Cycle helmets save lives says Neurosurgeon - in ongoing helmet row

Surgeon says he sees three children a month with cycling head injuries he believes would not have happened had they been wearing a helmet

by Simon_MacMichael   June 16, 2014  

White cycle helmet

Cycle helmets save lives says a consultant paediatric neurosurgeon from Bristol – just a fortnight after a brain surgeon in London said that there was no point in riders wearing “flimsy little helmets” to protect their heads.

Michael Carter of Bristol Children's Hospital says he treats an average of three children a month who have suffered a head injury while cycling that he believes would not have happened if they had been wearing a helmet, reports the Bristol Post.

His views conflict with those of Henry Marsh of St George’s Hospital in Tooting, South London, who as we reported last month said that helmets had not benefited patients in his care who had been involved in bike crashes.

Mr Marsh told the Hay Festival: “I ride a bike and I never wear a helmet. In the countries where bike helmets are compulsory there has been no reduction in bike injuries whatsoever.

“I see lots of people in bike accidents and these flimsy little helmets don’t help.”

He also cited research by Dr Ian Walker from the University of Bath who found that motorists gave less space to riders wearing helmets, because they perceived them as being safer than those without the headgear.

But Mr Carter insisted that the case against wearing helmets was “weak” and often founded on research that was small in sample size. He also said his experience at work contrasted with that of Mr Marsh.

In support of his views, he cited Cochrane Review studies which combine the results of a number of studies from around the world.

He said: "We get an enormous number of cycling accidents coming in here. The vast majority of head injuries seen are not life threatening. But often [they are] painful and disruptive and require inpatient treatment. Generally it's easy to see that they could have been reduced or prevented if they were wearing helmets."

Among criticisms levelled at Cochrane Reviews in the area of cycle helmets, however, is that they are not truly independent since some reviewers have focused on their own studies and discount others, and that they do not address rotational injuries.

Another concern expressed at some studies from jurisdictions where helmets are compulsory is that they fail to analyse any perceived drop in head injuries among cyclists in the context of reduced levels of riding bikes once people have become legally obliged to wear a helmet.

CTC and Sustrans both oppose compulsion in the UK because they believe the overall health benefits associated with cycling in relation to the population as a whole outweigh any reduction in the number of cyclists they believe would follow helmets being made mandatory.

Mr Carter cited one recent instance where a youngster was struck in the head by a wing mirror and he maintained that had they been wearing a helmet, they would have been uninjured.

The circumstances of the incident were not reported, so it is unclear whether the child rode into the car, or the vehicle struck the youngster, in which case the incident could perhaps have been avoided altogether had the driver given the cyclist more room.

Unlike Mr Marsh, who has been cycling for 40 years and sports a cowboy hat while on his bike, Mr Carter no longer rides one following three separate incidents last year in which two of his friends were seriously injured and another killed.

While some might see that decision as being one based on his individual experience, unfortunate as it is, rather than looking at the wider picture, he asserts that his home city is unsafe for bike riders.

"Bristol is advertised as a cycling friendly city,” he said. “But it's actually an old Victorian city with small narrow roadways and a large volume of traffic. The roads were never designed for motorists and cyclists to use together.

"Cycle paths are incomplete throughout the city and this poses a real risk to cycle traffic. Wearing a helmet is simple and cheap. It's a minor inconvenience that at worst might be uncomfortable on a hot day, but at best might save your life."

126 user comments

Latest 30 commentsNewest firstBest ratedAll

Wesselwookie wrote:
There's an easy way to test their beliefs. Tell them you're going to throw a ten pound chunk of concrete at their head at 14MPH and ask if they'd like to put on a "foam hat" or not.

Trouble is, the cars that worry me are going at 50mph or higher, not 14mph.

posted by FluffyKittenofT... [695 posts]
17th June 2014 - 17:00

21 Likes

cyclingDMlondon wrote:
I personally haven't seen anyone claim that they're not going to crash. I commute 120 miles a week. Sooner or later, I'm going to be knocked off, or bin it on my own.

Prophetic, or what?

Van driver rolled into my back wheel. My left foot was in the rat trap, and I fell over onto my left. Scraped knee, nothing worse.

White Van Man blithely drove on, as if it nothing had happened.

Stroppy e-mail going to their contact e-mail address...

'It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning' (Henry Ford)

cyclingDMlondon's picture

posted by cyclingDMlondon [226 posts]
17th June 2014 - 17:12

22 Likes

Quote:
Helmet use is one of the least important cycling safety measures, according to British Cycling policy advisor Chris Boardman

http://www.roadsafetygb.org.uk/news/3413.html
I wear a helmet and I totally agree with Boardman. When I'm out on the road bike the times I feel most threatened I can guarantee that a helmet isn't going to save my life or me from serious injury.
It's a non-argument and a convenient diversion from the real problems.

posted by don simon [190 posts]
17th June 2014 - 17:31

18 Likes

Fatwa on articles that so much as mention the merits/dismerits of helmet wearing.

posted by surly_by_name [144 posts]
17th June 2014 - 17:51

20 Likes

MartinH wrote:
OK, how about we have a little straw poll? I reckon you can divide opinions down into four positions here. Just post which one you fall into:

1 - Pro compulsion: helmet use should be a legal requirement, you shouldn't be allowed on a bike without one.

2 - Pro choice, pro helmet: helmet use should remain a personal choice as it is now, and I usually or always choose to wear a helmet.

3 - Pro choice, anti helmet: helmet use should remain a personal choice as it is now, and I usually or always choose not to wear a helmet.

4 - Pro helmet ban: helmet use should banned. No one should be allowed to wear a helmet when riding a bike.

My guess is that category 2 will be bigger than category 3, but I'm not sure by how much. I'm also willing to bet that practically nobody will fall into category 4. But what I'm intrigued about is how many people, here on a cycling website, would class themselves as category 1.

I'm 2 - Pro choice, pro helmet.

Well, thanks for taking part Wink I know it's hardly a scientific sample, but it's interesting that everyone who answered said they were a 2-2.5 (if we're going to decimal places, then I guess I'm about a 2.3). Which makes me feel a little better - maybe the cycling community isn't as bitterly divided over this it sometimes appears. But doesn't it make you wonder how we manage to disagree so violently over something that, on the face of it, we largely agree on...

posted by MartinH [18 posts]
17th June 2014 - 19:47

20 Likes

3, don't use one for normal everyday use (cycle couriering/commuting). And I dare say I know more about road safety and risk avoidance strategy than most of the people who keep being quoted.

@rich22222

posted by rich22222 [119 posts]
17th June 2014 - 19:48

9 Likes

I can only post what I posted on the original story's website:

"Mr Carter is suffering from "observation bias" where he only sees a tiny fraction of the population, and bases his view on that and using the disgraceful Cochrane review as proof merely shows that he understands nothing about the problem.

Cochrane reviews have very tight criteria to ensure balance and the elimination of bias, but the review of cycle helmets ignored all of them and has seriously damaged the reputation of such reviews. This review was done by the biggest helmet promoters on the planet who looked at their own work and excluded any research which didn't agree with their pre-conceived conclusions. By using this review as his sole source, Mr Carter proves beyond doubt that he is completely misinformed.

Mr Carter is also guilty of exaggerating the problem "We get an enormous number of cycling accidents coming in here." Just how many is "enormous" and what proportion of the total number is that? Without those figures Mr Carter is just scaremongering and deliberately deterring people from healthy, safe exercise.

According to him, cycling is incredibly dangerous, but regular cyclists, those most exposed to the risk, live longer and are fitter, healthier and slimmer than general. Cycling has about the same risk as walking, so will Mr Carter be promoting walking helmets?

It's difficult to believe that a professional person could be quite so misinformed on a subject, but unfortunately all too believable that they would broadcast their lack of knowledge to the world.

Mr Carter can find out the facts, not the fairy stories and Cochrane reviews, at cyclehelmets.org"

burtthebike

posted by burtthebike [71 posts]
17th June 2014 - 19:52

19 Likes

burtthebike wrote:
regular cyclists, those most exposed to the risk, live longer and are fitter, healthier and slimmer than general.

I would be, but for the ten thousand calories I habitually scoff when getting home after my commute. Crying

'It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning' (Henry Ford)

cyclingDMlondon's picture

posted by cyclingDMlondon [226 posts]
17th June 2014 - 20:00

21 Likes

cyclingDMlondon wrote:
burtthebike wrote:
regular cyclists, those most exposed to the risk, live longer and are fitter, healthier and slimmer than general.

I would be, but for the ten thousand calories I habitually scoff when getting home after my commute. Crying

But if you put on enough fat the cars will just bounce off?

mrmo's picture

posted by mrmo [1178 posts]
17th June 2014 - 20:49

9 Likes

1.5. Pro helmet. Particularly the one that save my head, and possibly my life, whilst I was smashing up my collar bone. And not opposed to compulsion.

As for the idea that helmets being mandatory would put people off cycling. The same nonsense was spouted in the early 80's when seatbelts became mandatory. Did anyone give up their car? Not a single one. Would you expect to drive around today without a seatbelt? No, and let's face it, if you got in a taxi tomorrow and there were no seatbelts you would probably get straight back out.

The culture has to change!

And if anyone is going to quote the studies, read all the data sources in them before looking at the conclusions of someone who had grant money to spend proving a case in the first place. The countries that enforce helmets all have completely different cultures of cycling and driving to the UK. Not least, most of them drive on the wrong side of the road meaning 90% of them are steering primarily with their weaker hand whilst we drive on the sensible side and only the 10% of lefties are steering with their weaker hand.

posted by kevinmorice [18 posts]
17th June 2014 - 21:24

13 Likes

kevinmorice wrote:

As for the idea that helmets being mandatory would put people off cycling. The same nonsense was spouted in the early 80's when seatbelts became mandatory. Did anyone give up their car? Not a single one. Would you expect to drive around today without a seatbelt? No, and let's face it, if you got in a taxi tomorrow and there were no seatbelts you would probably get straight back out.

And the evidence we have from Australia and NZ is that compulsory helmets led to less cycling. Driving is normal, cycling is something weirdos with a death wish do...

Do the dutch and the danes wear helmets?

Do we want to encourage utility cycling or not?

Is cycling, utility cycling, dangerous?

mrmo's picture

posted by mrmo [1178 posts]
17th June 2014 - 21:44

14 Likes

Here in New Zealand we've had a compulsory all age helmet law since 1994. As a percentage, cyclist fatalities have remained unchanged at 4.6% of road fatalities and injuries have INCREASED. Meanwhile cyclist modal share has dropped from 4% to 1%.

90% of cyclists killed are wearing helmets.

I was a little surprised to find a couple of deaths in a recent coronial enquiry involved helmet wearing cyclists hitting objects at relatively low speeds (32 and 45 kph).

I commute 20 kms on a main road without much in the way of cycle lanes. A helmet for me is a complete waste of time as any accident will involve a vehicle weighing anything from 1 tonne to 50 tonnes travelling at 100 kph.

It's really interesting that here, we have widespread support for compulsory helmet wearing for cyclists but almost nothing for a minimum passing distance. I'd much rather not be hit by 40 tonnes of moving steel than try and mitigate that sort of force by wearing a couple of cms of polystyrene.

posted by jestriding [10 posts]
17th June 2014 - 21:58

36 Likes

Am I the only person who noticed and understood the adjective PAEDIATRIC? This Neurosurgeon is talking about children falling off their bikes and that is who cycle helmets are designed to protect.

Grizzerly

posted by Grizzerly [125 posts]
17th June 2014 - 22:01

14 Likes

Drooling

factor41 wrote:
oldstrath wrote:
...You want to wear a helmet while cycling that's fine, good for you. I can't understand why you wouldn't be equally keen on wearing one while walking, driving a car, standing in the shower, ...

My car has a lot of airbags which should help protect my head in case of impact. Opportunities for my head to hit the kerb/road at 30-40mph seem fairly low while walking or showering. Am I doing it wrong? Confused


Don't need to hit your head at 30 mph. Doubt the children Mr Carter saw had been doing 30 mph, and there's little evidence a helmet would protect you if you were travelling at that speed when you landed. Go and ask your local neurosurgeon where most of his cases get injured - slipping in the shower will be high up there.

posted by oldstrath [149 posts]
17th June 2014 - 22:10

13 Likes

Yeah I noticed that. Interesting that there's a recent study out of the States that looked at compulsory helmet wearing for children. That study found that States with a compulsory law for children had a drop in cyclist numbers as kids changed from biking to other wheeled devices... and the head injury rate remained unchanged.

Apparently scooters and skates cause head injuries as well...

posted by jestriding [10 posts]
17th June 2014 - 22:13

15 Likes

I hit a rut in the road, I fell and severely wacked the side of my head, people following said I was out for a minute or so, once up and about slurred speech made it was obvious I was suffering concussion, an ambulance was called CT scan followed no lasting damage except for a bust helmet, me just a couple of weeks off the bike for the concussion. The fact is the helmet gave me a vital margin of extra protection.. worth it you bet it was and is, otherwise I might be dead now. Martin

posted by nitram [2 posts]
18th June 2014 - 7:11

12 Likes

oozaveared wrote:
if your helmet didn't split or break and has a dent in it then it worked.

Even if it broke it will have worked to a degree, what that degree is is impossible to say from anecdotal evidence.

oozaveared wrote:
The issue is not that they don't protect you against anything, it's that they don't protect you against the things that most people think they do or to the level that they think they do.

I think that's fair to say in general. As far as the audience on here is concerned, I think that is less of an issue.

oozaveared wrote:
Some confusion comes from cycle racing. I raced many a season and cycle helmets protect most racers from most the sort of offs and impacts that they might have from a bike race though not by any means all. Most of the offs I have ever seen or had have resulted in the rider sliding along the road or track. The main impact has been, as in your case, a shoulder more usually a knee, thigh or hip. (ie very few are head first) The last thing to hit the deck is the side of the head. By the time that it does most of the impact energy is gone. But they'll stop you getting a head wound or a maybe a pedal in the head. Now if you are racing that sort of thing can happen quite often. It's sensible to do somtheing to mitigate it.

It can happen quite a bit when not racing.

oozaveared wrote:

I don't wear a helmet riding on the road. I do wear one riding MTB on trails where I am more likely to be off and at the low speeds where a helmet might save me a small bump. On the road the chances of being off where a helmet can help are slim to nil.

Interesting statistic - citation ?

oozaveared wrote:
And last winter I was off and sliding twice. No impact to my head whatsoever.

..and I had an off winter before last and another this spring and in both cases had a side head impact. Eventually our anecdotes will become statistically significant, but we're quite a way off from there currently, aren't we ?

oozaveared wrote:
So it's a small chance of being of limited use in an infrequent sort of of specific accident at low impact.

a falsis principiis proficisci.

fukawitribe's picture

posted by fukawitribe [476 posts]
18th June 2014 - 8:28

7 Likes

The fact that the medical profession continues to remain divided over the efficacy of cycle helmets should ensure there should never be legislation to compel cyclists to wear them.
It should remain a personal choice.

posted by Condor flyer [21 posts]
18th June 2014 - 9:29

10 Likes

MartinH wrote:
MartinH wrote:
OK, how about we have a little straw poll? I reckon you can divide opinions down into four positions here. Just post which one you fall into:

1 - Pro compulsion: helmet use should be a legal requirement, you shouldn't be allowed on a bike without one.

2 - Pro choice, pro helmet: helmet use should remain a personal choice as it is now, and I usually or always choose to wear a helmet.

3 - Pro choice, anti helmet: helmet use should remain a personal choice as it is now, and I usually or always choose not to wear a helmet.

4 - Pro helmet ban: helmet use should banned. No one should be allowed to wear a helmet when riding a bike.

My guess is that category 2 will be bigger than category 3, but I'm not sure by how much. I'm also willing to bet that practically nobody will fall into category 4. But what I'm intrigued about is how many people, here on a cycling website, would class themselves as category 1.

I'm 2 - Pro choice, pro helmet.

Well, thanks for taking part Wink I know it's hardly a scientific sample, but it's interesting that everyone who answered said they were a 2-2.5 (if we're going to decimal places, then I guess I'm about a 2.3). Which makes me feel a little better - maybe the cycling community isn't as bitterly divided over this it sometimes appears. But doesn't it make you wonder how we manage to disagree so violently over something that, on the face of it, we largely agree on...

A lot of people said they were helmets for racing, myself included. That's where the danger lies because racing inherently takes the bicycle to the limits of adhesion and sometimes beyond, resulting in an off. Riding on the road is a lot less dangerous and all the crash data available points to this. Bear in mind also that the full face MX lid I wear for racing (it's a road legal motorcycle helmet) is rather more protective than any standard bicycle helmet. I've also got a skate lid I wear when I'm riding my BMX at the skatepark and again, it's a lot more protective than any shell helmet.

I strongly oppose compulsion for helmet use for normal road cycling because all the statistics say this won't help tackle safety for cyclists and that the real improvement will come from addressing motor vehicle driver behaviour.

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2238 posts]
18th June 2014 - 9:54

13 Likes

Stop it, all of you. Just stop it.

posted by surly_by_name [144 posts]
18th June 2014 - 10:18

11 Likes

kevinmorice wrote:
1.5. Pro helmet. Particularly the one that save my head, and possibly my life, whilst I was smashing up my collar bone. And not opposed to compulsion.

As for the idea that helmets being mandatory would put people off cycling. The same nonsense was spouted in the early 80's when seatbelts became mandatory. Did anyone give up their car? Not a single one. Would you expect to drive around today without a seatbelt? No, and let's face it, if you got in a taxi tomorrow and there were no seatbelts you would probably get straight back out.

The culture has to change!

And if anyone is going to quote the studies, read all the data sources in them before looking at the conclusions of someone who had grant money to spend proving a case in the first place. The countries that enforce helmets all have completely different cultures of cycling and driving to the UK. Not least, most of them drive on the wrong side of the road meaning 90% of them are steering primarily with their weaker hand whilst we drive on the sensible side and only the 10% of lefties are steering with their weaker hand.

The two countries that have a compulsory all age helmet law are both essentially English (Australia and New Zealand) and drive on the same side of the road as you do. Both countries have considerably worse accident rates than England (probably due to the roads and the number of English tourists).

It's interesting that in both countries any study that claims a reduction in head injuries always fails to mention the dramatic drop in cyclist numbers after the introduction of the law... wonder why that is?

I'd be really interested in hearing about a country that has increased ridership after helmet laws were introduced... after all there's plenty of information about dramatic increases in safety and ridership after infrastructure is built - surely it must be the same for helmets?

posted by jestriding [10 posts]
18th June 2014 - 10:35

6 Likes

nitram wrote:
I hit a rut in the road, I fell and severely wacked the side of my head, people following said I was out for a minute or so, once up and about slurred speech made it was obvious I was suffering concussion, an ambulance was called CT scan followed no lasting damage except for a bust helmet, me just a couple of weeks off the bike for the concussion.

First of all, I'm glad that you're OK. And I'm just trying to make a rational point here, not trying to have a go, so don't take the following personally, but...

nitram wrote:
The fact is the helmet gave me a vital margin of extra protection.. worth it you bet it was and is, otherwise I might be dead now. Martin

The problem with drawing conclusions from anecdotal experience like this though, is that no, that's not a fact; not a proven fact anyway. It's conjecture. Without reconstructing the exact circumstances of the accident, down to the speed and trajectory of your fall, only this time without a helmet, you can't know for sure whether the helmet made a significant difference or not. It's a natural assumption to make, that things would have been worse without the helmet, but think of it a different way for a moment. The fact that you were wearing a helmet but were knocked out and concussed anyway, raises a question over whether your helmet worked at all. Maybe it was subjected to forces beyond those it was designed for, failed and you suffered basically the same injuries you would have done without the helmet.

I'm not saying that's definitely the case, but it's a possibility. Others further down the thread have explained the crash physics to support that possibility better than I could. And I'm not saying that you shouldn't wear a helmet either. Another possibility is that your helmet did help to protect you, and you're clearly happier wearing one, so you should. What I am saying is that, when we get as far as discussing a compulsory helmet law, laws have to be based on more than just assumptions drawn from isolated incidents. The science and statistics need to unequivocally support the case for a helmet law, and at the moment, neither one of them do.

posted by MartinH [18 posts]
18th June 2014 - 10:38

14 Likes

surly_by_name wrote:
Stop it, all of you. Just stop it.

Is there some equivalent to Godwin's Law for cycling articles ? I dunno, maybe something like "That's the sort of thing i'd expect from Boris Johnson" ?

fukawitribe's picture

posted by fukawitribe [476 posts]
18th June 2014 - 10:39

4 Likes

surly_by_name wrote:
Stop it, all of you. Just stop it.

You could always just stop reading it...

posted by MartinH [18 posts]
18th June 2014 - 10:39

4 Likes

Wow, you guys have been busy!

I'm a 2.8 by the way.

I'm not really anti-helmet, however it concerns me that too much focus is placed on helmets, when addressing other areas will make a greater positive difference to cycling in the UK.

Also, by their very existence, helmets promote the idea that cycling is dangerous. Now for the enthusiast, that's great, we all want to feel a bit 'hard' and 'risky' when doing our hobby, but for the chap just wanting to pop to the shops, he doesn't need, or want to be told that he is risking his life in doing so.

And that's my point... cycling is not a dangerous activity. It is ludicrously safe.

To me that's the message that we need to be shouting all day and every day. Suggesting it is dangerous will not only put people off, but will justify to certain car drivers that they can neglect their duty of care around cyclists as 'after all, its so dangerous, these cyclists are taking their lives in their hands every time the straddle a bike, its not my fault I just happened to be the poor car driver they ended up hitting'.

And now I'll shut up.

posted by Jimmy Ray Will [305 posts]
18th June 2014 - 11:44

7 Likes

fukawitribe wrote:
oozaveared wrote:
if your helmet didn't split or break and has a dent in it then it worked.

Even if it broke it will have worked to a degree, what that degree is is impossible to say from anecdotal evidence.

oozaveared wrote:
The issue is not that they don't protect you against anything, it's that they don't protect you against the things that most people think they do or to the level that they think they do.

I think that's fair to say in general. As far as the audience on here is concerned, I think that is less of an issue.

oozaveared wrote:
Some confusion comes from cycle racing. I raced many a season and cycle helmets protect most racers from most the sort of offs and impacts that they might have from a bike race though not by any means all. Most of the offs I have ever seen or had have resulted in the rider sliding along the road or track. The main impact has been, as in your case, a shoulder more usually a knee, thigh or hip. (ie very few are head first) The last thing to hit the deck is the side of the head. By the time that it does most of the impact energy is gone. But they'll stop you getting a head wound or a maybe a pedal in the head. Now if you are racing that sort of thing can happen quite often. It's sensible to do somtheing to mitigate it.

It can happen quite a bit when not racing.

oozaveared wrote:

I don't wear a helmet riding on the road. I do wear one riding MTB on trails where I am more likely to be off and at the low speeds where a helmet might save me a small bump. On the road the chances of being off where a helmet can help are slim to nil.

Interesting statistic - citation ?

oozaveared wrote:
And last winter I was off and sliding twice. No impact to my head whatsoever.

..and I had an off winter before last and another this spring and in both cases had a side head impact. Eventually our anecdotes will become statistically significant, but we're quite a way off from there currently, aren't we ?

oozaveared wrote:
So it's a small chance of being of limited use in an infrequent sort of of specific accident at low impact.

a falsis principiis proficisci.

Good post. I am probably getting a hard time from some because my proposition is in 3 parts.

Part 1 that for most cyclists (and a lot of people here are the more adventurous or avid cyclists rather than average ones) a helmet offers such little protection that it is hardly worth bothering. The facts is that most people over estimate their efficacy.

Part 2 based on the over estimation of their efficacy a lot of people even cyclists advocate compulsory use. I heard one mouthy chap at the Charlotteville call an old bloke twiddling along on a touring bike a "numpty" for not wearing a helmet. Totally out of order.

Part 3 Compulsory helmet wearing for cyclists is an overreaction to the relative risk and has the effect of making cycling, ordinary everyday cycling, appear to be a dangerous activity requiring special protective gear. This appearance is likely to deter more people from cycling.

I am quite happy to get as detailed on the science as anyone wants regarding rotational forces or oblique impacts or secondary impact mitigation when it comes to the helmet itself. But whatever way you slice it the fact is that most people massively over estimate the protection that is provided and thay also massively overestimate the risk of head injury whilst cycling which runs at about the same as for pedestrians.

I have been cycling properly now for 40 years most of it without a helmet. In my early days racing in the 70s the helmets were simple soft foam in various quality of plastic. I have phots of cyclo cross races in Wessex Region in the mid 70s which show none of the competitors wearing a helmet. I cannot remember a single incident in either Cyclo Cross, Track, or Road racing nor any any club run or anywhere else where a cyclist has suffered a major head wound. It happens sometimes of course.

But my point is that currently damage to helmets is seen as averting serious damage to skulls. The same crashes decades ago didn't result in serious head injuries.

I am not against helmet use. I am against compulsory helmet use on a false prospectus which overestimates the risk of head injury and and then compounds that by over estimating the efficacy of helmet wearing.

Cycling is like a church - many attend, but few understand.

posted by oozaveared [659 posts]
18th June 2014 - 12:34

6 Likes

Wesselwookie wrote:
Myth 33: The weight of bicycle helmet can increase the severity of rotational injuries in a crash.

Fact 33: A bicycle helmet weighs very little. It's not like wearing a heavy motorcycle helmet. There has never been any evidence of increased rotational injuries caused by a bicycle helmet.


The argument is not so much that the weight can increase the severity of rotational injuries, it's that:
1. The helmet increases the size of your head. So there is a bigger chance of hitting the road with your (helmeted) head in such a way that your head rotates quickly.
2. Cycling helmets tend to grip the road, increasing rotational forces (see this study: http://www.bhsi.org/chinstrp.pdf ). Your skull is covered by fairly flexible skin (you can move it over your skull with your hand). This means that you are more likely to slide your unhelmeted head, rather than have it grab the road, while the rest of your body turns around it. There is a motorcycle helmet manufacturer trying to combat this by making helmets with a skin-like layer on it: http://www.phillipshelmets.com/

Quote:
From the website link I posted earlier

Because your website chooses to argue a straw man, rather than argue in good faith, it's not a good source of information.

posted by Aapje [184 posts]
18th June 2014 - 12:49

3 Likes

Aapje wrote:
Wesselwookie wrote:
Myth 33: The weight of bicycle helmet can increase the severity of rotational injuries in a crash.

Fact 33: A bicycle helmet weighs very little. It's not like wearing a heavy motorcycle helmet. There has never been any evidence of increased rotational injuries caused by a bicycle helmet.


The argument is not so much that the weight can increase the severity of rotational injuries, it's that:
1. The helmet increases the size of your head. So there is a bigger chance of hitting the road with your (helmeted) head in such a way that your head rotates quickly.
2. Cycling helmets tend to grip the road, increasing rotational forces (see this study: http://www.bhsi.org/chinstrp.pdf ). Your skull is covered by fairly flexible skin (you can move it over your skull with your hand). This means that you are more likely to slide your unhelmeted head, rather than have it grab the road, while the rest of your body turns around it. There is a motorcycle helmet manufacturer trying to combat this by making helmets with a skin-like layer on it: http://www.phillipshelmets.com/

Quote:
From the website link I posted earlier

Because your website chooses to argue a straw man, rather than argue in good faith, it's not a good source of information.

Then I would suggest you contact the website and ague with him. Most of the arguments against the use of cycle helmets also fall into the straw man category. And if rotational forces are a factor then this would show itself in the pro peloton. I am not aware of a single incidence of this within cycle racing however I am willing to be proved wrong.

Wesselwookie's picture

posted by Wesselwookie [139 posts]
18th June 2014 - 13:02

5 Likes

oozaveared wrote:
I am not against helmet use. I am against compulsory helmet use on a false prospectus which overestimates the risk of head injury and and then compounds that by over estimating the efficacy of helmet wearing.

I'd go along with that.

fukawitribe's picture

posted by fukawitribe [476 posts]
18th June 2014 - 13:22

5 Likes

Wesselwookie wrote:
Then I would suggest you contact the website and argue with him.
You need to man up and own the stuff you post. Posting stuff and then saying that you don't stand behind it is trolling-like behavior.

Quote:
Most of the arguments against the use of cycle helmets also fall into the straw man category.
I'm not against the use of helmets, but rather against the silly arguments used by helmet-advocates. In my opinion/experience, the people who really believe in helmets (despite the lack of convincing evidence) tend to be the most illogical. Saying that people are against the use of helmets when they also want to look at the downsides of helmets is a good example.

Quote:
And if rotational forces are a factor then this would show itself in the pro peloton. I am not aware of a single incidence of this within cycle racing however I am willing to be proved wrong.
The reporting of cycling accidents doesn't go into that level of detail. Or can you tell me which injuries of Weylandt were translational and which were rotational? Regardless, the number of fatal racing accidents is pretty low, not high enough for statistics. Especially since we are really talking about edge cases, where a helmet has a chance to save a life.

posted by Aapje [184 posts]
18th June 2014 - 14:58

3 Likes