Compulsory helmet laws

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jehannum5
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Compulsory helmet laws

Postby jehannum5 » Sun Jan 22, 2012 22:45 pm

I know, I know...can o' worms...
Both sides of the debate are very well articulated on this Australian academic website.

http://theconversation.edu.au/putting-a ... uries-1979

http://theconversation.edu.au/make-helm ... ralia-4578

In a nutshell: evidence for the assertion that bike helmets reduce the risk of head injury +1. Good argument for repealing mandatory helmet law +1. These articles changed my view.

Pseudonym
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Re: Compulsory helmet laws

Postby Pseudonym » Sun Jan 22, 2012 23:32 pm

yawn...

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John.T
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Re: Compulsory helmet laws

Postby John.T » Mon Jan 23, 2012 16:26 pm

Helmets are good if you can arrange to only have the right kind of accident. I prefer to avoid all kinds. It saves me hurting anywhere else. And, yes, I do wear one. Because I choose to which is the only reason to do so. Racing is a different proposition entirely.

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bompington
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Re: Compulsory helmet laws

Postby bompington » Mon Jan 23, 2012 16:40 pm

Yeah, I don't wear a seatbelt as I choose to avoid all car accidents.

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John.T
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Re: Compulsory helmet laws

Postby John.T » Mon Jan 23, 2012 16:56 pm

bompington wrote:Yeah, I don't wear a seatbelt as I choose to avoid all car accidents.

Most common injuries from cycling are broken collar bones and gravel rash. Helmets are not much use for these.
Most common injuries in car accidents were caused by hitting the steering wheel. Seat belts have greatly reduced these.
Wear a helmet if you choose to, not because some hobby horse merchant says you must.

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GiantMike
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Re: Compulsory helmet laws

Postby GiantMike » Tue Jan 24, 2012 09:03 am

John.T wrote:
bompington wrote:Yeah, I don't wear a seatbelt as I choose to avoid all car accidents.

Most common injuries from cycling are broken collar bones and gravel rash. Helmets are not much use for these.


But in the gravel rash/collar bone cases did the helmet prevent the crasher sustaining head injuries?

I've seen 3 bad crashes in the last 3 years where I have absolutely no doubt that the helmet saved the crasher from a significant head injury. In 2 cases the helmet was shattered, in the other the helmet was just badly damaged. There was also a bit of gravel rash but no broken bones. So, in the official stats, these accidents would just be recorded as a rider falling off and sustaining minor injuries.
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John.T
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Re: Compulsory helmet laws

Postby John.T » Tue Jan 24, 2012 10:20 am

GiantMike wrote:
John.T wrote:
bompington wrote:Yeah, I don't wear a seatbelt as I choose to avoid all car accidents.

Most common injuries from cycling are broken collar bones and gravel rash. Helmets are not much use for these.

But in the gravel rash/collar bone cases did the helmet prevent the crasher sustaining head injuries?
I've seen 3 bad crashes in the last 3 years where I have absolutely no doubt that the helmet saved the crasher from a significant head injury. In 2 cases the helmet was shattered, in the other the helmet was just badly damaged. There was also a bit of gravel rash but no broken bones. So, in the official stats, these accidents would just be recorded as a rider falling off and sustaining minor injuries.

This is only anecdotal evidence. I have been cycling since the late 1950s and during most of that time helmets either did not exist or were not much worn. The type of injury seen was no different to today. Evidence from Australia shows cycling has dropped off since compulsion. This will mean less of the benefits of cycling. I have no problem with helmet use as they will no doubt help in some accidents. I am however strongly against compulsion. Present people with the proven (not anecdotal) facts and let them decide. There is too much nanny state already.

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GiantMike
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Re: Compulsory helmet laws

Postby GiantMike » Tue Jan 24, 2012 11:02 am

I have absolutely no desire for cycling helmets to become compulsory. However, having seen 3 crashes where I think that life-changing head injuries would have been likely/possible if the riders weren't wearing helmets, I always wear a helmet because I don't want to have life-changing head injuries or even the risk of them.

As anecdotal as my evidence is, having actually seen it with my own eyes makes it extremely strong for me to make a decision on (or at least to reinfoirce my existing decision).
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Pross
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Re: Compulsory helmet laws

Postby Pross » Tue Jan 24, 2012 16:32 pm

Don't take a shattered helmet to be a sign that it has prevented serious head injury. They are made of polystyrene and design to do just that on impact. I've generally worn a helmet ever since I started cycling properly in '89 and was the first person in my club using a polystyrene helmet. I used to go without for hill climbs and occassionally time trials. I crashed on one time trial and hit my head on a concrete road but got carted off to hospital with a shoulder and neck injury I also crashed in a road race and landed in a very similar way but that time had concussion in additional to shoulder injuries - it proves nothing. Informed choice with possible compulsion for younger riders is my preference, makes no difference to me as I always wear a helmet these days.

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GiantMike
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Re: Compulsory helmet laws

Postby GiantMike » Tue Jan 24, 2012 19:47 pm

Pross wrote:Don't take a shattered helmet to be a sign that it has prevented serious head injury.


Cycle helmets are designed and tested to withstand an impact equivalent to an average weight rider travelling at a speed of 12 mph falling onto a stationary kerb shaped object from a height of 1 metre. Maybe my definition of serious is wrong.
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Pross
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Re: Compulsory helmet laws

Postby Pross » Thu Jan 26, 2012 14:15 pm

GiantMike wrote:
Pross wrote:Don't take a shattered helmet to be a sign that it has prevented serious head injury.


Cycle helmets are designed and tested to withstand an impact equivalent to an average weight rider travelling at a speed of 12 mph falling onto a stationary kerb shaped object from a height of 1 metre. Maybe my definition of serious is wrong.


I don't think that means they are designed to stay in one piece whilst doing it though, the impact protection comes from the change in velocity being reduced by the polystyrene compressing in much the same way as crumple zones on cars work.

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GiantMike
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Re: Compulsory helmet laws

Postby GiantMike » Sun Jan 29, 2012 12:25 pm

Pross wrote:
GiantMike wrote:
Pross wrote:Don't take a shattered helmet to be a sign that it has prevented serious head injury.


Cycle helmets are designed and tested to withstand an impact equivalent to an average weight rider travelling at a speed of 12 mph falling onto a stationary kerb shaped object from a height of 1 metre. Maybe my definition of serious is wrong.


I don't think that means they are designed to stay in one piece whilst doing it though, the impact protection comes from the change in velocity being reduced by the polystyrene compressing in much the same way as crumple zones on cars work.


I agree. It also works to spread out the impact across a wider area therefore reducing the specific stress at the impact point. But let's imagine a scenario. I fall off my bike and hit my head on a kerbstone at 12mph. If I'm wearing a CE approved helmet it is designed to dissipate the energy of the impact throughout the structure and deform in a way that it aims to prevent a head injury. I am likely to walk away from this impact. Imagine the same scenario without a helmet. The energy will be taken at the point of impact and dissipated through my skull. I am unlikely to be conscious after this impact and I may sustain serious head injuries.

My original point was that I have seen several impacts where the helmet was shattered or badly damaged. If the same impact happened without a helmet it is inconceivable that the rider would not have sustained head injuries, and probably serios head injuries. In every addicent I saw the rider was aboe to ride home after the accident, rather than riding to hospital in an ambulance (the recommended action in the event of a significant head impact).
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zummerzet-lou
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Re: Compulsory helmet laws

Postby zummerzet-lou » Mon Jan 30, 2012 03:28 am

I really don't understand why compulsory helmets are not enforced in the UK. Yes - there's lots of arguments about them not stopping ALL injuries etc, but surely if it stops just 1 person getting a head injury it's worth it?

We moved to NZ over 3 years ago, and here you have to wear a helmet. (Incidentally I wore one in the UK too). The argument that it deters folks from cycling is nonsense ... cycling is a very popular sport here, and it stops all the daft arguments with kids and teenagers about it not being "cool" to wear a helmet.

My kids just accept that they are not allowed on their bikes without the gear ...

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Re: Compulsory helmet laws

Postby Tom Butcher » Mon Jan 30, 2012 10:39 am

I don't like wearing one - I accept it may make some small improvement to my safety but I still don't unless I'm racing, coaching or it's an event where it is mandatory. It does put kids off too - if you coach kids the amount you get who moan about it making their head hot or itchy - yes you tell them to keep it on but you know in their own time they aint going to wear it.

There are a million and one things we could do to protect ourselves. I ate a cream cake for breakfast this morning (daughter baked them yesterday), I am month or so overdue getting my boiler serviced and I rode the kids to school and then rode back down a busy road rather than take the quiet back streets already today - I guess I just like to live on the edge !
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tarquin_foxglove
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Re: Compulsory helmet laws

Postby tarquin_foxglove » Tue Jan 31, 2012 00:13 am

GiantMike wrote:Cycle helmets are designed and tested to withstand an impact equivalent to an average weight rider travelling at a speed of 12 mph falling onto a stationary kerb shaped object from a height of 1 metre.

Helmets passing EN1078 are designed to withstand a vertical drop from 1.5m, the helmet & headform accelerate from 0 to approx 12mph by the time of impact. Headforms are used weighing from 3.1 to 6 kgs and are a variety of sizes.

Pross wrote:
Don't take a shattered helmet to be a sign that it has prevented serious head injury.

I don't think ... they are designed to stay in one piece whilst doing it though,

Yes they are. Helmets are designed to withstand a vertical drop from 1.5m onto a flat anvil and then a kerb shaped anvil. Following the second test the retention system is tested, so the helmet should still be a recognisable helmet at this point otherwise it would fail the test.

zummerzet-lou
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Re: Compulsory helmet laws

Postby zummerzet-lou » Wed Feb 01, 2012 02:49 am

It does put kids off too - if you coach kids the amount you get who moan about it making their head hot or itchy - yes you tell them to keep it on but you know in their own time they aint going to wear it.


If ALL the kids are wearing helmets, and they don't get to ride their bikes unless they have a helmet on the complaints stop.

My kids cycle for leisure (around the roads, and singletrack), and they are also both into BMX racing. The kids aren't allowed on the track without full face helmets (not to mention,gloves, long sleeved shirts tucked in etc). In the last year, I've not heard a single child moan about their heads itching, or having to wear any of the gear ... if there are rules which will not be broken, then they are quickly accepted.

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Re: Compulsory helmet laws

Postby Tom Butcher » Wed Feb 01, 2012 18:13 pm

The complaints stop but presumably the discomfort that made them complain in the first place does not. I've coached BMX and yes if they turn up regularly they will wear helmets without complaint because they know what the answer will be - but go down the park on a Saturday when there is no coaching or racing on at the track and less than 10% have them on - including those that compete.
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MattC59
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Re: Compulsory helmet laws

Postby MattC59 » Wed Feb 01, 2012 23:58 pm

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz....................

If you want to wear a helmet, wear a helmet.
If you don't want to wear a helmet, don't wear a helmet.

But don't p*ss and whine when you smack your head.
And how about not repeatedly p*ssing and whining on here about people that have a differing opinion on the subject than you do ?
Science adjusts it’s beliefs based on what’s observed.
Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved

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Re: Compulsory helmet laws

Postby Tom Butcher » Thu Feb 02, 2012 00:33 am

Nice post Matt.
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GiantMike
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Re: Compulsory helmet laws

Postby GiantMike » Thu Feb 02, 2012 10:20 am

MattC59 wrote:zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz....................

If you want to wear a helmet, wear a helmet.
If you don't want to wear a helmet, don't wear a helmet.

But don't p*ss and whine when you smack your head.
And how about not repeatedly p*ssing and whining on here about people that have a differing opinion on the subject than you do ?


Matt

Have you read the whole thread? If you have, don't p*ss and whine after reading a long thread you think will annoy you. If you haven't, don't p*ss and whine unless you have read the whole thread. [smiley face]
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Rule number 100: It's your bike and your money and your time; do what you like with it and ignore other peoples' rules. Except this one.


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