Compulsory helmet laws

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andymiller
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Re: Compulsory helmet laws

Postby andymiller » Thu Feb 09, 2012 10:12 am

Oh dear. I kind of sympathise with Matt: most of the people weighing in on this thread don't seem to have even read the original post, never mind bothered to click through the links - so they just trot out the same old same old.

The issue under debate in the two articles seems to be the proposition that even if helmets do prevent head injuries, laws making helmet use compulsory may actually have a negative overall effect on health because they reduce the number of people getting some exercise by cycling.

Even if it were the case that laws making it compulsory to wear a helmet were a bad idea it doesn't automotically follow from that wearing a helmet, of your own free will, is a bad idea.

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FJS
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Re: Compulsory helmet laws

Postby FJS » Tue Feb 14, 2012 09:51 am

It's no coincidence that countries that have made helmets compulsory for cyclists are comparatively car-dominated societies where cycling amounts to a tiny percentage of trips made (especially functional non-recreational cycling) like the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, while countries with the highest bike usage (and cycling infrastructure) have the lowest levels of bicycle helmet use (Netherlands, Denmark, Germany). It would be very sad if the UK would follow the lead of car-dependent New World countries rather than high-bicycle usage European countries.

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Pross
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Re: Compulsory helmet laws

Postby Pross » Tue Feb 14, 2012 13:33 pm

FJS wrote:It's no coincidence that countries that have made helmets compulsory for cyclists are comparatively car-dominated societies where cycling amounts to a tiny percentage of trips made (especially functional non-recreational cycling) like the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, while countries with the highest bike usage (and cycling infrastructure) have the lowest levels of bicycle helmet use (Netherlands, Denmark, Germany). It would be very sad if the UK would follow the lead of car-dependent New World countries rather than high-bicycle usage European countries.


That's a very good observation. I was recently on a course about designing infrastructure for cyclists and one of the other course members was a Dane working in Greenland. She asked if it was compulsory to wear hi-vis in the UK as all the cyclists she saw in London were doing so whereas in Denmark no-one does. I don't have the accident stats to hand but I suspect we have more SMIDSY accident here than they do in Denmark despite the garish clothing. She also noted that the London commuters were on far more specialist bikes and generally wearing cycle clothing whereas back home they just commute in normal clothes. Everything seems to be geared to treat the effect rather than the cause in this country when it comes to road safety.

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Re: Compulsory helmet laws

Postby dylanfernley » Sat Jun 23, 2012 10:05 am

the pro compulsion lobby would logically have to extend helmet wearing for all pedestrians , in case they are hit by a vehicle, the helmet might reduce head injury, a common one involving cars and people, also there are a suprising number of head injuries to occupants of vehicles involved in collisions so scope there also for helmet wearing.


me i never go out without full rubberised suit and full face helmet, life is to short......

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Ron Stuart
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Re: Compulsory helmet laws

Postby Ron Stuart » Wed Jun 27, 2012 16:59 pm

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.
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.


http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/public/cy ... 309109.ece

It's a no brainer isn't it :?:

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Re: Compulsory helmet laws

Postby DesB3rd » Thu Jun 28, 2012 16:02 pm

Even if it were the case that laws making it compulsory to wear a helmet were a bad idea it doesn't automotically follow from that wearing a helmet, of your own free will, is a bad idea.


+1.

That compulsion reduces cyclist numbers and cycling is a health positive are both fairly well established. Evidence regarding the protective value of helmets is mixed. Thus I can't, without better evidence regarding the second point, favour compulsion.

(N.B. the danger with anecdotal evidence is always that it ignores the breadth of factors involved; “broken helmet = otherwise equally broken head” seems obvious but is way too simplistic. I’ve noted before that I wear (when required) a hard hat at work and I bang it, i.e. my head, on every damn thing; when I’m not required (arbitrary rules difference, no situation change) to wear it I don’t, & to date my head is wholly scar-free.)

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Ron Stuart
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Re: Compulsory helmet laws

Postby Ron Stuart » Thu Jun 28, 2012 17:20 pm

The CTC is perfectly correct in pointing out that we don't need a law that makes it compulsory to wear a cycle helmet when cycling. However they are way out of line not advising the use of a cycling helmets when cycling. Further more I would like to see them take up the challenge of promoting better helmets and the practice of wearing ones that fit and are adjusted properly. How often do we see Mum and Dad cycling with there kids, Mum and Dad without helmets and the kids with but the front of the helmet half way back over their heads ready for the strap to throttle them should they hit anything or be hit on the helmet.
The list of riders that have had a head injury as a result of a cycling accident but have sustained much lesser injuries as a result of wearing a helmet is growing all the time, I myself have experienced this as I was run down by a hit and run driver. Also 5 weeks ago a rider I know was playing silly whotsits racing for the village sign on a club run as some do when he lost control hit the road head first, broke his jaw, nose and suffered concussion/ brain swell and bleed. Afterwards he was told by the surgeon that had he not been wearing a helmet he wouldn't be here today. The helmet was in several pieces after the crash.
I ride with some guys from the dark ages that still won't wear a helmet, reason "my dad never wore one and whats more I never have and I'm still here. One guy wears a helmet when he isn't sure of the standard of the other riders he may be with, I have mentioned that it might not be another rider that's the problem but another car/van/lorry/pedestrian but no he only wears it when there are newbie other riders about only. :roll:

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TheEnglishman
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Re: Compulsory helmet laws

Postby TheEnglishman » Thu Jun 28, 2012 17:26 pm

I think that once a significant majority of cyclists wear helmets on their own accord then slipping in a law to make them compulsory will be a doddle.

Seeing how many commuters wear them in London I can't see this being far off.

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Re: Compulsory helmet laws

Postby essjaydee » Sun Jul 01, 2012 12:37 pm

Some interesting reading here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicycle_helmet#Cycling_risk_and_head_injury

I guess you will always get those for and against, on emotive subjects like this one :|
I think we all do our own risk analysis before we do anything we perceive as increasing the risk of injury or loss to ourselves and our loved one's, and this covers everything and anything we do. But our individual perception of acceptable risks are completely different.
I won't go on the bike unless I'm wearing a helmet, period. So if a compulsory helmet law was introduced, that's fine by me. If people chose not to ride a bike because of this, then that's their choice. There haven't been any reported cases (that I know of) where a helmet has caused additional injuries, and if a compulsory law saved one life, surely it's worth it?
Would be interesting if we didn't have the NHS with free medical care, and if we had to have medical insurance to cover any possible treatment costs, as a cyclist. Bet the policy would stipulate helmet use, or no cover.

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bails87
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Re: Compulsory helmet laws

Postby bails87 » Mon Jul 02, 2012 11:17 am

essjaydee wrote:if a compulsory law saved one life, surely it's worth it?


So you'd be in favour of banning all privately operated vehicales (including bikes) from the road? Buses and emergency vehicles only. Fewer people would die, so it would be worth it.

How about banning bikes completely? Want to pedal? Do it in your living room on a trainer. No cyclist would get run over. Lives saved. Worth it?

Or how about making life jackets compulsory 24/7, fewer people would drown. So it would be worth it?

You mention fewer people cycling as a result. That will lead to more deaths (through inactivity, obesity and related diseases) than it would save through people who would have suffered fatal injuries that are completely prevented by wearing a helmet. I can't remember the source, but I remember the health benefits (and knock on savings to the NHS) of cycling were calculated as being 20 times greater than the (mostly traffic related) risks. If you save one life by reducing the number of cyclists, you've killed 20 people who die of something that would have been prevented by the exercise associated with cycling.

Edit: source: http://www.bikehub.co.uk/featured-artic ... tton-wool/

I'm not wanting to turn this into a typical helmet debate, but rather to address the impact of a compulsion law . Even if we assume that bike helmets prevent all injuries (and if they do, they why do Downhill racers bother with full face helmets?) then the effect of compulsion in discouraging cycling will more likely than not outweigh the lives saved by helmets.
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essjaydee
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Re: Compulsory helmet laws

Postby essjaydee » Mon Jul 02, 2012 18:58 pm

bails87 wrote:
essjaydee wrote:if a compulsory law saved one life, surely it's worth it?

This was with regards to a compulsory helmet law for cyclist only. By only quoting this fragment of my post, you have (cleverly?) taken it out of context :|

Interesting article you linked to :)

There are no figures or ratios though, that estimate how many cyclist would give up if a helmet law was introduced, or how many who are thinking of taking up cycling wouldn't bother to turn a wheel :!:

I don't believe it would make a noticeable difference....but I've been wrong before.

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Re: Compulsory helmet laws

Postby adm1 » Mon Jul 02, 2012 19:33 pm

Isn't this a little bit like when car seat belt laws, and motorbike helmet laws got introduced? Loads of people moaned about it for a while, but nowadays you don't think twice about buckling up in the car or putting a lid on on a motorbike. In fact, you'd feel strange - and probably at risk - without it. It took passing a law to make it widely accepted, but nowadays, even if there was no law, most people would still take the safer option.

I don't really see the argument - other than the freedom of choice side of things, surely wearing a cycle helmet is worthwhile? You could take a pratfall while forgetting unclip at a traffic light and smash your head on the kerb. Potentially - that could be lights out forever. Wearing a lid might not prevent that, but it probably would.

Anyway. I don't agree with laws to enforce things like this, but I do think that the common sense argument is in favour of wearing a helmet. After all, they aren't particularly heavy, hot or uncool. Really. And what is the benefit of NOT wearing one?

Just my tuppence worth

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Ron Stuart
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Re: Compulsory helmet laws

Postby Ron Stuart » Mon Jul 02, 2012 20:58 pm

adm1 wrote:Isn't this a little bit like when car seat belt laws, and motorbike helmet laws got introduced? Loads of people moaned about it for a while, but nowadays you don't think twice about buckling up in the car or putting a lid on on a motorbike. In fact, you'd feel strange - and probably at risk - without it. It took passing a law to make it widely accepted, but nowadays, even if there was no law, most people would still take the safer option.

I don't really see the argument - other than the freedom of choice side of things, surely wearing a cycle helmet is worthwhile? You could take a pratfall while forgetting unclip at a traffic light and smash your head on the kerb. Potentially - that could be lights out forever. Wearing a lid might not prevent that, but it probably would.

Anyway. I don't agree with laws to enforce things like this, but I do think that the common sense argument is in favour of wearing a helmet. After all, they aren't particularly heavy, hot or uncool. Really. And what is the benefit of NOT wearing one?

Just my tuppence worth


+1

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bails87
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Re: Compulsory helmet laws

Postby bails87 » Tue Jul 03, 2012 10:53 am

Ron & adm1: The same goes for wearing a helmet while walking around, you could fall over and smash your brains out anywhere. For what most of us do , yeah, it makes sense to wear one, because we're riding fast, dodging trees (MTB) and traffic (road).

For a bloke pootling 500 yards down a segregated bike path to get the sunday paper, cycling is very, very, very safe.

If I remember correctly, when helmet compulsion was brought in in parts of australia cycling injuries fell, but not by as much as the dramatic fall in cyclist numbers. So the helmet law put people off and meant that the cyclists who continued cycling were more likely to be injured or killed.

Cycling for the typical person without a helmet (ie, not 'us') just isn't dangerous. If it was then The Netherlands would have the highest head injury related death rate in the world.

If you (like me) want to wear a helmet, then do so. But pushing for a law that will put off more casual cyclists, and creating the illusion that getting about by bike (rather than MTBing or road racing) is an 'extreme sport' you risk doing more damage than you prevent.
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bails87
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Re: Compulsory helmet laws

Postby bails87 » Tue Jul 03, 2012 11:08 am

essjaydee wrote:
bails87 wrote:
essjaydee wrote:if a compulsory law saved one life, surely it's worth it?

This was with regards to a compulsory helmet law for cyclist only. By only quoting this fragment of my post, you have (cleverly?) taken it out of context :|

It wasn't my intention to twist what you'd said. But if the "one life saved" thing doesn't apply anywhere else then why should cycling be a special case?
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bompington
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Re: Compulsory helmet laws

Postby bompington » Tue Jul 03, 2012 11:10 am

A minor point to make at this point:
NOBODY HERE AGREES WITH HELMET COMPULSION!!!!!!
NOBODY HERE AGREES WITH HELMET COMPULSION!!!!!!
NOBODY HERE AGREES WITH HELMET COMPULSION!!!!!!
NOBODY HERE AGREES WITH HELMET COMPULSION!!!!!!NOBODY HERE AGREES WITH HELMET COMPULSION!!!!!!NOBODY HERE AGREES WITH HELMET COMPULSION!!!!!!NOBODY HERE AGREES WITH HELMET COMPULSION!!!!!!

...even though a lot of us think it's a good idea to wear a helmet.

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Ron Stuart
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Re: Compulsory helmet laws

Postby Ron Stuart » Tue Jul 03, 2012 15:59 pm

bompington wrote:A minor point to make at this point:
NOBODY HERE AGREES WITH HELMET COMPULSION!!!!!!
NOBODY HERE AGREES WITH HELMET COMPULSION!!!!!!
NOBODY HERE AGREES WITH HELMET COMPULSION!!!!!!
NOBODY HERE AGREES WITH HELMET COMPULSION!!!!!!NOBODY HERE AGREES WITH HELMET COMPULSION!!!!!!NOBODY HERE AGREES WITH HELMET COMPULSION!!!!!!NOBODY HERE AGREES WITH HELMET COMPULSION!!!!!!

...even though a lot of us think it's a good idea to wear a helmet.


+1 and a bit more please. :wink:

Could be a classic case of being so hell bent on wanting to get a point of view across that there's a complete failure to register what others have actually said :roll:

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Re: Compulsory helmet laws

Postby Mike Healey » Fri Jul 06, 2012 21:42 pm

I recall some research by a Dr. Mayer Hilman, some years ago. He looked at the autopsy reports (IIRC) of a large number of cyclists who'd suffered fatal head injuries. The autopsies showed that about 92% had suffered other injuries which would have been fatal, but more slowly, which is why the COD was brain trauma.

He calculated that helmets would have saved about 6 lives. No mention was made as to whether or not they would be vegetables or suffer lesser brain injuries.

The first state to introduce them in Oz, was, I think, Western Australia. There followed a reduction in head injuries. There also followed an even greater reduction in broken collar bones, facial and other injuries from cycling accidents. Since it is unlikely that the helmets were the cause of the latter reduction, the reaonable conclusion, backed by surveys, was that fewer people rode because of the (unstated), "WEAR A HELMET OR YOU WILL DIE!" campaign to encourage the safe and healthy activity of cycling.

Beware the law of unitended consequences

That said, I always wear one to reduce the effect of relatively minor prangs.

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Re: Compulsory helmet laws

Postby tarquin_foxglove » Sat Jul 07, 2012 19:29 pm

Ron Stuart wrote:http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/public/cy ... 309109.ece
It's a no brainer isn't it :?:


Yes, you certainly haven't used your brain before posting that.

James Cracknell goes on about helmets & wears an Alpina helmet
http://bit.ly/rsVEdV
& states his Alpina helmet saved his life but doesn't "have a commercial relationship with the manufacturer"
http://tgr.ph/ea9H2t
But he is a sponsored by Alpina
http://bit.ly/qCGi0V
Also he rides a bike while not wearing a helmet
http://bit.ly/eZpxtk

The facts are he was involved in an (unsolved?) hit & run, due to a support vehicle the emergency services were called & he received fast & first class medical treatment within the 'golden hour' and made near enough a full recovery.

Using his celebrity he could campaign for:
- drivers to stop & help after an accident, they could save someone's life
- Police to take accidents involving cyclists seriously and find the perpetrators
- all paramedics and hospital A&E's to have the equipment/expertise on hand to be able to offer the correct treatment in time to give people the best chance of surviving
- that helmets are made stronger so that people don't suffer the severity of injury that he did
or he could promote a piece of "safety equipment" made by his sponsor as a "life saver".

He's not so brain damaged that he doesn't know which side his bread is buttered on.

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Ron Stuart
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Re: Compulsory helmet laws

Postby Ron Stuart » Sun Jul 08, 2012 14:25 pm

tarquin_foxglove wrote:
Ron Stuart wrote:http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/public/cy ... 309109.ece
It's a no brainer isn't it :?:


Yes, you certainly haven't used your brain before posting that.

James Cracknell goes on about helmets & wears an Alpina helmet
http://bit.ly/rsVEdV
& states his Alpina helmet saved his life but doesn't "have a commercial relationship with the manufacturer"
http://tgr.ph/ea9H2t
But he is a sponsored by Alpina
http://bit.ly/qCGi0V
Also he rides a bike while not wearing a helmet
http://bit.ly/eZpxtk

The facts are he was involved in an (unsolved?) hit & run, due to a support vehicle the emergency services were called & he received fast & first class medical treatment within the 'golden hour' and made near enough a full recovery.

Using his celebrity he could campaign for:
- drivers to stop & help after an accident, they could save someone's life
- Police to take accidents involving cyclists seriously and find the perpetrators
- all paramedics and hospital A&E's to have the equipment/expertise on hand to be able to offer the correct treatment in time to give people the best chance of surviving
- that helmets are made stronger so that people don't suffer the severity of injury that he did
or he could promote a piece of "safety equipment" made by his sponsor as a "life saver".

He's not so brain damaged that he doesn't know which side his bread is buttered on.


The clue is in the name I guess :roll:


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