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The Bike Helmet Debate Thread (formerly part of Bike Question)

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doinky

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MOD Note: This thread split from Bike Question thread. Please keep the helmet debate here.
-el Guapo


Sorry, they don't.

http://bicycleaustin.info/articles/helmet-efficacy.html

I'm amazed that we now think it criminal to send out a kid without a helmet, when 90% of us rode bikes as kids, and 0% of us rode helmets. I never knew anybody who ever got a serious head injury of any kind.

If helmets provided the protection people claim, the safety benefit would be detectible by now in the general population. It's not, and if you put aside the hysteria for a minute and look at the physical construction of a helmet, you can understand why - it's a small chunk of STYROFOAM. Motorcycle helmets, on the other hand, might actually work - but nobody would wear them, so that's why we ended up with these useless pieces of plumage.
 

el Guapo

Capitalist
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5,991
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30
The article you source is a far cry from “helmets don’t work.” I guess we will just have to differ on this issue. :)
 

doinky

Cyburbian
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94
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4
el Guapo said:
The article you source is a far cry from “helmets don’t work.” I guess we will just have to differ on this issue. :)
That's ridiculous.

If helmets promise a reduction in head injuries of (85 or 90 or 98) percent, and the percentage of helmet usage in the population rises from nearly zero to nearly half, and yet the trendline for bicyclist head injuries is indistinguishable from that of pedestrians...

what is the most logical conclusion here?
 

jresta

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1,474
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I've been doored twice so far. Nothing serious but not something i'd like to repeat.
we have narrow streets here and a passing car puts you clearly in the door zone.
If it's a time of day when i expect a lot of people to be coming home from work i take the middle of the street and ride fast. It's usually the old people with the lead foot that tailgate you and beep relentlessly.

biking is pretty big here so most drivers, however grudgingly, are starting to "share the road". I think that's how it happens. The bigger the cycling population the more comfortable drivers become with it.

That still doesn't stop me from yelling "get a bike you lazy fat a**" to drivers who give me the mirror squeeze.
 

michaelskis

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19,787
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47
doinky said:
That's ridiculous.

If helmets promise a reduction in head injuries of (85 or 90 or 98) percent, and the percentage of helmet usage in the population rises from nearly zero to nearly half, and yet the trendline for bicyclist head injuries is indistinguishable from that of pedestrians...

what is the most logical conclusion here?
I own a helmet, and I use it most of the time, because I know what they can do. When I was living in Marquette Mi, a friend of mine was in a bad bike accident. He was in a coma for a while because he did not have a helmet. Several others, have walked away from the same accident.

I agree with EG
 

PGPG

Member
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6
Points
0
Wear a helmet!

Trust in doinky's statistical analysis or how about a real life experience. I was involve in a bike/vehicle collision, the driver made a left turn in front of me and I was traveling at around 20 miles per hour. After two perfectly excuted forward flips the first thing to come in contact with the asphalt was my head (protected by my helmet). A lady witness the event and ran over to me as crawled over to the side of the road and stated I thought for sure you were dead. The police showed up and after they took the accident report asked if the could have my helmet which was split in half for their bike safety rodeo they hold every year. Did I mention I broke my foot which was the second thing that hit the asphalt after my head?
 

doinky

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94
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4
"my helmet saved mah life!"

"real life experience" - you guys crack me up. How on earth do you have any idea that these helmets saved these people? Did they repeat the same exact accident later without a helmet and die? Because that's what it takes to get within shouting distance of proof, you know.

If I wreck my bike while wearing a tophat, and it gets ripped to shreds while I fall and scrape my head, does the fact that I now have a ripped tophat and survived mean that the tophat saved my life?

People, real-world results trumps anectdotes.
 

jresta

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i was late for work one day and was riding fast up a street with trolley tracks. I don't like crossing back and forth over them (i should have, it would've given me a better view). Anway, i was coming up to a light that was just turning yellow and i thought i had it. There was this guy sitting at the light in an SUV looking at me so i knew he wasn't going to take off until i was clear. Well, a car was coming up in the other lane, blocked from my view by the guys SUV, the guy in the car was anticipating the light turning green and didn't slow down at all as he approached the intersection. He came within inches of my front tire. I locked up my brakes and forgot to shift my weight to the back tire and my bike did an endo - only i somehow managed to get my feet between my arms and the handlebars and landed on my feet, still holding on to the bike.

The guy in the SUV rolled up, put his window down, and as i composed myself he said "you got mad skills dawg, mad skills . . . damn!"

I'm not so reckless anymore. I still don't wear a helmet in the city but if i take my bike into the suburbs i absolutely do.
 

doinky

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4
In my adult riding

In my decade or so of serious adult riding, including 10-15 mile commutes to/from the suburbs 1-5 days a week, the only place other than the mountain bike trails where I ever wrecked was at a stoplight in a small town (extreme outskirts of San Marcos, TX) on a very slick street. My chest and knees hit the street and were abraded.

Had I worn a T-shirt that day, I'd be here proclaiming that if you don't wear a T-shirt while riding, you deserve to die. After all, the T-shirt saved my life (preventing me from getting massive chest injuries, of course).

Instead, I had ridden shirtless, and got some raspberries on my chest, brushed myself off, and continued on my way to New Braunfels to go toobing.
 

jordanb

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3,232
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25
Well I wear a helmet because it's required by law in Chicago, and if putting a peice of plastic and styrofoam on my head gives the CPD one less reason to harass me, that's a good thing in my book.

As to if they help or not... It's really a cost/risk assessment thing. The cost of wearing a helmet is $15 for the helmet, plus having to have it on your head, which for me isn't a big deal because it's pretty light and comfortable. Actually, since I already own the helmet the marginal cost of wearing it is just whatever (slight) discomfort it causes. Since the cost of low, even if the marginal risk of getting injured without a helmet as opposed to with it is pretty low, it still makes sense to wear it.
 

doinky

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94
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4
"Cost" of helmet

1. Note my location. (cool is not a problem; hot is).
2. For kids, requiring helmets means discouraging cycling. Even with the (discredited) 85% head-injury benefit, some countries determine that it's STILL not worth it to require helmets, given the increase in obesity that results from less cycling.
3. Helmets are sometimes inconvenent; sometimes not. A law requiring it doesn't make a distinction. I wore mine mountain biking; I didn't wear it riding downtown to see live music (choices were lock it to the bike or carry it with me; neither one appealed).

And finally...

4. (possibly most important): Buying into the myth that cycling is very dangerous hurts cyclists (and your kids). When Suzy SUV sees you with your helmet, she's thinking "if cycling is so dangerous as to require a safety helmet, maybe little Johnny should just continue riding in my Suburban instead". Ironically, the kid would be safer riding his bike helmetless than strapped in an SUV.
 

JNL

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doinky said:
If I wreck my bike while wearing a tophat, and it gets ripped to shreds while I fall and scrape my head, does the fact that I now have a ripped tophat and survived mean that the tophat saved my life?
Not necessarily, but maybe it means you avoided having your head "ripped to shreds".

Here, bicycle helmets are required by law and have been for some time. About 90% of cyclists comply and anyone caught not wearing one will receive an instant fine. They are just part of cycling and there is no stigma, embarassment or harassment related to wearing one. We have safety standards for helmets.

doinky said:
if you put aside the hysteria for a minute and look at the physical construction of a helmet, you can understand why - it's a small chunk of STYROFOAM
For your information, here's how they are supposed to work:
(from http://www.helmets.org/henderso.htm)

When a head is impacted, violent forces of acceleration are applied to the brain. These may be both linear and rotational. Resulting forces in the brain result in deformations throughout the brain tissue. Acceleration alone, in the absence of fracture, can result in functional injury to the brain.

Injuries to the scalp, skull and brain may be inflicted by a variety of mechanisms, and to protect against these different mechanisms requires a variety of approaches. The two fundamental principles for helmet design are centred on the use of padding to absorb energy and on the distribution of impact loadings.

The primary objective of head protection is the minimisation of brain tissue distortion on impact. A protective helmet usually consists of two parts: the outer shell and a padded layer for energy absorption. Most bicycle helmets are now made without a hard outer shell.

It is the plastic foam liner of the helmet that is responsible for absorbing the energy of impact through its own destruction. It should have a well defined relatively constant crushing strength, and be essentially plastic in the nature of its crushing.
 

doinky

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"how helmets are supposed to work"

The physics of a bicycle helmet simply cannot produce the claimed safety benefit.

And the real-world evidence shows that, in fact, this is the case: bicycle helmets are not reducing the number or severity of head injuries in actual practice.

Given the facts on the ground, the people asserting substantial safety benefit from the styrofoam hat would logically be expected to now labor under a greater burden of proof. We "took your word for it" once, and the results were abyssmal - the real-world safety benefit of a bicycle helmet does, in fact, appear to be equal to that of a formal top hat.
 

PGPG

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Sorry that I didn't conduct a scientific study after my accident to prove that my helmet was responsible for preventing a head injury. I wanted to try it again without my helmet but my bike was totaled and the guy who hit me was too shaken up. Unfortunately I was left with a poor excuse for proof called deductive reasoning. Hum, head strike ground with helmet, helmet splits in two, very groggy, kinda disoriented, hum if head strike ground without helmet maybe it split in two, or at the very least much more groggy and disoriented, huh helmet good. But at last I thinkg I have a solution. Someone could volunteer (not me) to have a five pound weight dropped from say a height of about five feet on their head, probably first with a bike helmet on so their still lucid enough to participate in the second round when it would be dropped on their helmet-less head. As an extra added incentive one could video tape the whole thing and send it off to Jackass and receive a little notoriety. Common sense tells me I rather be wearing a helmet. Just curious are the statistics regarding head injuries and helmet use controlled for the proper use of a helmet?
 

doinky

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4
Real-world trumps anectdotes, part two

PGPG said:
Sorry that I didn't conduct a scientific study after my accident to prove that my helmet was responsible for preventing a head injury. I wanted to try it again without my helmet but my bike was totaled and the guy who hit me was too shaken up. Unfortunately I was left with a poor excuse for proof called deductive reasoning. Hum, head strike ground with helmet, helmet splits in two, very groggy, kinda disoriented, hum if head strike ground without helmet maybe it split in two, or at the very least much more groggy and disoriented, huh helmet good. But at last I thinkg I have a solution. Someone could volunteer (not me) to have a five pound weight dropped from say a height of about five feet on their head, probably first with a bike helmet on so their still lucid enough to participate in the second round when it would be dropped on their helmet-less head. As an extra added incentive one could video tape the whole thing and send it off to Jackass and receive a little notoriety. Common sense tells me I rather be wearing a helmet. Just curious are the statistics regarding head injuries and helmet use controlled for the proper use of a helmet?
I notice the old 5-pound-weight canard is still popular. Son, I was hearing that ten years ago. It's ludicrous. That doesn't represent the bicycle accident you had in any way, shape, or form, nor does it represent any realistic scenario in the real world.

Anyways, it doesn't matter. If 50% of the population is wearing a helmet, and even 20% of those people are wearing the helmet correctly, and your supposed safety benefit exists, we
ought to be able to see the results in the real world . The fact that we don't shows as conclusively as possible that the promised safety benefits are not true.

Your story is the modern equivalent of 1880s Jethro drinking the miracle elixir and his cold going away. After that, all the science in the world couldn't convince him that the miracle elixir didn't cure him.
 

michaelskis

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doinky said:
2. For kids, requiring helmets means discouraging cycling. Even with the (discredited) 85% head-injury benefit, some countries determine that it's STILL not worth it to require helmets, given the increase in obesity that results from less cycling.
What is it to require safety features and equipment for anything? Last year, PA ruled that you did not need a helmet to ride a motor cycle. Does that make them any less effective? Some countries do not require seatbelts in cars, does that make them any less effective. Every place has different safety regulations, but the overall cause and effect for all these cases do not change. In PA, do they have harder skulls then in MI? Not that I could tell. (at times they think that they do, but the human body is a delicate yet resilient machine) When it gets hurt it can sometimes repair it self. Have you ever known someone that has been injured and not wearing safety gear? Why do you think that baseball catchers wear a sports cup, will they die if they get hit? (You might for a bit, but no, you will not die.) It hurts even when you do have a cup on. But you know what, there is less risk of long term damage that could alter your life and future choices. I think that the Helmet Vs No Helmet controversy will go on forever. But I think that we should look at the impact that it could have on our lives. Personally, I believe that the benefit out weighs the risk regardless of a definite will it help or not.
 

martini

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679
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michaelskis said:
Personally, I believe that the benefit out weighs the risk regardless of a definite will it help or not.
dingdingding! Granted, I haven't read the report from doinky in order to answer this, but c'mon, using stats to try and prove something? We all know that stats can easily be manilpulated to show what ever results you want them to. Numbers are not the truth. WIth the voracity that doinky is defending his position, you'd think that he's got a personal gain to come from this study.

Personally, I've cracked at least three helmets(that I can remember), and each time I KNOW it saved me from a more serious head injury/death/comatoseness. Each of these accidents happen on a mountain bike though, not on the road. What this says about my riding skill, well, we'll just leave that one be, eh? :) I''l just keep on wearing mine, thank you. So what if its a placebo? Has a placebo ever hurt anyone?
 

doinky

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martini said:
dingdingding! Granted, I haven't read the report from doinky in order to answer this, but c'mon, using stats to try and prove something? We all know that stats can easily be manilpulated to show what ever results you want them to. Numbers are not the truth. WIth the voracity that doinky is defending his position, you'd think that he's got a personal gain to come from this study.
The 'manipulated stats' come from a study referenced by the NYT in a climate where every excuse possible was given to try to desperately cling to the theory that helmets are still a great safety device for cyclists.

So, you haven't bothered to read the report; and yet you KNOW better.

Well, with that, I leave you to wallow in the mire of your own ignorance.
 
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Tranplanner

maudit anglais
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[mod hat on] Let's keep the debate clean guys. Doinky, as much as you might disagree with another user's opinion, referring to them as an "asshat" is not appropriate. [/mod hat]
 

PGPG

Member
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0
Son, please allow me to clarify my point. As the article you provided states "Almost no one suggests that riders should stop wearing helmets, which researchers have found can reduce the severity of brain injuries by as much as 88 percent." suggests helmets do work. My illustration was simply to prove the point that you discount the benefits of styrofoam and that it does provide some protection. I concede to the fact that my example does not imitate the accident I had but to suggest that my skull would have been in the same shape whether or not I was wearing a helmet is absurd. Following your logic just think of all those stupid people who pack fragile things in what else but styrofoam when they ship them. It is obviously a useless material with no protective qualities like absorbing and dissipating energy. News flash there is a distinction between the number of head injuries and the severity of head injuries. Like the article pointed out people ride bikes much more aggressively today than they did back in 1991, try looking there for an explanation regarding the increase in head injuries not at helmets.
 

giff57

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I had to read the article to see what all of the fuss was about, and it doesn't help anyone's case. It outlines an anomaly in the data, that is all. One cannot make ANY conclusions about the effectiveness of helmets based on it. My stat prof liked to say "correlation does not equal causality" . Doinky is saying that because there is a inverse correlation between head injuries and helmet use, the conclusion is helmets do not work. I say correlation does not equal causality. There are many variables that could be at work.

On a related note, I used to work with the motorcycle anti helmet folks. The State's argument was that not wearing helmets costs the state money for health care. When one looked at the statistics, the costs were greater in states that required helmets. It was determined that the helmets worked as intended, survivability was increased, but it cost more because the hospital stays were longer. It is much cheaper for unhelmeted folks, because more were DOA.
 

martini

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19
doinky said:
The 'manipulated stats' come from a study referenced by the NYT in a climate where every excuse possible was given to try to desperately cling to the theory that helmets are still a great safety device for cyclists.

So, you haven't bothered to read the report; and yet you KNOW better.

Well, with that, I leave you to wallow in the mire of your own ignorance.
Fine. I read it. And now I want to see more than one study that comes from a source that we all know is reputed to have questionable sources in the past. I don't see where they went "out of thier way" to find a way around the result either. One questionable study does not a definitive conclusion make.

Almost no one suggests that riders should stop wearing helmets, which researchers have found can reduce the severity of brain injuries by as much as 88 percent.
Yep. Helmets are absolutely worthless.

Still, many cycling advocates contend that it is not bicyclists but drivers who are more reckless. Distractions like cell phones have made drivers less attentive, they say, and congestion is making roads more dangerous for cyclists. They also believe that some drivers of sport utility vehicles and other trucks simply drive too close to cyclists.
Hmmm....NOTHING will protect a cyclist from a 3000lb death hammer like another car. Maybe all cyclists should just stop riding?

Yeah, I guess you see through the bike industry. After 15 years there, I had become deeply entrenched in the conspiracy to force the country to wear bicycle helmets for saftey. Yeah...the industry was and still is raking in the dough hand over fist because of our back door dealing with those 19 state legislatures. Thats why the whole bike industry is doing so well right now.:-\

Nice personal insult there too. And you're in a professional position? :-\
 
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doinky

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giff made mistaken conclusion

giff, in fact, my conclusion is that helmets cannot be shown to work. I'll admit to sloppy language, shortening to "do not work". Note I did not use "can not work".

If the population results show no benefit, it is thus incumbent on those claming the benefit to figure out why, instead of continuing to stick their fingers in their ears and claim a 80-90% head injury reduction.

To moderator and martini:

"WIth the voracity that doinky is defending his position, you'd think that he's got a personal gain to come from this study"

I viewed this as a personal insult and responded in kind. I think it appropriate to not be the first one to drag a discussion into the mud; but I find it curious that nobody said anything to martini about this quote.
 
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martini

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I didn't call you an "asshat", that's why. I simply stated that it sounds like you either have something to gain from this report, or you wrote it. I don't think that's an insult.
 

giff57

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doinky said:
If the population results show no benefit, it is thus incumbent on those claming the benefit to figure out why, instead of continuing to stick their fingers in their ears and claim a 80-90% head injury reduction.

With this, I would agree. I feel it is the individual's right to decide if they want to risk splitting their melon. The government spends entirely too much money protecting folks from themselves.
 

Tranplanner

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doinky said:
To moderator and martini:

"WIth the voracity that doinky is defending his position, you'd think that he's got a personal gain to come from this study"

I viewed this as a personal insult and responded in kind. I think it appropriate to not be the first one to drag a discussion into the mud; but I find it curious that nobody said anything to martini about this quote.
To be perfectly honest with you, I didn't notice that statement when I read Martini's post. I can see how you might be offended by it, and I agree it isn't a really a fair thing to say, but I don't think it justifies name-calling. You can leave someone to "wallow in the mire of their own ignorance" (nice one btw), but calling them names is a bit much.

Anyhoo, I think the debate is just about done - it's a shame because it really is an interesting topic.

Oh, and the whole thing really is off-topic to Michaelskis original thread.
 

el Guapo

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Doinky

I suggest to you sir that your tin-foil-hat brigade of free range noggins and their para-dig-um does not include this wonder of technology:



Who's saying "That's ridiculous." now? :)
 

plankton

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michaelskis said:
What do you do to provide for safety for your self, yet still be able to maintain a professional business appearance when you ride your bike to work?
I'll tell you what I did to make myself safer on a bike my fellow Red Wing fan:

I moved the he!! out of Michigan! (sorry michiganders) :)
 

Wulf9

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Here is a quote from 2002 regarding auto accidents and injuries.

"The frequency of auto accidents since 1980 has dropped by 16 percent. During the same time period, however, the frequency of auto injury claims rose 26 percent. These findings are revealed in a study just released by the Insurance Research Council (IRC)."

Using the logic from the "helmets study," one could use the above quote to prove that seat belts and air bags do not increase automotive safety.

The statistics do not support the conclusion that helmets don't work. They can provide a hypothesis for further study and targeted statistical work. But it is a hypothesis to be proved or not proved, not the conclusion.
 

doinky

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What's proven and what is not

Wulf9 said:
Here is a quote from 2002 regarding auto accidents and injuries.

The statistics do not support the conclusion that helmets don't work. They can provide a hypothesis for further study and targeted statistical work. But it is a hypothesis to be proved or not proved, not the conclusion.
Wulf,

First of all, taking just this one population study in isolation shows that, as you say, further study is needed. However, I don't notice you (or anybody else) telling the helmet promoters that their claims are unproven.

Second, other studies (populational) have shown that there is no significant difference between the bicycle and pedestrian head-injury trendlines over the last 10-20 years. Think about that for a minute before you respond.
 

Wulf9

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Note that I didn't conclude in my post that helmets do work (although I think they do). I merely pointed out that the statistics used to draw the helmet conclusion were not based on "helmet" studies. There is also no correlation between the bike and pedestrian studies - just an imputed conclusion.

I just brought up the auto comparison (the first auto accident study that popped up on google) to show that auto stats show a similar conclusion - more injuries reported even though accidents had decreased. One could not use that to conclude that seatbelts don't work unless one does a seatbelt study.
 

Repo Man

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I recently bought my first bike helmet. I bought it not because I am worried about my skills as a rider, but because so many drivers don’t “share the road” with bicyclists. It seems that doinky is obsessed with this one study and is just looking for an argument. Did that study take into account the massive amount of suburban growth since the early 1990s? There are so many suburbs without sidewalks or other bicycling facilities so my guess is that this accounts for a lot of the additional head injuries. Also parents baby their children so much more than they used to. When I was a kid if I fell off my bike my mom would look at the injury, wash it up, and send me back out (thus it would never have been reported). If a kid is hurt in a bike accident nowadays it is probably more likely that the parents would take them to the emergency room or the doctor’s office to have it examined, plus in our lawsuit-crazy society these parents need verifiable record to prepare for their lawsuits against the automobile driver. Also the study doesn’t take into account the people who get into accidents and because they are wearing a helmet don’t get a head injury and thus do not report it.

The article quotes Philip Dunham as saying: "It didn't cross my mind that this could happen, I definitely felt safe. I wouldn't do something like that without a helmet." Unfortunately the helmet he was wearing did not protect his neck; he was paralyzed from the neck down. Maybe this is the problem, people riding beyond their abilities. Football players wear helmets yet every once in a while they will take a hit that paralyzes them. Helmets do not guarantee that you will emerge from an accident unscathed. How this guy could somehow think that a helmet would make him invincible is beyond me. Maybe in that case it is more of a stupidity issue than a safety one. When I ride, even with a helmet I know that there is always a risk involved. I am not foolish enough to think that if I flip over the handlebars and hit my head on the pavement that there is no risk of neck or spine injury just because I have a helmet on.

A simple way too look at this is if you are in a bike accident, what would you rather have hit the concrete your skull or a helmet?
 

doinky

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94
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4
Don't know if this is even worth it, but

Repo ManIt seems that doinky is obsessed with this one study and is just looking for an argument. Did that study take into account the massive amount of suburban growth since the early 1990s?[/QUOTE said:
You are incorrect on both counts.

1. This populational result (lack of observed benefit from massive increases in helmet usage) has been recorded in country after country. The NY Times article was the first publicity given to the only study (so far) in this country; other countries have had similar results. (The reason I have provided the NY Times story is that it's too easy to claim "conditions in other countries are too different for these results to apply here" otherwise).

2. The populational results also match the trendline for pedestrian injuries. (Actually, the bike line is a bit worse). Pedestrians, you may recall, do not wear helmets, and their interactions with motorists are considerably different than are those of cyclists.

The fact that helmet usage has skyrocketed, and yet the promised benefit has failed to materialize, would in any other science lead to the original studies (that promised the benefit) getting a rigorous re-analysis to see where (if anywhere) they went wrong. The problem is that the original Thompson&Rivera helmet study already
has been discredited, yet it gets used anyways. This study is the source of the infamous "85% reduction in head injuries" claim, but suffered from self-selected sample bias (at the time, people who wore helmets were a substantially different population than those who did not, and as it turned out, were much more likely to seek medical care for minor injuries since they were more likely to be covered by insurance).
 

giff57

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Lifelover, I deleted your post. Personal attacks will not be tolerated.
 

annie

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Here's my take on helmet use... I've been a serious cyclist for quite some time, and I used to only wear a helmet about 50% of the time. I bought a "cooler" looking and more ventilated helmet, and now have no reason not to wear one. I've got a lot still to accomplish in life...and it's pretty hard to get anything done with a serious head injury. As bad as it sounds, my first thought when I see people who are "too good" to wear helmets is natural selection. You can't tell me that a helmet won't offer me at least SOME protection if I'm catapulted off my bike at 35mph.
 

doinky

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4
Yes, Annie, I CAN tell you.

annie said:
Here's my take on helmet use... I've been a serious cyclist for quite some time, and I used to only wear a helmet about 50% of the time. I bought a "cooler" looking and more ventilated helmet, and now have no reason not to wear one. I've got a lot still to accomplish in life...and it's pretty hard to get anything done with a serious head injury. As bad as it sounds, my first thought when I see people who are "too good" to wear helmets is natural selection. You can't tell me that a helmet won't offer me at least SOME protection if I'm catapulted off my bike at 35mph.
Since the real-world results from helmet use show no impact whatsoever on serious head injury rates, I can, in fact, tell you that your helmet will probably not offer you any protection if you're catapulted off your bike at 35mph.

Why not wear a big fuzzy hat? Surely THAT would offer SOME protection? How about a suit of armor? Rabbit's foot?
 

boiker

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doinky said:
Since the real-world results from helmet use show no impact whatsoever on serious head injury rates, I can, in fact, tell you that your helmet will probably not offer you any protection if you're catapulted off your bike at 35mph.

Why not wear a big fuzzy hat? Surely THAT would offer SOME protection? How about a suit of armor? Rabbit's foot?
please re-read your last statement. Helmets may offer as much protection as a banana peel on serious head injuries, but what about the rates of minor head injuries?

Have the amount of minor head injuries also risen? Is it possible that helemt use has caused the rates of minor head injuries to dramaticaly increase, while serious injury showed no change? I'd be interested on that information.

If no helmets were in use, could it be even more possible that serious head injury rates could be even higher?

Even seat belts don't prevent death in SERIOUS motor vehicle accidents, but in other moderate and minor accidents, you can sure as hell bet that seatbelts have prevented major injury by making them minor injury.
 

Repo Man

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doinky said:
Since the real-world results from helmet use show no impact whatsoever on serious head injury rates, I can, in fact, tell you that your helmet will probably not offer you any protection if you're catapulted off your bike at 35mph.

Why not wear a big fuzzy hat? Surely THAT would offer SOME protection? How about a suit of armor? Rabbit's foot?
Nowhere does any helmet claim to protect your head if you are catapulted off your bike at 35mph. These helmets are designed for low-impact crashes. If you go flying off your bike at 35 mph and hit the pavement headfirst the jolt is going to cause your brain to rattle around and probably result in some type of head trauma. Also it will probably have some impact on your spine too. However if you were riding slowly and simply hit a deep pothole and flew over your handlebars and hit headfirst, the helmet would definitly help. You cite ONE study, but I could find a whole bunch of other studies that would say that they do reduce the risk of head injuries in certain cases. The study you cite even outlines the obvious flaws in the data gathering such as bikers feeling more invincible becuase they have the helmet and thus riding more carelessly.

Why don't you check out some of these links and the refrences cited in them:

http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00036941.htm

http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/PDF/rr/rr4401.pdf
 

doinky

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Repo Man said:
Nowhere does any helmet claim to protect your head if you are catapulted off your bike at 35mph. These helmets are designed for low-impact crashes. If you go flying off your bike at 35 mph and hit the pavement headfirst the jolt is going to cause your brain to rattle around and probably result in some type of head trauma. Also it will probably have some impact on your spine too. However if you were riding slowly and simply hit a deep pothole and flew over your handlebars and hit headfirst, the helmet would definitly help. You cite ONE study, but I could find a whole bunch of other studies that would say that they do reduce the risk of head injuries in certain cases. The study you cite even outlines the obvious flaws in the data gathering such as bikers feeling more invincible becuase they have the helmet and thus riding more carelessly.

Why don't you check out some of these links and the refrences cited in them:

http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00036941.htm

http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/PDF/rr/rr4401.pdf
Repo Man:

I guarantee you I've read more studies than everybody else in this thread put together.

In science, if you have a bunch of hypotheses based on statistical analyses (such as hospital admissions with and without helmets), and you make some preliminary conclusions, such as "helmets reduce head injuries by 85%", but then the actual populational data does not support your preliminary conclusion, you withdraw that conclusion
completely .

It appears to only be in the case of safety devices that the normal rules don't apply.

The fact is that nearly every helmet study (other than the populational results) have roots in Thompson and Rivera, which could be used in an elementary statistics class as an example of how you can really mess up with the self-selected sample bias. Others have used the same study to 'prove' that wearing a helmet cuts your rate of a major leg injury by 90%, by the way.

There is no reliable evidence that helmets work. The fact that the large-scale population result showed no detectible benefit suggests that the initial studies were invalid. And, in fact, a cursory analysis of those studies based on hospital admissions shows problem after problem - no peer-reviewed journal other than in the safety field would ever let such shoddy work in the door.

Repo Man said:
Nowhere does any helmet claim to protect your head if you are catapulted off your bike at 35mph.
Oh, and, it wasn't my claim. It was made by Annie, but it is quite common in the field for people to claim that their helmet is going to save them from a major injury in a collision with an automobile at high speed.

boiker said:
please re-read your last statement. Helmets may offer as much protection as a banana peel on serious head injuries, but what about the rates of minor head injuries?

Have the amount of minor head injuries also risen? Is it possible that helemt use has caused the rates of minor head injuries to dramaticaly increase, while serious injury showed no change? I'd be interested on that information.

If no helmets were in use, could it be even more possible that serious head injury rates could be even higher?

Even seat belts don't prevent death in SERIOUS motor vehicle accidents, but in other moderate and minor accidents, you can sure as hell bet that seatbelts have prevented major injury by making them minor injury.
The introduction of seat belts, and gradual increase in their usage, did in fact correlate with a detectible reduction in major automobile crash injuries.

UNLIKE WITH BICYCLE HELMETS.
 
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michaelskis

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doinky said:
Repo Man:

I guarantee you I've read more studies than everybody else in this thread put together.
Can I ask why is it that every bike race that I have ever raced in, watched, read about, along with every bike racing association that I know of such as NORBA requires the use of helmets?

I am just thinking that these people write the articles that you read... and they influence the rules, and they say no helmet, no ride.
 

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