Event helmet cobblers

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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pjclinch
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Re: Event helmet cobblers

Postby pjclinch » 30 Apr 2019, 7:29am

Steady rider wrote:There may be many confounders but they are not forced to have much effect.


The foundation for any sort of well-done case/control is that the two groups should be near-as-dammit identical aside from your intervention (and ideally they should be randomised as to who gets the intervention and who is the control, and neither party should know which is which). This foundation is undermined by various aspects of the nature of cycle helmets and how they are used. While some confounders can be corrected for, that your main basis of testing is on shifting sands to start with is very hard to get around.

Steady rider wrote:Weaknesses with a meta-analysis approach to assessing cycle helmets <snip>


If you can't trust one paper then aggregating 100 of those isn't necessarily going to help, strikes me as the fundamental weakness there. Good science should be reproducible, but even if, say, Olivier's hand-picked cherry selection all think helmets do positive good their assessment as to how much is all over the place.

Population work should fare better than hospital admissions studies because you're looking at the totality of riders so you should be able to spot genuine trends, but you have different problems in there, often that you end up looking at "average cyclists" who don't really exist on the ground. In looking at everyone you blur the very real boundaries between different groups. This is still useful for informing public policy, but not so much for answering the question, "would I personally be better off in a hat, for what particular values of 'better off'".

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Re: Event helmet cobblers

Postby Cugel » 30 Apr 2019, 8:24am

pjclinch wrote:
Steady rider wrote:There may be many confounders but they are not forced to have much effect.


The foundation for any sort of well-done case/control is that the two groups should be near-as-dammit identical aside from your intervention (and ideally they should be randomised as to who gets the intervention and who is the control, and neither party should know which is which). This foundation is undermined by various aspects of the nature of cycle helmets and how they are used. While some confounders can be corrected for, that your main basis of testing is on shifting sands to start with is very hard to get around.

Steady rider wrote:Weaknesses with a meta-analysis approach to assessing cycle helmets <snip>


If you can't trust one paper then aggregating 100 of those isn't necessarily going to help, strikes me as the fundamental weakness there. Good science should be reproducible, but even if, say, Olivier's hand-picked cherry selection all think helmets do positive good their assessment as to how much is all over the place.

Population work should fare better than hospital admissions studies because you're looking at the totality of riders so you should be able to spot genuine trends, but you have different problems in there, often that you end up looking at "average cyclists" who don't really exist on the ground. In looking at everyone you blur the very real boundaries between different groups. This is still useful for informing public policy, but not so much for answering the question, "would I personally be better off in a hat, for what particular values of 'better off'".

Pete.


An illuminating and useful analysis of the problem with "helmet studies"

As with all other potential personal risks to myself, I try to accumulate enough experience of my own to make a judgement. Of course, this tends to observe "what is the degree of risk" rather than "what reduces the risk significantly". I also try to measure the potential costs of a risk realising. That's quite dificult too, although it can be done crudely. "If I bang my head hard enough to cause brain damage, how much does that affect my life"? Hmmmm - it's all a bit how-long-is-a-bit-of-string.

Anyroadup, I notice that in 60 years of cycling, I've never had a head-bang of any sort when cycling. My head bangs have been when fell-walking, ice-skating, in a crowded workshop, in a house with low doors, etc.. I also notice that when I do come off a bike, slowly or at speed, I get gravel rash and bangs on shoulder, elbow, wrist, hip, knee or ankle. The head doesn't come into it.

So, I judge my risk small. Others may be always falling off and banging their heads. They have a different risk factor to me and shouldn't necessarily follow my own adopt-a-safety-aide-or-don't plan.

But even if I did have a high head-bang risk when cycling, would a helmet help? Here is the real contentious issue. The things don't seem designed to reduce a serious head-bang. Their manufacture and use doesn't seem to meet the paltry testing requirements of even a perfect example "tested" by the manufacturer. That's the real issue, not whether to wear one or not for one's own computed head-bang risk. That and their implied "blame the victim" suggestion.

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Re: Event helmet cobblers

Postby Mike Sales » 30 Apr 2019, 9:04am

pjclinch wrote:Population work should fare better than hospital admissions studies because you're looking at the totality of riders so you should be able to spot genuine trends, but you have different problems in there, often that you end up looking at "average cyclists" who don't really exist on the ground. In looking at everyone you blur the very real boundaries between different groups. This is still useful for informing public policy, but not so much for answering the question, "would I personally be better off in a hat, for what particular values of 'better off'".

Pete.


Does it not follow, that if there are some groups of cyclists who would be "better off" in plastic, but on average no benefit can be shown for the whole population of cyclists, then there must be groups who are "worse off"?
It seems to me that a helmet question little asked, is why in an impact it is likely that a helmet may sometimes make a difference to outcome, in population studies no benefit can be shown.

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Re: Event helmet cobblers

Postby Cugel » 30 Apr 2019, 11:51am

Mike Sales wrote:
pjclinch wrote:Population work should fare better than hospital admissions studies because you're looking at the totality of riders so you should be able to spot genuine trends, but you have different problems in there, often that you end up looking at "average cyclists" who don't really exist on the ground. In looking at everyone you blur the very real boundaries between different groups. This is still useful for informing public policy, but not so much for answering the question, "would I personally be better off in a hat, for what particular values of 'better off'".

Pete.


Does it not follow, that if there are some groups of cyclists who would be "better off" in plastic, but on average no benefit can be shown for the whole population of cyclists, then there must be groups who are "worse off"?
It seems to me that a helmet question little asked, is why in an impact it is likely that a helmet may sometimes make a difference to outcome, in population studies no benefit can be shown.


Although the evidence is not (evidence) but rather an anecdote, I can tell of two instances where a suspicion of a helmet adding to the injury might arise. I'll mention the more serious one:

A lad of great experience made a slow exit from a paved cycle path on to the grass verge to avoid a group of pedestrians. This was not forced on him and no one was vying for the space. He was just being polite, having already slowed right down.

Unfortunately the grassy verge hid the fact that it was a soft mudpit. His front wheel sank and he fell over the bars, landing through some shrubs which grabbed his helmet. This grab o' the helmet twisted his head around and may have given him what turned out to be a rather debilitating spinal injury in the top end. He was unable to operate properly for a long while, although he did eventually recover most of his mobility. Of course, it may not have been the helmet grab and consequent head-twist; but it's a candidate for the cause.

The helmet didn't actually reach the ground, by the way. He was only going about 2mph when he fell off.

Now, that may be a rare and unusual instance but it expands upon your point .....

Cugel

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Re: Event helmet cobblers

Postby mjr » 30 Apr 2019, 12:13pm

Cugel wrote:Anyroadup, I notice that in 60 years of cycling, I've never had a head-bang of any sort when cycling.

I did and I bet you can guess what I was wearing on my head when I did, despite only using a helmet for a minority of my years cycling!

But even if I did have a high head-bang risk when cycling, would a helmet help? Here is the real contentious issue. The things don't seem designed to reduce a serious head-bang. Their manufacture and use doesn't seem to meet the paltry testing requirements of even a perfect example "tested" by the manufacturer. That's the real issue, not whether to wear one or not for one's own computed head-bang risk. That and their implied "blame the victim" suggestion.

I think asking oneself anything about stuff like brain damage seems to rather assume that wearing a helmet is going to reduce the risk, which seems far from certain. We know they have tested/verified impact protection if you land on the top of your head on a flat surface or kerb edge, but most are not even tested against stones any more, much less the full range of possible real-world impacts in a crash-test-dummy style. Helmet standards have basically gone backwards since Snell's 1990 voluntary one.

The implied "blame the victim" should be a worry for everyone: as I understand it, the test the courts apply on whether to reduce the liability of the perpertrator of injury is whether the helmet would have helped and also whether a reasonable person would have used one in that situation. Hopefully, proving that a helmet would have helped will be beyond most respondants, but each extra person deciding to wear one makes it more likely that a court will rule that a reasonable person would have used one. So, if you wear a helmet, you are making it more difficult for future collision victims to get justice and I think that's pretty anti-social.

Going back to events, the capture of sportive "safety" by helmet zealots using British Cycling's sportive listings/entry service is troublesome in at least two major ways: firstly, that's thousands of cyclists forced to choose between using helmets in highly-visible ways or not entering many UK sportives (now including the ex-CTC York Rally's sportives); and secondly, many of them will probably spend at least some time training in the same kit as they intend to ride the sportive in, which means yet more helmet users on the roads nationwide. It's fortunate that sportives remain such a minor part of cycling.

Maybe someone who's used it can confirm, but I think British Cycling's system works by skimming a small fee off each entrant (which is probably why they offer a booking system), which is an easier sell to organisers than Cycling UK asking for an £80 flat fee up front and having no listings service as popular. How could CUK counter this? Could CUK counter this?
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Re: Event helmet cobblers

Postby pjclinch » 30 Apr 2019, 1:43pm

Mike Sales wrote:
pjclinch wrote:Population work should fare better than hospital admissions studies because you're looking at the totality of riders so you should be able to spot genuine trends, but you have different problems in there, often that you end up looking at "average cyclists" who don't really exist on the ground. In looking at everyone you blur the very real boundaries between different groups. This is still useful for informing public policy, but not so much for answering the question, "would I personally be better off in a hat, for what particular values of 'better off'".


Does it not follow, that if there are some groups of cyclists who would be "better off" in plastic, but on average no benefit can be shown for the whole population of cyclists, then there must be groups who are "worse off"?


This is quite possible. Have a look at the Wiki's entry for Ecological Fallacy for more...

Mike Sales wrote:It seems to me that a helmet question little asked, is why in an impact it is likely that a helmet may sometimes make a difference to outcome, in population studies no benefit can be shown.


Part of the issue here is a mis-match between what a helmet is actually designed to do (which boils down to being a better hairnet in a sporting context, at least originally) and what studies can test for (which is does it usefully mitigate serious and fatal injuries). The studies only look at the Big Stuff because that's what gets reported: if I fall off a bike and graze my head I'm going to take some painkillers and have a lie down, not spend a few hours at the back of the triage queue in A&E, so my prang-ette will never make its way in to any report. So probably the primary benefit of lids, which is making the difference between saying "bother" and getting back on, and screaming "aaargh!" and having a nasty headache for a couple of hours, isn't going to show up.

What the studies are effectively looking for tends to be "does a lightweight helmet protect more than we might realistically hope?", and if you cook the books enough (by using an inappropriate case/control setup) it looks like they do, but if you look at the bigger picture it's not that surprising not much happens. That people are surprised is, I think, down to the culture of bigging-up helmets as "essential" lifesavers. In a hospital study you are only concerned with a group for whom it has gone badly wrong, or they wouldn't be in hospital, so it's possible that you're overly concentrating on a crash-prone sub-population and they might really be better off in helmets (though if the helmets are influencing their crash rate that's arguable, but there again is a whole other can of worms)

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Re: Event helmet cobblers

Postby RickH » 30 Apr 2019, 2:05pm

pjclinch wrote:In a hospital study you are only concerned with a group for whom it has gone badly wrong, or they wouldn't be in hospital, so it's possible that you're overly concentrating on a crash-prone sub-population and they might really be better off in helmets (though if the helmets are influencing their crash rate that's arguable, but there again is a whole other can of worms)

That reminds me of the Netherlands where, if I am remembering correctly, overall helmet wearing is reckoned to be about 1% (& probably hard to get an accurate figure) whereas with cyclists admitted to hospital helmet wearers are a much higher rate (~14%?). The knee jerk response would be to claim helmets are dangerous but it could well be that they are simply (mainly?) "a crash-prone sub-population" of road racers (& possibly mountainbikers) who are both under a compulsion to wear helmets & have a higher tendency to have multirider crashes.

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Re: Event helmet cobblers

Postby pjclinch » 30 Apr 2019, 2:07pm

Cugel wrote:As with all other potential personal risks to myself, I try to accumulate enough experience of my own to make a judgement. Of course, this tends to observe "what is the degree of risk" rather than "what reduces the risk significantly". I also try to measure the potential costs of a risk realising. That's quite dificult too, although it can be done crudely. "If I bang my head hard enough to cause brain damage, how much does that affect my life"? Hmmmm - it's all a bit how-long-is-a-bit-of-string.


Your last point there is a crucial one, and it's very hard to really ascertain how much we're rationalising what we think we ought to do/like to do and how much we're applying objective logic.

I think in practice people will often do what their unconscious risk-o-meter says is okay and then they'll fill in the risk-assessment later on with a bit of rationalisation. One's personal level of "I'm not doing that!" will be set by a host of different things: nature, nurture and culture will all have a part to play. Most people like to think they're being pretty objective about it, but the more I observe myself and those around me the more I see, "Let's go with the gut feeling and make up the reasoning later!"

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Re: Event helmet cobblers

Postby The utility cyclist » 30 Apr 2019, 4:18pm

The problem with gut feeling now is that helmets and other so called safety aids are so ingrained into the psyche and pushd to such an extent that has changed the natural sense of just getting on a bike and riding, it's also changed with respect to just going out and walking, even more fear/onus pushed onto children to be safe and yet none of the disgusting victim blaming/changing of matters has done a damn thing except to get those that kill/maim off the hook! :twisted:

The fear factor of the what if has been changed massively, the onus of responsibility has been changed in precisely the same way such that 'gut feeling' now for a significant portion of society sees helmets/hi-vis as essential bits of kit, that to go out without it/not wearing it would seem an odd/irresponsible thing to do and this is not just for joe/joanna public but ingrained in the thinking of those that should be using actual facts not just 'common sense' or gut feeling.

As I've said many times, IMO cycle helmets are the worst thing to happen to cycling in the last 100+years, since the motor car could travel over 10mph, no other thing has changed cycling for the worse, that has by the shift in blame, responsibility killed innocent people including children and allowed acceptance of victim blaming at every level. Michael Mason being a prime example among many.

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Re: Event helmet cobblers

Postby Mike Sales » 30 Apr 2019, 4:37pm

The utility cyclist wrote:The problem with gut feeling now is that helmets and other so called safety aids are so ingrained into the psyche and pushd to such an extent that has changed the natural sense of just getting on a bike and riding, it's also changed with respect to just going out and walking, even more fear/onus pushed onto children to be safe and yet none of the disgusting victim blaming/changing of matters has done a damn thing except to get those that kill/maim off the hook! :twisted:

The fear factor of the what if has been changed massively, the onus of responsibility has been changed in precisely the same way such that 'gut feeling' now for a significant portion of society sees helmets/hi-vis as essential bits of kit, that to go out without it/not wearing it would seem an odd/irresponsible thing to do and this is not just for joe/joanna public but ingrained in the thinking of those that should be using actual facts not just 'common sense' or gut feeling.

As I've said many times, IMO cycle helmets are the worst thing to happen to cycling in the last 100+years, since the motor car could travel over 10mph, no other thing has changed cycling for the worse, that has by the shift in blame, responsibility killed innocent people including children and allowed acceptance of victim blaming at every level. Michael Mason being a prime example among many.


Yes, and helmet and hiviz are the badge of submission to the motor hegemony.

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Re: Event helmet cobblers

Postby pjclinch » 30 Apr 2019, 8:40pm

The utility cyclist wrote:The problem with gut feeling now is that helmets and other so called safety aids are so ingrained into the psyche and pushd to such an extent that has changed the natural sense of just getting on a bike and riding


Yes, it's all part of the culture these days, and gut feeling is heavily influenced by culture. People tend to think what the people around them think. It's rubbish, but it is what it is and we have to account for that if we're going to change it.

The utility cyclist wrote:As I've said many times, IMO cycle helmets are the worst thing to happen to cycling in the last 100+years


I think it's a mistake to sweep all cycling under one banner, and I also think it's a mistake to confuse a simple crash helmet with the mis-promotion of helmets as being wonder-items they ca't live up to in some (but not all) places.

A helmet makes a tangible difference in speed to a time-trialler: they'll wear one anyway because it makes their particular brand of cycling (going as fast as possible on a UCI-legal bike) better. For a mountain biker riding along singletrack with lots of low branches they make the difference between a decent rate of travel and not. For a track rider hitting the deck in a Points Race they can make the difference between getting back on and in and retiring. But none of this has any relevance to me trundling to work on my Brom, or picking up some shopping on the 8-Freight, but (Anglophone) cycling culture has been distorted to the point that many people think it is. Pop over the North Sea and it's about context, but in the UK there is no room for context because "cycling" and "cyclists" embrace too many things in a single concept.

But we've got to realise that that's where we are in the UK. Shouting at people that they're destroying cycling by wearing a helmet and declaring things that are well beyond clear evidence to be "obvious" isn't going to get you (or UK cycling culture) anywhere.

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Re: Event helmet cobblers

Postby millimole » 1 May 2019, 8:39am

Cugel wrote:[

Now, that may be a rare and unusual instance but it expands upon your point .....

Cugel


Maybe not that rare. It is almost identical to my only head-bang in nearly 50 years of cycling.
I went off a tarmac path in a park out of politeness to give a dog-walker a wide berth. I hit damp grass and my front wheel went from under me.
The paramedics who rescued me from my confusion stated (at the hospital, so I was lucid by then) that if I had been wearing a plastic hat the straps would almost certainly have caught in the woody undergrowth of the bushes, and may have caused more serious injury.
Nasty graze on my temple a couple of minutes out cold, and maybe 15 minutes confusion - that and a healthy respect for damp grass - were the only consequences.
Possibly not rare, possibly not unusual.

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Re: Event helmet cobblers

Postby RickH » 30 Jun 2019, 10:33pm

A new (to me at least) variation on a theme.

I was looking up when the annual Liverpool-Chester-Liverpool ride was due to be happening & had a look at their requirements

Helmet (to be worn throughout the ride - Snell, ANSI or CE approved)
link (PDF)


Is there such a thing as a "CE approved" cycle helmet? Or does EN 1078 count (I presume that is what they meant to mean)?

I'm think we' may still have a lid in the loft somewhere that may have an ANSI sticker if I wanted to ride the event! :twisted:

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Re: Event helmet cobblers

Postby gaz » 30 Jun 2019, 10:52pm

An EN1078 helmet will be CE approved.

So is a great deal of other headgear :wink: : https://www.google.com/search?q=ce+appr ... 6AFo5EEAIM
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Re: Event helmet cobblers

Postby RickH » 1 Jul 2019, 12:10am

gaz wrote:An EN1078 helmet will be CE approved.

So is a great deal of other headgear :wink: : ...

The Welding hood & swimming hat look like good alternatives if they don't specify what CE standard! :lol: