Mandatory Helmets Make Cycling Less Safe
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  1. #1
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    Mandatory Helmets Make Cycling Less Safe

    Interesting take on mandatory helmet laws....

    https://www.bicycling.com/culture/a2...t-laws-safety/
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  2. #2
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    not sure why helmet use needs to be mandatory.

    just try this simple test...crash and have your head contact the roadway. do it with and without a helmet, and see which you prefer.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PBL450 View Post
    Interesting take on mandatory helmet laws....

    https://www.bicycling.com/culture/a2...t-laws-safety/
    The title of the article is misleading. They are saying mandatory helmet laws have other consequences that aren't related to safety. On the other hand, I would support people making their own choice

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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveG View Post
    ...I would support people making their own choice
    Is this for all people, including kids, or just adults?

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    "...More exposure among vulnerable populations to unnecessary interactions with police...

    I had not even read the article and I knew this would come up. Then I read the article and sure enough there it was. This is my biggest concern - targeting and using this crap as a reason to f with certain class of people. Another way to sneakingly institute biased laws. Let adults make adult decisions.


    "...Lastly, we know these “quality of life” laws are disproportionately enforced in communities of color and in lower income communities. In Austin and Dallas, Texas, for example, mandatory helmet laws were either repealed or changed after disturbing racial disparities became evident based on who was ticketed for not wearing a helmet. In Tampa, Florida, nearly 80 percent of bicycling-related citations issued by police during a three-year period were to African-Americans, even though African-Americans made up only 25 percent of the population. And in New York City, racial disparities in criminal summonses for bicycling-related offenses led The Village Voice to describe them as “the new stop-and-frisk.”..."
    Last edited by Methodical; 2 Weeks Ago at 10:45 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Methodical View Post
    Is this for all people, including kids, or just adults?
    Ideally, parents should demand that their kids were helmets. I live in state that requires helmets for kids under 17 but I don't see many wearing them so I guess the parents don't care.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveG View Post
    The title of the article is misleading. They are saying mandatory helmet laws have other consequences that aren't related to safety. On the other hand, I would support people making their own choice
    Problem with that...is when people, or their surviving relatives, don't take the consequences of that action. It all comes back to the bankrupting expense of medical care in the US. Even funerals are expensive.

    You're JRAing, in the wet, and crack your head on the pavement without anyone/thing wrecking you other than bad-luck. Who pays for it? Seems fairly simple. You hit an unmarked city-curb/median, endo, and crack your head open; who pays your expenses? Car t-bones you at a legal crosswalk, you crack your head open, who pays for your expenses? You get hit-and-run by a car that is caught, and crack your head open, who pays for it? Now, do the answers to those liability questions change based on whether you are wearing a helmet or not in a court of civil or criminal law? (Note how in each of those questions I left out weather or not you were wearing a helmet, and weather or not it could have saved you, as well as insurance and yada yada)

    People risking their own life and limb is all well and good...until it exposes others around them to foreseen or unforeseen liability. You chose to be reckless, why is it someone else's responsibility to pay for your care when you chose to put yourself at risk, after all....


    (Yes, rhetorical, and advocatus diaboli a bit)
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    That article is BS, simple.

    Helmets prevent damage.
    If it leads to 'search & seizure', change that, not helmets.
    If if leads to not letting idiots ride bikes without helmets, so be it.
    If it leads to less 'bike sharing/renting', so be it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marc View Post
    Problem with that...is when people, or their surviving relatives, don't take the consequences of that action. It all comes back to the bankrupting expense of medical care in the US. Even funerals are expensive.

    You're JRAing, in the wet, and crack your head on the pavement without anyone/thing wrecking you other than bad-luck. Who pays for it? Seems fairly simple. You hit an unmarked city-curb/median, endo, and crack your head open; who pays your expenses? Car t-bones you at a legal crosswalk, you crack your head open, who pays for your expenses? You get hit-and-run by a car that is caught, and crack your head open, who pays for it? Now, do the answers to those liability questions change based on whether you are wearing a helmet or not in a court of civil or criminal law? (Note how in each of those questions I left out weather or not you were wearing a helmet, and weather or not it could have saved you, as well as insurance and yada yada)

    People risking their own life and limb is all well and good...until it exposes others around them to foreseen or unforeseen liability. You chose to be reckless, why is it someone else's responsibility to pay for your care when you chose to put yourself at risk, after all....


    (Yes, rhetorical, and advocatus diaboli a bit)
    The logical conclusion then is to ban cycling any any other activities that expose you to harm. This is getting all PO; I am here for the cycling

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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveG View Post
    The logical conclusion then is to ban cycling any any other activities that expose you to harm. This is getting all PO; I am here for the cycling
    You crack your head open, and end up a para/quadripeligiac for the next couple decades. 6-figures-a-year in medical expenses. You chose to not wear a helmet. Do you "eat" the expense, or not?

    Not a political question at all, it is the necessary consequence of "let people make their own choice" that you seemed fond of an hour ago. I get not wanting to think about it and putting it in a jar called "political", as it makes people think about their values.
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    Have had life saved by helmet in bike crash, and concussions or worse prevented at least twice in snowboard falls... I don't get helmet aversion.

    But then, I did work for over a decade in backup software... and many people just don't realize the value until a disaster happens.

    P.S. I am super-fastidious about my hair, probably way too much so for a guy... but helmet on when it comes to cycling!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marc View Post
    You crack your head open, and end up a para/quadripeligiac for the next couple decades. 6-figures-a-year in medical expenses. You chose to not wear a helmet. Do you "eat" the expense, or not?

    Not a political question at all, it is the necessary consequence of "let people make their own choice" that you seemed fond of an hour ago. I get not wanting to think about it and putting it in a jar called "political", as it makes people think about their values.
    While the scenario you mention might be more likely without a helmet, it certainly happens with a helmet on as well and also in lots of scenarios beyond cycling. In either case, once you hit your insurance maximum you will pay for the expenses whether you had a helmet on or not. You don't get extra money because you wore a helmet. I am not arguing against helmets at all, I wear one every ride

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    some of those that choose not to wear a helmet are very helpful to society by contributing to the adjustment of the planet's gene pool
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveG View Post
    While the scenario you mention might be more likely without a helmet, it certainly happens with a helmet on as well and also in lots of scenarios beyond cycling. In either case, once you hit your insurance maximum you will pay for the expenses whether you had a helmet on or not. You don't get extra money because you wore a helmet. I am not arguing against helmets at all, I wear one every ride
    We had this discussion a few years ago. I remember the accident data from Holland. Most Dutch have been riding bikes for decades without helmets. Their accident rate and deaths are far fewer than the US cyclists who do wear helmets. Low accident rates have a lot to do with infrastructure and public awareness. The US lags behind the Netherlands on infrastructure and public awareness, but city planners are making progress and touting bicycling as a green solution to fossil fuels.

    So yeah, wear a helmet, just in case. I started riding in the late '70s when helmets weren't mandatory in pro racing. Naturally, we pretenders went with the style and wore cycling caps. The sweat would build up on the visor and drip in your eyes, but these hats were the way to be cool. Well I woke, literally, after 6 days in a coma, after colliding with the son of the local dry cleaner riding his mountainbike, on the MUT, and crashing head-on into the adjacent brick wall.

    I bought a Bell V-1 Pro, the most gossamer, least nerdy helmet at the time, and since then never rode without one. The Bell saved me from another concussion. I then wore it another 10 years with a crack in the foam and had another concussion, this one only for about 2 minutes. Since then, I've crashed twice hit the helmet and replaced it every time. Once sliding out on wet leaves, aother time flipping the rear wheel out attacking a hill, which cracked a really nice Giro Pneumo, and still knocked me out for probably 5-10 minutes. I woke sitting in the ambulance.

    Now I look at helmets as replaceable parts, like tires, gloves and shorts. I don't expect to have a collision with a car so much as hit someone or something on the MUTs, because that's been my experience! DC-MD-VA metro ain't Amsterdam.

    The DC police won't stop a cyclist for not wearing a helmet. Kids younger than 16 have to wear helmets, but adults are allowed freedom of choice. City PDs could avoid stop and frisk criticism by not stopping ghetto boys riding bikes. Riding helmet-less is not endangering public safety, only their noggins. Cycling is relatively safe at sane city speeds, 10-15 mph. Brother Grant at one time admitted riding to the coffee shop on the cruiser might be ok without a helmet. Take your chances. Watch where you're going. Bicycle helmet laws are nanny state, IMO.
    Last edited by Fredrico; 2 Weeks Ago at 09:40 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fredrico View Post

    I bought a Bell V-1 Pro, the most gossamer...
    Wow, the V1 Pro, that brings up memories! That was my first helmet as well. To use the "gossamer" in the same sentence is a real stretch. I remember my neck being sore from the the enormous weight of it. I believe mine was made out of spent plutonium and granite. It had this ridiculous little vent in the front that you could open and close to let in an undetectable amount of air. Helmets have certainly come a long way from there

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    The author of the article makes an unwarranted assumption: that the purpose of mandatory helmet laws is to make cyclists safer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marc View Post
    You crack your head open, and end up a para/quadripeligiac for the next couple decades. 6-figures-a-year in medical expenses. You chose to not wear a helmet. Do you "eat" the expense, or not?

    Not a political question at all, it is the necessary consequence of "let people make their own choice" that you seemed fond of an hour ago. I get not wanting to think about it and putting it in a jar called "political", as it makes people think about their values.
    I have to invoke the principles of Freakonomics. While there is little question that wearing a helmet reduces the frequency and intensity of head injuries when you crash, there is plenty of data showing that mandatory helmet laws reduce the amount of bicycling. As a result, the NET health costs rise because of the loss of exercise benefits.

    So, are you worried more about the individual event (the crash) or the overall impact (better health outcomes from more cycling despite the head injury danger). Maybe it's just me, but I will go for the big picture every time. As we say in engineering, it's all about where you draw your boundaries. And that argument ignores the proven societal impact from discriminatory law enforcement actions around helmet laws.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kerry Irons View Post
    So, are you worried more about the individual event (the crash) or the overall impact (better health outcomes from more cycling despite the head injury danger).
    So, I'm assuming you'd be ok with outlawing cars on roads too? It would be a lot safer and better for everyone's health to walk.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kerry Irons View Post
    I have to invoke the principles of Freakonomics. While there is little question that wearing a helmet reduces the frequency and intensity of head injuries when you crash, there is plenty of data showing that mandatory helmet laws reduce the amount of bicycling. As a result, the NET health costs rise because of the loss of exercise benefits.

    So, are you worried more about the individual event (the crash) or the overall impact (better health outcomes from more cycling despite the head injury danger). Maybe it's just me, but I will go for the big picture every time. As we say in engineering, it's all about where you draw your boundaries. And that argument ignores the proven societal impact from discriminatory law enforcement actions around helmet laws.
    solution is education. Tell the dumb people that
    1. cycling is good for their health and environment
    2. and cycling is safer with a helmet (because that's proven with motorcyclists)

    Solution is not to just give in to people's initial dumbness.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveG View Post
    Wow, the V1 Pro, that brings up memories! That was my first helmet as well. To use the "gossamer" in the same sentence is a real stretch. I remember my neck being sore from the the enormous weight of it. I believe mine was made out of spent plutonium and granite. It had this ridiculous little vent in the front that you could open and close to let in an undetectable amount of air. Helmets have certainly come a long way from there
    V-1 Pro? You guys were late adopters (and probably a lot cooler than me, too). My first helmet was a Bell Biker, which was way nerdier and less "gossamer" than almost all later helmets. But it seemed to work. I'm glad the technology has advanced as much as it has. In more than 40 years of riding with a helmet, I recall only 3 or 4 times when a fall actually involved helmet impact, but at least one of those almost certainly saved me from a concussion (based on the amount of damage the helmet sustained). Once is enough for me to keep wearing a helmet..
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    I remember when seat belts were first installed in cars. Everybody had a story of how when someone was ejected from a car they would live and be fine afterwards. It would be so much better than being trapped in a burning crushing wreck of a car. It is just human nature to reject something that is being forced upon you when you were just fine without it. I have the same thoughts about a lot of things.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marc View Post
    You crack your head open, and end up a para/quadripeligiac for the next couple decades. 6-figures-a-year in medical expenses. You chose to not wear a helmet. Do you "eat" the expense, or not?

    Not a political question at all, it is the necessary consequence of "let people make their own choice" that you seemed fond of an hour ago. I get not wanting to think about it and putting it in a jar called "political", as it makes people think about their values.
    I hear ya, and I appreciate your point. That said, it doesn’t actually work like that. At least it doesn’t work like that in the US. So, you have a crash with catastrophic head injury. You can’t afford the expenses and either don’t have insurance or are under insured or your insurance ends? It doesn’t matter if you have family, long term, no one can handle this care outside skilled nursing facility and no one can afford that level of care... Keep in mind you have no right to skilled nursing. Our current system corrects for the scenarios you reference by simply not providing care and letting people die in obscurity. I see it all the time. It is all day every day. Maybe you are in France?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Methodical View Post
    Is this for all people, including kids, or just adults?
    Let the parents decide.

    I wear a helment, my wife makes me, but I don't care one way or the other if others do or don't. But what does bother me are the parents out with their children, and the kids are wearing helments but their parents aren't. If you're going to make the kid wear a helment put one on your head too. Set the example, kids don't need the "do as I say, not as I do" routine.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marc View Post
    Problem with that...is when people, or their surviving relatives, don't take the consequences of that action. It all comes back to the bankrupting expense of medical care in the US. Even funerals are expensive.

    You're JRAing, in the wet, and crack your head on the pavement without anyone/thing wrecking you other than bad-luck. Who pays for it? Seems fairly simple. You hit an unmarked city-curb/median, endo, and crack your head open; who pays your expenses? Car t-bones you at a legal crosswalk, you crack your head open, who pays for your expenses? You get hit-and-run by a car that is caught, and crack your head open, who pays for it? Now, do the answers to those liability questions change based on whether you are wearing a helmet or not in a court of civil or criminal law? (Note how in each of those questions I left out weather or not you were wearing a helmet, and weather or not it could have saved you, as well as insurance and yada yada)

    People risking their own life and limb is all well and good...until it exposes others around them to foreseen or unforeseen liability. You chose to be reckless, why is it someone else's responsibility to pay for your care when you chose to put yourself at risk, after all....


    (Yes, rhetorical, and advocatus diaboli a bit)
    Funerals are inevitable, helmet or not, they come to us all. They're cost has nothing to do with helments.
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    These helmet threads show up all the time. And they all seem to be based in personal experience rather than fact. I was the safety director of the American Federation of Motorcyclists for a couple of years and went to Bell and talked to them and when I was racing motorcycles crashing was part of the sport.

    When I changed over to bicycles I actually used my knowledge and ability to research and here is what I discovered: Trends in US Cyclist Deaths - research, statistics, data

    Now here is an update to this: Trek through their subsidiary Bontrager has invented a new cushioning material. Styrofoam which is what is used in all of the helmets up to this point is too hard.

    Or perhaps I should start a bit earlier - helmet are so hard that they offer NO or so little as to be almost entirely ineffective in case of vehicular accidents. But they are very effective in the overwhelmingly common accidents - fall-offs. So I have always recommended helmets not to save any lives (though I imagine they could protect you if you fell and hit your head on a curb - hardly a common sort of accident since you would normally using your body parts to cushion any falls) but to save a lot of painful minor injuries.

    Bontrager actually thought about the problems of helmets and what they did was to use a 3D printer to make a cushioning material that collapses at a rate that prevents concussions - the most dangerous injury from these fall-offs. The initial claims I saw said that they were 28 times more effective than Styrofoam at preventing concussion but later it appears that they are now claiming 48 times more effectiveness.

    Now I happened to have had a first generation carbon fiber fork fall apart on me dropping me on my head while I was leaning over to see what was "ticking". I was traveling at less than 5 mph and since I was leaning over my head only fell about 2 feet.

    This should have been the perfect example of proving the efficacy of the old Styrofoam lids but in fact it had the effect I was talking about - since the helmets are designed to prevent skull fracture it had no effect on the concussion and concurrent brain damage. Now I will spend the rest of my life taking medications that have some disconcerting side effects in order to prevent seizures that leave no memory of their occurring.

    That Bontrager has actually put real engineering into helmet improvement rather than style as other makers have been concerned about is a bright light that hopefully will save many potential concussion victims in the future and I have one myself and advise others that if you wear a helmet to get a Bontrager.

    I have even put it to a test. Riding down a road that had overhanging tree leaves I was ducking beneath them and suddenly hit a hidden branch so hard that it stopped me. I wasn't even dizzy from the blow though it hurt like hell. So needless to say I recommend these helmets.

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