The helmet debate rumbles on in the mainstream media

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  • The helmet debate rumbles on in the mainstream media
  • PeaslakeDave
    Member

    from the number of times I’ve read helmet reviews that have said that without the helmet they would probably have died, I think I’ll keep wearing mine

    Premier Icon vinnyeh
    Subscriber

    Slow Sunday morning for you druidh? Family all at church, and left you to your own devices?

    uncertain whether the benefits of helmets outweighed the risks they posed in some types of crashes

    As do seatbelts in some types of crashes.

    I’ve stopped wearing a helmet on milder (i.e. most of mine) off road rides, quite enjoying it.

    Wouldn’t do it on the road though.

    TandemJeremy
    Member

    Mainstream media? The hootsmon?

    Once again a good summary of the debate and the evidence with links here
    http://www.ctc.org.uk/desktopdefault.aspx?tabid=4688

    johnners
    Member

    from the number of times I’ve read helmet reviews that have said that without the helmet they would probably have died, I think I’ll keep wearing mine

    Your choice, but there’s no actual evidence in what you’ve said.

    druidh
    Member

    I thought the article was fairly well balanced. Note that there are two other pieces in the same publication.

    http://www.scotsman.com/news/transport/should-safety-helmets-be-made-compulsory-no-1-2335355

    http://www.scotsman.com/news/transport/should-safety-helmets-be-made-compulsory-yes-1-2335359

    vinnyeh – Member
    I’ve stopped wearing a helmet on milder (i.e. most of mine) off road rides, quite enjoying it.

    Wouldn’t do it on the road though.Funny – my thoughts are the opposite in that I’m less likely to have a slow speed incident on the road bike and if it’s a high speed one (or involves a collision), the helmet would be of minimal benefit.

    Mind you, modern helmets are so light and well ventilated that I hardly see wearing one as any sort of a problem and I’m at an age where I’m unlikely to take more risks just because I’m wearing one 🙂

    Premier Icon MrOvershoot
    Subscriber

    Bloke at work was asking my advice about getting a bike & then asked what helmet would be best as he thought it was law to wear one!

    sunnrider
    Member

    I´ve headbutted a tree superman style. My helmet cracked open.
    Apart from a headache, I was fine.
    I think I´ll “risk” continuing wearing one.

    jwmlee
    Member

    I always wear mine. My partner’s sister has a friend working at a hospital in head injuries. He is very supportive of bike helmets!

    Can hardly believe it when I see people riding without them. Especially on the road.

    TandemJeremy
    Member

    Shame the evidence does not support them being very effective against serious head injuries.

    Helmets for car drivers would save many more injuries as would helmets for drinking.

    Premier Icon teamhurtmore
    Subscriber

    Individual reactions are funny to this issue – including mine

    On my road bike, I have never hit my head (fortunately) in any accident. And yet (after years of triathlon rules) I would never go on my road bike without one.

    On my MTB, 9/10 crashes have involved head impact, broken helmets, cut face, headaches etc. Of those 8/10 made me very relieved to be wearing a helmet. And yet, I often ride XC rides without a helmet, but rarely more technical stuff. Not really logical that as there is always a hidden root even of simple rides!

    Is there something in the geometry of a MTB or perhaps the angle of the surface that makes head impact more likely on a MTB or is my experience atypical? (I clip in on both types of bike BTW)

    I am persuaded by a libertarian argument against helmet complusion but the idea that it discourages participation, while apparently backed up by evidence, always leaves me a little puzzled. Law of unintended consequences or oddities in human behaviour perhaps?

    TandemJeremy
    Member

    Good public policy should be evidence led

    The way to reduce cyclist injuries is to control car drivers thru law enforcement, education and road engineering.

    TurnerGuy
    Member

    Surrey Hills is busy enough with mtbers, if making wearing helmets law would discourage a few then that would be a good thing for the rest of us.

    druidh
    Member

    http://www.scotsman.com/news/transport/cycling-body-withdraws-support-for-events-that-encourage-the-use-of-safety-helmets-1-2335354

    SCOTLAND’S leading lobby group for cyclists is to cease advertising events that insist on the compulsory use of safety helmets because it fears the measure puts riders off the sport and exposes them to potential danger.

    Spokes, the Lothian-based pro-cycling charity, said it was taking the controversial step as it was uncertain whether the benefits of helmets outweighed the risks they posed in some types of crashes.

    Tens of thousands of safety helmets are bought every year as part of what is now a multi-million-pound industry based on the alleged benefits of protecting riders from the impact of falls and collisions.

    But Spokes claims drivers give helmeted cyclists less space as they overtake because they appear “safer” and that some cyclists take more risks when wearing a helmet. In some crashes, Spokes claims, helmets can make some head injuries worse.

    Premier Icon tomtomthepipersson
    Subscriber

    I’ve put plenty of dents in my helmets over the years – don’t really want dents in my head. But that’s just me.

    cynic-al
    Member

    Just because you crashed with a helmet on and it broke, doesn’t really show how much it did.

    In this month’s Spokes, their free “magazine”, they talk about this a bit and also mention headbands for drivers, which, research suggests, reduces serious injuries.

    Scroll down a bit here:

    http://averagejoecyclist.com/?p=2259

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    bones heal, brain tends no to, think I’ll look after it.

    If you don’t let Darwin take its course

    druidh
    Member

    I can appreciate the stance that Spokes are taking (refusing to advertise events that insist on helmet wearing) but many of these will have that condition imposed on them by insurance companies.

    However, as an organisation that is supposed to be promoting cycling, I think they are taking the wrong approach.

    cynic-al
    Member

    Maybe it will encourage some thinking within the insurance industry (watches Jubilee-pig-fly-past)

    TheBrick
    Member

    PeaslakeDave – Member
    from the number of times I’ve read helmet reviews that have said that without the helmet they would probably have died, I think I’ll keep wearing mine

    The number of time I’ve her people claim that wearing a sports band made them stronger faster, I think I’ll keep on wearing one too.

    Premier Icon jameso
    Subscriber

    But Spokes claims drivers give helmeted cyclists less space as they overtake because they appear “safer”

    that’s a problem with drivers, not helmets…

    Premier Icon teamhurtmore
    Subscriber

    druidh +1.

    Premier Icon tomtomthepipersson
    Subscriber

    Just because you crashed with a helmet on and it broke, doesn’t really show how much it did.

    It shows my head would have likely come into contact with the ground/tree/rock. I prefer my helmet to take the hit – no matter how inconsequential the hit.

    But like I say – that’s just me. People are free to do otherwise.

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    PeaslakeDave – Member

    from the number of times I’ve read helmet reviews that have said that without the helmet they would probably have died, I think I’ll keep wearing mine

    I should write some sort of bot script for these threads…

    When I had my big road crash, I was told multiple times by the assorted doctors and paramedics that saw me that my helmet had definately saved my life. Wasn’t actually wearing one.

    Still, I do almost always wear one now- it’s a good place to put a light or camera, and you’d feel a right knob if you didn’t wear one and you died. It’s never saved my life and most likely never will but it’s saved me from a few unpleasant bruises and knocks and that’s enough.

    (aside: accident studies show that you’re massively more likely to suffer a serious knee injury than head injury… And knee pads are cheaper, comfier IME, and there’s no controversy about their effectiveness let alone whether they create risk. But if you don’t wear a helmet you’re a nutter, and if you wear kneepads you’re a poofter. Obviously serious head injuries are worse than serious knee injuries- but I’d rather not have either!)

    Junkyard
    Member

    weeps silently in a corner at this again

    What about thatcher in a helmet opening a nuclear power station with the pope and talking about the laffer curve ?

    the evidence is about the risk to the majority as helmet laws reduce participation*. the answer is to wear a helmet for when you crash and educate drivers. It is not an either or despite what will get said on this thread AGAIN and AGAIN

    * to do a with and without helmet crash in the real world is not possible hence the lack of evidence- we lall know an rider not injured by wearing a helmet does not hen go to hospital to point out the helmet just saved them going to hospital
    Many on here have had a crash bad enough to split helmets or concuss themselves – yes I would have lived but it would have been far worse. Pro choice but not pro debate on this again on here.

    PS the distance one if it is that guy in bath is absolutely terrible – its subjective and pseudo science at best.

    Premier Icon teamhurtmore
    Subscriber

    Northwind – Member
    … Wasn’t actually wearing one…But if you don’t wear a helmet you’re a nutter, and if you wear kneepads you’re a poofter

    😉 Interesting points even excusing the non_pc terminology 😉

    I would be interested to learn more about knee injuries – type, causes etc – as I have never worn knee pads.

    Junkyard
    Member

    FWIW same with car crashed loads of injuries from people hitting their knees into the massive bunch of keys they own

    crankbreaker
    Member

    Really?! This again?! If you want to wear one wear one (I do pretty much every time I get on a bike), if you don’t then don’t. This will rage on and on with the usual suspects arguing the toss that there’s no proof either way…

    druidh
    Member

    TBH – I was more interested in what folk thought about what Spokes were doing than just rehearsing the same arguments.

    mudshark
    Member

    Seeing as this happened yesterday I’ll mention it:

    On a group road ride I was at the back, all pretty spread out after a climb. Coming down the subsequent descent I saw one of the others in front lying in the road in a bad way, not really aware of his situation and looking pretty cut up. After a while he seemed more aware of what was going on and thought his collarbone was broken. His helmet was badly damaged on one side so guess he banged his head and from the way he was had a bit of concussion – so would he have been better off without a helmet? Anyway, went off in an ambulance and I hear he’s getting on OK.

    This is what we think caused him to come off:

    http://www.fillthathole.org.uk/hazard/9038

    Shame the council don’t seem interested.

    Junkyard
    Member

    hard to do that Druidh – i suppose whether you think they are right depends on your views on helmets.

    No idea does it reflect the views of their members?
    I left CTC over their helmet view for example.

    oliverd1981
    Member

    you’d feel a right knob if you didn’t wear one and you died.

    I wouldn’t, but then I’m an aetheist.

    It is however troubling to think that it could affect things like death in service benefits.

    crankbreaker
    Member

    Fair enough, my apologies. And in that case am in agreement with you that it’s a bit silly to not be promoting stuff because of an issue which for many organisers is probably more to do with their insurance needs than their actual preferences.

    Premier Icon teamhurtmore
    Subscriber

    Indeed Druidh, that is the interesting and new debate. Are Spokes correct or not?

    Understand argument but convoluted logic behind solution means a “no” from me.

    Premier Icon ian martin
    Subscriber

    The bike helmet manufactures should have some real world crash info from the crash damaged ones people exchange for new ones like what the wife did with her helmet.

    TandemJeremy
    Member

    Junkyard
    * to do a with and without helmet crash in the real world is not possible hence the lack of evidence- we lall know an rider not injured by wearing a helmet does not hen go to hospital to point out the helmet just saved them going to hospital

    the studies that show a protective effect from helmets are all case controlled studies of casualties in hospitals.

    the problem is as you say its only a part of the data set

    It only includes those who crash and have injuries ( head or otherwise) treatable in hospitals

    It does not include ( as you say) helmeted riders who are uninjured

    Similarly it does not include unhelemeted riders who are uninjured nor does it include those who do not crash at all.

    Nor does it allow for the fact that wearing a helmet makes a head impact more likely – due to the increased size and weight of the head.

    Nor does it allow for risk compensation

    This will allway give rise to false positives and no one knows what including the rest of the data set would do

    It also fails to allow for those whose helmets exacerbated injuries Some research estimates this as as high as 30% of all cycle head injuries are exacerbated by helmets.

    When the whole population is looked at then as helmet wearing rates rise no significant fall in injuries is noted. This has been seen in multiple studies in multiple countries

    The discrepancy between these two sets of results needs a valid explanation. However it is clear that any protective effect helmets may have is vastly overestimated by the case control studies or otherwise this protective effect would be seen in the whole population studies

    TandemJeremy
    Member

    Edit – part of the post lost

    with regards to Druidh / Spokes point I think it is a bit daft ‘cos it will not change policy. Is the compulsory helmets really insurance led tho?

    I far prefer active safety measure – ways to reduce the number of accidents rather than passive safety

    Your odds on having a head injury that would be mitigated by a helmet are millions to one if you are an experience adult cyclist.

    What is really needed is better research, better designed helmets, more knowledge.

    hugor
    Member

    TJ spurting out his dribble again presenting the same points which have been conclusively refuted many times over.
    Can’t be arsed this time.
    I think everyones opinions are fixed on this issue anyhow and nobody will change their stance so whats the point?

    Premier Icon tallie
    Subscriber

    I used to play rugby, as back row forward, at a reasonable level and usually experienced 1 or 2 concussions per season. One year I wore a scrum cap (helmet) and received 6 or 7 – I forget exactly which, along with many other things about that season…

    When considering why this was I came to the following conclusions:

    1. I felt invulnerable when wearing the scrum cap which lead me to put my head in daft places or lead more with it.

    2. Players who might think twice about kneeing or punching an uncovered head (mainly because heads are hard and hurt when you collide with them) see a nice padded scrum cap and give it a clout.

    I stopped wearing a scum cap for the remainder of my playing career.

    I can see that the same psychology applies to wearing a helmet on the road where you’re effectively increasing your chances of having an accident (because drivers are less cautious) whilst decreasing the consequences of the accident (because a helmet provides head protection); the challenge is quantifying the risk (more likely to have an accident) vs the benefit (severity reduced).

    Having said that I still wear a helmet on road from habit and off road because it makes me go faster – and I like going fast!

    TandemJeremy
    Member

    Hugor – they are not refuted. Point to me any refutation. No need to be offensive.

    The point about the case control studies only using a part of the data set is true as is the fact that no / little protective effect is seen in whole population studies.

    Edit – the fact that the after the fact case control studies use only a part of the data set is irrefutable.

    Teh lack of protective effect in whole population studies is simply a part of the data to be consideed hence I put

    The discrepancy between these two sets of results needs a valid explanation. However it is clear that any protective effect helmets may have is vastly overestimated by the case control studies or otherwise this protective effect would be seen in the whole population studies

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