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Thread: Bicycle helmets

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    not telling

    Default Bicycle helmets

    In pursuit of dewaistification, I have invested in a bicycle. In the course of doing some googling of helmets to replace the one I've borrowed, I discovered that there are people that are anti-helmet with near anti-vaxx passion, eg:

    Some of what they claim on the homepage doesn't fly - mainly on post hoc, on propter hoc grounds - but I was wondering if others who may be more informed on these matters might have a view?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Bicycle helmets

    I've ridden a bicycle for no less than 14+ years.

    I think what they are suggesting is more to do with removing the mandatory helmet laws. I've seen a lot of bicyclists with helmets that either are too loose or don't fit them.

    They're just wearing it because it's mandatory.

    However I find an ambiguity with the statistics: the reason for the increase in accidents are probably to do with the fact that there are more people using bicycles, and roads are not exactly bicycle friendly - in fact it can be more dangerous than riding a motorcycle on the roads.

    Whilst I am against mandatory helmet laws (if it is one's own safety, one should be given a choice IMO) I don't think these statistics have much to do with the introduction of the helmet laws.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Blue Mountains

    Default Re: Bicycle helmets

    I was listening to a radio doco about this the other day. Three "experts" were asked their opinions.

    From memory, the judge's opinion which agreed with Sue Abbot's argument that helmets increased the risk of brain damage was dismissed by one of the "experts" on the grounds that the judges opinion was based on biased and incomplete evidence. He went on to say that his research actually showed the opposite to be true.

    The second interviewee cited stastical research that looked at the incidence and severity of brain injury before and after the introduction of the helmet laws. His argument was that there seemed to be no difference, although it was pointed out by interviewee 1 that this data failed to take other factors into account.

    The final opinion was by a trauma/emergency doctor who said that the figures looked at in his hospital left him in no doubt that helmets did at best save lives and at least reduced the severity and incidence of head injury/brain damage.

    Personally, at the age of 53 I've realised that I'm not the immovable object I once was, nor do I bounce like I once did, more like a sack of potatoes hitting the ground if I come off my bike.

    I now wear ear protection when using loud tools, masks when making dust of any sort, knee pads when kneeling for extended periods, harness working at heights, eye protection when appropriate and a helmet when under falling objects or riding hurtling objects.

    If you are going to wear one ,though, wear it properly if you want it to actually do any good.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2010

    Default Re: Bicycle helmets

    I am pretty sure helmets are not mandatory in European countries with a lot more cyclists than us.

    I am a cyclist and ride pretty much everywhere i can. When i ride my racing bike on the road, i always wear a helmet and would continue to do so. Also, i am sure just about every other "road" cyclist will continue to wear one.

    When i am riding my mountain bike (usually to and from school, to and from the shops/movies, to and from rugby) i don't wear a helmet. Its just so easy to ride a bike going 20km/h slower than what i do on the road. And i have never crashed badly on it, mainly because i just cruise around whenever i am on my mountain bike.

    So i agree with those proposing the mandatory helmet laws should be removed. But i think a fair compromise would be to; only make a helmet mandatory when riding on the road.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2010

    Default Re: Bicycle helmets

    Gee, is anyone surprised that I'm getting involved in this thread.

    Do bicycle helmets save lives? Yes, I have first hand experience. I have had a few spills on the bike, and while I have only banged my head (always helmet clad) a few times, the damage to the helmet has encouraged me that I am doing the right thing.

    If you cast your mind back, there was a kid in semi-rural Victoria who fell of his bike, a doctor had to use the Black and Decker to relieve the pressure in his skull because of internal bleeding. I was annoyed with the story because the media didn't highlight how much of a difference a helmet would have made.

    I recognise that helmet should be an optional, but I know that Canberra isn't super flat, so you can easily hit 40-50km/hr on a downhill, at that speed, hitting your head against the ground isn't going to be pretty.

    If you talk to any group of cyclists, there are always several stories about people destroying helmets.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Perth, Western Australia

    Default Re: Bicycle helmets

    I wear a helmet when riding a bicycle.

    I initially did so because I don't like being hassled by cops or picking up a fifty buck fine that I really can't afford. And because I realised it wasn't all that bad an idea, really.

    Then one night, riding home from work, I ended up plowing head-first into a power pole. I don't remember it very clearly, but I seem to recall a car coming out of a side street and me trying to avoid it.

    I still have the helmet, kept as a souvenir. If I hadn't been wearing it, I'm reasonably certain the impact would have crushed the anterior right of my skull, just above the eyebrow.

    I wasn't even moving terribly fast, maybe 30 km/h. The only reason, I suspect, that I didn't suffer severe whiplash is years of training to build my ability to take a punch to the head (which involves building the neck-muscles).

    If helmets were no longer compulsory, I'd still fucking wear one.
    -Geoff Rogers


  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Altitude 700 m

    Default Re: Bicycle helmets

    There was some writer, one of the reporters in the Canberra Times I think, who was dead set against helmets but his argument appeared to me to lean a little much on helmets of inadequate build standards or loosely worn. It is certainly the case that safety items or methods improperly or casually used can be without benefit or even damaging but I would want a pretty convincing scientific case before I believed that bashing my head on a cushioning helmet on the ground was no different from doing so directly, skin & bone to ground
    There are no good arguments for gods.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2009

    Default Re: Bicycle helmets

    There is a great Seinfeld joke about this

    As with many rules and regulations and laws which are not needed, I am opposed to the helmet law. Many will use the safety argument of course but the argument against the helmet law isn't because of safety but of personal freedom. I remember I was a kid when they introduced mandatory helmets on bikes in WA and I was opposed to it then and I'm opposed to it now. If people want to use all the safety equipment they need when riding a bike, go for it. But leave the rest of us to take the risk of cracking our skulls. And everyday I see shitloads of people on bikes, young and old, who don't wear the helmet. Like the speed camera, it's just another excuse to control us and rake in more money although that being said, I rarely ever hear of police stopping people for not wearing helmets these days, I see them drive past bike riders all the time so I think even they think it's a waste of time but certaintly in the beginning it happened a lot including myself. It's a stupid law and some common sense should be used in situations like this, we don't need a fucking law for it. I'm not opposed to the use of the helmet, just the need for a law for it. There was a great article in the paper today about WA truly being the great nanny state that it is, the most recent garbage from the fine people who have nothing better to do is the new set of regulations at the beach all of which completely astounds me, just shit like no digging holes, no gathering of people etc etc. But the writer pointed out something spot on and that was that these laws are simply knee jerk reactions to the very small minority few who ruin it for the rest of us, so instead of punishing them, they set new one size fits all restrictions on all of us. Are people really that stupid that we need to be told what we can and cannot do? It's just ridiculous
    I'm completely in favor of the separation of Church and State. My idea is that these two institutions screw us up enough on their own, so both of them together is certain death - George Carlin (R.I.P.)

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2009

    Default Re: Bicycle helmets

    I am not sure that the "people should have the right to choose" should work with everything otherwise then you open the door to arguing compulsory wearing of seatbelts in cars, basic car insurance and the like.

    Next thing you know we start filling hospitals with kids with horrific head injuries.

    I think sometimes laws are made in the best interests of public health and well being.

    For the sake of just wearing a helmet for the chance of it saving you one day is more than worth it.

    You don't have the choice of having a brain injury or worse without one.

    Though I must admit I hated wearing the rosebank "stackhat" helmet in the 80's was painfully daggy.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Bicycle helmets

    Fearless: I guess I have the stance that if it doesn't affect other peoples' safety, and only your own, it should be optional.

    That being said, I think you have a good point re the hospitals being filled up.

    Basic insurance, for example, would be good if involved in an accident and the third party medical bill is very large. I can agree with basic insurance on this point.

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