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

Tangled Metal
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Re: Do you wear a helmet?

Postby Tangled Metal » 23 Feb 2015, 1:12pm

beardy wrote:They would be harder to hide, I fear. 8)


Not in all situations. Reflectives need light to hit them to work and orange.yellow hi-viz can in some circumstances be less noticable. Or so I have been told in ahi-viz thread before now. Get the screen background colour right and it will be hard to spot!!!!! Sorry Mate I Didn;t See Your thread!!! :D

pwa
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Re: Do you wear a helmet?

Postby pwa » 23 Feb 2015, 1:16pm

This thread is about helmet use, where I am more than happy to say that anyone who has looked into the matter will conclude that protection is limited to certain types of impact, and not wearing a helmet does not put people at much greater risk.

The point I made about lights and hi-viz (and I did mean hi-viz with reflectives) was simply to illustrate the point that some protective measures are so obviously useful that waiting for someone to produce evidence is a waste of time. And as someone who cycles and drives in a rural I think cycling at night without good lights and some reflective / hi-viz clothing shows a lack of what my mother used to call "common sense". When I am driving I frequently remark to my (bored) passenger just how visible a distant cyclist is because of what they are wearing. This thread is about helmets, so please don't spend too long on this example.

AlaninWales
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Re: Do you wear a helmet?

Postby AlaninWales » 23 Feb 2015, 1:25pm

pwa wrote:The point I made about lights and hi-viz (and I did mean hi-viz with reflectives) was simply to illustrate the point that some protective measures are so obviously useful that waiting for someone to produce evidence is a waste of time.

There was a woman walking a (rural) road near me, who knew that hi-viz was "so obviously useful" that she was happily walking into town at night. The reason I didn't drive into her was because my reaction when dazzled by the oncoming bus headlamps, was to slow down and stop before I entered a part of the road that I hadn't seen to be clear. When the bus had passed by, there she was in the carriageway with nowhere to escape to (large drop to the river on the left). I gave her a lift into town and as she got in the car she said "You saw my hi-viz jacket didn't you?" - no I didn't, just a blank darkness behind the (dipped) bus headlights.

"Obviously useful" is a dangerous way to judge putative "protective measures".

beardy
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Re: Do you wear a helmet?

Postby beardy » 23 Feb 2015, 1:32pm

My analogy would be that the nice EN471 jackets are good things that really stand out in many circumstances, yet will not save you from a good many other things, rather like motorcycle helmets.

I see cycle helmets as the equivalent of one of those reflective teddy bears they give kids to hang off their rucksacks.

Vorpal
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Re: Do you wear a helmet?

Postby Vorpal » 23 Feb 2015, 2:07pm

pwa wrote:This thread is about helmet use, where I am more than happy to say that anyone who has looked into the matter will conclude that protection is limited to certain types of impact, and not wearing a helmet does not put people at much greater risk.

The point I made about lights and hi-viz (and I did mean hi-viz with reflectives) was simply to illustrate the point that some protective measures are so obviously useful that waiting for someone to produce evidence is a waste of time. And as someone who cycles and drives in a rural I think cycling at night without good lights and some reflective / hi-viz clothing shows a lack of what my mother used to call "common sense". When I am driving I frequently remark to my (bored) passenger just how visible a distant cyclist is because of what they are wearing. This thread is about helmets, so please don't spend too long on this example.

I'm sorry, but I must reiterate that there is no such thing as a 'no brainer'.

What if there was evidence that wearing a helmet put an individual at slightly greater risk by wearing a helmet? Would you still wear a helmet?

Or, for that matter hi-viz? Would you say it was common sense, then?

This thread may be about helmets, but IMO, it is relevant to discuss other 'safety' equipment for cyclists because many people use the same 'common sense' argument about helmets and conspicuity garments. And furthermore pressure to use these items is often used as an excuse not to do anything else.

This study shows a non-significant increased risk associated with the wearing of conspicuity aids http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/12855/ At any rate, it does not produce the improvement in crash rates that would be expected of something that is just 'common sense'.

This study shows some mixed results http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/ar ... 7513005113 including
During dark conditions, crude estimates indicated that reflective clothing or other items, red/orange/yellow front upper body clothing .... were estimated to increase the odds of a [motor vehicle (MV)] collision.
and
One or more visibility aids reduced the odds of a bicyclist MV collision resulting in hospitalization.


Very often, the reaction to increased attention on cyclists safety is to increase the the pressure for the use of personal safety equipment. To simply accept them without evidence is problematic, and IMO, just encourages people to carry on with the biggest red herrings in road safety.
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pjclinch
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Re: Do you wear a helmet?

Postby pjclinch » 23 Feb 2015, 2:20pm

pwa wrote:
When I am driving I frequently remark to my (bored) passenger just how visible a distant cyclist is because of what they are wearing.


That's why I started wearing hi-viz. I subsequently stopped when I further noticed that although I do see dayglo a lot further out, it's never obviously been the case that I've got dangerously close to someone because they weren't wearing it. I don't really care if I'm seen a mile away or 100m.

I also went through a phase of cursing of cursing the invisible idiots I'd just seen... and then realised that was a contradiction in terms.

pwa wrote:This thread is about helmets, so please don't spend too long on this example.


Though as far as people choosing to use either it's the same general principle in each case. It's superficially "obvious" that you'll be better off with the widely promoted safety gear. But when you start looking at the nitty-gritty it turns out to be a bit more complicated than that with things not performing as you might expect and the rationalisations applied to safety gear for one activity are dismissed as irrelevant for another equally risky activity that would benefit just as much from the same interventions.

When epidemiologist, science-evidence writer and practitioner Ben Goldacre and professor of public understanding of risk David Spiegelhalter write a BMJ editorial that could be paraphrased as, "It's actually really complicated and really hard to come to any strong conclusions beyond we really can't be sure," it's a pretty good indication that the harder you look, the murkier it gets.

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honesty
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Re: Do you wear a helmet?

Postby honesty » 23 Feb 2015, 2:28pm

pwa wrote:This thread is about helmet use, where I am more than happy to say that anyone who has looked into the matter will conclude that protection is limited to certain types of impact, and not wearing a helmet does not put people at much greater risk.

The point I made about lights and hi-viz (and I did mean hi-viz with reflectives) was simply to illustrate the point that some protective measures are so obviously useful that waiting for someone to produce evidence is a waste of time. And as someone who cycles and drives in a rural I think cycling at night without good lights and some reflective / hi-viz clothing shows a lack of what my mother used to call "common sense". When I am driving I frequently remark to my (bored) passenger just how visible a distant cyclist is because of what they are wearing. This thread is about helmets, so please don't spend too long on this example.



Nope. Still cant tell if you are being sarky or not...

pwa
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Re: Do you wear a helmet?

Postby pwa » 23 Feb 2015, 2:35pm

But my "common sense" is based on evidence. It's just that the evidence is mine. I like bright yellow tops with plenty of reflective areas not because it looks good in the mirror (it doesn't) but because when I drive I notice people wearing those garments much more quickly than people not wearing those garments. It helps me as a driver. I know that as a fact because I have experienced it. There are going to be specific circumstances where that type of clothing won't help, but for a lot of the time at night it will.

If I read an academic study that contradicts what first hand experience tells me to be true I will read it but I will not necessarily accept it. Academics get things wrong too.

(I don't think I'm being sarky at the moment)

beardy
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Re: Do you wear a helmet?

Postby beardy » 23 Feb 2015, 2:48pm

I for one agree with you but think, all those times you spotted a cyclist because of their Hi-viz, how far away were they?

In most cases you would spot them without, a little later but still in good time.

I do think though there are times, probably enough to make it worthwhile, when they do make the difference between being seen in time, or not.

My personal fear as driver and cyclist, is things that are hidden by bright lights from other sources.

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Re: Do you wear a helmet?

Postby Vorpal » 23 Feb 2015, 2:50pm

pwa wrote:But my "common sense" is based on evidence. It's just that the evidence is mine. I like bright yellow tops with plenty of reflective areas not because it looks good in the mirror (it doesn't) but because when I drive I notice people wearing those garments much more quickly than people not wearing those garments. It helps me as a driver. I know that as a fact because I have experienced it. There are going to be specific circumstances where that type of clothing won't help, but for a lot of the time at night it will.

If I read an academic study that contradicts what first hand experience tells me to be true I will read it but I will not necessarily accept it. Academics get things wrong too.

(I don't think I'm being sarky at the moment)

There is plenty of evidence that reflective garments can make cyclists visible earlier (as you have experienced). And also some evidence that reflectives on their legs will make them recognised earlier as cyclists. But this improved visibility doesn't appear to translate into benefit in avoiding a collision. The most frequently proposed expalanation is risk compensation.

The arguments really are very similar to the helmet ones. A benefit can be obtained in some circumstances, but it doesn't translate into improved safety for cyclists.

Both of these, IMO, distract people from the real issues relating to road safety.
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mjr
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Re: Do you wear a helmet?

Postby mjr » 23 Feb 2015, 2:53pm

pwa wrote:But my "common sense" is based on evidence. It's just that the evidence is mine.

I think it's common sense to accept data as stronger evidence than anecdotes... but the problem with common sense is that it isn't as common as you'd hope!

I like bright yellow tops with plenty of reflective areas not because it looks good in the mirror (it doesn't) but because when I drive I notice people wearing those garments much more quickly than people not wearing those garments. It helps me as a driver. I know that as a fact because I have experienced it. There are going to be specific circumstances where that type of clothing won't help, but for a lot of the time at night it will.

Where is the evidence that it helps keep people any safer? This is just like the helmet problem: it does something if you define the test narrowly enough but there isn't good evidence that it has a positive real-world outcome.

Also, anyone who needs such help to drive safely does not meet the required standard for a driving licence and should stop immediately. I'm sure there are quite a few around but the sooner they are removed from the roads the better, preferably through honesty or policing. Or maybe we should install some lo-viz objects on carriageways and anyone who hits them with their car has their driving licence revoked? :twisted:
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Re: Do you wear a helmet?

Postby [XAP]Bob » 23 Feb 2015, 2:59pm

There is a reason high vis is used on railways - a train driver needs to be reacting a mile or more in advance of the bodies on the track ahead of them, because trains really don't stop very quickly.

On the road you simply don't need such distant identification, so whilst "can see from further away" might be true that makes no difference so long as the "can see from far enough away" has been achieved.

Of course since we expect to be able to see pedestrians or a variety of other objects in the road without them being painted is daft colours it's not beyond the wit of man to realise that the "far enough" bar is really quite low, and easily surpassed.
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Re: Do you wear a helmet?

Postby pwa » 23 Feb 2015, 3:10pm

Mjr

if you are saying that I am wrong to try to make myself more visible on the road because other road users have no right to expect it, I have to say that's an argument I've not heard before. If you want to be difficult to see in order to make a point that's up to you.

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Re: Do you wear a helmet?

Postby mjr » 23 Feb 2015, 3:22pm

pwa wrote:if you are saying that I am wrong to try to make myself more visible on the road because other road users have no right to expect it, I have to say that's an argument I've not heard before. If you want to be difficult to see in order to make a point that's up to you.

That's almost it. I was stating the argument that it's wrong to ride around plastered with very bright clothing because it's being an enabler for motorists who should have scaled back already, whether to slow down or stop driving. If it has no safety benefit, then the likely main victim is yourself (wasted money), whereas if it works, then the likely main victim is anyone else who isn't plastered and is hit by an enabled motorist who expects riders to be plastered. Either way, everyone else suffers from being expected to ride around plastered, so wearing hi-vis at night is basically an anti-social act with no evidenced safety benefit.

This isn't about being difficult - this is about showing care for the welfare of other perfectly legal riders.
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Re: Do you wear a helmet?

Postby kwackers » 23 Feb 2015, 3:24pm

pwa wrote:If you want to be difficult to see in order to make a point that's up to you.

Difficult to see? Or perhaps just a bit less visible?

I wish life were that simple. I'd love to think that wearing hi-vis will get me seen, just as I'd like to think that wearing a hat would reduce the chances of some nasty injury or death.

Peoples brains don't really work like that. They may well spot you half a mile away but within a few seconds you're relegated to the background noise. The only way you re-enter their consciousness is if you make an 'unexpected' manoeuvre.
In that respect it might even be safer to be spotted later forcing the driver to make a decision then before they have a chance to forget about you.

You'd be daft not to wear hi-vis because if you get squashed you're pretty much handing the driver a free 'get-out-of-jail-card' (and probably their insurance too). IME though being visible doesn't have any correlation with being seen.