What would you do.....

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.
pwa
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Re: What would you do.....

Postby pwa » 8 Jun 2015, 11:53am

Having organised very small scale cycling events in the past, with children allowed, I have found that it is adequate to simply advise people to wear a helmet. I know that grates with those of you who think helmets useless, but from a pragmatic point of view (and organisers tend to be pragmatic) it gets the Health and Safety box ticked with minimal fuss and argument, allowing time for all the other stuff that has to be done. Perhaps the insurance industry is now calling the shots, taking away the organiser's discretion.

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horizon
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Re: What would you do.....

Postby horizon » 8 Jun 2015, 1:39pm

pwa wrote: it gets the Health and Safety box ticked with minimal fuss and argument, allowing time for all the other stuff that has to be done.


I agree and it also allows the organisers to stay within "family friendly" limits. Cycling events are uncontroversial*, challenge little, attract undue celebrity interest and generally try to confom to every current social stereotype. Against that background, helmets are the icing on the cake. I am appalled at just how lazy and conventional the fund raising is - same old charities, same old ethos. I don't think anyone ever got cured by a charity ride that they didn't do themselves but the organisers and medical researchers might get a flash new car on the back of it. I think the OP's dilemma sums it all up: isolate cycling in some pantomime "event" box and carry on using the car for work. It's so boringly predictable.

* Except that mass sportives are often universally hated by local residents (e.g. in the New Forest) so I am going to have to think this through. My guess is that the organisers are so confident of their own dominant social stereotype (competitive, sunglasses, labels, fitness, corporate) that they can waive two fingers at the dopey local populace.
Last edited by horizon on 8 Jun 2015, 1:40pm, edited 1 time in total.
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TonyR
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Re: What would you do.....

Postby TonyR » 8 Jun 2015, 1:39pm

Has anyone experienced enforcement of the helmet rule on sportives? I have ridden a few and can't see where they would have enforced it. Registration is away from the start line, the start line is too busy and I can't see the marshals around the course and at the feed stops being too bothered about stopping you and throwing you out of the race. So what would actually happen if you just turned up without a helmet?

Bicycler
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Re: What would you do.....

Postby Bicycler » 8 Jun 2015, 1:45pm

pwa wrote:it gets the Health and Safety box ticked with minimal fuss and argument, allowing time for all the other stuff that has to be done.

Actually I've always found the idea of advising people to wear helmets as a health and safety waiver to be rather curious. It seems more like providing your hangman with a rope. Someone at a club I was involved had this "let's advise helmets or else we'll get sued" idea years ago. I don't know whether this idea ever actually originates in any legal advice or just "common sense" as was the case with that club.

I stand by what I said at the time which was that I'd have thought it much easier to justify not taking a position on helmets. You could point to loads of other clubs/events, conflicting evidence on helmet efficacy and the advice/policies of national/international cycling organisations. Give someone else the nigh on impossible task of proving that the wearing of a helmet would have been of benefit in an individual case and that you ought to have mandated the wearing of them. If, however, you do the hard bit for them and start by taking the stance that helmets do provide a necessary safety benefit and ought to be worn by all it becomes exceedingly difficult to justify -from a pure risk assessment point of view - the fact that you allowed people to compromise their safety by not requiring the wearing of helmets.
Last edited by Bicycler on 8 Jun 2015, 2:04pm, edited 1 time in total.

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mjr
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Re: What would you do.....

Postby mjr » 8 Jun 2015, 1:55pm

Vorpal wrote:Between that and the lack of evidence that helmets actually do very much, there is little or no reason to include them in a risk assessment.

Indeed. In fact, surely trying to force unproven helmets onto participants is a sign that the organisers don't understand risk or effective steps to mitigate it?

TonyR wrote:So what would actually happen if you just turned up without a helmet?

In my experience (not sure if that coversation is visible without a facebook login - sorry), you may get away with it if the marshals don't know or don't enforce the rule, or you may be given one and told you must wear it or you will be disqualified... not that that means much if you're on public roads and don't care about the feed stations or bag of cheap plastic tat... but then, if that's their approach, isn't it better just to ride, donate the whole entry fee to the charity (maybe less the cost of your food if money is tight) and deny the helmet-forcing organising companies their profit?

British Cycling's "Lead Sportive Officer" contradicted what BC_Rec_East tweeted (mentioned in the fb discussion), said they'd tighten up this year and then stopped answering my emails, so it looks like the helmet-forcing is coming from British Cycling, brainlessly continuing their work to make everyone on a bike look like a cross between a construction worker and a nappy-wearing superhero.
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
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bovlomov
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Re: What would you do.....

Postby bovlomov » 8 Jun 2015, 2:00pm

mjr wrote: ...to make everyone on a bike look like a cross between a construction worker and a nappy-wearing superhero.

If the Village People were conceived today, surely there'd be room for a cyclist.

old_windbag
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Re: What would you do.....

Postby old_windbag » 8 Jun 2015, 2:29pm

I know I may not look brilliant in my lycra shorts but to me they're items that actually do make cycling cooler and comfortable. Helmets seem to cause much angst amongst many but perhaps just the general clothing associated lycra shorts, mitts, glasses etc may also do similar. For me they are practical and work as I'm one of those who run at high engine temperature and I'm very water cooled..... so I drip... a lot. I suppose I fit into the category of nappy wearing super hero as I wear the kit but to me its far more logical and practical than say perhaps a suit and tie is in an office. I discarded those many years ago, they can look very smart, but aren't really ideal and the function of a tie ( other than for wiping soup off your chin at dinner time :D ) is questionable.
You can cycle wearing most clothes within reason, but some bits of kit have evolved and become commonly used for genuine reasons. As the only power we have is from ourselves when riding, then for sportives I'd have thought tight lycra and aero clothing would minimse drag and help those aiming for a gold efficiently. Perhaps thats more the reason its dominant in such events, and cycling in general. Now eroica brittania on the other hand..... :) .

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mjr
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Re: What would you do.....

Postby mjr » 8 Jun 2015, 6:29pm

old_windbag wrote:You can cycle wearing most clothes within reason, but some bits of kit have evolved and become commonly used for genuine reasons.

Yes: profits. For example, if you convince the gullible to put the padding in their clothes instead of on their saddle and they have to buy one set of padding for each pair of trousers/shorts, rather than one for each bike. That's not to say that the top pro clothing isn't with reason, but most of us aren't doing those speeds and the generic discount brands seen widely on sportives aren't the same quality. That imitation clothing is about fashion, not performance.

old_windbag wrote:As the only power we have is from ourselves when riding, then for sportives I'd have thought tight lycra and aero clothing would minimse drag and help those aiming for a gold efficiently.

OK, I've seen this a couple of times so let's query it here: in the UK, sportives are not races or reliability rides or Gran Fondos, so you don't get "a gold" - everyone gets the same medal, at least in all the ones I've done/seen.
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
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old_windbag
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Re: What would you do.....

Postby old_windbag » 8 Jun 2015, 10:03pm

I thought sportives were based on awards of gold silver bronze given when you complete within a certain time. Perhaps they have different rules for different organisers but I thought the concept was you can do it as fast or slow as you like as you're not in a "race" but you can aim for the target times. On the one I did a 100 miler they definitely had time bands and your tag at each checkpoint was recorded... so as with audax any eating/stop time was accrued as part of your course time. So for a 100 miler they may have <=6hrs gold, >6hrs but <=7hrs silver, >7hrs bronze and so on. I thought it was just an incentive for people to use them as a challenging ride and have a goal.

I use several different saddles but the main one now is charge spoon... would I enjoy riding it unpadded probably not but it is a very good saddle and runs my brooks b17 very close. The brooks is good but it is heavy and you do break them in, and now an expensive fashion item( spa probably better value ). My first saddle was padded. a selle royal gel type, ok but not exceptional. For me a good padded bike short makes a difference. I'm currently riding with Aldi clothes+ altura bike shorts. I can honestly say that my aldi winter gloves £5, track mitts £3.50, windshell packable and winter cycling trousers £13 and jacket £16 are very good. Put it this way I've bought altura mitts for £20 and they've lost all support in 2yrs... I'm at year 1 for aldi mitts and still padded at £3.50. It's not all tat and I'm sure others would agree. there is a lot of emporers new clothes in cycling and personally bikes/components are way overpriced... see link below and the engineering componentry involved in that and justify bicycle costs.

http://www.lexmoto.co.uk/HT125-4F.php 1600 sold in uk, so probably not huge sales compared to say planet-x carbon etc.

Steady rider
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Re: What would you do.....

Postby Steady rider » 9 Jun 2015, 8:08am

The CTC could organise sportives and allow for non-wearers to take part. CTC members are already covered for insurance purposes so the cost of events may be reduced for CTC members. Contact with non-CTC cyclists could help the CTC to gain more members. A CTC AGM motion requesting the CTC to provide suitable events may gain support.


from page 3, is anyone attending the CTC AGM this year in London and would like to enquire if the CTC could look into the issue?

Potential benefits;
CTC members could take part if helmet wearers or not
CTC may gain more publicity and members
CTC members may be offered a reduced rate to join a ride
Other groups organising sportives may be inclined to match the CTC and allow for non-wearers

MickTheCyclist
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Re: What would you do.....

Postby MickTheCyclist » 10 Jun 2015, 12:46am

On the whole Health and Safety topic. I don't have much knowledge here but doesn't H&S legislation apply only to the workplace to make it safer for employees and customers/visitors. What H&S legislation applies to a public event on a public road? Or is 'Health and Safety' simply shorthand for 'we might be sued'.
Also if H&S is a real issue then the organiser needs to enforce a much wider set of possibilities covering brakes, steering, hairline cracks in carbon frames; all of these affect the a ferry of participants.

MickTheCyclist
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Re: What would you do.....

Postby MickTheCyclist » 10 Jun 2015, 1:02am

Anyway here's my thoughts on a possible approach. Anyone think it's worth a try.....

Northern Ireland has very comprehensive equality legislation, which basically says organisations must treat everyone equally regardless of gender, religion, sexual orientation or political views.
Helmet wearing is clearly a political issue because:
1) A helmet compulsion law was proposed and debated in the assembly
2) I actively participated in that by correspondence with my MLA during the debate and indirectly through my support and membership of CTC who gave evidence to the assembly.

So I can establish that my view on helmet compulsion is a valid political view and can demonstrate I have a history of active engagement with that view. Exclusion from this event due to my desire to ride without helmet is effectively discrimation under current NI legislation.

Thoughts?

MickTheCyclist
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Re: What would you do.....

Postby MickTheCyclist » 10 Jun 2015, 1:11am

Vorpal wrote:IMO, the only valid reason to require a helmet is that the Highway Code recommends them. But then, it should be sifficient to include a statement that participants are responsible to follow the Highway Code.


Following the Highway Code is often given as a reason why you should wear one. But the HC says you 'should' wear one; it doesn't say 'must'. The 'should' makes it a recommendation not a compulsion. So by exercising your choice not to wear one, you are following the HC perfectly. Helmet compulsion contradicts the HC.

thirdcrank
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Re: What would you do.....

Postby thirdcrank » 10 Jun 2015, 5:30am

MickTheCyclist wrote: ... Following the Highway Code is often given as a reason why you should wear one. But the HC says you 'should' wear one; it doesn't say 'must'. The 'should' makes it a recommendation not a compulsion. So by exercising your choice not to wear one, you are following the HC perfectly. Helmet compulsion contradicts the HC.


I think that's a misunderstanding of the force of the HC. Read the HC forward for an explanation of how its advice may be used in court proceedings.

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Re: What would you do.....

Postby Steady rider » 10 Jun 2015, 8:31am

Exclusion from this event due to my desire to ride without helmet is effectively discrimation under current NI legislation.


How would a case proceed and costs and would you have support from the CTC to bring a case?

The advice in the HC was added in 1993 and can be shown to be unreliable. However, it could get complicated and expert witnesses to support a case may be hard to find. Paperwork to show the advice may have been unsound can be gathered.