After 500+ threads...

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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mjr
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Re: After 500+ threads...

Postby mjr » 26 Jan 2020, 12:54am

Oldjohnw wrote:.....and sometimes multiple pages per thread, I am wondering if:

a) a consensus view will ever be reached, and
b) anyone will be persuaded to a different point of view.

b) yes. I was.
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Re: After 500+ threads...

Postby Oldjohnw » 26 Jan 2020, 3:24am

mjr wrote:
Oldjohnw wrote:.....and sometimes multiple pages per thread, I am wondering if:

a) a consensus view will ever be reached, and
b) anyone will be persuaded to a different point of view.

b) yes. I was.


Cheers and thanks
John

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Re: After 500+ threads...

Postby Mick F » 26 Jan 2020, 7:36am

I was too.
I considered it common sense to wear one. Seemed blindingly obvious.

Then, after reading these 500+ threads on the matter, and seeing that although it might be "common sense" to wear one, "common sense" doesn't come into it.

The one single thing that convinced me, was that if cycling requires a helmet, why not something simple like jogging? Just as likely to fall and trip and bang your head. In fact, a cycling helmet would be ideally suited to joggers and runners, but they wouldn't even consider it! :lol:
Take this website for instance.
https://www.wildrunning.co.uk
Here they are, running over the moor, likely to stagger and trip and bang into a big rock. No helmet or any other protective gear to be seen.
Screen Shot 2020-01-26 at 07.34.07.png
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Re: After 500+ threads...

Postby mattheus » 26 Jan 2020, 6:51pm

Oldjohnw wrote:I don't really follow your point. I have never told anyone or been told by anyone to either wear or not wear a helmet. If I were I would simply ignore that person.


Sounds like
"I'm all right Jack."

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Re: After 500+ threads...

Postby Oldjohnw » 26 Jan 2020, 7:33pm

mattheus wrote:
Oldjohnw wrote:I don't really follow your point. I have never told anyone or been told by anyone to either wear or not wear a helmet. If I were I would simply ignore that person.


Sounds like
"I'm all right Jack."


Possibly. I personally don't get worked up about this particular matter. I would certainly oppose compulsion.
John

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Re: After 500+ threads...

Postby Wanlock Dod » 26 Jan 2020, 7:53pm

84% of the world’s population identifies with a religious group despite the fact that science can find no evidence that God or Gods exist. That lack of evidence does nothing to dissuade the believers, and many millions believe that their lives are enriched by their faith in God or Gods.

Three men are being treated in hospital for serious head injuries after being knocked down in separate crashes in Salford and Bolton on Friday night. Yet nobody is suggesting that pedestrians or those going out for the evening should wear protective headgear. The Metropolitan police recorded 149 homicides in 2019 up to 30 December. Despite the carnage we are still waiting for somebody to suggest that stab vests would be a sensible precaution for anybody and everybody in London, but how many lives might be saved by such a commonsense precaution?

Mike Sales wrote:I've known people change their minds. Those with scientific training in assessing evidence.

These people are in a minority, perhaps like those that don't follow a religion, and many of those were happy to believe that helmets were indeed a good thing until they assessed the evidence. Perhaps we should refer to them as apostates.

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Re: After 500+ threads...

Postby Mike Sales » 26 Jan 2020, 8:05pm

Wanlock Dod wrote:
Mike Sales wrote:I've known people change their minds. Those with scientific training in assessing evidence.

These people are in a minority, perhaps like those that don't follow a religion, and many of those were happy to believe that helmets were indeed a good thing until they assessed the evidence. Perhaps we should refer to them as apostates.


There are other words.
Heretic.
Infidel.
Schismatic.
Recusant.
Dissenter.

Though of course apostate carries the meaning of a onetime believer who renounces the faith.

I prefer sceptic. I am an atheist too. I cannot remember ever believing in either helmets or God.

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Re: After 500+ threads...

Postby pjclinch » 27 Jan 2020, 8:15am

Oldjohnw wrote:I love it. You say that medics are not scientists then quote a medic!


Medics are not necessarily scientists.

I work in a teaching hospital and some of my work is supporting research, so I know quite a few medical folk who are on the research side. And there is some excellent science going on, but if you go down to, say, front-line A&E that's more about craft: you need people who can patch you up, which is very highly skilled work but it isn't scientific research. You will find research done in A&E after ideas are minted and put through ethics approval etc., but that's the exception rather than the rule, and you will find doctors and nurses and radiologists with enquiring minds eager to try new methods, but while that is progress the science behind it is largely out of their hands.

For medical research, see peer reviewed journals, and realise that the peers of medics who don't realise they're not great at designing studies include medics who don't realise they're not great at designing studies. As has been said of peer review for scientific research, it's like Churchill's view on democracy: the worst possible option apart from all of the alternatives.

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Re: After 500+ threads...

Postby pjclinch » 27 Jan 2020, 8:36am

Oldjohnw wrote:.....and sometimes multiple pages per thread, I am wondering if:

a) a consensus view will ever be reached, and
b) anyone will be persuaded to a different point of view.

In theory, this should be scientific: in reality, I suspect emotions play a significant part in one's viewpoint.


Regarding your points, eminent scientists Ben Goldacre and David Spiegelhalter pointed out in a BMJ editorial that:

In any case, the current uncertainty about any benefit from helmet wearing or promotion is unlikely to be substantially reduced by further research. Equally, we can be certain that helmets will continue to be debated, and at length. The enduring popularity of helmets as a proposed major intervention for increased road safety may therefore lie not with their direct benefits—which seem too modest to capture compared with other strategies—but more with the cultural, psychological, and political aspects of popular debate around risk.


So they're broadly in agreement with your wondering that there won't be consensus and the issues go far beyond black-and-white.

That's not to say it's not worth going on about it though: had the arguments not been dragged in to a morass of "not proven" we'd probably have a helmet law: over the last 20 years (the time I've been concerned with it, having previously been an "it's just common sense!" type for over a decade) the de-facto DfT position has changed from looking to introduce legislation once wearing rates reached a certain critical mass, to really not being interested beyond promotion (and that is being scaled back now).

For (b), aside from myself I've seen quite a lot of people have their minds changed. When it comes to changing minds having done the reading, I'd say the traffic is very, very significantly weighed in the direction from advocacy to scepticism. It should be the case that scientific training opens one's mind to the possibility of being very badly wrong, but scientists are people too and prone to cognitive bias pushing them to thinking they're right by default just like everyone else. And indeed the scientist badge can make it even harder to accept you've got it wrong. I came around having quite specifically headed in to the research library to come up with concrete proof the person telling me that helmets weren't all they were made out to be and I should read the research was a berk, and it wasn't easy to admit it was me who had it wrong.

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Re: After 500+ threads...

Postby Oldjohnw » 27 Jan 2020, 8:49am

pjclinch wrote:
Oldjohnw wrote:.....and sometimes multiple pages per thread, I am wondering if:

a) a consensus view will ever be reached, and
b) anyone will be persuaded to a different point of view.

In theory, this should be scientific: in reality, I suspect emotions play a significant part in one's viewpoint.


Regarding your points, eminent scientists Ben Goldacre and David Spiegelhalter pointed out in a BMJ editorial that:

In any case, the current uncertainty about any benefit from helmet wearing or promotion is unlikely to be substantially reduced by further research. Equally, we can be certain that helmets will continue to be debated, and at length. The enduring popularity of helmets as a proposed major intervention for increased road safety may therefore lie not with their direct benefits—which seem too modest to capture compared with other strategies—but more with the cultural, psychological, and political aspects of popular debate around risk.


So they're broadly in agreement with your wondering that there won't be consensus and the issues go far beyond black-and-white.

That's not to say it's not worth going on about it though: had the arguments not been dragged in to a morass of "not proven" we'd probably have a helmet law: over the last 20 years (the time I've been concerned with it, having previously been an "it's just common sense!" type for over a decade) the de-facto DfT position has changed from looking to introduce legislation once wearing rates reached a certain critical mass, to really not being interested beyond promotion (and that is being scaled back now).

For (b), aside from myself I've seen quite a lot of people have their minds changed. When it comes to changing minds having done the reading, I'd say the traffic is very, very significantly weighed in the direction from advocacy to scepticism. It should be the case that scientific training opens one's mind to the possibility of being very badly wrong, but scientists are people too and prone to cognitive bias pushing them to thinking they're right by default just like everyone else. And indeed the scientist badge can make it even harder to accept you've got it wrong. I came around having quite specifically headed in to the research library to come up with concrete proof the person telling me that helmets weren't all they were made out to be and I should read the research was a berk, and it wasn't easy to admit it was me who had it wrong.

Pete.


Thank you for your sensible + common sense? - post. In reality, whilst I feign indifference, I was persuaded many years ago, long before I came across this arena, that helmets were at best unhelpful and at worst possibly instilling in drivers a subconscious thought that they could be less careful.

I am not a scientist (which is not, I hope, a crime) but I am a sceptic, which shares some similarities.

Science is interesting. Many people don't believe in a Supreme Being: I suspect that most of those do not do so because of science despite the likelihood that they will claim that science has persuaded them. I very much doubt that the man in the street can explain the science - or lack of - about this or even about something as fundamental as evolution. They accept it, possibly because science says it, possibly because it is easier to go with the prevailing view. This does, of course, make scientists both hugely significant but also bearing a massively responsibility for what they say. A bit like churchmen were in times past.
Last edited by Oldjohnw on 27 Jan 2020, 9:04am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: After 500+ threads...

Postby pjclinch » 27 Jan 2020, 9:03am

Regarding religion and science...

The most prestigious scientific journal is Nature. Science is finding out how the natural world works.
Religion is about supernature, very literally beyond what science can reasonably investigate. You can't disprove a supernatural entity with tools that measure nature, by definition. Having said that, I personally think it's cultural baggage, but cultural baggage has a real effect on people so is tangibly real and thus important...

It is also worth remembering Haldane's Law:
the Universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose

(not a "law" in the usual sense like, say, gravity, more a supposition, but it is certainly the case that there's some weird stuff about that we don't understand. One of the biggest issues in science at the moment is "dark energy" and its friend "dark matter", which aren't so much things as placeholders for stuff we don't know.)

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Re: After 500+ threads...

Postby Oldjohnw » 27 Jan 2020, 9:41am

Btw, I do not and have never objected to the thread running on for many more thousands of pages. I'm not quite sure why my innocent and genuine enquiry was jumped on by some.
John

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Re: After 500+ threads...

Postby Mike Sales » 27 Jan 2020, 10:21am

Oldjohnw wrote:Btw, I do not and have never objected to the thread running on for many more thousands of pages. I'm not quite sure why my innocent and genuine enquiry was jumped on by some.


I don't think putting a point of view different from yours ought to be called "jumping on you". It is what a forum is for.
I am very conscious that the idea that helmets are not worthwhile and effective is not being made in the world outside some cycling circles. We seem to be moving more and more towards the public consensus that cyclists ought to wear helmets, but my strong belief is that this is bad for the cause of increasing cycling as a public good, which I don't think I need to make here.
Helmet compulsion, and even helmet promotion, lead to cycling being seen as a specialist sport, not an everyday means of transport, and demonstrably lead to a decrease in cycling.
The case against helmets is counterintuitive, and "common sense" says that they must be worthwhile. For this reason, the case against needs to be actively made. In the present climate, neglect of using the science and as much publicity as possible, to put the counter view is leading in the wrong direction. We are becoming, as far as cycling goes, more like Oz or NZ, rather than like Denmark or NL.
The view that debate on the subject is boring and futile is often expressed by those who wear helmets and are happy with being a member of what they see as an elite. They want to shut down opposing views. I am happy to read that you are not of this persuasion, but I hope this will help you understand my motivation in posting as I have.

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Re: After 500+ threads...

Postby Oldjohnw » 27 Jan 2020, 10:25am

Mike Sales wrote:
Oldjohnw wrote:Btw, I do not and have never objected to the thread running on for many more thousands of pages. I'm not quite sure why my innocent and genuine enquiry was jumped on by some.


I don't think putting a point of view different from yours ought to be called "jumping on you". It is what a forum is for.
I am very conscious that the idea that helmets are not worthwhile and effective is not being made in the world outside some cycling circles. We seem to be moving more and more towards the public consensus that cyclists ought to wear helmets, but my strong belief is that this is bad for the cause of increasing cycling as a public good, which I don't think I need to make here.
Helmet compulsion, and even helmet promotion, lead to cycling being seen as a specialist sport, not an everyday means of transport, and demonstrably lead to a decrease in cycling.
The case against helmets is counterintuitive, and "common sense" says that they must be worthwhile. For this reason, the case against needs to be actively made. In the present climate, neglect of using the science and as much publicity as possible, to put the counter view is leading in the wrong direction. We are becoming, as far as cycling goes, more like Oz or NZ, rather than like Denmark or NL.
The view that debate on the subject is boring and futile is often expressed by those who wear helmets and are happy with being a member of what they see as an elite. They want to shut down opposing views. I am happy to read that you are not of this persuasion, but I hope this will help you understand my motivation in posting as I have.



Odd. I don't know how an opinion different to mine is relevant since I didn't express an opinion in the first place. I am not part of any helmet wearing elite: I don't wear a helmet! So I am not of that persuasion! And I never said that the debate was either futile or boring!
John

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Re: After 500+ threads...

Postby mattheus » 27 Jan 2020, 10:35am

Oldjohnw wrote:Btw, I do not and have never objected to the thread running on for many more thousands of pages. I'm not quite sure why my innocent and genuine enquiry was jumped on by some.


I don't think you're that naive Sir!

You asked a very open-ended question, on a subject which you know generates strong feelings; be honest, what response did you expect?