fact, I don't think about it much.

Mike Sales
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Re: Do you wear a helmet?

Postby Mike Sales » 22 Feb 2015, 1:47pm

Vantage wrote: I believe the statistics showing their effectiveness largely come from reported head injuries. Not everyone reports those injuries though. I've written off two helmets in my time and neither incidents resulted in a trip to A&E. The damage done to the helmets wasn't done to my bare head.


This argument is sometimes used, but it stems from a misunderstanding of the statistical argument.

If you toss a coin once it will be either heads or tails. If you toss it 10 times you are unlikely to get 10 heads. If you toss it a thousand times the result will be fairly close to 500 heads and 500 tails.

If you count the number of road casualties in a country you will find that the number is fairly constant, or at least conforms to a slowly changing trend. I cannot be bothered to look up Britain's casualty number last year, but we can be sure that next year it will be quite similar. If there is a large change we start to examine what caused it. There are discussions on this forum about small changes in the number of dead cyclists. We look at trends and try to draw conclusions, but this is difficult because the small changes are similar to statistical noise in magnitude.

A much quoted (by helmet advocates) study predicts helmet wearing prevents around 80% head injuries. In Australia the wearing rate went from about a third to over 90% in a year when helmets were made compulsory. The change in cyclist injury rate was barely perceptible, and if my memory serves, was in the wrong direction. This failure to achieve the desired result is the same in New Zealand and in every jurisdiction where helmets have been mandated.

http://rdrf.org.uk/2013/12/17/the-effects-of-new-zealands-cycle-helmet-law/

In attempts to reduce the effect of confounding factors the cyclist casualty rate can be compared to the pedestrian rate. They track each other.

The injuries and deaths which do not happen and so are not reported do not affect the statistical argument. They show up in the figures as a reduction in the numbers.

If you really want to study the topic of helmets read http://www.cyclehelmets.org/

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[XAP]Bob
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Re: Do you wear a helmet?

Postby [XAP]Bob » 22 Feb 2015, 1:53pm

Additionally you would expect the wearing of helmets to have no effect on limb injuries, but an effect on head injuries, so the ratio between the two should change.

This eliminates mileage differences etc between samples - even when helmet rates jump significantly that ratio simply doesn't change.

One possibility is that a collision serious enough to cause an injury is rare, but the severity required to crack (which is the case for most helmet failures I've seen) is vastly lower, so plenty of people who would have had some scratches/skin loss have suddenly had their life saved.
A shortcut has to be a challenge, otherwise it would just be the way. No situation is so dire that panic cannot make it worse.
There are two kinds of people in this world: those can extrapolate from incomplete data.

Tonyf33
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Re: Do you wear a helmet?

Postby Tonyf33 » 22 Feb 2015, 3:42pm

Vantage wrote:
Tonyf33 wrote:I think this is very pertinent, if helmets were that efficient at what people believe they are wearing them for why do the figures show (as they do in the compulsory wearing countries) that they have in essence ZERO effect on injuries/head injuries despite the huge swathes of helmet wearers :?:


Not really wanting to get into yet another "they do work / they don't work" dabate, but I believe the statistics showing their effectiveness largely come from reported head injuries. Not everyone reports those injuries though. I've written off two helmets in my time and neither incidents resulted in a trip to A&E. The damage done to the helmets wasn't done to my bare head.
Saying a helmet offers no protection is like saying shoes offer no protection. But I wonder how many people would turn up to their doc with cuts and blisters if not for the minimal cushioning from shoes.

SO what you're saying is by wearing a helemt you're having more incidents, as it is across the board of helmet wearers, can you not see the correlation there? Can you not extract from the firm data we do have from Aus & NZ that wearing helmets just do not work, on an individual basis it might seem they do, but statistically they clearly don't.

irc
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Re: Do you wear a helmet?

Postby irc » 22 Feb 2015, 4:38pm

Vantage wrote:Saying a helmet offers no protection is like saying shoes offer no protection. But I wonder how many people would turn up to their doc with cuts and blisters if not for the minimal cushioning from shoes.
[/quote]

Actually going barefoot is perfectly possible without injury. When I was a child in Canada my siblings and I often didn't wear shoes during the summer holidays. The skin pretty soon toughens up and injuries are very rare. But then the two things are not comparable anyway. If I was constantly putting 17 stone of weight on my head against varying surfaces while cycling I might wear a helmet. I'm not. Shoes increase comfort while helmets reduce comfort.

PS Can I say what a breath of fresh air it is being in a forum where there can be a civil discussion unlike the current thread on another forum where I'm called "stupid" and told I should pay for any injuries sustained while cycling (whether the driver is at fault or not.)
Last edited by irc on 23 Feb 2015, 9:47pm, edited 1 time in total.

pwa
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Re: Do you wear a helmet?

Postby pwa » 22 Feb 2015, 5:09pm

As someone who has been a helmet wearer for more than 20 years I have to admit that in all that time (3 - 5k miles per year) I've not banged my head whilst cycling once.

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[XAP]Bob
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Re: Do you wear a helmet?

Postby [XAP]Bob » 22 Feb 2015, 9:09pm

I'v only managed it on the garage door/wall whilst helmet wearing, rarely/never whilst not.

The helmet is a size I'm simply not used to...
A shortcut has to be a challenge, otherwise it would just be the way. No situation is so dire that panic cannot make it worse.
There are two kinds of people in this world: those can extrapolate from incomplete data.

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mjr
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Re: Do you wear a helmet?

Postby mjr » 22 Feb 2015, 10:06pm

Paulatic wrote:Off road riding = always
Commuting = in the winter
Club rides = in the winter
Touring = never, just another bloody thing to carry about.

Is it "What is an example of risk compensation?", Alex? :lol:

I stopped wearing one because the extra weight was injuring my neck. I was then rather shocked to discover that modern helmets are LESS protective than the 1990s ones I started wearing (absence of rock- shaped impact test from EN test which has basically replaced the Snell one). I fear most helmet wearers are hoping to defend against impacts which most helmets are untested against. Happily, most riders here don't wear helmets, although a slender majority of touring group riders do and racers, sportivers and charity fundraisers are required to because BC draws no distinctions.
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.

landsurfer
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Re: Do you wear a helmet?

Postby landsurfer » 22 Feb 2015, 10:33pm

The next time we see one of our "cycling warriors" riding along the road with a camera mounted on his helmet ask yourself what happened to Michael Schumacher ...
The helmet mounted camera was driven into his brain by the fall .....
What a loss... and I don't even like F1.
Styrene based helmets are not a good place to mount anything.
An entire generation of children and parents have fallen for the statement " helmets keep you safe" .
The ultimate "risk compensation" lie.
"I'm indestructible daddy, I'm wearing a helmet" ...
As they ride into the path of the HGV.
We're doomed...

Remember this old chestnut, "The safest car has no seat belts and a spike on the steering wheel" .
Risk Compensation Rule No. 1.
It's just like that, it's just the way it is.
The road goes on forever.

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RickH
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Re: Do you wear a helmet?

Postby RickH » 23 Feb 2015, 12:11am

landsurfer wrote:The helmet mounted camera was driven into his brain by the fall .....

Have you some evidence for that?

Articles such as this Telegraph one suggest that the camera mount possibly caused the helmet to break. It is also reported that the camera was undamaged which contradict the "camera was driven into his brain" scenario.

Alexandra Williams in the Telegraph wrote:Experts from ENSA, the world-renowned ski and climbing academy in the French ski resort of Chamonix, have conducted tests to determine whether the presence of a solid object between a helmet colliding with a rock would weaken the structure.

The helmet smashed – but the camera he had attached to it, in order to record him and his son skiing, was undamaged. The footage, audio and visual, has provided police with crucial information about the crash.


Rick.

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pjclinch
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Re: Do you wear a helmet?

Postby pjclinch » 23 Feb 2015, 9:01am

Vantage wrote:
Not really wanting to get into yet another "they do work / they don't work" dabate, but I believe the statistics showing their effectiveness largely come from reported head injuries. Not everyone reports those injuries though. I've written off two helmets in my time and neither incidents resulted in a trip to A&E. The damage done to the helmets wasn't done to my bare head.
Saying a helmet offers no protection is like saying shoes offer no protection. But I wonder how many people would turn up to their doc with cuts and blisters if not for the minimal cushioning from shoes.


If helmets mitigated serious injuries in to minor ones to a significant degree then the serious injury rate should go down. It doesn't appear to.

Saying helmets offer no protection is indeed lazy. It should be qualified in to something like they appear to offer no consistently useful protection against serious injury. There isn't convincing evidence that wearing a helmet on a journey makes you more likely to finish it without a serious injury. (There's not really any evidence one way or the other that your chances of finishing the journey without a minor injury change either way. You can reasonably expect (from the materials used, not injury studies) that if you hit a protected part of your head you'll have less of a headache and more complete skin cover.)

The shoes analogy would make a lot more sense if we banged our heads as often as we press our feet against hard/sharp/abrasive surfaces. Can't speak for you, but that's not really the case for me. As it happens I routinely go barefoot in benign foot-friendly places, and I regularly wear sandals to go mountaineering in summer, and my feet are not regularly mutilated despite many assumptions that they must be battle-scarred puddings because I don't clump about in protective boots everywhere. I find that the old "look where you're going" system reaps dividends.
I work next to a walking/footwear research place, and have the occasional natter with the folk there. I learned that in places with walking populations and a lot of bare feet there are actually more doctor-worthy injuries to people wearing shoes...

Back to helmets, the basic known effect against serious injury for a notional cyclist starting a notional journey (not "in an accident", you have to account for the possible increase in chance of being in an accident) is zero plus or minus error bars. Difficult to say how big those error bars are. The basic effect against minor injuries is unknown (as you point out, data is not reliably collected), but they're minor. If you bang your head on a bike significantly often that you'd collect minor injuries I would suggest you wear one. If you don't then it's something of a moot point.

Pete.
Often seen riding a bike around Dundee...

Thermostat9
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Re: Do you wear a helmet?

Postby Thermostat9 » 23 Feb 2015, 9:47am

honesty wrote:Yes because my wife would only let me cycle if I did and its not worth the argument!

I've never owned one, nor has my wife. She even took her (second-hand) Volvo to the garage to get the pointless daytime headlights switched off (too new to remove the little Allen head screw - has to be done with the diagnostic computer) :D

pwa
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Re: Do you wear a helmet?

Postby pwa » 23 Feb 2015, 10:22am

Landsurfer

as a contented helmet wearer and father I encouraged my kids to wear helmets but did not insist upon it. I never told them that a helmet would make them safe, just that it would give extra protection against some sorts of accident. I always told them that riding out of a T junction without looking and getting run over by a lorry would have the same result with or without a lid. There are some stupid people out there, so I suppose there must be some who think a lid makes you a lot safer, but I don't think most people believe that. I think most helmet wearers think their lid will help in some incidents but not in others.

We all have our own way of dealing with risks. I tend to be cautious. Others don't. I use "approved" safety measures until I'm convinced they don't work. Others use "approved" safety measures after being convinced that they do work. I was out using my chainsaw at the weekend. Chainsaw use is full of safety issues. I use all the recommended gear (boots and trousers constructed with Kevlar, highly protective gloves, and a helmet with visor and ear defenders). In 15 years of using a chainsaw I have never had this clobber save me, because I am careful in how I use the machine. But I would feel naked without the protective clobber.

Some bits of safety gear are a no-brainer. I am old enough to remember how A&E departments saw their admissions fall by a huge amount in the week when front seat seatbelt wearing was made compulsory. People who remember the carnage that used to be caused by people flying through windscreens would not want to go back. But cycle helmets are not so protective. And cycling is generally good for health. So putting helmet haters off cycling by making helmets compulsory could damage health. I will continue to wear one because I think it will help in some low velocity impact situations, but the protection level is modest and that makes me understand some choosing not to.