16 August 2009

Head Protection for Motorists

helmet for motorists head protection for motorists helmet for motorists
A while back we posted about an Australian 'motoring helmet' designed to protect motorists' heads in car accidents. It was designed in the late 1980's.

Then we recieved this tip yesterday. Another head protection device for motorists, this one developed at the University of Adelaide, in Australia. A serious product for the serious of protecting motorists from the dangers of driving. Despite airbags and seatbelts, motorists are victims of alarming head injury rates. Here's what the Centre for Automotive Safety Research [CASR] in Australia says:

The Centre has been evaluating the concept of a protective headband for car occupants. In about 44 percent of cases of occupant head injury, a protective headband, such as the one illustrated, would have provided some benefit. One estimate has put the potential benefit of such a device (in terms of reduced societal Harm) as high as $380 million, compared with $123 million for padding the upper interior of the car. This benefit derives from the fact that in a crash, the head strikes objects other than those that could be padded inside the car.


Wikipedia has some more:
CASR were investigating the benefits of padding the inside of a car, which is a legal requirement in some jurisdictions. They discovered that although the head may strike any of a number of places in a car, many of which would be difficult to pad, that about half of all serious head injuries occurred to the forehead, side of the head or behind the ears. From these findings CASR embarked upon a project to develop a headband which could protect these areas of the head in a car collision.

The BBC wrote about the new product here.

Would you wear one?

Motion
Any bicycle advocate worth their salt will dedicate the majority of their time to promoting cycling positively and highlighting the many benefits of cycling for the individual and for society.

Unfortunately, it proves necessary to spend a great deal of time debunking well-established myths about the 'dangers' of cycling. The health benefits of cycling - both for the individual and society - are 20 times greater than the relatively small risk of serious accident. This is where the focus should lie.

Increasing the number of cyclists in any urban environment fights obesity and a host of illnesses associated with our modern sedentary lifestyles. More citizens choosing the bicycle reduces injury rates. If you double the number of cyclists in a city, the risk of injury falls by one-third, due to the Safety in Numbers principle.

Futhermore, in Copenhagen we've calculated that:

For every kilometre cycled, society enjoys a net PROFIT of 1.22 kroner [$0.23].

On the other hand, for every kilometre travelled in a car, society suffers a net LOSS of 0.69 kroner [$0.13].


Politicians here, like anywhere else, love cost-benefit analysis. Cycling and investment in infrastructure is fantastically profitable for a society.

The Copenhagen calculations are based, among other factors, on reduced costs for wear and tear on the roads, the health benefits of cycling and the extended lives of healthier citizens.

We're not even talking about testosterone cycling, merely pedalling to work, the supermarket, the cinema, etc. When more people cycle, there are fewer sick days, fewer hospital admissions and the working population is generally more productive.

It is even more unfortunate that many of the people who are eager to keep the myths about cycling alive are cyclists. More often than not, cyclists who enjoy the adrenaline version of cycling and not the casual urban transport style on the rise in cities all over the world.

Imagine if the most vocal advocates of 'going for walks around town' were racewalkers and racewalking clubs.

Copenhagenize.com, in the interest of exploring how logic works - or rather doesn't - thinks that the focus on the mythical dangers of cycling is misplaced. In logical terms, proponents of bicycle helmets should extend their campaign to include helmets for pedestrians and motorists. Anything less than that is misleading, statistically incorrect and just plain ridiculous.

Promoting the positive aspects of cycling seems so blatantly obvious, but it is, sadly, an uphill battle and has been for the past few decades.

The time is ripe for Bicycle Culture 2.0. The more people who promote cycling as positive, the quicker we arrive.

70 comments:

Anonymous said...

BORING!

We got that you don't like helmets.

kimharding said...

If you are that bored, stop reading, maybe try cycling - without a helmet, it is soooo much better....

Anonymous said...

Rode with my sons in SW Michigan and away from the recently passed laws requiring helmets in our community. Riding along country roads next to vineyards and fruit orchards, one son exclaimed "I love the feeling of the wind in my hair". Who doesn't?

Love the cost-benefit analysis!
Jack

Erik Sandblom said...

Actually even Mikael thinks it's boring: "Unfortunately, it proves necessary to spend a great deal of time debunking well-established myths about the 'dangers' of cycling."

These blog entries inspired me to find out the facts for myself, and that was exciting.

And why do the myths persist? My theory is that in both North America and Europe, most people don't cycle regularly for transportation, and these people are receptive to silly ideas about utility cycling. This extends to transportation experts, though I detect a shift there. Gothenburg's mayor, Anneli Hulthén, and NYC's transport commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan both cycle to work. Both wear lids... maybe better examples than I realise :-)

Tom Vanderbilt: Word of the Day: Bikeism

Mikael said...

yes, yes, but would you wear one? that's the question i'm eager to hear answers to.

Erik Sandblom said...

I wouldn't wear it, it doesn't look safe enough :)

Just a cyclist said...

Me neither, I am scared by the vehemence with which it is pushed.

Gordon Inkeles said...

Oh, it's SO liberating to ride without a helmet...

http://www.arcataeye.com/index.php?module=Pagesetter&func=viewpub&tid=2&pid=1238

Just a cyclist said...

It would indeed be liberating to be able to ride without the barking striving to raise guilt. Which BTW is a corner pillar of institutionalised religion.

Gordon Inkeles said...

"barking striving...?"

Melbourne Cyclist said...

Love the car headband-helmet! I have to remember to ask people if they wear one when they go out for a drive. I've just been telling people that cycling's not dangerous, proximity to motor vehicles is dangerous...

nathan_h said...

It's so liberating to drive without a helmet, they made this scaled down version so you can keep 90% of your liberatin'ness and 10% of your imaginary protection!

Gordon Inkeles said...

How much more of this

http://www.arcataeye.com/index.php?module=Pagesetter&func=viewpub&tid=2&pid=1238

do you want?

Mikael said...

funny, gordon, but that link starts with :

"A pedestrian was struck and killed by a vehicle early Sunday morning at Samoa Boulevard and K Street. The vehicle didn’t stop, and continued westbound on State Route 255."

No helmet on that pedestrian. And no call for one. Where's the logic? Why do cyclists get bullied but not people in other high risk groups.?

Lucy said...

"Futhermore, in Copenhagen we've calculated that:

For every kilometre cycled, society enjoys a net PROFIT of 1.22 kroner [$0.23].

On the other hand, for every kilometre travelled in a car, society suffers a net LOSS of 0.69 kroner [$0.13]."

How was this calculated? link please.

Just a cyclist said...

Gordon, I meant: It'd be liberating to ride without all the relentless attempts made to inflict guilt on us for doing it.
I'm not a native english speaker, but TBH I'm more proud of that than ashamed of it.

Mikael said...

Lucy: these are stats from the City of Copenhagen's Bicycle Office, from the newest version of the biannual Bicycle Account.
http://kk.dk/cyklernesby.aspx

the bicycle account isn't online yet, will be shortly, but I have a copy of it.

the post mentions some of the factors the calculations are based on.

it may be of interest to read a report out of Scotland that calculates the net profit to society of increasing cycling. Transform Scotland's report is here.

Lucy said...

very interesting, thanks.

spiderleggreen said...

I think it's unfair not mention one of the side benefits of wearing the above "Halo" protection devise, is it may improve your chances of getting into heaven.

Gordon Inkeles said...

"bulied...?" I'm beginning to wonder if you are paranoid or simply stupid. The scenario that awaits you next time you ride into a patch of sand, gravel, if a bit of fabric drifts down into your front wheel or if you are hit by a motorist and thrown forward is spelled out in the Arcata Eye article:

"Riding without a helmet, his bike flipped over whern a garment tied loosely around his handlebars dropped down into the front wheel, sending him over the handlebars and onto the pavement."

I've had similar falls twice in the past twenty years. Both times I was wearing a helmet, so I dusted myself off and rode home. Without the helmet, I would have been dead.

Arcata has good cycling conditions; not as good as Copenhagen, but quite good for North or South America. Every cyclist I know can tell you similar stories. Every one of us rides with a helmet as do all our children.

You are free to make your own fate.

Mikael said...

people who keep falling off their bicycles are hardly role models for the vast majority who don't.

may I suggest a bus pass?

imagine if cars were sold by people who kept crashing into walls.

until the day you wear a walking helmet, gordon, and a motoring helmet, i will never take you seriously. :-)

Gordon Inkeles said...

If I lived in Copenhagen I might skip the helmet it I were cycling to work or school. However, in California--and most of the places I've visited in North and South America, conditions are much more dangerous and therefore responsible people wear helmets.

Since your blog is widely read you do have a responsibility to take a more balanced approach on the subject. You could simply say that helmets are a good idea but that you don't choose to wear one in Denmark.

Mikael said...

yes, but gordon, i don't feel that way. i've cycled extensively in urban environments on every continent, including many cities on yours.

what started with this journey here is now where we are today.

i have read 60 scientific studies, spoken with helmet designers and people who test helmets and numerous experts in bicycle culture and helmets over the past year.

i've reached a personal conclusion and it's the same as many cyclist unions, the European Cyclist Federation and even the European ministers of transport.

When there is no conclusive scientific evidence, we shouldn't promote anything. Especially when the negative consequences are so dire.

My only wish is to encourage cycling. Calling it Copenhagenizing is a way of expressing that wish.

We focus on the wrong issues with regards to cycling and I think that it should be different.

spiderleggreen said...

Taken from an individualistic point of view, it may seem that wearing a helmet, offers the best protection. Things happen that you don't expect. A helmet may help in those situations. But it is a myopic perspective. It doesn't address the bigger issues in bike safety. In some ways it hinders that safety, when others avoid hopping on bikes, because they perceive it as so dangerous, that you need to wear a helmet.

To me, the helmet issue takes energy from the really important changes that are needed. Instead of focusing on safer bike infrastructure and greater protection from cars, we get the "Did you wear your helmet?", which seems to be an autonomic response, when riding a bike comes up in conversation, here in America.

Get people on bikes. Build better and more useful bikeways. Make changes in roads, that slow drivers down, allow them a better chance to see what's going on around them. Getting such changes won't be easy. There is a whole lot of Car-head out there. But don't dig the hole deeper, by scarying people off bikes, with horror stories.

Good people do get hurt, riding bikes. It isn't just speed racers and adrenaline junkies that get in accidents. Things are going to happen that you aren't prepared for. One of those things is the car. Let's put the focus where it's going to have the most impact. While it's idiocy to ignore threats to our safety, taking the wider view, and identifying what can make all us safer, is wiser. Thinking you're saving the world by putting on a helmet, is a waste of effort. My favorite new saying for situations like this is, "Wrong bullseye!"

Ride slow. You'll see more.

Anonymous said...

Something that nags me about your argument Mikael, is that it deson't take into account the differences in cycling infrastructures elsewhere in the world and particularly in large North American cities. Many of us don't have the luxury of living in cities with dedicated bike lanes. I would love to live in a European city like yours - it looks like heaven. But the reality is that when I ride to work, I ride in traffic with cars and often litterally in between cars. There *is* a risk involved. That doesn't stop me from riding my bike everyday, but I'm not ignorant about my safety.

Where I live, many of our bicycle safety laws are related to this report from the Office of the Chief Coroner in British Columbia.

Gordon Inkeles said...

"When there is no conclusive scientific evidence, we shouldn't promote anything"

True, but here is the scientific evidence you choose to ignore:

http://www.bhsi.org/bhsi_faq.htm

Dismissing this as "helmet industry propaganda" is either paranoid or stupid. Read their own FAQ
http://www.bhsi.org/bhsi_faq.htm

Or read the Consumer's Research studies on bike helmet safety. I suspect you already know that there are many more such scientific studies.

I suppose I've taken it this far because cyclists have very likely already died needlessly due to the anti-helmet hysteria promoted on this blog. I'm hoping your interest in promoting bicycle culture trumps you need to win specious arguments.

Just a cyclist said...

Wow, now we are being hit in the head with BHSI-bat as the final trump card. Now I could really use a helmet...
The BHSI is not at all biased, they just feel that helmets are the proper precaution for cyclists against hazards posed by motorized traffic. How reassuring.

Erik Sandblom said...

Anonymous 20:12,

I don't think a helmet will help you when hit by a car. This is borne out by experience from New Zealand. Look at this graph:

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicycle_helmets_in_New_Zealand

The only thing that helps with cars is to slow them down to 30 km/h.

Gordon Inkeles said...

"I don't think a helmet will help you when hit by a car."

Depends on the collision. But that's not the main purpose of bike helmets. Do you really not understand that bike helmets are made to protect you from hitting your head in a fall?

Anonymous said...

Erik, you are probably right. But just as others choose not to wear one, I choose to wear one. Perhaps that makes me more pro-choice than pro-helmet.

A few years ago, a cousin of mine (who was an avid cyclist and triathlete) was struck by a drunk driver while he was cycling with his fiance. My cousin was wearing a helmet, which he has been told saved his life. Without it, he would have been dead.

Perhaps my cousin is the exception to the rule and perhaps the issue at hand in his story should be drinking and driving and not helmets. Since the accident we've watched my cousin relearn to speak, feed himself, and walk. It's been a tough road. But in his case the helmet gave him a second chance at life.

Mikael said...

oh how i tire of the "a helmet saved his/her/my life" fables.

Gordon Inkeles said...

Spoken like a true reactionary. In other words, don't bother me with facts.

Mikael said...

you're getting boring, gordon. time to change your angle.

Mikael said...

fascinating how you spend so much time commenting on this blog. may I suggest finding a hobby?

Gordon Inkeles said...

"people who keep falling off their bicycles are hardly role models for the vast majority who don't."

If you had bothered to actually read the article instead of sneering at this tradgedy, you would know that the dead cyclist was on his way to a laundry, an activity that could have placed him in Copenhagen as easily as Arcata. Indeed, riding a bike to the laundry is "Bike culture" in action.

He would still be alive if he had worn a helmet.

Your response? Blame the victim.

Just a cyclist said...

It looks more like you are blaming the victim for not wearing a helmet.
This (common) display of absolute conviction of the redeeming powers of 200 g of foam stripes, emotive anectotes combined with gory warnings - all with the purpose of making the reader conscious of guilt - sounds both like a crusade AND an inquisition at the same time. We'll be burning witches in no time.
Who would have thought that the subject matter is cycling...

Gordon Inkeles said...

" may I suggest finding a hobby?"

May I suggest you stick to sneaking photos of female cyclist's legs. Unlike discussion, you do that fairly well.

Erik Sandblom said...

Hang on, let me get my mudslinging helmet before you people continue.

Gordon Inkeles said...

Another no-helmet fall...

http://www.brocycle.com/2009/08/wear-your-fucking-helmet.html

Mikael said...

unfortunately for you, Gordie the Troll, you're scarelink offers little scientific proof of anything.

but hey, here's another no-helmet crash for the logics.

Just a cyclist said...

It looks like he dearly needs those falls.

Mikael said...

yes, i'm sure there's a word for our Troll's strange fetish for safety gear. Oh, but not all safety gear, of course, that would be logical.

Anonymous said...

Mikael, I shared a very personal story about a family member of mine and your repsonse is how you're "tired"?! I assure you what happened to Kevin is anything BUT a fable.

Your blog has encouraged me to get back on my bike and ride to work everyday, which I will continue to do. I'm incredibly disappointed in your heartless response. Sure you may disagree with me, but brushing off something tragic that has happened to a member of my family as being "tired"?!

I'm done with your blog. There are countless others I can visit instead.

Adrienne Johnson said...

The thing I find funny in all of this is that for many, myself included, helmets are becoming a symbol of oppression. I can no longer see them as a "safety" device. To my eye, they are a symbol of someone else shoving their fear and rhetoric down my throat, or on my head as the case may be.

I have little opinion as to whether or not "you" should wear a helmet. Like so many other things in life, it is a personal choice that should be made. If the only reason you are wearing one is because someone has terrified or guilted you into it, then so be it- that only makes your world smaller and more frightening. If you wear it because you have studied the facts and find the evidence to be in favor of their use, than hurray!- you have made an informed decision.

Having made a decision, then lead by example, not by bullying, yelling, belittling or cherry picking "facts". If you ride with dignity and skill, that will make a greater impact to the way others ride and view bicycling than all of the fear and finger pointing ever could.

Gordon Inkeles said...

I'm with you, 22:34. Pedantic, snide and inflexible...not the Copenhagen I remember.

Mikael said...

i love it when people find friends on my blog.

Just a cyclist said...

I bet that Gordon himself just as flexible as concrete when it comes to bicycle helmets. He's probably much more flexible, liberal even, when it comes to helmets in cars.
This debate is getting boring...
Let's all just hope that it can continue, without getting ended by a definitive bid.

Anonymous said...

I followed this "discussion" for a while. I do not agree that the pro helmet people have been unreasonable or failed to provide evidence. Every time one of them send a study you laugh it off or ignored it. They are a lot more flexible than you are. I see several of them say in "safe" conditions like Copenhagen it is fine to ride without helmet. But in dangerous conditions a helmet is very good idea. You ignore that too and try to make joke.

You are just trying to win argument, no matter what facts you hear.

bentguy said...

Safe conditions like Copenhagen? I live in a very large car-centric North American city. I feel perfectly safe and I cycle far more than the average cyclists in this city. I understand that others don't feel safe. Fine. Do what ya gotta do... and if that means a helmet... go for it. If it means not cycling at all them I feel bad for you.

My not wearing one will not change the state of others safety nor will it increase everyone’s taxes and my choice of a healthy lifestyle will not set a bad example for your children.

Yes there are studies that have suggested helmet use might reduce head injuries. I have yet to see one that can stand up to serious scientific scrutiny. The real problem is that mandatory helmet laws (forcing others to do what you think is best) fare even worse. It is clear that on a societal level their impact, anywhere they have been introduced, has only been negative. I get that some (and I can believe that many have reached this conclusion reasonably) think that it is safe to wear a helmet and due to that belief they wish everyone would. I wish no one would smoke. I wish cyclists and pedestrians didn’t have to subsidise motorists. I wish everyone would get regular exercise. I wish the Prime Minister of my country wasn’t such a stupid git. Should I petition for a law? Where I live there is a mandatory helmet law. About half the cyclists I see abide by it. All of the motorists scream and yell at cyclists due to it. Many don’t ride because of it. I understand that our new cycling Mayor is looking at ways to get out of it so he can introduce a bike sharing program. I think that is a good thing.

As most of us have read before, H.G. Wells said; “When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race.” In his day he probably never saw one wearing a helmet but I doubt that if he did it would have changed his opinion of cycling. Unless you told him he had to wear one too.

Anonymous said...

Bentguy:

Below are several scientific studies on the effectiveness of helmets in preventing head injuries to bike riders that you may want to read:

http://www.usa.safekids.org/tier2_rl.cfm?folder_id=169

Just a cyclist said...

Anon 01:24

Fact is that the pro-helmet guys are constantly here ranting full throttle as they seem to get very offended by these blog posts.

Having followed this blog and participated in the discussions, I still do not understand how these postings can be so controversial for some. No one have ever mentioned that helmets completely lack any safety value whatsoever, and your option to don a helmet is in no way being questioned.

Anonymous said...

You can choose to ride without a helmet. You can ignore the scientific proof which proves that helmets reduce head injuries by 85%, such as the study above.

However, you don't have the right to spread lies that put others--especially children-- at risk.

bentguy said...

I looked over your link. The main focus seems to be that in according to them “unintentional injuries remain the number one killer of children 14 and under in the United States.” Within that group they state in their report that the leading causes of fatal unintentional injury puts bike related at 3% and 28% is as a result of being a passenger in a motor vehicle (drowning 16%, air obstruction 14%, pedestrian 12%, fire and burns 10%...).

There wasn’t all that much about helmets right off the bat but this very familiar “stat” did jump off of the page: “A single rule – wear a helmet – can reduce the risk of head injury by as much as 85 percent.” And again one link further I found: “Helmets can reduce the risk of brain injury by as much as 88 percent.” These little gems have been addressed before here and elsewhere but since this is Mikael’s blog here is what he had to say about it in a previous post:

"Virtually every bike helmet advocacy group out there quote the same statistic like it was carved in stone. They repeat it endlessly, like a broken record. No advocates question it - it is merely The Truth.

The statistic in question is that "cycle helmets prevent 85% of head injuries and 88% of brain injuries". This 'fact' is the foundation on which all bike helmet advocacy and helmet law advocacy is based upon. The populations of entire cities and states have legislation in place based on this 'fact'. This statistic dictates the lives of millions of people. Some websites try to tone it down a bit by writing things like "up to 85%" or "around 85%", but the message is the same."

"It originates from a small study in Seattle back in 1987, romantically entitled: A case-control study of the effectiveness of bicycle safety helmets - Thompson, Rivara & Thompson. New England Journal of Medicine 1989, Vol 320 No 21 p1361-7."

"Those who have taken the trouble to analyse the paper in detail, however, have found it to be seriously flawed and its conclusions untenable."

"What? Sorry? Untenable? But it is The Truth! All studies since this infamous one have shown less or NO benefit from helmet usage. The guys who wrote that study should be in marketing, branding toxic waste as tasty and healthy."

"They've done their job well. Never mind that it was a flawed study with little merit on a scientific level! It's an impressive statistic. Just start quoting it and hope that nobody checks up on it. And nobody has, by the looks of it."

So what level of respect are we supposed to afford to anyone who enthusiastically repeats this nonsense.

Anonymous said...

Unbelievable. Do you understand how to evaluate a scientific study?

I doubt that you will read what follows. Here is additional scientific evidence in the form of multiple studies on the effectiveness of bicycle helmets in preventing head injuries:

http://depts.washington.edu/hiprc/practices/topic/bicycles/helmeteffect.html

Can you now admit that you are dead wrong? Your advice is putting fellow cyclists, especially children, at serious risk of head injuries.

Anonymous said...

First, you have not given a single reason why the study is wrong. It wasn't "a small study" by the way.

Furthermore, it far from the only study on the effectiveness of helmets; there are MANY others. A few are included above. I doubt you can understand the science or even read the actual study, but you should try because your stupidity is dangerous.

Mikael said...

keep adding links. it makes little difference. I've seen them all, read them all.

The fact that the helmetologists deny is that the scientific community is completely spilit down the middle on helmets and has been for two decades.

When science is divided, that means there is no conclusive evidence.

If you choose only to put your faith in the one side of the science that appeals to you, it is just that. Faith. Belief. Ideology.

But that's not how science works.

If there were conclusive evidence, we wouldn't be having this discussion. We'd either be wearing helmets or not wearing them, depending on which way the science fell.

I understand how it must be painfully difficult for some of you to be presented with a point of view that is different to what you've previously been told.

It must be so very difficult to learn that individuals and cyclist groups in so many countries - including your own - don't adhere to the one-sided view of bicycle helmets as presnted to you by the helmet industry but choose rather to discard emotion and rhetoric in favour of the cold, hard scientific facts.

These individuals and cyclist groups are not 'stupid' or whatever other names you cast about. They are all, virtually without exception, are dedicated to encouraging people to ride bicycles. It's a non-profit pursuit, a thankless effort, but they'll keep on doing it.

It's hard to accept, I know, but you'll just have to get used to it.

Just a cyclist said...

Anon does not appear to have read up very much on this subject. When he accuse others of putting children into danger, it's more like he's ego appears to be in imminent danger.

If you want to do something great for mankind, why not choose something that'll really make a difference... promoting cycling positively perhaps?

Mikael said...

Oh, and Gordon... making yourself Anonymous doesn't really help.
I understand you're sending emails to other websites dissing me.

Lame.

Anonymous said...

16 studies cited above. You haven't read--and clearly can't understand--any of them.

Mikael said...

please read my comment above. and get used to it.

Anonymous said...

Your comments above refer to one study out of many, which you have failed to understand. When many studies find the same data, scientists take that as evidence of a fact. The links to more than 16 studies are above. Read them someday and have someone trained in science explain the conclusions to you.

Meanwhile, please think about the thousands of cyclists and children whom you are putting at needless risk.

Mikael said...

Gordon, please read the comments, above. And get used to it.

Mikael said...

keep adding links. it makes little difference. I've seen them all, read them all.

The fact that the helmetologists deny is that the scientific community is completely spilit down the middle on helmets and has been for two decades.

When science is divided, that means there is no conclusive evidence.

If you choose only to put your faith in the one side of the science that appeals to you, it is just that. Faith. Belief. Ideology.

But that's not how science works.

If there were conclusive evidence, we wouldn't be having this discussion. We'd either be wearing helmets or not wearing them, depending on which way the science fell.

I understand how it must be painfully difficult for some of you to be presented with a point of view that is different to what you've previously been told.

It must be so very difficult to learn that individuals and cyclist groups in so many countries - including your own - don't adhere to the one-sided view of bicycle helmets as presnted to you by the helmet industry but choose rather to discard emotion and rhetoric in favour of the cold, hard scientific facts.

These individuals and cyclist groups are not 'stupid' or whatever other names you cast about. They are all, virtually without exception, are dedicated to encouraging people to ride bicycles. It's a non-profit pursuit, a thankless effort, but they'll keep on doing it.

It's hard to accept, I know, but you'll just have to get used to it.

Anonymous said...

You are correct in saying that if the scientific community were "split" there would be grounds for serious doubt. However, the scientific community is not "split" on the ability of helmets to reduce head injuries. If a single individual wants to claim all the studies are wrong and refuse to consider mountains of scientific evidence, that does not make it false. For example, the fact that one or two professors disagree with the overwhelming scientific evidence in support of Global Warming does not credibly cast doubt on what is now a fact of life. The same is true of bicycle helmets.

Common sense tells you that they protect your head, MANY studies (above) now confirm it. It is both selfish and reactionary to deny the fact that it is now simply true. Get used to it.

Melbourne Cyclist said...

Gordon/Anonymous: I'm curious - are you also campaigning against motor vehicles? Because as far as I understand, people driving motor vehicles around the roads are putting thousands of cyclists and children at needless risk.

Anonymous said...

Hey,
"thousands of cyclists and children whom you are putting at needless risk."
Yes, the pro-helmet sellers are putting thousands of cyclist at risk:

more helmets = less cyclists = more injuries = more helmets = less cyclists = more injuries ....

Anonymous said...

If you had bothered to read and were capable of understanding any of the 16 independently conducted studies on helmet protection cited above you would know they are not from "pro helmet sellers" but from scientists. But nice try anyway.

Just a cyclist said...

Anon, you are not talking about the Cochrane review are you? Nah... you couldn't. Or wait! I'm sure that you would even use that to defend your standpoints (your ego rather).
In any case I've read that it have been cited as hard evidence for a hard headed standpoint...

petterwr said...

Wearing a helmet makes motorists move closer to the bike and giving both parties less margin for errors. If you get hit a helmet might reduce the risk of serious head-injury, but it will probably increase the risk of an accident happening in the first place:

http://www.cosmosmagazine.com/news/653/blonde-wigs-safer-helmets-cyclists

Mikael said...

Here is little TED talk on the subject