he is a bad man!

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martinn
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he is a bad man!

Postby martinn » 24 Apr 2015, 6:21pm

Hi all,

I was called this by a collegues young (Aged 15) son who spotted me as I was cycling home, and came out with the title comment becasue I dont wear a Helmet.
I spoke to my collegue about this and all his friends who ride wear helmets and we were of the opinion that the schools are doing a really "good" job of teaching youngsters that if they ride/ scoot/ other wheeled transport except a car, they must wear a helmet.

If you dont wear a helmet you are seen as a risk taker or a bit of a renagade.

So judging by the type of comments I get at work,(Most people who know me know not to discus it now), but the younger staff are really amazed that i ride without a helmet.
bit of a ramble, but this sort of ties into my thoughts that the "battle" if you like, to keep freedom of choice for individuals to choose to wear a helmet or not is already "lost", and this will simply not be an issue for those growing up now, compulsion is inevitable, and just simply a matter of time.

Martin
(Bad day at the office)

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Heltor Chasca
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Re: he is a bad man!

Postby Heltor Chasca » 24 Apr 2015, 6:55pm

See I think you were having a bad day Martin and you've got the wrong end of the stick. He was paying you a compliment in teenage talk.

Youz a bad man. You are just totally sick innit? Brrrup.

Have a good day Sir...b

Steady rider
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Re: he is a bad man!

Postby Steady rider » 24 Apr 2015, 6:55pm

A similar view could have been formed in the early 1990s but now in 2015, 20+ years later, we still have choice.

There is a need to explain the helmet topic to the general public. Possibly a group ride to TV stations and someone explain the aspects. As it now stands individuals will encounter similar comments from either children or rude adults pressing their view onto other people.

martinn
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Re: he is a bad man!

Postby martinn » 24 Apr 2015, 9:19pm

Thanks helter, you made a bad day better, made me smile :)

Steady Rider I agree with you that you need to get the evidence in the media, but I don't think that's a real possibility, except as portrayed in a slightly wacky alternative viewpoint, edited in a way to ridicule the idea.
Even if you could get a serious programme to examine the pro and cons, and provide an evidence based evaluation of how and when a helmet might be effective, I don't think the audience would be willing to listen. I work with individuals who are supposed to use evidence in every aspect of their work, but refuse to even entertain any other view except that everyone should wear a helmet and its obvious that they work.

Glass is definitely half empty today
Martin

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mjr
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Re: he is a bad man!

Postby mjr » 24 Apr 2015, 10:22pm

Come for a ride in King's Lynn. Helmet use seems to have nosedived. I don't know why. It was about 10-15% on Wednesday evening when I was counting. It's mainly the sportspeople wearing them, plus a few commuters.
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
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Si
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Re: he is a bad man!

Postby Si » 25 Apr 2015, 9:42am

If I didn't know better I'd almost think it was partly class related. When I train adults to ride in more middle class areas the majority decide to use a plastic hat. Whereas when I've been in 'deprived' (according to the council) areas many fewer wear them.

Although it does also depend on what the other instructors tell them....it's very sad that so many cycling instructors don't understand the plastic hat debate. When they ask me my stock reply is: you are not required to wear one by law,- as you are learning to ride you may fall off and thus a helmet may save you from some minor cuts and bruises while riding around the practise area, but chuck yourself under a car and it ain't going to do diddley apart from maybe limit the area of brain splatter on the road a bit.

Steady rider
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Re: he is a bad man!

Postby Steady rider » 25 Apr 2015, 12:29pm

Research has found that the poorer areas tend to have lower wearing rates and probably a higher rate for cycle use.

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Re: he is a bad man!

Postby Bicycler » 25 Apr 2015, 4:33pm

Si wrote:Although it does also depend on what the other instructors tell them....it's very sad that so many cycling instructors don't understand the plastic hat debate.

Really oughtn't the question of how to deal with the helmet issue be addressed In instructor training? Then again, I guess if one party (LA, provider, School...) is insisting that children wear helmets whilst doing Bikeability it would rather be undermined if you were to tell them that it was rightly a matter for their own personal choice.

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Re: he is a bad man!

Postby mjr » 25 Apr 2015, 10:07pm

Si wrote:If I didn't know better I'd almost think it was partly class related.

Yep. We've got no class here :lol:
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
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pjclinch
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Re: he is a bad man!

Postby pjclinch » 26 Apr 2015, 9:45am

Bicycler wrote:
Si wrote:Although it does also depend on what the other instructors tell them....it's very sad that so many cycling instructors don't understand the plastic hat debate.


Really oughtn't the question of how to deal with the helmet issue be addressed In instructor training? Then again, I guess if one party (LA, provider, School...) is insisting that children wear helmets whilst doing Bikeability it would rather be undermined if you were to tell them that it was rightly a matter for their own personal choice.


Up in Scotland where the training framework is provided by officially helmet-neutral Cycling Scotland we're gradually moving away from Helmets == Good, No Helmets == Irresponsible/Dangerous/Stupid but it's incremental because so many folk on the ground are still convinced they're an absolute win. Including quite a few people holding training qualifications, and people in the schools/LAs that actually roll out the training on the ground.

It's very difficult to get people to push a syllabus point they don't believe in, never mind one they assume is actively bonkers. Cycling Scotland do have a (neutral) helmet briefing but they don't really push it. Looking at their materials and talking to the folk concerned they are walking a pretty tricky line that's somewhere between what IMO we should be saying and what we can rely on getting said out there in the schools. For teachers who have well-meaningly been telling their kids for years that they're Doomed if they don't dress in building-site chic it's a pretty tricky thing to throw that all away. Discarding that requires a personal acknowledgement that not only you've had it wrong, but you've advised hundreds of children passing through your care something that is wrong and actually potentially injurious to their long term health. Not an easy nettle to grasp, especially if you understandably worry that the New (and not intuitively correct) Line might get some of the children seriously hurt or dead.

Bikeability Scotland 2 requires us to discuss the pros and cons of helmets to underpin informed choice. This is as it should be, and I devote a classroom session to it, particularly including that a decision to wear or not should be respected by others. However, given the number of trainers (mostly volunteers up here, typically parents of young children who've been sold Helmets == Good, No Helmets == Irresponsible/Dangerous/Stupid) who aren't that well informed on The Great Helmet Debate I doubt it's very widely or well done. And if Cycling Scotland give the sort of briefing that states loudly the helmet equivalent of news that the Earth Goes Around The Sun, I suspect a lot of folk will write off the whole programme as the work of dangerous idiots.

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

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Re: he is a bad man!

Postby Bicycler » 26 Apr 2015, 10:07am

And if Cycling Scotland give the sort of briefing that states loudly the helmet equivalent of news that the Earth Goes Around The Sun, I suspect a lot of folk will write off the whole programme as the work of dangerous idiots.

Aren't you walking that line anyway with your radical notions of children being safe to cycle in the road and encouraging them to position themselves in the traffic stream rather than against the kerb or on the pavement? On the face of it, getting cyclists to think about how much they can realistically expect from helmets would fit in quite well with the way they are expected to rethink some of their other basic assumptions about cycling safety. I'm not sure anyone wants an anti-helmet brainwashing session. However it cannot be a bad thing to give trainees the knowledge that there is a debate about effectiveness and instil the idea that, however effective they are, they do not ensure cyclist safety on the road.

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pjclinch
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Re: he is a bad man!

Postby pjclinch » 26 Apr 2015, 1:36pm

Bicycler wrote:
And if Cycling Scotland give the sort of briefing that states loudly the helmet equivalent of news that the Earth Goes Around The Sun, I suspect a lot of folk will write off the whole programme as the work of dangerous idiots.

Aren't you walking that line anyway with your radical notions of children being safe to cycle in the road and encouraging them to position themselves in the traffic stream rather than against the kerb or on the pavement?


Oh, nobody much knows about that stuff. The kids are sent out, we're presumed to be getting them to practice waving at people in The Approved Way inna more-or-less Cycling Proficiency stylee, we bring them back and folk are typically not much bothered by the detail. OTOH, Everybody Knows that the really important thing is wearing a Magic Plastic Hat. And while the class teacher's materials go on about positioning I wouldn't be at all surprised if it doesn't really register that part of that is actually putting yourself deliberately in the firing line.

Bicycler wrote:On the face of it, getting cyclists to think about how much they can realistically expect from helmets would fit in quite well with the way they are expected to rethink some of their other basic assumptions about cycling safety. I'm not sure anyone wants an anti-helmet brainwashing session. However it cannot be a bad thing to give trainees the knowledge that there is a debate about effectiveness and instil the idea that, however effective they are, they do not ensure cyclist safety on the road.


Thoroughly agreed, which is why I put such a proposal in the last time the National Standards Outcomes were revised. Not entirely surprisingly, nothing came of it.

On the plus side, though, take a look at The Association of Bikeability Schemes' front web page and it's clear that the message of preaching normality recommended by Get Britain Cycling is gaining at least some traction. http://www.tabs-uk.org.uk/ Another recent helpful sign is Sustrans' latest revision of its helmet policy, http://www.sustrans.org.uk/about-us/our-position/our-position-use-bike-helmets, especially as Sustrans have quite an input in to training.

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

Zigster
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Re: he is a bad man!

Postby Zigster » 27 Apr 2015, 9:19am

I posted recently about a very similar issue. A surprising number of the women in my village (and it is always women who are mothers of youngish children) challenge me on my lack of a helmet when riding to and from the station, to the shops, etc (I do wear one on my long sports rides - I know that doesn't make total sense, but it's more around putting on a sporting outfit for a sporting activity).

In at least one case, a mum's children now also challenge me on it. This mum used to a nurse and claims to have seen "countless" cyclists in A&E with serious head injuries.

I have tried a few times to explain my position, but you'd have thought I'd said Jimmy Saville was just a bit misunderstood from her reaction.

I'm also a Cub Scout leader - the Scouting organisation's stance on helmets appears to be "no helmets, no cycling" which might well pander to the precious parents uninformed views but I'm always disappointed they can't apply a bit more intelligence to it - seems to me that it would be a positive for Scouts to challenge the narrative and allow their youth members to think for themselves a bit more.

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Re: he is a bad man!

Postby pjclinch » 27 Apr 2015, 9:54am

Zigster wrote:I posted recently about a very similar issue. A surprising number of the women in my village (and it is always women who are mothers of youngish children) challenge me on my lack of a helmet


Oh, we're more egalitarian around here. Taxi and van drivers of a male disposition will vent their fury at me to.

Zigster wrote:In at least one case, a mum's children now also challenge me on it. This mum used to a nurse and claims to have seen "countless" cyclists in A&E with serious head injuries.


That may be true... she could be too dumb to be able to count...

Zigster wrote:I'm also a Cub Scout leader - the Scouting organisation's stance on helmets appears to be "no helmets, no cycling" which might well pander to the precious parents uninformed views but I'm always disappointed they can't apply a bit more intelligence to it - seems to me that it would be a positive for Scouts to challenge the narrative and allow their youth members to think for themselves a bit more.


Part of the problem is that most of this advice is now quite old and when it comes to revising safety in what superficially appears to be a loosening of standards it's very, very hard to get any movement. Britsih Cycling are a good case in point: cycling is their core business, their policy advisor is one of the most clued up people in the country on the matter and he goes out of his way to demonstrate his views on prime-time TV, but they still have terrible trouble letting go of the notion that you're bound to be better off in a helmet. It's hardly surprising that the Scouts, much further removed from leading edge thinking on the matter, aren't moving fast.

But write to Scout Towers and have a moan: if people don't then the assumption is it's okay. Point out, for example, Tim Gill's well thought of, evidence based, child-centred "Cycling and Children and Young People" (free download at http://www.ncb.org.uk/media/443203/cyclingreport_2005.pdf which concludes the case has not yet been convincingly made
for the compulsory use or promotion of cycle helmets
, and the latest revision of the Sustrans helmet policy (We support the individual’s freedom of choice whether to wear a cycle helmet or not, and for parents to make that choice for their children.
Helmet wearing isn't a legal requirement in the UK, and the evidence is inconclusive as to whether it makes cycling safer.
)

Moaning campaigns take time. It took me two years, ultimately involving my MSP and the Scottish government minister, to have Road Safety Scotland stop telling us helmets are "essential", but I got there in the end.

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

nez
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Re: he is a bad man!

Postby nez » 27 Apr 2015, 9:58am

The funny thing is people obsessed with helmets tend not to wear gloves. Picking gravel out of your palm is no fun!