Let''s start another helmet debate . . .

Commuting, Day rides, Audax, Incidents, etc.

Re:Let''s start another helmet debate . . .

Postby phooey » 15 Dec 2004, 5:29pm

Nigel, you're right.
Jim S - I'm convinced. I'll never wear a helmet again.

Furthermore I'm going to start a campaign highlighting the sheer stupidity of wearing a helmet - based on your irrevocable scientific argument - right this minute.


you are clearly very bright people...


Re:Let''s start another helmet debate . . .

Postby Pete » 22 Dec 2004, 4:26pm

Phooey, I'm afraid "nul points" for thinking and reasoning. To take your "argument" about being hit on the head with an iron lump, there are several obvious holes in it.

First, do you find it's something that happens to you a lot on a bike? Any more so than as a pedestrian? If the iron lumps you refer to are cars, the accident figures suggest it isn't more of a problem for cyclists than pedestrians, so if you follow your own "reasoning" you must wear a helmet to go walking. Do you?

Next problem, I bash you on the rib cage with a lump of iron, so given the option do you prefer to wear MTB body armour? Very probably, so you always wear MTB body armour to potter down to the shops on a bike? Really?

If your reasoning isn't consistent with itself and/or your personal actions it's bad reasoning. My reasoning is simply that there is no good evidence of helmets saving serious head injuries in road accidents, depsite lots of data existing that /should/ show such an effect if it actually happened. If you know otherwise, please let us know where it can be found.

Or if you're just a troll, back under your bridge. This is too important a matter to joke about.



Re:Let''s start another helmet debate . . .

Postby Etapeless » 23 Dec 2004, 9:22am

Mm, interesting debate and one I think will never be resolved... I CHOOSE to wear a helmet whilst on the bike but will always oppose legislation forcing that view on others... food for thought, living in Carlisle (Eric Martlews constituency) I would prefer his efforts to go on improving the quality of many of the roads and creating USABLE cycle paths in my region, THAT would make cycling safer!


Re:Let''s start another helmet debate . . .

Postby Pete » 23 Dec 2004, 9:49am

I'm sorry about this, but cycle paths, even when qualified by "usable", necessarily making cycling safer is another sacred cow that doesn't often stand up when you look closer at it. The problem is that when laid alongside an existing road network it is simply impossible to avoid numerous right of way conflicts (i.e., junctions), and it's these places that most accidents happen. All that a cycle track really saves you from is being tailended, but that is actually a rare form of accident.

Even the purpose built and well separated Milton Keynes "Redways" don't have any better a record than normal roads for cyclist safety. Though the Dutch cycle path network is often held up as a great example of How It Can Be Done, it should be noted that the Dutch share roads with cars in many places and as you'll find out in a weekend cycling around Amsterdam, the real difference is motorists seeing you and giving way to you, even when they have right of way. I really noticed this at cycle path/road junctions, where obviously I had to contend directly with traffic despite being on a Magic Path.

Cycling often has its daners wildly overestimated. For a good start on finding about the real risks have a look at http://bmj.bmjjournals.com/cgi/content/ ... /7276/1582

The fact is we're already pretty safe if we play by the rules. See John Franklin's "Cyclecraft", Publisher: The Stationery Office Books, ISBN: 0117020516 for how to best play by those rules. Handing out a copy of Cyclecraft with every new bike would do a damn site more for safety at a much lower cost than building cycle lines or wearing foam hats.



Re:Let''s start another helmet debate . . .

Postby CJ » 23 Dec 2004, 3:05pm

The big difference is that cycle paths in Holland/Denmark/Germany/Switzerland/Austria ... almost anywhere in Europe except Little Blighty, do have right of way over side roads. In Holland you may have noticed the white painted "sharks teeth" either side of the path where it crosses a road. Whoever the teeth point at has to give way.

Another reason motorists in these countries yield even when it doesn't look like they have to, is they really have to. If they don't but they could have, and a collision results, it will be judged their fault. That's because in those countries motorists have a statutory duty of care to do all in their power to avoid collisions with more vulnerable road users.

So that's two things we need to be in place before we agree to any more hole-in-the-corner cycle paths. Make that three things: a statutory minimum width of 2m one-way or 3m two-way (rather than as narrow as they can get away with) and at least as smoothly and evenly surfaced as the adjacent road.


Re:Let''s start another helmet debate . . .

Postby Gad » 24 Dec 2004, 6:54pm

I wear my helmet for 99% of my yearly mileage and about 80% of my yearly trips.
I don't wear it when I can't see for sweat running into my eyes (anyone remember summer?).
I don't wear it when I'm shopping in the village because I'm not likely to fall off and IF I'm hit by a car it will hit me at 40mph and the helmet is a waste at that energy level!
John Franklin see his site at (http://www.lesberries.co.uk/cycling/cycling.html ) also points out that a helmet CAN make a twisting blow far worse.
If I'm made to wear a helmet 100% of the time I will be leaving a living will to sue the individual MPs who voted for compulsion in the event I suffer such an injury.
As an Ex-Motorcyclist of the age to remember the imposition of Helmets for Motorcycling, I feel we have missed the point of specefication. A Motorcyclist travelling at a modest 50mph can expect his helmet to offer some protection against penetration and a significant level of protection against impact.
If you read the spec' for a cycle helmet you get none of the above from even the best road helmet. The level of protection is such that at 25 mph plus you may as well take it off. Fall off at the lights and hit your head on the kerb and it MAY save you a nasty injury. As I live in County Durham and descend hills at 45mph at times I suffer no illusions that a fall or collision is BIG TROUBLE! The helmet at that speed is a waste of time and weight.
Finally, compulsory wearing of helmets is another way of blaming the victim for the accident. Joe speeder says in court, 'The cyclist wasn't wearing a helmet when I hit him at 80mph so it's his fault he's dead.' and the helmet lobby is playing into those hands. Lets stop it now and IF compulsion comes in you'll find me at in the town centre without my helmet, please join me.


Re:Let''s start another helmet debate . . .

Postby nigel » 8 Jan 2005, 3:29pm

Well said Gad.

Phooey seems to have gone quiet - a shame because I really wanted to wallop a piece of scaffolding down on your foot to see if it hurt. Or do you only wear steel-toecapped sidis? Or are you still in hospital recovering from the broken ribs that Pete gave you?

Pete - your suggestion for handing out copies of 'cyclecraft' with every new bike is excellent; one of the most sensible comments of all to come out of this silly debate. I wish I'd never started it.


Re:Let''s start another helmet debate . . .

Postby Andrew » 11 Jan 2005, 1:33pm

A quick question for Pete: You said that: "To quote David Jamieson, our pro-helmet roads minister with teams of civil servants combing the data looking for a positive benefit of helmets beyond saving a graze and bump, "the Government knows of no case where cyclist safety has improved with increasing helmet use"."

Would if be possible to provide a reference for this?


Re:Let''s start another helmet debate . . .

Postby Pete » 17 Jan 2005, 4:14pm

The quote from David Jamieson is from a written reply he made to a question, I think (though am not 101% sure) a Parliamentary one.



Re:Let''s start another helmet debate . . .

Postby Tim » 4 Feb 2005, 9:47pm

The pro-compulsion lobby know that helmets will reduce cycling. No exercise as kids (look at the graphs on the CTC website) and you've got them for life. Roll on more motorways - how better to promote car use now that the public are actually getting concerned about global warming?
I can see 2 reasons to choose to wear them though. First, it stops you having to explain why you're not wearing them to all the well-meaning folk who've no reason to be aware of the reality, already well-described by Pete. Second, with a helmet on , in a severe accident, you'll probably die quick from a rotational neck injury, rather than survive with brain damage if you weren't wearing one.
Maybe another option is to carry one, and put it on after coming off the bike, before hitting anything with your head. Now, where's that clown mentioned above, to teach me how to do this?