CityCyclingEdinburgh Forum » Debate!

THE Helmet Thread

(869 posts)
  • Started 8 years ago by Wilmington's Cow
  • Latest reply from chdot

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  1. Right, given the way the last thread to mention helmets went (though became civilised towards the end - I've no idea on the two posts that were deleted right at the very end - let's come to an amicable agreement....

    If anything comes up on helmets direct the people posting to this thread, where we can contain the argument (I've lined the thread in lead, submerged it in a deep lake in an undisclosed location that only a man with big facial hair and claws coming out of his knuckles could find, and left it guarded by dementors and young Tories).

    I'm not pro-helmet
    I'm not anti-helmet
    I sometimes wear a helmet
    I sometimes don't wear a helmet
    I will ride in events where they are mandated
    I will ride without one where they aren't mandated
    I'm not convinced a helmet will save my life
    I'm not convinced they cause harm in themselves
    I'm not convinced people wearing them puts other people off cycling
    I don't think sheriffs should use the fact someone wasn't wearing a helmet as a mitigating factor in their own death
    I am against legal compulsion
    A broken helmet after a crash is not proof that your head would have been broken
    Falling without a helmet and not breaking your head is not proof that helmets are pointless
    Yes, I know the Dutch and the Danes don't really wear helmets, again correlation, not cause of a cycling culture

    I think that covers everything ;)

    Posted 8 years ago #
  2. SRD
    Moderator

    I agree with pretty much everything above.

    One of the deleted posts was me linking to this, which was posted by a friend on FB, which I believe suggests that even if all other helmets were useless, new science stuff has now created one we should all wear (not saying I agree with that, or have fulling considered the evidence)

    http://www.bicycling.com/senseless/

    Posted 8 years ago #
  3. minus six
    Member

    I am against helmets being referred to by media and promotional agencies to give the impression that cycling is inherently dangerous and inferring that cyclists are solely responsible for their own safety and that by wearing one you will be magically protected because motorists shouldn't have to be inconvenienced into paying detailed attention to the space they allocate to vulnerable road users.

    Posted 8 years ago #
  4. chdot
    Admin

    "I think that covers everything ;)"

    I bet it doesn't...

    "where we can contain the argument"

    Fine.

    I'll not bother to read/moderate then.

    I don't care about helmets (read that any way you want).

    Past problem -

    Some people have become so overheated that they got abusive (against CCE rules).

    Ongoing problems -

    1) some people have fixed views - whatever the evidence.

    2) evidence is subjectively subject to myriad factors that can't all be measured and may lead to people dis/agreeing with it - based on long held believe systems.

    Generally -

    'Personal choice' is the 'agreed' CCE position - even if you think that makes people stupid, intolerant, dangerous (to themselves or others).

    Etc.

    Play nice.

    Posted 8 years ago #
  5. zesty
    Member

    A broken helmet after a crash is not proof that your head would have been broken Think it pretty much is proof, helmets are a lot strong than your noggin!

    I always wear a helmet mainly as I doing mountain biking and you'd be insane not to.

    I also wear a helmet when I commute to work even though cycling from FerryToll to Edinburgh is relatively safe as the route1 cycle path is mostly along dedicated paths and quite roads.

    Saying that, the other day I was faffing around getting my gear ready and headed off home from work without my helmet on. It wasn't until I was about a mile in that I realized (God knows how I didn't notice before). However as soon as I realized I became more cautious on the bike, going slower as I didn't feel as safe.

    I'm not saying the helmet would save your life in an accident but it could be the difference.

    Posted 8 years ago #
  6. SRD
    Moderator

    "I became more cautious on the bike, going slower "

    maybe that's a good thing?

    Posted 8 years ago #
  7. A broken helmet after a crash is not proof that your head would have been broken

    Think it pretty much is proof, helmets are a lot strong than your noggin!

    Except a helmet is 'designed' to break in order to dissapate the force, whereas a skull (which is actually a lot stronger than styrofoam!) doesn't dissapate in the same way, but is harder to actually break.

    If a helmet is broken then it has done its dissapation job, and it can break at very low impact speeds that would not have cracked a skull. In theory even a minor bump means a helmet should be replaced (though I'm sure this is a helmet industry creation much like the shampoo rinse and repeat), which is an idication of actually just how 'weak' they are.

    Probably more correct to think of helmets as 'cushioning' rather than 'strong'.

    Posted 8 years ago #
  8. minus six
    Member

    It wasn't until I was about a mile in that I realized (God knows how I didn't notice before). However as soon as I realized I became more cautious on the bike, going slower as I didn't feel as safe.

    I feel that way specifically about protective eyewear.

    The necessity of which rarely gets a mention, strangely..

    Posted 8 years ago #
  9. stiltskin
    Member

    I would like to add that the oft quoted fact that cotton cycling caps are cooler *than helmets appears to be a myth. I did a test last week & there was no doubt that the helmet was much cooler. Surprised me but there you go.

    *temperaturewise

    Posted 8 years ago #
  10. SRD
    Moderator

    From Ben Goldacre in the BMJ. Published today http://www.bmj.com/content/346/bmj.f3817?ijkey=I5vHBog6FhaaLzX&keytype=ref

    Posted 8 years ago #
  11. neddie
    Member

    Helmets present a 'hanging hazard' to children when they are wearing them off the bicycle. I've seen many kids playing with helmets on, even parents seem to put them on their kids at the playpark in case they have a fall.

    The danger is that the straps get caught in something as the child jumps (or falls) off something.

    The other day I saw 2 kids, both wearing bicycle helmets climbing along a wall with a cast-iron spiky railing. I could easily see how a helmet strap could get snagged on the railing, then the kid falling off. The result would be unthinkable.

    Posted 8 years ago #
  12. Nelly
    Member

    Cycling caps are cool - in a fashion sense :-)

    I spent part of my weekend justifying my not wearing a helmet to 'mostly' non-cycling people on a camping weekend - got the usual 'I fell off once and my helmet cracked which proves they work' chat.

    I tend to agree with Anths comment above re: splitting etc but most punters dont understand the way lids work so didnt get into this with the person mentioned above.

    chdot is right, live and let live

    Posted 8 years ago #
  13. minus six
    Member

    chdot is right, live and let live

    The trouble with that is that pro-helmet evangelists get feted in the media, and this reinforces the man on the clapham omnibus having the default perception that helmets are obviously a common sense requirement for any kind of cycling, and any other view is clearly just stupid or downright reckless.

    Eventually the law is encouraged to reflect that.

    Therefore the debate must rage on.

    Posted 8 years ago #
  14. allebong
    Member

    "pro-helmet evangelists"

    Glad to see we have another sensible non-hyperbolic debate going on here.

    Posted 8 years ago #
  15. steveo
    Member

    If I make my one and only contribution to this thread.

    Ruh ROH...

    Posted 8 years ago #
  16. amir
    Member

    From the BMJ article (by Goldacre and Spiegelhalter)

    "... the current uncertainty about any benefit from helmet wearing or promotion is unlikely to be substantially reduced by further research. Equally, we can be certain that helmets will continue to be debated, and at length."

    Both these authors are very credible. It suggests to me that the debate is pointless (unlike some helmets).

    Posted 8 years ago #
  17. Instography
    Member

    I once contemplated buying a helmet after twice being nearly wiped out on Queensferry Road. But I decided that what I really wanted to avoid wasn't just the risk of head injury. It was the whole experience, and the associated pain and injuries to other body parts, of being swept under a car veering left as I wanted to go straight on. I came to the general conclusion that if I felt that cycling was sufficiently dangerous to make me consider wearing a hat, the sensible thing to do was to stop cycling. So I did. That was before I learned the joy of the paths.

    Posted 8 years ago #
  18. Coxy
    Member

    Can we use the term,
    "Helmet Jihad"?

    Posted 8 years ago #
  19. Instography
    Member

    Only if you use it in the proper context and with the correct alphabet after a proper declaration of jihad by an appropriate religious official.

    Posted 8 years ago #
  20. steveo
    Member

    an appropriate religious official.

    Is Chris Hoy sufficiently holly?

    Posted 8 years ago #
  21. Two Tired
    Member

    I feel this thread needs some lightheartedness:

    Q: Why couldn't the bicycle stand up on its own?

    A: Because it was two tired.

    and

    http://www.damnfunny.co.uk/if-you-make-helmet-jokes-you-will-get-a-concussion/

    Posted 8 years ago #
  22. Try Cycle
    Member

    I think it was someone on here who said a rain coat won't keep you dry if you fall into a canal but will help if it rains, and that was their theory with helmets. a helmet won't help if a bus runs you over (not much would) but it might help for a lower speed coming together.

    Helmets should be an individual choice (or in the case of kids, I suppose the parents choice) but i doubt there's not much to be gained in being to prescriptive about it, one way or another

    Posted 8 years ago #
  23. minus six
    Member

    Is Chris Hoy sufficiently holly?

    he's certainly sufficiently mindful of his marketable sports personality that he wouldn't say boo to a goose.

    Posted 8 years ago #
  24. minus six
    Member

    @allebong

    "pro-helmet evangelists"

    Glad to see we have another sensible non-hyperbolic debate going on here.

    ok, what do you make of this, then?

    http://aseasyasridingabike.wordpress.com/2013/05/28/angela-lee-anti-cycling-campaigner/

    Posted 8 years ago #
  25. stiltskin
    Member

    & there aren't anti-helmet evangelists?

    Posted 8 years ago #
  26. stiltskin
    Member

    ...... I think the point being made is how you choose to characterise them.

    Posted 8 years ago #
  27. allebong
    Member

    Oh my! A blog! I was not expecting this standard of hard evidence to be presented to me. I think this settles the debate once and for all. I mean, they found a person with an extreme pro helmet viewpoint, and now we can all feel justified about closing down the debate by slinging around accusations of 'helmet evangelicals' all while demanding the 'debate' continues. Fantastic.

    I believe we should alert the fire services whenever we start one of these threads. The amount of strawmen being erected is bound to lead to an inferno developing.

    Posted 8 years ago #
  28. minus six
    Member

    I think this settles the debate once and for all.

    despite your withering sarcasm, we probably both agree that the debate can never be settled once and for all.

    its the spectre of an emotive lurch toward legal compulsion, that means the debate can never end.

    whether that's on this forum or elsewhere -- on blogs even! -- is besides the point

    Posted 8 years ago #
  29. wee folding bike
    Member

    Ben Goldacre's mum is Noosha Fox.

    S-s-s-single bed.

    Legoland hat today.

    Posted 8 years ago #
  30. Kenny
    Member

    +1 for all of WC's points in the OP.

    Since a helmet has saved my head from serious injury multiple times in my life while cycling on roads (I'm not into MTB), not least earlier this year, I will always recommend to people to wear them when out on the road. The brain is the most important part of the body to protect and hence the reason I wear it, but as is clear from this thread, there's no defining right answer for all of us.

    Posted 8 years ago #

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