Should cyclists legally wear a helmet ?

Serious discussion of cycling issues
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pete_s
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Re: Should cyclists legally wear a helmet ?

Postby pete_s » Wed May 29, 2013 11:49 am

steve6690 wrote: Lots of people engage in sporting activities that carry more risk than sitting at home getting fat on cheese and watching tv.


Just sticking with the act of riding a bike, this isn't actually true. By being inactive you're more likely to develop health problems later on in life which will not only cost the NHS more, but more importantly shorten your life span and standard of living.

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Re: Should cyclists legally wear a helmet ?

Postby steve6690 » Wed May 29, 2013 13:00 pm

Immediate risk. As in "risky pursuits". Nobody would define over eating as an extreme sport. We are arguing the same point

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Druidor
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Re: Should cyclists legally wear a helmet ?

Postby Druidor » Sun Jun 16, 2013 16:11 pm

Making helmets compulsory would incur a lot of effort policing it.

Personally think children should wear helmets. And once an adult if the dont want to continue so be it.

Get them using earlier may keep them using in later life.

I make my kids wear a helmet and high viz if on the road. As I do.

Some protection is better than none it cannot prevent major accident damage but can be the tipping from being a cabbage and recovering.
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nicklouse
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Re: Should cyclists legally wear a helmet ?

Postby nicklouse » Mon Jun 17, 2013 14:37 pm

interesting ruling in Germany.

Bare-headed cyclists at 'some fault' for injuries

Cyclists who suffer head injuries in a collision but are not wearing helmets are at least partly to blame – even if the crash itself was not their fault, a German court has ruled.

The Higher Regional Court of Schleswig Holstein state ruled that although there was no law to force cyclists to wear helmets, they so obviously offered protection against injury that all reasonably minded people would do so.

Helmets were also affordable, so there was no reason not to wear one, the court said.

The ruling came after a woman sued the driver of a car for damages following an accident. She had been riding past the car on her way to work when the door was opened, and she smashed into it, banging her head on the ground as she fell.

She suffered serious head injuries which kept her in hospital for two months, and needed further treatment afterwards. She asked the court to rule on the car owner's fault in the incident, so she could pursue her for damages.

But the judge ruled that the injuries she suffered were 20 percent the fault of the cyclist for not wearing a helmet. She said a helmet would not have prevented the accident but that the cyclist had failed to take reasonable measures to protect herself because she was not wearing one.

"Cyclists these days are exposed to a particular risk of injury in daily traffic. The traffic these days is particularly tight, with motorized vehicles dominating and cyclists often only seen by drivers as hindering the free flow of traffic," the judge's verdict read.

She said there was no serious doubt that helmets were effective protection against head injury and that they were affordable – meaning that any reasonable person would buy and wear one.



http://www.thelocal.de/society/20130617-50353.html
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Yellow Peril
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Re: Should cyclists legally wear a helmet ?

Postby Yellow Peril » Mon Jun 17, 2013 17:19 pm

I think the contributory negligence argument for failing to wear a helmet whilst cycling is probably inevitable. I can foresee it in most sports/activities where a participant fails to use a form of protection that is accepted as being a recognised safety measure for that particular activity be it scrum caps or shoulder pads for rugby or back protectors for motorcyclists then a judge may rule in their favour but discount for a contributory factor.

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Re: Should cyclists legally wear a helmet ?

Postby Slowbike » Wed Jun 19, 2013 10:50 am

Yellow Peril wrote:I think the contributory negligence argument for failing to wear a helmet whilst cycling is probably inevitable. I can foresee it in most sports/activities where a participant fails to use a form of protection that is accepted as being a recognised safety measure for that particular activity be it scrum caps or shoulder pads for rugby or back protectors for motorcyclists then a judge may rule in their favour but discount for a contributory factor.


it does sound as though we are heading that way.
personally I usually wear a helmet whilst riding - the only times I don't are when I'm out for an "amble" as I'm unlikely to get myself into a situation where I'd need it (ie quiet roads/tracks, slow speed & stop when traffic comes along).
As such I'm against compulsory helmet wearing - but do agree that it is a reasonable safety precaution to take - certainly in most cases.

Perhaps the Pro compulsory helmet camp should remove their helmets occasionally and see what it feels like to ride free. Do you feel more vulnerable? If so perhaps you need to consider your riding style too - as has been said in this thread - a helmet is only a level of protection - it's not a magic forcefield - you can still receive significant injuries whilst wearing one!

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Re: Should cyclists legally wear a helmet ?

Postby VTech » Wed Jun 19, 2013 10:55 am

Are the pro-compulsary arguing for 100% helmet wearing or just whilst on the road ?

I can personally see that cycling in the gardens, park etc would be nice with the wind blowing against the bald head but for the life of me cant fathom why riding on the road is better without than with.
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Re: Should cyclists legally wear a helmet ?

Postby Slowbike » Wed Jun 19, 2013 12:01 pm

VTech wrote:I can personally see that cycling in the gardens, park etc would be nice with the wind blowing against the bald head but for the life of me cant fathom why riding on the road is better without than with.

Have you tried it? (obviously at a sensible speed on suitable roads).

Helmets aren't uncomfortable but you do notice wearing them. We can ride down a cyclepath - but it's a fairly limiting ride - rather nicer to go along a couple of back routes to a pub for dinner (no - not for 9 pints) and amble back. It was quite refreshing not riding in full lycra, shoes, gloves and helmet .. or cycle computer/GPS!

For me it's not a case of one is better than the other - it's just nice to have the choice. IMHO, pretty much all safety gear should be optional and ppl should occasionally do without it as I'm sure having safety gear makes them more complacent.

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Re: Should cyclists legally wear a helmet ?

Postby VTech » Wed Jun 19, 2013 12:04 pm

TBH, ive never ventured out without a helmet, having said that I never wore one as a kid and my mode of transport was a BMX from the age of maybe 5-17. Never had a serious accident or hospitalised from falling off.

But..... I would never let my kids ride the parks without wearing a helmet although I do let them ride in the gardens without (double standards ?)

I guess the point is, I am definitely pro safety, more so than pro helmet but believe that wearing a helmet is a definite safety tool.
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Re: Should cyclists legally wear a helmet ?

Postby Yellow Peril » Wed Jun 19, 2013 19:17 pm

Perhaps the Pro compulsory helmet camp should remove their helmets occasionally and see what it feels like to ride free. Do you feel more vulnerable? If so perhaps you need to consider your riding style too - as has been said in this thread - a helmet is only a level of protection - it's not a magic forcefield - you can still receive significant injuries whilst wearing one![/quote]

You have to possess a licence, be at least 16 years of age, have insurance and wear a BS kite marked helmet to ride a moped capable of no more than 30 mph on Britain's roads. Do you think it would be sensible to remove those requirements for moped riders? I don't I think they are common sense

Yet you can get on a bicycle with none of the above, ride shoulder to shoulder with your mates at speeds close to that of a moped, on a bicycle. Crazy isn't it? My top speed on a bicycle to date is 51 mph. I was lycra clad but had a helmet. If I'd have crashed the gravel rash would have hurt but at least I had some chance of avoiding a serious head injury with the helmet.

Always wear a helmet. Don't think of it as an infringement of your freedom or civil liberty just think of it as plain common sense.

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Re: Should cyclists legally wear a helmet ?

Postby Tim Dukes » Thu Jun 20, 2013 09:50 am

Except it isn't common sense. Helmets are not even classed as PPE by the HSE as they don't fulfil the basic "personal protection" requirements. If we were really serious about promoting helmets as a safety tool we should be using the same standards as the aforementioned moped riders. Not some micky-mouse arbitrary measures used to test the helmets currently being sold as a universal panacea to all cycle accidents. Would anyone object to wearing more appropriate safety head gear comparable to that worn by modped riders? I would!

Indeed, if concerns about safety were extended to all road users (just to extend the moped argument a bit further) then car drivers and occupants should be wearing helmets too. The head injury rates in car accidents would immeadiately fall if they were compulsory...

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Re: Should cyclists legally wear a helmet ?

Postby Slowbike » Thu Jun 20, 2013 11:16 am

Yellow Peril wrote:You have to possess a licence, be at least 16 years of age, have insurance and wear a BS kite marked helmet to ride a moped capable of no more than 30 mph on Britain's roads. Do you think it would be sensible to remove those requirements for moped riders? I don't I think they are common sense

Yet you can get on a bicycle with none of the above, ride shoulder to shoulder with your mates at speeds close to that of a moped, on a bicycle. Crazy isn't it? My top speed on a bicycle to date is 51 mph. I was lycra clad but had a helmet. If I'd have crashed the gravel rash would have hurt but at least I had some chance of avoiding a serious head injury with the helmet.

Always wear a helmet. Don't think of it as an infringement of your freedom or civil liberty just think of it as plain common sense.

The choice to wear a helmet or not is a freedom - it would be the compulsion to do so that is an infringement.
You mention riding shoulder to shoulder with other cyclists at up to around 30mph - would I wear a helmet? Of course I would. But what if I was riding sub 10mph away from other traffic - should I wear a helmet then? Well - no harm in doing so, but the chance of an off is significantly reduced as is the likely hood of head injury - it isn't removed, there is still the chance- just as there is a chance you'll trip at the top of the stairs and fall down head first - but you don't wear a helmet for that do you?

My concern with safety devices - and compulsion to use them - is that the users get complacent:
"I've got a helmet on so I can ride safely" ... no - you've got a helmet on so you have limited protection against a head injury in case of an accident.
"I've got lights on so everyone can see me" ... no - you've got lights on to make it more likely that someone will see you - doesn't mean they will or that they'll recognise it - you still need to be vigilant.

Safety kit is not there to absolve the user of responsibility - it is in addition to the normal precautions that should be taken. That is what is slowly being eroded away.

So when I suggest that you take your lid of and have a ride - you need to consider where/when/how you're riding and do so appropriately - then perhaps you'll appreciate the helmet as an additional tool.

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Re: Should cyclists legally wear a helmet ?

Postby nicklouse » Thu Jun 20, 2013 11:25 am

Slowbike wrote:personally I usually wear a helmet whilst riding - the only times I don't are when I'm out for an "amble" as I'm unlikely to get myself into a situation where I'd need it (ie quiet roads/tracks, slow speed & stop when traffic comes along).

that is what put a mate in hospital for 3 days. he had a slow speed fall off. woke up in hospital. Was not hit nor was anything involved. he just keeled over.
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Re: Should cyclists legally wear a helmet ?

Postby Tim Dukes » Thu Jun 20, 2013 11:48 am

Nicklouse, was the cause of your mates accident ever discovered? People don't normally just keel over so I'd be thinking along the lines of a coronary, stroke, fit or something like that. Granted a helmet may have saved a lot of grief (being sort of designed for that kind of fall, on the limited info. provided) but would the fall have been any better if he'd been walking without a helmet?

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Re: Should cyclists legally wear a helmet ?

Postby Slowbike » Thu Jun 20, 2013 16:03 pm

nicklouse wrote:
Slowbike wrote:personally I usually wear a helmet whilst riding - the only times I don't are when I'm out for an "amble" as I'm unlikely to get myself into a situation where I'd need it (ie quiet roads/tracks, slow speed & stop when traffic comes along).

that is what put a mate in hospital for 3 days. he had a slow speed fall off. woke up in hospital. Was not hit nor was anything involved. he just keeled over.

I did say unlikely - how many ppl who are out for an amble on their bikes have a fall of any significance? Just because it's statistically unlikely doesn't mean it wouldn't happen. I'd wager you're statistically more likely to fall down the stairs.

I say it time and time again - its all about assessing the risks.

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Re: Should cyclists legally wear a helmet ?

Postby smidsy » Thu Jun 20, 2013 16:43 pm

I know 2 people who are only still here because they did wear a helmet.

I know there are debates around the effectiveness of them but based on the above I know where I stand on this.
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Re: Should cyclists legally wear a helmet ?

Postby Yellow Peril » Thu Jun 20, 2013 17:45 pm

As another poster says it is all about risk assessment. Riding a bicycle which is not a natural activity and involves precision balance and speed (even the slowest of riding is at a jogging pace). Factor in pedals which secure you to the machine, generally flimsy clothing and the fact that it is an activity mostly involves sharing territory with other vehicles and the risks start to mount up.

I'm on my third helmet since I started wearing one back in the mid nineties. The other two were totalled on those occasions when I was taken out by cars.

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Re: Should cyclists legally wear a helmet ?

Postby VTech » Thu Jun 20, 2013 18:00 pm

Does anyone know of someone who has died or been seriously injured because they wore a helmet whilst cycling ?

Just a thought.........
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Re: Should cyclists legally wear a helmet ?

Postby Hoopdriver » Thu Jun 20, 2013 18:17 pm

Slowbike wrote:
nicklouse wrote:
Slowbike wrote:personally I usually wear a helmet whilst riding - the only times I don't are when I'm out for an "amble" as I'm unlikely to get myself into a situation where I'd need it (ie quiet roads/tracks, slow speed & stop when traffic comes along).

that is what put a mate in hospital for 3 days. he had a slow speed fall off. woke up in hospital. Was not hit nor was anything involved. he just keeled over.

I did say unlikely - how many ppl who are out for an amble on their bikes have a fall of any significance? Just because it's statistically unlikely doesn't mean it wouldn't happen. I'd wager you're statistically more likely to fall down the stairs.

I say it time and time again - its all about assessing the risks.

I wasn't going at all fast when I took a heavy spill on black ice last February. I was wearing a helmet - I always do. It was not relevant in this particular spill as I didn't hit my head, but instead landed very heavily on my right shoulder. Plenty of soft tissue injury. Still getting therapy on it - another treatment just this morning in fact. I am back riding again, but let me tell you it is very easy to take a heavy fall at relatively low speed and on a quiet road. It was 5am when I wiped out, not a car in sight. I could just as easily have banged by head on the curb. As it was, I didn't miss it by much. Accidents happen. It is only smart to take precautions. I consider wearing a helmet to be not a lot different than bringing along a patch kit, spare tube and pump. You don't go out the door expecting to use them, but if circumstances arrive when you need the stuff, you want it, then and there.

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Re: Should cyclists legally wear a helmet ?

Postby slowsider » Thu Jun 20, 2013 18:57 pm

Hoopdriver wrote:I wasn't going at all fast when I took a heavy spill on black ice last February. I was wearing a helmet - I always do. It was not relevant in this particular spill as I didn't hit my head, but instead landed very heavily on my right shoulder. Plenty of soft tissue injury. Still getting therapy on it - another treatment just this morning in fact. I am back riding again, but let me tell you it is very easy to take a heavy fall at relatively low speed and on a quiet road. It was 5am when I wiped out, not a car in sight. I could just as easily have banged by head on the curb. As it was, I didn't miss it by much. Accidents happen. It is only smart to take precautions. I consider wearing a helmet to be not a lot different than bringing along a patch kit, spare tube and pump. You don't go out the door expecting to use them, but if circumstances arrive when you need the stuff, you want it, then and there.



And are you wearing shoulder pads now ? :wink:

Only asking, cos Mrs slowsider is convinced there is a market for them, with an airbag-style inflatable device, since I dislocated my AC joint last year.


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