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British Cycling policy advisor responds to criticism, saying it "obscures real issues"...

Chris Boardman’s appearance on BBC Breakfast this morning has provoked a flurry of complaints about his not wearing a cycle helmet – even though the segment began with him explaining why he chose not to do so. In a detailed explanation this afternoon, Boardman says that while the reaction was "understandable," it is also "unfortunate because it obscures what I believe are the real issues."

The early morning TV show is featuring a report on cycling each day this week. It is broadcast from Salford, close to the Manchester headquarters of British Cycling, where former Olympic champion Boardman is policy advisor.

Prior to going on a bike ride with him, presenter Louise Minchin asked Boardman, “Viewers will notice I will be wearing a helmet but you won’t. Why not?”

He replied: “It’s a very long answer and more time than we’ve got here," before summarising his position briefly.

“It discourages people from riding a bike, you’re as safe riding a bike as you are walking, statistically, you’re much safer than you are going in your own bathroom and you don’t wear a helmet there," he explained.

“There’s absolutely nothing wrong with helmets, but it’s not in the top ten things that you can do to keep safe.

“We’re going to look at all of those things, but for me, I want bikes to be for normal people in normal clothes.

“About 0.5 per cent of people wear one in the Netherlands, yet it’s the safest country in the world,” he added.

“There’s a reason for that.”

Despite his explanation, the backlash on social media was predictable, many pointing out that the Netherlands already has the type of infrastructure that Boardman and others are campaigning for in the UK.

One Facebook user, John Stimpson, said: “Chris Boardman wearing no helmet and riding in black jacket and jeans. For an item on cycling safety you can't get more stupid.”

Another, Toni Smith, said: “How can you show a piece about cycling safety when the ex-champion is not wearing any safety gear? This is not acceptable! Please in the future choose an ambassador who practices what they preach!”

Many others leapt to his defence, however, with Morgan Lewis saying: “For all those people expressing outrage, I wonder if you have spent the same amount of time looking at the evidence about helmets over the years as Chris Boardman has. His view is not idly held. There is a lot of knee-jerking in these comments.”

Jonathan Richards pointed out: “About two thirds of fatalities WITHIN cars are caused by head injuries - why not a call for compulsory helmets for those travelling in cars? And as for pedestrians ....”

Meanwhile, Chris Myrie couldn’t resist asking: “Does this mean his £80 endorsed helmets from Halfords are useless?”

There was a similar division in reaction to his comments on Twitter, where Boardman himself tweeted this morning after the show: “Hi All, rather than try to address the helmet debate (again) I'm going to pen something for people to read and point you to it this PM.”

That response has now been published on the British Cycling website. Boardman acknowledged the BBC Breakfast piece had “got a lot of people fired up,” and that “my riding a bicycle in normal clothing, looking like a normal person was greeted by some with cries of horror. It’s both understandable and unfortunate because it obscures what I believe are the real issues.”

Foremost among those issues is why some cyclists in the UK believe they should have to wear a helmet while cycling in the first place, he said.

“People wear helmets and high vis as they feel it’s all they can do to keep themselves safe. It shows just how far away Britain is from embracing cycling as a normal and convenient form of transport,” he added.

Pointing to the example of Utrecht in the Netherlands and providing a link to a video of people cycling there he went on: “I’m willing to bet that even those that swear by helmets and high vis would feel comfortable discarding their body armour in such an environment. And that’s the point; in Utrecht they have addressed the real dangers to cyclists.”

While he admitted that the situation in the UK is vastly different, he said helmet compulsion was not the answer, citing drops of between 30 and 50 per cent in countries such as Australia and New Zealand that had introduced such legislation.

“If cycling looks and feels normal, more people will cycle,” he said. The more people cycle, the safer they are - the safety in numbers effect. The more people cycle, the more lives will be saved from amongst the 37,000 that die each year from obesity-related illnesses. Never mind the more than 27,000 that die annually from pollution-related illnesses.”

Boardman said he understands “exactly why people feel so passionately about helmets or high vis,” and “why people wish to use them,” but said he would not promote helmets or hi-vis nor be drawn into a debate on a topic that he considers “isn’t even in the top 10 things that will really keep people who want to cycle safe.”

He added: “I want cycling in the UK to be like it is in Utrecht or Copenhagen and more recently New York City – an everyday thing that people can do in everyday clothes whether you are eight or 80 years old. I want cycling to be a normal thing that normal people do in normal clothes. Is that wrong?”

In the BBC Breakfast report itself, Boardman outlined his top tips for cycling safely including planning your route, how to negotiate junctions and roundabouts safely, road position, stopping at red lights and giving large vehicles plenty of space and not going up the left-hand side of them.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

285 comments

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Joeinpoole [445 posts] 3 years ago
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RTB wrote:

Answer me this then. Why do you almost never see children (including Boardman's children) cycling without a helmet?

You'll have to ask the parents __ I can't answer for them.

All I know is that I learnt to ride a bike when aged about 6 without wearing a helmet. Instead of helmets we learned to ride on grass first before progressing to pavements when competent.

When I was growing up every kid had a bike, helmets did not exist and personally I never heard of any child incurring a serious head injury whilst cycling.

Life was so much simpler before the Elf & Safety Nazis took charge. Accepting minor risk in daily activities was merely a consequence of being alive.

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mrmo [2096 posts] 3 years ago
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RTB wrote:

Just not credible at all and you also have to ask in those countries (to reiterate I am ambivalent about helmet wearing being compulsory) why it was introduced as law.

Why was it introduced, because car driving politicians can claim they have done something without having to spend money, and the exact argument you are using, surely a helmet is better than no helmet.

It allows politicians to claim they are doing something, but rather than enforce traffic laws, which cost them money, or cycle paths, which cost them money, helmets cost the government nothing, in fact until recently the government charged VAT so made money!

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RTB [190 posts] 3 years ago
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Joeinpoole wrote:
RTB wrote:

Helmet use in cycling is increasing and will contiue to do so whether legislated or not. The amount of cyclists on the roads, road and MTB, is increasing and most of those (high 90 percentile - anyone disagree?) will be wearing helmets so it is there in full glare every day for people to see for themselves and make their own conclusions and perceptions as to whether cycling is dangerous or not or more pertinently whether it is for them or not. This is why I say this whole debate around helmets is a moot point in your context.

Helmet use in cycling is a forward gear only juggernaut. You cannot stop it or put it in reverse. The genie is out of the bottle and the most disappointing thing about this recent action by Boardman, who I utterly adore in every other facet, is that he is stooping to grandstanding and stunts which just undermines his substance.

No, you're wrong. The lead in utility cycling is provided by The Netherlands, where helmet use is virtually unknown and yet also has by far the best cycling safety record.

*That's* what Boardman is trying to demonstrate ... but obviously it went straight over your helmeted head.

Cycling without a helmet is not a "stunt". It's a perfectly safe and normal thing to do. I've been cycling for 50 years and it has never even occurred to me to wear a helmet.

Tonight I'll be walking to the pub to have a few drinks and then walking back home. Statistically that's a far more dangerous activity than cycling whilst sober. I'm going to take a chance though and NOT wear a helmet.

Interesting report (1st paragraph here) from Holland which would appear to show that I am perhaps not as wrong as you would like to portray:

Dutch Foundation Report on Bicycle Helmet Promotion

Stichting Consument en Veiligheid - Netherlands

Consumer and Safety Foundation

Reports: Bicycle helmets for young children: determinants for purchase and use

Establishment Number R265 - Publication date October 2003
Available on the Web only in the original Dutch version

Context
Approximately 18,000 children present to the emergency rooms of hospitals in the Netherlands each year. About one quarter of them have head injuries. Research indicates that wearing a bicycle helmet can reduce the probability of serious head injury by 85 per cent. But only a minority of young children wear helmets while cycling. The literature gives no clear picture of the factors that motivate parents to buy a bicycle helmet, nor of the factors that motivate them to be sure their child wears the helmet once purchased. To find out more about the factors that are important in helmet wearing by four to eight year olds an investigation was conducted by Consument en Veiligheid in conjuction with Stichting Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek Verkeersveiligheid (SWOV), the Verenigde Verkeers Veiligheid Organisaties (3VO) and the University of Maastricht.

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Aapje [242 posts] 3 years ago
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mrmo wrote:
RTB wrote:

Answer me this then. Why do you almost never see children (including Boardman's children) cycling without a helmet?

And the nature of children accidents and their height mean they are probably the only group where helmets are more useful than not.

On the other hand, I see a huge number of children wearing their helmet incorrectly (too far backwards or forwards). The disadvantages are also more pronounced due to children having a smaller & lighter head, so the weight and size increases impact them far more than adults.

So it's not clear cut that they benefit more.

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RTB [190 posts] 3 years ago
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Joeinpoole wrote:
RTB wrote:

Answer me this then. Why do you almost never see children (including Boardman's children) cycling without a helmet?

You'll have to ask the parents __ I can't answer for them.

All I know is that I learnt to ride a bike when aged about 6 without wearing a helmet. Instead of helmets we learned to ride on grass first before progressing to pavements when competent.

When I was growing up every kid had a bike, helmets did not exist and personally I never heard of any child incurring a serious head injury whilst cycling.

Life was so much simpler before the Elf & Safety Nazis took charge. Accepting minor risk in daily activities was merely a consequence of being alive.

Me too and each to his own as I have said repeatedly in this thread. I choose helmet you choose not, perfectly fine by me.

Btw you just proved "Godwins Law".

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burtthebike [1187 posts] 3 years ago
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"Yes I do dispute that; it is a preposterous proposition that people might choose not to cycle because they might feel pressured into having to wear a helmet (which btw they don't)."

Actually, they do feel pressured into wearing a helmet. When I did my research into helmets, I lost count of the number of times I was told "I only wear it because the wife/girlfriend/boyfriend/mother/father insists."

Given that you're wrong about that, I can't say I have much faith in any of your other statements.

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Aapje [242 posts] 3 years ago
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RTB wrote:

Interesting report (1st paragraph here) from Holland which would appear to show that I am perhaps not as wrong as you would like to portray:

Dutch Foundation Report on Bicycle Helmet Promotion
[...]
Research indicates that wearing a bicycle helmet can reduce the probability of serious head injury by 85 per cent.

This part already shows that the report is based on false science. The report showing an 85% decrease has been discredited and any report using that figure is clearly biased. If you know the limited working range of helmets, that figure is quite absurd and simply cannot be true. It would mean that bicycle helmets are more effective than seat belts, which were proven to work by huge improvements in accident statistics when they were made mandatory. This in contrast to helmet laws, which had no clear positive impact on accident statistics. This simply doesn't compute.

In fact, the name of the report shows the bias already. Any report on 'Bicycle Helmet Promotion' will of course focus on promotion, not on evaluation.

BTW, there is a newer Dutch report from 2009 on helmets for children and it concludes that cycling helmets only work in one-sided accidents and not for car-bike collisions (first result when you google "Consument en Veiligheid helm" , click translate to read in semi-English). It also never mentions that 85% decrease, but 45%, so they already figured out that their previous claim was too obviously a lie.

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kie7077 [930 posts] 3 years ago
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RTB wrote:

... Research indicates that wearing a bicycle helmet can reduce the probability of serious head injury by 85 per cent. ....

That 85% figure is BS I've seen it bandied about before and I've heard that the study that led to it was flawed and biased.

http://www.cyclehelmets.org/1131.html

http://www.nohelmetlaw.org.uk/why-helmet-laws-fail/law-failure-4

The 85% figure was based upon totally faulty logic.

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felixcat [486 posts] 3 years ago
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kie7077 wrote:

That 85% figure is BS I've seen it bandied about before and I've heard that the study that led to it was flawed and biased.

This figure comes from the Thompson, Rivara, Thompson 1989 Seattle study. Quoting the figure is a sign of wilful credulity or a lack of scruple. Even the authors have had to revise their figures down to 69% effectiveness.
It also needs to be asked, if helmets are so effective why can't we tell in whole population studies, like the "experiments" in NZ and Oz.
The study has the faults that case controlled studies are prone to, unless very carefully controlled.
Basically it compares two groups of cyclist, one helmeted the other not, and their accidents. A useful result depends on the two groups being alike in all other relevant ways except the variable being studied.
The helmeted cyclists tended to be middle class children with health insurance and relatively wealthy and educated parents. The helmetless were less likely to be riding as carefully or in a similar environment.
The figures and method used in the study can be used to show that helmets prevent 72% of non head injuries!

http://www.cyclehelmets.org/1131.html

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Flying Scot [1004 posts] 3 years ago
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Small kids,moving slowly, don't weigh much, quite close to the ground, a bit wobbly, I think they work (no science)

Bigger, faster, higher, heavier, or contact with motor vehicles, I feel they're useless and by making your head bigger may make some accidents worse and cause neck injuries.

I only wear them coz they're pro...

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RTB [190 posts] 3 years ago
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Re: The Dutch report.

Interestingly of all of you who responded the unanimous focus was on the "85%" number they quoted. Actually that was the least interesting number to me because it was the least empirical. However, you can quite reasonably postulate that it is not 0% either, it is some percent. Take two extreme points and somewhere in between will lie the truth. That gives you enough to conclude therefore that use of helmets in some of those cases would have mitigated head trauma. It is inescapable and the case is made.

What was more interesting was the verifiable (i.e. hard) data that approximately 18,000 Dutch children (0.11% of the population @ average of ~50 per day) went to A&E in that year and ~25% of them had head injuries.

Sort of blows the side out of the purveyed image here and by Boardman that Dutch cycling is the problem free bicycling utopia to which we should all aspire and then illogically linking this, 'ipso facto', to the non use of helmets in the manner of cause & effect.

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RTB [190 posts] 3 years ago
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A number of the posts on here have many of the hallmarks of the lobbying that went on in the motor bike helmet wars. Same types of arguments from the traditionalists.

Like it or not, and most of you don't it seems, helmet use in cycling is growing, will continue to grow and is a forward gear only juggernaut that ain't turning around anytime soon. You can carry on arguing against the weather if you like but it's still going to happen.

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felixcat [486 posts] 3 years ago
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RTB wrote:

Re: The Dutch report.

Interestingly of all of you who responded the unanimous focus was on the "85%" number they quoted. Actually that was the least interesting number to me because it was the least empirical. However, you can quite reasonably postulate that it is not 0% either, it is some percent. Take two extreme points and somewhere in between will lie the truth. That gives you enough to conclude therefore that use of helmets in some of those cases would have mitigated head trauma. It is inescapable and the case is made.

What was more interesting was the verifiable (i.e. hard) data that approximately 18,000 Dutch children (0.11% of the population @ average of ~50 per day) went to A&E in that year and ~25% of them had head injuries.

Sort of blows the side out of the purveyed image here and by Boardman that Dutch cycling is the problem free bicycling utopia to which we should all aspire and then illogically linking this, 'ipso facto', to the non use of helmets in the manner of cause & effect.

Nobody claims that the Netherlands is a "problem free cycling utopia". What it represents in this discussion is a country with a cycling casualty rate a fraction of ours achieved not by wearing helmets. As opposed to certain other countries which have over 90% helmet wearing and casualty rates a multiple of ours. This makes it absolutely clear that helmets are not the answer.
The insistence on helmets is the product of a road culture which proritises driving and resists effective measures which work elsewhere, in favour of measures which work nowhere. This is perverse. The comment from Boardman repeated by several posters in this thread, that helmets are a diversion from relevant and effective policies is very much to the point.
Of course there are accidents in the Netherlands too. Nobody claims otherwise. Its interesting though that helmeted Dutch cyclists have a higher accident rate than the general population of cyclists.
The point about quoting the 85% effectiveness rate is that it shows a lack of regard for the science. Anyone still using it is either ill informed or unscrupulous.

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felixcat [486 posts] 3 years ago
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RTB wrote:

A number of the posts on here have many of the hallmarks of the lobbying that went on in the motor bike helmet wars. Same types of arguments from the traditionalists.

Like it or not, and most of you don't it seems, helmet use in cycling is growing, will continue to grow and is a forward gear only juggernaut that ain't turning around anytime soon. You can carry on arguing against the weather if you like but it's still going to happen.

Lets not get into arguing about motorbike helmets. That would be too much.
You are convinced GB will go the way of Oz and NZ, not the way of N or DK.
You may be right, but I think this would be a very bad thing. The Antipodes are places where many fewer people cycle at a much greater risk. Helmet wearing is not the way to go, and does not save lives or increase cycling. There is no reason why we cannot go in the Dutch direction, it is quite possible and much preferable.
You mention the weather. Climate change is another good reason to promote cycling.

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RTB [190 posts] 3 years ago
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felixcat wrote:
RTB wrote:

Re: The Dutch report.

Interestingly of all of you who responded the unanimous focus was on the "85%" number they quoted. Actually that was the least interesting number to me because it was the least empirical. However, you can quite reasonably postulate that it is not 0% either, it is some percent. Take two extreme points and somewhere in between will lie the truth. That gives you enough to conclude therefore that use of helmets in some of those cases would have mitigated head trauma. It is inescapable and the case is made.

What was more interesting was the verifiable (i.e. hard) data that approximately 18,000 Dutch children (0.11% of the population @ average of ~50 per day) went to A&E in that year and ~25% of them had head injuries.

Sort of blows the side out of the purveyed image here and by Boardman that Dutch cycling is the problem free bicycling utopia to which we should all aspire and then illogically linking this, 'ipso facto', to the non use of helmets in the manner of cause & effect.

Nobody claims that the Netherlands is a "problem free cycling utopia". What it represents in this discussion is a country with a cycling casualty rate a fraction of ours achieved not by wearing helmets. As opposed to certain other countries which have over 90% helmet wearing and casualty rates a multiple of ours. This makes it absolutely clear that helmets are not the answer.
The insistence on helmets is the product of a road culture which proritises driving and resists effective measures which work elsewhere, in favour of measures which work nowhere. This is perverse. The comment from Boardman repeated by several posters in this thread, that helmets are a diversion from relevant and effective policies is very much to the point.
Of course there are accidents in the Netherlands too. Nobody claims otherwise. Its interesting though that helmeted Dutch cyclists have a higher accident rate than the general population of cyclists.
The point about quoting the 85% effectiveness rate is that it shows a lack of regard for the science. Anyone still using it is either ill informed or unscrupulous.

You have not addressed the central point in this instance that 25% of 18k children suffered head trauma that could have been mitigated down by some percent (both numbers and severity) had they been wearing a helmet.

It is an inescapable conclusion both in Holland and everywhere else. Helmets are not a panacea and not anywhere have I stated that they are. Pure and simple wearing a helmet will reduce risk (some risk not all risk), mitigate some head trauma and in some cases save life. Even if just one life is saved or just one head trauma avoided it is enough to make the case.

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Joeinpoole [445 posts] 3 years ago
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RTB wrote:

Answer me this then. Why do you almost never see children (including Boardman's children) cycling without a helmet?

Did you watch Newsnight on BBC2 tonight? Interesting report on mental illness in adolescents (often leading to self-harm/suicide) with one of the expert professors determining a major factor in such events to 'today's risk-adverse society'.

Recreational or utility cycling is an incredibly safe activity. You really DON'T need PPE to enjoy it. The more you promote the (utterly useless) need for PPE in cycling the fewer people will adopt or accept it as a 'normal' activity.

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RTB [190 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes
felixcat wrote:
RTB wrote:

A number of the posts on here have many of the hallmarks of the lobbying that went on in the motor bike helmet wars. Same types of arguments from the traditionalists.

Like it or not, and most of you don't it seems, helmet use in cycling is growing, will continue to grow and is a forward gear only juggernaut that ain't turning around anytime soon. You can carry on arguing against the weather if you like but it's still going to happen.

Lets not get into arguing about motorbike helmets. That would be too much.
You are convinced GB will go the way of Oz and NZ, not the way of N or DK.
You may be right, but I think this would be a very bad thing. The Antipodes are places where many fewer people cycle at a much greater risk. Helmet wearing is not the way to go, and does not save lives or increase cycling. There is no reason why we cannot go in the Dutch direction, it is quite possible and much preferable.
You mention the weather. Climate change is another good reason to promote cycling.

Earth's climate has been in constant change for 5 Billion years another specious argument so let's not go there shall we.

No I am not convinced UK will go the way of Oz/NZ and nor do I care one way or the other. As I said way earlier my perspective is free choice.

I am not sure you can make a statement "helmet wearing does not save lives". James Cracknell for one would not and does not agree with such a statement. In his own words..."I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for a helmet."

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Joeinpoole [445 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes
RTB wrote:

Even if just one life is saved or just one head trauma avoided it is enough to make the case.

That is absolute fucking nonsense. By that measure we would also ban cars, trains, ferries, aircraft, etc ... because "if just one life is saved or just one head trauma avoided it is enough to make the case".

We should also ban drinking alcohol, stairs, meat-eating, skateboards, skiing, rock climbing, surfing, etc, too ... because "if just one life is saved or just one head trauma avoided it is enough to make the case".

You Sir are an idiotic wanker.

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kamoshika [228 posts] 3 years ago
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Glad to see the debate rumbled on late in to the night without me! I had to cycle home (helmetless - I survived) and set fireworks off with the kids. RTB - it seems clear that we're not going to agree so I don't see any point carrying on the discussion. Then I noticed you've brought in climate change denial and James Cracknell, so I'm definitely out of here. I pretty much agree with Joeinpoole's assessment above, but would be too polite to actually say it, so I'll leave it as let's agree to disagree. I'm going to print out a copy of this cartoon from XKCD (http://xkcd.com/386/) and stick it up next to my desk to remind me not to get involved in online debates about bicycle helmets. There are more productive ways to spend my time.

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Aapje [242 posts] 3 years ago
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felixcat wrote:

Its interesting though that helmeted Dutch cyclists have a higher accident rate than the general population of cyclists.

That's because 90% of the helmeted cyclists in Holland are on racing bikes or MTB's and take more risks than utility cyclists on Dutch bikes.

I expect newer accident rates to change though, as more people are using electric bikes without helmets. They have more speed and more often go at speeds beyond their control (especially the elderly). They also rarely wear helmets.

But the fact that the accident rates for helmets are mostly determined by the behavior of the group wearing them is a good indicator that their usefulness is not that significant.

PS. Shorthand for The Netherlands is NL, not N (which is Norway)

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kie7077 [930 posts] 3 years ago
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@Joeinpoole

That last line is completely unnecessary and detracts from your argument.

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Aapje [242 posts] 3 years ago
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RTB wrote:

I am not sure you can make a statement "helmet wearing does not save lives". James Cracknell for one would not and does not agree with such a statement. In his own words..."I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for a helmet."

For a long time, bleeding was used to treat patients with a fever, since it obviously worked: the temperature of the body went down. Many people swore it saved (their) lives.

Then someone decided to do an experiment, checking the outcomes of patients that were bled and those that weren't. Bled patients died at an alarmingly higher rate (because as was later learned, a fever is part of how the body fights off infections). The people who claimed that bleeding helped them survive actually would have survived anyway, they just had less chance to do so.

The lesson here is that it is very easy to come to conclusions based on anecdotes and common sense that are completely false. People greatly overestimate how significant their personal experiences are, even though their observations are often flawed. An example is how the belief in global warming goes down during a cold winter, even though most places have far fewer cold winters than ever before. Yet many people overvalue their short-term experiences and fail to see the longer trend.

This is why anecdotal evidence is usually worthless.

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andyp [1508 posts] 3 years ago
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RTB wrote:

.
I am not sure you can make a statement "helmet wearing does not save lives". James Cracknell for one would not and does not agree with such a statement. In his own words..."I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for a helmet."

He might not agree with the statement, but he's completely wrong in his own statement. Nobody, not Crackers, not his doctors, not you or I or the Flying Spaghetti Monster, know if he'd be alive or not had he not been wearing a helmet.

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RTB [190 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes
Joeinpoole wrote:
RTB wrote:

Even if just one life is saved or just one head trauma avoided it is enough to make the case.

That is absolute fucking nonsense. By that measure we would also ban cars, trains, ferries, aircraft, etc ... because "if just one life is saved or just one head trauma avoided it is enough to make the case".

We should also ban drinking alcohol, stairs, meat-eating, skateboards, skiing, rock climbing, surfing, etc, too ... because "if just one life is saved or just one head trauma avoided it is enough to make the case".

You Sir are an idiotic wanker.

Whoa there big man. Couple of pints and the true bloke emerges eh. Hope the wife/partner avoided a slapping from Mr. Angry.

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zanf [963 posts] 3 years ago
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kie7077 wrote:

@Joeinpoole

That last line is completely unnecessary and detracts from your argument.

Its also grammatically incorrect!  3

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RTB [190 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes
kie7077 wrote:

@Joeinpoole

That last line is completely unnecessary and detracts from your argument.

He had no argument, never did just lots of p*** & wind and a foul mouthed, insulting rant at the end. At least others engaged in rational, reasonable debate putting points and counter points with a modicum of respect. There will always be oiks though wherever you go in life.

One thing we do share common ground on is passion for cycling and a wish to see its growth.

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oozaveared [937 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes
RTB wrote:
Joeinpoole wrote:
RTB wrote:

Helmet use in cycling is increasing and will contiue to do so whether legislated or not. The amount of cyclists on the roads, road and MTB, is increasing and most of those (high 90 percentile - anyone disagree?) will be wearing helmets so it is there in full glare every day for people to see for themselves and make their own conclusions and perceptions as to whether cycling is dangerous or not or more pertinently whether it is for them or not. This is why I say this whole debate around helmets is a moot point in your context.

Helmet use in cycling is a forward gear only juggernaut. You cannot stop it or put it in reverse. The genie is out of the bottle and the most disappointing thing about this recent action by Boardman, who I utterly adore in every other facet, is that he is stooping to grandstanding and stunts which just undermines his substance.

No, you're wrong. The lead in utility cycling is provided by The Netherlands, where helmet use is virtually unknown and yet also has by far the best cycling safety record.

*That's* what Boardman is trying to demonstrate ... but obviously it went straight over your helmeted head.

Cycling without a helmet is not a "stunt". It's a perfectly safe and normal thing to do. I've been cycling for 50 years and it has never even occurred to me to wear a helmet.

Tonight I'll be walking to the pub to have a few drinks and then walking back home. Statistically that's a far more dangerous activity than cycling whilst sober. I'm going to take a chance though and NOT wear a helmet.

Interesting report (1st paragraph here) from Holland which would appear to show that I am perhaps not as wrong as you would like to portray:

Dutch Foundation Report on Bicycle Helmet Promotion

Stichting Consument en Veiligheid - Netherlands

Consumer and Safety Foundation

Reports: Bicycle helmets for young children: determinants for purchase and use

Establishment Number R265 - Publication date October 2003
Available on the Web only in the original Dutch version

Context
Approximately 18,000 children present to the emergency rooms of hospitals in the Netherlands each year. About one quarter of them have head injuries. Research indicates that wearing a bicycle helmet can reduce the probability of serious head injury by 85 per cent. But only a minority of young children wear helmets while cycling. The literature gives no clear picture of the factors that motivate parents to buy a bicycle helmet, nor of the factors that motivate them to be sure their child wears the helmet once purchased. To find out more about the factors that are important in helmet wearing by four to eight year olds an investigation was conducted by Consument en Veiligheid in conjuction with Stichting Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek Verkeersveiligheid (SWOV), the Verenigde Verkeers Veiligheid Organisaties (3VO) and the University of Maastricht.

Head injuries is pretty broad as a category. So let's break this down.

18,000 kids in NL go to A&E
25% of those have a head injury of some sort that's 4500 head injuries across the spectrum of head injuries.
As you know all head injuries of any serious at all are automatically sent to A&E if they come into the health system.
As a rugby coach I have routinely sent kids to A&E as is the recommended practice for any blow to the head.

So what we know is that in the netherlands where helmet use is far less prevailent only 4500 kids end up in A&E with any kind of head wound at all and that figure is exaggerated particularly at the lower end by the practice of routinely sending kids to A&E even for very minor head injuries. It's further inflated by the category "children" who are far more likely to suffer minor injuries in play and activity than adults. does the term "look mum no hands" mean anything to you.

Since I started cycling as a child I have suffered a broken collar bone, spokes going through my arm, countless bruises and cuts. Hardly any of those in the 80's 90's naughties apart from the odd off on ice and slippery paint. Almost all of them before I was 18. I have never had a head injury through cycling. Not on the road, commuting, racing, not in crits, on the track, through 7 season of CX (without a helmet). Or ten years messing about on an MTB (with a helmet) not in 41 years as a club cyclist and the last 5 commuting all seasons 25 miles a day.

Widespread helmet use is entirely irrelevant to road safety. About as useful as the splash of Holy Water my mum insisted on providing me whenever I went out on my bike or the double splash if I was racing.

Oh hang on a moment maybe it was the holy water that saved me from all those head injuries....? Hmmm Food for thought.

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oozaveared [937 posts] 3 years ago
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RTB][quote=Joeinpoole wrote:
RTB wrote:

Answer me this then. Why do you almost never see children (including Boardman's children) cycling without a helmet?

For the same reason that people don't let their kids be the only ones that cross the road on their own, or the only ones playing in the park unattended. Because by standing out from the norm on risk perception you'd be labelled the irresponsible uncaring parent.

You really don't understand how much pressure even sensible parents come under if they don't follow the herd. Whatever the arguments on helmets and their usefulness the opposite would apply. If all the other kids didn't wear a helmet then the pressure would reverse, In that case you'd be the overprotective parent that was stunting your kids' development and sense of adventure.

Luckily I'm an informed adult but arriving at work on bike without helmet I am often asked by people that maybe have never ridden a bike on a road and have been alive several decades less than I have been a road cyclists why I am not wering a helmet. I'm lucky because I'm senior enough to tell most of them to politely and couteously to do one.

Parents are not in a position to do that and there is a small chance that some idiot would start mithering about child protection and neglect and some other risk averse box ticker that wanted to make sure they were seen to be taking child protection seriously might just start looking into it. Now that may not happen but enough parents think it might happen for them to keep their heads down and fall into line.

This my friend is how a risk averse play culture comes about.

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LinusLarrabee [119 posts] 3 years ago
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To everybody quoting "facts" and figures, do your figures include the two crashes I had in September - one that sent me flying in to a ditch with the bike landing on top of me and the second (on the very next day) that threw me in to the path of on coming traffic? I only mention it, because I'm wondering how many of these official sounding stats include all the little accidents where people get up and walk away relatively unscathed and don't report the accident or seek medical assistance? I couldn't tell you with any degree of certainty if the helmet helped or not - it all happened so quickly and whatnot - but I can tell you I did go over head first and rolled a bit, but I didn't suffer any head injuries. It is hardly a stretch of the imagination to assume that there are people out there who have had accidents and their helmets have prevented an injury that would have required medical assistance and thus appearing on your figures.

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andyp [1508 posts] 3 years ago
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'It is hardly a stretch of the imagination to assume that there are people out there who have had accidents and their helmets have prevented an injury that would have required medical assistance and thus appearing on your figures.'

It is hardly a stretch of the imagination to assume that there are likewise plenty of unreported minor crashes involving people not wearing helmets.

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