The helmets thing

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.
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[XAP]Bob
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Re: The helmets thing

Postby [XAP]Bob » 27 Jul 2015, 3:25pm

And assuming that the few ounces of polystyrene would do much good anyway...
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pwa
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Re: The helmets thing

Postby pwa » 27 Jul 2015, 4:20pm

It is not the fact that I am cycling that makes me want a helmet on my head: it is that I am moving at above running speed and if anything goes wrong (dog runs out, I misread a potholed bit of road, etc) I have potentially quite a bit of momentum to deal with. That bit of polystyrene on my head is not the only thing I do to make me safer / less at risk. It is just that bit extra. For me ( and, I suspect, for many other people) a cycle helmet is a humdrum bit of kit that does not signify that the activity is particularly dangerous. It is part of "normal" behaviour. It is no more abnormal than putting on a safety belt in a car. Safety belts are not worn for non risky activities beyond using a motor vehicle, but do we feel greatly in danger every time we belt up? No.

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pjclinch
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Re: The helmets thing

Postby pjclinch » 27 Jul 2015, 4:48pm

pwa wrote:It is not the fact that I am cycling that makes me want a helmet on my head: it is that I am moving at above running speed and if anything goes wrong (dog runs out, I misread a potholed bit of road, etc) I have potentially quite a bit of momentum to deal with. That bit of polystyrene on my head is not the only thing I do to make me safer / less at risk. It is just that bit extra.


The real harmer for your head is the vertical component, unless you go in to a horizontal constraint. You've got a better chance of a really good headache falling down the stairs, because you've got more vertical component of acceleration on to a constrained stop. Accident statistics show stairs to be a particularly rich source...

The extra horizontal speed will help remove more skin, but there are places far more vulnerable than you head for that. Like your legs. Ever cycle in shorts?

Not that I'm saying you shouldn't wear a helmet. If you just feel happier cycling in a helmet (and it seems you do, because of your worries described above) then that's a pretty good reason to cycle in a helmet, but in terms of actual bottom line making you safer/less at risk it's pretty questionable that a helmet will help you. Always wearing gloves, long sleeves and tough trousers is far more likely to benefit you in the event of an out-of-control dog or cunningly disguised pothole like you describe than a helmet (which will actually increase your chance of hitting your head in the first place). Again we get back to the prevailing culture informing the logic: "unplanned dismounts" are just as possible in NL, but we seem to worry far more about hitting our heads in them than the Dutch. Why is that, aside from the local culture?

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TonyR
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Re: The helmets thing

Postby TonyR » 27 Jul 2015, 7:21pm

pwa wrote:It is not the fact that I am cycling that makes me want a helmet on my head: it is that I am moving at above running speed and if anything goes wrong (dog runs out, I misread a potholed bit of road, etc) I have potentially quite a bit of momentum to deal with. That bit of polystyrene on my head is not the only thing I do to make me safer / less at risk. It is just that bit extra. For me ( and, I suspect, for many other people) a cycle helmet is a humdrum bit of kit that does not signify that the activity is particularly dangerous. It is part of "normal" behaviour. It is no more abnormal than putting on a safety belt in a car. Safety belts are not worn for non risky activities beyond using a motor vehicle, but do we feel greatly in danger every time we belt up? No.


Your choice but speeds above running speed are not far off the maximum design speed of a bicycle helmet

Steady rider
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Re: The helmets thing

Postby Steady rider » 27 Jul 2015, 7:23pm

Looking at the available data,1991 - 95, NHS hospital admissions, for primary diagnosis of head injury approximately 12k, per year about 2400, with more than half to children. Probably about 5 million kids and 5 million adults use bikes. Risk per year 10,000,000/2400 = 4166. Assuming a person cycles for 60 year, about once in 70 lifetimes of cycling they will be admitted for head injury. The data suggests that the potential benefits are relatively infrequent.

At the same time the potential disadvantages needs to be considered. Bicycling admissions about 35k, 7000 per year, so the risk of contacting the helmet is higher for helmeted. Neck injuries are reported to increase with helmet use. Head rotation may occur more often - risk of brain injury from rotation. The reported 14% extra accident risk for helmeted compared to not wearing.

Assuming helmets may prevent 40% of head injuries if all wore helmets, 2400 x 0.4 = 960 saved per year.
Assuming they increase the accident risk by the reported 14% figure, 7000 x 0.14 = 980 extra per year.
A proportion of the head injuries will be due to face impacts where a helmet may not provide adequate protection.

Assuming most cycling accidents do not involve an hospital admission, it appears wearing one increases the overall accident risk. It seems unlikely that they can provide a major social benefit. On the other hand many kids may be pressed into wearing one against their wishes and the attractiveness of cycling may be changed for some children.

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Mick F
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Re: The helmets thing

Postby Mick F » 27 Jul 2015, 7:56pm

pjclinch wrote: ..............there are places far more vulnerable than you head for that. Like your legs. Ever cycle in shorts?
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Sagwagon
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Re: The helmets thing

Postby Sagwagon » 30 Jul 2015, 7:34pm

I think one of the saddest things is the amount of so called "Road clubs" now demanding all riders wear helmets on rides. Apparently educating riders how to ride in a group is now beyond the wit of a club nowadays. The biggest laugh is they say " Oh we dont agree with compulsion but if your coming out with us then you have to " Weird ! The result of this is basically the expulsion of anyone who doesnt want to comply, regardless of how experienced a rider you are. As i said to one member of a local club recently, you will see the experienced walk away and stick with the inept. I was then treated to an explanation that the club doesnt want to be responsible for any future mental health problems resulting from falls !! To which i replied, if you`ve got members who had stated that they were scared to ride a bike without a lid on or at least felt uncomfortable then the mental health problems were already there. Its called low level paranoia. Too many people on bikes who basically shouldnt be on one i feel.

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Re: The helmets thing

Postby bovlomov » 30 Jul 2015, 8:22pm

Sagwagon wrote: Too many people on bikes who basically shouldnt be on one i feel.

Well, as an easy slogan: if it's too dangerous to ride a bike helmetless, then it it's too dangerous to ride a bike. And you're quite right, they shouldn't be riding at all. Of course it's nonsense, but that's where their logic leads.

TonyR
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Re: The helmets thing

Postby TonyR » 30 Jul 2015, 9:11pm

Sagwagon wrote:I was then treated to an explanation that the club doesnt want to be responsible for any future mental health problems resulting from falls !!


Easy, just get riders to sign a waiver. OTOH they are riding on public roads and can't stop you joining them - although if it were me they would probably manage to drop me pretty fast.

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Re: The helmets thing

Postby Bicycler » 31 Jul 2015, 4:13pm

How do courts view waivers? To what extent can event organisers lessen their liability by using them?

No court has yet accepted the argument that wearing a helmet would have made a difference to injuries sustained and the evidence is far from clear. I'd happily view it as a matter of individual choice and let some poor soul in court try and prove that a helmet would have made a difference in the event of a particular incident. I'd be much more worried about doing the hard work for them by accepting the clear benefits of helmets and advising my riders to use them. Promoting and encouraging, but not mandating, helmet use would seem a rather untenable position for an event organiser from a liability standpoint.

Manc33
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Re: The helmets thing

Postby Manc33 » 31 Jul 2015, 4:53pm

GrumpyCyclist wrote:I'll admit that my main reason for having it is to give some small protection on trails etc from lower than I expected branches rather than falling off the bike.


When one of those low branches gets snagged in the holes of the helmet and pulls you off the bike backwards (while strangling you) you might not be saying that. :P

I also wear one, but I think it gives far less "protection" than people realize.

I think the argument is true that cars are less careful around cyclists with helmets on because they have got a helmet on. Some driver observing someone without a helmet will say "Look at this idiot" but he will give them a wider berth and actually will drive more carefully around such "idiots".

My only qualm with them is that you're "legally obliged" to wear one, when you shouldn't be - it's your body and in the real world no one can tell you stuff like that, regardless of what spin is put on it. "You might fly off and collide with someone and hurt them with your head" go on say it! Now, maybe if there were a recorded case of that happening I might be able to consider it as something that could happen. People live in an illusion honestly.
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Bicycler
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Re: The helmets thing

Postby Bicycler » 31 Jul 2015, 5:35pm

Manc33 wrote:My only qualm with them is that you're "legally obliged" to wear one, when you shouldn't be

But you're not "legally obliged" to wear one :?

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mjr
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Re: The helmets thing

Postby mjr » 31 Jul 2015, 5:43pm

Bicycler wrote:But you're not "legally obliged" to wear one :?

"Encouraged with legal-ish menaces" may be more accurate, but there is significant uncertainty. See also http://www.cyclistsdefencefund.org.uk/c ... ts-and-law
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Re: The helmets thing

Postby TonyR » 31 Jul 2015, 9:05pm

Bicycler wrote:How do courts view waivers? To what extent can event organisers lessen their liability by using them?

No court has yet accepted the argument that wearing a helmet would have made a difference to injuries sustained and the evidence is far from clear. I'd happily view it as a matter of individual choice and let some poor soul in court try and prove that a helmet would have made a difference in the event of a particular incident. I'd be much more worried about doing the hard work for them by accepting the clear benefits of helmets and advising my riders to use them. Promoting and encouraging, but not mandating, helmet use would seem a rather untenable position for an event organiser from a liability standpoint.


What we need is someone who's come off their bike in such an event and got a head injury to sue for the injuries being worse because of the helmet. There is enough in the literature to make a good case.