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PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2013 7:01 am 
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Regarding the Australian data, it is possible that head injuries have proportionally increased because they aren't dead. i.e. If you're killed on a bike by whatever method, you don't count as a head injury, you count as a death. Thus more people are surviving accidents and thus are counted in the injury statistics instead.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2013 9:11 am 
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Pfft. I got told off for arguing against helmet compulsion because apparently no-one was arguing for it :)

Anyway. The effectiveness (or otherwise) of helmets at an individual level has nothing to do with the benefits (or otherwise) of helmets at a societal level.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2013 9:50 am 
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Why are people making the presumption that statistics, ideas, concepts, etc from another country will be applicable here. History is littered with examples of things which, often seemingly defying all logic, which work out completely differently when transplanted to the UK. Crime levels and 24hr licencing is one - in every country in the World, including Scotland, crime levels related to alcohol dropped after its introduction, but in England they actually rose sharply. To examine statistics applicable to another country and to expect them to be applicable in the UK in general, and England in particular, has proven through history to be an extremely flawed exercise.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2013 3:59 pm 
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GrahamJohnWallace wrote:
When I first posted in this thread I was of the opinion that helmets will help to protect your head in an accident. However, for experienced riders in certain riding conditions the very low likelihood of an accident occurring means they are not at all essential.


Well - congratulations on actually thinking and being willing to change your opinion based on facts.

The risk of death per mile for cycling is just 33% higher than for walking in the UK. And that risk goes down several times for experienced cyclists - about a factor of 6 for CTC members.

Quote:
I have now seen some accident data based research that identifies evidence which suggests that wearing a helmet can actually increase the likelihood of head injury. The statistics relating to the number of head injuries when compulsory helmet laws are introduced are especially intriguing....


That's possible, but to be honest the only thing you can really say for sure is that any effect helmets have on accidents on the road and statistically impossible to measure.

In fact, UK govt has more or less given up on statistical measures. In their least study what they did was to look at actual fatal accidents for a year and try to work out what benefits helmets might have provided:

http://www3.hants.gov.uk/dft_-_cycle_helmet_report.pdf

In summary, if you assume that everyone in the UK wore a helmet, worse it properly (rare), that the helmet didn't fail (probably very rare for UK cert level helmets, which is why anyone who wants a helmet and doesn't do their research first and buy a helmet certfied to the much higher B90 or B95 level is a bit of a mug) then, using the most optimistic assumptions possible, you get a 10 to 16% reduction in deaths. In reality, with UK cert level helmets, real world use, etc, even this is much too high.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2013 4:07 pm 
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gtRTSdh wrote:
Regarding the Australian data, it is possible that head injuries have proportionally increased because they aren't dead. i.e. If you're killed on a bike by whatever method, you don't count as a head injury, you count as a death. Thus more people are surviving accidents and thus are counted in the injury statistics instead.


No, that isn't possible.

1. Because there was no reduction in deaths per cyclist

2. Because it is physically impossible for cycling helmets to achieve a major reduction in deaths. They absorb far too little energy compared to that likely to create a fatal injury: look at that UK govt study I linked or read those articles.

3. The number of people killed in Oz a year in cycling accidents is so small - a few dozen - that it won't show up above "noise" in injury stats.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2013 4:18 pm 
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Chopper1192 wrote:
Why are people making the presumption that statistics, ideas, concepts, etc from another country will be applicable here.


Because

1. Human heads are the same

2. Helmets are the same

3. The laws of physics are the same

4. The Australian case etc exactly correspond with what has happened in the UK as helmets have been worn more often: ie there has been no detectible benefit from wearing one

Quote:
History is littered with examples of things which, often seemingly defying all logic, which work out completely differently when transplanted to the UK. Crime levels and 24hr licencing is one - in every country in the World, including Scotland, crime levels related to alcohol dropped after its introduction, but in England they actually rose sharply.


Yes, but that's about culture and human behaviour which does vary society to society. Whereas the amount of energy that 300g of packing foam can aborb does not.

Quote:
To examine statistics applicable to another country and to expect them to be applicable in the UK in general, and England in particular, has proven through history to be an extremely flawed exercise.


This is utter Daily Mail reading crap. There are certainly special cases, but all sorts of assumptions and models used in epidemology and insurance - ie almost all that matter and that are relevant - work perfectly well for the UK.

Even in the case of alcohol laws what you havew written is untrue - the UK didn't react like the Mediterranean countries, which hardly make up the whole world!

Deducing that British heads will somehow gain 10,000 Joules of energy absorbtion from a helmet specced to provide only 100J, when Australians do not, because Brits have different drinking habits to French people is just insane. The accidents that kill British cyclists are just like the ones that kill Australians; +90% of them involve +100 times the energy a cycling helmet is designed for.


Last edited by PurpleFrog on Thu Jun 27, 2013 5:04 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2013 4:28 pm 
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...And I can't say this enough: if you are going to wear a helmet for mountain biking, get a Snell B90 or B95 cert one. It won't any better if you are hit by a car at 40 mph - no helmet is worth a damn against that - but unlike the standard UK cert helmets, the Snell certified ones are tested against "anvils" that simulate kerbs and stones. The UK ones are tested against flat smooth surfaces only - and generally trash instantly when tested to the higher cert level.

So if you want a helmet that provides reasonable protections against rocks and roots, get a B90 or b95 cert helmet!

Snell keep a list of certed helmets here:

http://www.smf.org/cert

A lot of Speciailized helmets pass B90, and many of them are pretty cheap. Make the extra effort, it's worth it! (B95s are great too, but they all seem to be full-face.)


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2013 4:35 pm 
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Oh - the only thing that might be better than a B90 helmet is this:

http://www.bios-pro.com/en/

I haven't seen independent test results yet, but this French helmet won a French insurance industry award for being the first cycling helmet that stands a reasonable chance of preventing a neurological injury:

http://www.bios-pro.com/en/index.php?loc=actual

And, yes, in case you haven't worked it out yet, regular cycling helmets stand bugger all chance of preventing brain damage. They just don't absorb enough energy or provide enough deceleration - they don't even provide protection against concussions.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2013 4:44 pm 
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UK govt released figures today stating that cyclist fatalities in road accidents up by 10% to 118? Overheard on radio 4 so please correct me if I'm wrong. Given the that majority of accidents aren't fatal and not quantifiable or repeatable in a way that would compare helmet wearing with a control group or other objective test I suppose it will remain a mystery. Anecdotal evidence such as that of Gil and others on here as in OP leads me to don my lid whenever I ride.

Interesting though that legislation exists to prevent personal choice in similar safety areas such as child and adult restraints in vehicles, seat belts on PSVs, and motor cycle crash helmets. Perhaps if cyclists were a larger group costing the NHS more in injury treatment similar legislation would be brought in.

What about skiers and snowboarders elsewhere?


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2013 4:57 pm 
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The History Man wrote:
UK govt released figures today stating that cyclist fatalities in road accidents up by 10% to 118? Overheard on radio 4 so please correct me if I'm wrong. Given the that majority of accidents aren't fatal and not quantifiable or repeatable in a way that would compare helmet wearing with a control group or other objective test I suppose it will remain a mystery.


I think that depends on how capable of logic you are capable of and what "it" is...

Given that helmets only absorb 100J of energy, and that serious injuries are freakishly rarely from this level of hit, other people may be able to make some deducations...

Quote:
Interesting though that legislation exists to prevent personal choice in similar safety areas such as child and adult restraints in vehicles, seat belts on PSVs, and motor cycle crash helmets.


Yes, well - the difference there is that seat belts and motor cycle helmets:

1. Absorb enough energy to be useful in a serious accident; it is physically impossible for them NOT to make a significant contribution to safety in serious accidents, just as it physically impossible FOR cycling helmets to do so

2. Seatbelts etc do have a statistically detectible; cycling helmets do not

To be honest, arguments that confuse seatbelts and cycling helmets are just silly. The whole problem with cycling helmets is that the evidence that makes the benefits of seatbelts undeniable either does not exist for foam hats, or is actually undeniably contradicted.


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