PDA

View Full Version : Re: published helmet research - not troll


Pages : [1] 2 3 4 5 6 7

Frank Krygowski
June 17th 04, 04:39 PM
LioNiNoiL_a t_Ne t s c a pE_D 0 T_Ne T wrote:

>> The Effect of Bicycle Helmet Legislation on Bicycling Fatalities -
>> Grant and Rutner.
>
>
> Their statistics are sound, and their calculation of a 15% reduction in
> the juvenile bicycling fatality rate during the helmet-law era appears
> to be accurate, although virtually indistinguishable from the
> already-existing downward trend since 1975, represented by the blue line
> in their data graph:
>
> http://img22.imageshack.us/img22/9715/graph.gif

Yes - if helmets were having a significant effect, that graph should
show a significant drop in juvenile fatalities, over and above the
prevailing trend, from 1991 to 1997, when (as they show) the helmet laws
became fashionable.

Incidentally, there are several sources on the web which plot cylist
fatalities and pedestrian fatalities over the decades. Despite the
increase in helmet use, the plots are stubbornly parallel... with, of
course, a certain amount of random variation superimposed.

It seems clear that a) the emergency medical people have gotten
gradually better at their job (probably in large part due to
technology), and b) helmets aren't making a significant difference in
cyclists' fatalities. If they were, the cyclist plot would drop
relative to the ped. plot.




--
--------------------+
Frank Krygowski [To reply, remove rodent and vegetable dot com,
replace with cc.ysu dot edu]

CowPunk
June 18th 04, 06:05 AM
> It seems clear that a) the emergency medical people have gotten
> gradually better at their job (probably in large part due to
> technology), and b) helmets aren't making a significant difference in
> cyclists' fatalities. If they were, the cyclist plot would drop
> relative to the ped. plot.


This whole helmet discussion reminds of my pesticide chemistry
class when my prof. would tell the class "but the LD50 is ...
blah, blah, blah.", but never took into account that while maybe
it takes a lot of whatever chemical to kill you, no one really
knows how much it takes to cause cancer, nerve damage,
brain damage, loss of eyesight, etc....

The same thing holds true for this discussion. You're looking
at FATALITIES. What about the accidents where a helmet
prevented brain injury? It's not something that can be answered
or tested easily....

And I'll wear mine thank you, I've hit enough low hanging
tree branches while MTB riding to know they help.

John Forrest Tomlinson
June 18th 04, 11:09 AM
On 17 Jun 2004 22:05:25 -0700, (CowPunk) wrote:

>What about the accidents where a helmet
>prevented brain injury? It's not something that can be answered
>or tested easily....
>
>And I'll wear mine thank you, I've hit enough low hanging
>tree branches while MTB riding to know they help.

Are you saying you received minor brain injuries riding your MTB w/o a
helmet on? If not, how do you know helmets help prevent that?

JT

CowPunk
June 18th 04, 04:46 PM
> Are you saying you received minor brain injuries riding your MTB w/o a
> helmet on? If not, how do you know helmets help prevent that?
>
> JT


It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that
cracked plastic and dented styrofoam is better than
cracked skin and a dented skull.

Tom Kunich
June 18th 04, 05:38 PM
(CowPunk) wrote in message >...
>
> The same thing holds true for this discussion. You're looking
> at FATALITIES. What about the accidents where a helmet
> prevented brain injury? It's not something that can be answered
> or tested easily....

That's a fair question. But ask yourself - how many brain injuries
have occurred to cyclists over the intervening 30 years. The answer is
that there are so few that they aren't even recorded. It isn't that
they don't occur, but that your chances of having similar injuries as
a pedestrian are many times greater on a statistical basis.

The statistics also show that serious head injuries aren't helped by
helmets either since the ratio of serious head injuries to fatalities
hasn't changed in the least either. Although there are some medical
sources that claim that using complicated statistical methods they can
JUST detect some help.

> And I'll wear mine thank you, I've hit enough low hanging
> tree branches while MTB riding to know they help.

You can do anything you like. Though I would think that if you are
hitting low hanging branches your helmet must be interfering with your
field of vision. The only time I ever hit my head on something
overhanging was when I was riding past a structure and the helmet
blocked vision of a rafter at head height.

It is my OPINION that helmets make minor injuries even more minor or
even non-existant. That is a reason for ME to wear a helmet. That is
not a reason for laws that force helmets on children since it
coincidentally causes children to to ride a great deal less, causing
parents to drive their children to school making it more dangerous for
all children in the vicinity of schools.

John Forrest Tomlinson
June 18th 04, 11:12 PM
On 18 Jun 2004 08:46:06 -0700, (CowPunk) wrote:

>> Are you saying you received minor brain injuries riding your MTB w/o a
>> helmet on? If not, how do you know helmets help prevent that?
>>
>> JT
>
>
>It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that
>cracked plastic and dented styrofoam is better than
>cracked skin and a dented skull.

I asked a very specific question in response to a specifc assertion --
that helmets protect from brain injuries hitting branches.

I'll accept that a helmet can protect from cracked skin in the
situations described. So can a wool hat.

Now what evidence do you have about helmets protecting against dented
skulls or brain injuries?

JT

Shayne Wissler
June 18th 04, 11:16 PM
"John Forrest Tomlinson" > wrote in message
...

> Now what evidence do you have about helmets protecting against dented
> skulls or brain injuries?

I have an idea for an experiment. Go outside and have someone hold a brick
about 2 feet over your bare head and have him drop it. Observe the pain and
damage (assuming you're still conscious). Then try the same experiment on
your friend, but have him wear a cycling helmet. If he laughs at you, you
may be able to infer from this, experimentally, that he thought it was not
necessary to run the experiment to know that you would end up with a damaged
head and he wouldn't.

If you are unable to apply the knowledge gained from this experiment to
real-life, I would submit that it's not more experiments that you're
actually in need of.


Shayne Wissler

Steven Bornfeld
June 18th 04, 11:28 PM
Shayne Wissler wrote:
> "John Forrest Tomlinson" > wrote in message
> ...
>
>
>>Now what evidence do you have about helmets protecting against dented
>>skulls or brain injuries?
>
>
> I have an idea for an experiment. Go outside and have someone hold a brick
> about 2 feet over your bare head and have him drop it. Observe the pain and
> damage (assuming you're still conscious). Then try the same experiment on
> your friend, but have him wear a cycling helmet. If he laughs at you, you
> may be able to infer from this, experimentally, that he thought it was not
> necessary to run the experiment to know that you would end up with a damaged
> head and he wouldn't.
>
> If you are unable to apply the knowledge gained from this experiment to
> real-life, I would submit that it's not more experiments that you're
> actually in need of.
>
>
> Shayne Wissler

Well, that's the problem, isn't it? Tough to run a controlled study of
this type in real-life conditions.
Why someone would even try to suggest that helmets don't save lives
because there are no controlled studies to prove they do says more about
these people than it does about helmets.
I've heard the same arguments from people who don't wear seatbelts in
cars. I thought they made what could be valid points--until I spent a
year covering head/neck trauma during my residency.

Steve

>
>

John Forrest Tomlinson
June 18th 04, 11:34 PM
On Fri, 18 Jun 2004 22:16:19 GMT, "Shayne Wissler"
> wrote:

>
>"John Forrest Tomlinson" > wrote in message
...
>
>> Now what evidence do you have about helmets protecting against dented
>> skulls or brain injuries?
>
>I have an idea for an experiment.
That's your evidence? That's speculation. Give us some evidence or
shut up.

JT

Frank Krygowski
June 18th 04, 11:36 PM
CowPunk wrote:
>
>
> This whole helmet discussion reminds of my pesticide chemistry
> class when my prof. would tell the class "but the LD50 is ...
> blah, blah, blah.", but never took into account that while maybe
> it takes a lot of whatever chemical to kill you, no one really
> knows how much it takes to cause cancer, nerve damage,
> brain damage, loss of eyesight, etc....

The discussion also reminds me of a class where everyone has a strong
opinion, but nobody does the homework! ;-)

>
> The same thing holds true for this discussion. You're looking
> at FATALITIES. What about the accidents where a helmet
> prevented brain injury? It's not something that can be answered
> or tested easily....

In another post, I mentioned a scientific study and an informal newpaper
article that both dealt with injuries, as opposed to fatalities. The
study was published as: "Trends in Cycle Injury in New Zealand under
Voluntary Helmet Use" by Scuffham & Langley, Accident Analysis and
Prevention, Vol. 29, No. 1, pp. 1-9, 1997.

Briefly: New Zealand was getting ready to make it illegal for anyone of
any age anywhere in the country to ride a bike without a helmet. As a
run-up, they promoted the heck out of helmets. Helmet use suddenly
surged in just a few years, from about 20% to over 80% for at least some
age groups.

The authors figured this was a great opportunity to show the benefit of
helmets. The checked medical records of cyclists admitted to all the
major hospitals. They were looking for the corresponding drop in the
percentage admitted due to head injury (as opposed to, say, broken legs,
internal injuries, etc.)

They found no detectable difference at all. Zero. From the medical
data, it was impossible to tell anyone had put on a helmet.

The New York Times did an article on the same issue: "A Bicycling
Mystery: Head Injuries Piling Up." http://www.cyclehelmets.org/1028.html

It's not a great article, but it does mention that there seems to be no
improvement visible due to America's adoption of bike helmets.

>
> And I'll wear mine thank you, I've hit enough low hanging
> tree branches while MTB riding to know they help.

I'm sure helmets help against these little bumps. I figure they also
help against scratches and some bruises. But they're sold to the public
and (especially) to the legislators as preventing death and serious
brain damage. That's where they apparently fail.

But you're welcome to wear yours. That's an individual decision.
You're probably better off not even giving your reason.

It's when you argue for _others_ to wear helmets, or start promoting
their effectiveness, that people will disagree.


--
--------------------+
Frank Krygowski [To reply, remove rodent and vegetable dot com,
replace with cc.ysu dot edu]

Shayne Wissler
June 18th 04, 11:39 PM
"Steven Bornfeld" > wrote in message
...
>
>
> Shayne Wissler wrote:
> > "John Forrest Tomlinson" > wrote in message
> > ...
> >
> >
> >>Now what evidence do you have about helmets protecting against dented
> >>skulls or brain injuries?
> >
> >
> > I have an idea for an experiment. Go outside and have someone hold a
brick
> > about 2 feet over your bare head and have him drop it. Observe the pain
and
> > damage (assuming you're still conscious). Then try the same experiment
on
> > your friend, but have him wear a cycling helmet. If he laughs at you,
you
> > may be able to infer from this, experimentally, that he thought it was
not
> > necessary to run the experiment to know that you would end up with a
damaged
> > head and he wouldn't.
> >
> > If you are unable to apply the knowledge gained from this experiment to
> > real-life, I would submit that it's not more experiments that you're
> > actually in need of.
> >
> >
> > Shayne Wissler
>
> Well, that's the problem, isn't it? Tough to run a controlled study of
> this type in real-life conditions.

It's a mistake to think that you need a real-life trial in order to make
valid inferences from the experiments. Even a thought experiment (as the one
I gave above) is sufficient to know that helmets will protect your head to
an important degree.

But I agree with Frank that it should be left up to the individual to
decide--I don't wear my helmet all of the time. (Although perhaps I should:
my worst injury on the bike during the past year was less than a mile from
my house when I was just on a little ride around the block. I was sprinting
up the street and my foot came out of the pedal.)


Shayne Wissler

Shayne Wissler
June 18th 04, 11:41 PM
"John Forrest Tomlinson" > wrote in message
...
> On Fri, 18 Jun 2004 22:16:19 GMT, "Shayne Wissler"
> > wrote:
>
> >
> >"John Forrest Tomlinson" > wrote in message
> ...
> >
> >> Now what evidence do you have about helmets protecting against dented
> >> skulls or brain injuries?
> >
> >I have an idea for an experiment.
>
> That's your evidence? That's speculation.

Let me guess. You must be a follower of Hume.

On the contrary, the thought experiment I gave is perfectly valid evidence,
from which a reasonable person would infer that some fraction of real-life
accidents would result in a lesser injury if a helmet were worn.


Shayne Wissler

DRS
June 18th 04, 11:43 PM
"Steven Bornfeld" > wrote in message


[...]

> I've heard the same arguments from people who don't wear seatbelts in
> cars. I thought they made what could be valid points--until I spent a
> year covering head/neck trauma during my residency.

The difference is empirically obvious. I live in the first state in the
world that made seatbelt use compulsory (Victoria, Australia). Not only did
the fatality rate immediately plummet but the rate of spinal injuries
dropped 75% in the first year. There is no such corresponding data for
bicycle helmets.

--

A: Top-posters.
Q: What is the most annoying thing on Usenet?

Jay Beattie
June 19th 04, 12:07 AM
"Frank Krygowski" > wrote in message
...
> CowPunk wrote:
> >
> >
> > This whole helmet discussion reminds of my pesticide
chemistry
> > class when my prof. would tell the class "but the LD50 is ...
> > blah, blah, blah.", but never took into account that while
maybe
> > it takes a lot of whatever chemical to kill you, no one
really
> > knows how much it takes to cause cancer, nerve damage,
> > brain damage, loss of eyesight, etc....
>
> The discussion also reminds me of a class where everyone has a
strong
> opinion, but nobody does the homework! ;-)
>
> >
> > The same thing holds true for this discussion. You're
looking
> > at FATALITIES. What about the accidents where a helmet
> > prevented brain injury? It's not something that can be
answered
> > or tested easily....
>
> In another post, I mentioned a scientific study and an informal
newpaper
> article that both dealt with injuries, as opposed to
fatalities. The
> study was published as: "Trends in Cycle Injury in New Zealand
under
> Voluntary Helmet Use" by Scuffham & Langley, Accident Analysis
and
> Prevention, Vol. 29, No. 1, pp. 1-9, 1997.
>
> Briefly: New Zealand was getting ready to make it illegal for
anyone of
> any age anywhere in the country to ride a bike without a
helmet. As a
> run-up, they promoted the heck out of helmets. Helmet use
suddenly
> surged in just a few years, from about 20% to over 80% for at
least some
> age groups.
>
> The authors figured this was a great opportunity to show the
benefit of
> helmets. The checked medical records of cyclists admitted to
all the
> major hospitals. They were looking for the corresponding drop
in the
> percentage admitted due to head injury (as opposed to, say,
broken legs,
> internal injuries, etc.)
>
> They found no detectable difference at all. Zero. From the
medical
> data, it was impossible to tell anyone had put on a helmet.
>
> The New York Times did an article on the same issue: "A
Bicycling
> Mystery: Head Injuries Piling Up."
http://www.cyclehelmets.org/1028.html
>

And the New York Times wrote on May 1, 2001 that:

"A report last summer on "The Future of Children" noted that 35
states lacked bicycle helmet laws, even though "research has
shown that bicycle helmets are 85 percent effective at reducing
head injuries." A study in Queensland, Australia, of bicycle
accidents among children showed that wearing a helmet reduced the
risk of loss of consciousness from a head injury by 86 percent.

Even preschoolers who do not ride in traffic and toddlers on
tricycles need head protection "whenever and wherever they are
cycling," insists Dr. Elizabeth C. Powell of Children's Memorial
Hospital in Chicago. Dr. Powell, a specialist in pediatric
emergency medicine, notes that helmets can also reduce the risk
of facial injuries when a child falls off a tricycle or bicycle."

I guess it all depends on whether you live in New Zeland or
Australia. Or whether you are Rivera or Scuffham. For every
scientific study you come up with, I can find one or two that go
the other way. And in the final analysis, it really does not
matter, because we all just do what we do -- and, with minor
exception, we are all too old for the MHLs in most states. MLHs
are mostly a kid thing, and my kid wears a helmet when he is
riding or skiing -- but not when he is walking, showering, or
playing with his Legos or YuGiOh cards. Yes, I know that is
inconsistent when we look at injury patterns, but we have learned
to live with that inconsistency. -- Jay Beattie.

John Forrest Tomlinson
June 19th 04, 12:21 AM
On Fri, 18 Jun 2004 18:28:05 -0400, Steven Bornfeld
> wrote:


> Why someone would even try to suggest that helmets don't save lives
>because there are no controlled studies to prove they do says more about
>these people than it does about helmets.
I haven't suggest anything. I've asked questions of assumptions. It's
fine to say "I hope my helmet will protect me from brain injuries from
hitting branches when mountain biking?" Or "Id' speculate that
helmets will protect me from falling rocks and bricks that hit my
head, or accidents on a bike that approximate that."

But to go from that to "Wear a helmet because it'll save you from a
brain injury" is a big leap. If you're going to advocate that people
do something like wear helmets, at least you could be honest about the
degree of speculation involved. And when you consider that riding a
bike w/o a helmet is probably better for your health than not riding
at all, honesty and recognition of uncertainty is even more important.
To do otherwise is either intellectually lazy or unethical.

JT

Bill Z.
June 19th 04, 12:21 AM
(Tom Kunich) writes:

> (CowPunk) wrote in message >...
> >
> > The same thing holds true for this discussion. You're looking
> > at FATALITIES. What about the accidents where a helmet
> > prevented brain injury? It's not something that can be answered
> > or tested easily....
>
> That's a fair question. But ask yourself - how many brain injuries
> have occurred to cyclists over the intervening 30 years. The answer is
> that there are so few that they aren't even recorded. It isn't that
> they don't occur, but that your chances of having similar injuries as
> a pedestrian are many times greater on a statistical basis.
>
> The statistics also show that serious head injuries aren't helped by
> helmets either since the ratio of serious head injuries to fatalities
> hasn't changed in the least either. Although there are some medical
> sources that claim that using complicated statistical methods they can
> JUST detect some help.

This is turning into a repeat of the very same discussion held 10
years ago. Go back to the archives to look if you want.

Keep in mind that serious head injuries covers a wide range of
impacts. If you make a serious injury less serious, it still gets
classified as a serious injury, and you might find it hard to
detect the fraction that drop from "serious" to "not serious" or
"prevented."

>
> It is my OPINION that helmets make minor injuries even more minor or
> even non-existant. That is a reason for ME to wear a helmet. That is
> not a reason for laws that force helmets on children since it
> coincidentally causes children to to ride a great deal less, causing
> parents to drive their children to school making it more dangerous for
> all children in the vicinity of schools.

This is not true. Children do not ride less due to helmet laws,
particularly in California, where the helmet laws are not enforced
(or rarely enforced.) If you tell a young teen to start using a
helmet when he previously didn't want to, you can expect a negative
reaction (natural rebelliousness.) Kids who started using helmets
when they started riding bicycles don't have that reaction.

Bill

--
My real name backwards: nemuaZ lliB

John Forrest Tomlinson
June 19th 04, 12:24 AM
On Fri, 18 Jun 2004 22:41:36 GMT, "Shayne Wissler"
> wrote:

>
>"John Forrest Tomlinson" > wrote in message
...
>> On Fri, 18 Jun 2004 22:16:19 GMT, "Shayne Wissler"
>> > wrote:
>>
>> >
>> >"John Forrest Tomlinson" > wrote in message
>> ...
>> >
>> >> Now what evidence do you have about helmets protecting against dented
>> >> skulls or brain injuries?
>> >
>> >I have an idea for an experiment.
>>
>> That's your evidence? That's speculation.
>
>Let me guess. You must be a follower of Hume.
>
>On the contrary, the thought experiment I gave is perfectly valid evidence,
>from which a reasonable person would infer that some fraction of real-life
>accidents would result in a lesser injury if a helmet were worn.

You're making a a big assumption -- that hitting a brick is similar to
the impact people get when they hit their head on the ground (which I
would guess -- note I am acknowledging the degree of specutation I'm
making) or a tree branch (which is the object in question). I think
that assumption is wrong insofar as it relates to any sort of likely
accident on a bke. But yes, if someone is riding where they will be
hit by falling bricks, a helmet sounds helpful.

JT

Steven Bornfeld
June 19th 04, 12:24 AM
Shayne Wissler wrote:
> "John Forrest Tomlinson" > wrote in message
> ...
>
>>On Fri, 18 Jun 2004 22:16:19 GMT, "Shayne Wissler"
> wrote:
>>
>>
>>>"John Forrest Tomlinson" > wrote in message
...
>>>
>>>
>>>>Now what evidence do you have about helmets protecting against dented
>>>>skulls or brain injuries?
>>>
>>>I have an idea for an experiment.
>>
>>That's your evidence? That's speculation.
>
>
> Let me guess. You must be a follower of Hume.
>
> On the contrary, the thought experiment I gave is perfectly valid evidence,
> from which a reasonable person would infer that some fraction of real-life
> accidents would result in a lesser injury if a helmet were worn.
>
>
> Shayne Wissler

There is a germ of truth in the assertion that helmets won't prevent
death. This general feeling among safety experts seems to revolve
arount the assertion that serious brain injury from bicycle accidents
usually are not due to straight-on impact, but from torsional stresses
that a helmet is unable to eliminate. But this is like saying that a
seat belt shouldn't be worn because it won't save you from crushing
injury of the thorax in a head-on 60 mph crash.
Safety measures shouldn't be discarded because they are not 100% effective.

Steve

>
>

Shayne Wissler
June 19th 04, 12:25 AM
"John Forrest Tomlinson" > wrote in message
...
> On Fri, 18 Jun 2004 22:41:36 GMT, "Shayne Wissler"
> > wrote:
>
> >
> >"John Forrest Tomlinson" > wrote in message
> ...
> >> On Fri, 18 Jun 2004 22:16:19 GMT, "Shayne Wissler"
> >> > wrote:
> >>
> >> >
> >> >"John Forrest Tomlinson" > wrote in message
> >> ...
> >> >
> >> >> Now what evidence do you have about helmets protecting against
dented
> >> >> skulls or brain injuries?
> >> >
> >> >I have an idea for an experiment.
> >>
> >> That's your evidence? That's speculation.
> >
> >Let me guess. You must be a follower of Hume.
> >
> >On the contrary, the thought experiment I gave is perfectly valid
evidence,
> >from which a reasonable person would infer that some fraction of
real-life
> >accidents would result in a lesser injury if a helmet were worn.
>
> You're making a a big assumption -- that hitting a brick is similar to
> the impact people get when they hit their head on the ground (which I
> would guess -- note I am acknowledging the degree of specutation I'm
> making) or a tree branch (which is the object in question). I think
> that assumption is wrong insofar as it relates to any sort of likely
> accident on a bke. But yes, if someone is riding where they will be
> hit by falling bricks, a helmet sounds helpful.

I hesitate to say this because it amounts to pointing your nose in a
direction you obviously do not wish to look, and you can always avert your
eyes, but: Shape your "brick" like a flat peice of pavement and it is hardly
different from falling down on the pavement with your head.

He who actively engages in finding differences but is is lazy about finding
similarity is a self-made idiot.


Shayne Wissler

Steven Bornfeld
June 19th 04, 12:36 AM
DRS wrote:
> "Steven Bornfeld" > wrote in message
>
>
> [...]
>
>
>>I've heard the same arguments from people who don't wear seatbelts in
>>cars. I thought they made what could be valid points--until I spent a
>>year covering head/neck trauma during my residency.
>
>
> The difference is empirically obvious. I live in the first state in the
> world that made seatbelt use compulsory (Victoria, Australia). Not only did
> the fatality rate immediately plummet but the rate of spinal injuries
> dropped 75% in the first year. There is no such corresponding data for
> bicycle helmets.

The safety improvement from seat belt use that I have seen is nowhere
near that dramatic. Nevertheless, I can tell you from first hand
experience that no one involved in a car accident that I saw the whole
year (that I asked--most of them) had been wearing seat belts.
There are many studies out there--some designed better, some worse.
There is poor compliance with helmet regulations in the US where they
exist. But certainly Kunich can show studies which cast doubt on the
efficacy of helmets in preventing head injuries. There is also this:

http://www.cochrane.org/cochrane/revabstr/ab001855.htm

which reaches exactly the opposite conclusion.
In the end, people are going to believe what they want. Unfortunately,
my tax dollars are going to pay the medical expenses of those who ignore
common sense.

Steve

>

Steven Bornfeld
June 19th 04, 12:38 AM
John Forrest Tomlinson wrote:
> On Fri, 18 Jun 2004 18:28:05 -0400, Steven Bornfeld
> > wrote:
>
>
>
>> Why someone would even try to suggest that helmets don't save lives
>>because there are no controlled studies to prove they do says more about
>>these people than it does about helmets.
>
> I haven't suggest anything. I've asked questions of assumptions. It's
> fine to say "I hope my helmet will protect me from brain injuries from
> hitting branches when mountain biking?" Or "Id' speculate that
> helmets will protect me from falling rocks and bricks that hit my
> head, or accidents on a bike that approximate that."
>
> But to go from that to "Wear a helmet because it'll save you from a
> brain injury" is a big leap. If you're going to advocate that people
> do something like wear helmets, at least you could be honest about the
> degree of speculation involved. And when you consider that riding a
> bike w/o a helmet is probably better for your health than not riding
> at all,


Pure speculation, JT, pure speculation.

Steve


honesty and recognition of uncertainty is even more important.
> To do otherwise is either intellectually lazy or unethical.
>
> JT

Frank Krygowski
June 19th 04, 01:08 AM
Jay Beattie wrote:

>
> And the New York Times wrote on May 1, 2001 that:
>
> "A report last summer on "The Future of Children" noted that 35
> states lacked bicycle helmet laws, even though "research has
> shown that bicycle helmets are 85 percent effective at reducing
> head injuries."

They should have at least hedged by saying "up to 85%." This number
came from the Thompson & Rivara case-control study of 1989. In order to
get that high number, T&R had to count even scratches on ears as "head
injuries," and had to compare wildly different groups. Yes, if you
compare helmeted middle class white kids with excellent insurance
coverage (i.e. free ER) riding on bike paths, versus unhelmeted
low-income kids who only go to the ER if it's really serious, and who
ride on streets, you'll get good results for helmets!

That's only a slight exaggeration. If you want a more serious
discussion of the shortcomings of that study, see
http://www.cyclehelmets.org/mf.html#1001


> A study in Queensland, Australia, of bicycle
> accidents among children showed that wearing a helmet reduced the
> risk of loss of consciousness from a head injury by 86 percent.

Did they give a source for that?

Other pro-helmet studies from Australia have done things like ignore the
drop in cycling, ignore the concurrent installation of speed cameras and
stiff drunk driving enforcement, etc. to maximize the supposed helmet
benefit. Still, this is the first time I recall any study but T&R's
coming anywhere close to 85%. Despite the fudging, other pro-helmet
studies come out much lower. I'd like to check the original paper.



>
> Even preschoolers who do not ride in traffic and toddlers on
> tricycles need head protection "whenever and wherever they are
> cycling," insists Dr. Elizabeth C. Powell of Children's Memorial
> Hospital in Chicago. Dr. Powell, a specialist in pediatric
> emergency medicine, notes that helmets can also reduce the risk
> of facial injuries when a child falls off a tricycle or bicycle."

Why of course they can! Also while playing hopscotch, of course.


> I guess it all depends on whether you live in New Zeland or
> Australia. Or whether you are Rivera or Scuffham. For every
> scientific study you come up with, I can find one or two that go
> the other way.

I take a different view. In fact, most scientists take a different view
in such situations.

When cold fusion was trumpeted about 15 years ago, there was one team
(similar to Thompson & Rivara) that published a miracle of success.
There were others who disagreed.

The scientific community didn't say "Oh well, it can go either way."
They kept testing.

In the long run, cold fusion seems to be a dud - at least, by the method
proposed.

This seems to be what's happening with bike helmet research. T&R have
gained fame by saying "85%!!!" but results of mandatory helmet laws
(passed as a result) are pretty dismal. Some other self-selected
case-control studies still give optimistic results, but large population
data doesn't.

It may be that helmets help only if you're lucky enough to be part of a
case-control study, I don't know. But it's worth remembering that
self-selected case-control studies are never accepted for the usual
questions, like "Does this drug prevent cancer" and the like. It's far
to easy to bias the results.



> And in the final analysis, it really does not
> matter, because we all just do what we do -- and, with minor
> exception, we are all too old for the MHLs in most states. MLHs
> are mostly a kid thing, and my kid wears a helmet when he is
> riding or skiing -- but not when he is walking, showering, or
> playing with his Legos or YuGiOh cards. Yes, I know that is
> inconsistent when we look at injury patterns, but we have learned
> to live with that inconsistency. -- Jay Beattie.

Perhaps it really does not matter to you. But it really does matter to
me.

I'm bothered by the portrayal of all cycling as an extreme activity.
I'm bothered that there have already been attempts to blame cyclists for
injuries caused by negligent drivers, because the cyclist didn't wear a
helmet. I'm bothered by the drop in cycling caused by enforced MHLs,
and I'm bothered by the mixed message given to kids by America's
unenforced MHLs. And I'm bothered by pro-helmet prejudice and the
resulting lack of rigor when examining supposed pro-helmet data.

You'll decide for your kid, of course. But I kind of hope you'll
somehow stay away from statements like "Omigod, NEVER ride without a
helmet!!!" If you want to scare him, it's better to just tell him about
the boogeyman.


--
--------------------+
Frank Krygowski [To reply, remove rodent and vegetable dot com,
replace with cc.ysu dot edu]

Frank Krygowski
June 19th 04, 01:23 AM
Steven Bornfeld wrote:

>
>
> Well, that's the problem, isn't it? Tough to run a controlled study
> of this type in real-life conditions.

It would be tough if there weren't such things as mandatory helmet laws
(MHLs). Or even better, _enforced_ MHLs. When you've got a step
increase in the percentage of cyclists in helmets for a whole country,
it's not a bad test of "real-life conditions." All you have to do is
remember to account for the decrease in cycling those laws have caused.
(Pro-helmet papers have been known to ignore a 35% cycling drop, and
count the 30% HI drop as a good sign!)

> Why someone would even try to suggest that helmets don't save lives
> because there are no controlled studies to prove they do says more about
> these people than it does about helmets.

Your statements are too vague to be of use.

The people I know who say helmets don't save lives are the people who
have spent the largest amount of time examining the actual data. The
people who claim they must are typically people who have read a few
helmet promotion blurbs.

Is that what you meant, exactly?


> I've heard the same arguments from people who don't wear seatbelts
> in cars. I thought they made what could be valid points--until I spent
> a year covering head/neck trauma during my residency.

Let's stick to the issue. Seatbelts are a side point. They're not
really comparable - largely because seat belts are tested and certified
for serious collisions, the ones that cause most serious accidents.
Bike helmets are definitely not.

So tell us about your head trauma experience. Since we're talking about
saving lives, what percentage of the head trauma fatalities you saw were
cyclists?

You probably realize that nationally, cyclists are less than 1% of that
problem, right?

Was your experience different from the national average? I'm quite curious.

--
--------------------+
Frank Krygowski [To reply, remove rodent and vegetable dot com,
replace with cc.ysu dot edu]

John Forrest Tomlinson
June 19th 04, 01:25 AM
On Fri, 18 Jun 2004 19:24:50 -0400, Steven Bornfeld
> wrote:


> But this is like saying that a
>seat belt shouldn't be worn because it won't save you from crushing
>injury of the thorax in a head-on 60 mph crash.
>Safety measures shouldn't be discarded because they are not 100% effective.

I haven't said anyone should wear a seatbelt and I haven't said anyone
shouldn't wear a bicycle helmet. I've asked, repeatedly in this
thread, for some evidence of speculation about overstated dangers. If
helmet proponents want to push for wider helmet use, I think it's only
fair that they be honest about what is known and identify their
speculation as such. That's not a lot to ask -- for honesty.

JT

Keith Willoughby
June 19th 04, 01:29 AM
Shayne Wissler wrote:

> "John Forrest Tomlinson" > wrote in message
> ...
>
>> Now what evidence do you have about helmets protecting against dented
>> skulls or brain injuries?
>
> I have an idea for an experiment. Go outside and have someone hold a brick
> about 2 feet over your bare head and have him drop it. Observe the pain and
> damage (assuming you're still conscious). Then try the same experiment on
> your friend, but have him wear a cycling helmet. If he laughs at you, you
> may be able to infer from this, experimentally, that he thought it was not
> necessary to run the experiment to know that you would end up with a damaged
> head and he wouldn't.

Here's another experiment.

Get someone to swing a baseball bat so that it misses the top of your
skull by an inch.

Now wear a cycle helmet, and repeat the experiment.

Report back which hurts the most.

--
Keith Willoughby http://flat222.org/keith/
I have seen the enemy, and he is quite short.

Frank Krygowski
June 19th 04, 01:29 AM
Steven Bornfeld wrote:

>
> There are many studies out there--some designed better, some worse.
> There is poor compliance with helmet regulations in the US where they
> exist. But certainly Kunich can show studies which cast doubt on the
> efficacy of helmets in preventing head injuries. There is also this:
>
> http://www.cochrane.org/cochrane/revabstr/ab001855.htm
>
> which reaches exactly the opposite conclusion.

It's scary to me that a person can get serious medical training, yet
come away with your attitude. "Some go one way, some go another way.
Oh well, no point examining the methodology. We'll just go by gut
feeling."

Seriously, is that how they select chemotherapy drugs??


> In the end, people are going to believe what they want.
> Unfortunately, my tax dollars are going to pay the medical expenses of
> those who ignore common sense.

Good grief. Sounds like more gut feeling to me!

Why not compute what percentage of your tax dollars to to auto accidents
(40,000 fatalities per year), to pedestrian fatalities (6500 per year),
to drownings (over 4000 per year). Then start thinking about obesity,
smoking, and all the other causes of preventable death.

Given the numbers, the 700 or so bike fatalities per year in the US are
NOT going to keep you from buying your next Mercedes! (As if the others
did...)


--
--------------------+
Frank Krygowski [To reply, remove rodent and vegetable dot com,
replace with cc.ysu dot edu]

Frank Krygowski
June 19th 04, 01:32 AM
Steven Bornfeld wrote:

>
>
> John Forrest Tomlinson wrote:
>
>> And when you consider that riding a
>> bike w/o a helmet is probably better for your health than not riding
>> at all,
>
> Pure speculation, JT, pure speculation.

Meyer Hillman, a rather famous researcher for the British Medical
Association, has computed that the years of life gained due to cycling
outnumber the years of life lost by a 20 to 1 ratio.

From what I've seen, the speculation in this discussion has come from
you! "Common sense" indeed!



--
--------------------+
Frank Krygowski [To reply, remove rodent and vegetable dot com,
replace with cc.ysu dot edu]

Frank Krygowski
June 19th 04, 01:46 AM
Steven Bornfeld wrote:

>
> Safety measures shouldn't be discarded because they are not 100%
> effective.

Perhaps that's true.

But safety measures shouldn't be strongly promoted unless their benefits
are proven in large populations.

They shouldn't even be considered for mandating unless it's proven that
the resulting benefits outweigh the detriments - including the important
benefit of personal freedom, for one's self and one's family.

And they shouldn't receive the lion's share of promotion unless other
measures are much less effective.


Unfortunately, bike helmets seem to look relatively useless in large
population studies (as opposed to limited case-control studies with
self-selected subjects).

Mandating, and perhaps even strong promotion, of bike helmets tends to
drive people away from cycling, by making it seem extraordinarily
dangerous. And promoters have successfully convinced the public that
cycling is, indeed, dangerous - despite data to the contrary.

And it's still true that often, the ONLY thing people hear about bike
safety is "Always wear a helmet!!!!" Nothing about rules of the road,
lights at night, maintaining the machine, etc.

I've seen enough helmeted families riding facing traffic, or riding at
night without lights, to know that the emphasis needs to be changed.


Recently, a member of my extended family was in for some minor medical
care - interestingly, related to being hit by a car while walking. The
physician heard mention of bicycling, and asked "Do you always wear a
helmet?" When the answer was "No," there was some scolding.

Think about that. Nothing about "Do you follow the rules of the road?
do you ride on the right? Do you use lights at night? Is your bike
mechanically sound?" And of course, nothing about "Do you wear a helmet
when crossing the street?" _despite_ the recent car impact!

Clearly, the emphasis is mistaken.


--
--------------------+
Frank Krygowski [To reply, remove rodent and vegetable dot com,
replace with cc.ysu dot edu]

Jeff Vogel
June 19th 04, 01:56 AM
(CowPunk) wrote in message >...

> It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that
> cracked plastic and dented styrofoam is better than
> cracked skin and a dented skull.

And a rocket scientist wouldn't compare the results against materials
with different strengths and densities.

jeff

Erik Freitag
June 19th 04, 02:54 AM
On Sat, 19 Jun 2004 00:21:50 +0000, Bill Z. wrote:

> This is not true. Children do not ride less due to helmet laws,
> particularly in California, where the helmet laws are not enforced (or
> rarely enforced.) If you tell a young teen to start using a helmet when
> he previously didn't want to, you can expect a negative reaction (natural
> rebelliousness.) Kids who started using helmets when they started riding
> bicycles don't have that reaction.

I think this is another evidence-free (in the statistical sense)
assertion. I offer a counter-anecdote - my kids, 11 & 13 won't ride to
school because they don't want to wear their helmets because helmets make
them look like geeks, like their dad. Dad won't let them ride without one
because there's a law ...

Steven Bornfeld
June 19th 04, 03:16 AM
Frank Krygowski wrote:
> Steven Bornfeld wrote:
>
>>
>>
>> Well, that's the problem, isn't it? Tough to run a controlled
>> study of this type in real-life conditions.
>
>
> It would be tough if there weren't such things as mandatory helmet laws
> (MHLs). Or even better, _enforced_ MHLs. When you've got a step
> increase in the percentage of cyclists in helmets for a whole country,
> it's not a bad test of "real-life conditions." All you have to do is
> remember to account for the decrease in cycling those laws have caused.
> (Pro-helmet papers have been known to ignore a 35% cycling drop, and
> count the 30% HI drop as a good sign!)


I don't know how you can call this a real test with any control. In
your response to Jay, you just said:

"Other pro-helmet studies from Australia have done things like ignore
the drop in cycling, ignore the concurrent installation of speed cameras
and stiff drunk driving enforcement, etc. to maximize the supposed
helmet benefit. Still, this is the first time I recall any study but
T&R's coming anywhere close to 85%. Despite the fudging, other
pro-helmet studies come out much lower. I'd like to check the original
paper."


If there were confounding factors in the prior example, you can't come
back and now say these can be ignored.

>
>> Why someone would even try to suggest that helmets don't save
>> lives because there are no controlled studies to prove they do says
>> more about these people than it does about helmets.
>
>
> Your statements are too vague to be of use.


I'm not suggesting you use it. I am suggesting that antihelmet
partisans can be depended upon to parse the data out there selectively.

>
> The people I know who say helmets don't save lives are the people who
> have spent the largest amount of time examining the actual data. The
> people who claim they must are typically people who have read a few
> helmet promotion blurbs.
>
> Is that what you meant, exactly?
>
>
>> I've heard the same arguments from people who don't wear seatbelts
>> in cars. I thought they made what could be valid points--until I
>> spent a year covering head/neck trauma during my residency.
>
>
> Let's stick to the issue. Seatbelts are a side point. They're not
> really comparable - largely because seat belts are tested and certified
> for serious collisions, the ones that cause most serious accidents. Bike
> helmets are definitely not.
>
> So tell us about your head trauma experience. Since we're talking about
> saving lives, what percentage of the head trauma fatalities you saw were
> cyclists?

They don't usually call the dentist on the head trauma fatalities. I
was called on facial injuries. There were a substantial number of
cycling accidents. Most weren't wearing helmets, but then this was 28
years ago.

>
> You probably realize that nationally, cyclists are less than 1% of that
> problem, right?


If it's you, you're 100% dead.

Steve

>
> Was your experience different from the national average? I'm quite
> curious.
>

Steven Bornfeld
June 19th 04, 03:21 AM
John Forrest Tomlinson wrote:
> On Fri, 18 Jun 2004 19:24:50 -0400, Steven Bornfeld
> > wrote:
>
>
>
>>But this is like saying that a
>>seat belt shouldn't be worn because it won't save you from crushing
>>injury of the thorax in a head-on 60 mph crash.
>>Safety measures shouldn't be discarded because they are not 100% effective.
>
>
> I haven't said anyone should wear a seatbelt and I haven't said anyone
> shouldn't wear a bicycle helmet. I've asked, repeatedly in this
> thread, for some evidence of speculation about overstated dangers. If
> helmet proponents want to push for wider helmet use, I think it's only
> fair that they be honest about what is known and identify their
> speculation as such. That's not a lot to ask -- for honesty.
>
> JT

I spend far too much time over at the dental newsgroup from folks who
still think fluoride is a Communist plot, that fluoride caries data are
false. Likewise, we're assaulted daily by folks who think we're
poisoning our patients with mercury, that vaccines cause autism, etc,
etc. My experience and expertise ain't worth crap.
You want to believe this is a helmet manufacturer conspiracy, go right
ahead. I have no intention of wasting time proving that the earth isn't
flat.

Steve

Steve

Steven Bornfeld
June 19th 04, 03:28 AM
Frank Krygowski wrote:
> Steven Bornfeld wrote:
>
>>
>> There are many studies out there--some designed better, some
>> worse. There is poor compliance with helmet regulations in the US
>> where they exist. But certainly Kunich can show studies which cast
>> doubt on the efficacy of helmets in preventing head injuries. There
>> is also this:
>>
>> http://www.cochrane.org/cochrane/revabstr/ab001855.htm
>>
>> which reaches exactly the opposite conclusion.
>
>
> It's scary to me that a person can get serious medical training, yet
> come away with your attitude. "Some go one way, some go another way. Oh
> well, no point examining the methodology. We'll just go by gut feeling."

I don't know what "attitude" you're detecting, other than that I
disagree with you. I fully expect that the studies that support your
position are all well-designed.

>
> Seriously, is that how they select chemotherapy drugs??
>
>
>> In the end, people are going to believe what they want.
>> Unfortunately, my tax dollars are going to pay the medical expenses of
>> those who ignore common sense.
>
>
> Good grief. Sounds like more gut feeling to me!
>
> Why not compute what percentage of your tax dollars to to auto accidents
> (40,000 fatalities per year), to pedestrian fatalities (6500 per year),
> to drownings (over 4000 per year). Then start thinking about obesity,
> smoking, and all the other causes of preventable death.

What is your point?

>
> Given the numbers, the 700 or so bike fatalities per year in the US are
> NOT going to keep you from buying your next Mercedes! (As if the others
> did...)

Well, that's very nice.

Steve ('89 Honda)

>
>
> --
> --------------------+
> Frank Krygowski [To reply, remove rodent and vegetable dot com,
> replace with cc.ysu dot edu]
>

Steven Bornfeld
June 19th 04, 03:30 AM
Frank Krygowski wrote:
> Steven Bornfeld wrote:
>
>>
>>
>> John Forrest Tomlinson wrote:
>>
>>> And when you consider that riding a
>>> bike w/o a helmet is probably better for your health than not riding
>>> at all,
>>
>>
>> Pure speculation, JT, pure speculation.
>
>
> Meyer Hillman, a rather famous researcher for the British Medical
> Association, has computed that the years of life gained due to cycling
> outnumber the years of life lost by a 20 to 1 ratio.
>
> From what I've seen, the speculation in this discussion has come from
> you! "Common sense" indeed!

Yeah, yeah. I'll bet he hates helmets too.

Steve

>
>
>

Steven Bornfeld
June 19th 04, 03:32 AM
Frank Krygowski wrote:
> Steven Bornfeld wrote:
>
>>
>> Safety measures shouldn't be discarded because they are not 100%
>> effective.
>
>
> Perhaps that's true.
>
> But safety measures shouldn't be strongly promoted unless their benefits
> are proven in large populations.
>
> They shouldn't even be considered for mandating unless it's proven that
> the resulting benefits outweigh the detriments - including the important
> benefit of personal freedom, for one's self and one's family.
>
> And they shouldn't receive the lion's share of promotion unless other
> measures are much less effective.
>
>
> Unfortunately, bike helmets seem to look relatively useless in large
> population studies (as opposed to limited case-control studies with
> self-selected subjects).
>
> Mandating, and perhaps even strong promotion, of bike helmets tends to
> drive people away from cycling, by making it seem extraordinarily
> dangerous. And promoters have successfully convinced the public that
> cycling is, indeed, dangerous - despite data to the contrary.
>
> And it's still true that often, the ONLY thing people hear about bike
> safety is "Always wear a helmet!!!!" Nothing about rules of the road,
> lights at night, maintaining the machine, etc.
>
> I've seen enough helmeted families riding facing traffic, or riding at
> night without lights, to know that the emphasis needs to be changed.
>
>
> Recently, a member of my extended family was in for some minor medical
> care - interestingly, related to being hit by a car while walking. The
> physician heard mention of bicycling, and asked "Do you always wear a
> helmet?" When the answer was "No," there was some scolding.
>
> Think about that. Nothing about "Do you follow the rules of the road?
> do you ride on the right? Do you use lights at night? Is your bike
> mechanically sound?" And of course, nothing about "Do you wear a helmet
> when crossing the street?" _despite_ the recent car impact!
>
> Clearly, the emphasis is mistaken.

Feel free to start another thread. My advocacy of helmets does not in
any way make me irresponsible regarding these other issues. Do you
believe it does?

Steve

>
>

Bill Z.
June 19th 04, 04:26 AM
Erik Freitag > writes:

> On Sat, 19 Jun 2004 00:21:50 +0000, Bill Z. wrote:
>
> > This is not true. Children do not ride less due to helmet laws,
> > particularly in California, where the helmet laws are not enforced (or
> > rarely enforced.) If you tell a young teen to start using a helmet when
> > he previously didn't want to, you can expect a negative reaction (natural
> > rebelliousness.) Kids who started using helmets when they started riding
> > bicycles don't have that reaction.
>
> I think this is another evidence-free (in the statistical sense)
> assertion. I offer a counter-anecdote - my kids, 11 & 13 won't ride to
> school because they don't want to wear their helmets because helmets make
> them look like geeks, like their dad. Dad won't let them ride without one
> because there's a law ...

See if you can prove otherwise. I've seen the police drive by an
unhelmeted kid riding a bicycle numerous times. I've never seen
an officer stop a child.

If they don't cite anyone, the law won't have any effect. In fact,
I doubt if most parents are even aware of the law.

BTW, your kids may be just using that as an excuse. If you told them
they couldn't use a helmet, they might insist on using one, just to
be rebellious. You konw, 13 years old ...


--
My real name backwards: nemuaZ lliB

Steven Bornfeld
June 19th 04, 04:36 AM
Frank Krygowski wrote:
> Steven Bornfeld wrote:
>
>>
>>
>> Frank Krygowski wrote:
>>
>>> Meyer Hillman, a rather famous researcher for the British Medical
>>> Association, has computed that the years of life gained due to
>>> cycling outnumber the years of life lost by a 20 to 1 ratio.
>>>
>>> From what I've seen, the speculation in this discussion has come
>>> from you! "Common sense" indeed!
>>
>>
>>
>> Yeah, yeah. I'll bet he hates helmets too.
>
>
> :-) The intellectual level of the discussion seems to be falling like a
> stone.
>
> He did study the issue of benefits versus detriments of cycling when he
> was researching the helmet issue, true. And it's partly for that reason
> that he is strongly against mandating helmets, and very cautious about
> even promoting them.
>
> Give the guy credit for doing study and research before forming his
> opinion, please.

Like I said. I'd be happy to seek out the study. Can you post a
reference?

Steve

>
>

Frank Krygowski
June 19th 04, 04:40 AM
Steven Bornfeld wrote:
>
>
> Frank Krygowski wrote:
>
>> Meyer Hillman, a rather famous researcher for the British Medical
>> Association, has computed that the years of life gained due to cycling
>> outnumber the years of life lost by a 20 to 1 ratio.
>>
>> From what I've seen, the speculation in this discussion has come from
>> you! "Common sense" indeed!
>
>
> Yeah, yeah. I'll bet he hates helmets too.

:-) The intellectual level of the discussion seems to be falling like a
stone.

He did study the issue of benefits versus detriments of cycling when he
was researching the helmet issue, true. And it's partly for that reason
that he is strongly against mandating helmets, and very cautious about
even promoting them.

Give the guy credit for doing study and research before forming his
opinion, please.


--
--------------------+
Frank Krygowski [To reply, remove rodent and vegetable dot com,
replace with cc.ysu dot edu]

Peter
June 19th 04, 04:45 AM
Bill Z. wrote:

> Erik Freitag > writes:
>
>
>>On Sat, 19 Jun 2004 00:21:50 +0000, Bill Z. wrote:
>>
>>
>>>This is not true. Children do not ride less due to helmet laws,
>>>particularly in California, where the helmet laws are not enforced (or
>>>rarely enforced.) If you tell a young teen to start using a helmet when
>>>he previously didn't want to, you can expect a negative reaction (natural
>>>rebelliousness.) Kids who started using helmets when they started riding
>>>bicycles don't have that reaction.
>>
>>I think this is another evidence-free (in the statistical sense)
>>assertion. I offer a counter-anecdote - my kids, 11 & 13 won't ride to
>>school because they don't want to wear their helmets because helmets make
>>them look like geeks, like their dad. Dad won't let them ride without one
>>because there's a law ...
>
>
> See if you can prove otherwise. I've seen the police drive by an
> unhelmeted kid riding a bicycle numerous times. I've never seen
> an officer stop a child.
>
> If they don't cite anyone, the law won't have any effect. In fact,
> I doubt if most parents are even aware of the law.

There are other ways in which laws can be enforced and have effects.

My bike commute in the SF East Bay area took me past an elementary
school, a middle school, and a high school. Although there are far
fewer kids cycling to school now than before the helmet law, I still see
a reasonable number. Almost all of them have a helmet, but about 80% of
those helmets are hanging from their handlebars. Maybe this is just a
new fashion statement, but I think there's another reason - the kids
really don't want to wear the helmets but the law is enforced at the
schoolyard (and possibly at home). As soon as they are off the school
property the helmets come off their heads and get tied to the bars.

When my daughter was starting high school I asked her why none of her
friends rode their bikes anymore. She asked them and the main reason
given was the 'helmet hair' issue. Now we may not think that's a very
good reason, but it really doesn't matter if it keeps kids from riding.
Fewer kids riding is likely to mean fewer adults riding later.

Frank Krygowski
June 19th 04, 04:50 AM
Steven Bornfeld wrote:

>
>
> Frank Krygowski wrote:
>
>> Steven Bornfeld wrote:
>>
>>>
>>>
>>> Well, that's the problem, isn't it? Tough to run a controlled
>>> study of this type in real-life conditions.
>>
>>
>>
>> It would be tough if there weren't such things as mandatory helmet
>> laws (MHLs). Or even better, _enforced_ MHLs. When you've got a step
>> increase in the percentage of cyclists in helmets for a whole country,
>> it's not a bad test of "real-life conditions." All you have to do is
>> remember to account for the decrease in cycling those laws have
>> caused. (Pro-helmet papers have been known to ignore a 35% cycling
>> drop, and count the 30% HI drop as a good sign!)
>
>
>
> I don't know how you can call this a real test with any control.
> In your response to Jay, you just said:
>
> "Other pro-helmet studies from Australia have done things like ignore
> the drop in cycling, ignore the concurrent installation of speed cameras
> and stiff drunk driving enforcement, etc. to maximize the supposed
> helmet benefit. Still, this is the first time I recall any study but
> T&R's coming anywhere close to 85%. Despite the fudging, other
> pro-helmet studies come out much lower. I'd like to check the original
> paper."
>
>
> If there were confounding factors in the prior example, you can't
> come back and now say these can be ignored.

Do you understand that we're talking about multiple papers?

And do you understand that if the confounding factors all would tend to
decrease cyclist injuries, it's disingenuous to attribute all reduced
injuries to just one factor, the helmets?


> I am suggesting that antihelmet
> partisans can be depended upon to parse the data out there selectively.

.... whereas pro-helmet partisans ...???

Incidentally, the word "antihelmet" is rather imprecise.
"Anticompulsion" would be more accurate for many. "Anti-over-promotion"
would fit others. "Anti-fearmongering" still others. But I must say, I
can't recall anyone ever wanting to make helmets illegal.

Of course, it may be that the Church of the Helmet requires absolute
belief in _all_ pro-helmet dogma. If so, then there really are lots of
anti-helmet people.


>>> I've heard the same arguments from people who don't wear
>>> seatbelts in cars. I thought they made what could be valid
>>> points--until I spent a year covering head/neck trauma during my
>>> residency.
>>
>>
>> So tell us about your head trauma experience. Since we're talking
>> about saving lives, what percentage of the head trauma fatalities you
>> saw were cyclists?
>
>
> They don't usually call the dentist on the head trauma fatalities.
> I was called on facial injuries. There were a substantial number of
> cycling accidents. Most weren't wearing helmets, but then this was 28
> years ago.

Oh, a dentist.

IOW, you know something about teeth. You know relatively little about
head trauma. I should have guessed.

>
>>
>> You probably realize that nationally, cyclists are less than 1% of
>> that problem, right?
>
> If it's you, you're 100% dead.

.... and, apparently, you know relatively little about evaluating
relative risk.



--
--------------------+
Frank Krygowski [To reply, remove rodent and vegetable dot com,
replace with cc.ysu dot edu]

Frank Krygowski
June 19th 04, 04:59 AM
Steven Bornfeld wrote:

>
>
> Frank Krygowski wrote:
>
>> ...
>> And it's still true that often, the ONLY thing people hear about bike
>> safety is "Always wear a helmet!!!!" Nothing about rules of the road,
>> lights at night, maintaining the machine, etc.
>>
>> I've seen enough helmeted families riding facing traffic, or riding at
>> night without lights, to know that the emphasis needs to be changed.
>
> Feel free to start another thread. My advocacy of helmets does not
> in any way make me irresponsible regarding these other issues. Do you
> believe it does?

Well, not if your real objective is to sell helmets.

If your real objective is to improve bicycle safety, or (as you alluded
to) reduce the amount of your taxes spent on others' injuries, then yes,
your helmet advocacy is irresponsible.

Ignoring more effective measures, speaking only about helmets, and doing
so from a position of ignorance is somewhat irresponsible.


--
--------------------+
Frank Krygowski [To reply, remove rodent and vegetable dot com,
replace with cc.ysu dot edu]

Frank Krygowski
June 19th 04, 05:05 AM
Steven Bornfeld wrote:

>
> Like I said. I'd be happy to seek out the study. Can you post a
> reference?

_Cycle Helmets - The Case For and Against_ , Hillman, M., Policy Studies
Institute, London, 1993 ISBN 0 85374 602 8

--
--------------------+
Frank Krygowski [To reply, remove rodent and vegetable dot com,
replace with cc.ysu dot edu]

Eric S. Sande
June 19th 04, 05:15 AM
>:-) The intellectual level of the discussion seems to be falling like
>a stone.

Frank. I haven't even entered this discussion.

However there is a certain academic quality to your posts that just
naturally tends to alienate the average reader.

:-)

--

_______________________ALL AMIGA IN MY MIND_______________________
------------------"Buddy Holly, the Texas Elvis"------------------

CowPunk
June 19th 04, 06:03 AM
> The discussion also reminds me of a class where everyone has a strong
> opinion, but nobody does the homework! ;-)

I was always accused of ruining the curve...

> It's when you argue for _others_ to wear helmets, or start promoting
> their effectiveness, that people will disagree.

I don't think I've argued anywhere that helmets should be mandatory.
And I completely agree with Kunich, you and others that you have the
right to choose. I don't agree with making kids wear helmets.

I'm just pointing out that arguing for helmets based on fatalities alone,
is poor justification for their use. Anyway, I don't think helmets are
designed for car/bike accidents, or to prevent fatalities. IMHO, They're
designed to reduce severe injuries and trauma.

I can think of one situation off hand where a friend of mine was
riding home from fishing, when we were kids, he got his fishing pole
caught up in his front wheel, and crashed. The end of his handlebar
went into his temple and took out a core sample of his brain.
Yes, he ended up with brain damage. Would a helmet have helped, well
who knows... that's the point.

If you have't seen a helmets benefit in preventing brain injuries, maybe
you just haven't been riding long enough, hard enough or fast enough? :)

CowPunk
June 19th 04, 06:13 AM
> So can a wool hat.
That's a leap of faith.


> Now what evidence do you have about helmets protecting against dented
> skulls or brain injuries?

I just look at the dents and cracks in my helmets.

Proving something like that is like trying to prove global warming.
You can't do it without f*****g a lot of people up.

I'll bet you put globs of sunscreen on before you go out... don't you.

Did you know that there is no evidence that sunscreen prevents skin cancer?

Yup, it's a fact.

Or what about the fact that some of the ingredients in
sunscreen are known carcinogens?

Bill Z.
June 19th 04, 06:43 AM
Peter > writes:

> Bill Z. wrote:
>
> > Erik Freitag > writes:
> >
> >>On Sat, 19 Jun 2004 00:21:50 +0000, Bill Z. wrote:
> >>
> There are other ways in which laws can be enforced and have effects.
>
> My bike commute in the SF East Bay area took me past an elementary
> school, a middle school, and a high school. Although there are far
> fewer kids cycling to school now than before the helmet law, I still
> see a reasonable number. ...

The reduction is due to traffic conditions, which have gotten worse.
I'm nervous about riding a bike past a school when kids are being
dropped off due to the parents' erratic driving. I just don't feel
comfortable when cars park facing the wrong way and drive down a bike
lane, on the wrong side of the street along a collision course with me,
as they wait for an opportunity to cross over to the other side.

> .... Almost all of them have a helmet, but about
> 80% of those helmets are hanging from their handlebars. Maybe this is
> just a new fashion statement, but I think there's another reason - the
> kids really don't want to wear the helmets but the law is enforced at
> the schoolyard (and possibly at home). As soon as they are off the
> school property the helmets come off their heads and get tied to the
> bars.

One relative told me that, as a child, she would ride a bike without
holding onto the handlebars but only when a block or more from home so
her parents wouldn't know.

Wearing one in sight of the school and putting them on then handlebars
elsewhere will simply show that the kid isn't overly respectful of
authority, and probably generate some kudos from his peers. I'd hardly
see how this would effect riding.

> When my daughter was starting high school I asked her why none of her
> friends rode their bikes anymore. She asked them and the main reason
> given was the 'helmet hair' issue. Now we may not think that's a very
> good reason, but it really doesn't matter if it keeps kids from
> riding. Fewer kids riding is likely to mean fewer adults riding later.

When I started high school, kids mostly stopped riding bikes too, and
helmets weren't even available. It was mostly a "little kids ride
bikes" thing. If it isn't one excuse, it's another, but I see no
reason to blame helmets.

--
My real name backwards: nemuaZ lliB

Bill Z.
June 19th 04, 06:49 AM
Steven Bornfeld > writes:

> Frank Krygowski wrote:
> > Steven Bornfeld wrote:
> >

> >> Yeah, yeah. I'll bet he hates helmets too.
> > :-) The intellectual level of the discussion seems to be falling
> > like a stone.
> > He did study the issue of benefits versus detriments of cycling when
> > he was researching the helmet issue, true. And it's partly for that
> > reason that he is strongly against mandating helmets, and very
> > cautious about even promoting them.
> > Give the guy credit for doing study and research before forming his
> > opinion, please.
>
> Like I said. I'd be happy to seek out the study. Can you
> post a reference?
>
> Steve

This was also beaten to death a decade ago, and is being trotted out
again. The guy didn't say that helmets were ineffective. He suggested
that the health benefits of cycling regularly, even for "commuter" or
"utility" cyclists riding short distances at low speeds, exceeded the
risks whether helmets were used or not. That has zero to do with
whether helmets are effective or not. It may be a good argment
against mandatory helmet laws (depending on how much of a disencentive
a helmet requirement actually is.)

--
My real name backwards: nemuaZ lliB

Peter
June 19th 04, 07:13 AM
Bill Z. wrote:

> Peter > writes:
>
>
>>Bill Z. wrote:
>>
>>
>>>Erik Freitag > writes:
>>>
>>>
>>>>On Sat, 19 Jun 2004 00:21:50 +0000, Bill Z. wrote:
>>>>
>>
>>There are other ways in which laws can be enforced and have effects.
>>
>>My bike commute in the SF East Bay area took me past an elementary
>>school, a middle school, and a high school. Although there are far
>>fewer kids cycling to school now than before the helmet law, I still
>>see a reasonable number. ...
>
>
> The reduction is due to traffic conditions, which have gotten worse.

The traffic conditions didn't change appreciably between the year before
the helmet law was enacted and the year after. Yet there was a very
obvious effect on the number of bicycles in the school racks.

> I'm nervous about riding a bike past a school when kids are being
> dropped off due to the parents' erratic driving. I just don't feel
> comfortable when cars park facing the wrong way and drive down a bike
> lane, on the wrong side of the street along a collision course with me,
> as they wait for an opportunity to cross over to the other side.

The things you describe don't happen at any of the three schools that I
pass.
>
>
>>.... Almost all of them have a helmet, but about
>>80% of those helmets are hanging from their handlebars. Maybe this is
>>just a new fashion statement, but I think there's another reason - the
>>kids really don't want to wear the helmets but the law is enforced at
>>the schoolyard (and possibly at home). As soon as they are off the
>>school property the helmets come off their heads and get tied to the
>>bars.
>
>
> One relative told me that, as a child, she would ride a bike without
> holding onto the handlebars but only when a block or more from home so
> her parents wouldn't know.
>
> Wearing one in sight of the school and putting them on then handlebars
> elsewhere will simply show that the kid isn't overly respectful of
> authority, and probably generate some kudos from his peers. I'd hardly
> see how this would effect riding.

Your claim was that the helmet law can't affect ridership since it's not
enforced by the police. But at least in my neighborhood it is enforced
by the schools and anyone who wants to ride to school must at least wear
a helmet when on the school grounds. This requirement was made clear
both to the children and to parents during back-to-school activities.
>
>
>>When my daughter was starting high school I asked her why none of her
>>friends rode their bikes anymore. She asked them and the main reason
>>given was the 'helmet hair' issue. Now we may not think that's a very
>>good reason, but it really doesn't matter if it keeps kids from
>>riding. Fewer kids riding is likely to mean fewer adults riding later.
>
>
> When I started high school, kids mostly stopped riding bikes too, and
> helmets weren't even available.

I had one in the '50s - when were they "not available?"
Anyway, the comparison was between the number of riders seen at a school
before the helmet law and the significantly smaller number at the same
school after the law became effective. The age-range of the kids
remained the same.

It was mostly a "little kids ride
> bikes" thing. If it isn't one excuse, it's another, but I see no
> reason to blame helmets.

The 30% or so drop in ridership when surveys were done in NZ and
Australia just before and after helmet laws went into effect would seem
to be one good reason. I didn't keep any statistics at the schools I
observed, but there was a similar drop.

Frank Krygowski
June 19th 04, 07:26 AM
CowPunk wrote:

>
> I'll bet you put globs of sunscreen on before you go out... don't you.

Well, not me. I seldom use the stuff.

Are we changing the subject??

--
--------------------+
Frank Krygowski [To reply, remove rodent and vegetable dot com,
replace with cc.ysu dot edu]

Frank Krygowski
June 19th 04, 07:37 AM
CowPunk wrote:

>>The discussion also reminds me of a class where everyone has a strong
>>opinion, but nobody does the homework! ;-)
>
>
> I was always accused of ruining the curve...
>
>
>>It's when you argue for _others_ to wear helmets, or start promoting
>>their effectiveness, that people will disagree.
>
>
> I don't think I've argued anywhere that helmets should be mandatory.
> And I completely agree with Kunich, you and others that you have the
> right to choose. I don't agree with making kids wear helmets.

Ok.

> I'm just pointing out that arguing for helmets based on fatalities alone,
> is poor justification for their use. Anyway, I don't think helmets are
> designed for car/bike accidents, or to prevent fatalities. IMHO, They're
> designed to reduce severe injuries and trauma.

Only in a very marginal way. They're designed to prevent a body-less
magnesium headform from exceeding 300 gees of linear acceleration in a 2
meter drop, IIRC. That's the standard - nothing more than a 14 mph
impact, and no provision for fighting rotational acceleration of the
brain. In common terms, they're designed to protect against an ideal
"Laugh-In" fall.

When the standard was first proposed, back in the mid-1970s, there were
serious reservations from the safety community. They felt the standard
was far too weak. But Snell, etc said it was all that was possible -
otherwise nobody would wear the helmet.

Now we're told this weak protection will save people from severe
injuries and trauma - 90+% of which is caused by crashes with cars. And
when data appears saying they don't work, people are surprised.

>
> I can think of one situation off hand where a friend of mine was
> riding home from fishing, when we were kids, he got his fishing pole
> caught up in his front wheel, and crashed. The end of his handlebar
> went into his temple and took out a core sample of his brain.
> Yes, he ended up with brain damage. Would a helmet have helped, well
> who knows... that's the point.
>
> If you have't seen a helmets benefit in preventing brain injuries, maybe
> you just haven't been riding long enough, hard enough or fast enough? :)

Well, I've ridden over 30 years as a dedicated adult cyclist. True, I
never placed higher than second in a road race. And my time trialing
never set any records. And I've been pretty stubborn about not crashing.

Are you saying I need to crash more?


--
--------------------+
Frank Krygowski [To reply, remove rodent and vegetable dot com,
replace with cc.ysu dot edu]

Bill Z.
June 19th 04, 08:29 AM
Peter > writes:

> Bill Z. wrote:
>
> > Peter > writes:
> >
> >>Bill Z. wrote:


> > The reduction is due to traffic conditions, which have gotten worse.
>
> The traffic conditions didn't change appreciably between the year
> before the helmet law was enacted and the year after. Yet there was a
> very obvious effect on the number of bicycles in the school racks.

We had basically zero decline the year the helmet law went into effect,
and I'm in the Bay Area too. Most of the kids had helmets anyway (even
if just tied to the bike).

>
> The things you describe don't happen at any of the three schools that
> I pass.

They happen in a school nearby where I live. The parking area is set
for diagonal parking right in front of the school, so parents pull
over, facing the wrong way, and then continue, driving the wrong way
in or near the bike lane until they can cross. It is very
disconcerting to see a car moving straight towards you on the wrong
side of the road, with no idea of the driver notices you or not.

>
> Your claim was that the helmet law can't affect ridership since it's
> not enforced by the police. But at least in my neighborhood it is
> enforced by the schools and anyone who wants to ride to school must at
> least wear a helmet when on the school grounds. This requirement was
> made clear both to the children and to parents during back-to-school
> activities.

So they'll take it off once off the school grounds, and no one
anything about it.

>
> I had one in the '50s - when were they "not available?"

They weren't available where I lived ... at least I never saw anyone
use one. With no demand, that might not be surprising.

>
> It was mostly a "little kids ride
> > bikes" thing. If it isn't one excuse, it's another, but I see no
> > reason to blame helmets.
>
> The 30% or so drop in ridership when surveys were done in NZ and
> Australia just before and after helmet laws went into effect would
> seem to be one good reason. I didn't keep any statistics at the
> schools I observed, but there was a similar drop.

I don't believe you ... I saw no such drop in the year the helmet law
went into effect and we live in the same general area. Are things
*that* different on the other side of the bay? I've no idea about
Australia or NZ, but maybe the law was actually enforced there. It
sure hasn't been where I live.

--
My real name backwards: nemuaZ lliB

Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS
June 19th 04, 02:08 PM
Bill Z. wrote:
> Steven Bornfeld > writes:
>
>
>>Frank Krygowski wrote:
>>
>>>Steven Bornfeld wrote:
>>>
>
>
>>>> Yeah, yeah. I'll bet he hates helmets too.
>>>
>>>:-) The intellectual level of the discussion seems to be falling
>>>like a stone.
>>>He did study the issue of benefits versus detriments of cycling when
>>>he was researching the helmet issue, true. And it's partly for that
>>>reason that he is strongly against mandating helmets, and very
>>>cautious about even promoting them.
>>>Give the guy credit for doing study and research before forming his
>>>opinion, please.
>>
>> Like I said. I'd be happy to seek out the study. Can you
>>post a reference?
>>
>>Steve
>
>
> This was also beaten to death a decade ago, and is being trotted out
> again. The guy didn't say that helmets were ineffective. He suggested
> that the health benefits of cycling regularly, even for "commuter" or
> "utility" cyclists riding short distances at low speeds, exceeded the
> risks whether helmets were used or not. That has zero to do with
> whether helmets are effective or not. It may be a good argment
> against mandatory helmet laws (depending on how much of a disencentive
> a helmet requirement actually is.)
>

Sorry to open old wounds. ;-).
Of course, the kind of mental masturbation done to judge relative
benefits vs. risks of this type is done all the time.
Personally, I have no problem with anyone being an advocate--I am
myself. But (and it's possible I'm getting this all wrong) posting a
putatively bicycle advocacy piece which is actually a disguised
libertarian screed is a mite dishonest.
As for actually calculating the quantitative saving of lives, this is
always more complicated than it seems. I'll give you one example.
In the past year, three close friends (all male cyclists in their 50s)
have developed prostate cancer. One is terminally ill. Now, looking at
clusters of disease to advance one agenda or the other is very common
(the NY Times magazine did a piece on a BSE outbreak just a few weeks
ago), but although a few studies have been done with inconclusive
results, I still feel it is possible that there is a relationship
between cycling and prostate disease. In the kind of study which
Krygowski cited, this possibility is not on the map. Of course, it may
be in a few years.
I think an honest appraisal of the helmet issue is that what could be
dispassionately discussed as a clinical study usually degenerates into a
study of the rights of the individual vs. the government's involvement
in what is perceived to be the public interest. That these issues come
up all the time (licensing, mandatory vaccination etc.) doesn't make
them any less annoying to me.

Steve

--
Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS
http://www.dentaltwins.com
Brooklyn, NY

Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS
June 19th 04, 02:10 PM
Eric S. Sande wrote:

>>:-) The intellectual level of the discussion seems to be falling like
>>a stone.
>
>
> Frank. I haven't even entered this discussion.
>
> However there is a certain academic quality to your posts that just
> naturally tends to alienate the average reader.


I can't speak for the average reader. For me, talking about my "next
Mercedes" does remind me of one of my college biochemistry professors,
whose very obvious disdain for the premed students didn't strike me as
academic in the least.

Steve
>
> :-)
>


--
Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS
http://www.dentaltwins.com
Brooklyn, NY

Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS
June 19th 04, 02:17 PM
Frank Krygowski wrote:

> Steven Bornfeld wrote:
>
>>
>>
>> Frank Krygowski wrote:
>>
>>> Steven Bornfeld wrote:
>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> Well, that's the problem, isn't it? Tough to run a controlled
>>>> study of this type in real-life conditions.
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> It would be tough if there weren't such things as mandatory helmet
>>> laws (MHLs). Or even better, _enforced_ MHLs. When you've got a
>>> step increase in the percentage of cyclists in helmets for a whole
>>> country, it's not a bad test of "real-life conditions." All you have
>>> to do is remember to account for the decrease in cycling those laws
>>> have caused. (Pro-helmet papers have been known to ignore a 35%
>>> cycling drop, and count the 30% HI drop as a good sign!)
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> I don't know how you can call this a real test with any
>> control. In your response to Jay, you just said:
>>
>> "Other pro-helmet studies from Australia have done things like ignore
>> the drop in cycling, ignore the concurrent installation of speed
>> cameras and stiff drunk driving enforcement, etc. to maximize the
>> supposed helmet benefit. Still, this is the first time I recall any
>> study but T&R's coming anywhere close to 85%. Despite the fudging,
>> other pro-helmet studies come out much lower. I'd like to check the
>> original paper."
>>
>>
>> If there were confounding factors in the prior example, you can't
>> come back and now say these can be ignored.
>
>
> Do you understand that we're talking about multiple papers?
>
> And do you understand that if the confounding factors all would tend to
> decrease cyclist injuries, it's disingenuous to attribute all reduced
> injuries to just one factor, the helmets?

I think it is disingenuous to say that all the other factors would
decrease cyclist injuries EXCEPT for the helmets!
>
>
>> I am suggesting that antihelmet partisans can be depended upon to
>> parse the data out there selectively.
>
>
> ... whereas pro-helmet partisans ...???

Sure.
>
> Incidentally, the word "antihelmet" is rather imprecise.
> "Anticompulsion" would be more accurate for many. "Anti-over-promotion"
> would fit others. "Anti-fearmongering" still others. But I must say, I
> can't recall anyone ever wanting to make helmets illegal.
>
> Of course, it may be that the Church of the Helmet requires absolute
> belief in _all_ pro-helmet dogma. If so, then there really are lots of
> anti-helmet people.


Oh, a libertarian. Never mind--this explains it.
>
>
>>>> I've heard the same arguments from people who don't wear
>>>> seatbelts in cars. I thought they made what could be valid
>>>> points--until I spent a year covering head/neck trauma during my
>>>> residency.
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> So tell us about your head trauma experience. Since we're talking
>>> about saving lives, what percentage of the head trauma fatalities you
>>> saw were cyclists?
>>
>>
>>
>> They don't usually call the dentist on the head trauma
>> fatalities. I was called on facial injuries. There were a
>> substantial number of cycling accidents. Most weren't wearing
>> helmets, but then this was 28 years ago.
>
>
> Oh, a dentist.
>
> IOW, you know something about teeth. You know relatively little about
> head trauma. I should have guessed.


Ad hominem. You have no idea what I know about head trauma. Do you
want to tell me about your academic qualifications?
>
>>
>>>
>>> You probably realize that nationally, cyclists are less than 1% of
>>> that problem, right?
>>
>>
>> If it's you, you're 100% dead.
>
>
> ... and, apparently, you know relatively little about evaluating
> relative risk.


I personally know several people (including myself) who have suffered
head injury of various degrees while cycling. In most of these, there
was no automobile involved.
I hope you are lucky enough to have escaped serious injury, and that
your loved ones do the same.

Good luck,
Steve
>
>
>


--
Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS
http://www.dentaltwins.com
Brooklyn, NY

John Forrest Tomlinson
June 19th 04, 02:57 PM
On Fri, 18 Jun 2004 22:21:32 -0400, Steven Bornfeld
> wrote:


>You want to believe this is a helmet manufacturer conspiracy, go right
>ahead.

> I have no intention of wasting time proving that the earth isn't
>flat.


You're a master of building straw men. Did I say anything about a
helmet manufacturer conspiracy. I've simpley asked repeatedly for
evidence that bicycle helmets are important safety devices and
suggested that given a lack of evidence proving that that helmet
proponents should be more honest and say they "hope" or "speculate"
that helmets are important. If that suggestion of honesty threatens
you so much that you have to build straw men to argue against it,
perhaps you should sit back and ask yourself why you feel threatened.

JT

Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS
June 19th 04, 03:59 PM
John Forrest Tomlinson wrote:

> On Fri, 18 Jun 2004 22:21:32 -0400, Steven Bornfeld
> > wrote:
>
>
>
>>You want to believe this is a helmet manufacturer conspiracy, go right
>>ahead.
>
>
>>I have no intention of wasting time proving that the earth isn't
>>flat.
>
>
>
> You're a master of building straw men. Did I say anything about a
> helmet manufacturer conspiracy. I've simpley asked repeatedly for
> evidence that bicycle helmets are important safety devices and
> suggested that given a lack of evidence proving that that helmet
> proponents should be more honest and say they "hope" or "speculate"
> that helmets are important. If that suggestion of honesty threatens
> you so much that you have to build straw men to argue against it,
> perhaps you should sit back and ask yourself why you feel threatened.
>
> JT


JT, I'm really flattered that you consider me a master of
anything--that's high praise indeed!
I am not an epidemiologist, nor am I an actuary. It is possible that
some of these very smart people in fact have large equity positions in
helmet manufacturing companies. I posted the link of a review of
previously published clinical studies. I am not prepared to read them
and critique the design of each. If you have the time to review all of
these studies and find them flawed, more power to you.
I only raced one season--1986. You may recall that was the year that
the USOC lost its liability policy, and the USCF suspended racing until
a policy could be written. I remember the hue and cry that went up when
the hard shell helmet rule went into effect.
It is certainly understandable to me that racers who'd become
accustomed to the wind in their hair would object to the "intrusion" of
the insurance companies. Certainly there had been no studies back then
demonstrating the uselessness of helmets in preventing serious injuries,
but those I spoke to (some of whom you undoubtedly know personally) were
just as opposed to mandated helmets as you are now.
Of course, some folks are in favor of allowing performance-enhancing
drugs as well--after all, if they're administered correctly they can be
safe and effective, and it's the racers' bodies after all, isn't it?
Krygowski (and perhaps you) can probably name some safety measures that
you would acknowledge will decrease death and morbidity from bicycle
accidents. Are there any that you would mandate? Or is this more about
personal freedom than safety?

Steve

--
Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS
http://www.dentaltwins.com
Brooklyn, NY

Joe Riel
June 19th 04, 05:01 PM
Frank Krygowski wrote:

> Only in a very marginal way. They're designed to prevent a body-less
> magnesium headform from exceeding 300 gees of linear acceleration in a 2
> meter drop, IIRC. That's the standard - nothing more than a 14 mph
> impact, and no provision for fighting rotational acceleration of the
> brain.

Any idea what standard (max g's from some speed) motorcycle helmets are
designed to meet?

Joe Riel

S o r n i
June 19th 04, 05:21 PM
Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS wrote:
>> JT, I'm really flattered that you consider me a master of
> anything--that's high praise indeed!

Hard to consider your positions when you can't even fix your user name.

Bill "multiple personalities? OK then" S.

John Forrest Tomlinson
June 19th 04, 05:54 PM
On Sat, 19 Jun 2004 10:59:23 -0400, Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS
> wrote:
> Krygowski (and perhaps you) can probably name some safety measures that
>you would acknowledge will decrease death and morbidity from bicycle
>accidents. Are there any that you would mandate? Or is this more about
>personal freedom than safety?
Given that cycling is a fundemantally healthy activity, the only
safety thing that should be mandated are that riders generally follow
the rules of the road. And we already have laws about that everywhere
I have ever lived.

If you or anyone really care about cycling safety, I think that
teaching drivers to give other road users more respect would be
important. And better road design.

I wear a helmet most of the time when I ride both becasue I'm in a
sport where it's use is mandated (racing) and it makes sense to get
used to wearing a helmet. And I imagine that riding with a helmet is
probably a tiny bit safer than riding without one (I don't really know
that -- it's speculation).

JT

Just zis Guy, you know?
June 19th 04, 06:06 PM
On Sat, 19 Jun 2004 10:59:23 -0400, Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS
> wrote in message
>:

>I posted the link of a review of
>previously published clinical studies.

That'll be where you went wrong, then. Epidemiological studies based
on whole population data (including series where there are substantial
step-changes in helmet use over very short periods, like in Australia)
show no discernible benefit. Small-scale prospective studies show
benefit, but often fall apart under investigation due to basic errors.
Injury Prevention has just published a critique of one such paper by
Cook & Sheikh; they mistook percentages for percentage points (a
fairly basic statistical error) - if you correct this they are saying
that helmets are 186% effective, with every helmet protecting not only
its wearer but somebody else as well - this clearly demonstrates that
there are major confounding factors in the data for which they have
not accounted.

Many of the clinical papers are actually just literature reviews, with
remarkably few actual studies, of which the best-known is Thompson,
Rivara and Thompson's 1989 paper in the New England Journal of
Medicine. The flaws in that study are well-documented (it arrives at
a figure of 85% effectiveness by comparing poor solo urban street
cyclists with middle-class families on bike paths and attributes the
entire difference in injury rates to differences in helmet use). It
is still quoted as gospel by almost every "new" paper and literature
review, and I have only once or twice seen any explicit mention of the
known flaws in the study. In fact, if you replace the "control" group
with Rivara's own street counts from the previous year, the supposed
benefit vanishes. BHSI still quote it, despite knowing that it is
wrong, because the figure is "so ingrained in the injury prevention
community" that to use another figure would be "unhelpful". Unhelpful
to whom? Those seeking to make the case for compulsion? Or those
seeking to form a balanced judgement based on theevidence?

By the way, according to BHSI this thread is not happening ;-)


The fact that head injury rates have risen by 40% in the USA in a
period when helmet use rose from 18% to 50% surely tells us something.

As does the fact that the pro-helmet British government has admitted
that it knows of no case where cyclist safety has improved with
increasing helmet use.

>It is certainly understandable to me that racers who'd become
>accustomed to the wind in their hair would object to the "intrusion" of
>the insurance companies. Certainly there had been no studies back then
>demonstrating the uselessness of helmets in preventing serious injuries,
>but those I spoke to (some of whom you undoubtedly know personally) were
>just as opposed to mandated helmets as you are now.

That was not, in my opinion, an actuarial judgement; there was not
enough data to go on at the time. Quite why a device designed for a
crash at around 12mph should be mandated for racing is an interesting
philosophical question. HPV races now have helmets mandated. I have
never seen an HPV racer sustain a head injury in a crash. Several
helmeted wedgie racers have died and been brain injured in recent
times, though.

>Krygowski (and perhaps you) can probably name some safety measures that
>you would acknowledge will decrease death and morbidity from bicycle
>accidents.

Only about 10% of cyclist injuries are to the area covered by the
helmet and many (possibly most) cyclists who die of head injury also
have other mortal injuries. Most fatal cyclist injuries are of course
sustained in crashes involving motor vehicles: it is motor traffic,
not cycling, which is dangerous.

Any "safety programme" which ignores these fundamental facts is
necessarily going to be of limited effect.


The first, best thing that can be done to improve cyclist safety is to
promote cycling. There is robust evidence from around the world that
risk falls as participation increases, for a variety of reasons.

The best thing a cyclist can do to ensure their own safety is to ride
confidently and in a vehiclular style, as per Effective Cycling (and
the equivalents in other countries such as Cyclecraft).

If you look at detailed returns on crashes you find recurrent themes:
cyclist injured by turning goods vehicle after the cyclist has gone up
the inside at a junction; cyclist hit by car emerging from junction
(which can be reduced by riding further out so you are where the
driver is looking); cyclist hit by overtaking car which turns across
their path (which can be reduced by riding further out, as the
overtaking manoeuvre is then more deliberate and reminds the driver
that you are there, rather than simply cruising by).

And of course a cyclist should ensure that their bike is well
maintained, with brakes and steering in good order.



The biggest problem with helmet promotion is that it reinforces the
perception of cycling as dangeorus without teaching any of the
techniques which reduce the danger. In doing so, it actively deters
cycling, which paradoxically /increases/ risk.

Now, I would not normally care too much about people who decide to
promote helmet use, if it weren't for the studies which show that it
deters cycling - but these days the only thing stopping some
jurisdictions from passing a helmet law is low levels of helmet use.
More than one Government has said that compulsion will be introduced
when voluntary wearing rates are high enough (at least they've learned
that much from Australia, where cycling was decimated by compulsion).

So the Liddites have persuaded Gvernments that every person who wears
a helmet is voting for compulsion. That is unacceptable.

My objections to helmet compulsion are not libertarian, but
evidence-based. We have the experience of laws in Australia, New
Zealand and Canada to draw on. In no case did injury rates reduce.
In every case cycling was deterred.



But of course, these are unwelcome messages. When you compare child
head injury rates for road crashes you find that pedestrians and
cyclists have around the same proportion of head injuries, and
pedestrian injuries are much more numerous (the risk levels in
off-road cycling for children are an order of magnitude lower). Any
justification of cycle helmet promotion applies to a much greater
extent to walking helmets. And even more so for car occupants, whose
fatality rate from head injuries is much greater. What to do?
Clearly the answer is to reduce the danger which cars pose to other
road users, but that is politically unacceptable. Cycle helmets give
the impression of "doing something" without the need to offend the
motor lobby, which is politically very attractive.

Guy
--
May contain traces of irony. Contents liable to settle after posting.
http://www.chapmancentral.co.uk

88% of helmet statistics are made up, 65% of them at Washington University

DRS
June 19th 04, 06:09 PM
"Joe Riel" > wrote in message

> Frank Krygowski wrote:
>
>> Only in a very marginal way. They're designed to prevent a body-less
>> magnesium headform from exceeding 300 gees of linear acceleration in
>> a 2 meter drop, IIRC. That's the standard - nothing more than a 14
>> mph impact, and no provision for fighting rotational acceleration of
>> the brain.
>
> Any idea what standard (max g's from some speed) motorcycle helmets
> are designed to meet?

http://www.smf.org/articles/mcomp1.html

--

A: Top-posters.
Q: What is the most annoying thing on Usenet?

Just zis Guy, you know?
June 19th 04, 07:49 PM
On Sat, 19 Jun 2004 02:37:40 -0400, Frank Krygowski
> wrote in message >:

>When the standard was first proposed, back in the mid-1970s, there were
>serious reservations from the safety community. They felt the standard
>was far too weak. But Snell, etc said it was all that was possible -
>otherwise nobody would wear the helmet.

>Now we're told this weak protection will save people from severe
>injuries and trauma - 90+% of which is caused by crashes with cars. And
>when data appears saying they don't work, people are surprised.

Er, up to a point. "This" standard is now replaced by new standards
which are substantially lower. Helmets certified to Snell B90 and B95
are very hard to find.

Guy
--
May contain traces of irony. Contents liable to settle after posting.
http://www.chapmancentral.co.uk

88% of helmet statistics are made up, 65% of them at Washington University

VC
June 19th 04, 08:15 PM
"Shayne Wissler" > wrote in message news:<[email protected]_s01>...

> I have an idea for an experiment. Go outside and have someone hold a brick
> about 2 feet over your bare head and have him drop it. Observe the pain and
> damage (assuming you're still conscious). Then try the same experiment on
> your friend, but have him wear a cycling helmet. If he laughs at you, you
> may be able to infer from this, experimentally, that he thought it was not
> necessary to run the experiment to know that you would end up with a damaged
> head and he wouldn't.

The description of the experiment provides insufficient information
for us to draw the conclusion you wish us to draw. The result we are
supposed to infer is by no means assured.

I speculate that in your example the brick is supposed to impact the
head "square on" resulting in (a direct) linear acceleration. These
are the type upon which helmet certification test procedures are
based. However bicycle accidents are not so simple and if your subject
was bending over with his head in a horizontal position and the brick
hits at a tangent to the surface of the head - mimicking more closely
a cycling accident - then it is likely to be subject to rotational
forces. Certification procedures do not address rotational forces even
though the latter are responsible for diffuse injuries, the most
deadly type. Three out of four brain injuries are of the diffuse type.
Since a helmet makes the "target" on top of a cyclist's shoulders
larger and heavier rotational effects may well be increased in other
than a "square on" impact. Tests with monkeys have shown that
rotational accelerations have much more serious consequences than
linear accelerations at the same level. In some cases linear
accelerations resulted in no injury where the same acceleration of a
rotational nature caused brain injury to the monkey.

Not everything is what it seems to be. A helmet may indeed not be so
good for your health.

Frank Krygowski
June 19th 04, 08:26 PM
DRS wrote:
> "Joe Riel" > wrote in message
>
>
>>Frank Krygowski wrote:
>>
>>
>>>Only in a very marginal way. They're designed to prevent a body-less
>>>magnesium headform from exceeding 300 gees of linear acceleration in
>>>a 2 meter drop, IIRC. That's the standard - nothing more than a 14
>>>mph impact, and no provision for fighting rotational acceleration of
>>>the brain.
>>
>>Any idea what standard (max g's from some speed) motorcycle helmets
>>are designed to meet?
>
>
> http://www.smf.org/articles/mcomp1.html
>

Motorcycle helmets are actually about equivalent to bike helmets in
shock absorption. The bike helmet standard uses a 5 kg headform (that's
about 11 pounds) dropped from 2 meters. If the drop is completely
frictionless, that's 98 Joules.

Motorcycle helmets are much more resistant to penetration and abrasion,
and their smooth hard outer shell may be more slippery on the road,
leading to less rotational acceleration of the brain. But this last
point is speculation.

--
--------------------+
Frank Krygowski [To reply, remove rodent and vegetable dot com,
replace with cc.ysu dot edu]

Abe Oogerfart
June 19th 04, 08:37 PM
Frank Krygowski wrote:
> CowPunk wrote:
>
>>
>> I'll bet you put globs of sunscreen on before you go out... don't you.
>
>
> Well, not me. I seldom use the stuff.
>
> Are we changing the subject??
>

No, just making the point that the guys not wearing helmets,
are probably smearing their bald heads with sunscreen.
Making them some of the biggest hypocrits around.

Frank Krygowski
June 19th 04, 08:45 PM
Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS (both of them???) wrote:

> Frank Krygowski wrote:
>
>>
>> Do you understand that we're talking about multiple papers?
>>
>> And do you understand that if the confounding factors all would tend
>> to decrease cyclist injuries, it's disingenuous to attribute all
>> reduced injuries to just one factor, the helmets?
>
>
> I think it is disingenuous to say that all the other factors would
> decrease cyclist injuries EXCEPT for the helmets!

The point is: If multiple measures are enacted simultaneously, the
proponents of one measure should not take credit for all the benefit.
Unless, that is, they prove conclusively that the other measures are
useless.

To my knowledge, nobody has proven that it's useless to enforce speed
limits and drunk driving laws.

>> Incidentally, the word "antihelmet" is rather imprecise.
>> "Anticompulsion" would be more accurate for many.
>> "Anti-over-promotion" would fit others. "Anti-fearmongering" still
>> others. But I must say, I can't recall anyone ever wanting to make
>> helmets illegal.
>>
>> Of course, it may be that the Church of the Helmet requires absolute
>> belief in _all_ pro-helmet dogma. If so, then there really are lots
>> of anti-helmet people.
>
> Oh, a libertarian. Never mind--this explains it.

Not even close.

Really, you ought to work on overcoming the simplistic labeling of others.


>
>
>>
>> Oh, a dentist.
>>
>> IOW, you know something about teeth. You know relatively little about
>> head trauma. I should have guessed.
>
> Ad hominem. You have no idea what I know about head trauma.

I know that your residency didn't have you specializing in brain
injuries, and that you don't specialize in them now. From your
previous allusion to your residency, I thought otherwise. It's good to
clear that up.


>>>> You probably realize that nationally, cyclists are less than 1% of
>>>> that problem, right?
>>>
>>> If it's you, you're 100% dead.
>>
>> ... and, apparently, you know relatively little about evaluating
>> relative risk.
>
> I personally know several people (including myself) who have
> suffered head injury of various degrees while cycling. In most of
> these, there was no automobile involved.

That's not unlikely. You're corresponding with a guy who suffered a
head injury just a few years ago. In my case, it was related to boating.

Specifically, our canoe was hanging from our garage ceiling, and I
bumped my head on it. It hurt for several days any time I combed my
hair at that spot. And that illustrates some of the distortion that
creeps into these discussions. What, exactly, should we call a "head
injury"?

Remember that in their (in)famous 1989 paper, Thompson & Rivara
considered cut ears as "head injuries." Ditto for scratches on the
chin. Of course, a minor bruise on the scalp would qualify too -
although none of these comes close to being serious.

> I hope you are lucky enough to have escaped serious injury, and that
> your loved ones do the same.

Like the vast, overwhelming majority of cyclists throughout history,
I've escaped serious injury perfectly, both as an adult (30+ years) or
as a kid (about 20 years). The same is true of my wife, and our
now-grown kids.

And until helmets became a commercial item, this was known to be normal.
Now we're faced with fear mongering.


--
--------------------+
Frank Krygowski [To reply, remove rodent and vegetable dot com,
replace with cc.ysu dot edu]

Frank Krygowski
June 19th 04, 08:50 PM
Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS wrote:

>
> Krygowski (and perhaps you) can probably name some safety measures
> that you would acknowledge will decrease death and morbidity from
> bicycle accidents. Are there any that you would mandate? Or is this
> more about personal freedom than safety?

Personally, I heartily agree with many already-mandated safety measures.
Examples are obedience to traffic signs and signals. Respecting right
of way, and other similar traffic laws. Use of lights at night.

There are some I disagree with. For example, many states require a
bicycle bell. To me, this is senseless - it adds nothing practical to
safety.

IOW, it's a mistake to paint me as a libertarian, as you did in another
post.

Having said that, I _do_ think personal freedom is very important. If
you disagree, post your diet for the past month, and we'll get started
on what, and how much, you should be allowed to eat!


--
--------------------+
Frank Krygowski [To reply, remove rodent and vegetable dot com,
replace with cc.ysu dot edu]

Just zis Guy, you know?
June 19th 04, 08:53 PM
On Fri, 18 Jun 2004 22:16:19 GMT, "Shayne Wissler"
> wrote in message
<[email protected]_s01>:

>I have an idea for an experiment. Go outside and have someone hold a brick
>about 2 feet over your bare head and have him drop it. Observe the pain and
>damage (assuming you're still conscious). Then try the same experiment on
>your friend, but have him wear a cycling helmet.

Why would I do that? Helmeted cyclists are more likely to hit their
heads than non-helmeted cyclists, so the proper experiment would be to
drop the brick on the helmeted head (hoping it gets the helemt and not
the face), but not to drop a brick at all on the unhelmeted.

Guy
--
May contain traces of irony. Contents liable to settle after posting.
http://www.chapmancentral.co.uk

88% of helmet statistics are made up, 65% of them at Washington University

Just zis Guy, you know?
June 19th 04, 09:13 PM
On Sat, 19 Jun 2004 13:37:49 -0600, Abe Oogerfart
> wrote in message
>:

>No, just making the point that the guys not wearing helmets,
>are probably smearing their bald heads with sunscreen.
>Making them some of the biggest hypocrits around.

I guess we're lucky in the UK; we can get cotton hats which are light
and comfortable, don't boil your brain like a plastic prophylactic,
and keep the sun off.

And I'm doubly lucky, what with not being bald and all.

Guy
--
May contain traces of irony. Contents liable to settle after posting.
http://www.chapmancentral.co.uk

88% of helmet statistics are made up, 65% of them at Washington University

Joe Riel
June 19th 04, 09:17 PM
Frank Krygowski wrote:
> DRS wrote:
>
>> "Joe Riel" > wrote in message
>>
>>
>>> Frank Krygowski wrote:
>>>> Only in a very marginal way. They're designed to prevent a body-less
>>>> magnesium headform from exceeding 300 gees of linear acceleration in
>>>> a 2 meter drop, IIRC. That's the standard - nothing more than a 14
>>>> mph impact, and no provision for fighting rotational acceleration of
>>>> the brain.
>>>
>>>
>>> Any idea what standard (max g's from some speed) motorcycle helmets
>>> are designed to meet?
>>
>>
>>
>> http://www.smf.org/articles/mcomp1.html
>>
>
> Motorcycle helmets are actually about equivalent to bike helmets in
> shock absorption. The bike helmet standard uses a 5 kg headform (that's
> about 11 pounds) dropped from 2 meters. If the drop is completely
> frictionless, that's 98 Joules.

I assumed that they would be close, given that their thickness of foam
is comparable. The above site looks like it has a misprint; the
DOT FMVSS 218 drop onto a flat anvil gives a nominal fall of 1.83
meters, while the drop onto a hemispherical anvil gives the drop at
1.38meters. It seems likely that one of these (probably the second)
has digits transposed.

Joe Riel

Steven Bornfeld
June 19th 04, 10:14 PM
S o r n i wrote:
> Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS wrote:
>
>>>JT, I'm really flattered that you consider me a master of
>>
>>anything--that's high praise indeed!
>
>
> Hard to consider your positions when you can't even fix your user name.
>
> Bill "multiple personalities? OK then" S.

Name's Steve Bornfeld. I sometimes post from my home computer, and
sometimes at the office.

Steve

>
>

Steven Bornfeld
June 19th 04, 11:38 PM
Just zis Guy, you know? wrote:
> On Sat, 19 Jun 2004 10:59:23 -0400, Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS
> > wrote in message
> >:
>
>
>>I posted the link of a review of
>>previously published clinical studies.
>
>
> That'll be where you went wrong, then. Epidemiological studies based
> on whole population data (including series where there are substantial
> step-changes in helmet use over very short periods, like in Australia)
> show no discernible benefit. Small-scale prospective studies show
> benefit, but often fall apart under investigation due to basic errors.
> Injury Prevention has just published a critique of one such paper by
> Cook & Sheikh; they mistook percentages for percentage points (a
> fairly basic statistical error) - if you correct this they are saying
> that helmets are 186% effective, with every helmet protecting not only
> its wearer but somebody else as well - this clearly demonstrates that
> there are major confounding factors in the data for which they have
> not accounted.

Let me see if I get this straight. All the studies showing a benefit
have fatal flaws; all the studies that show no benefit are well-designed.
The studies I saw cited are all retrospective studies. I believe it is
possible that somewhere a paper may have been published that confuses
percentages for percentage points. It is hard to believe this happened
multiple times in referreed journals.
Let me be clear--I am not an expert in safety data nor in epidemiology.
But I am up to my eyeballs in newsgroup pundits (in unrelated fields)
making patently ridiculous claims about the body of evidence in fields
in which I do have expertise. It is impossible for me to evaluate
helmet data for myself, nor have I found it prudent to believe folks
such as yourself who may very well have that expertise.
One hopes that people in position of authority choose carefully in whom
they listen to when policy is made.

>
> Many of the clinical papers are actually just literature reviews, with
> remarkably few actual studies, of which the best-known is Thompson,
> Rivara and Thompson's 1989 paper in the New England Journal of
> Medicine. The flaws in that study are well-documented (it arrives at
> a figure of 85% effectiveness by comparing poor solo urban street
> cyclists with middle-class families on bike paths and attributes the
> entire difference in injury rates to differences in helmet use).

See, I'm going to have to look up that paper. It is very, very
difficult for me to believe that NEJM would publish a paper with a flaw
that blatant.

It
> is still quoted as gospel by almost every "new" paper and literature
> review, and I have only once or twice seen any explicit mention of the
> known flaws in the study. In fact, if you replace the "control" group
> with Rivara's own street counts from the previous year, the supposed
> benefit vanishes. BHSI still quote it, despite knowing that it is
> wrong, because the figure is "so ingrained in the injury prevention
> community" that to use another figure would be "unhelpful". Unhelpful
> to whom? Those seeking to make the case for compulsion? Or those
> seeking to form a balanced judgement based on theevidence?
>
> By the way, according to BHSI this thread is not happening ;-)
>
>
> The fact that head injury rates have risen by 40% in the USA in a
> period when helmet use rose from 18% to 50% surely tells us something.


Are we talking about cycling head injuries, or total head injuries?

>
> As does the fact that the pro-helmet British government has admitted
> that it knows of no case where cyclist safety has improved with
> increasing helmet use.


I'd love to hear some context.

>
>
>>It is certainly understandable to me that racers who'd become
>>accustomed to the wind in their hair would object to the "intrusion" of
>>the insurance companies. Certainly there had been no studies back then
>>demonstrating the uselessness of helmets in preventing serious injuries,
>>but those I spoke to (some of whom you undoubtedly know personally) were
>>just as opposed to mandated helmets as you are now.
>
>
> That was not, in my opinion, an actuarial judgement; there was not
> enough data to go on at the time. Quite why a device designed for a
> crash at around 12mph should be mandated for racing is an interesting
> philosophical question.

Actually in this area you have a point. It was a decision made for the
USCF by whichever insurance carrier was willing to write the liability
policy. Far be it from me to tell you their decisions are made on the
basis of good, rational data. ;-)


HPV races now have helmets mandated. I have
> never seen an HPV racer sustain a head injury in a crash. Several
> helmeted wedgie racers have died and been brain injured in recent
> times, though.
>
>
>>Krygowski (and perhaps you) can probably name some safety measures that
>>you would acknowledge will decrease death and morbidity from bicycle
>>accidents.
>
>
> Only about 10% of cyclist injuries are to the area covered by the
> helmet and many (possibly most) cyclists who die of head injury also
> have other mortal injuries. Most fatal cyclist injuries are of course
> sustained in crashes involving motor vehicles: it is motor traffic,
> not cycling, which is dangerous.


Statistically you are right of course. But we are talking about
cycling; we might have much more to talk about were this a political or
automotive ng. But I know of several folks who have suffered head
injury, a couple of which were life-threatening (prolonged coma and
permanent neurological damage) without the benefit of motor vehicles.

>
> Any "safety programme" which ignores these fundamental facts is
> necessarily going to be of limited effect.
>
>
> The first, best thing that can be done to improve cyclist safety is to
> promote cycling. There is robust evidence from around the world that
> risk falls as participation increases, for a variety of reasons.
>
> The best thing a cyclist can do to ensure their own safety is to ride
> confidently and in a vehiclular style, as per Effective Cycling (and
> the equivalents in other countries such as Cyclecraft).
>
> If you look at detailed returns on crashes you find recurrent themes:
> cyclist injured by turning goods vehicle after the cyclist has gone up
> the inside at a junction; cyclist hit by car emerging from junction
> (which can be reduced by riding further out so you are where the
> driver is looking); cyclist hit by overtaking car which turns across
> their path (which can be reduced by riding further out, as the
> overtaking manoeuvre is then more deliberate and reminds the driver
> that you are there, rather than simply cruising by).
>
> And of course a cyclist should ensure that their bike is well
> maintained, with brakes and steering in good order.
>
>
>
> The biggest problem with helmet promotion is that it reinforces the
> perception of cycling as dangeorus without teaching any of the
> techniques which reduce the danger. In doing so, it actively deters
> cycling, which paradoxically /increases/ risk.


Clarification please: are you talking about relative risk to the rider,
or total risk to the population?

>
> Now, I would not normally care too much about people who decide to
> promote helmet use, if it weren't for the studies which show that it
> deters cycling - but these days the only thing stopping some
> jurisdictions from passing a helmet law is low levels of helmet use.
> More than one Government has said that compulsion will be introduced
> when voluntary wearing rates are high enough (at least they've learned
> that much from Australia, where cycling was decimated by compulsion).
>
> So the Liddites


I must complement you on this usage!

have persuaded Gvernments that every person who wears
> a helmet is voting for compulsion. That is unacceptable.
>
> My objections to helmet compulsion are not libertarian, but
> evidence-based. We have the experience of laws in Australia, New
> Zealand and Canada to draw on. In no case did injury rates reduce.
> In every case cycling was deterred.


As long as this is not libertarian, and allowing that proper bicycle
maintenance and effective cycling are more important to cyclist safety,
what would your feelings be about:
1) Mandatory licensing of cyclists (as per motor vehicles)
2) Mandatory minimum age for cyclists on public streets and roads
3) Mandatory registration of bicycles and periodic bicycle inspections

>
>
>
> But of course, these are unwelcome messages. When you compare child
> head injury rates for road crashes you find that pedestrians and
> cyclists have around the same proportion of head injuries, and
> pedestrian injuries are much more numerous (the risk levels in
> off-road cycling for children are an order of magnitude lower). Any
> justification of cycle helmet promotion applies to a much greater
> extent to walking helmets. And even more so for car occupants, whose
> fatality rate from head injuries is much greater.

Another clarification please: The head injury rates for cyclists vs.
pedestrians vs. auto passengers are for 1) Mile traveled
2)total number in population 3) hour spent in activity

What to do?
> Clearly the answer is to reduce the danger which cars pose to other
> road users, but that is politically unacceptable. Cycle helmets give
> the impression of "doing something" without the need to offend the
> motor lobby, which is politically very attractive.

I think that making the auto industry the focus in this discussion in
very much the same way makes it too easy to absolve ourselves of
responsibility in this issue. I certainly agree with you about the
relative danger of autos. I also agree that doing anything meaningful
in this area will be difficult (although the increase in the price of
crude oil is doing more than the political will would allow--if a
sustained rise in gasoline prices leads to diminished sale of SUVs, I
would be very happy). But if we wish to appear to be "doing something",
it is not enough to fault those who think helmet laws will save us; we
must have the courage (and the political clout) to do something that
WILL be meaningful.

Best,
Steve

>
> Guy




> --
> May contain traces of irony. Contents liable to settle after posting.
> http://www.chapmancentral.co.uk
>
> 88% of helmet statistics are made up, 65% of them at Washington University

Steven Bornfeld
June 19th 04, 11:44 PM
Frank Krygowski wrote:
> Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS wrote:
>
>>
>> Krygowski (and perhaps you) can probably name some safety measures
>> that you would acknowledge will decrease death and morbidity from
>> bicycle accidents. Are there any that you would mandate? Or is this
>> more about personal freedom than safety?
>
>
> Personally, I heartily agree with many already-mandated safety measures.
> Examples are obedience to traffic signs and signals. Respecting right
> of way, and other similar traffic laws. Use of lights at night.
>
> There are some I disagree with. For example, many states require a
> bicycle bell. To me, this is senseless - it adds nothing practical to
> safety.
>
> IOW, it's a mistake to paint me as a libertarian, as you did in another
> post.
>
> Having said that, I _do_ think personal freedom is very important. If
> you disagree, post your diet for the past month, and we'll get started
> on what, and how much, you should be allowed to eat!

Hey--my diet shouldn't concern you--only my wife and daughter who have
to smell me.

Steve

>
>

Stella Hackell
June 20th 04, 12:26 AM
In article <[email protected]_s01>, "Shayne Wissler"
> wrote:

> "John Forrest Tomlinson" > wrote in message
> ...
>
> > Now what evidence do you have about helmets protecting against dented
> > skulls or brain injuries?
>
> I have an idea for an experiment. Go outside and have someone hold a brick
> about 2 feet over your bare head and have him drop it. Observe the pain and
> damage (assuming you're still conscious). Then try the same experiment on
> your friend, but have him wear a cycling helmet. I


Dayum, Shane! No one ever came up with this before!


> If you are unable to apply the knowledge gained from this experiment to
> real-life, I would submit that it's not more experiments that you're
> actually in need of.


Dayum, Shane! No one ever thought of this clever insult before!


> Shayne Wissler


I can't believe you left out the part about "If you don't wear a helmet,
you have no brains to protect." How could you resist putting the cherry on
top of your sarcasm sundae?

--
Stella Hackell

She who succeeds in gaining the mastery of the bicycle will gain the
mastery of life.
--Frances E. Willard, _How I Learned to Ride the Bicycle_

Alfred Ryder
June 20th 04, 12:31 AM
"Frank Krygowski" wrote

> Like the vast, overwhelming majority of cyclists throughout history,
> I've escaped serious injury perfectly, both as an adult (30+ years) or
> as a kid (about 20 years). The same is true of my wife, and our
> now-grown kids.
>
> And until helmets became a commercial item, this was known to be normal.
> Now we're faced with fear mongering.
>

I am pleased to have some uphold reason about bicycle safety.

When I started riding bicycles (It was in 1948.), no one had ever heard of
using a helmet on a bicycle. And all kids had bicycles and rode them
everywhere. My brother and I delivered newspapers every morning on them. And
in the dark in the winter. I don't remember my parents, or anyone else,
expressing concern about safety.

I have been riding ever since and have never gotten hurt. And rode a little
over 5,000 miles last year.

Today, I see only two types of riders. Grownups with time and money who ride
for exercise and sport. And Hispanic men going to and from work. No kids. In
fact, the government or someone is pushing something called a "Safe Routes
to School" program which never seems to be funded. But the clear and loud
message from this title is, if I can over-state a little, "Don't let your
kids ride their bicycle to school. It is not safe. Wait until we can put in
bike paths that are separate from the dangerous roads."

Again, thanks to Frank for his tireless defense of reason.

Shayne Wissler
June 20th 04, 12:34 AM
"VC" > wrote in message
om...
> "Shayne Wissler" > wrote in message
news:<[email protected]_s01>...

<snip of implication that helmets may increase risk of rotational brain
injury>

> Not everything is what it seems to be. A helmet may indeed not be so
> good for your health.

Nice imagination, but do you have any actual reason to believe that helmets
increase the rotational forces involved?

Casual observation would imply the opposite. Helmets are more slippery than
skin, and they have a larger radius than the skull. Also, the helmet is not
as tightly coupled to the head as the skin is, and if the helmet got a large
impulse of rotational force from a localized postion on the helmet, it would
tend to be ripped apart, damping the force.

All of thse would tend to reduce the rotational forces involved. What reason
do you have to think that the opposite would happen?


Shayne Wissler

Shayne Wissler
June 20th 04, 12:43 AM
"Stella Hackell" > wrote in message
...

> Dayum, Shane! No one ever came up with this before!

<snip>

> Dayum, Shane! No one ever thought of this clever insult before!

<snip>

Gee, I guess when someone had thought of something before, then it must not
be worth saying, eh?

> How could you resist putting the cherry on
> top of your sarcasm sundae?

Evidently, your hill-billy expressions above match your metaphorical wit.


Shayne Wissler

Steven Bornfeld
June 20th 04, 12:49 AM
Shayne Wissler wrote:
> "VC" > wrote in message
> om...
>
>>"Shayne Wissler" > wrote in message
>
> news:<[email protected]_s01>...
>
> <snip of implication that helmets may increase risk of rotational brain
> injury>
>
>>Not everything is what it seems to be. A helmet may indeed not be so
>>good for your health.
>
>
> Nice imagination, but do you have any actual reason to believe that helmets
> increase the rotational forces involved?
>
> Casual observation would imply the opposite. Helmets are more slippery than
> skin, and they have a larger radius than the skull. Also, the helmet is not
> as tightly coupled to the head as the skin is, and if the helmet got a large
> impulse of rotational force from a localized postion on the helmet, it would
> tend to be ripped apart, damping the force.
>
> All of thse would tend to reduce the rotational forces involved. What reason
> do you have to think that the opposite would happen?
>
>
> Shayne Wissler

This is probably harder to demonstrate. That's why the standard is
designed for a direct blow. The problem (inexact as my understanding
may be) is that there need not be rotation of the skull to induce
rotational forces on the brain. A tangential blow might very well do
the same. IMO this is not a reason to discount the efficacy of helmets,
but it does point out the difficulty of predicting real-life
implications for a given traumatic event.

Steve

>
>

S o r n i
June 20th 04, 12:59 AM
Steven Bornfeld wrote:
> S o r n i wrote:
>> Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS wrote:
>>
>>>> JT, I'm really flattered that you consider me a master of
>>>
>>> anything--that's high praise indeed!
>>
>>
>> Hard to consider your positions when you can't even fix your user
>> name.
>>
>> Bill "multiple personalities? OK then" S.
>
> Name's Steve Bornfeld. I sometimes post from my home computer, and
> sometimes at the office.

Still takes about 13 seconds to change your Usenet account info.

Bill "nothing to do with what computer you're on" S.

Tom Keats
June 20th 04, 01:00 AM
In article >,
Steven Bornfeld > writes:

> As long as this is not libertarian, and allowing that proper bicycle
> maintenance and effective cycling are more important to cyclist safety,
> what would your feelings be about:
> 1) Mandatory licensing of cyclists (as per motor vehicles)
> 2) Mandatory minimum age for cyclists on public streets and roads
> 3) Mandatory registration of bicycles and periodic bicycle inspections

Aw, bloody hell.

At least stick to one agendum at a time, please.


--
-- Powered by FreeBSD
Above address is just a spam midden.
I'm really at: tkeats [curlicue] vcn [point] bc [point] ca

Pete
June 20th 04, 01:10 AM
"Steven Bornfeld" > wrote
>
> As long as this is not libertarian, and allowing that proper bicycle
> maintenance and effective cycling are more important to cyclist safety,
> what would your feelings be about:
> 1) Mandatory licensing of cyclists (as per motor vehicles)
> 2) Mandatory minimum age for cyclists on public streets and roads
> 3) Mandatory registration of bicycles and periodic bicycle inspections
>

This list is a perfectly good way of eliminating cycling injuries completely
within one generation.

Of course, it would also eliminate cycling in general. If you don't cycle as
a kid, it is highly unlikely you would ever do it as an adult.

Pete

Bill Z.
June 20th 04, 01:42 AM
Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS > writes:

> Bill Z. wrote:
> > Steven Bornfeld > writes:

> >>Steve
> > This was also beaten to death a decade ago, and is being trotted out
> > again. The guy didn't say that helmets were ineffective. He suggested
> > that the health benefits of cycling regularly, even for "commuter" or
> > "utility" cyclists riding short distances at low speeds, exceeded the
> > risks whether helmets were used or not. That has zero to do with
> > whether helmets are effective or not. It may be a good argment
> > against mandatory helmet laws (depending on how much of a disencentive
> > a helmet requirement actually is.)
> >
<snip>
> As for actually calculating the quantitative saving of lives,
> this is always more complicated than it seems.
<snip>

Except that "saving lives" isn't the issue - the number of accidents
per year is low enough that a useful reduction in fatalities (say,
10% or so) would be lost in the noise. The real question is the
extent to which helmets reduce injuries. If they reduce them enough
to pay for the cost of the helmet through reductions in the cost of
treating an injury, the thing will pay for itself.

BTW, in terms of mandating them, the real argument against doing that
is the wide spread in annual mileage. I know people who ride many
thousands of miles each year and others whose yearly mileage rarely
exceeds 5 or 10 miles. Do you require a helmet for a person who
rides such short distances? We are talking, after all about a
factor of a 1000 in annual mileage.


In any case, this has all been beaten to death in previous discussions.
Nothing new is being brought up.

--
My real name backwards: nemuaZ lliB

Steven Bornfeld
June 20th 04, 03:31 AM
Pete wrote:
> "Steven Bornfeld" > wrote
>
>>As long as this is not libertarian, and allowing that proper bicycle
>>maintenance and effective cycling are more important to cyclist safety,
>>what would your feelings be about:
>>1) Mandatory licensing of cyclists (as per motor vehicles)
>>2) Mandatory minimum age for cyclists on public streets and roads
>>3) Mandatory registration of bicycles and periodic bicycle inspections
>>
>
>
> This list is a perfectly good way of eliminating cycling injuries completely
> within one generation.
>
> Of course, it would also eliminate cycling in general. If you don't cycle as
> a kid, it is highly unlikely you would ever do it as an adult.
>
> Pete

Maybe. I put up with this for my car. No reason I wouldn't for my
bike. Not saying I would advocate any or all of this, but I might on
reflection. Mandatory inspection makes a lot more sense to me than
mandatory CPSC regs such as reflectorized pedals.

Steve

>
>

Pete
June 20th 04, 04:07 AM
"Steven Bornfeld" > wrote in message
...
>
>
> Pete wrote:
> > "Steven Bornfeld" > wrote
> >
> >>As long as this is not libertarian, and allowing that proper bicycle
> >>maintenance and effective cycling are more important to cyclist safety,
> >>what would your feelings be about:
> >>1) Mandatory licensing of cyclists (as per motor vehicles)
> >>2) Mandatory minimum age for cyclists on public streets and roads
> >>3) Mandatory registration of bicycles and periodic bicycle inspections
> >>
> >
> >
> > This list is a perfectly good way of eliminating cycling injuries
completely
> > within one generation.
> >
> > Of course, it would also eliminate cycling in general. If you don't
cycle as
> > a kid, it is highly unlikely you would ever do it as an adult.
> >
> > Pete
>
> Maybe. I put up with this for my car. No reason I wouldn't for my
> bike. Not saying I would advocate any or all of this, but I might on
> reflection. Mandatory inspection makes a lot more sense to me than
> mandatory CPSC regs such as reflectorized pedals.
>

Item: Brake inspection. Do you mandate two functional brakes? One? I can
ride a no-brake fixie very well.
Item: Lights. Required? Why?
Item Registration. What price would you put on a years bike registration?
$1? $5? The same as a car? Either way, its a bad choice. Either not cost
effective, or wildly out of proportion.
Item: Licensing and minimum age. What age would this be? 16? 14? 12? By age
14 or so...if they haven't ridden yet, they arent likely to.

Motor vehicles are thusly regulated because of the enormous potential for
damage. Bikes, and other forms of transport have no such potential.

I have a house on a very short, 8 house cul-de-sac. Zero traffic, except for
residents. Rules such as this would prevent my 8 year old neighbor from
riding across the street to her friends house.

Do we license pedestrians next?

Pete
Nice troll, though.

Steven Bornfeld
June 20th 04, 04:17 AM
Pete wrote:
> "Steven Bornfeld" > wrote in message
> ...
>
>>
>>Pete wrote:
>>
>>>"Steven Bornfeld" > wrote
>>>
>>>
>>>>As long as this is not libertarian, and allowing that proper bicycle
>>>>maintenance and effective cycling are more important to cyclist safety,
>>>>what would your feelings be about:
>>>>1) Mandatory licensing of cyclists (as per motor vehicles)
>>>>2) Mandatory minimum age for cyclists on public streets and roads
>>>>3) Mandatory registration of bicycles and periodic bicycle inspections
>>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>This list is a perfectly good way of eliminating cycling injuries
>>
> completely
>
>>>within one generation.
>>>
>>>Of course, it would also eliminate cycling in general. If you don't
>>
> cycle as
>
>>>a kid, it is highly unlikely you would ever do it as an adult.
>>>
>>>Pete
>>
>>Maybe. I put up with this for my car. No reason I wouldn't for my
>>bike. Not saying I would advocate any or all of this, but I might on
>>reflection. Mandatory inspection makes a lot more sense to me than
>>mandatory CPSC regs such as reflectorized pedals.
>>
>
>
> Item: Brake inspection. Do you mandate two functional brakes? One? I can
> ride a no-brake fixie very well.
> Item: Lights. Required? Why?
> Item Registration. What price would you put on a years bike registration?
> $1? $5? The same as a car? Either way, its a bad choice. Either not cost
> effective, or wildly out of proportion.
> Item: Licensing and minimum age. What age would this be? 16? 14? 12? By age
> 14 or so...if they haven't ridden yet, they arent likely to.
>
> Motor vehicles are thusly regulated because of the enormous potential for
> damage. Bikes, and other forms of transport have no such potential.
>
> I have a house on a very short, 8 house cul-de-sac. Zero traffic, except for
> residents. Rules such as this would prevent my 8 year old neighbor from
> riding across the street to her friends house.
>
> Do we license pedestrians next?
>
> Pete
> Nice troll, though.

Not at all. You can make the rules as draconian as you wish, or not.
One might regulate driving on public roads, or designate certain areas
that might be exempt (like snowmobiles, for example). You may set a
reasonable age (say 10) but mandate passing a test. One could tax
bicycle components and dedicate funds for enforcement.
I'm not a legislator, but the choice shouldn't be between no regulation
and stupid over-regulation. Of course if you believe there is no safety
issue to speak of, there's no reason to speak about this at all.

Steve

>
>

Pete
June 20th 04, 06:33 AM
"Steven Bornfeld" > wrote
>
> Not at all. You can make the rules as draconian as you wish, or not.
> One might regulate driving on public roads, or designate certain areas

Public roads are public roads. That includes the 6 lane arterial and the 5
house cul-de-sac.
Do we exempt certain streets? Or only include certain streets?

> that might be exempt (like snowmobiles, for example). You may set a
> reasonable age (say 10) but mandate passing a test.

10 is a reasonable age? So I can't ride with my 9 year old on quiet
residential streets?

> One could tax bicycle components and dedicate funds for enforcement.

They already are. Sales tax on bike parts goes into the general fund, like
everything else.

> I'm not a legislator, but the choice shouldn't be between no regulation
> and stupid over-regulation.

The 'regulation' is already there. Pretty much every city and state code
says cyclists *must* follow most of the same rules as motorists. Enforce as
necessary.

> Of course if you believe there is no safety
> issue to speak of, there's no reason to speak about this at all.

To be sure, a large number of bike-car crashes are due to the cyclist doing
something stupid. Riding at night with no lights, wrong way riding, zooming
out of a driveway.
Is giving a 10 year old a test and making her parent pay a registration fee
the answer? It doesn't seem to have helped in the other large percentage of
bike-car crashes that are due to the tested, licensed, and registered
motorist doing something stupid.

Education and enforcement is the key...not more unenforced rules.

Pete

John Forrest Tomlinson
June 20th 04, 10:42 AM
On Sat, 19 Jun 2004 22:31:00 -0400, Steven Bornfeld
> wrote:

> Mandatory inspection makes a lot more sense to me than
>mandatory CPSC regs such as reflectorized pedals.

Who and how many people would this help? In talking about public
policy, you've got to ask what is the benefit and what is the cost? I
see benefit for an extremely small amount of people and cost for an
extremely large number of people. So I don't understand the point of
this suggestion.

JT

Just zis Guy, you know?
June 20th 04, 01:12 PM
On Sat, 19 Jun 2004 18:38:51 -0400, Steven Bornfeld
> wrote in message
>:

>Let me see if I get this straight. All the studies showing a benefit
>have fatal flaws; all the studies that show no benefit are well-designed.

Not necessarily.

There are, as I said, essentially two sorts of study. Small-scale
prospective studies, of which the 1989 Thompson, Rivara and Thompson
is the best-known; these show unequivocal benefit and large scale
savings in injuries. Then there are population-level studies, which
are equivocal. They show no measurable bnefit. They show lots of
confounding factors.

I have seen rebuttals of all the major pro-helmet papers. Most of
these rebuttals are valid, like the criticism of the control group in
TR&T which effectively makes the whole thing worthless. I have yet to
see any rebuttal of a population-level study. I do read everything I
can find, and I was originally strongly pro-helmet and in favour of
compulsion for children.

One of the key factors in changing my view was the fact that I had no
idea the population level studies even existed. Helmet promoters were
telling me that helmets save 85% of head injuries and 88% of brain
injuries, stated as fact, but then I found that even the original
authors had revised these estimates downwards, and that the figures
were well known to be unreliable. It's like the business of WMD: as
the lies start to be exposed, you have to question whether there is
any basis of truth at all.

Actually the real position is probably that helmets prevent most
trivial injuries and very few serious ones. There is a probably
narrow band of cases where helmets may turn a serious injury ionto a
minor injury, but risk compensation also means that there is another
band of cases where the crash would not have happened in the first
place had the rider not been wearing a helmet. So overall there are
solid reasons why, at the population level, where only serious and
fatal injuries are counted, there would be no visible effect; while at
the detail level, where all injuries are counted, some effect may be
seen.

All that, I have no problem with.

I do have a problem with helmet promotion which igniores the
distinction between different kinds of crash and different kinds of
injury. The idea that because a helmet saves a cut head it will
necessarily prevent massive brain trauma when hit by a pseeding truck
is laughable, but by using a single figure for injury reductions that
is exactly what the promoters are trying to imply.

I also have a problem with the excessive focus on helmets. In the
minds of the medical and legislative communities, wearing a helmet
seems to be viewed as the first, best thing a cyclist can do to ensure
their safety. There is no credible evidence to support that
prioritisation. The only thing which I can think of which has been
proved everywhere to omprove safety, is more people cycling. So if
you want cycling to be safer, you have to promote cycling (and good
cycling skills, obviously). Promoting helmets requires that you build
the perception of cycling as a hazardous activity, which works against
that goal.

>The studies I saw cited are all retrospective studies. I believe it is
>possible that somewhere a paper may have been published that confuses
>percentages for percentage points. It is hard to believe this happened
>multiple times in referreed journals.

There are recognisable flaws with many of the key papers. You can
find some good critiques at http://www.cyclehelmets.org and
http://www.cycle-helmets.com and other places too.

>Let me be clear--I am not an expert in safety data nor in epidemiology.
> But I am up to my eyeballs in newsgroup pundits (in unrelated fields)
>making patently ridiculous claims about the body of evidence in fields
>in which I do have expertise. It is impossible for me to evaluate
>helmet data for myself, nor have I found it prudent to believe folks
>such as yourself who may very well have that expertise.

OK, but some of us are not your garden-variety newsgroup pundits.
Some of those who post have actually done research. I have analysed
UK child hospital admissions returns and found that there is no
significant difference in the proportion of head injuries suffered by
road cyclists and pedestrians, despite helemt wearing rates only
around 15%. That doesn't suggest to me that cycling is especially
dangerous. I work with John Franklin, probably the UK's leading cycle
safety expert, and I've talked to the people who test helemts against
the standards. It was they who told me that modern helmets are far
weaker than those in the TR&T study, and that many helmets fil the
tests anyway.

These guys have shown me that scepticism is not a contrarian view.
That's the point. We are no anti-helemt, we are anti-FUD. Someone is
trying to sell you an expensive product; the manyufacturers can't say
it will save you if you are hit by a car because they know damn well
it won't, so they fund studies and they fund groups like Safe Kids and
they get someone else who won't get sued when you die to tell you that
helmets are a magic panacea to all cycling injuries.

>One hopes that people in position of authority choose carefully in whom
>they listen to when policy is made.

If only. The UK's Department of Transport currently bases its policy
on an "independent review" written by a team of people all of whom
work together, and several of whom have published papers calling for
helmet compulsion. No sceptic was included in the review body. Some
factual errors have since been removed, but it remains a dogma-driven
document written by those promoting helmets.

There are three sides, you see: pro-helmet, anti-helmet and sceptic.
Most cyclists who have read all the facts become sceptics: they make
up their own minds and think others should also be allowed to do so.
Newbies tend to be pro-helmet, until they realise that their
pro-helmet view is largely the result of not being given all the
facts. The number of anti-helemt people is very small. And I'n not
one of them. See my website if you are in any doubt of that.

That, of course, is a fundamental problem. Any agnostic who argues
with a True Believer will end up sounding like an atheist, even though
they are not.

>See, I'm going to have to look up that paper. It is very, very
>difficult for me to believe that NEJM would publish a paper with a flaw
>that blatant.

Sure. Just as it is hard to believe that the percentage points
problem would have got past the peer review process. But what you
have to remember is that these guys are looking for helmets to work.
When I was training as an engineer i was told to guard against that.
The idea of an experiment is to test a hypothesis, not to find data to
support it. You're supposed to try to disprove, not prove, your
initial premise. In this case the researchers (funded, unless I've
been misinformed, by the Snell Insititue) had already decided on the
outcome before they started.

Anyway, if you have trouble getting a copy, let me known and I'll send
you a PDF. I can also give you John Franklin's comments on it.

>> The fact that head injury rates have risen by 40% in the USA in a
>> period when helmet use rose from 18% to 50% surely tells us something.

>Are we talking about cycling head injuries, or total head injuries?

Cycling.

>> As does the fact that the pro-helmet British government has admitted
>> that it knows of no case where cyclist safety has improved with
>> increasing helmet use.

>I'd love to hear some context.

It was a letter from the road safety minister to an MP, in response to
a question about whether the Government would be supporting a bill to
compel children to wear cycle helmets, which had been introduced as a
Private Member's Bill. There's a commentary on the process here:

<url:http://www.chapmancentral.co.uk/web/public.nsf/Documents/martlew_bill>

In order to get the Member concerned to move the Bill, the propsers (a
singl;e-issue pressure group) provided a lot of statistics like
"28,000 cycling-related head injuries annually" (which turned out to
be 1,200), and compulsion representing "20,000 tragedies saved every
year" (which turned out to be 500 known serious injuries, almost all
sustained in crashes with motor vehicles).

I return to my earlier point: if the case were that clear-cut, why is
it necessary to exaggerate the figures?

The pressure group also got one grieving mother to travel to London to
promote the Bill, having told her that her child would have lived had
he been forced to wear a helmet (which, of course, you can't prove;
his injury sounds as if it could have been caused by rotational forces
which helmets can't mitigate). So I read the Coroner's report. He
had ridden off the footway into the path of a car because his bike had
defective brakes. Footway riding and riding a bike with defective
brakes are already offences. So why is this a case for comlsory
helemt use, rather than enforcement of existing regulations? And why
should we believe that a teenage boy already breaking two laws would
obey a third? And in any case, telling the mother that if only there
had been a law to compel helmet use her child would be alive today is
a heartless and cynical piece of manipulation.

>>>It is certainly understandable to me that racers who'd become
>>>accustomed to the wind in their hair would object to the "intrusion" of
>>>the insurance companies. Certainly there had been no studies back then
>>>demonstrating the uselessness of helmets in preventing serious injuries,
>>>but those I spoke to (some of whom you undoubtedly know personally) were
>>>just as opposed to mandated helmets as you are now.

>> That was not, in my opinion, an actuarial judgement; there was not
>> enough data to go on at the time. Quite why a device designed for a
>> crash at around 12mph should be mandated for racing is an interesting
>> philosophical question.

>Actually in this area you have a point. It was a decision made for the
>USCF by whichever insurance carrier was willing to write the liability
>policy. Far be it from me to tell you their decisions are made on the
>basis of good, rational data. ;-)

Just so. Actuarial data relies on long-term trends and large data
sets. In this case it looks more like a kneejerk reaction to asingle
incident. As those who follow pro racing know only too well, the
mandatory use of helmets has not stopped racing cyclists from dying of
head injuries. The numbers are in any case too small for robust
statistical comparisons to be made.

>> Only about 10% of cyclist injuries are to the area covered by the
>> helmet and many (possibly most) cyclists who die of head injury also
>> have other mortal injuries. Most fatal cyclist injuries are of course
>> sustained in crashes involving motor vehicles: it is motor traffic,
>> not cycling, which is dangerous.

>Statistically you are right of course. But we are talking about
>cycling; we might have much more to talk about were this a political or
>automotive ng. But I know of several folks who have suffered head
>injury, a couple of which were life-threatening (prolonged coma and
>permanent neurological damage) without the benefit of motor vehicles.

Sure, but the fact remains that the risk of serious head injury is
(roughly an order of magnitude, according to my figures) higher where
a motor vehicle is involved. Although there is a risk there of
falling into the trap of the compulsion zealots (most of whom seem not
to be cyclists) and bundling all cycling together under a single
heading. That would be like considering a walk in the park and
free-climbing under a single heading. I know one guy who will never
walk again following a bike crash, it was probably caused by wheel
ejection due to his disc brakes. Some people do mad downhilling.
Others ride along traffic-free bike trails. Cycling is a broad
church.

I have crashed my bike and hit my head, and I've crashed and not hit
my head. I know two veterans who had similar crashes, the one wearing
the helmet died and the other survived, both the result of hitting
potholes in the road, no car involved. Life is one giant crapshoot,
after all. In the end, though, the evidence suggests that cycling is
not an unusually dangerous activity.

>> The biggest problem with helmet promotion is that it reinforces the
>> perception of cycling as dangeorus without teaching any of the
>> techniques which reduce the danger. In doing so, it actively deters
>> cycling, which paradoxically /increases/ risk.

>Clarification please: are you talking about relative risk to the rider,
>or total risk to the population?

Sound question.

An individual cyclist can reduce the risk to themselves by using good
riding techniques (e.g. Effective Cycling). "Cyclist hit by turnign
goods vehicle" is nasty, often leading to fatal crushing injuries of
the torso. The solutionis simple and obvious: don't ride up the
inside of trucks and buses. If you are going to pass in a traffic
line, do so on the outside, ensure that the driver is not signalling
before you start, be aware that they swing round corners and that the
trailer of a semi cuts in, make sure the driver can see you (if yo
can't see his mirrors, he can't see you). All of which sounds
blindingly obvious, but you'd be amazed at how many cyclists have a
lightbulb moment when you tell them this. There are lots of other
simple techniques and bits of knowledge which help cyclists coexist
more safely with motor traffic. So, the general answer is: for the
individual.

Also, risk to the individual rider is lower where more people cycle.
Cycling also brings health benefits which offset some of the external
risks imposed on the cyclist by motorists, so a regular utility
cyclist will enjoy a lifespan two years or more longer than average
(Mayer Hillman puts the benefits as outweighing the risks by 20:1).

In terms of the general population, mode switching to cycling has huge
potential benefits. Crashes involving cyclist v cyclist or cyclist v
pedestrian are very rarely fatal or even serious.

>> My objections to helmet compulsion are not libertarian, but
>> evidence-based. We have the experience of laws in Australia, New
>> Zealand and Canada to draw on. In no case did injury rates reduce.
>> In every case cycling was deterred.

>As long as this is not libertarian, and allowing that proper bicycle
>maintenance and effective cycling are more important to cyclist safety,
>what would your feelings be about:
>1) Mandatory licensing of cyclists (as per motor vehicles)
>2) Mandatory minimum age for cyclists on public streets and roads
>3) Mandatory registration of bicycles and periodic bicycle inspections

All of these have been suggested at various times. They all share one
of the fundamental weaknesses of helmet compulsion, in that they deter
cycling. Almost no restriction is going to affect me, riding 5,000
miles per year or more and with an investment of around $10,000 in
bikes. The rider who has an x-Mart bike and is prompted by a "get off
your ass!" promotion to try riding to the corner shop for his
newspaper will be faced with either going out and getitng a whole load
of expensive training and licenses; breaking the law; or driving
(again). You can guess which is going to win.

There are other reasons, too. For example: most adults already have a
car driver's license. For example: we don't require pedestrians or
horse-riders to be licensed. Licensing is a requirement which applies
to motor vehicles as a response to the extraordinary levels of danger
they impose on others. They have the potential to go very fast, and
they weigh a lot. In an exchange of knietic energy, the final
velocity of pedestrian plus car is indistinguishable form the velocity
of the car beforehand. Massive accelerations cause massive damage.
Bikes are small, light, and relatively slow. So there is not
sufficient concern to justify a licensing scheme. I am absolutely in
favour of voluntary schemes, and schemes run by schools and councils.

Minimum age? Well, where would you put that? My ten-year-old can
ride safely on the roads here, he has already passed Cycling
Proficiency and he's ridden day rides of 50 miles or more with groups.
He doesn't get to ride on some roads because they might require
evasive techniques he's not learned yet, and because they require too
much concentration. His friend of the same age is not allowed on the
road on his own because he has no road sense yet. Most parents should
be smart enough to realise when their child will be safe on the road,
and those who aren't will be placing their child in danger in other
ways too.

Registration and inspection? The deterrent effect, of course, plus
the fact that it would be virtually unenforceable. I would make bike
repairs free fo any local sales taxes, encourage "Dr. Bike" schemes
with free inspections at schools and community centres. I'd even have
beat cops tag bikes which are obviously unsafe. But the danger is
principally to the rider. The danger of a defective car is to those
around the driver.

It's a bit like Russian roulette. With cycling you have five empty
chambers and the gun is pointing at your head. With driving you have
six loaded guns, only one of which is pointed at you, and pull one
trigger at random.

>> But of course, these are unwelcome messages. When you compare child
>> head injury rates for road crashes you find that pedestrians and
>> cyclists have around the same proportion of head injuries, and
>> pedestrian injuries are much more numerous (the risk levels in
>> off-road cycling for children are an order of magnitude lower). Any
>> justification of cycle helmet promotion applies to a much greater
>> extent to walking helmets. And even more so for car occupants, whose
>> fatality rate from head injuries is much greater.

>Another clarification please: The head injury rates for cyclists vs.
>pedestrians vs. auto passengers are for 1) Mile traveled
>2)total number in population 3) hour spent in activity

These are the proportions of all admissions which are due to head
injury. So, if you have a bike crash, you are not markedly more
likely to suffer head injury than if you are hit as a pedestrian.

The risk levels comparison: 10% of cycling is on road, 90% off road.
Slightly over 50% of admissions are due to road traffic crashes,
slightly under half due to crashes with no motor vehicle involved.
Allowing for a small number of simple falls in road riding, the risks
are, to a first approximation, an order of magnitude higher for road
riding.

>I think that making the auto industry the focus in this discussion in
>very much the same way makes it too easy to absolve ourselves of
>responsibility in this issue.

The thing is, though, at the moment the entire focus is on us.
Looking at the figures, that's not going to work. Apart from anything
else, the same motor risks affect pedestrians, and the number of
pedestrians killed and injured is very much higher than the number of
cyclists (5-10 times in the UK). Of course motor drivers should not
be the sole focus of attention. But right now they are not the focus
of /any/ attention in the cycle safety debate. That is what needs ot
change.

>if we wish to appear to be "doing something",
>it is not enough to fault those who think helmet laws will save us; we
>must have the courage (and the political clout) to do something that
>WILL be meaningful.

Trust me, I am doing far more than bashing the Liddites. My point is,
really, that it is not sufficient for motorists to come along and say
it's all my own fault for not wearing a helmet when they knock me off
my bike. It's been tried by several insurers in the UK, and in each
case thus far they have failed, but that is in part due to work done
by our CTC (largest cycling club) who have set up a Cyclists' Defence
Fund to fight such cases. There is a debate to be had on cycle
safety, and the helemt issue is merely drawing attention away from it.
Actually I'm composing a letter on that issue at present:

<url:http://www.chapmancentral.co.uk/web/public.nsf/Documents/IP>

Anyway, I can see that you have started to question the orthodox view
on helmets, wich is a good thing. Whether you conclude that you
personally should or should not wear a helemt, I can't say; and
actually I think that's up to you anyway. I think you will probably
come to agree (if you don't already) that helmet compulsion is an
essentially facile solution, an experiment which has failed wherever
it's been tried. It is time to move on to the real issues, as
discussed above.

Guy
--
May contain traces of irony. Contents liable to settle after posting.
http://www.chapmancentral.co.uk

88% of helmet statistics are made up, 65% of them at Washington University

Just zis Guy, you know?
June 20th 04, 01:21 PM
On Sat, 19 Jun 2004 23:34:30 GMT, "Shayne Wissler"
> wrote in message
<[email protected]_s02>:

>Casual observation would imply the opposite. Helmets are more slippery than
>skin,

Er, not quite. That only really applies to hard shell helmets.

>and they have a larger radius than the skull.

Correct. This amplifies rotational forces.

>Also, the helmet is not
>as tightly coupled to the head as the skin is

Incorrect. A correctly fitted helmet will not rotate on the head.

Guy
--
May contain traces of irony. Contents liable to settle after posting.
http://www.chapmancentral.co.uk

88% of helmet statistics are made up, 65% of them at Washington University

Just zis Guy, you know?
June 20th 04, 01:22 PM
On Sat, 19 Jun 2004 23:43:18 GMT, "Shayne Wissler"
> wrote in message
<[email protected]_s02>:

>> Dayum, Shane! No one ever thought of this clever insult before!

>Gee, I guess when someone had thought of something before, then it must not
>be worth saying, eh?

In this case it wasn't worth saying in the first place, of course...

Guy
--
May contain traces of irony. Contents liable to settle after posting.
http://www.chapmancentral.co.uk

88% of helmet statistics are made up, 65% of them at Washington University

Steven Bornfeld
June 20th 04, 03:23 PM
John Forrest Tomlinson wrote:
> On Sat, 19 Jun 2004 22:31:00 -0400, Steven Bornfeld
> > wrote:
>
>
>> Mandatory inspection makes a lot more sense to me than
>>mandatory CPSC regs such as reflectorized pedals.
>
>
> Who and how many people would this help? In talking about public
> policy, you've got to ask what is the benefit and what is the cost? I
> see benefit for an extremely small amount of people and cost for an
> extremely large number of people. So I don't understand the point of
> this suggestion.
>
> JT

I don't know the answer to this. One might think that self-interest
would make automobile inspections unnecessary as well--maybe you agree.
But if you don't, I do not see a fundamental difference in principle.

Steve

>

Shayne Wissler
June 20th 04, 04:11 PM
"Just zis Guy, you know?" > wrote in message
...
> On Sat, 19 Jun 2004 23:34:30 GMT, "Shayne Wissler"
> > wrote in message
> <[email protected]_s02>:
>
> >Casual observation would imply the opposite. Helmets are more slippery
than
> >skin,
>
> Er, not quite. That only really applies to hard shell helmets.

If you say so.

> >and they have a larger radius than the skull.
>
> Correct. This amplifies rotational forces.

The rate of rotation is diminished with the larger radii. And it's the
acceleration to that rate that matters not the torque.

> >Also, the helmet is not
> >as tightly coupled to the head as the skin is
>
> Incorrect. A correctly fitted helmet will not rotate on the head.

I wasn't talking about the helmet spinning freely here, I'm talking about a
small rotation on impact. Surely you don't fasten your helmet to your head
with epoxy?


Shayne Wissler

Bill Z.
June 20th 04, 04:25 PM
"Just zis Guy, you know?" > writes:

> On Sat, 19 Jun 2004 23:34:30 GMT, "Shayne Wissler"
> > wrote in message
> <[email protected]_s02>:
>
Some of the following is yet more grasping at straws and more
repetition of arguments that were shot down a decade ago.

> >Casual observation would imply the opposite. Helmets are more slippery than
> >skin,
>
> Er, not quite. That only really applies to hard shell helmets.
>
> >and they have a larger radius than the skull.
>
> Correct. This amplifies rotational forces.

The increased moment arm does not produce a major change, but as a
result of the added material, you get better protection against an
impact and protection against abrasion (which causes unslightly road
rash to the head.) Until a 'road-rash look' comes into style, you
might want temporary head hair removal left to your barber.

> >Also, the helmet is not
> >as tightly coupled to the head as the skin is
>
> Incorrect. A correctly fitted helmet will not rotate on the head.

A correctly fitted helmet will rotate slightly. It is not
glued in place.

--
My real name backwards: nemuaZ lliB

Frank Krygowski
June 20th 04, 04:59 PM
Shayne Wissler wrote:

> "VC" > wrote in message
> om...
>
>>"Shayne Wissler" > wrote in message
>
> news:<[email protected]_s01>...
>
> <snip of implication that helmets may increase risk of rotational brain
> injury>
>
>>Not everything is what it seems to be. A helmet may indeed not be so
>>good for your health.
>
>
> Nice imagination, but do you have any actual reason to believe that helmets
> increase the rotational forces involved?
>
> Casual observation would imply the opposite. Helmets are more slippery than
> skin...

I doubt that bike helmets are more slippery than skin - or, more
properly, skin covered with a good layer of hair. It's been my guess
that human evolution left hair on the head partly for that reason - to
reduce the effect of a glancing blow (whether in accident or on combat).

When the hair alone can't handle it, the scalp is pretty easily torn,
exposing the well-lubricated scalp layers - a messy but effective second
line of defense.

No-shell bike helmets were taken off the market when it was claimed they
grabbed the asphalt. The microshells that are now popular don't look
very convincing to me. I'd think they would conform to, and lock to,
asphalt roughness. Perhaps not... but AFAIK, they haven't been tested
for this. Certainly the standards don't address it.

> ... and they have a larger radius than the skull.

This causes two effects, one probably beneficial, one probably
detrimental. On the good side, the speed of the glancing surface
corresponds to less angular velocity. On the down side, the increased
moment arm means increased torque to cause angular acceleration.
Perhaps the effect is a more rapid acceleration for a shorter period of
time - but again, it hasn't been tested, AFAIK, and it's not addressed
in the standard.

> Also, the helmet is not
> as tightly coupled to the head as the skin is...

Well, tight straps are demanded by the helmet promoters, and it seems to
me the coupling is enough to induce some serious angular acceleration.
Scalp skin seems (deliberately?) loose. But again: no testing, no
standard.

> ... and if the helmet got a large
> impulse of rotational force from a localized postion on the helmet, it would
> tend to be ripped apart, damping the force.

That could certainly help. I wish there were testing or a standard that
addressed it precisely.

But it's interesting - if this is really what saves a person from
excessive angular acceleration of the brain, then helmet proponents may
need a new song. Instead of "My helmet broke, so it saved my life!!!!"
they may need to say "Thank God my helmet broke, so it didn't kill
me!!!"

--
--------------------+
Frank Krygowski [To reply, remove rodent and vegetable dot com,
replace with cc.ysu dot edu]

Shayne Wissler
June 20th 04, 05:04 PM
"Frank Krygowski" > wrote in message
...

> > Casual observation would imply the opposite. Helmets are more slippery
than
> > skin...
>
> I doubt that bike helmets are more slippery than skin - or, more
> properly, skin covered with a good layer of hair. It's been my guess
> that human evolution left hair on the head partly for that reason - to
> reduce the effect of a glancing blow (whether in accident or on combat).

It's far more biologically plausible to speculate that the hair is for looks
or for protection from the sun or both.

<snip>

> Perhaps not... but AFAIK, they haven't been tested
> for this. Certainly the standards don't address it.

The helmet research I've seen so far is junk--it focuses on population
statistics not physics, and is motivated to social change not truth.

If researchers really cared about the truth of the matter, they would take
some of this casual analysis and more and begin formulating good models for
this so they'd have more to go by than mere emergency room statistics, and
also have a means of specifying better helmets. Maybe the manufacturers do
this, I don't know.


Shayne Wissler

Frank Krygowski
June 20th 04, 05:18 PM
Bill Z. wrote:

> Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS > writes:
>
>> As for actually calculating the quantitative saving of lives,
>>this is always more complicated than it seems.
>
> Except that "saving lives" isn't the issue - ... The real question is the
> extent to which helmets reduce injuries.

IIRC, every helmet promotion I've ever encountered has talked about
saving lives. If that's not the issue, someone needs to inform the
"safety industry."

And regarding injuries - did you ever read that 1996 paper by Scuffham,
that detected no difference in serious injuries?

> If they reduce them enough
> to pay for the cost of the helmet through reductions in the cost of
> treating an injury, the thing will pay for itself.

"An Economic Evaluation of the Mandatory Bicycle Helmet Legislation in
Western Australia" by Hendrie, Legge et. al. found that the Australian
helmet law almost certainly did not pay for itself.

> BTW, in terms of mandating them, the real argument against doing that
> is the wide spread in annual mileage. I know people who ride many
> thousands of miles each year and others whose yearly mileage rarely
> exceeds 5 or 10 miles. Do you require a helmet for a person who
> rides such short distances? We are talking, after all about a
> factor of a 1000 in annual mileage.

This is a good point. A helmet is more likely to be of value to a high
mileage cyclist than to a neighborhood cruiser - although IMO it's not a
"must" for any but the most extreme cyclists.

Still, the helmet promoters don't agree. They tend to say "Wear a
helmet for EVERY ride," or [quoting from the biggest helmet-promotion
site:] "The Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute supports carefully drawn
mandatory helmet laws covering all age groups..."

Of course, "carefully drawn" intends no exceptions for low mileage!

Got a bike you ride five miles per year? Gotta buy a helmet!!!!

--
--------------------+
Frank Krygowski [To reply, remove rodent and vegetable dot com,
replace with cc.ysu dot edu]

Just zis Guy, you know?
June 20th 04, 05:25 PM
On Sun, 20 Jun 2004 10:23:42 -0400, Steven Bornfeld
> wrote in message
>:

>One might think that self-interest
>would make automobile inspections unnecessary as well--maybe you agree.
>But if you don't, I do not see a fundamental difference in principle.

IIRC, automobile inspections were the result of concerns over the
damage done to others by inadequately maintained cars. The cost to
society of a single car with no brakes can be huge.

In the UK it started because large numbers of pre-war vehicles were
still on the roads in dangerously unroadworthy condition even into the
early 1960s. The test originally covered vehicles over ten years old,
which was subsequently reduced to three years. As Michael Flanders
once put it: "there's even been some talk of having them tested before
they leave the factory."

Guy
--
May contain traces of irony. Contents liable to settle after posting.
http://www.chapmancentral.co.uk

88% of helmet statistics are made up, 65% of them at Washington University

Just zis Guy, you know?
June 20th 04, 05:36 PM
On Sun, 20 Jun 2004 15:11:21 GMT, "Shayne Wissler"
> wrote in message
<tO[email protected]_s53>:

>> >Casual observation would imply the opposite. Helmets are more slippery
>> >than skin,
>> Er, not quite. That only really applies to hard shell helmets.
>If you say so.

I don't, actually - the comment was made to me by someone who tests
bicycle helmets for a living.

>> >and they have a larger radius than the skull.
>> Correct. This amplifies rotational forces.

>The rate of rotation is diminished with the larger radii. And it's the
>acceleration to that rate that matters not the torque.

The increased radius can result in a force which turns the head
against the restraint of the neck muscles, where no rotation woudl
occur had the increased radius been absent.

>> >Also, the helmet is not
>> >as tightly coupled to the head as the skin is

>> Incorrect. A correctly fitted helmet will not rotate on the head.

>I wasn't talking about the helmet spinning freely here, I'm talking about a
>small rotation on impact. Surely you don't fasten your helmet to your head
>with epoxy?

The scalp also rotates over the skull. And these days I mostly don't
fasten my helmet to my head: the only crash I've had in recent years I
hit the ground butt first from a height of 15".

But hey, I don't intend to argue about this any more because frankly I
don't know whether helmets make rotational injuries worse, or do
nothing on balance (far the most likely, in my view) or make them
better (how?) - as far as I can see nobody is actually researching
this. I don't know why. Maybe it's because all the research dollars
are still tied up in failed attempts to duplicate TR&T (hint: just
compare two completely different groups, that does it).

All I know is that whenever anybody even suggests that helmets /may/
make rotational injuries worse, they get shouted down but no actual
evidence is produced. On either side. Only comments to the effect
that it needs further investigation, a position with which I entirely
agree.

Guy
--
May contain traces of irony. Contents liable to settle after posting.
http://www.chapmancentral.co.uk

88% of helmet statistics are made up, 65% of them at Washington University

Just zis Guy, you know?
June 20th 04, 05:39 PM
On Sun, 20 Jun 2004 16:04:19 GMT, "Shayne Wissler"
> wrote in message
<[email protected]_s51>:

>The helmet research I've seen so far is junk--it focuses on population
>statistics not physics, and is motivated to social change not truth.

For varying values of "junk" - small scale prospectiuve studies are
certainly prone to error, but whole population evidence is harder to
ignore. That's what proved the link between smoking and cancer.

>If researchers really cared about the truth of the matter, they would take
>some of this casual analysis and more and begin formulating good models for
>this so they'd have more to go by than mere emergency room statistics, and
>also have a means of specifying better helmets. Maybe the manufacturers do
>this, I don't know.

The manufacturers don't care a damn as far as I can tell. They have
pushed through lower standards and it's almost impossible to find a
helmet made to Snell B95.

Guy
--
May contain traces of irony. Contents liable to settle after posting.
http://www.chapmancentral.co.uk

88% of helmet statistics are made up, 65% of them at Washington University

Frank Krygowski
June 20th 04, 06:02 PM
Shayne Wissler wrote:

> The helmet research I've seen so far is junk--it focuses on population
> statistics not physics, and is motivated to social change not truth.
>
> If researchers really cared about the truth of the matter, they would take
> some of this casual analysis and more and begin formulating good models for
> this so they'd have more to go by than mere emergency room statistics, and
> also have a means of specifying better helmets. Maybe the manufacturers do
> this, I don't know.

I seriously doubt the manufacturers do anything that won't improve their
bottom line!

Of course, they can improve their bottom line by giving money to Snell,
which can give money to Safe Kids Inc. and various lobbyists, who can
lobby legislators to mandate their products, whether or not they work!

But manufacturers charge over $150 for gossamer-thin racing helmets that
have significantly less impact protection than average bike helmets,
while still (barely) passing the test standards.

Clearly, they're not in the protection business; they're in the business
of selling helmets.


--
--------------------+
Frank Krygowski [To reply, remove rodent and vegetable dot com,
replace with cc.ysu dot edu]

Shayne Wissler
June 20th 04, 06:13 PM
"Just zis Guy, you know?" > wrote in message
...
> On Sun, 20 Jun 2004 16:04:19 GMT, "Shayne Wissler"
> > wrote in message
> <[email protected]_s51>:
>
> >The helmet research I've seen so far is junk--it focuses on population
> >statistics not physics, and is motivated to social change not truth.
>
> For varying values of "junk" - small scale prospectiuve studies are
> certainly prone to error, but whole population evidence is harder to
> ignore. That's what proved the link between smoking and cancer.

It's not the same thing. Different helmet designs are going to have
different effects. Those statistics completely ignore that factor. And
people who wear helmets might be more cautious anyway, or less skillful,
which would distort the statistic one way or the other. Without a
cause-effect analysis, the statistics--on both sides of the argument--are
worthless junk. With the social agenda bias in either direction they should
be ignored.

> >If researchers really cared about the truth of the matter, they would
take
> >some of this casual analysis and more and begin formulating good models
for
> >this so they'd have more to go by than mere emergency room statistics,
and
> >also have a means of specifying better helmets. Maybe the manufacturers
do
> >this, I don't know.
>
> The manufacturers don't care a damn as far as I can tell. They have
> pushed through lower standards and it's almost impossible to find a
> helmet made to Snell B95.

Snell B95 isn't the standard. The right standard is a good physical model
built from causal analysis and experiment.

Most manufacturers probably make what they think they can sell instead of
making the best they can create. Since the public is largely uncritical and
apathetic to real science, and many businessmen are cynical and deaf to the
better part of the public (which I think can be successfully appealed to),
some or all of the manufacturers may not bother with the verifiable and
instead come up with designs that are good enough to make a buck off of or
that are pretty or mainly designed for comfort--the aspects of design that
most people can relate to.

If I'm being overly harsh then point me to the manufacturer who has a good
research paper published on this topic.


Shayne Wissler

Shayne Wissler
June 20th 04, 06:17 PM
"Frank Krygowski" > wrote in message
...
> Shayne Wissler wrote:
>
> > The helmet research I've seen so far is junk--it focuses on population
> > statistics not physics, and is motivated to social change not truth.
> >
> > If researchers really cared about the truth of the matter, they would
take
> > some of this casual analysis and more and begin formulating good models
for
> > this so they'd have more to go by than mere emergency room statistics,
and
> > also have a means of specifying better helmets. Maybe the manufacturers
do
> > this, I don't know.
>
> I seriously doubt the manufacturers do anything that won't improve their
> bottom line!
>
> Of course, they can improve their bottom line by giving money to Snell,
> which can give money to Safe Kids Inc. and various lobbyists, who can
> lobby legislators to mandate their products, whether or not they work!

A good example of how the current form of government distorts what should be
a free market.

> But manufacturers charge over $150 for gossamer-thin racing helmets that
> have significantly less impact protection than average bike helmets,
> while still (barely) passing the test standards.
>
> Clearly, they're not in the protection business; they're in the business
> of selling helmets.

Assuming a free market, it would be in a helmet manufacturers best interest
to be in the business of both, for the same reasons. In the current
mixed-economy it still makes sense for a helmet manufacturer to be
principally concerned with the performance of the helmet and to let profits
flow from that--it's the only honest way, and it in fact still could lead to
becoming a market leader.


Shayne Wissler

Just zis Guy, you know?
June 20th 04, 06:22 PM
On Sun, 20 Jun 2004 17:13:03 GMT, "Shayne Wissler"
> wrote in message
<[email protected]_s53>:

>> For varying values of "junk" - small scale prospectiuve studies are
>> certainly prone to error, but whole population evidence is harder to
>> ignore. That's what proved the link between smoking and cancer.

>It's not the same thing. Different helmet designs are going to have
>different effects. Those statistics completely ignore that factor. And
>people who wear helmets might be more cautious anyway, or less skillful,
>which would distort the statistic one way or the other. Without a
>cause-effect analysis, the statistics--on both sides of the argument--are
>worthless junk. With the social agenda bias in either direction they should
>be ignored.

For varying values of "worthless" :-D

Fundamentally, we agree: the science at present is poor. It lumps
riding round the park with extreme downhill and trundling to the
corner shop with RAAM. The only thing I can see from the
whole-population stats is that focusing on helmets is probably a wste
of time, since risk lowest where helmet use is lowest and highest
where helemt use is highest, so helmets don't seem to be a good
candidate if you want to find the best thing to make cycling safer.

Numbers cycling, on the other hand, correlates well with improving
safety. I don't suggest that the relationship is necessarily causal,
but there are plausible mechanisms by which it could be. I think
promoting cycling is a much better bet if you want to improve safety.
But then, I'm a cyclist - I would say that, woudln't I?

>> The manufacturers don't care a damn as far as I can tell. They have
>> pushed through lower standards and it's almost impossible to find a
>> helmet made to Snell B95.

>Snell B95 isn't the standard. The right standard is a good physical model
>built from causal analysis and experiment.

True enough. There isn't one. Snell is nearer that than EN1078 or
CPSC certification though.

>Most manufacturers probably make what they think they can sell instead of
>making the best they can create. Since the public is largely uncritical and
>apathetic to real science, and many businessmen are cynical and deaf to the
>better part of the public (which I think can be successfully appealed to),
>some or all of the manufacturers may not bother with the verifiable and
>instead come up with designs that are good enough to make a buck off of or
>that are pretty or mainly designed for comfort--the aspects of design that
>most people can relate to.

I entirely agree.

>If I'm being overly harsh then point me to the manufacturer who has a good
>research paper published on this topic.

Bell fund the Safe Kids campaign - does that count? Thought not.

Guy
--
May contain traces of irony. Contents liable to settle after posting.
http://www.chapmancentral.co.uk

88% of helmet statistics are made up, 65% of them at Washington University

Just zis Guy, you know?
June 20th 04, 06:35 PM
On Sun, 20 Jun 2004 17:17:39 GMT, "Shayne Wissler"
> wrote in message
<[email protected]_s01>:

>Assuming a free market, it would be in a helmet manufacturers best interest
>to be in the business of both, for the same reasons. In the current
>mixed-economy it still makes sense for a helmet manufacturer to be
>principally concerned with the performance of the helmet and to let profits
>flow from that--it's the only honest way, and it in fact still could lead to
>becoming a market leader.

Why bother when you can use dodgy statistics and emotional blackmail
to coerce the government into mandating the existing, flawed product?

Guy
--
May contain traces of irony. Contents liable to settle after posting.
http://www.chapmancentral.co.uk

88% of helmet statistics are made up, 65% of them at Washington University

Shayne Wissler
June 20th 04, 06:47 PM
"Just zis Guy, you know?" > wrote in message
...
> On Sun, 20 Jun 2004 17:17:39 GMT, "Shayne Wissler"
> > wrote in message
> <[email protected]_s01>:
>
> >Assuming a free market, it would be in a helmet manufacturers best
interest
> >to be in the business of both, for the same reasons. In the current
> >mixed-economy it still makes sense for a helmet manufacturer to be
> >principally concerned with the performance of the helmet and to let
profits
> >flow from that--it's the only honest way, and it in fact still could lead
to
> >becoming a market leader.
>
> Why bother when you can use dodgy statistics and emotional blackmail
> to coerce the government into mandating the existing, flawed product?

Because it's a whole lot more fun and rewarding to create a great product
and succeed because of its merits than it is to invent schemes for tricking
people into giving you their money.


Shayne Wissler

Just zis Guy, you know?
June 20th 04, 08:07 PM
On Sun, 20 Jun 2004 17:47:32 GMT, "Shayne Wissler"
> wrote in message
<[email protected]_s54>:

>> Why bother when you can use dodgy statistics and emotional blackmail
>> to coerce the government into mandating the existing, flawed product?

>Because it's a whole lot more fun and rewarding to create a great product
>and succeed because of its merits than it is to invent schemes for tricking
>people into giving you their money.

That only works for niche manufacturers like recumbent makers. For
Bell the shareholders don't give a damn about fun, they just want
their money. That's one of the reasons I generally support small
businesses when I have the option - they are much closer to their
customers and much more likely to be motivated by genuine enthusiasm
for the product.

Guy
--
May contain traces of irony. Contents liable to settle after posting.
http://www.chapmancentral.co.uk

88% of helmet statistics are made up, 65% of them at Washington University

John Forrest Tomlinson
June 20th 04, 08:20 PM
On Sun, 20 Jun 2004 10:23:42 -0400, Steven Bornfeld
> wrote:

>
>
>John Forrest Tomlinson wrote:
>> On Sat, 19 Jun 2004 22:31:00 -0400, Steven Bornfeld
>> > wrote:
>>
>>
>>> Mandatory inspection makes a lot more sense to me than
>>>mandatory CPSC regs such as reflectorized pedals.
>>
>>
>> Who and how many people would this help? In talking about public
>> policy, you've got to ask what is the benefit and what is the cost? I
>> see benefit for an extremely small amount of people and cost for an
>> extremely large number of people. So I don't understand the point of
>> this suggestion.
>>
>> JT
>
> I don't know the answer to this. One might think that self-interest
>would make automobile inspections unnecessary as well--maybe you agree.
> But if you don't, I do not see a fundamental difference in principle.

The difference is that there are huge numbers of people injured in
automoblies and by automobiles every year in the US. Unsafe autos are
a threat not only to the dirivers but to other road users, pedestrians
etc. There is a big cost to society by injuries caused by autos. And
there is also the issue of potential for more pollution by uninspected
autos.

Is there a big problem in the US with accidents to riders of
uninspected bikes? Is there a big problem for other road users caused
by uninspected bikes? I don't think so, but if there is, then what
you suggest makes sense. If not, think of the high costs and low
benefit.

JT

Steven Bornfeld
June 20th 04, 10:14 PM
Just zis Guy, you know? wrote:
> On Sat, 19 Jun 2004 18:38:51 -0400, Steven Bornfeld
> > wrote in message
> >:
>
>
>>Let me see if I get this straight. All the studies showing a benefit
>>have fatal flaws; all the studies that show no benefit are well-designed.
>
>
> Not necessarily.
>
> There are, as I said, essentially two sorts of study. Small-scale
> prospective studies, of which the 1989 Thompson, Rivara and Thompson
> is the best-known; these show unequivocal benefit and large scale
> savings in injuries. Then there are population-level studies, which
> are equivocal. They show no measurable bnefit. They show lots of
> confounding factors.
>
> I have seen rebuttals of all the major pro-helmet papers. Most of
> these rebuttals are valid, like the criticism of the control group in
> TR&T which effectively makes the whole thing worthless. I have yet to
> see any rebuttal of a population-level study. I do read everything I
> can find, and I was originally strongly pro-helmet and in favour of
> compulsion for children.
>
> One of the key factors in changing my view was the fact that I had no
> idea the population level studies even existed. Helmet promoters were
> telling me that helmets save 85% of head injuries and 88% of brain
> injuries, stated as fact, but then I found that even the original
> authors had revised these estimates downwards, and that the figures
> were well known to be unreliable. It's like the business of WMD: as
> the lies start to be exposed, you have to question whether there is
> any basis of truth at all.

Well, this is a different issue. I am concerned with whether the
safety studies are flawed. Intent is not an insignificant issue, but
I'm not really concerned with that for the purposes of this discussion.
Certainly if these studies were funded by the helmet manufacturers it
casts things in a different light.


>
> Actually the real position is probably that helmets prevent most
> trivial injuries and very few serious ones. There is a probably
> narrow band of cases where helmets may turn a serious injury ionto a
> minor injury, but risk compensation also means that there is another
> band of cases where the crash would not have happened in the first
> place had the rider not been wearing a helmet.


This is something that the anti-helmet partisans continue to repeat,
and I'm not sure what you mean by this. I am inclined to think you're
saying that folks feeling relatively protected will engage in riskier
behavior. I think this is speculative; the same argument the right uses
in this country to attack dispensing of condoms. I've seen plenty of
risky behavior from both helmeted and non-helmeted riders. Of course
this is anecdotal, but I doubt anyone would seriously contend that
people drive more recklessly because they are wearing seat belts.

So overall there are
> solid reasons why, at the population level, where only serious and
> fatal injuries are counted, there would be no visible effect; while at
> the detail level, where all injuries are counted, some effect may be
> seen.
>
> All that, I have no problem with.
>
> I do have a problem with helmet promotion which igniores the
> distinction between different kinds of crash and different kinds of
> injury. The idea that because a helmet saves a cut head it will
> necessarily prevent massive brain trauma when hit by a pseeding truck
> is laughable, but by using a single figure for injury reductions that
> is exactly what the promoters are trying to imply.

I don't doubt that this is done; I personally don't know anyone that
cycles who buys that position though.

>
> I also have a problem with the excessive focus on helmets. In the
> minds of the medical and legislative communities, wearing a helmet
> seems to be viewed as the first, best thing a cyclist can do to ensure
> their safety. There is no credible evidence to support that
> prioritisation. The only thing which I can think of which has been
> proved everywhere to omprove safety, is more people cycling. So if
> you want cycling to be safer, you have to promote cycling (and good
> cycling skills, obviously). Promoting helmets requires that you build
> the perception of cycling as a hazardous activity, which works against
> that goal.


Again, I think that safety measures in general should promote a healthy
respect for the dangers implicit in any given activity. I would view
effective cycling instruction in the same way. For that matter, one
must demonstrate competence before being licensed to drive a motor
vehicle. In spite of this training many drive with a blatant disregard
to the real dangers.
I feel you are almost certainly right about effective cycling
instruction being more important to safety. For that matter, at least
here in the states a very large proportion of those wearing helmets wear
them incorrectly. One wonders how different the population studies
would be were riders fit properly with helmets.
Another issue is cultural; in the UK, and in Europe and most of the
rest of the world, the bicycle is seen as a legitimate means of
transportation. In the U.S. it is overwhelmingly still seen as a toy.
As a consequence of this, very few cyclists--even those who bicycle for
legitimate transportation follow even basic transportation regulations.
(As an aside, while on a bicycle tour I once rode through a red
traffic signal in London--a transgression for which I was vigorously
chastised by several pedestrians. I didn't do it again.) I assume that
the way increased cycling will improve safety is first that there are
less motor vehicles on the road. Furthermore, I would assume that once
cycling reaches a certain critical mass it will have a political
constituency to effect changes in access, motor vehicle regulations etc.
to improve conditions for cyclists. In the U.S. unfortunately this is a
pipe dream. The only thing I see encouraging increased bicycle use is a
severe and sustained shortage of gasoline.

>
>
>>The studies I saw cited are all retrospective studies. I believe it is
>>possible that somewhere a paper may have been published that confuses
>>percentages for percentage points. It is hard to believe this happened
>>multiple times in referreed journals.
>
>
> There are recognisable flaws with many of the key papers. You can
> find some good critiques at http://www.cyclehelmets.org and
> http://www.cycle-helmets.com and other places too.
>
>
>>Let me be clear--I am not an expert in safety data nor in epidemiology.
>>But I am up to my eyeballs in newsgroup pundits (in unrelated fields)
>>making patently ridiculous claims about the body of evidence in fields
>>in which I do have expertise. It is impossible for me to evaluate
>>helmet data for myself, nor have I found it prudent to believe folks
>>such as yourself who may very well have that expertise.
>
>
> OK, but some of us are not your garden-variety newsgroup pundits.
> Some of those who post have actually done research. I have analysed
> UK child hospital admissions returns and found that there is no
> significant difference in the proportion of head injuries suffered by
> road cyclists and pedestrians, despite helemt wearing rates only
> around 15%.

Again, I must ask if this pertains to total number of incidents,
proportion of head injuries among total injuries, head injuries per unit
time, etc. This is a complicated issue; I trust that you have looked at
the design of the studies as apparently some of the journals have not.

That doesn't suggest to me that cycling is especially
> dangerous. I work with John Franklin, probably the UK's leading cycle
> safety expert, and I've talked to the people who test helemts against
> the standards. It was they who told me that modern helmets are far
> weaker than those in the TR&T study, and that many helmets fil the
> tests anyway.
>
> These guys have shown me that scepticism is not a contrarian view.
> That's the point. We are no anti-helemt, we are anti-FUD.

Help me out here--this may be a UK expression--what is FUD? And why
would you not be anti-helmet if the evidence is that they aren't useful
in protecting against serious injury?


Someone is
> trying to sell you an expensive product; the manyufacturers can't say
> it will save you if you are hit by a car because they know damn well
> it won't, so they fund studies and they fund groups like Safe Kids and
> they get someone else who won't get sued when you die to tell you that
> helmets are a magic panacea to all cycling injuries.
>
>
>>One hopes that people in position of authority choose carefully in whom
>>they listen to when policy is made.
>
>
> If only. The UK's Department of Transport currently bases its policy
> on an "independent review" written by a team of people all of whom
> work together, and several of whom have published papers calling for
> helmet compulsion. No sceptic was included in the review body. Some
> factual errors have since been removed, but it remains a dogma-driven
> document written by those promoting helmets.
>
> There are three sides, you see: pro-helmet, anti-helmet and sceptic.
> Most cyclists who have read all the facts become sceptics: they make
> up their own minds and think others should also be allowed to do so.
> Newbies tend to be pro-helmet, until they realise that their
> pro-helmet view is largely the result of not being given all the
> facts. The number of anti-helemt people is very small. And I'n not
> one of them. See my website if you are in any doubt of that.
>
> That, of course, is a fundamental problem. Any agnostic who argues
> with a True Believer will end up sounding like an atheist, even though
> they are not.

This of course is true. But unlike religion, this one should be easy
to determine if the will is there.

>
>
>>See, I'm going to have to look up that paper. It is very, very
>>difficult for me to believe that NEJM would publish a paper with a flaw
>>that blatant.
>
>
> Sure. Just as it is hard to believe that the percentage points
> problem would have got past the peer review process. But what you
> have to remember is that these guys are looking for helmets to work.
> When I was training as an engineer i was told to guard against that.
> The idea of an experiment is to test a hypothesis, not to find data to
> support it. You're supposed to try to disprove, not prove, your
> initial premise. In this case the researchers (funded, unless I've
> been misinformed, by the Snell Insititue) had already decided on the
> outcome before they started.


Well, sure. That's the way it is supposed to be. But drug trials are
not conducted by folks looking for the drugs not to work. Of course,
one cannot do a double-blind study on this. But this is a very serious
charge against the NEJM, and I would have expected to hear about it.

>
> Anyway, if you have trouble getting a copy, let me known and I'll send
> you a PDF. I can also give you John Franklin's comments on it.

If you have the study at hand, I'd love to get it (just remove nospam
from my address).

>
>
>>>The fact that head injury rates have risen by 40% in the USA in a
>>>period when helmet use rose from 18% to 50% surely tells us something.
>>
>
>>Are we talking about cycling head injuries, or total head injuries?
>
>
> Cycling.
>
>
>>>As does the fact that the pro-helmet British government has admitted
>>>that it knows of no case where cyclist safety has improved with
>>>increasing helmet use.
>>
>
>>I'd love to hear some context.
>
>
> It was a letter from the road safety minister to an MP, in response to
> a question about whether the Government would be supporting a bill to
> compel children to wear cycle helmets, which had been introduced as a
> Private Member's Bill. There's a commentary on the process here:
>
> <url:http://www.chapmancentral.co.uk/web/public.nsf/Documents/martlew_bill>
>
> In order to get the Member concerned to move the Bill, the propsers (a
> singl;e-issue pressure group) provided a lot of statistics like
> "28,000 cycling-related head injuries annually" (which turned out to
> be 1,200), and compulsion representing "20,000 tragedies saved every
> year" (which turned out to be 500 known serious injuries, almost all
> sustained in crashes with motor vehicles).
>
> I return to my earlier point: if the case were that clear-cut, why is
> it necessary to exaggerate the figures?
>
> The pressure group also got one grieving mother to travel to London to
> promote the Bill, having told her that her child would have lived had
> he been forced to wear a helmet (which, of course, you can't prove;
> his injury sounds as if it could have been caused by rotational forces
> which helmets can't mitigate). So I read the Coroner's report. He
> had ridden off the footway into the path of a car because his bike had
> defective brakes. Footway riding and riding a bike with defective
> brakes are already offences. So why is this a case for comlsory
> helemt use, rather than enforcement of existing regulations? And why
> should we believe that a teenage boy already breaking two laws would
> obey a third? And in any case, telling the mother that if only there
> had been a law to compel helmet use her child would be alive today is
> a heartless and cynical piece of manipulation.


This was in the UK? This is business as usual in the U.S.

>
>
>>>>It is certainly understandable to me that racers who'd become
>>>>accustomed to the wind in their hair would object to the "intrusion" of
>>>>the insurance companies. Certainly there had been no studies back then
>>>>demonstrating the uselessness of helmets in preventing serious injuries,
>>>>but those I spoke to (some of whom you undoubtedly know personally) were
>>>>just as opposed to mandated helmets as you are now.
>>>
>
>>>That was not, in my opinion, an actuarial judgement; there was not
>>>enough data to go on at the time. Quite why a device designed for a
>>>crash at around 12mph should be mandated for racing is an interesting
>>>philosophical question.
>>
>
>>Actually in this area you have a point. It was a decision made for the
>>USCF by whichever insurance carrier was willing to write the liability
>>policy. Far be it from me to tell you their decisions are made on the
>>basis of good, rational data. ;-)
>
>
> Just so. Actuarial data relies on long-term trends and large data
> sets. In this case it looks more like a kneejerk reaction to asingle
> incident. As those who follow pro racing know only too well, the
> mandatory use of helmets has not stopped racing cyclists from dying of
> head injuries. The numbers are in any case too small for robust
> statistical comparisons to be made.


It was, IIRC, not based upon any one incident. The USOC had lost all
of its liability coverage; the racing season was delayed while another
policy could be found. This one was hammered out de novo.

>
>
>>>Only about 10% of cyclist injuries are to the area covered by the
>>>helmet and many (possibly most) cyclists who die of head injury also
>>>have other mortal injuries. Most fatal cyclist injuries are of course
>>>sustained in crashes involving motor vehicles: it is motor traffic,
>>>not cycling, which is dangerous.

Come on! That's a little like saying driving a car isn't
dangerous--it's those darned OTHER drivers who keep crashing into me! ;-)

>>
>
>>Statistically you are right of course. But we are talking about
>>cycling; we might have much more to talk about were this a political or
>>automotive ng. But I know of several folks who have suffered head
>>injury, a couple of which were life-threatening (prolonged coma and
>>permanent neurological damage) without the benefit of motor vehicles.
>
>
> Sure, but the fact remains that the risk of serious head injury is
> (roughly an order of magnitude, according to my figures) higher where
> a motor vehicle is involved. Although there is a risk there of
> falling into the trap of the compulsion zealots (most of whom seem not
> to be cyclists) and bundling all cycling together under a single
> heading. That would be like considering a walk in the park and
> free-climbing under a single heading. I know one guy who will never
> walk again following a bike crash, it was probably caused by wheel
> ejection due to his disc brakes. Some people do mad downhilling.
> Others ride along traffic-free bike trails. Cycling is a broad
> church.
>
> I have crashed my bike and hit my head, and I've crashed and not hit
> my head. I know two veterans who had similar crashes, the one wearing
> the helmet died and the other survived, both the result of hitting
> potholes in the road, no car involved. Life is one giant crapshoot,
> after all. In the end, though, the evidence suggests that cycling is
> not an unusually dangerous activity.

Well, as you say, there's cycling, and then there's cycling. I made a
decision after a serious crash in my first year racing that I was
finished. It's a bargain you make with yourself--I won't race again and
THEN I'll be safe. I was not spared a head injury by my helmet, but I
probably saved myself having my eyes cut up by the broken glass I fell into.

>
>
>>>The biggest problem with helmet promotion is that it reinforces the
>>>perception of cycling as dangeorus without teaching any of the
>>>techniques which reduce the danger. In doing so, it actively deters
>>>cycling, which paradoxically /increases/ risk.
>>
>
>>Clarification please: are you talking about relative risk to the rider,
>>or total risk to the population?
>
>
> Sound question.
>
> An individual cyclist can reduce the risk to themselves by using good
> riding techniques (e.g. Effective Cycling). "Cyclist hit by turnign
> goods vehicle" is nasty, often leading to fatal crushing injuries of
> the torso. The solutionis simple and obvious: don't ride up the
> inside of trucks and buses. If you are going to pass in a traffic
> line, do so on the outside, ensure that the driver is not signalling
> before you start, be aware that they swing round corners and that the
> trailer of a semi cuts in, make sure the driver can see you (if yo
> can't see his mirrors, he can't see you). All of which sounds
> blindingly obvious, but you'd be amazed at how many cyclists have a
> lightbulb moment when you tell them this. There are lots of other
> simple techniques and bits of knowledge which help cyclists coexist
> more safely with motor traffic. So, the general answer is: for the
> individual.
>
> Also, risk to the individual rider is lower where more people cycle.
> Cycling also brings health benefits which offset some of the external
> risks imposed on the cyclist by motorists, so a regular utility
> cyclist will enjoy a lifespan two years or more longer than average
> (Mayer Hillman puts the benefits as outweighing the risks by 20:1).


Now, this is likewise the kind of statistic that bothers me. I am
assuming that you are speaking of cardiovascular risk. OK. But the
choice should not be cycling vs. couch potato. I have never seen a
study actually pretend to predict life extension based on a particular
volume of cardiovascular exercise anyway. However, for those who cycle
for fitness instead of purely for transportation (as I do) one cannot
assume that someone who stops cycling will do no other aerobic exercise.
There are other confounding factors, such as that those who bicycle or
do other forms of aerobic exercise are less likely to smoke. I have
seen studies that attempt to correct for this, but they are mostly fantasy.

>
> In terms of the general population, mode switching to cycling has huge
> potential benefits. Crashes involving cyclist v cyclist or cyclist v
> pedestrian are very rarely fatal or even serious.
>
>
>>>My objections to helmet compulsion are not libertarian, but
>>>evidence-based. We have the experience of laws in Australia, New
>>>Zealand and Canada to draw on. In no case did injury rates reduce.
>>>In every case cycling was deterred.
>>
>
>>As long as this is not libertarian, and allowing that proper bicycle
>>maintenance and effective cycling are more important to cyclist safety,
>>what would your feelings be about:
>>1) Mandatory licensing of cyclists (as per motor vehicles)
>>2) Mandatory minimum age for cyclists on public streets and roads
>>3) Mandatory registration of bicycles and periodic bicycle inspections
>
>
> All of these have been suggested at various times. They all share one
> of the fundamental weaknesses of helmet compulsion, in that they deter
> cycling. Almost no restriction is going to affect me, riding 5,000
> miles per year or more and with an investment of around $10,000 in
> bikes. The rider who has an x-Mart bike and is prompted by a "get off
> your ass!" promotion to try riding to the corner shop for his
> newspaper will be faced with either going out and getitng a whole load
> of expensive training and licenses; breaking the law; or driving
> (again). You can guess which is going to win.
>
> There are other reasons, too. For example: most adults already have a
> car driver's license. For example: we don't require pedestrians or
> horse-riders to be licensed. Licensing is a requirement which applies
> to motor vehicles as a response to the extraordinary levels of danger
> they impose on others. They have the potential to go very fast, and
> they weigh a lot. In an exchange of knietic energy, the final
> velocity of pedestrian plus car is indistinguishable form the velocity
> of the car beforehand. Massive accelerations cause massive damage.
> Bikes are small, light, and relatively slow. So there is not
> sufficient concern to justify a licensing scheme. I am absolutely in
> favour of voluntary schemes, and schemes run by schools and councils.
>
> Minimum age? Well, where would you put that? My ten-year-old can
> ride safely on the roads here, he has already passed Cycling
> Proficiency and he's ridden day rides of 50 miles or more with groups.
> He doesn't get to ride on some roads because they might require
> evasive techniques he's not learned yet, and because they require too
> much concentration. His friend of the same age is not allowed on the
> road on his own because he has no road sense yet. Most parents should
> be smart enough to realise when their child will be safe on the road,
> and those who aren't will be placing their child in danger in other
> ways too.
>
> Registration and inspection? The deterrent effect, of course, plus
> the fact that it would be virtually unenforceable. I would make bike
> repairs free fo any local sales taxes, encourage "Dr. Bike" schemes
> with free inspections at schools and community centres. I'd even have
> beat cops tag bikes which are obviously unsafe. But the danger is
> principally to the rider. The danger of a defective car is to those
> around the driver.
>
> It's a bit like Russian roulette. With cycling you have five empty
> chambers and the gun is pointing at your head. With driving you have
> six loaded guns, only one of which is pointed at you, and pull one
> trigger at random.
>
>
>>>But of course, these are unwelcome messages. When you compare child
>>>head injury rates for road crashes you find that pedestrians and
>>>cyclists have around the same proportion of head injuries, and
>>>pedestrian injuries are much more numerous (the risk levels in
>>>off-road cycling for children are an order of magnitude lower). Any
>>>justification of cycle helmet promotion applies to a much greater
>>>extent to walking helmets. And even more so for car occupants, whose
>>>fatality rate from head injuries is much greater.
>>
>
>>Another clarification please: The head injury rates for cyclists vs.
>>pedestrians vs. auto passengers are for 1) Mile traveled
>>2)total number in population 3) hour spent in activity
>
>
> These are the proportions of all admissions which are due to head
> injury. So, if you have a bike crash, you are not markedly more
> likely to suffer head injury than if you are hit as a pedestrian.

This assumes that the total number of person-hours spent cycling is
roughly equivalent to the total number of person-hours spent as a
pedestrian.

>
> The risk levels comparison: 10% of cycling is on road, 90% off road.


This is a simply amazing statistic. In the U.S. even most mountain
bikes are never ridden off road.


> Slightly over 50% of admissions are due to road traffic crashes,
> slightly under half due to crashes with no motor vehicle involved.
> Allowing for a small number of simple falls in road riding, the risks
> are, to a first approximation, an order of magnitude higher for road
> riding.
>
>
>>I think that making the auto industry the focus in this discussion in
>>very much the same way makes it too easy to absolve ourselves of
>>responsibility in this issue.
>
>
> The thing is, though, at the moment the entire focus is on us.
> Looking at the figures, that's not going to work. Apart from anything
> else, the same motor risks affect pedestrians, and the number of
> pedestrians killed and injured is very much higher than the number of
> cyclists (5-10 times in the UK). Of course motor drivers should not
> be the sole focus of attention. But right now they are not the focus
> of /any/ attention in the cycle safety debate. That is what needs ot
> change.


So what would you change? As you've pointed out, cars are heavily
regulated because of the greater danger. The industry is more powerful
economically and politically. So what would be the focus of improving
bicycle safety vis a vis automobiles?

>
>
>>if we wish to appear to be "doing something",
>>it is not enough to fault those who think helmet laws will save us; we
>>must have the courage (and the political clout) to do something that
>>WILL be meaningful.
>
>
> Trust me, I am doing far more than bashing the Liddites. My point is,
> really, that it is not sufficient for motorists to come along and say
> it's all my own fault for not wearing a helmet when they knock me off
> my bike. It's been tried by several insurers in the UK, and in each
> case thus far they have failed, but that is in part due to work done
> by our CTC (largest cycling club) who have set up a Cyclists' Defence
> Fund to fight such cases. There is a debate to be had on cycle
> safety, and the helemt issue is merely drawing attention away from it.
> Actually I'm composing a letter on that issue at present:
>
> <url:http://www.chapmancentral.co.uk/web/public.nsf/Documents/IP>
>
> Anyway, I can see that you have started to question the orthodox view
> on helmets, wich is a good thing. Whether you conclude that you
> personally should or should not wear a helemt, I can't say; and
> actually I think that's up to you anyway. I think you will probably
> come to agree (if you don't already) that helmet compulsion is an
> essentially facile solution, an experiment which has failed wherever
> it's been tried. It is time to move on to the real issues, as
> discussed above.
>
> Guy

Thanks for your interesting and thorough discussion. This is obviously
an important issue for you. The issue of helmet mandates is frankly
unimportant to me. What is important is the truth regarding helmets and
bicycle safety, for myself and my family. As someone who has been
permanently injured in crashes I'm sure it is something on which we both
can agree

Best,
Steve

Steven Bornfeld
June 20th 04, 10:20 PM
Frank Krygowski wrote:
> Shayne Wissler wrote:
>
>> "VC" > wrote in message
>> om...
>>
>>> "Shayne Wissler" > wrote in message
>>
>>
>> news:<[email protected]_s01>...
>>
>> <snip of implication that helmets may increase risk of rotational brain
>> injury>
>>
>>> Not everything is what it seems to be. A helmet may indeed not be so
>>> good for your health.
>>
>>
>>
>> Nice imagination, but do you have any actual reason to believe that
>> helmets
>> increase the rotational forces involved?
>>
>> Casual observation would imply the opposite. Helmets are more slippery
>> than
>> skin...
>
>
> I doubt that bike helmets are more slippery than skin - or, more
> properly, skin covered with a good layer of hair. It's been my guess
> that human evolution left hair on the head partly for that reason - to
> reduce the effect of a glancing blow (whether in accident or on combat).
>
> When the hair alone can't handle it, the scalp is pretty easily torn,
> exposing the well-lubricated scalp layers - a messy but effective second
> line of defense.

Scalp injuries can be very risky, esp. if down to the gallea
aponeurotica--there are pretty wide-open venous communications with the
brain.

Steve

>
> No-shell bike helmets were taken off the market when it was claimed they
> grabbed the asphalt. The microshells that are now popular don't look
> very convincing to me. I'd think they would conform to, and lock to,
> asphalt roughness. Perhaps not... but AFAIK, they haven't been tested
> for this. Certainly the standards don't address it.
>
>> ... and they have a larger radius than the skull.
>
>
> This causes two effects, one probably beneficial, one probably
> detrimental. On the good side, the speed of the glancing surface
> corresponds to less angular velocity. On the down side, the increased
> moment arm means increased torque to cause angular acceleration. Perhaps
> the effect is a more rapid acceleration for a shorter period of time -
> but again, it hasn't been tested, AFAIK, and it's not addressed in the
> standard.
>
> > Also, the helmet is not
>
>> as tightly coupled to the head as the skin is...
>
>
> Well, tight straps are demanded by the helmet promoters, and it seems to
> me the coupling is enough to induce some serious angular acceleration.
> Scalp skin seems (deliberately?) loose. But again: no testing, no
> standard.
>
>> ... and if the helmet got a large
>> impulse of rotational force from a localized postion on the helmet, it
>> would
>> tend to be ripped apart, damping the force.
>
>
> That could certainly help. I wish there were testing or a standard that
> addressed it precisely.
>
> But it's interesting - if this is really what saves a person from
> excessive angular acceleration of the brain, then helmet proponents may
> need a new song. Instead of "My helmet broke, so it saved my life!!!!"
> they may need to say "Thank God my helmet broke, so it didn't kill me!!!"
>

Steven Bornfeld
June 20th 04, 10:31 PM
John Forrest Tomlinson wrote:
> On Sun, 20 Jun 2004 10:23:42 -0400, Steven Bornfeld
> > wrote:
>
>
>>
>>John Forrest Tomlinson wrote:
>>
>>>On Sat, 19 Jun 2004 22:31:00 -0400, Steven Bornfeld
> wrote:
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>>Mandatory inspection makes a lot more sense to me than
>>>>mandatory CPSC regs such as reflectorized pedals.
>>>
>>>
>>>Who and how many people would this help? In talking about public
>>>policy, you've got to ask what is the benefit and what is the cost? I
>>>see benefit for an extremely small amount of people and cost for an
>>>extremely large number of people. So I don't understand the point of
>>>this suggestion.
>>>
>>>JT
>>
>> I don't know the answer to this. One might think that self-interest
>>would make automobile inspections unnecessary as well--maybe you agree.
>> But if you don't, I do not see a fundamental difference in principle.
>
>
> The difference is that there are huge numbers of people injured in
> automoblies and by automobiles every year in the US. Unsafe autos are
> a threat not only to the dirivers but to other road users, pedestrians
> etc. There is a big cost to society by injuries caused by autos. And
> there is also the issue of potential for more pollution by uninspected
> autos.
>
> Is there a big problem in the US with accidents to riders of
> uninspected bikes? Is there a big problem for other road users caused
> by uninspected bikes? I don't think so, but if there is, then what
> you suggest makes sense. If not, think of the high costs and low
> benefit.
>
> JT


Protection coming out of the factory is not the responsibility of the
CPSC. Do they do an adequate job? Is the only criterion the amount of
damage the vehicle could do for others?
I don't have the answers--just thinking.

Steve

Mitch Haley
June 20th 04, 10:57 PM
Steven Bornfeld wrote:
> <snippage>
> This is something that the anti-helmet partisans continue to repeat...

Doesn't this seem a wee bit pejorative to you?


To expect risk compensation to show up on occasion in cyclists when
you have advertising campaigns like Bell's "Courage for your head"
doesn't seem farfetched to me.

"Risk compensation" is a pretty well recognized phenomenon.
It's rational conduct, provided you have an accurate way to gauge
the reduction in risk. If you place excessive value on a safety
device, your decisions will be sub-optimal.

If you put an airbag in the steering wheel, drivers will slightly
raise their borderline when deciding if a risky move is worth
taking. If you replace the airbag with a large steel spike and
remove the seat belts, they will either refuse to drive the car or
will drive it with extreme caution. They would be compensating
for the greatly increased consequences of a crash by attempting to
greatly reduce the probability of a crash.

Let's say you read in the newspaper that helmeted riding is 1/14th
as dangerous as unhelmeted riding, and have no reason to disbelieve
it. Wouldn't you be more willing to ride a bicycle with the helmet
than without it? You might think it too dangerous to ride to the
grocery store without the helmet, but if you could reduce the risk
by 93% by wearing a helmet, you just might use the bike to fetch
that gallon of milk. That's risk compensation.

Mitch.

Steven Bornfeld
June 20th 04, 11:03 PM
Mitch Haley wrote:
> Steven Bornfeld wrote:
>
>><snippage>
>>This is something that the anti-helmet partisans continue to repeat...
>
>
> Doesn't this seem a wee bit pejorative to you?
>
>
> To expect risk compensation to show up on occasion in cyclists when
> you have advertising campaigns like Bell's "Courage for your head"
> doesn't seem farfetched to me.
>
> "Risk compensation" is a pretty well recognized phenomenon.
> It's rational conduct, provided you have an accurate way to gauge
> the reduction in risk. If you place excessive value on a safety
> device, your decisions will be sub-optimal.
>
> If you put an airbag in the steering wheel, drivers will slightly
> raise their borderline when deciding if a risky move is worth
> taking. If you replace the airbag with a large steel spike and
> remove the seat belts, they will either refuse to drive the car or
> will drive it with extreme caution. They would be compensating
> for the greatly increased consequences of a crash by attempting to
> greatly reduce the probability of a crash.
>
> Let's say you read in the newspaper that helmeted riding is 1/14th
> as dangerous as unhelmeted riding, and have no reason to disbelieve
> it. Wouldn't you be more willing to ride a bicycle with the helmet
> than without it? You might think it too dangerous to ride to the
> grocery store without the helmet, but if you could reduce the risk
> by 93% by wearing a helmet, you just might use the bike to fetch
> that gallon of milk. That's risk compensation.
>
> Mitch.

I can't speak for you. No, I think that I am significantly risk averse
that if I can keep my risk to a minimum I will. Of course if one is
already engaging in an activity which is obviously risky (say downhill
racing) it is possible that someone who otherwise might not engage in
the activity could feel sufficiently protected to consider it where
otherwise he/she would not. But I doubt that anyone afraid to bicycle
to the corner grocery for milk will be emboldened by a helmet.
But if you are going to posit this as an actual phenomenon, you should
be able to demonstrate it. That wouldn't be very easy to do.

Steve

John Forrest Tomlinson
June 20th 04, 11:13 PM
On Sun, 20 Jun 2004 17:31:22 -0400, Steven Bornfeld
> wrote:


>
> Protection coming out of the factory is not the responsibility of the
>CPSC. Do they do an adequate job? Is the only criterion the amount of
>damage the vehicle could do for others?
> I don't have the answers--just thinking.

Think about this -- if for some reason you think it's important to
somehow protect cyclists with mandatory inspections and rules, why
don't you also consider the dozens or hundres of other activities that
are at least as dangerous and suggest intervention in them too. Of the
top of my head I suggest looking into wearing helmets on buses and
trains, more inspection of food in restaurants for sharp objects, more
acitive inspection of sidewalks, inspections of high-heel shoes (or
perhaps licensing) to deal with hurt ankles. These are other things
that will certainly help a few people who might be injured, right?

JT.

Steven Bornfeld
June 20th 04, 11:35 PM
John Forrest Tomlinson wrote:
> On Sun, 20 Jun 2004 17:31:22 -0400, Steven Bornfeld
> > wrote:
>
>
>
>> Protection coming out of the factory is not the responsibility of the
>>CPSC. Do they do an adequate job? Is the only criterion the amount of
>>damage the vehicle could do for others?
>> I don't have the answers--just thinking.
>
>
> Think about this -- if for some reason you think it's important to
> somehow protect cyclists with mandatory inspections and rules, why
> don't you also consider the dozens or hundres of other activities that
> are at least as dangerous and suggest intervention in them too. Of the
> top of my head I suggest looking into wearing helmets on buses and
> trains, more inspection of food in restaurants for sharp objects, more
> acitive inspection of sidewalks, inspections of high-heel shoes (or
> perhaps licensing) to deal with hurt ankles. These are other things
> that will certainly help a few people who might be injured, right?
>
> JT.

Not to be facetious--some of these are already being done, with mixed
results. Certainly you know the sorry history of the inspectors for the
NYC Depts. of Health and the buildings department.
What you are saying is that cycling is not significantly risky, and if
this is your belief you are certainly right to believe regulation is
unnecessary. But if you agree (as I do) that cycling is not taken
seriously in this city and country, is this an issue to you? And if it
is, what do you think could change this?

Steve

Snoopy
June 21st 04, 12:06 AM
On Sat, 19 Jun 2004 07:29:14 GMT, (Bill Z.)
wrote:

>
>I've no idea about Australia or NZ, but maybe
> the law was actually enforced there. It
>sure hasn't been where I live.
>

I live in New Zealand and have cycled here over the period during
which the helmet laws were introduced, so perhaps my observations on
this subject may be of interest.

The helmet laws are enforced sporadically. However the more usual
police attention is extended towards those cyclists not using lights.
There is usally a blitz at the start of winter. But generally the
police are overworked and understaffed so have better things to do
than slap tickets on miscreant cyclists. Nevertheless the helmet law
in NZ is well entrenched. We still get the school students wearing
them on their handlebars syndrome, but most people just accept helmet
wearing as part of cycling life. The adults that don't wear helmets
are usually those that don't obey the other road rules either.

SNOOPY




--
Join the fight against aggressive, unrepentant
spammers 'china-netcom'. E-mail me for more
details

--

Snoopy
June 21st 04, 12:06 AM
On Fri, 18 Jun 2004 23:13:44 -0700, Peter >
wrote:
>
>The 30% or so drop in ridership when surveys were done in NZ and
>Australia just before and after helmet laws went into effect would seem
>to be one good reason. I didn't keep any statistics at the schools I
>observed, but there was a similar drop.
>

I can't speak for Australia, but here in NZ there were other
socioeconomic reasons that don't get reflected in the bare statistics
that have lead to the decline of bicycle riding over the last twenty
or so years.

Twenty plus years ago there was a thriving local car assembly
industry, sustained by high tariffs on fully imported cars. These
tariffs have now gone and so has the car assembly industry with the
result that cars are now a lot cheaper to buy. Coupled with the
removal of tariffs was the arrival of built up second hand Japanese
import cars which meant that lower prices took almost no time to
trickle down through the entire car market. The motorcycle market
took the biggest hit with motorcycles becoming almost extinct. The
motorcycle helmet law preceded the push bike helmet law by several
years, so I don't think you could say the decline in motorcycle use
was in response to the introduction of a motorcycle helmet law.

Also car reliability and better rust protection has resulted in many
'old' cars being avialable as cheap reliable transport instead of the
'cheap unrelaible transport' they were before. In addition the
running costs of cars in NZ became much lower in real terms with the
relative declind in petrol prices vis a vis the late 1970s.

The early 1980s was was also a time of great deregulation in the
retail industry. Suddenly there was a lot more casual work available
with shops for the first time being allowed to open on Saturdays and
Sundays. This also co-incided with reduction in student allowances
for tertiary study and the introduction of student fees. In other
words there was greater incentive for the 'bike riding demographic' to
take up part time work and more work available for them to take up.
Many employers don't take kindly to employees arriving in a sweat with
chain grease on their skirt. Also there was the question of a tyranny
of distance between institutions of study and where the jobs are.
And many part time jobs finish late at night. With a general
perception that society is becoming 'less safe' some parents would
rather pay for their kid's car than get them to ride a bike. So
suddenly for many students the luxury of a car became a near
necessity. And yes the same can be said for senior high school
students now too.

What I have just stated in not definitive proof of anything. But I
do want to suggest that correlating cycle use with the introduction of
cycle helmet laws is not just the statistical exercise it might appear
to be.

SNOOPY






--
Join the fight against aggressive, unrepentant
spammers 'china-netcom'. E-mail me for more
details

--

Just zis Guy, you know?
June 21st 04, 12:23 AM
On Sun, 20 Jun 2004 17:14:41 -0400, Steven Bornfeld
> wrote in message
>:

>> One of the key factors in changing my view was the fact that I had no
>> idea the population level studies even existed. Helmet promoters were
>> telling me that helmets save 85% of head injuries and 88% of brain
>> injuries, stated as fact, but then I found that even the original
>> authors had revised these estimates downwards

>Well, this is a different issue. I am concerned with whether the
>safety studies are flawed. Intent is not an insignificant issue, but
>I'm not really concerned with that for the purposes of this discussion.
> Certainly if these studies were funded by the helmet manufacturers it
>casts things in a different light.

Anything with the Safe Kids logo is tainted by Bell sponsorship.

But that's not really the issue; the issue is that those who promote
helmets, don't admit that there is acontrary view. Over here
charities are not supposed to present one side of an argument as if it
were the only side, but the helmet charity do. Bell must be laghing
up their sleeve to see chairities raising money to do their sales work
for them using claims they cannot make because of laws on claims made
in advertising!

>> Actually the real position is probably that helmets prevent most
>> trivial injuries and very few serious ones. There is a probably
>> narrow band of cases where helmets may turn a serious injury ionto a
>> minor injury, but risk compensation also means that there is another
>> band of cases where the crash would not have happened in the first
>> place had the rider not been wearing a helmet.

>This is something that the anti-helmet partisans continue to repeat,

Who are the anti-helmet partisans? How many have you come across to
date? I've met maybe two people who are anti helmet. The balance are
sceptical or pro-helmet. Most pro-helmet soon become sceptical.

>and I'm not sure what you mean by this. I am inclined to think you're
>saying that folks feeling relatively protected will engage in riskier
>behavior. I think this is speculative; the same argument the right uses
>in this country to attack dispensing of condoms. I've seen plenty of
>risky behavior from both helmeted and non-helmeted riders. Of course
>this is anecdotal, but I doubt anyone would seriously contend that
>people drive more recklessly because they are wearing seat belts.

Here you are wrong: not only do people contend this, it is actually a
mainstream view. Taxi drivers in Germany and Denmark were found to
drive more aggressively in cars fitted with ABS. Drivers who did not
habitually wear seat belts were found to drive faster when persuaded
to wear seat belts. Seat belt legislation has never resulted ina
reduciton in road deaths, but it did lead to the biggest recorded
increase in pedestrian, cyclist and rear-seat passenger deaths in the
UK. The arrival in the second-hand market of the first generation of
cars with drivers' airbags has seen a sharp rise in fatalities of
front seat passengers of young male drivers.

A good book on the subject is Risk by John Adams.

>> I do have a problem with helmet promotion which igniores the
>> distinction between different kinds of crash and different kinds of
>> injury. The idea that because a helmet saves a cut head it will
>> necessarily prevent massive brain trauma when hit by a pseeding truck
>> is laughable, but by using a single figure for injury reductions that
>> is exactly what the promoters are trying to imply.

>I don't doubt that this is done; I personally don't know anyone that
>cycles who buys that position though.

If you repeatedly tell a 14-year-old that helmets prevent 85% of head
injuries and 88% of brain injuries, what will be the effect on their
riding?

>I think that safety measures in general should promote a healthy
>respect for the dangers implicit in any given activity.

But the dangers in cycling are low.

> I would view
>effective cycling instruction in the same way. For that matter, one
>must demonstrate competence before being licensed to drive a motor
>vehicle. In spite of this training many drive with a blatant disregard
>to the real dangers.

Because the danger is not to them, or at least they get all the
benefit of the aggressive driving and only part of the risk..

>I feel you are almost certainly right about effective cycling
>instruction being more important to safety. For that matter, at least
>here in the states a very large proportion of those wearing helmets wear
>them incorrectly. One wonders how different the population studies
>would be were riders fit properly with helmets.

Hard to say; since up to 96% of hemets are not worn correctly that
suggests the problem may be with the helmets not the wearers. I've
twice found people wearing the blessed things back to front!

>Another issue is cultural; in the UK, and in Europe and most of the
>rest of the world, the bicycle is seen as a legitimate means of
>transportation. In the U.S. it is overwhelmingly still seen as a toy.
>As a consequence of this, very few cyclists--even those who bicycle for
>legitimate transportation follow even basic transportation regulations.

A great reason to challenge that failing :-)

> (As an aside, while on a bicycle tour I once rode through a red
>traffic signal in London--a transgression for which I was vigorously
>chastised by several pedestrians. I didn't do it again.)

Heh! Red lights are treated as "give way" by all comers, motorised
and cycling, in London :-)

>I assume that
>the way increased cycling will improve safety is first that there are
>less motor vehicles on the road.

- drivers see more cyclists so are expecting them
- drivers are more likely to be cyclists and know how to behave around
them

>Furthermore, I would assume that once
>cycling reaches a certain critical mass it will have a political
>constituency to effect changes in access, motor vehicle regulations etc.

No, I don't think so. There's no money in it.

>> I have analysed
>> UK child hospital admissions returns and found that there is no
>> significant difference in the proportion of head injuries suffered by
>> road cyclists and pedestrians, despite helemt wearing rates only
>> around 15%.

>Again, I must ask if this pertains to total number of incidents,
>proportion of head injuries among total injuries, head injuries per unit
>time, etc. This is a complicated issue; I trust that you have looked at
>the design of the studies as apparently some of the journals have not.

That's why I stated the figures as I did. Cyclists admissions 49%
head injury, pedestrians 46% head injury, 15% helmet wearing rate.
So: cyclists and pedestrians suffer roughly the same proportion of
head injuries. The ratio is pretty much unchanged with helmet use.
By comparing the ratio you normlaise out exposure. You can do similar
calculations with severity ratios and show that the proportion of
cyclist inuries which are severe are unaffected by helmet use.

By contrast, Liddites claim "head injuries fell in Australia following
the law" which is literally true, but they fell by less than the fall
in the number of cyclists.

Look at graph 2 here: http://agbu.une.edu.au/~drobinso/bhacc.htm

>Help me out here--this may be a UK expression--what is FUD? And why
>would you not be anti-helmet if the evidence is that they aren't useful
>in protecting against serious injury?

FUD is a very American expression: Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt :-)

I am not anti helmet because I think they can prevent many
uncomfortable minor injuries. I am not against mountain bikers
wearing shin pads or elbow pads, or unicyclists wearing wrist guards.
I don't think these things should be mandated or even officially
promoted. They are there, use them if you want.

>> That, of course, is a fundamental problem. Any agnostic who argues
>> with a True Believer will end up sounding like an atheist, even though
>> they are not.

>This of course is true. But unlike religion, this one should be easy
>to determine if the will is there.

So it seems to me. When I read the balance of the evidence I
certainly came to that view :-)

>> You're supposed to try to disprove, not prove, your
>> initial premise. In this case the researchers [...] decided on the
>> outcome before they started.

>Well, sure. That's the way it is supposed to be. But drug trials are
>not conducted by folks looking for the drugs not to work. Of course,
>one cannot do a double-blind study on this. But this is a very serious
>charge against the NEJM, and I would have expected to hear about it.

It's not a particularly serious charge against them, actually; it's a
study with an error in it. It happens all the time. It is an
indictmentof their peer review process, though. But not as bad as the
Cook & Sheikh paper in Injury Prevention.

>> Actuarial data relies on long-term trends and large data
>> sets. In this case it looks more like a kneejerk reaction to asingle
>> incident. As those who follow pro racing know only too well, the
>> mandatory use of helmets has not stopped racing cyclists from dying of
>> head injuries. The numbers are in any case too small for robust
>> statistical comparisons to be made.

>It was, IIRC, not based upon any one incident. The USOC had lost all
>of its liability coverage; the racing season was delayed while another
>policy could be found. This one was hammered out de novo.

The fact remains that it was probably due more to the prejudices of
the underwriter than any sound actuarial judgement.

>>>>Only about 10% of cyclist injuries are to the area covered by the
>>>>helmet and many (possibly most) cyclists who die of head injury also
>>>>have other mortal injuries. Most fatal cyclist injuries are of course
>>>>sustained in crashes involving motor vehicles: it is motor traffic,
>>>>not cycling, which is dangerous.

>Come on! That's a little like saying driving a car isn't
>dangerous--it's those darned OTHER drivers who keep crashing into me! ;-)

Not at all. Motor traffic is responsible for 10% of child hospital
admissions in the uk but 50% of fatalities. Offroad cycling accounts
for 90% of all cycling activity but only half of hospital admissions.

Cars are dangerous to others in a way that bikes are not.

> Well, as you say, there's cycling, and then there's cycling. I made a
>decision after a serious crash in my first year racing that I was
>finished. It's a bargain you make with yourself--I won't race again and
> THEN I'll be safe. I was not spared a head injury by my helmet, but I
>probably saved myself having my eyes cut up by the broken glass I fell into.

Sure. I don't do technical downhill - too risky. I fact the kind of
riding I do it's very unlikely a helmet would ever be of benefit, not
least because I ride with my arse a foot off the ground :-)

>Now, this is likewise the kind of statistic that bothers me. I am
>assuming that you are speaking of cardiovascular risk. OK. But the
>choice should not be cycling vs. couch potato. I have never seen a
>study actually pretend to predict life extension based on a particular
>volume of cardiovascular exercise anyway. However, for those who cycle
>for fitness instead of purely for transportation (as I do) one cannot
>assume that someone who stops cycling will do no other aerobic exercise.
> There are other confounding factors, such as that those who bicycle or
>do other forms of aerobic exercise are less likely to smoke. I have
>seen studies that attempt to correct for this, but they are mostly fantasy.

Sure - but the message is sound. Cyclists live longer than average;
this would not be possible if cycling were extraordinarily dangerous.

>> These are the proportions of all admissions which are due to head
>> injury. So, if you have a bike crash, you are not markedly more
>> likely to suffer head injury than if you are hit as a pedestrian.

> This assumes that the total number of person-hours spent cycling is
>roughly equivalent to the total number of person-hours spent as a
>pedestrian.

No it doesn't, because it compares like with like. You have already
been injured: is your injury more likely to be a head injury if you
are a cyclist? Answer, not really. Are you more likely to be injured
per se as a cyclist? Probably not, inless there is a motor vehicle
involved.

>> The risk levels comparison: 10% of cycling is on road, 90% off road.
> This is a simply amazing statistic. In the U.S. even most mountain
>bikes are never ridden off road.

Includes bike paths and trails. You might be surprised :-)

>So what would you change? As you've pointed out, cars are heavily
>regulated because of the greater danger. The industry is more powerful
>economically and politically. So what would be the focus of improving
>bicycle safety vis a vis automobiles?

First, enforce traffic regulations (for all road users) inna zero
tolerance stylee. Second,make sure that quality bike training is
available for all. And third, make sure that anybody who drives badly
gets a chance to find out how the other half live as they do without
their license for a while.

> Thanks for your interesting and thorough discussion. This is obviously
>an important issue for you. The issue of helmet mandates is frankly
>unimportant to me. What is important is the truth regarding helmets and
>bicycle safety, for myself and my family. As someone who has been
>permanently injured in crashes I'm sure it is something on which we both
>can agree

It is a matter of life and death, literally. I spend between one and
two hours every weekday riding my bike on the roads, and I have kids.
I cannot afford not to take an interest :-)

Guy
--
May contain traces of irony. Contents liable to settle after posting.
http://www.chapmancentral.co.uk

88% of helmet statistics are made up, 65% of them at Washington University

Steven Bornfeld
June 21st 04, 12:26 AM
John Forrest Tomlinson wrote:
> On Sun, 20 Jun 2004 18:35:47 -0400, Steven Bornfeld
> > wrote:
>
>
>
>> Not to be facetious--some of these are already being done, with mixed
>>results. Certainly you know the sorry history of the inspectors for the
>>NYC Depts. of Health and the buildings department.
>
>
> I have no particular knowledge or opinion on that, but if you seem to
> think that public health inspections don't got well, it's strange that
> you would want to bring inspections into cycling.
>
>
>
>>What you are saying is that cycling is not significantly risky, and if
>>this is your belief you are certainly right to believe regulation is
>>unnecessary. But if you agree (as I do) that cycling is not taken
>>seriously in this city and country, is this an issue to you?
>
>
>> And if it
>>is, what do you think could change this?
>
>
> It's an issue because a focus on helmets is anti-cycling. And safety
> inspections, given a lack of any significant problem in this area is
> anti-cycling. They are actions that cost money with little benefit.
> They make people think that bikes are dangerous. They will likely
> discourage people from cycling.
>
> That's my problem with your various suggestions. Who are you trying to
> help? Why is cycling so special that it demands this sort of
> (negative attention)? What makes you believe that it is so dangerous
> or injuries are so widespread that action is needed? Particularly
> when the big dangers to cyclists are our extremely car-oriented
> society? I just don't understand what you have against cycling or
> why. Is it something about your own injury?
>
> JT

No, counselor. A simple "I don't think there's a problem here" would
have been sufficient. I never said I thought that action was needed.
I only suggested to those who opposed mandatory helmets by saying that
other measures were more important to safety that their objections had
more to do with freedom to choose than it did to the efficacy of helmets.

Steve

>

John Forrest Tomlinson
June 21st 04, 12:27 AM
On Sun, 20 Jun 2004 18:35:47 -0400, Steven Bornfeld
> wrote:


>
> Not to be facetious--some of these are already being done, with mixed
>results. Certainly you know the sorry history of the inspectors for the
>NYC Depts. of Health and the buildings department.

I have no particular knowledge or opinion on that, but if you seem to
think that public health inspections don't got well, it's strange that
you would want to bring inspections into cycling.


>What you are saying is that cycling is not significantly risky, and if
>this is your belief you are certainly right to believe regulation is
>unnecessary. But if you agree (as I do) that cycling is not taken
>seriously in this city and country, is this an issue to you?

> And if it
>is, what do you think could change this?

It's an issue because a focus on helmets is anti-cycling. And safety
inspections, given a lack of any significant problem in this area is
anti-cycling. They are actions that cost money with little benefit.
They make people think that bikes are dangerous. They will likely
discourage people from cycling.

That's my problem with your various suggestions. Who are you trying to
help? Why is cycling so special that it demands this sort of
(negative attention)? What makes you believe that it is so dangerous
or injuries are so widespread that action is needed? Particularly
when the big dangers to cyclists are our extremely car-oriented
society? I just don't understand what you have against cycling or
why. Is it something about your own injury?

JT

Pete
June 21st 04, 01:31 AM
"Frank Krygowski" > wrote

>
> IIRC, every helmet promotion I've ever encountered has talked about
> saving lives. If that's not the issue, someone needs to inform the
> "safety industry."

Except the info put out by the helmet companies. They know better.

Bell's standard user manual.
http://www.bellbikehelmets.com/main/pdf/StandardUS/Standard_US.pdf
Read the first couple of paragraphs.

Pete

Pete
June 21st 04, 01:42 AM
"Steven Bornfeld" > wrote
>
> This is something that the anti-helmet partisans continue to repeat,
> and I'm not sure what you mean by this. I am inclined to think you're
> saying that folks feeling relatively protected will engage in riskier
> behavior. I think this is speculative; the same argument the right uses
> in this country to attack dispensing of condoms. I've seen plenty of
> risky behavior from both helmeted and non-helmeted riders. Of course
> this is anecdotal, but I doubt anyone would seriously contend that
> people drive more recklessly because they are wearing seat belts.

I've heard the statement, in this newsgroup and others, several times.
Voiced various ways, but the same sentiment

[not verbatim, but close enough]
"I ride harder if I have the helmet on"
"I'm a little more careful if I don't have the helmet on"
"Cycling is just too dangerous without a helmet"
"I would never, ever, ride a bike without a helmet"

And the ever popular "Organ donor" or "Darwinism in action"

Pete

Pete
June 21st 04, 01:47 AM
"Shayne Wissler" > wrote
> >
> > Clearly, they're not in the protection business; they're in the business
> > of selling helmets.
>
> Assuming a free market, it would be in a helmet manufacturers best
interest
> to be in the business of both, for the same reasons. In the current
> mixed-economy it still makes sense for a helmet manufacturer to be
> principally concerned with the performance of the helmet and to let
profits
> flow from that--it's the only honest way, and it in fact still could lead
to
> becoming a market leader.

Performance (in a crash) doesn't really count, because there are 1) few
enough crashes to matter, and B) no design with current materials that would
actually sell.

Significant, measurable increase in protection would necessitate a
revolution in materials, or a larger helmet. The first is pie in the sky,
and the second won't sell.

Pete

Steven Bornfeld
June 21st 04, 02:28 AM
Just zis Guy, you know? wrote:
>
> Here you are wrong: not only do people contend this, it is actually a
> mainstream view. Taxi drivers in Germany and Denmark were found to
> drive more aggressively in cars fitted with ABS. Drivers who did not
> habitually wear seat belts were found to drive faster when persuaded
> to wear seat belts. Seat belt legislation has never resulted ina
> reduciton in road deaths, but it did lead to the biggest recorded
> increase in pedestrian, cyclist and rear-seat passenger deaths in the
> UK. The arrival in the second-hand market of the first generation of
> cars with drivers' airbags has seen a sharp rise in fatalities of
> front seat passengers of young male drivers.

It is very difficult to prove cause and effect in these cases, as most
of these laws were instituted in times of rapidly increasing automobile use.
I can tell you unequivocally in the area in which I have
expertise--facial injuries--that I have never seen a patient with facial
injuries following an auto accident that had been wearing a seat
belt--never.

>
>
> But the dangers in cycling are low.

This is a tough sell to me. We both know people who have died or been
seriously injured in bicycle accidents.

>
>
>>I would view
>>effective cycling instruction in the same way. For that matter, one
>>must demonstrate competence before being licensed to drive a motor
>>vehicle. In spite of this training many drive with a blatant disregard
>>to the real dangers.
>
>
> Because the danger is not to them, or at least they get all the
> benefit of the aggressive driving

(!)

and only part of the risk..
>
>
>>Another issue is cultural; in the UK, and in Europe and most of the
>>rest of the world, the bicycle is seen as a legitimate means of
>>transportation. In the U.S. it is overwhelmingly still seen as a toy.
>>As a consequence of this, very few cyclists--even those who bicycle for
>>legitimate transportation follow even basic transportation regulations.
>
>
> A great reason to challenge that failing :-)

We do what we can. I'm following the polls.

>
>
>> (As an aside, while on a bicycle tour I once rode through a red
>>traffic signal in London--a transgression for which I was vigorously
>>chastised by several pedestrians. I didn't do it again.)
>
>
> Heh! Red lights are treated as "give way" by all comers, motorised
> and cycling, in London :-)
>
>
>>I assume that
>>the way increased cycling will improve safety is first that there are
>>less motor vehicles on the road.
>
>
> - drivers see more cyclists so are expecting them
> - drivers are more likely to be cyclists and know how to behave around
> them

I can say that this is not my experience. I have been attacked more
frequently when cycling in groups than I have been cycling alone. I
have been attacked more frequently on roads where cyclists are abundant
than on roads where they are not.

>
>
>>Furthermore, I would assume that once
>>cycling reaches a certain critical mass it will have a political
>>constituency to effect changes in access, motor vehicle regulations etc.
>
>
> No, I don't think so. There's no money in it.


If the numbers are there the power and then the money will be.

>
>
>>>I have analysed
>>>UK child hospital admissions returns and found that there is no
>>>significant difference in the proportion of head injuries suffered by
>>>road cyclists and pedestrians, despite helemt wearing rates only
>>>around 15%.
>>
>
>>Again, I must ask if this pertains to total number of incidents,
>>proportion of head injuries among total injuries, head injuries per unit
>>time, etc. This is a complicated issue; I trust that you have looked at
>>the design of the studies as apparently some of the journals have not.
>
>
> That's why I stated the figures as I did. Cyclists admissions 49%
> head injury, pedestrians 46% head injury, 15% helmet wearing rate.
> So: cyclists and pedestrians suffer roughly the same proportion of
> head injuries. The ratio is pretty much unchanged with helmet use.
> By comparing the ratio you normlaise out exposure. You can do similar
> calculations with severity ratios and show that the proportion of
> cyclist inuries which are severe are unaffected by helmet use.

I'm still not understanding this. This is percentage of total
admissions? Percentage of accident admissions with head injury?

>
> By contrast, Liddites claim "head injuries fell in Australia following
> the law" which is literally true, but they fell by less than the fall
> in the number of cyclists.
>
> Look at graph 2 here: http://agbu.une.edu.au/~drobinso/bhacc.htm
>
>
>
>
>>>You're supposed to try to disprove, not prove, your
>>>initial premise. In this case the researchers [...] decided on the
>>>outcome before they started.
>>
>
>>Well, sure. That's the way it is supposed to be. But drug trials are
>>not conducted by folks looking for the drugs not to work. Of course,
>>one cannot do a double-blind study on this. But this is a very serious
>>charge against the NEJM, and I would have expected to hear about it.
>
>
> It's not a particularly serious charge against them, actually; it's a
> study with an error in it. It happens all the time. It is an
> indictmentof their peer review process, though. But not as bad as the
> Cook & Sheikh paper in Injury Prevention.

I have to disagree. If I understand the error as you state it, it is
both blatant and elementary. Any responsible editor should have seen
it. Having not seen it beforehand, in a journal of the pedigree of
NEJM, the editor should have been history. This does NOT happen all the
time, thank God.

>
>
>
>
>
>> Well, as you say, there's cycling, and then there's cycling. I made a
>>decision after a serious crash in my first year racing that I was
>>finished. It's a bargain you make with yourself--I won't race again and
>> THEN I'll be safe. I was not spared a head injury by my helmet, but I
>>probably saved myself having my eyes cut up by the broken glass I fell into.
>
>
> Sure. I don't do technical downhill - too risky. I fact the kind of
> riding I do it's very unlikely a helmet would ever be of benefit, not
> least because I ride with my arse a foot off the ground :-)
>
>
>>Now, this is likewise the kind of statistic that bothers me. I am
>>assuming that you are speaking of cardiovascular risk. OK. But the
>>choice should not be cycling vs. couch potato. I have never seen a
>>study actually pretend to predict life extension based on a particular
>>volume of cardiovascular exercise anyway. However, for those who cycle
>>for fitness instead of purely for transportation (as I do) one cannot
>>assume that someone who stops cycling will do no other aerobic exercise.
>> There are other confounding factors, such as that those who bicycle or
>>do other forms of aerobic exercise are less likely to smoke. I have
>>seen studies that attempt to correct for this, but they are mostly fantasy.
>
>
> Sure - but the message is sound. Cyclists live longer than average;
> this would not be possible if cycling were extraordinarily dangerous.


This may or may not be true. I have no reason to believe that the
cycling population is heterogeneous. I do have reason to believe that
avid cyclists (the ones most likely to enjoy a health benefit) are
considerably more affluent and get better medical care than the general
population.

>
>
>>>These are the proportions of all admissions which are due to head
>>>injury. So, if you have a bike crash, you are not markedly more
>>>likely to suffer head injury than if you are hit as a pedestrian.
>>
>
>> This assumes that the total number of person-hours spent cycling is
>>roughly equivalent to the total number of person-hours spent as a
>>pedestrian.
>
>
> No it doesn't, because it compares like with like. You have already
> been injured: is your injury more likely to be a head injury if you
> are a cyclist? Answer, not really. Are you more likely to be injured
> per se as a cyclist? Probably not, inless there is a motor vehicle
> involved.
>
>
>>>The risk levels comparison: 10% of cycling is on road, 90% off road.
>>
>> This is a simply amazing statistic. In the U.S. even most mountain
>>bikes are never ridden off road.
>
>
> Includes bike paths and trails. You might be surprised :-)


Not likely in the U.S. Bike trails are relatively rare here.
Furthermore, even roads with dedicated bicycle paths frequently carry
motor vehicles as well.

>
>
>>So what would you change? As you've pointed out, cars are heavily
>>regulated because of the greater danger. The industry is more powerful
>>economically and politically. So what would be the focus of improving
>>bicycle safety vis a vis automobiles?
>
>
> First, enforce traffic regulations (for all road users) inna zero
> tolerance stylee. Second,make sure that quality bike training is
> available for all. And third, make sure that anybody who drives badly
> gets a chance to find out how the other half live as they do without
> their license for a while.

That's a noble sentiment. I fully expect to die before seeing this though.

>
>
>> Thanks for your interesting and thorough discussion. This is obviously
>>an important issue for you. The issue of helmet mandates is frankly
>>unimportant to me. What is important is the truth regarding helmets and
>>bicycle safety, for myself and my family. As someone who has been
>>permanently injured in crashes I'm sure it is something on which we both
>>can agree
>
>
> It is a matter of life and death, literally. I spend between one and
> two hours every weekday riding my bike on the roads, and I have kids.
> I cannot afford not to take an interest :-)
>
> Guy

Hold on--I thought this was a relatively safe activity! ;-)

Steve

Frank Krygowski
June 21st 04, 02:32 AM
Snoopy *is n wrote:

>
> What I have just stated in not definitive proof of anything. But I
> do want to suggest that correlating cycle use with the introduction of
> cycle helmet laws is not just the statistical exercise it might appear
> to be.

Although they haven't been mentioned in the current thread, the best
measurements correlating reduction in cycle use and helmet laws come
from Australia.

What was seen there was a significant step drop exactly concurrent with
the introduction of the law. The counts in Victoria (IIRC) used trained
observers before and after the law, monitoring use in the same places
under the same weather conditions. Other data came from automatic
devices placed on bridges commonly crossed by cyclists.

And while correlation does not prove causation, they did do telephone
surveys asking people about their cycling. Respondents said they were
cycling less because of the law.

As I've said before, it's unreasonable to expect anything but a drop in
cycling upon imposition of a MHL. The only question is how large the
drop will be. I say this because it's certain _someone_ will say they
won't cycle if they have to wear a helmet. (Also, you'll probably have
some parents who will say "Damn, if it's _that_ dangerous, I'm not
letting you cycle at all!")

But it's hard to imagine anyone saying "Gee, now that a helmet is a
requirement, that makes me want to take up cycling."

--
--------------------+
Frank Krygowski [To reply, remove rodent and vegetable dot com,
replace with cc.ysu dot edu]

Steven Bornfeld
June 21st 04, 02:36 AM
Pete wrote:
> "Steven Bornfeld" > wrote
>
>>This is something that the anti-helmet partisans continue to repeat,
>>and I'm not sure what you mean by this. I am inclined to think you're
>>saying that folks feeling relatively protected will engage in riskier
>>behavior. I think this is speculative; the same argument the right uses
>>in this country to attack dispensing of condoms. I've seen plenty of
>>risky behavior from both helmeted and non-helmeted riders. Of course
>>this is anecdotal, but I doubt anyone would seriously contend that
>>people drive more recklessly because they are wearing seat belts.
>
>
> I've heard the statement, in this newsgroup and others, several times.
> Voiced various ways, but the same sentiment
>
> [not verbatim, but close enough]
> "I ride harder if I have the helmet on"
> "I'm a little more careful if I don't have the helmet on"
> "Cycling is just too dangerous without a helmet"
> "I would never, ever, ride a bike without a helmet"
>
> And the ever popular "Organ donor" or "Darwinism in action"
>
> Pete

I can't say this doesn't happen BUT in my experience, risk-averse folks
are careful. People who don't care won't care to protect themselves.
That means reckless folks won't wear helmets, and they'll ride recklessly.
Have I seen reckless riders with helmets? Sure. But I tend to doubt
they are reckless because of the helmet. They are reckless
because...they are reckless.

Steve

>
>

Frank Krygowski
June 21st 04, 02:50 AM
Steven Bornfeld wrote:

>
> I only suggested to those who opposed mandatory helmets by saying
> that other measures were more important to safety that their objections
> had more to do with freedom to choose than it did to the efficacy of
> helmets.

For me, it's not simply freedom to choose.

To illustrate - and hopefully not get the discussion off track: There
are other issues regarding which I disagree with the lack of freedom to
choose, but I don't get very concerned.

And example would be air bags in cars. From the reading I've done, they
are not the panacea they are proclaimed to be - that is, IIRC, they
offer only about 8% improvement in survival over a properly fastened
seat & shoulder belt, yet they cost far, far more and they have the
capability of killing people. (Certainly, "First do no harm" should
apply to safety devices as well as physicians!)

However, I'm not going to devote time to that particular
freedom-to-choose issue. I think the societal negatives are relatively
minor.

The overpromotion of bike helmets is, to me, another matter. It does
harm society by discouraging cycling. It tends to place the blame for
certain injuries on victims. It distracts from more effective (and
bicyclist-friendly) tactics that would do greater good for cycling
safety and for cycling in general. It falsely portrays ordinary cycling
as extremely dangerous. And, as icing on the cake, it uses false logic
and incompetent science - something that would irritate me about most
issues.

So it's not just a freedom issue. Sure, that's there, as well, but
there are lots of freedom issues that lead me to say nothing more than
"Oh well."

--
--------------------+
Frank Krygowski [To reply, remove rodent and vegetable dot com,
replace with cc.ysu dot edu]

Steven Bornfeld
June 21st 04, 03:06 AM
Frank Krygowski wrote:
> Steven Bornfeld wrote:
>
>>
>> I only suggested to those who opposed mandatory helmets by saying
>> that other measures were more important to safety that their
>> objections had more to do with freedom to choose than it did to the
>> efficacy of helmets.
>
>
> For me, it's not simply freedom to choose.
>
> To illustrate - and hopefully not get the discussion off track: There
> are other issues regarding which I disagree with the lack of freedom to
> choose, but I don't get very concerned.
>
> And example would be air bags in cars. From the reading I've done, they
> are not the panacea they are proclaimed to be - that is, IIRC, they
> offer only about 8% improvement in survival over a properly fastened
> seat & shoulder belt, yet they cost far, far more and they have the
> capability of killing people. (Certainly, "First do no harm" should
> apply to safety devices as well as physicians!)
>
> However, I'm not going to devote time to that particular
> freedom-to-choose issue. I think the societal negatives are relatively
> minor.
>
> The overpromotion of bike helmets is, to me, another matter. It does
> harm society by discouraging cycling. It tends to place the blame for
> certain injuries on victims. It distracts from more effective (and
> bicyclist-friendly) tactics that would do greater good for cycling
> safety and for cycling in general. It falsely portrays ordinary cycling
> as extremely dangerous. And, as icing on the cake, it uses false logic
> and incompetent science - something that would irritate me about most
> issues.
>
> So it's not just a freedom issue. Sure, that's there, as well, but
> there are lots of freedom issues that lead me to say nothing more than
> "Oh well."

As I said, if there is no significant safety issue, there is no need to
speak of regulation at all.

Steve

>

Steven Bornfeld
June 21st 04, 03:26 AM
Frank Krygowski wrote:
> Steven Bornfeld wrote:
>
>>
>>
>> Just zis Guy, you know? wrote:
>>
>>>
>>> But the dangers in cycling are low.
>>
>>
>>
>> This is a tough sell to me. We both know people who have died or
>> been seriously injured in bicycle accidents.
>
>
> I've literally lost count of the people I know who died or were
> seriously injured while riding in motor vehicles. I imagine this is
> true of most people. Yet most people don't ever say "Damn - riding in a
> motor vehicle is really dangerous." They obviously think the danger is
> low.
>
> Clearly, knowing one or more injured people proves little about an
> activity's relative danger. It's much more instructive to dig for data
> on, say, injuries or fatalities per hour exposure.
>
> True, the data's hard to find. But the available data for cycling seems
> to belie the "Cycling is dangerous" nonsense.

I don't doubt this. Personally, I hear discussion about the sorry
state of autmotive safety all the time. I am lucky enough to know no
one personally who has been seriously injured in an auto-only accident.
Obviously, this doesn't mean it doesn't happen. By the same token, I
know several people who have suffered life-threatening injuries cycling,
about half of them with no motor vehicles involved.
I am not about to soft-pedal (nyuck, nyuck) the dangers of either.

Steve

>
>

Frank Krygowski
June 21st 04, 03:28 AM
Steven Bornfeld wrote:

>
>
> Just zis Guy, you know? wrote:
>
>>
>> But the dangers in cycling are low.
>
>
> This is a tough sell to me. We both know people who have died or
> been seriously injured in bicycle accidents.

I've literally lost count of the people I know who died or were
seriously injured while riding in motor vehicles. I imagine this is
true of most people. Yet most people don't ever say "Damn - riding in a
motor vehicle is really dangerous." They obviously think the danger is low.

Clearly, knowing one or more injured people proves little about an
activity's relative danger. It's much more instructive to dig for data
on, say, injuries or fatalities per hour exposure.

True, the data's hard to find. But the available data for cycling seems
to belie the "Cycling is dangerous" nonsense.


--
--------------------+
Frank Krygowski [To reply, remove rodent and vegetable dot com,
replace with cc.ysu dot edu]

Steven Bornfeld
June 21st 04, 03:31 AM
Frank Krygowski wrote:
> Steven Bornfeld wrote:
>
>>
>>
>> Pete wrote:
>>
>>> "Steven Bornfeld" > wrote
>>>
>>>> This is something that the anti-helmet partisans continue to repeat,
>>>> and I'm not sure what you mean by this. I am inclined to think you're
>>>> saying that folks feeling relatively protected will engage in riskier
>>>> behavior. I think this is speculative; the same argument the right
>>>> uses
>>>> in this country to attack dispensing of condoms. I've seen plenty of
>>>> risky behavior from both helmeted and non-helmeted riders. Of course
>>>> this is anecdotal, but I doubt anyone would seriously contend that
>>>> people drive more recklessly because they are wearing seat belts.
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> I've heard the statement, in this newsgroup and others, several times.
>>> Voiced various ways, but the same sentiment
>>>
>>> [not verbatim, but close enough]
>>> "I ride harder if I have the helmet on"
>>> "I'm a little more careful if I don't have the helmet on"
>>> "Cycling is just too dangerous without a helmet"
>>> "I would never, ever, ride a bike without a helmet"
>>>
>>> And the ever popular "Organ donor" or "Darwinism in action"
>>>
>>> Pete
>>
>>
>>
>> I can't say this doesn't happen BUT in my experience, risk-averse
>> folks are careful. People who don't care won't care to protect
>> themselves. That means reckless folks won't wear helmets, and they'll
>> ride recklessly.
>> Have I seen reckless riders with helmets? Sure. But I tend to
>> doubt they are reckless because of the helmet. They are reckless
>> because...they are reckless.
>
>
> The issue is more subtle than just "reckless with [or without] helmets."
> The question is, when a helmet is put on a person's head, how does
> their recklessness _change_?
>
> Even a cautious person can exhibit risk compensation, and they regularly
> do it. Again, even someone saying "I would never ride a bike without a
> helmet" is admitting to risk compensation. They are admitting to
> increasing what they perceive as risky behavior, because they perceive a
> degree of protection.
>
> Interestingly, if they underestimate the degree of protection, but
> accurately estimate the increased riskiness of their behavior, they
> still come out ahead.


>
> But in a climate where the most-quoted claim of helmet benefit is so
> outrageously high (85%) there must be lots of people who overestimate
> the real protection.
>
> "85%? Hell, that's close to 100%! I'll _never_ get a head injury if I
> wear this thing. Banzai!!!"

I'm sure that happens all the time! ;-)

Steve

>
>
>

Frank Krygowski
June 21st 04, 03:35 AM
Steven Bornfeld wrote:

>
>
> Pete wrote:
>
>> "Steven Bornfeld" > wrote
>>
>>> This is something that the anti-helmet partisans continue to repeat,
>>> and I'm not sure what you mean by this. I am inclined to think you're
>>> saying that folks feeling relatively protected will engage in riskier
>>> behavior. I think this is speculative; the same argument the right uses
>>> in this country to attack dispensing of condoms. I've seen plenty of
>>> risky behavior from both helmeted and non-helmeted riders. Of course
>>> this is anecdotal, but I doubt anyone would seriously contend that
>>> people drive more recklessly because they are wearing seat belts.
>>
>>
>>
>> I've heard the statement, in this newsgroup and others, several times.
>> Voiced various ways, but the same sentiment
>>
>> [not verbatim, but close enough]
>> "I ride harder if I have the helmet on"
>> "I'm a little more careful if I don't have the helmet on"
>> "Cycling is just too dangerous without a helmet"
>> "I would never, ever, ride a bike without a helmet"
>>
>> And the ever popular "Organ donor" or "Darwinism in action"
>>
>> Pete
>
>
> I can't say this doesn't happen BUT in my experience, risk-averse
> folks are careful. People who don't care won't care to protect
> themselves. That means reckless folks won't wear helmets, and they'll
> ride recklessly.
> Have I seen reckless riders with helmets? Sure. But I tend to
> doubt they are reckless because of the helmet. They are reckless
> because...they are reckless.

The issue is more subtle than just "reckless with [or without] helmets."
The question is, when a helmet is put on a person's head, how does
their recklessness _change_?

Even a cautious person can exhibit risk compensation, and they regularly
do it. Again, even someone saying "I would never ride a bike without a
helmet" is admitting to risk compensation. They are admitting to
increasing what they perceive as risky behavior, because they perceive a
degree of protection.

Interestingly, if they underestimate the degree of protection, but
accurately estimate the increased riskiness of their behavior, they
still come out ahead.

But in a climate where the most-quoted claim of helmet benefit is so
outrageously high (85%) there must be lots of people who overestimate
the real protection.

"85%? Hell, that's close to 100%! I'll _never_ get a head injury if I
wear this thing. Banzai!!!"



--
--------------------+
Frank Krygowski [To reply, remove rodent and vegetable dot com,
replace with cc.ysu dot edu]

Pete
June 21st 04, 03:57 AM
"Steven Bornfeld" > wrote
>
>
> Frank Krygowski wrote:

> >
> > "85%? Hell, that's close to 100%! I'll _never_ get a head injury if I
> > wear this thing. Banzai!!!"
>
> I'm sure that happens all the time! ;-)
>

Not *all* the time, but it does happen.
alt.mountain-bike Oct 2000
http://www.google.com/groups?hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&frame=right&th=4fb6bf168ef9e3e8&seekm=mdaE5.70275%24j6.7917741%40news1.rdc1.va.hom e.com#link5

"As far as i know though a helmet is designed to have you be able to walk
away from any crash..."

Pete

Just zis Guy, you know?
June 21st 04, 09:40 AM
On Mon, 21 Jun 2004 00:31:34 GMT, "Pete" > wrote in
message >:

>> IIRC, every helmet promotion I've ever encountered has talked about
>> saving lives. If that's not the issue, someone needs to inform the
>> "safety industry."

>Except the info put out by the helmet companies. They know better.

And are restricted by advertising codes of practice. They must be
laughing up their sleeves at all those charities doing their marketing
for them, and using claims they dare not repeat!

Guy
--
May contain traces of irony. Contents liable to settle after posting.
http://www.chapmancentral.co.uk

88% of helmet statistics are made up, 65% of them at Washington University

Tom Keats
June 21st 04, 09:47 AM
> As I said, if there is no significant safety issue, there is no need to
> speak of regulation at all.

It's interesting, and perhaps indicative that it was /you/ who
brought it up, though. And in a political context -- accusations
of libertarianism', 'n all that.

Anyhow, I'm listening to 'Going Home' on 'Rolling Stones' album,
'Aftermath'. Mick Jagger doesn't get enough credit for being
such a good harpist. Next best thing to Sonny Boy Williamson II,
or Corky Siegal.

John Lee Hooker stuff drowns-out all this helmet crap pretty
good, too.

Heck, I'm almost in the mood for some Jimmy Reed (which I save
for special occasions).

My content is just as valid as accusing ppl on UseNet of
being libertarians on the basis of a single issue. And a
lot pleasanter.

Since you've invoked the idea of so much legislatory razmatazz
inflicted on bicycles, you have portrayed yourself as a
government-fattening Liberal. Good luck with that. I hope
for your sake, your helmet helps.

Why does normality and just enduring life have to be libertarian?


regards from an irreligious libertine,
Tom



--
-- Powered by FreeBSD
Above address is just a spam midden.
I'm really at: tkeats [curlicue] vcn [point] bc [point] ca

Just zis Guy, you know?
June 21st 04, 10:11 AM
On Sun, 20 Jun 2004 21:28:10 -0400, Steven Bornfeld
> wrote in message
>:

>> Here you are wrong: not only do people contend this, it is actually a
>> mainstream view. Taxi drivers in Germany and Denmark were found to
>> drive more aggressively in cars fitted with ABS. Drivers who did not
>> habitually wear seat belts were found to drive faster when persuaded
>> to wear seat belts. Seat belt legislation has never resulted ina
>> reduciton in road deaths, but it did lead to the biggest recorded
>> increase in pedestrian, cyclist and rear-seat passenger deaths in the
>> UK. The arrival in the second-hand market of the first generation of
>> cars with drivers' airbags has seen a sharp rise in fatalities of
>> front seat passengers of young male drivers.

> It is very difficult to prove cause and effect in these cases, as most
>of these laws were instituted in times of rapidly increasing automobile use.
> I can tell you unequivocally in the area in which I have
>expertise--facial injuries--that I have never seen a patient with facial
>injuries following an auto accident that had been wearing a seat
>belt--never.

But you are falling into the same trap as the helmet studies. You are
only looking at those who arrive in the hospitals. There are two
separate variables here: probability of injury given crash, and
probability of injury given journey. If the intervention which
reduces the probability of injury given crash increases the
probability of crash, then the probability of injury given journey an
stay the same or even rise. In Australia and Canada the probability
of injury given journey rose for cyclists after the law.

The lesson of seat belt compulsion in the UK is that fewer drivers
were injured, but the drivers felt safer so drove less carefully,
resulting in more cyclists, pedestrians and (unbelted) rerar seat
passengers being injured. One solution is to belt the rear seat
passengers as well. But that doesn't help the pedestrians and
cyclists. So the ones who were already best protected, and causing
most of the injuries, are now better protected and causing the same
number of injuries, but the balance of risk has shifted further onto
those who were least protected in the first place.

Same with ABS. German taxi drivers were studied in a classic
double-blind trial (the researchers didn't know who had ABS and who
didn't, and the drivers didn't know when they were being observed).
Drivers in ABS equipped cars drove faster, followed closer,
accelerated and braked more sharply. The crash record was unchanged.

This is discussed in John Adams' Risk, which I urge you to read. It
is a very thought-provoking book.

So, we don't know how many of the people who are injured in car
crashes would never have crashed in the first place if they had not
felt safer because of their protective devices. We do know that there
is no measurable overall road safety improvement as a result.

>> But the dangers in cycling are low.

> This is a tough sell to me. We both know people who have died or been
>seriously injured in bicycle accidents.

And we both know that the largest source of head injuries is people
simply falling over. Falling downstairs is one of the biggest killers
in the UK. More children die in the UK every year of leukaemia than
from cycling injuries. It really is not especially dangerous!

>>>I assume that
>>>the way increased cycling will improve safety is first that there are
>>>less motor vehicles on the road.

>> - drivers see more cyclists so are expecting them
>> - drivers are more likely to be cyclists and know how to behave around
>> them

> I can say that this is not my experience. I have been attacked more
>frequently when cycling in groups than I have been cycling alone. I
>have been attacked more frequently on roads where cyclists are abundant
>than on roads where they are not.

But these are the two main reasons advanced to explain the improvement
in cyclist safety when cyclist numbers increase.

>>>Furthermore, I would assume that once
>>>cycling reaches a certain critical mass it will have a political
>>>constituency to effect changes in access, motor vehicle regulations etc.

>> No, I don't think so. There's no money in it.

>If the numbers are there the power and then the money will be.

A bike costs less than $2000 even for a really good one, and lasts
indefinitely. I can buy a good quality bike every year for the cost
of depreciation alone on my car.

> I'm still not understanding this. This is percentage of total
>admissions? Percentage of accident admissions with head injury?

cyclist head injury / cyclist all injury = 49%
pedestrian head injury / pedestrian all injury = 46%

So given a crash, a cyclist is not noticeably more likely to suffer
head injury. If the assertion is that cyclists have too many crashes
then injury mitigation devices are the wrong way of tackling it. If
the assertion is that cyclists are more likely to suffer head injury,
then this disproves it.

The relatively high overall proportion of fatal head injuries which is
experienced by cyclists is due to the fact that they form a major part
of the road injury victim set, mainly because the bike is the first
form of transport available to all those teenage boys who later
graduate to crashing motorbikes and cars. Putting plastic hats on
them won't change that.

There is evidence that helf or more of cyclists whose cause of death
is listed as head injury, have other mortal injuries as well. This is
hard to dig into as it requires co-operation from pathologists, so I
only know of a couple of studies which have even considered this fact,
and they were necessarily on very small data sets.

>> It's not a particularly serious charge against them, actually; it's a
>> study with an error in it. It happens all the time. It is an
>> indictmentof their peer review process, though. But not as bad as the
>> Cook & Sheikh paper in Injury Prevention.

>I have to disagree. If I understand the error as you state it, it is
>both blatant and elementary. Any responsible editor should have seen
>it. Having not seen it beforehand, in a journal of the pedigree of
>NEJM, the editor should have been history. This does NOT happen all the
>time, thank God.

OK, maybe my perception of the likelihgood of error is coloured by the
papers I read, which are mostly on helmets ;-)

>> Cyclists live longer than average;
>> this would not be possible if cycling were extraordinarily dangerous.

>This may or may not be true. I have no reason to believe that the
>cycling population is heterogeneous. I do have reason to believe that
>avid cyclists (the ones most likely to enjoy a health benefit) are
>considerably more affluent and get better medical care than the general
>population.

Maybe. Certainly the average cyclist in the UK has higher than
average income and is more likely to be a home owner, but I think
there is more to it than that. Risk of traffic crashes per hour or
per mile seems to go down with experience (apart from racers in road
time trials, who are "special" that way). But if cycling were
extraordinarily dangerous it would not be the case that the medical
profession would view it as one of the best things you can do to
extend your life.

>> First, enforce traffic regulations (for all road users) inna zero
>> tolerance stylee. Second,make sure that quality bike training is
>> available for all. And third, make sure that anybody who drives badly
>> gets a chance to find out how the other half live as they do without
>> their license for a while.

>That's a noble sentiment. I fully expect to die before seeing this though.

Too true. And the dominance of road safety by motor interests is not
new; I've been reading a book written nearly sixty years ago in which
all the same criticisms are made of the road "safety" estabnlishment:
that it achieves safety primarily at the expense of excluding the
victims from the road system. I believe US pedestrian culture is even
more moribund than it is here.

>> It is a matter of life and death, literally. I spend between one and
>> two hours every weekday riding my bike on the roads, and I have kids.
>> I cannot afford not to take an interest :-)

>Hold on--I thought this was a relatively safe activity! ;-)

heh! :-)

Guy
--
May contain traces of irony. Contents liable to settle after posting.
http://www.chapmancentral.co.uk

88% of helmet statistics are made up, 65% of them at Washington University

Just zis Guy, you know?
June 21st 04, 10:13 AM
On Sun, 20 Jun 2004 22:26:11 -0400, Steven Bornfeld
> wrote in message
>:

>Personally, I hear discussion about the sorry
>state of autmotive safety all the time.

Funny how few of those discussing it never seem to think about the
proportion of car crashes which are due to human error...

Not that funny, though. We have some research here which shows that
85% of drivers think they are above average skill. That's the
fundamental problem with road safety programs, really: drivers think
that dangerous drivers are some other group not including them.

Guy
--
May contain traces of irony. Contents liable to settle after posting.
http://www.chapmancentral.co.uk

88% of helmet statistics are made up, 65% of them at Washington University

Just zis Guy, you know?
June 21st 04, 10:18 AM
On Sun, 20 Jun 2004 21:36:06 -0400, Steven Bornfeld
> wrote in message
>:

>> "I ride harder if I have the helmet on"
>> "I'm a little more careful if I don't have the helmet on"
>> "Cycling is just too dangerous without a helmet"
>> "I would never, ever, ride a bike without a helmet"

> I can't say this doesn't happen BUT in my experience, risk-averse folks
>are careful. People who don't care won't care to protect themselves.
>That means reckless folks won't wear helmets, and they'll ride recklessly.

No, here I disagree absolutely. I am a fairly risk-averse individual.
I absolutely know that I ride faster with a helmet on than without.
And I have no excuse for this: I know that helmets provide no
meaningful protection in a crash at 40mph or more. It is entirely
subconscious.

It is quite likely that habitual helmet wearers are more cautious on
average than habitual non-wearers, a confounding factor which is not
commonly allowed for in prospective studies, by the way, but the
anecdotal evidence of my wide circle of cycling acquaintances is that
helmets are used to push the envelope. Even by ordinary sane people,
not mad downhillers.

Guy
--
May contain traces of irony. Contents liable to settle after posting.
http://www.chapmancentral.co.uk

88% of helmet statistics are made up, 65% of them at Washington University

John Forrest Tomlinson
June 21st 04, 10:59 AM
On Sun, 20 Jun 2004 21:50:36 -0400, Frank Krygowski
> wrote:


>The overpromotion of bike helmets is, to me, another matter. It does
>harm society by discouraging cycling. It tends to place the blame for
>certain injuries on victims. It distracts from more effective (and
>bicyclist-friendly) tactics that would do greater good for cycling
>safety and for cycling in general. It falsely portrays ordinary cycling
>as extremely dangerous. And, as icing on the cake, it uses false logic
>and incompetent science - something that would irritate me about most
>issues.

I'm politically very different than Frank -- I have far fewer concerns
about the "freedom issue" than he and can easily support government
action to help people when (most importantly) the aggregate benefits
are clear and the problem is a big one. That's not the case with
helmets for bicycle helmets for all the reasons he lays out so
eloquently above.

JT

Mitch Haley
June 21st 04, 12:22 PM
"Just zis Guy, you know?" wrote:
>
> There is evidence that helf or more of cyclists whose cause of death
> is listed as head injury, have other mortal injuries as well. This is
> hard to dig into as it requires co-operation from pathologists, so I
> only know of a couple of studies which have even considered this fact,
> and they were necessarily on very small data sets.

If that were true, the "perfect helmet" would only save half of
the deaths listed as head injury deaths, or less than half of
total deaths.

But safekids tells us:
" In fact, riders who don’t wear
helmets are 14 times more
likely to be involved in a
fatal crash than riders who do."
http://www.safekids.org/tier3_cd.cfm?content_item_id=306&folder_id=169

Are you saying they lie to us? ;-)
I should have taken the time to write to the idiots at my local
Gannett newspaper after they reported the safekids crap as fact
last week.
Mitch.

Steven Bornfeld
June 21st 04, 01:42 PM
Tom Keats wrote:
>>As I said, if there is no significant safety issue, there is no need to
>>speak of regulation at all.
>
>
> It's interesting, and perhaps indicative that it was /you/ who
> brought it up, though. And in a political context -- accusations
> of libertarianism', 'n all that.
>
> Anyhow, I'm listening to 'Going Home' on 'Rolling Stones' album,
> 'Aftermath'. Mick Jagger doesn't get enough credit for being
> such a good harpist. Next best thing to Sonny Boy Williamson II,
> or Corky Siegal.
>
> John Lee Hooker stuff drowns-out all this helmet crap pretty
> good, too.
>
> Heck, I'm almost in the mood for some Jimmy Reed (which I save
> for special occasions).
>
> My content is just as valid as accusing ppl on UseNet of
> being libertarians on the basis of a single issue. And a
> lot pleasanter.
>
> Since you've invoked the idea of so much legislatory razmatazz
> inflicted on bicycles, you have portrayed yourself as a
> government-fattening Liberal. Good luck with that. I hope
> for your sake, your helmet helps.
>
> Why does normality and just enduring life have to be libertarian?


Nah, I'm just playing devil's advocate here. Objecting to public
policy is perfectly OK when it's dumb. Calling an issue dumb when you
really don't believe in public policy is another thing altogether.
I do have strong feelings about this subject in areas unrelated to
cycling, but that is beyond the scope of this newsgroup.
BTW, on my CD player today--Big Bill Broonzy and Rev. Gary Davis.

Best,
Steve

>
>
> regards from an irreligious libertine,
> Tom
>
>
>

Steven Bornfeld
June 21st 04, 02:06 PM
Just zis Guy, you know? wrote:
> On Sun, 20 Jun 2004 21:28:10 -0400, Steven Bornfeld
> > wrote in message
> >:
>
>
>>>Here you are wrong: not only do people contend this, it is actually a
>>>mainstream view. Taxi drivers in Germany and Denmark were found to
>>>drive more aggressively in cars fitted with ABS. Drivers who did not
>>>habitually wear seat belts were found to drive faster when persuaded
>>>to wear seat belts. Seat belt legislation has never resulted ina
>>>reduciton in road deaths, but it did lead to the biggest recorded
>>>increase in pedestrian, cyclist and rear-seat passenger deaths in the
>>>UK. The arrival in the second-hand market of the first generation of
>>>cars with drivers' airbags has seen a sharp rise in fatalities of
>>>front seat passengers of young male drivers.
>>
>
>> It is very difficult to prove cause and effect in these cases, as most
>>of these laws were instituted in times of rapidly increasing automobile use.
>> I can tell you unequivocally in the area in which I have
>>expertise--facial injuries--that I have never seen a patient with facial
>>injuries following an auto accident that had been wearing a seat
>>belt--never.
>
>
> But you are falling into the same trap as the helmet studies. You are
> only looking at those who arrive in the hospitals. There are two
> separate variables here: probability of injury given crash, and
> probability of injury given journey. If the intervention which
> reduces the probability of injury given crash increases the
> probability of crash, then the probability of injury given journey an
> stay the same or even rise. In Australia and Canada the probability
> of injury given journey rose for cyclists after the law.
>
> The lesson of seat belt compulsion in the UK is that fewer drivers
> were injured, but the drivers felt safer so drove less carefully,
> resulting in more cyclists, pedestrians and (unbelted) rerar seat
> passengers being injured. One solution is to belt the rear seat
> passengers as well. But that doesn't help the pedestrians and
> cyclists. So the ones who were already best protected, and causing
> most of the injuries, are now better protected and causing the same
> number of injuries, but the balance of risk has shifted further onto
> those who were least protected in the first place.
>
> Same with ABS. German taxi drivers were studied in a classic
> double-blind trial (the researchers didn't know who had ABS and who
> didn't, and the drivers didn't know when they were being observed).
> Drivers in ABS equipped cars drove faster, followed closer,
> accelerated and braked more sharply. The crash record was unchanged.
>
> This is discussed in John Adams' Risk, which I urge you to read. It
> is a very thought-provoking book.


I just may. I must say that you are very facile with statistics, but
you know what Twain said about statistics. I get the impression
(correct me if I'm wrong) that you have no front-line experience dealing
with trauma victims. It may well be that seat belts and ABS brakes (I
hate them, BTW) and air bags are the worst thing to happen to society.
But in the U.S., while injury to pedestrians is hardly rare, the major
carnage is to drivers and passengers inside the vehicles--still. As I
said, the patients I saw for facial injuries all neglected to wear seat
belts. I saw (as far as I can recall) not a single patient for facial
injuries who had been injured as a pedestrian. (I saw a handful of
bicycle injury cases). In any case, I think I could make a better case
for increased injury incidence due to the increased numbers of huge and
double/triple semis on the interstates, and the disparity between the
increased number of SUVs along with the large number of small econo-cars.

>
> So, we don't know how many of the people who are injured in car
> crashes would never have crashed in the first place if they had not
> felt safer because of their protective devices. We do know that there
> is no measurable overall road safety improvement as a result.
>
>
>>>But the dangers in cycling are low.
>>
>
>> This is a tough sell to me. We both know people who have died or been
>>seriously injured in bicycle accidents.
>
>
> And we both know that the largest source of head injuries is people
> simply falling over. Falling downstairs is one of the biggest killers
> in the UK. More children die in the UK every year of leukaemia than
> from cycling injuries. It really is not especially dangerous!


This will be cold comfort to parents whose children have died of leukemia.

>
>
>>>>I assume that
>>>>the way increased cycling will improve safety is first that there are
>>>>less motor vehicles on the road.
>>>
>
>>>- drivers see more cyclists so are expecting them
>>>- drivers are more likely to be cyclists and know how to behave around
>>>them
>>
>
>> I can say that this is not my experience. I have been attacked more
>>frequently when cycling in groups than I have been cycling alone. I
>>have been attacked more frequently on roads where cyclists are abundant
>>than on roads where they are not.
>
>
> But these are the two main reasons advanced to explain the improvement
> in cyclist safety when cyclist numbers increase.


I don't doubt this. I can't test it, since the evidence is scant in
the U.S.

>
>
>>>>Furthermore, I would assume that once
>>>>cycling reaches a certain critical mass it will have a political
>>>>constituency to effect changes in access, motor vehicle regulations etc.
>>>
>
>>>No, I don't think so. There's no money in it.
>>
>
>>If the numbers are there the power and then the money will be.
>
>
> A bike costs less than $2000 even for a really good one, and lasts
> indefinitely. I can buy a good quality bike every year for the cost
> of depreciation alone on my car.


I'm not talking about the expense of the cars, I'm talking about total
number of votes. Bush has spent $85 million in the past 3 months on
media advertising for votes. Don't know if he got his money's worth.

>
>
>> I'm still not understanding this. This is percentage of total
>>admissions? Percentage of accident admissions with head injury?
>
>
> cyclist head injury / cyclist all injury = 49%
> pedestrian head injury / pedestrian all injury = 46%
>
> So given a crash, a cyclist is not noticeably more likely to suffer
> head injury. If the assertion is that cyclists have too many crashes
> then injury mitigation devices are the wrong way of tackling it. If
> the assertion is that cyclists are more likely to suffer head injury,
> then this disproves it.


OK. Well, I believe the biggest cause of pedestrian injuries around
these parts is slipping on ice during the winter, not vehicular
accidents. I have no problem with measures aimed at preventing accidents.

>
> The relatively high overall proportion of fatal head injuries which is
> experienced by cyclists is due to the fact that they form a major part
> of the road injury victim set, mainly because the bike is the first
> form of transport available to all those teenage boys who later
> graduate to crashing motorbikes and cars. Putting plastic hats on
> them won't change that.


I tend to agree. My initial reaction to this thread was in the context
of racing which, as you acknowledge, is a special case.


>
> There is evidence that helf or more of cyclists whose cause of death
> is listed as head injury, have other mortal injuries as well. This is
> hard to dig into as it requires co-operation from pathologists, so I
> only know of a couple of studies which have even considered this fact,
> and they were necessarily on very small data sets.


I would imagine this could be true in bicycle/motor vehicle accidents.
I very much doubt this would be true if a motor vehicle is not involved.

>
>
>>>It's not a particularly serious charge against them, actually; it's a
>>>study with an error in it. It happens all the time. It is an
>>>indictmentof their peer review process, though. But not as bad as the
>>>Cook & Sheikh paper in Injury Prevention.
>>
>
>>I have to disagree. If I understand the error as you state it, it is
>>both blatant and elementary. Any responsible editor should have seen
>>it. Having not seen it beforehand, in a journal of the pedigree of
>>NEJM, the editor should have been history. This does NOT happen all the
>>time, thank God.
>
>
> OK, maybe my perception of the likelihgood of error is coloured by the
> papers I read, which are mostly on helmets ;-)


It could be a reflection of the relative importance placed by general
medical journals on accident prevention. This is terrible if true
(which I cannot discount).

>
>
>>>Cyclists live longer than average;
>>>this would not be possible if cycling were extraordinarily dangerous.
>>
>
>>This may or may not be true. I have no reason to believe that the
>>cycling population is heterogeneous. I do have reason to believe that
>>avid cyclists (the ones most likely to enjoy a health benefit) are
>>considerably more affluent and get better medical care than the general
>>population.
>
>
> Maybe. Certainly the average cyclist in the UK has higher than
> average income and is more likely to be a home owner, but I think
> there is more to it than that. Risk of traffic crashes per hour or
> per mile seems to go down with experience (apart from racers in road
> time trials, who are "special" that way). But if cycling were
> extraordinarily dangerous it would not be the case that the medical
> profession would view it as one of the best things you can do to
> extend your life.

Well, this is probably the legacy of Paul Dudley Wright. There was a
medical pundit though (can't recall his name just now), in the midst of
the running craze of the 1970s who maintained that cardiovascular
benefit could be achieved on very modest volumes of exercise. In fact
(he maintained) if you were exercising for more than an hour three times
a week, you were doing it for some reason other than health. One could
argue with the specific exercise volume, but I think his overall
assertion is sound. This doesn't mean exercise isn't good, but one
should be honest with the assertions thrown around.

Steve

>
>
>>>First, enforce traffic regulations (for all road users) inna zero
>>>tolerance stylee. Second,make sure that quality bike training is
>>>available for all. And third, make sure that anybody who drives badly
>>>gets a chance to find out how the other half live as they do without
>>>their license for a while.
>>
>
>>That's a noble sentiment. I fully expect to die before seeing this though.
>
>
> Too true. And the dominance of road safety by motor interests is not
> new; I've been reading a book written nearly sixty years ago in which
> all the same criticisms are made of the road "safety" estabnlishment:
> that it achieves safety primarily at the expense of excluding the
> victims from the road system. I believe US pedestrian culture is even
> more moribund than it is here.
>
>
>>>It is a matter of life and death, literally. I spend between one and
>>>two hours every weekday riding my bike on the roads, and I have kids.
>>>I cannot afford not to take an interest :-)
>>
>
>>Hold on--I thought this was a relatively safe activity! ;-)
>
>
> heh! :-)
>
> Guy

Steven Bornfeld
June 21st 04, 02:07 PM
Just zis Guy, you know? wrote:
> On Sun, 20 Jun 2004 22:26:11 -0400, Steven Bornfeld
> > wrote in message
> >:
>
>
>>Personally, I hear discussion about the sorry
>>state of autmotive safety all the time.
>
>
> Funny how few of those discussing it never seem to think about the
> proportion of car crashes which are due to human error...
>
> Not that funny, though. We have some research here which shows that
> 85% of drivers think they are above average skill. That's the
> fundamental problem with road safety programs, really: drivers think
> that dangerous drivers are some other group not including them.
>
> Guy

You know about the "Lake Wobegone" effect?

Steve

Steven Bornfeld
June 21st 04, 02:09 PM
Just zis Guy, you know? wrote:
> On Sun, 20 Jun 2004 21:36:06 -0400, Steven Bornfeld
> > wrote in message
> >:
>
>
>>>"I ride harder if I have the helmet on"
>>>"I'm a little more careful if I don't have the helmet on"
>>>"Cycling is just too dangerous without a helmet"
>>>"I would never, ever, ride a bike without a helmet"
>>
>
>> I can't say this doesn't happen BUT in my experience, risk-averse folks
>>are careful. People who don't care won't care to protect themselves.
>>That means reckless folks won't wear helmets, and they'll ride recklessly.
>
>
> No, here I disagree absolutely. I am a fairly risk-averse individual.
> I absolutely know that I ride faster with a helmet on than without.
> And I have no excuse for this: I know that helmets provide no
> meaningful protection in a crash at 40mph or more. It is entirely
> subconscious.
>
> It is quite likely that habitual helmet wearers are more cautious on
> average than habitual non-wearers, a confounding factor which is not
> commonly allowed for in prospective studies, by the way, but the
> anecdotal evidence of my wide circle of cycling acquaintances is that
> helmets are used to push the envelope. Even by ordinary sane people,
> not mad downhillers.
>
> Guy

Could be--I think all downhillers are mad! ;-)

Steve

Rick
June 21st 04, 02:44 PM
Steven,

Risk compensation is a very real and well-documented phenomena. Visit the
website cited below, or read the first paragraph I excerpted here.

Rick

extracted from:

http://www.pulsus.com/Paeds/09_05/mok_ed.htm (Journal of the Canadian
Pediatric Society)
Risk compensation in children's activities: A pilot study

D Mok, G Gore, B Hagel, E Mok, H Magdalinos, B Pless

BACKGROUND: The intent of protective equipment (PE) in sports and leisure
activities is to reduce injuries. However, some postulate that any safety
measure prompts riskier behaviour, a phenomenon known as 'risk homeostasis'
or 'risk compensation.' This study explores one approach to examining this
in children. The rationale for this pilot study was to establish if children
between six and
16 years old could answer questions about risk-taking sensibly and which
questions, if any, could be eliminated; to establish the reliability of
response; and to determine the numbers needed for a definitive study.

....stuff deleted
>
> I can't say this doesn't happen BUT in my experience, risk-averse folks
> are careful. People who don't care won't care to protect themselves.
> That means reckless folks won't wear helmets, and they'll ride recklessly.
> Have I seen reckless riders with helmets? Sure. But I tend to doubt
> they are reckless because of the helmet. They are reckless
> because...they are reckless.
>
> Steve
>
> >
> >
>

Tom Keats
June 21st 04, 02:49 PM
In article >,
Steven Bornfeld > writes:

Nah, I'm just playing devil's advocate here.

That's okay, then. Carry on. I'm listening attentively.
Sorry for the interruption.

I'm compelled to tell ya this much, though:

I'm just an humble guy who needs to ride his bike, not
only for work, but also to distribute the money I make
to other businesses. Statistically I'm probably less than
insignificant (like I said, I'm humble.)

But I really /need/ the affordable transportation that only
my bike provides, in order to support endeavours greater
than my measly existance.

Now, I've gone through great pains and relative expense to
make sure that my bike and my riding of it are legally
compliant as well as pragmatically safe. I even had to buy
an helmet to comply with our mandatory helmet laws, so
you'll no doubt be pleased to know that that I wear it
everywhere, out of fear of being unaffordably fined
if I didn't.

Say, mandatory bike registration costs $10. I can live for
0.75 of a month on that amount. I know because I've done
it several times (it involves living on nothing but
naked oatmeal.)

Now you bring up the subjects of mandatory bicycle
licensing, etc -- things bike-hating motorists like
to mean-spiritedly invoke to supress freedom in others
(oops -- I guess I'm a libertarian, now.)

But since you're playing Devil's Advocate, I now
see you're not so mean-spirited at all.

I just wish there were more ordinary human beings'
advocates. We could really, really use a few.


--
-- Powered by FreeBSD
Above address is just a spam midden.
I'm really at: tkeats [curlicue] vcn [point] bc [point] ca

Rick
June 21st 04, 03:02 PM
....stuff deleted
>
> It is quite likely that habitual helmet wearers are more cautious on
> average than habitual non-wearers, a confounding factor which is not
> commonly allowed for in prospective studies, by the way, but the
> anecdotal evidence of my wide circle of cycling acquaintances is that
> helmets are used to push the envelope. Even by ordinary sane people,
> not mad downhillers.
>

Guy,

Funny, but while this may be true for some, it isn't for me, hence I believe
that, as the evidence suggests, risk compensation is an individual
assessment (something I generally call common sense or judgement). I, for
one, know that wearing a helmet makes my wife feel more comfortable, though
I personally doubt the efficacy of the thing. Still, helmets can have uses,
as I describe in the following accident report (which you can read or not,
as you see fit). My computer indicates that I ride at the same speeds
regardless of whether I wear a helmet. Since I routinely obey the
rules-of-the-road, I do not change my behavior because I've added a cheaply
made article of plastic and foam to my attire. This is me, however.

Others do change their behavior. Remove the padding and headgear, and you
see that the sports of football and hockey both change. Rugby players, for
example, are as rough as football players, but sustain fewer major injuries
to the bodies and heads. As helmets became common, the number of
high-sticking events in hockey, as well as the amount of times the stick is
used violently in slashing type incidents, elevated. We are now seeing more
injuries in hockey than ever from this behavior as well as hearing the
commentators saying, that the NHL needs to crack down on this behavior. The
solution is obvious, but few will be willing to go there.

Rick

Accident description:

The one accident I had wearing a helmet was at about 30 MPH. This is, by the
way, a routine speed for me when going downhill, with or without a helmet.
The speed is an estimate as I was going 37 when my rear tire blew and I
didn't exactly check the computer in the ensuing excitement. When I finally
did fall, I hit and rolled and the helmet did not impact the ground until I
was in the second flip. I was going to land, face first, in a pile of soft
debris (pine needles, loose dirt, some sticks, etc.) and I tucked the head
so that the impact was on the front-right of the helmet. I would not have
sustained a major injury (to the head, anyway) in the crash, though it is
likely that the skin around my eye and cheek would have been lacerated and
that the eye might have been injured (it needed cleaning, so some of the
debris did hit my face on that side).

Rick
June 21st 04, 03:14 PM
....stuff deleted

> I just may. I must say that you are very facile with statistics, but
> you know what Twain said about statistics. I get the impression
> (correct me if I'm wrong) that you have no front-line experience dealing
> with trauma victims. It may well be that seat belts and ABS brakes (I
> hate them, BTW) and air bags are the worst thing to happen to society.

I found it amusing that ABS systems have increased the number of read-end
collisions in the US. These were exactly the type of accident they were
designed to avoid. It seems that people with them tend to drive closer in
the mistaken belief that the systems makes them safer somehow (as though the
3-second rule does not apply). Logic indicates, however, that if the vehicle
in front of you has an ABS system, it will also stop in a shorter amount of
distance, thus giving you less stopping space. ABS can only work if the
drivers apply the same rules they applied before havnig ABS and that the car
in front of you does not have an ABS system.

Rick

Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS
June 21st 04, 03:30 PM
Rick wrote:

> Steven,
>
> Risk compensation is a very real and well-documented phenomena. Visit the
> website cited below, or read the first paragraph I excerpted here.
>
> Rick

I don't doubt this; but obviously as a clinician I have a different
view of this. I don't have the luxury of examining raw population
data--I have to treat individual patients.
So what am I to do with this "information"? Am I to decline to make
sports mouthguards, as this would make me an enabler of risky
information? What would you do--as a driver, a cyclist, a parent, or a
clinician?

Steve
>
> extracted from:
>
> http://www.pulsus.com/Paeds/09_05/mok_ed.htm (Journal of the Canadian
> Pediatric Society)
> Risk compensation in children's activities: A pilot study
>
> D Mok, G Gore, B Hagel, E Mok, H Magdalinos, B Pless
>
> BACKGROUND: The intent of protective equipment (PE) in sports and leisure
> activities is to reduce injuries. However, some postulate that any safety
> measure prompts riskier behaviour, a phenomenon known as 'risk homeostasis'
> or 'risk compensation.' This study explores one approach to examining this
> in children. The rationale for this pilot study was to establish if children
> between six and
> 16 years old could answer questions about risk-taking sensibly and which
> questions, if any, could be eliminated; to establish the reliability of
> response; and to determine the numbers needed for a definitive study.
>
> ...stuff deleted
>
>>I can't say this doesn't happen BUT in my experience, risk-averse folks
>>are careful. People who don't care won't care to protect themselves.
>>That means reckless folks won't wear helmets, and they'll ride recklessly.
>>Have I seen reckless riders with helmets? Sure. But I tend to doubt
>>they are reckless because of the helmet. They are reckless
>>because...they are reckless.
>>
>>Steve
>>
>>
>>>
>
>


--
Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS
http://www.dentaltwins.com
Brooklyn, NY

Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS
June 21st 04, 03:32 PM
Tom Keats wrote:

> In article >,
> Steven Bornfeld > writes:
>
> Nah, I'm just playing devil's advocate here.
>
> That's okay, then. Carry on. I'm listening attentively.
> Sorry for the interruption.
>
> I'm compelled to tell ya this much, though:
>
> I'm just an humble guy who needs to ride his bike, not
> only for work, but also to distribute the money I make
> to other businesses. Statistically I'm probably less than
> insignificant (like I said, I'm humble.)
>
> But I really /need/ the affordable transportation that only
> my bike provides, in order to support endeavours greater
> than my measly existance.
>
> Now, I've gone through great pains and relative expense to
> make sure that my bike and my riding of it are legally
> compliant as well as pragmatically safe. I even had to buy
> an helmet to comply with our mandatory helmet laws, so
> you'll no doubt be pleased to know that that I wear it
> everywhere, out of fear of being unaffordably fined
> if I didn't.
>
> Say, mandatory bike registration costs $10. I can live for
> 0.75 of a month on that amount. I know because I've done
> it several times (it involves living on nothing but
> naked oatmeal.)

You really should write a book. ;-)

Steve

>
> Now you bring up the subjects of mandatory bicycle
> licensing, etc -- things bike-hating motorists like
> to mean-spiritedly invoke to supress freedom in others
> (oops -- I guess I'm a libertarian, now.)
>
> But since you're playing Devil's Advocate, I now
> see you're not so mean-spirited at all.
>
> I just wish there were more ordinary human beings'
> advocates. We could really, really use a few.
>
>


--
Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS
http://www.dentaltwins.com
Brooklyn, NY

Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS
June 21st 04, 03:35 PM
Rick wrote:

> ...stuff deleted
>
>>It is quite likely that habitual helmet wearers are more cautious on
>>average than habitual non-wearers, a confounding factor which is not
>>commonly allowed for in prospective studies, by the way, but the
>>anecdotal evidence of my wide circle of cycling acquaintances is that
>>helmets are used to push the envelope. Even by ordinary sane people,
>>not mad downhillers.
>>
>
>
> Guy,
>
> Funny, but while this may be true for some, it isn't for me, hence I believe
> that, as the evidence suggests, risk compensation is an individual
> assessment (something I generally call common sense or judgement). I, for
> one, know that wearing a helmet makes my wife feel more comfortable, though
> I personally doubt the efficacy of the thing. Still, helmets can have uses,
> as I describe in the following accident report (which you can read or not,
> as you see fit). My computer indicates that I ride at the same speeds
> regardless of whether I wear a helmet. Since I routinely obey the
> rules-of-the-road, I do not change my behavior because I've added a cheaply
> made article of plastic and foam to my attire. This is me, however.
>
> Others do change their behavior. Remove the padding and headgear, and you
> see that the sports of football and hockey both change. Rugby players, for
> example, are as rough as football players, but sustain fewer major injuries
> to the bodies and heads.

I did treat several rugby players for facial injuries during my
residency in that hotbed of rugby, Queens NY. Of course, one of the
injuries was an ear nearly bitten off by his buddy on the other litter.

Steve


As helmets became common, the number of
> high-sticking events in hockey, as well as the amount of times the stick is
> used violently in slashing type incidents, elevated. We are now seeing more
> injuries in hockey than ever from this behavior as well as hearing the
> commentators saying, that the NHL needs to crack down on this behavior. The
> solution is obvious, but few will be willing to go there.
>
> Rick
>
> Accident description:
>
> The one accident I had wearing a helmet was at about 30 MPH. This is, by the
> way, a routine speed for me when going downhill, with or without a helmet.
> The speed is an estimate as I was going 37 when my rear tire blew and I
> didn't exactly check the computer in the ensuing excitement. When I finally
> did fall, I hit and rolled and the helmet did not impact the ground until I
> was in the second flip. I was going to land, face first, in a pile of soft
> debris (pine needles, loose dirt, some sticks, etc.) and I tucked the head
> so that the impact was on the front-right of the helmet. I would not have
> sustained a major injury (to the head, anyway) in the crash, though it is
> likely that the skin around my eye and cheek would have been lacerated and
> that the eye might have been injured (it needed cleaning, so some of the
> debris did hit my face on that side).
>
>


--
Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS
http://www.dentaltwins.com
Brooklyn, NY

Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS
June 21st 04, 03:36 PM
Rick wrote:

> ...stuff deleted
>
>
>>I just may. I must say that you are very facile with statistics, but
>>you know what Twain said about statistics. I get the impression
>>(correct me if I'm wrong) that you have no front-line experience dealing
>>with trauma victims. It may well be that seat belts and ABS brakes (I
>>hate them, BTW) and air bags are the worst thing to happen to society.
>
>
> I found it amusing that ABS systems have increased the number of read-end
> collisions in the US. These were exactly the type of accident they were
> designed to avoid. It seems that people with them tend to drive closer in
> the mistaken belief that the systems makes them safer somehow (as though the
> 3-second rule does not apply). Logic indicates, however, that if the vehicle
> in front of you has an ABS system, it will also stop in a shorter amount of
> distance, thus giving you less stopping space. ABS can only work if the
> drivers apply the same rules they applied before havnig ABS and that the car
> in front of you does not have an ABS system.
>
> Rick
>
>
This is an excellent point. If you accept that in real-life situations
ABS brakes will stop quicker, it certainly does increase the risk of
being rear-ended--by others who don't have ABS brakes!

Steve

--
Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS
http://www.dentaltwins.com
Brooklyn, NY

Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS
June 21st 04, 03:38 PM
Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS wrote:

> Rick wrote:
>
>> Steven,
>>
>> Risk compensation is a very real and well-documented phenomena. Visit the
>> website cited below, or read the first paragraph I excerpted here.
>>
>> Rick
>
>
> I don't doubt this; but obviously as a clinician I have a different
> view of this. I don't have the luxury of examining raw population
> data--I have to treat individual patients.
> So what am I to do with this "information"? Am I to decline to make
> sports mouthguards, as this would make me an enabler of risky
> information?

Whoops- meant "riskier behavior".

Steve

What would you do--as a driver, a cyclist, a parent, or a
> clinician?
>
> Steve
>
>>
>> extracted from:
>>
>> http://www.pulsus.com/Paeds/09_05/mok_ed.htm (Journal of the Canadian
>> Pediatric Society)
>> Risk compensation in children's activities: A pilot study
>>
>> D Mok, G Gore, B Hagel, E Mok, H Magdalinos, B Pless
>>
>> BACKGROUND: The intent of protective equipment (PE) in sports and leisure
>> activities is to reduce injuries. However, some postulate that any safety
>> measure prompts riskier behaviour, a phenomenon known as 'risk
>> homeostasis'
>> or 'risk compensation.' This study explores one approach to examining
>> this
>> in children. The rationale for this pilot study was to establish if
>> children
>> between six and
>> 16 years old could answer questions about risk-taking sensibly and which
>> questions, if any, could be eliminated; to establish the reliability of
>> response; and to determine the numbers needed for a definitive study.
>>
>> ...stuff deleted
>>
>>> I can't say this doesn't happen BUT in my experience, risk-averse folks
>>> are careful. People who don't care won't care to protect themselves.
>>> That means reckless folks won't wear helmets, and they'll ride
>>> recklessly.
>>> Have I seen reckless riders with helmets? Sure. But I tend to doubt
>>> they are reckless because of the helmet. They are reckless
>>> because...they are reckless.
>>>
>>> Steve
>>>
>>>
>>>>
>>
>>
>
>


--
Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS
http://www.dentaltwins.com
Brooklyn, NY

DRS
June 21st 04, 03:51 PM
"Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS" > wrote in
message
> Rick wrote:

[...]

>> I found it amusing that ABS systems have increased the number of
>> read-end collisions in the US. These were exactly the type of
>> accident they were designed to avoid. It seems that people with them
>> tend to drive closer in the mistaken belief that the systems makes
>> them safer somehow (as though the 3-second rule does not apply).
>> Logic indicates, however, that if the vehicle in front of you has an
>> ABS system, it will also stop in a shorter amount of distance, thus
>> giving you less stopping space. ABS can only work if the drivers
>> apply the same rules they applied before havnig ABS and that the car
>> in front of you does not have an ABS system.
>>
> This is an excellent point. If you accept that in real-life
> situations ABS brakes will stop quicker, it certainly does increase
> the risk of being rear-ended--by others who don't have ABS brakes!

You need to be very careful about defining "stop quicker". ABS only comes
into play when the driver presses the brake pedal so firmly the brakes lock
and the wheels begin to skid. At any point up to then ABS is irrelevant.
Very few people are prepared to slam on the brakes except in emergency
situations. Studies have found that some people are put off by the
vibration some ABS systems send back through the brake pedal and so they
decrease the pressure on the pedal. I remember how strange it was the first
time I tried out the ABS on my new car and how I had to force myself to slam
on the brakes and trust the system to do the work.

--

A: Top-posters.
Q: What is the most annoying thing on Usenet?

VC
June 21st 04, 04:54 PM
"Shayne Wissler" > wrote in message news:<[email protected]_s02>...
.... snip
> Nice imagination, but do you have any actual reason to believe that helmets
> increase the rotational forces involved?

My original post anticipated that question, viz.

> a helmet makes the "target" on top of a cyclist's shoulders larger
and heavier .....<

A helmet increases the radius of the target (head + helmet) from 25%
to 35% - much more for child helmets. Market forces have driven
designers to provide more ventilation. Less of the scalp has direct
contact with the liner and more is bare - the inside of a modern
helmet is ribbed unlike older helmets whose interiors were smooth and
round with two or so small ventilation holes. To offset what is a
reduction in ability to redistribute impact loads across the scalp -
actually focusing it on a smaller area - and to still pass
certification tests (which use a solid head form in a single plane),
foam has been deepened. This has made the "target" even larger, with
the potential to turn "near misses" into head impacts. The likelihood
is that the latter would angular in nature and result in rotational
accelerations.

Besides elementary "lever arm" physics explained by other posters, the
"duck tail" design of modern helmets argues against those who
speculate that plastic shells result in lower friction in slides.
Perhaps that's why motor bike helmets are spherical.

As I said, not everything is what it seems to be. A helmet may indeed
not be so good for your health. Since industry tests are crude and
inadequate, and since the popular science folks quote is by and large
junk, I'll continue to do without a helmet thanks - just like normal
people do when they've parked their bikes.




>
> Casual observation would imply the opposite. Helmets are more slippery than
> skin, and they have a larger radius than the skull. Also, the helmet is not
> as tightly coupled to the head as the skin is, and if the helmet got a large
> impulse of rotational force from a localized postion on the helmet, it would
> tend to be ripped apart, damping the force.
>
> All of thse would tend to reduce the rotational forces involved. What reason
> do you have to think that the opposite would happen?
>
>
> Shayne Wissler

Frank Krygowski
June 21st 04, 08:28 PM
Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS wrote:
> Rick wrote:
>
>> Steven,
>>
>> Risk compensation is a very real and well-documented phenomena. Visit the
>> website cited below, or read the first paragraph I excerpted here.
>>
>> Rick
>
>
> I don't doubt this; but obviously as a clinician I have a different
> view of this. I don't have the luxury of examining raw population
> data--I have to treat individual patients.
> So what am I to do with this "information"? Am I to decline to make
> sports mouthguards, as this would make me an enabler of risky
> information? What would you do--as a driver, a cyclist, a parent, or a
> clinician?

One possibility was suggested by a British researcher on the subject of
bike helmets. While I don't remember the exact quote, he said something
like: "A bike helmet might possibly do you a little good, if you could
be convinced that it wouldn't."

Regarding the mouthguards, I suppose you could explain to the customers
that the mouthguard is not very effective, and that they should not
trust them...

Obviously, this is tricky. How do you convince someone they should use
something, when you've convinced them it's not effective?

(Disclaimer: I don't know anything about the level of risk that might
suggest mouthguards are needed; nor about their actual effectiveness.)

--
--------------------+
Frank Krygowski [To reply, remove rodent and vegetable dot com,
replace with cc.ysu dot edu]

Just zis Guy, you know?
June 21st 04, 08:33 PM
On Mon, 21 Jun 2004 09:07:55 -0400, Steven Bornfeld
> wrote in message
>:

>> Not that funny, though. We have some research here which shows that
>> 85% of drivers think they are above average skill. That's the
>> fundamental problem with road safety programs, really: drivers think
>> that dangerous drivers are some other group not including them.

>You know about the "Lake Wobegone" effect?

Oh yes. Keillor is inescapable over here - much beloved of the
producers on the "wireless". There is an explanation for the effect
as it applies to educational tests, but it doesn't apply here. The
disparity is too big, and there is other supporting evidence to the
same effect (e.g. drivers surveyed rated their own skill at drivers
rate their own skills as 3.9 on a 1-5 scale, and other drivers as
2.7).

But I guess you understand and accept the point well enough.

Guy
--
May contain traces of irony. Contents liable to settle after posting.
http://www.chapmancentral.co.uk

88% of helmet statistics are made up, 65% of them at Washington University

Just zis Guy, you know?
June 21st 04, 08:43 PM
On Mon, 21 Jun 2004 07:22:39 -0400, Mitch Haley >
wrote in message >:

>> There is evidence that helf or more of cyclists whose cause of death
>> is listed as head injury, have other mortal injuries as well. This is
>> hard to dig into as it requires co-operation from pathologists, so I
>> only know of a couple of studies which have even considered this fact,
>> and they were necessarily on very small data sets.

>If that were true, the "perfect helmet" would only save half of
>the deaths listed as head injury deaths, or less than half of
>total deaths.

>But safekids tells us:
>" In fact, riders who don’t wear
> helmets are 14 times more
> likely to be involved in a
> fatal crash than riders who do."
>http://www.safekids.org/tier3_cd.cfm?content_item_id=306&folder_id=169

>Are you saying they lie to us? ;-)

You might think that but I couldn't possibly comment. Only one of us
is funded by Bell, and it ain't me ;-)

>I should have taken the time to write to the idiots at my local
>Gannett newspaper after they reported the safekids crap as fact
>last week.

I always write. Much good it does, but at least I've done my bit.
Hopefully the penny will eventually drop.

"The single most effective way to reduce head injury from bicycle
crashes is to wear a helmet."

Er, ********. From the same press release: "a child’s behavior is
often a risk factor. Most childhood bicycle-related fatalities are
associated with behaviors such as riding into a street without
stopping, turning left or swerving into traffic coming from behind,
running a stop sign or riding against the flow of traffic" and
"Children are four times more likely to be injured when riding in low
light (nighttime, dawn or dusk) than in daylight."

So, a much more effective way to reduce head injuries would be to
tackle poor riding skills and failure to use lights, because that
would also prevent the 50% or more of fatalities which helmets
couldn't even hope to prevent. But the logic of that apparently
escapes them.

I liked: "Children are more likely to die from motor vehicle-related
bicycle crashes at nonintersection locations (59 percent), during the
months of April through October (80 percent) and between 2 p.m. and 8
p.m. (65 percent). " - in other words, they are more likely to crash
their bicycles while they are riding them. Haven't these people ever
noticed that kids don't ride bikes as much during winter?

Guy
--
May contain traces of irony. Contents liable to settle after posting.
http://www.chapmancentral.co.uk

88% of helmet statistics are made up, 65% of them at Washington University

Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS
June 21st 04, 09:02 PM
Frank Krygowski wrote:

> Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS wrote:
>
>> Rick wrote:
>>
>>> Steven,
>>>
>>> Risk compensation is a very real and well-documented phenomena. Visit
>>> the
>>> website cited below, or read the first paragraph I excerpted here.
>>>
>>> Rick
>>
>>
>>
>> I don't doubt this; but obviously as a clinician I have a
>> different view of this. I don't have the luxury of examining raw
>> population data--I have to treat individual patients.
>> So what am I to do with this "information"? Am I to decline to
>> make sports mouthguards, as this would make me an enabler of risky
>> information? What would you do--as a driver, a cyclist, a parent, or
>> a clinician?
>
>
> One possibility was suggested by a British researcher on the subject of
> bike helmets. While I don't remember the exact quote, he said something
> like: "A bike helmet might possibly do you a little good, if you could
> be convinced that it wouldn't."
>
> Regarding the mouthguards, I suppose you could explain to the customers
> that the mouthguard is not very effective, and that they should not
> trust them...
>
> Obviously, this is tricky. How do you convince someone they should use
> something, when you've convinced them it's not effective?
>
> (Disclaimer: I don't know anything about the level of risk that might
> suggest mouthguards are needed; nor about their actual effectiveness.)
>

You'd have to be a better salesman than I. For the record, I think
mouthguards will protect against minor injuries, but not against
life-threatening injuries. ;-)

Steve

--
Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS
http://www.dentaltwins.com
Brooklyn, NY

Just zis Guy, you know?
June 21st 04, 09:32 PM
On Mon, 21 Jun 2004 09:06:59 -0400, Steven Bornfeld
> wrote in message
>:

>> This is discussed in John Adams' Risk, which I urge you to read. It
>> is a very thought-provoking book.

>I just may. I must say that you are very facile with statistics, but
>you know what Twain said about statistics.

Statistics are the stock-in-trade of Liddites. To understand why they
are wrong I had to conquer my natural distaste for statistics (I have
an engineering degree) and understand what can be measured reasonably
reliably and what can't.

>I get the impression
>(correct me if I'm wrong) that you have no front-line experience dealing
>with trauma victims.

Correct, other than as a volunteer first-aider. I was once first on
the scene of a fatal heart attack; that's the worst I've had to deal
with. And long may it remain so.

>It may well be that seat belts and ABS brakes (I
>hate them, BTW) and air bags are the worst thing to happen to society.
>But in the U.S., while injury to pedestrians is hardly rare, the major
>carnage is to drivers and passengers inside the vehicles--still. As I
>said, the patients I saw for facial injuries all neglected to wear seat
>belts. I saw (as far as I can recall) not a single patient for facial
>injuries who had been injured as a pedestrian. (I saw a handful of
>bicycle injury cases).

But the deaths are due to all sorts of causes. Let's say you have ten
crashes, of which five result in facial injuries, five in death
crushing or burning. So you introduce airbags, and the five facial
injuries vanish, the five crushing deaths remain, but you now have an
eleventh crash, involving a pedestrian, because a car went out of
control on a bend due to overconfidence in the driver. The driver has
no facial injuries (whoopee doo) but the pedestrian is dead.

And actually what happens is worse than that: the total number KSI on
the UK's roads after seat belt compulsion was unchanged
(afteradjustment for a coincident programme on drunk driving), but
fewer of them were drivers. That happened everywhere seat belt laws
were introduced. Google for the Isles Report and the Durbin/Harvey
report.

http://www.barvennon.com/seatbelt/irish_letter.html discusses it quite
well.

>> And we both know that the largest source of head injuries is people
>> simply falling over. Falling downstairs is one of the biggest killers
>> in the UK. More children die in the UK every year of leukaemia than
>> from cycling injuries. It really is not especially dangerous!

>This will be cold comfort to parents whose children have died of leukemia.

Sure, but are we all running round like headless chickens worrying
about leukaemia? Mosr children die every year in the UK of fatal
brain cancers than from cycling. Fatal brain cancers are incredibly
rare. And so are fatal cycling injuries.

That doesn't make them any less appalling when they happen.

But sooner or later we have to accept that life contains an element of
risk, and that attempts to minimise that risk at all costs can have a
serious negative impact on quality of life. The negligible incidence
of lone predatory paedophile abductions in the UK has been blown up to
such proportions in the popular press that children are often not
allowed to walk even short distances to shool unaccompanied by an
adult. It is, of course, usually members of the family who commit
abuse.

See, now we have to get back to the old reading list :-)

Death on the Streets by Bob Adams (possibly only available direct from
the author, I'll give you his contact details if you want, but your
library may have a copy)

One False Move by Mayer Hillman and John Whitelegg, talks f the way
fear has eroded the independence of children over recent decades.

And for light relief (and Free!) Murder Most Foul by JS Dean, a very
British but superb and rather sobering book published in 1946 which
marks the early establishment of the trend for deference to the
private car. It's out of copyright so I have a copy here:
<url:http://www.chapmancentral.co.uk/web/public.nsf/Documents/Murder_Most_Foul>

>>>If the numbers are there the power and then the money will be.

>> A bike costs less than $2000 even for a really good one, and lasts
>> indefinitely. I can buy a good quality bike every year for the cost
>> of depreciation alone on my car.

>I'm not talking about the expense of the cars, I'm talking about total
>number of votes. Bush has spent $85 million in the past 3 months on
>media advertising for votes. Don't know if he got his money's worth.

But think of all those auto jobs in the rust belt, bolstered by the
trade barriers which gave rise to the SUV boom. The USA can't make
cars that win when compared like-for-like with products from the Far
East. Motown was dying before the SUV boom - don't expect the execs
(and the oilmen who own Capitol Hill right now) to let any number of
cyclists damage this cash cow.

>OK. Well, I believe the biggest cause of pedestrian injuries around
>these parts is slipping on ice during the winter, not vehicular
>accidents. I have no problem with measures aimed at preventing accidents.

That is the best way, if it can be done. Of course, the lesson of
history is that attempts to reduce risk are often thwarted by risk
compensation. What you have to do is raise consciousness of the
actual levels of risk involved, by tackling the assumption that just
because something does not necessarily cause a crash every time, it is
safe.

>> There is evidence that helf or more of cyclists whose cause of death
>> is listed as head injury, have other mortal injuries as well. This is
>> hard to dig into as it requires co-operation from pathologists, so I
>> only know of a couple of studies which have even considered this fact,
>> and they were necessarily on very small data sets.

> I would imagine this could be true in bicycle/motor vehicle accidents.
> I very much doubt this would be true if a motor vehicle is not involved.

Since they account for single figures in the UK it is impossible to
say with any confidence. Almost all the fatalities involve motor
traffic.

>> maybe my perception of the likelihgood of error is coloured by the
>> papers I read, which are mostly on helmets ;-)

>It could be a reflection of the relative importance placed by general
>medical journals on accident prevention. This is terrible if true
>(which I cannot discount).

Ah,it's /injury/ prevention, not /accident/ prevention. I asked BHSI
why they were still using the (wrong) TR&T figure of 85%, since
corrected by the authors. They said: "We are aware of the second
study, but by the time it appeared the 85% figure was so deeply
ingrained in the injury prevention community that a change will not be
helpful" - which sounds suspiciously like "don't confuse people with
the facts".

SafeKids (fnded by Bell, you'll remember) say things like: "Children
are more likely to die from motor vehicle-related bicycle crashes
[...] during the months of April through October (80 percent) and
between 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. (65 percent). "

So, er, when else do you think they are riding, then?

This kind of bull**** is used to give a veneer of science to what is
basically just handwringing. They can't think of a way to fix the
source of the danger, so they focus obsessively on preventing a
proportion of the injuries. Ignoring the more numerous pedestirans
along the way (walking helmets, anyone? Actually that was tried in
Japan - it failed to yield any benefit).

But lots of poeple who work for cyclist safety have looked at the
causes of the crashes and know ways to reduce them. But they don't
get a look-in because of all the soccer moms shouting "helmets!" It's
a bit like that sketch where the doctor is displaced from the casualty
by a series of increasing ly loud but increasing ill-qualified people
starting with "let me through I'm a nurse" and ending with "let me
through my cousin is a girl-scout".

But I digress. Again.

>> the average cyclist in the UK has higher than
>> average income and is more likely to be a home owner, but I think
>> there is more to it than that. Risk of traffic crashes per hour or
>> per mile seems to go down with experience (apart from racers in road
>> time trials, who are "special" that way). But if cycling were
>> extraordinarily dangerous it would not be the case that the medical
>> profession would view it as one of the best things you can do to
>> extend your life.

>Well, this is probably the legacy of Paul Dudley Wright. There was a
>medical pundit though (can't recall his name just now), in the midst of
>the running craze of the 1970s who maintained that cardiovascular
>benefit could be achieved on very modest volumes of exercise. In fact
>(he maintained) if you were exercising for more than an hour three times
>a week, you were doing it for some reason other than health. One could
>argue with the specific exercise volume, but I think his overall
>assertion is sound. This doesn't mean exercise isn't good, but one
>should be honest with the assertions thrown around.

I don't know - the case in the UK was eloquently made in a report for
the British Medical Association by Mayer Hillman. It is mainstream
now, of course - the Government is pinning a lot of hopes on it as a
way of tackling obesity and heart disease.

Like Earl Blumenauer said: “Let’s have a moment of silence for all
those Americans who are stuck in traffic on their way to the gym to
ride the stationary bicycle.”

Guy
--
May contain traces of irony. Contents liable to settle after posting.
http://www.chapmancentral.co.uk

88% of helmet statistics are made up, 65% of them at Washington University

Just zis Guy, you know?
June 21st 04, 09:34 PM
On Mon, 21 Jun 2004 10:36:55 -0400, Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS
> wrote in message
>:

>This is an excellent point. If you accept that in real-life situations
>ABS brakes will stop quicker, it certainly does increase the risk of
>being rear-ended--by others who don't have ABS brakes!

And if you accept that ABS brakes make no difference to either the
braking force or the grip of a car, it also makes it more likely that
you will be the one doing the rear0-ending. As discovered in the
studies of taxi drivers in Germany and Denmark, for example.

Guy
--
May contain traces of irony. Contents liable to settle after posting.
http://www.chapmancentral.co.uk

88% of helmet statistics are made up, 65% of them at Washington University

Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS
June 21st 04, 10:06 PM
Just zis Guy, you know? wrote:

> On Mon, 21 Jun 2004 09:06:59 -0400, Steven Bornfeld
> > wrote in message
> >:
>
>
>>>This is discussed in John Adams' Risk, which I urge you to read. It
>>>is a very thought-provoking book.
>
>
>>I just may. I must say that you are very facile with statistics, but
>>you know what Twain said about statistics.
>
>
> Statistics are the stock-in-trade of Liddites. To understand why they
> are wrong I had to conquer my natural distaste for statistics (I have
> an engineering degree) and understand what can be measured reasonably
> reliably and what can't.
>
>
>>I get the impression
>>(correct me if I'm wrong) that you have no front-line experience dealing
>>with trauma victims.
>
>
> Correct, other than as a volunteer first-aider. I was once first on
> the scene of a fatal heart attack; that's the worst I've had to deal
> with. And long may it remain so.
>
>
>>It may well be that seat belts and ABS brakes (I
>>hate them, BTW) and air bags are the worst thing to happen to society.
>>But in the U.S., while injury to pedestrians is hardly rare, the major
>>carnage is to drivers and passengers inside the vehicles--still. As I
>>said, the patients I saw for facial injuries all neglected to wear seat
>>belts. I saw (as far as I can recall) not a single patient for facial
>>injuries who had been injured as a pedestrian. (I saw a handful of
>>bicycle injury cases).
>
>
> But the deaths are due to all sorts of causes. Let's say you have ten
> crashes, of which five result in facial injuries, five in death
> crushing or burning. So you introduce airbags, and the five facial
> injuries vanish,
No they don't!

the five crushing deaths remain,

Do they? Aren't crush injuries primarily what they are designed to
prevent?
but you now have an
> eleventh crash, involving a pedestrian, because a car went out of
> control on a bend due to overconfidence in the driver. The driver has
> no facial injuries (whoopee doo) but the pedestrian is dead.
>
> And actually what happens is worse than that: the total number KSI on
> the UK's roads after seat belt compulsion was unchanged
> (afteradjustment for a coincident programme on drunk driving), but
> fewer of them were drivers. That happened everywhere seat belt laws
> were introduced. Google for the Isles Report and the Durbin/Harvey
> report.


I'll not argue the point, except in principle if this means we should
discourage reasonable safety measures because they tend to make people
do stupid things.
I dislike airbags, and having a young child I would prefer to have no
airbags in my car. I am able to have what I want only because I drive
around an old car.
>
> http://www.barvennon.com/seatbelt/irish_letter.html discusses it quite
> well.
>
>
>>>And we both know that the largest source of head injuries is people
>>>simply falling over. Falling downstairs is one of the biggest killers
>>>in the UK. More children die in the UK every year of leukaemia than
>>>from cycling injuries. It really is not especially dangerous!
>
>
>>This will be cold comfort to parents whose children have died of leukemia.
>
>
> Sure, but are we all running round like headless chickens worrying
> about leukaemia? Mosr children die every year in the UK of fatal
> brain cancers than from cycling. Fatal brain cancers are incredibly
> rare. And so are fatal cycling injuries.

Sorry to say, childhood cancers are far from rare. I don't doubt that
childhood deaths are higher for cancer than for cycling. This of course
has caused plenty of worry (I won't judge whether it is justified or
not). If you doubt this, spend a short time on the alt.health
newsgroup. It may well be that people who eat organic produce engage in
more risky behavior, feeling protected from illnesses.
>
> That doesn't make them any less appalling when they happen.
>
> But sooner or later we have to accept that life contains an element of
> risk, and that attempts to minimise that risk at all costs can have a
> serious negative impact on quality of life. The negligible incidence
> of lone predatory paedophile abductions in the UK has been blown up to
> such proportions in the popular press that children are often not
> allowed to walk even short distances to shool unaccompanied by an
> adult. It is, of course, usually members of the family who commit
> abuse.

Well, you're on to something there. But I wouldn't trust my daughter
to get to school by herself absent the pedophiles.
>
> See, now we have to get back to the old reading list :-)
>
> Death on the Streets by Bob Adams (possibly only available direct from
> the author, I'll give you his contact details if you want, but your
> library may have a copy)
>
> One False Move by Mayer Hillman and John Whitelegg, talks f the way
> fear has eroded the independence of children over recent decades.
>
> And for light relief (and Free!) Murder Most Foul by JS Dean, a very
> British but superb and rather sobering book published in 1946 which
> marks the early establishment of the trend for deference to the
> private car. It's out of copyright so I have a copy here:
> <url:http://www.chapmancentral.co.uk/web/public.nsf/Documents/Murder_Most_Foul>
>
>>>>If the numbers are there the power and then the money will be.
>
>
>>>A bike costs less than $2000 even for a really good one, and lasts
>>>indefinitely. I can buy a good quality bike every year for the cost
>>>of depreciation alone on my car.
>
>
>>I'm not talking about the expense of the cars, I'm talking about total
>>number of votes. Bush has spent $85 million in the past 3 months on
>>media advertising for votes. Don't know if he got his money's worth.
>
>
> But think of all those auto jobs in the rust belt, bolstered by the
> trade barriers which gave rise to the SUV boom. The USA can't make
> cars that win when compared like-for-like with products from the Far
> East. Motown was dying before the SUV boom - don't expect the execs
> (and the oilmen who own Capitol Hill right now) to let any number of
> cyclists damage this cash cow.

No, but hopefully Saudi Arabia will. Actually, the quality of US cars
has improved tremendously, but the auto companies claim to be in dire
straits largely because of "generous retirement benefits".
>
>
>>OK. Well, I believe the biggest cause of pedestrian injuries around
>>these parts is slipping on ice during the winter, not vehicular
>>accidents. I have no problem with measures aimed at preventing accidents.
>
>
> That is the best way, if it can be done. Of course, the lesson of
> history is that attempts to reduce risk are often thwarted by risk
> compensation. What you have to do is raise consciousness of the
> actual levels of risk involved, by tackling the assumption that just
> because something does not necessarily cause a crash every time, it is
> safe.
>
>
>>>There is evidence that helf or more of cyclists whose cause of death
>>>is listed as head injury, have other mortal injuries as well. This is
>>>hard to dig into as it requires co-operation from pathologists, so I
>>>only know of a couple of studies which have even considered this fact,
>>>and they were necessarily on very small data sets.
>
>
>>I would imagine this could be true in bicycle/motor vehicle accidents.
>>I very much doubt this would be true if a motor vehicle is not involved.
>
>
> Since they account for single figures in the UK it is impossible to
> say with any confidence. Almost all the fatalities involve motor
> traffic.
>
>
>>>maybe my perception of the likelihgood of error is coloured by the
>>>papers I read, which are mostly on helmets ;-)
>
>
>>It could be a reflection of the relative importance placed by general
>>medical journals on accident prevention. This is terrible if true
>>(which I cannot discount).
>
>
> Ah,it's /injury/ prevention, not /accident/ prevention. I asked BHSI
> why they were still using the (wrong) TR&T figure of 85%, since
> corrected by the authors. They said: "We are aware of the second
> study, but by the time it appeared the 85% figure was so deeply
> ingrained in the injury prevention community that a change will not be
> helpful" - which sounds suspiciously like "don't confuse people with
> the facts".
>
> SafeKids (fnded by Bell, you'll remember) say things like: "Children
> are more likely to die from motor vehicle-related bicycle crashes
> [...] during the months of April through October (80 percent) and
> between 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. (65 percent). "
>
> So, er, when else do you think they are riding, then?
>
> This kind of bull**** is used to give a veneer of science to what is
> basically just handwringing. They can't think of a way to fix the
> source of the danger, so they focus obsessively on preventing a
> proportion of the injuries. Ignoring the more numerous pedestirans
> along the way (walking helmets, anyone? Actually that was tried in
> Japan - it failed to yield any benefit).
>
> But lots of poeple who work for cyclist safety have looked at the
> causes of the crashes and know ways to reduce them. But they don't
> get a look-in because of all the soccer moms shouting "helmets!" It's
> a bit like that sketch where the doctor is displaced from the casualty
> by a series of increasing ly loud but increasing ill-qualified people
> starting with "let me through I'm a nurse" and ending with "let me
> through my cousin is a girl-scout".
>
> But I digress. Again.
>
>
>>>the average cyclist in the UK has higher than
>>>average income and is more likely to be a home owner, but I think
>>>there is more to it than that. Risk of traffic crashes per hour or
>>>per mile seems to go down with experience (apart from racers in road
>>>time trials, who are "special" that way). But if cycling were
>>>extraordinarily dangerous it would not be the case that the medical
>>>profession would view it as one of the best things you can do to
>>>extend your life.
>
>
>>Well, this is probably the legacy of Paul Dudley Wright. There was a
>>medical pundit though (can't recall his name just now), in the midst of
>>the running craze of the 1970s who maintained that cardiovascular
>>benefit could be achieved on very modest volumes of exercise. In fact
>>(he maintained) if you were exercising for more than an hour three times
>>a week, you were doing it for some reason other than health. One could
>>argue with the specific exercise volume, but I think his overall
>>assertion is sound. This doesn't mean exercise isn't good, but one
>>should be honest with the assertions thrown around.
>
>
> I don't know - the case in the UK was eloquently made in a report for
> the British Medical Association by Mayer Hillman. It is mainstream
> now, of course - the Government is pinning a lot of hopes on it as a
> way of tackling obesity and heart disease.
>
> Like Earl Blumenauer said: “Let’s have a moment of silence for all
> those Americans who are stuck in traffic on their way to the gym to
> ride the stationary bicycle.”

Well, I'm somewhat older than you are. I've seen the fitness crazes
come and go. And now we have the sainted Dr. Atkins. Having studied
biochemistry, I have to shake my head.
One hopes for a little common sense to creep into the discourse.
Thanks for letting a little shine in!

Steve
>
> Guy


--
Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS
http://www.dentaltwins.com
Brooklyn, NY

Rick
June 21st 04, 10:35 PM
....stuff deleted
> I did treat several rugby players for facial injuries during my
> residency in that hotbed of rugby, Queens NY. Of course, one of the
> injuries was an ear nearly bitten off by his buddy on the other litter.
>
> Steve
>
>
But, did you treat rugby players for the really severe injuries we see in
football players? The broken necks, compressed spines, concussions, and
serious head injuries from which recovery is highly unlikely? Not typically,
though I'm certain it does happen. The reality is that some individuals,
given a helmet, would perform feats of daring-do that they would not
otherwise. While this is silly, it is nonetheless true.

As a physician, I have no doubt that the injuries you've seen on cyclists
are severe (especially those involved in cars), but the question remains
whether the helmet would mitigate these injuries. I am playing devil's
advocate here as I have no doubt that helmets will be adquate for many
direct blows that would otherwise injure the head. I am equally certain that
there are incidents where the helmet will make the injuries of a cycling
accident worse. A study that proves the efficacy of helmets does not, yet,
exist. I think that, as designed, the modern helmets, designed to barely
meet the modest requirements of ANSI, are feeble protection, at best. None
of the modern helmets meet the SNELL standard which might possibly offer
better protection, though rotational injuries would still occur.

Whatever happened to the old steel helmets racers used to wear, anyway? They
are probably at least as effective (and expand the size of the head less) as
the modern helmets and had much better cooling properties.

Rick

Just zis Guy, you know?
June 21st 04, 10:38 PM
On Mon, 21 Jun 2004 17:06:13 -0400, Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS
> wrote in message
>:

>I'll not argue the point, except in principle if this means we should
>discourage reasonable safety measures because they tend to make people
>do stupid things.

The point is, you have to think througgh the consequences, and you
have to understand the way people respond to perceived risk.
Ultimately the cause of crashes is faulty risk perception - if you do
nothing about that, modifying the car in a way that also alters the
perceived risk can be dangerous, because the benefit may not be as
great as it is perceived to be.

>> sooner or later we have to accept that life contains an element of
>> risk, and that attempts to minimise that risk at all costs can have a
>> serious negative impact on quality of life. The negligible incidence
>> of lone predatory paedophile abductions in the UK has been blown up to
>> such proportions in the popular press that children are often not
>> allowed to walk even short distances to shool unaccompanied by an
>> adult. It is, of course, usually members of the family who commit
>> abuse.

Well, you're on to something there. But I wouldn't trust my daughter
to get to school by herself absent the pedophiles.

Depends on age. We intend my son to go to senior school with older
friends to start with. It is only 1.5 miles away.

>> Like Earl Blumenauer said: “Let’s have a moment of silence for all
>> those Americans who are stuck in traffic on their way to the gym to
>> ride the stationary bicycle.”

>Well, I'm somewhat older than you are. I've seen the fitness crazes
>come and go. And now we have the sainted Dr. Atkins. Having studied
>biochemistry, I have to shake my head.

Quite. The only thinkg that causes weight loss, as far as I can tell,
is burning more than you eat. Cycling does that for me :-)

Guy
--
May contain traces of irony. Contents liable to settle after posting.
http://www.chapmancentral.co.uk

88% of helmet statistics are made up, 65% of them at Washington University

Rick
June 21st 04, 10:40 PM
....stuff deleted
>
> Statistics are the stock-in-trade of Liddites. To understand why they
> are wrong I had to conquer my natural distaste for statistics (I have
> an engineering degree) and understand what can be measured reasonably
> reliably and what can't.
>
Nice freudian slip. I assume you meant, "luddites?" Either way, good pun
whether intentional or not.

My next question is which side of the argument do the "liddites" reside?

Rick

Carl Sundquist
June 21st 04, 10:47 PM
"Rick" > wrote in message
>
> Whatever happened to the old steel helmets racers used to wear, anyway?
They
> are probably at least as effective (and expand the size of the head less)
as
> the modern helmets and had much better cooling properties.
>

Huh?

Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS
June 22nd 04, 12:11 AM
Rick wrote:

> ...stuff deleted
>
>>I did treat several rugby players for facial injuries during my
>>residency in that hotbed of rugby, Queens NY. Of course, one of the
>>injuries was an ear nearly bitten off by his buddy on the other litter.
>>
>>Steve
>>
>>
>
> But, did you treat rugby players for the really severe injuries we see in
> football players? The broken necks, compressed spines, concussions, and
> serious head injuries from which recovery is highly unlikely? Not typically,
> though I'm certain it does happen.

Nah. I didn't see too many rugby players, actually. For that matter,
I didn't see many football players (or cyclists, for that matter). But
they usually didn't call the dental resident for the broken necks
(though my last night on call they called me to suture a laceration over
a frontal bone fracture!) Fot that matter, this was before steroids
became so prevalent in the sport, and the guys I treated generally
weren't the 350 lb. behemoths you see today.

The reality is that some individuals,
> given a helmet, would perform feats of daring-do that they would not
> otherwise. While this is silly, it is nonetheless true.
>
> As a physician, I have no doubt that the injuries you've seen on cyclists
> are severe (especially those involved in cars), but the question remains
> whether the helmet would mitigate these injuries. I am playing devil's
> advocate here as I have no doubt that helmets will be adquate for many
> direct blows that would otherwise injure the head. I am equally certain that
> there are incidents where the helmet will make the injuries of a cycling
> accident worse. A study that proves the efficacy of helmets does not, yet,
> exist. I think that, as designed, the modern helmets, designed to barely
> meet the modest requirements of ANSI, are feeble protection, at best. None
> of the modern helmets meet the SNELL standard which might possibly offer
> better protection, though rotational injuries would still occur.
>
> Whatever happened to the old steel helmets racers used to wear, anyway? They
> are probably at least as effective (and expand the size of the head less) as
> the modern helmets and had much better cooling properties.
>
> Rick

I don't remember steel helmets--just the leather hairnets.

Steve
>
>


--
Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS
http://www.dentaltwins.com
Brooklyn, NY

Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS
June 22nd 04, 12:14 AM
Just zis Guy, you know? wrote:

> On Mon, 21 Jun 2004 17:06:13 -0400, Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS
> > wrote in message
> >:
>
>
>>I'll not argue the point, except in principle if this means we should
>>discourage reasonable safety measures because they tend to make people
>>do stupid things.
>
>
> The point is, you have to think througgh the consequences, and you
> have to understand the way people respond to perceived risk.
> Ultimately the cause of crashes is faulty risk perception - if you do
> nothing about that, modifying the car in a way that also alters the
> perceived risk can be dangerous, because the benefit may not be as
> great as it is perceived to be.

So when you think through the consequences, what do you think might be
done to improve safety of operating motor vehicles?

Steve
>
>
>>>sooner or later we have to accept that life contains an element of
>>>risk, and that attempts to minimise that risk at all costs can have a
>>>serious negative impact on quality of life. The negligible incidence
>>>of lone predatory paedophile abductions in the UK has been blown up to
>>>such proportions in the popular press that children are often not
>>>allowed to walk even short distances to shool unaccompanied by an
>>>adult. It is, of course, usually members of the family who commit
>>>abuse.
>
>
> Well, you're on to something there. But I wouldn't trust my daughter
> to get to school by herself absent the pedophiles.
>
> Depends on age. We intend my son to go to senior school with older
> friends to start with. It is only 1.5 miles away.
>
>
>>>Like Earl Blumenauer said: “Let’s have a moment of silence for all
>>>those Americans who are stuck in traffic on their way to the gym to
>>>ride the stationary bicycle.”
>
>
>>Well, I'm somewhat older than you are. I've seen the fitness crazes
>>come and go. And now we have the sainted Dr. Atkins. Having studied
>>biochemistry, I have to shake my head.
>
>
> Quite. The only thinkg that causes weight loss, as far as I can tell,
> is burning more than you eat. Cycling does that for me :-)
>
> Guy


--
Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS
http://www.dentaltwins.com
Brooklyn, NY

Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS
June 22nd 04, 12:16 AM
Rick wrote:

> ...stuff deleted
>
>>Statistics are the stock-in-trade of Liddites. To understand why they
>>are wrong I had to conquer my natural distaste for statistics (I have
>>an engineering degree) and understand what can be measured reasonably
>>reliably and what can't.
>>
>
> Nice freudian slip. I assume you meant, "luddites?" Either way, good pun
> whether intentional or not.
>
> My next question is which side of the argument do the "liddites" reside?
>
> Rick
>
>

Oh, I'm sure it was intentional--very cute, too!

--
Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS
http://www.dentaltwins.com
Brooklyn, NY

Tom Kunich
June 22nd 04, 03:43 AM
"Bill Z." > wrote in message
...
> Peter > writes:
>
> > Bill Z. wrote:
> >
> > > Erik Freitag > writes:
> > >
> > >>On Sat, 19 Jun 2004 00:21:50 +0000, Bill Z. wrote:
> > >>
> > There are other ways in which laws can be enforced and have effects.
> >
> > My bike commute in the SF East Bay area took me past an elementary
> > school, a middle school, and a high school. Although there are far
> > fewer kids cycling to school now than before the helmet law, I still
> > see a reasonable number. ...
>
> The reduction is due to traffic conditions, which have gotten worse.

Just like a dozen years ago, you simply make things up as you go.

> I'm nervous about riding a bike past a school when kids are being
> dropped off due to the parents' erratic driving.

But kids feel really safe.

> Wearing one in sight of the school and putting them on then handlebars
> elsewhere will simply show that the kid isn't overly respectful of
> authority, and probably generate some kudos from his peers. I'd hardly
> see how this would effect riding.

That doesn't surprise me at all. You also seem eager to avoid believing
strong evidence that is contrary to your agenda.

Tom Kunich
June 22nd 04, 03:46 AM
"Bill Z." > wrote in message
...
>
> I don't believe you ... I saw no such drop in the year the helmet law
> went into effect and we live in the same general area.

That's because you never looked. The fact that there was a super dramatic
drop in children's bicycle sales didn't seem to garner any attention from
you either.

Bob Schwartz
June 22nd 04, 03:52 AM
In rec.bicycles.racing Carl Sundquist > wrote:

> "Rick" > wrote in message
>>
>> Whatever happened to the old steel helmets racers used to wear, anyway?
> They
>> are probably at least as effective (and expand the size of the head less)
> as
>> the modern helmets and had much better cooling properties.
>>

> Huh?

He's confusing steel with aluminum foil. Aluminum foil helmets
are said to have many interesting protective properties.

Bob Schwartz

Tom Kunich
June 22nd 04, 04:01 AM
"Joe Riel" > wrote in message
...
> Frank Krygowski wrote:
>
> > Only in a very marginal way. They're designed to prevent a body-less
> > magnesium headform from exceeding 300 gees of linear acceleration in a 2
> > meter drop, IIRC. That's the standard - nothing more than a 14 mph
> > impact, and no provision for fighting rotational acceleration of the
> > brain.
>
> Any idea what standard (max g's from some speed) motorcycle helmets are
> designed to meet?

Motorcycle helmets are almost exactly the same as the Snell B-90 for bicycle
helmets. There are a lot more stringent penetration standards however.

Motorcycle helmets don't work either.

But then again there are hundreds of motorcycle riders who'll tell you that
their helmets saved their lives. I rode and crashed motorcycles for years
off road in the desert without helmets without getting a head injury. When I
started wearing helmets I noted that every time I fell the weight of the
helmet caused my head to hit the ground. Shouldn't be any surprise.

Rick
June 22nd 04, 04:26 AM
....stuff deleted
>
> He's confusing steel with aluminum foil. Aluminum foil helmets
> are said to have many interesting protective properties.
>
> Bob Schwartz

I had a friend back in the early 60's who had a metal helmet with a leather
interior (IIRC, it was a shell of steel rods that covered the leather
"harinet" helmet). It may have been his own design, for all I know, but it
was tough. I doubt whether it would do any good in an accident whatsoever,
looking back on it, but it was interesting, nonetheless. I always doubted
its efficacy, but it was interesting.

Rick

DRS
June 22nd 04, 06:08 AM
"Tom Kunich" > wrote in message
ink.net

[...]

> Motorcycle helmets don't work either.

That's a big call.

> But then again there are hundreds of motorcycle riders who'll tell
> you that their helmets saved their lives. I rode and crashed
> motorcycles for years off road in the desert without helmets without
> getting a head injury. When I started wearing helmets I noted that
> every time I fell the weight of the helmet caused my head to hit the
> ground. Shouldn't be any surprise.

The one time I seriously needed my motorcycle helmet I fell face first onto
the road and took a dirty great chunk out of the chin guard. Thank God for
full-face helmets is what I say. A bicycle helmet, of course, would have
been useless.

--

A: Top-posters.
Q: What is the most annoying thing on Usenet?

Ritch
June 22nd 04, 08:07 AM
"Tom Kunich" > wrote in message et>...
[snip]
>
> Motorcycle helmets are almost exactly the same as the Snell B-90 for bicycle
> helmets. There are a lot more stringent penetration standards however.
>
> Motorcycle helmets don't work either.
>
[snip again]

Someone should tell all those moto racers that they're fooling
themselves. After all, they are going much faster than 14mph (more
like 140mph) - the helmet must be completely useless to them.

My own view is that there is little doubt that helmets reduce the
likelihood of head injury (cet. par). It appears to be reasonably well
established in medical literature.

OTOH, there is _lots_ of doubt whether this is sufficient to justify
mandatory helmet laws, mainly because other factors come into play
that violate the 'cet. par' bit.

Ritch

Mitch Haley
June 22nd 04, 12:32 PM
Ritch wrote:
>
> Someone should tell all those moto racers that they're fooling
> themselves. After all, they are going much faster than 14mph (more
> like 140mph) - the helmet must be completely useless to them.

They don't have much impact to worry about, other than a 4 foot
drop to pavement. The idea is to slide along with abrasion resistant
clothing until you stop by friction. You need to wear stuff that won't
grind through to skin or transmit heat. A friend of mine once bought a
set of two piece leathers which zipped together at the waist. The
zipper got hot and burned a nice circle around his waist.
Mitch.

David Kerber
June 22nd 04, 02:48 PM
In article et>,
says...

....

> accident worse. A study that proves the efficacy of helmets does not, yet,
> exist. I think that, as designed, the modern helmets, designed to barely
> meet the modest requirements of ANSI, are feeble protection, at best. None
> of the modern helmets meet the SNELL standard which might possibly offer

Yes, they do. Many of Specialized's helmets meet the Snell standards.
Last week, somebody posted a link to Snell's list of certified helmets,
so a quick search should turn it up.


--
Remove the ns_ from if replying by e-mail (but keep posts in the
newsgroups if possible).

Frank Krygowski
June 22nd 04, 03:15 PM
DRS wrote:
> "Tom Kunich" > wrote in message
> ink.net
>
> [...]
>
>
>>Motorcycle helmets don't work either.
>
>
> That's a big call.
>
>
>>But then again there are hundreds of motorcycle riders who'll tell
>>you that their helmets saved their lives. I rode and crashed
>>motorcycles for years off road in the desert without helmets without
>>getting a head injury. When I started wearing helmets I noted that
>>every time I fell the weight of the helmet caused my head to hit the
>>ground. Shouldn't be any surprise.
>
>
> The one time I seriously needed my motorcycle helmet...

Yep.

Not to get off track, but here's an article on motorcycle helmets.

http://www.forbes.com/fyi/1999/0503/041.html

And now back to our topic.



--
--------------------+
Frank Krygowski [To reply, remove rodent and vegetable dot com,
replace with cc.ysu dot edu]

Tom Kunich
June 22nd 04, 05:11 PM
(Ritch) wrote in message >...
> "Tom Kunich" > wrote in message et>...
> [snip]
> >
> > Motorcycle helmets are almost exactly the same as the Snell B-90 for bicycle
> > helmets. There are a lot more stringent penetration standards however.
> >
> > Motorcycle helmets don't work either.
> >
> [snip again]
>
> Someone should tell all those moto racers that they're fooling
> themselves. After all, they are going much faster than 14mph (more
> like 140mph) - the helmet must be completely useless to them.
>
> My own view is that there is little doubt that helmets reduce the
> likelihood of head injury (cet. par). It appears to be reasonably well
> established in medical literature.
>
> OTOH, there is _lots_ of doubt whether this is sufficient to justify
> mandatory helmet laws, mainly because other factors come into play
> that violate the 'cet. par' bit.

Ritch, don't mistake the effects of not grinding your head off on the
pavement with having any significant IMPACT protection.

In fact, the impact protection of helmets is approaching zero in terms
of real world loadings.

Tom Kunich
June 22nd 04, 05:18 PM
"DRS" > wrote in message >...
> "Tom Kunich" > wrote in message
> ink.net
>
> [...]
>
> > Motorcycle helmets don't work either.
>
> That's a big call.

As all sweeping statements it has exceptions that aren't worth stating
since they should be common sense:

A helmet that is required only to prevent lesser head injuries such as
minor concussions (don't argue that ANY concussion is more than minor
- I'd agree on an individual level but we're discussing systematics
here) abrasions and penetrations of small objects such as road gravel
and the like is likely to lend one the impression that it is
"working".

To that extent it is.

But helmets aren't being sold to reduce minor injuries. They are
marketed as saving lives and since the injuries that cause fatalities
are generally on the level of an order of magnitude greater than a
helmet is capable of handling it should come as no surprise that
helmets make no real difference in the statistics and that only very
round-about statistical methods can find any connection between
reduced injuries and helmet use.

When I look at some of the statistical methods being used to determine
whether or not helmets are working as advertised I can't help but
think of the Bible Codes.

Rick
June 23rd 04, 12:12 AM
> > accident worse. A study that proves the efficacy of helmets does not,
yet,
> > exist. I think that, as designed, the modern helmets, designed to barely
> > meet the modest requirements of ANSI, are feeble protection, at best.
None
> > of the modern helmets meet the SNELL standard which might possibly offer
>
> Yes, they do. Many of Specialized's helmets meet the Snell standards.
> Last week, somebody posted a link to Snell's list of certified helmets,
> so a quick search should turn it up.
>

I've looked at a lot of helmets, none of which met the standard. I've never
looked at Specialized gear (not available in the places I've looked,
obviously), so I can't comment. Bell used to meet the Snell certification on
all their helmets, but they don't any more.

Thanks for the info. I'll check into these.

Rick

Ritch
June 23rd 04, 01:48 AM
(Tom Kunich) wrote in message >...
[snip]

> Ritch, don't mistake the effects of not grinding your head off on the
> pavement with having any significant IMPACT protection.
>
> In fact, the impact protection of helmets is approaching zero in terms
> of real world loadings.

Quite right, though I consider grinding your head off to be a head
injury and that a motorcycle helmet reduces the risk of such an
injury. In any case, a moto racer tumbling about immediately following
a fall is quite likely to bump his head on the ground and a helmet
reduces the risk of grinding, as well as impact injuries. That is
(surely) a fact.

My point is that you have overplayed your hand in your objection to
bicycle helmet laws by suggesting that motorcycle helmets are
ineffective. They are a completely different kettle of fish. There is
no need to appeal to that argument - bicycle helmets obviously provide
less protection than motorcycle helmets (again, cet. par).

Whether bicycle helmets are effective in reducing the likelihood of
head injury in the event of an accident is an empirical matter. So
far, the answer appears to be that they do. But...

Finally, to make my point again, the effects of compensating behaviour
as well as other factors may reduce or even reverse the supposed
benefits of bicycle helmets such that it would be bad public policy to
implement mandatory helmet laws. The empirical jury is (at best) hung
on this matter. In my opinion, this (more complex) argument is a
stronger one against mandatory helmet laws.

Ritch.

Tom Keats
June 23rd 04, 04:01 AM
In article >,
Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS > writes:

> You really should write a book. ;-)

"Of much the making of books there is no end, and much study
is weariness to the flesh."
-- somewhere in Ecclesiastes


--
-- Powered by FreeBSD
Above address is just a spam midden.
I'm really at: tkeats [curlicue] vcn [point] bc [point] ca

Tom Keats
June 23rd 04, 05:11 AM
In article >,
Steven Bornfeld > writes in part:

> Objecting to public
> policy is perfectly OK when it's dumb. Calling an issue dumb when you
> really don't believe in public policy is another thing altogether.

Ah, so there's the rub.

But I fail to see where the people who have herewith spoken out
against MHLs have done so merely because it's public policy.
I /have/ inferred that you suspect them of such. Well, I guess
that's you're privilege & right. But rest assured, all those here
who've argued against all your P'sOV are way toward the other end
of social laissez-faire-ism. But all I can do is say so, until
you get the real /feel/ of where those people are coming from.

Here's how I see it: the fact that there's /still/ an ongoing and
unresolved argument wrt MHLs is notable. Very interesting, indeed.

> I do have strong feelings about this subject in areas unrelated to
> cycling, but that is beyond the scope of this newsgroup.

You'd be surprised.

> BTW, on my CD player today--Big Bill Broonzy and Rev. Gary Davis.

Kewl! Right now I'm in the mood for some ballsy white-guy stuff --
Rory Gallagher, and Johnny Winter. And maybe some Gary Numan. I'll
probably mellow it out later with some really artistic stuff, though.
George Clinton always puts my head back on straight again. Oddly, so
does post-recovery (and some pre-recovery) Alice Cooper. Maybe those
two should jam.

I really miss Ray Charles' infectious grin. Who could resist all
that happiness he exuded, and not grin along with him? I wish I
could do that for people.


cheers,
Tom

--
-- Powered by FreeBSD
Above address is just a spam midden.
I'm really at: tkeats [curlicue] vcn [point] bc [point] ca

James Annan
June 23rd 04, 01:00 PM
Steven Bornfeld > wrote in message >...

> >
> >
> >>See, I'm going to have to look up that paper. It is very, very
> >>difficult for me to believe that NEJM would publish a paper with a flaw
> >>that blatant.
> >
> >
> > Sure. Just as it is hard to believe that the percentage points
> > problem would have got past the peer review process. But what you
> > have to remember is that these guys are looking for helmets to work.
> > When I was training as an engineer i was told to guard against that.
> > The idea of an experiment is to test a hypothesis, not to find data to
> > support it. You're supposed to try to disprove, not prove, your
> > initial premise. In this case the researchers (funded, unless I've
> > been misinformed, by the Snell Insititue) had already decided on the
> > outcome before they started.
>
>
> Well, sure. That's the way it is supposed to be. But drug trials are
> not conducted by folks looking for the drugs not to work. Of course,
> one cannot do a double-blind study on this. But this is a very serious
> charge against the NEJM, and I would have expected to hear about it.
>

Well, I will not comment on the NEJM article, but the recent Cook and
Sheikh debacle is certainly clear enough. Their article can be read on

http://ip.bmjjournals.com/cgi/content/full/9/3/266

and there is a link to my letter below it.

I await with interest further developments, in particular I look
forward to seeing what steps the editors take to correct the record
"promptly and prominently" as their publication policy puts it. Since
the original article appeared in the paper version of the journal, my
electronic letter alone will presumably not suffice.

F.P. Rivara is one of the deputy editors, by the way.

James

Mitch Haley
June 23rd 04, 01:26 PM
Steven Bornfeld wrote:
>
> Well, sure. That's the way it is supposed to be. But drug trials are
> not conducted by folks looking for the drugs not to work. Of course,
> one cannot do a double-blind study on this. But this is a very serious
> charge against the NEJM, and I would have expected to hear about it.

All I can say is that, over the last three decades or so, the vast
majority of the "medical journal" articles I've seen accused of being
unscientific, fraudulent, or politically motivated have been published
in NEJM. I have seen many excerpts from NEJM quoted in newspapers which
are on their face statistically illiterate.

Mitch.

David Kerber
June 23rd 04, 01:47 PM
In article et>,
says...
>
> > > accident worse. A study that proves the efficacy of helmets does not,
> yet,
> > > exist. I think that, as designed, the modern helmets, designed to barely
> > > meet the modest requirements of ANSI, are feeble protection, at best.
> None
> > > of the modern helmets meet the SNELL standard which might possibly offer
> >
> > Yes, they do. Many of Specialized's helmets meet the Snell standards.
> > Last week, somebody posted a link to Snell's list of certified helmets,
> > so a quick search should turn it up.
> >
>
> I've looked at a lot of helmets, none of which met the standard. I've never
> looked at Specialized gear (not available in the places I've looked,
> obviously), so I can't comment. Bell used to meet the Snell certification on
> all their helmets, but they don't any more.

I'm surprised you don't have a Specialized dealer near you; they seem to
be everywhere around here. Specialized's web site can point you to the
nearest dealer.


--
Remove the ns_ from if replying by e-mail (but keep posts in the
newsgroups if possible).

Steven Bornfeld
June 23rd 04, 02:16 PM
Tom Keats wrote:
> In article >,
> Steven Bornfeld > writes in part:
>
>
>>Objecting to public
>>policy is perfectly OK when it's dumb. Calling an issue dumb when you
>>really don't believe in public policy is another thing altogether.
>
>
> Ah, so there's the rub.
>
> But I fail to see where the people who have herewith spoken out
> against MHLs have done so merely because it's public policy.
> I /have/ inferred that you suspect them of such. Well, I guess
> that's you're privilege & right. But rest assured, all those here
> who've argued against all your P'sOV are way toward the other end
> of social laissez-faire-ism. But all I can do is say so, until
> you get the real /feel/ of where those people are coming from.


That may well be--the main objection may genuinely be that helmets
aren't effective for the most important stated purpose--to save lives.
But something that bothers me in this argument is the "risk
compensation" concept. As I understand it, it exists over populations.
That doesn't mean it exists for a given individual. When I made the
comparison to compulsory seatbelt laws or airbags, several folks brought
up the self-evident distinction that auto accidents statistically are
far more dangerous than bicycle accidents. Then Guy brought up
statistics that highway deaths only increased after mandatory seatbelt
laws were enacted. This seems to imply that mandatory safety measures
do not decrease accidental deaths--not only because a given activity is
more or less dangerous, but because any benefit of the safety measures
(let's leave aside the issue of just how effective they are for the
moment) will be more than erased by riskier behavior.
This cannot be uniformly true. If it were, one might decrease
accidental deaths by making a conscious decision to make cars more
dangerous, thus encouraging more careful driving. This is a logical
absurdity, but not too far from what some folks are asserting about
mandating these measures.
There is probably no perfect model to predict how broad populations are
going to react to mandated change. It may well be that individual
measures such as bicycle helmets are left to individuals. It doesn't
seem too much to ask to get credible data about just what sort of
protection a helmet affords, and allow people to make their own choices.
For myself, I see nothing wrong with public policy that mandates (for
example) a life preserver for every passenger and crew member on a
cruise ship.

>
> Here's how I see it: the fact that there's /still/ an ongoing and
> unresolved argument wrt MHLs is notable. Very interesting, indeed.
>
>
>> I do have strong feelings about this subject in areas unrelated to
>>cycling, but that is beyond the scope of this newsgroup.
>
>
> You'd be surprised.
>
>
>> BTW, on my CD player today--Big Bill Broonzy and Rev. Gary Davis.
>
>
> Kewl! Right now I'm in the mood for some ballsy white-guy stuff --
> Rory Gallagher, and Johnny Winter. And maybe some Gary Numan. I'll
> probably mellow it out later with some really artistic stuff, though.
> George Clinton always puts my head back on straight again. Oddly, so
> does post-recovery (and some pre-recovery) Alice Cooper. Maybe those
> two should jam.
>
> I really miss Ray Charles' infectious grin. Who could resist all
> that happiness he exuded, and not grin along with him? I wish I
> could do that for people.
>
>
> cheers,
> Tom

Amen!

Steve

>

Steven Bornfeld
June 23rd 04, 02:22 PM
Mitch Haley wrote:
> Steven Bornfeld wrote:
>
>> Well, sure. That's the way it is supposed to be. But drug trials are
>>not conducted by folks looking for the drugs not to work. Of course,
>>one cannot do a double-blind study on this. But this is a very serious
>>charge against the NEJM, and I would have expected to hear about it.
>
>
> All I can say is that, over the last three decades or so, the vast
> majority of the "medical journal" articles I've seen accused of being
> unscientific, fraudulent, or politically motivated have been published
> in NEJM. I have seen many excerpts from NEJM quoted in newspapers which
> are on their face statistically illiterate.
>
> Mitch.

I'll comment further when I've read the entire article. At first
glance, the minuscule sample size alone appears to invalidate the
conclusion.
I'm not a regular subscriber. But I know better to assume everything
is unbiased in professional journals, judging simply from the dental
journals I get monthly.

Steve

Frank Krygowski
June 23rd 04, 03:51 PM
Steven Bornfeld wrote:
>
>
> But something that bothers me in this argument is the "risk
> compensation" concept. As I understand it, it exists over populations.
> That doesn't mean it exists for a given individual.

Of course, a particular individual can be very different from the
population. Still, the world's replete with individuals who _think_
they're much more special than they are. Remember that survey where
(was it?) 85% of motorists figure they're "better than average" drivers?


> When I made the
> comparison to compulsory seatbelt laws or airbags, several folks brought
> up the self-evident distinction that auto accidents statistically are
> far more dangerous than bicycle accidents. Then Guy brought up
> statistics that highway deaths only increased after mandatory seatbelt
> laws were enacted. This seems to imply that mandatory safety measures
> do not decrease accidental deaths--not only because a given activity is
> more or less dangerous, but because any benefit of the safety measures
> (let's leave aside the issue of just how effective they are for the
> moment) will be more than erased by riskier behavior.

Some safety measures will not have this shortcoming. An example might
be side impact beams in car doors, which (I assume) are out of sight and
out of mind - and not mentioned prominently in advertising. Another
example would be a measure which changed individual behavior - like,
say, a red light camera, which replaces one risk with another - that of
a ticket.

I think that riskier behavior is a potential problem whenever the safety
measure is widely touted as protecting the individual. And I suppose
the potential increases with purported level of protection. Bike
helmets, with the common claim of preventing 85% of head injuries, are
likely to be a pretty severe example.


> This cannot be uniformly true. If it were, one might decrease
> accidental deaths by making a conscious decision to make cars more
> dangerous, thus encouraging more careful driving. This is a logical
> absurdity, but not too far from what some folks are asserting about
> mandating these measures.

Well, when air bags were being hotly debated (before finally being
mandated) an editor of Car & Driver magazine (IIRC) pointed out that a
shotgun shell pointed at the driver's chest might do as much good, and
do it more cheaply.

But in theory, _precisely_ operating risk compensation would mean the
shotgun shell would have no effect. In theory, the drivers would drive
with just enough care so their level of risk was unchanged. IOW, same
number of deaths and injuries.

To get a safety benefit from something like this, you'd tell the drivers
about the shotgun shell, but load it with styrofoam pellets instead of lead.

> There is probably no perfect model to predict how broad populations
> are going to react to mandated change. It may well be that individual
> measures such as bicycle helmets are left to individuals.

I certainly think so.

> It doesn't
> seem too much to ask to get credible data about just what sort of
> protection a helmet affords, and allow people to make their own choices.

Also, give honest data about the low level of risk of cycling! Have you
noticed how the helmet promotion material is into distortion and fear
mongering?

Examples: "Bicycling causes 560,000 ER visits per year!!!!!" (Not
mentioned: Basketball causes about 650,000. Even beds & bedclothes
cause 400,000 ER visits per year. )

"A simple fall off a bike can cause irreversible brain damage!!!" (Not
mentioned: so can a slip walking down the stairs - and guess which is
much more common?)

These half-truths go on and on, and they are what disturb me most about
helmet promotion. It's impossible for this not to dissuade people from
cycling. And it's likely to harm cyclists who attempt to get
compensation from, say, negligent drivers who harm them.


But regarding the "credible data" about helmet effectiveness: Have you
noticed that the actual level of protection specified in the
certification tests is never made public? Sure, you can look it up
online - and wade through 50 pages of impenetrable engineering prose
trying to understand it - but Safe Kids, NHTSA, CPSC, Consumer Reports
et. al. never describe the test, never explain the low impact level
these things are actually (supposedly) good for.

That "credible data" is available right now. It would be a good place
to start - but it would lead people to say "Is that all?" It's so far
below the car-crash protection they claim, that it would deter helmet
sales and use.

> For myself, I see nothing wrong with public policy that mandates (for
> example) a life preserver for every passenger and crew member on a
> cruise ship.

Of course. Risk compensation isn't an issue. I can't see a passenger
taking the wheel and racing past rocky shoals because he's got a life
preserver!


--
--------------------+
Frank Krygowski [To reply, remove rodent and vegetable dot com,
replace with cc.ysu dot edu]

Frank Krygowski
June 23rd 04, 03:59 PM
Steven Bornfeld wrote:

>
>
>
> I'll comment further when I've read the entire article. At first
> glance, the minuscule sample size alone appears to invalidate the
> conclusion.
> I'm not a regular subscriber. But I know better to assume
> everything is unbiased in professional journals, judging simply from the
> dental journals I get monthly.

Some of the criticisms of that T&R 1989 article arose from examination
of its raw data, and of closely related data. Dorothy Robinson (who
used to post here occasionally) is a professional statistician and
researcher with an interest in bike safety. IIRC, she obtained the
original data set from T&R and found errors in their computations
regarding (for example) the confounding effect of age differences in the
groups being compared.

She also pointed out that their control group had a tremendously greater
percentage in helmets than the population of Seattle at large, as shown
by other concurrent surveys. What this meant was that the helmeted
folks were much more likely to present to the ER than the population at
large. This is clear evidence of self-selection (something absolutely
forbidden in most medical studies), and it leads to a much, much lower
value for the calculated effectiveness of helmets.

IIRC, some of this is spelled out at www.cyclehelmets.org



--
--------------------+
Frank Krygowski [To reply, remove rodent and vegetable dot com,
replace with cc.ysu dot edu]

Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS
June 23rd 04, 05:08 PM
Frank Krygowski wrote:

> Steven Bornfeld wrote:
>
>>
>>
>> But something that bothers me in this argument is the "risk
>> compensation" concept. As I understand it, it exists over
>> populations. That doesn't mean it exists for a given individual.
>
>
> Of course, a particular individual can be very different from the
> population. Still, the world's replete with individuals who _think_
> they're much more special than they are. Remember that survey where
> (was it?) 85% of motorists figure they're "better than average" drivers?
>
>
>> When I made the comparison to compulsory seatbelt laws or airbags,
>> several folks brought up the self-evident distinction that auto
>> accidents statistically are far more dangerous than bicycle
>> accidents. Then Guy brought up statistics that highway deaths only
>> increased after mandatory seatbelt laws were enacted. This seems to
>> imply that mandatory safety measures do not decrease accidental
>> deaths--not only because a given activity is more or less dangerous,
>> but because any benefit of the safety measures (let's leave aside the
>> issue of just how effective they are for the moment) will be more than
>> erased by riskier behavior.
>
>
> Some safety measures will not have this shortcoming. An example might
> be side impact beams in car doors, which (I assume) are out of sight and
> out of mind - and not mentioned prominently in advertising. Another
> example would be a measure which changed individual behavior - like,
> say, a red light camera, which replaces one risk with another - that of
> a ticket.

I assume you're talking theoretically. There is no reason to suppose
that side impact beams are totally out of mind, nor that everyone sees
or knows about the camera.

>
> I think that riskier behavior is a potential problem whenever the safety
> measure is widely touted as protecting the individual. And I suppose
> the potential increases with purported level of protection. Bike
> helmets, with the common claim of preventing 85% of head injuries, are
> likely to be a pretty severe example.
>
>
>> This cannot be uniformly true. If it were, one might decrease
>> accidental deaths by making a conscious decision to make cars more
>> dangerous, thus encouraging more careful driving. This is a logical
>> absurdity, but not too far from what some folks are asserting about
>> mandating these measures.
>
>
> Well, when air bags were being hotly debated (before finally being
> mandated) an editor of Car & Driver magazine (IIRC) pointed out that a
> shotgun shell pointed at the driver's chest might do as much good, and
> do it more cheaply.

I fully understand that a publication heavily supported by auto industy
advertising would have this position. It's a little hysterical though,
doncha think?

>
> But in theory, _precisely_ operating risk compensation would mean the
> shotgun shell would have no effect. In theory, the drivers would drive
> with just enough care so their level of risk was unchanged. IOW, same
> number of deaths and injuries.

Does the theory actually state that compensation will be 100%?
>
> To get a safety benefit from something like this, you'd tell the drivers
> about the shotgun shell, but load it with styrofoam pellets instead of
> lead.
>
>> There is probably no perfect model to predict how broad
>> populations are going to react to mandated change. It may well be
>> that individual measures such as bicycle helmets are left to individuals.
>
>
> I certainly think so.
>
> > It doesn't
>
>> seem too much to ask to get credible data about just what sort of
>> protection a helmet affords, and allow people to make their own choices.
>
>
> Also, give honest data about the low level of risk of cycling! Have you
> noticed how the helmet promotion material is into distortion and fear
> mongering?
>
> Examples: "Bicycling causes 560,000 ER visits per year!!!!!" (Not
> mentioned: Basketball causes about 650,000. Even beds & bedclothes
> cause 400,000 ER visits per year. )

Having taken call in an ER for a year, I have no difficulty believing
these raw statistics.
>
> "A simple fall off a bike can cause irreversible brain damage!!!" (Not
> mentioned: so can a slip walking down the stairs - and guess which is
> much more common?)
>
> These half-truths go on and on, and they are what disturb me most about
> helmet promotion. It's impossible for this not to dissuade people from
> cycling. And it's likely to harm cyclists who attempt to get
> compensation from, say, negligent drivers who harm them.

This is of course a valid point--thanks for mentioning it.
>
>
> But regarding the "credible data" about helmet effectiveness: Have you
> noticed that the actual level of protection specified in the
> certification tests is never made public? Sure, you can look it up
> online - and wade through 50 pages of impenetrable engineering prose
> trying to understand it - but Safe Kids, NHTSA, CPSC, Consumer Reports
> et. al. never describe the test, never explain the low impact level
> these things are actually (supposedly) good for.
>
> That "credible data" is available right now. It would be a good place
> to start - but it would lead people to say "Is that all?" It's so far
> below the car-crash protection they claim, that it would deter helmet
> sales and use.
>
>> For myself, I see nothing wrong with public policy that mandates (for
>> example) a life preserver for every passenger and crew member on a
>> cruise ship.
>
>
> Of course. Risk compensation isn't an issue. I can't see a passenger
> taking the wheel and racing past rocky shoals because he's got a life
> preserver!

There's no reason to suppose risk compensation would be any less valid
for the captain of a ship than for the captain of a tandem. After all,
I'm sure the captain of the Titanic did believe it was unsinkable!

Steve
>
>

Tom Kunich
June 23rd 04, 05:36 PM
(Ritch) wrote in message >...
> (Tom Kunich) wrote in message >...
> [snip]
>
> > Ritch, don't mistake the effects of not grinding your head off on the
> > pavement with having any significant IMPACT protection.
> >
> > In fact, the impact protection of helmets is approaching zero in terms
> > of real world loadings.
>
> Quite right, though I consider grinding your head off to be a head
> injury and that a motorcycle helmet reduces the risk of such an
> injury.

Racers are a different kettle of fish than the average road rider
don't you think? A racer really does have chances of dragging his head
on the ground and that being the primary cause of serious injury.

A motorcycle road rider's greatest chance of serious injury or
fatality is from impacts with vehicles.

The statistical data is very plain - serious head injuries and deaths
from racing accidents are very slight in number whereas road accidents
are the major cause of serious head injuries and deaths to motorcycle
riders.

Your arguments that you can save lives and serious injuries is
slightly comical in this regard considering that impacts with vehicles
are not significantly mitigated by crash helmets of any standard.

> My point is that you have overplayed your hand in your objection to
> bicycle helmet laws by suggesting that motorcycle helmets are
> ineffective.

Sorry, but I studied motorcycle statistics for many years before
getting into bicycling. I assumed that although motorcycle helmets
were showing no statistically relevant effects that they MUST work for
bicyclists. After studying bicycle helmets for several years (from a
pro-helmet perspective I might add) I came to the inescapable
conclusion that LIKE MOTORCYCLE HELMETS, bicycle helmets provide no
statistically significant effects.

> Whether bicycle helmets are effective in reducing the likelihood of
> head injury in the event of an accident is an empirical matter. So
> far, the answer appears to be that they do. But...

Perhaps you mis-wrote that? In fact perhaps you can demonstrate this
empiracle effect of bicycle helmets? The graph in the latest so-called
"pro-helmet" study which leaps to erroneous conclusions demonstrates
pretty dramatically what other authors have shown in similar data from
Great Britain, Canada and the USA - that head injuries to bicyclists
seems to perfectly track that of pedestrians implying pretty plainly
that the pertinent effects are from traffic control changes and not
from helmet useage.

> Finally, to make my point again, the effects of compensating behaviour
> as well as other factors may reduce or even reverse the supposed
> benefits of bicycle helmets such that it would be bad public policy to
> implement mandatory helmet laws. The empirical jury is (at best) hung
> on this matter. In my opinion, this (more complex) argument is a
> stronger one against mandatory helmet laws.

Err, does it matter that bicyclist might be taking more chances
because they think they are protected by helmets? One might assume
such an effect to be equally neutralized by car drivers assuming that
bicyclists are more professional than they are because they are
dressed like professional racers.

Tom Kunich
June 23rd 04, 05:36 PM
(Ritch) wrote in message >...
> (Tom Kunich) wrote in message >...
> [snip]
>
> > Ritch, don't mistake the effects of not grinding your head off on the
> > pavement with having any significant IMPACT protection.
> >
> > In fact, the impact protection of helmets is approaching zero in terms
> > of real world loadings.
>
> Quite right, though I consider grinding your head off to be a head
> injury and that a motorcycle helmet reduces the risk of such an
> injury.

Racers are a different kettle of fish than the average road rider
don't you think? A racer really does have chances of dragging his head
on the ground and that being the primary cause of serious injury.

A motorcycle road rider's greatest chance of serious injury or
fatality is from impacts with vehicles.

The statistical data is very plain - serious head injuries and deaths
from racing accidents are very slight in number whereas road accidents
are the major cause of serious head injuries and deaths to motorcycle
riders.

Your arguments that you can save lives and serious injuries is
slightly comical in this regard considering that impacts with vehicles
are not significantly mitigated by crash helmets of any standard.

> My point is that you have overplayed your hand in your objection to
> bicycle helmet laws by suggesting that motorcycle helmets are
> ineffective.

Sorry, but I studied motorcycle statistics for many years before
getting into bicycling. I assumed that although motorcycle helmets
were showing no statistically relevant effects that they MUST work for
bicyclists. After studying bicycle helmets for several years (from a
pro-helmet perspective I might add) I came to the inescapable
conclusion that LIKE MOTORCYCLE HELMETS, bicycle helmets provide no
statistically significant effects.

> Whether bicycle helmets are effective in reducing the likelihood of
> head injury in the event of an accident is an empirical matter. So
> far, the answer appears to be that they do. But...

Perhaps you mis-wrote that? In fact perhaps you can demonstrate this
empiracle effect of bicycle helmets? The graph in the latest so-called
"pro-helmet" study which leaps to erroneous conclusions demonstrates
pretty dramatically what other authors have shown in similar data from
Great Britain, Canada and the USA - that head injuries to bicyclists
seems to perfectly track that of pedestrians implying pretty plainly
that the pertinent effects are from traffic control changes and not
from helmet useage.

> Finally, to make my point again, the effects of compensating behaviour
> as well as other factors may reduce or even reverse the supposed
> benefits of bicycle helmets such that it would be bad public policy to
> implement mandatory helmet laws. The empirical jury is (at best) hung
> on this matter. In my opinion, this (more complex) argument is a
> stronger one against mandatory helmet laws.

Err, does it matter that bicyclist might be taking more chances
because they think they are protected by helmets? One might assume
such an effect to be equally neutralized by car drivers assuming that
bicyclists are more competent than they are because they are dressed
like professional racers.

Rick
June 23rd 04, 05:38 PM
....stuff deleted
>
> There's no reason to suppose risk compensation would be any less valid
> for the captain of a ship than for the captain of a tandem. After all,
> I'm sure the captain of the Titanic did believe it was unsinkable!
>
> Steve
> >

Actually, there is sufficient evidence to believe that he did not. Edward
John Smith was a sailor of the highest calibre. That any sailor would
consider a ship unsinkable is pretty laughable. While this was the
advertising claim of the White Star Line, it was almost certainly not the
belief of its captain. He left his dinner when informed of floating pack ice
and verified that his crew was fully alerted. It is unlikely that he could
have done much more than this. The rumors of him trying to set a speed
record were standard Hollywood tripe (the Titanic and other White Star ships
were slower, but more elegant than the Cunard ships which were always
setting speed records).

As someone pointed out, risk compensation may not be a characteristic of an
individual in a given situation (though everyone probably has said, "oh, I
can do that," and then proven themselves to be a fool at least once).

Rick

Mitch Haley
June 23rd 04, 07:39 PM
Frank Krygowski wrote:
> Dorothy Robinson (who used to post here occasionally) is a
> professional statistician and researcher with an interest in bike
> safety. IIRC, she obtained the original data set from T&R and
> found errors in their computations regarding (for example) the
> confounding effect of age differences in the groups being compared.

My favorite part was when Dorre used T&R's data, along with the
calculation they used to show ~80% reduction in head injury, to
show that helmet use was more than 75% effective in preventing
broken legs. If that isn't a solid indictment of the original T&R
paper, I don't know what is.

Mitch.

Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS
June 23rd 04, 09:04 PM
Rick wrote:

> ...stuff deleted
>
>>There's no reason to suppose risk compensation would be any less valid
>>for the captain of a ship than for the captain of a tandem. After all,
>>I'm sure the captain of the Titanic did believe it was unsinkable!
>>
>>Steve
>>
>
> Actually, there is sufficient evidence to believe that he did not. Edward
> John Smith was a sailor of the highest calibre. That any sailor would
> consider a ship unsinkable is pretty laughable. While this was the
> advertising claim of the White Star Line, it was almost certainly not the
> belief of its captain. He left his dinner when informed of floating pack ice
> and verified that his crew was fully alerted. It is unlikely that he could
> have done much more than this. The rumors of him trying to set a speed
> record were standard Hollywood tripe (the Titanic and other White Star ships
> were slower, but more elegant than the Cunard ships which were always
> setting speed records).
>
> As someone pointed out, risk compensation may not be a characteristic of an
> individual in a given situation (though everyone probably has said, "oh, I
> can do that," and then proven themselves to be a fool at least once).
>
> Rick
>
>
Not that I would deny it exists. A particularly egregious (to me)
example was printed a few weeks back in Newsweek. A woman proclaimed
that she would continue to drive SUVs regardless of the price of
gasoline because "If I get into an accident, I win!"

Steve

Mitch Haley
June 23rd 04, 10:04 PM
Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS wrote:
>
> >
> Not that I would deny it exists. A particularly egregious (to me)
> example was printed a few weeks back in Newsweek. A woman proclaimed
> that she would continue to drive SUVs regardless of the price of
> gasoline because "If I get into an accident, I win!"

Not always:
http://www.freep.com/news/statewire/sw99945_20040622.htm
http://www.wcow.com/html/semi_truck_accident.html

Bob in CT
June 23rd 04, 10:12 PM
On Wed, 23 Jun 2004 17:04:19 -0400, Mitch Haley > wrote:

> Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS wrote:
>>
>> >
>> Not that I would deny it exists. A particularly egregious (to me)
>> example was printed a few weeks back in Newsweek. A woman proclaimed
>> that she would continue to drive SUVs regardless of the price of
>> gasoline because "If I get into an accident, I win!"
>
> Not always:
> http://www.freep.com/news/statewire/sw99945_20040622.htm
> http://www.wcow.com/html/semi_truck_accident.html

What she failed to mention is that if she swerves, her SUV is much more
likely to roll than a car. That'll probably kill her before a head on
does. I've seen way more overturned vehicles than head on collisions.

--
Bob in CT
Remove ".x" to reply

Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS
June 23rd 04, 10:21 PM
Bob in CT wrote:

> On Wed, 23 Jun 2004 17:04:19 -0400, Mitch Haley > wrote:
>
>> Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS wrote:
>>
>>>
>>> >
>>> Not that I would deny it exists. A particularly egregious (to me)
>>> example was printed a few weeks back in Newsweek. A woman proclaimed
>>> that she would continue to drive SUVs regardless of the price of
>>> gasoline because "If I get into an accident, I win!"
>>
>>
>> Not always:
>> http://www.freep.com/news/statewire/sw99945_20040622.htm
>> http://www.wcow.com/html/semi_truck_accident.html
>
>
> What she failed to mention is that if she swerves, her SUV is much more
> likely to roll than a car. That'll probably kill her before a head on
> does. I've seen way more overturned vehicles than head on collisions.
>

Remember the Suzuki Samuri?

Steve

John Forrest Tomlinson
June 23rd 04, 11:14 PM
On Wed, 23 Jun 2004 14:39:20 -0400, Mitch Haley >
wrote:

>Frank Krygowski wrote:
>> Dorothy Robinson (who used to post here occasionally) is a
>> professional statistician and researcher with an interest in bike
>> safety. IIRC, she obtained the original data set from T&R and
>> found errors in their computations regarding (for example) the
>> confounding effect of age differences in the groups being compared.
>
>My favorite part was when Dorre used T&R's data, along with the
>calculation they used to show ~80% reduction in head injury, to
>show that helmet use was more than 75% effective in preventing
>broken legs. If that isn't a solid indictment of the original T&R
>paper, I don't know what is.

That's brilliant.

JT

Frank Krygowski
June 23rd 04, 11:24 PM
Tom Kunich wrote:
> The graph in the latest so-called
> "pro-helmet" study which leaps to erroneous conclusions demonstrates
> pretty dramatically what other authors have shown in similar data from
> Great Britain, Canada and the USA - that head injuries to bicyclists
> seems to perfectly track that of pedestrians implying pretty plainly
> that the pertinent effects are from traffic control changes and not
> from helmet useage.

Pertinent effects are also from improvements in medical care, I bet.
I'm amazed every time someone says "There are fewer bike fatalities
these days! Helmets _must_ be working!"

They seem to imply that, for example, MRI machines _aren't_ doing anything!

--
Frank Krygowski [To reply, remove rodent and vegetable dot com.
Substitute cc dot ysu dot
edu]

------------ And now a word from our sponsor ------------------
Do your users want the best web-email gateway? Don't let your
customers drift off to free webmail services install your own
web gateway!
-- See http://netwinsite.com/sponsor/sponsor_webmail.htm ----

Mitch Haley
June 24th 04, 01:38 AM
Here's an interesting article in Injury Prevention,
it seems that helmets can prevent 186% of all head injuries.
Maybe safekids.org can start advertising "one helmet saves two
children":

http://ip.bmjjournals.com/cgi/content/abstract/9/3/266
http://tinyurl.com/2yraf
http://ip.bmjjournals.com/cgi/eletters/9/3/266#59
http://ip.bmjjournals.com/cgi/content/full/10/2/126

(BTW, I forgot all about IP when I suggested that NEJM was
afflicted with antiscientific political drivel. There's too
much in NEJM, but IP is far, far worse.)

Tom Kunich
June 24th 04, 02:25 AM
"Steven Bornfeld" > wrote in message
...
>
> This cannot be uniformly true. If it were, one might decrease
> accidental deaths by making a conscious decision to make cars more
> dangerous, thus encouraging more careful driving.

Would it surprise you to find that dropped objects always fall down?

Tom Kunich
June 24th 04, 02:40 AM
"Frank Krygowski" > wrote in message
...
>
> But regarding the "credible data" about helmet effectiveness: Have you
> noticed that the actual level of protection specified in the
> certification tests is never made public? Sure, you can look it up
> online - and wade through 50 pages of impenetrable engineering prose
> trying to understand it - but Safe Kids, NHTSA, CPSC, Consumer Reports
> et. al. never describe the test, never explain the low impact level
> these things are actually (supposedly) good for.

Consider - the styrofoam energy absorbant in a helmet is designed to
compress at a nearly uniform rate of 300 gees. This is the maxium amount of
deceleration that an average human, male skull can absorb without skull
fracture. Women can only stand something like 280 gees and children about
180 gees.

Why is it that so many "authorities" are telling us that children should be
wearing helmets when the padding in these helmets performs essentially the
same function as solid rock to children's heads? Indeed the lining does
conform to the child's head and therefore will tend to spread the inpact and
avoid the dangerous point impacts but neverytheless this is a serious
misrepresentation of bicycle helmets.

Moreover, I've run a series of tests of helmets on my own and am fairly
convinced that most helmets will NOT meet the Snell standard any longer. And
there are some funny tricks being played by manufacturers now.

For instance - when helmets were designed originally it was assumed that the
forces would be spread over the entire skull. with the advent of helmet
venting the area that the padding bore on was reduced. With the super
increase of venting which brings about a super reduction in the area of
contact with the skull the only way to maintain the energy absorbing
capacity is to make the foam a great deal more rigid. The effect of this is
that a much greater force is applied to a much smaller area of helmet
contact. Consider it this way. You can press lightly on a large contact
surface which will add all the forces up to a rather moderate force or you
can apply them all to a knife edge which will sheer through your skull
without slowing.

However, the testing method is with a magnesium head form. This form doesn't
care what the actual area of impact it. It is a rigid form without pressure
sensors.

So the testing method doesn't reveal that the latest helmets are
rediculously unsafe even when compared to their rediculously unsafe
forerunners.

Now certainly it would be difficult to improve a modern bicycle crash
helmet. But let's not pretend that there's anything of value in these
helmets.

I could go on but time and space prohibit.

Joe Riel
June 24th 04, 02:57 AM
Tom Kunich wrote:

> Consider - the styrofoam energy absorbant in a helmet is designed to
> compress at a nearly uniform rate of 300 gees. This is the maxium amount of
> deceleration that an average human, male skull can absorb without skull
> fracture. Women can only stand something like 280 gees and children about
> 180 gees.

I doubt that skull fracture is the issue.

>
> For instance - when helmets were designed originally it was assumed that the
> forces would be spread over the entire skull.

Not likely. At best the force would be spread over an area around the
contact point, not over the entire skull.

> with the advent of helmet
> venting the area that the padding bore on was reduced. With the super
> increase of venting which brings about a super reduction in the area of
> contact with the skull the only way to maintain the energy absorbing
> capacity is to make the foam a great deal more rigid. The effect of this is
> that a much greater force is applied to a much smaller area of helmet
> contact. Consider it this way. You can press lightly on a large contact
> surface which will add all the forces up to a rather moderate force or you
> can apply them all to a knife edge which will sheer through your skull
> without slowing.

No, the ventilated foam won't be shearing through the skull. Consider
that the skull is considerable harder than the foam. If anything was
going to break, it would be foam. Highly ventilated helmets certainly
are less structurally sound, but they don't act like knife edges.


Joe Riel

Ritch
June 24th 04, 03:41 AM
(Tom Kunich) wrote in message >...
[snip]
> Racers are a different kettle of fish than the average road rider
> don't you think? A racer really does have chances of dragging his head
> on the ground and that being the primary cause of serious injury.
>
> A motorcycle road rider's greatest chance of serious injury or
> fatality is from impacts with vehicles.
>
> The statistical data is very plain - serious head injuries and deaths
> from racing accidents are very slight in number whereas road accidents
> are the major cause of serious head injuries and deaths to motorcycle
> riders.

Obviously, there are less racers than public road users. It is also
the case that collisions with other vehicles and stationary objects
cause greater damage to the victim than bouncing along the ground (at
least on average). Another reason you see few serious head injuries
and deaths in motorcycle racing is that the riders wear safety
equipment - as well as having prompt medical assistance in the event
of an accident.

>
> Your arguments that you can save lives and serious injuries is
> slightly comical in this regard considering that impacts with vehicles
> are not significantly mitigated by crash helmets of any standard.

This doesn't gel with the literature review at
http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/people/injury/pedbimot/motorcycle/Motorcycle_HTML/toc.html

After reviewing many studies on motorcycle crashes in several
countries, it found, inter alia, that helmeted riders had lower rates
of head injury for all accident types. They also tended to stay in
hospital for shorter periods and cost less to treat. Unless there is a
systematic bias that non-helmeted riders crash into other vehicles or
stationary objects more often than helmeted riders, the empirical
evidence is fairly strong.

>
> > My point is that you have overplayed your hand in your objection to
> > bicycle helmet laws by suggesting that motorcycle helmets are
> > ineffective.
>
> Sorry, but I studied motorcycle statistics for many years before
> getting into bicycling. I assumed that although motorcycle helmets
> were showing no statistically relevant effects that they MUST work for
> bicyclists. After studying bicycle helmets for several years (from a
> pro-helmet perspective I might add) I came to the inescapable
> conclusion that LIKE MOTORCYCLE HELMETS, bicycle helmets provide no
> statistically significant effects.
>
> > Whether bicycle helmets are effective in reducing the likelihood of
> > head injury in the event of an accident is an empirical matter. So
> > far, the answer appears to be that they do. But...
>
> Perhaps you mis-wrote that? In fact perhaps you can demonstrate this
> empiracle effect of bicycle helmets? The graph in the latest so-called
> "pro-helmet" study which leaps to erroneous conclusions demonstrates
> pretty dramatically what other authors have shown in similar data from
> Great Britain, Canada and the USA - that head injuries to bicyclists
> seems to perfectly track that of pedestrians implying pretty plainly
> that the pertinent effects are from traffic control changes and not
> from helmet useage.

No "mis-write" there. The empiricle (sic) evidence on the efficacy of
motorcycle helmets in reducing the incidence and severity of head
injuries in the event of an accident is strong. I am not aware of
similar evidence for bicycle helmets.

I then followed up by saying that the case for mandatory helmet law
ought not to rest those results because of interactions due to
behavioural changes.

>
> > Finally, to make my point again, the effects of compensating behaviour
> > as well as other factors may reduce or even reverse the supposed
> > benefits of bicycle helmets such that it would be bad public policy to
> > implement mandatory helmet laws. The empirical jury is (at best) hung
> > on this matter. In my opinion, this (more complex) argument is a
> > stronger one against mandatory helmet laws.
>
> Err, does it matter that bicyclist might be taking more chances
> because they think they are protected by helmets? One might assume
> such an effect to be equally neutralized by car drivers assuming that
> bicyclists are more competent than they are because they are dressed
> like professional racers.

Exactly why the case for/against MHL should not rest on the (clear and
obvious, but conditional) medical benefits.

Ritch

Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS
June 24th 04, 02:14 PM
Tom Kunich wrote:

> "Steven Bornfeld" > wrote in message
> ...
>
>>This cannot be uniformly true. If it were, one might decrease
>>accidental deaths by making a conscious decision to make cars more
>>dangerous, thus encouraging more careful driving.
>
>
> Would it surprise you to find that dropped objects always fall down?
>
>
Huh?

Steve

VC
June 24th 04, 03:10 PM
(James Annan) wrote in message >...
> Steven Bornfeld > wrote in message >...
>
> > >
> > >>See, I'm going to have to look up that paper. It is very, very
> > >>difficult for me to believe that NEJM would publish a paper with a flaw
> > >>that blatant.
> > >
> > > Sure. Just as it is hard to believe that the percentage points
> > > problem would have got past the peer review process. But what you
> > > have to remember is that these guys are looking for helmets to work.
> > > When I was training as an engineer i was told to guard against that.
> > > The idea of an experiment is to test a hypothesis, not to find data to
> > > support it. You're supposed to try to disprove, not prove, your
> > > initial premise. In this case the researchers (funded, unless I've
> > > been misinformed, by the Snell Insititue) had already decided on the
> > > outcome before they started.
> >
> > Well, sure. That's the way it is supposed to be. But drug trials are
> > not conducted by folks looking for the drugs not to work. Of course,
> > one cannot do a double-blind study on this. But this is a very serious
> > charge against the NEJM, and I would have expected to hear about it.
> >
>
> Well, I will not comment on the NEJM article, but the recent Cook and
> Sheikh debacle is certainly clear enough. Their article can be read on
>
> http://ip.bmjjournals.com/cgi/content/full/9/3/266
>
> and there is a link to my letter below it.
>
> I await with interest further developments, in particular I look
> forward to seeing what steps the editors take to correct the record
> "promptly and prominently" as their publication policy puts it. Since
> the original article appeared in the paper version of the journal, my
> electronic letter alone will presumably not suffice.
>
> F.P. Rivara is one of the deputy editors, by the way.

.... and the Injury Prevention Editor, Barry Pless, is a
self-confessed safety zealot (editorial, Injury Prevention 1999;5:2)
who I believe allows his biases to get in the way of good science,
hence the tardy and inadequate response to the identification of the
calculation error that James submitted.


> James

Frank Krygowski
June 24th 04, 03:34 PM
Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS wrote:

> Frank Krygowski wrote:
>
>> Some safety measures will not have this shortcoming. An example might
>> be side impact beams in car doors, which (I assume) are out of sight
>> and out of mind - and not mentioned prominently in advertising.
>> Another example would be a measure which changed individual behavior -
>> like, say, a red light camera, which replaces one risk with another -
>> that of a ticket.
>
>
> I assume you're talking theoretically. There is no reason to
> suppose that side impact beams are totally out of mind, nor that
> everyone sees or knows about the camera.

This is only my guess, but I'm betting that the typical motorist in the
USA isn't very aware of the side impact beams. They sometimes get
(literally) three seconds mention in a safety-oriented car ad, but
that's it. There's certainly no advertising reminder molded into the
car interior, as in the case of air bags.

How many people know about speed cameras probably depends on the local
governments intentions. If they intend to reduce speeding, they'll
probably put up conspicuous signs. (I've been in places where that was
true.) If they intend to just raise revenue, they may not.


>>
>> But in theory, _precisely_ operating risk compensation would mean the
>> shotgun shell would have no effect. In theory, the drivers would
>> drive with just enough care so their level of risk was unchanged.
>> IOW, same number of deaths and injuries.
>
>
> Does the theory actually state that compensation will be 100%?

The statements I've seen explaining risk compensation (or risk
homeostasis) say that people will tend to adjust their behavior so their
level of risk is unchanged. There's no reason to believe they will do
this perfectly, but as I understand it, they'll subconsciously try.


--
--------------------+
Frank Krygowski [To reply, remove rodent and vegetable dot com,
replace with cc.ysu dot edu]

Bill Z.
June 24th 04, 03:57 PM
Frank Krygowski > writes:

> Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS wrote:
>

> >> But in theory, _precisely_ operating risk compensation would mean
> >> the shotgun shell would have no effect. In theory, the drivers
> >> would drive with just enough care so their level of risk was
> >> unchanged. IOW, same number of deaths and injuries.
> > Does the theory actually state that compensation will be 100%?
>
> The statements I've seen explaining risk compensation (or risk
> homeostasis) say that people will tend to adjust their behavior so
> their level of risk is unchanged. There's no reason to believe they
> will do this perfectly, but as I understand it, they'll subconsciously
> try.

Risk compensation has been beaten to death 10 years ago on in the
previous version of this discussion. The anti-helmet camp trotted it
out, claiming helmeted cyclists would take more risks, without
considering that other injuries (including just road rash) are a
disincentive for risky behavior, particularly if these injuries are
painful.

Bill

--
My real name backwards: nemuaZ lliB

Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS
June 24th 04, 06:58 PM
Frank Krygowski wrote:
> Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS wrote:
>
>> Frank Krygowski wrote:
>>
>>> Some safety measures will not have this shortcoming. An example
>>> might be side impact beams in car doors, which (I assume) are out of
>>> sight and out of mind - and not mentioned prominently in
>>> advertising. Another example would be a measure which changed
>>> individual behavior - like, say, a red light camera, which replaces
>>> one risk with another - that of a ticket.
>>
>>
>>
>> I assume you're talking theoretically. There is no reason to
>> suppose that side impact beams are totally out of mind, nor that
>> everyone sees or knows about the camera.
>
>
> This is only my guess, but I'm betting that the typical motorist in the
> USA isn't very aware of the side impact beams. They sometimes get
> (literally) three seconds mention in a safety-oriented car ad, but
> that's it. There's certainly no advertising reminder molded into the
> car interior, as in the case of air bags.
>
> How many people know about speed cameras probably depends on the local
> governments intentions. If they intend to reduce speeding, they'll
> probably put up conspicuous signs. (I've been in places where that was
> true.) If they intend to just raise revenue, they may not.
>
>
>>>
>>> But in theory, _precisely_ operating risk compensation would mean the
>>> shotgun shell would have no effect. In theory, the drivers would
>>> drive with just enough care so their level of risk was unchanged.
>>> IOW, same number of deaths and injuries.
>>
>>
>>
>> Does the theory actually state that compensation will be 100%?
>
>
> The statements I've seen explaining risk compensation (or risk
> homeostasis) say that people will tend to adjust their behavior so their
> level of risk is unchanged. There's no reason to believe they will do
> this perfectly, but as I understand it, they'll subconsciously try.
>
>


It seems intuitive that some people will try consciously, some
unconsciously, and some not at all. Some, made more aware of the
dangers rightly or wrongly ascribed to the activity will avoid the
activity altogether (as those against helmet laws say) or be even more
careful.
I'm sure safety engineers are aware of this. If you believe the
compensation is perfect, it seems to make the whole concept of safety
engineering moot (unless it is totally secret!).

Steve

Frank Krygowski
June 24th 04, 07:14 PM
Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS wrote:
> Frank Krygowski wrote:
>
>>
>>>> [fk:]
>>>> But in theory, _precisely_ operating risk compensation would mean
>>>> the shotgun shell would have no effect. In theory, the drivers
>>>> would drive with just enough care so their level of risk was
>>>> unchanged. IOW, same number of deaths and injuries.
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> [sb:]
>>> Does the theory actually state that compensation will be 100%?
>>
>> The statements I've seen explaining risk compensation (or risk
>> homeostasis) say that people will tend to adjust their behavior so
>> their level of risk is unchanged. There's no reason to believe they
>> will do this perfectly, but as I understand it, they'll subconsciously
>> try.
>>
>
> It seems intuitive that some people will try consciously, some
> unconsciously, and some not at all. Some, made more aware of the
> dangers rightly or wrongly ascribed to the activity will avoid the
> activity altogether (as those against helmet laws say) or be even more
> careful.
> I'm sure safety engineers are aware of this. If you believe the
> compensation is perfect, it seems to make the whole concept of safety
> engineering moot (unless it is totally secret!).

Please note that I don't believe it's perfect, and didn't say it was.
Note the phrase "... in theory, _precisely_ operating risk compensation..."


--
Frank Krygowski [To reply, remove rodent and vegetable dot com.
Substitute cc dot ysu dot
edu]

Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS
June 24th 04, 07:42 PM
Frank Krygowski wrote:

>
> Please note that I don't believe it's perfect, and didn't say it was.
> Note the phrase "... in theory, _precisely_ operating risk compensation..."

OK!:-)

Steve
>
>

Howard Kveck
June 25th 04, 02:12 AM
In article >,
Frank Krygowski > wrote:

> How many people know about speed cameras probably depends on the local
> governments intentions. If they intend to reduce speeding, they'll
> probably put up conspicuous signs. (I've been in places where that was
> true.) If they intend to just raise revenue, they may not.

If you don't mind, I'd like to ammend that "they may not" to "they
*will* not". With budget shortfalls in many cities and counties, traffic
enforcement has become a big source of revenue.

--
tanx,
Howard

"The fickleness of fame and fortune's caprice
Together changed the life of Mason Reese"
Alice Donut

remove YOUR SHOES to reply, ok?

CowPunk
June 25th 04, 02:53 AM
> > accident worse. A study that proves the efficacy of helmets does not, yet,
> > exist. I think that, as designed, the modern helmets, designed to barely
> > meet the modest requirements of ANSI, are feeble protection, at best. None
> > of the modern helmets meet the SNELL standard which might possibly offer
>
> Yes, they do. Many of Specialized's helmets meet the Snell standards.
> Last week, somebody posted a link to Snell's list of certified helmets,
> so a quick search should turn it up.


ANSI rating is a joke and always has been.
I have no idea of what a CPSC rating is.

All of Giros helmets used to be SNELL rated,
and I think Bells also. But several years
ago they dropped the SNELL cert.

Steven Bornfeld
June 25th 04, 03:19 AM
Howard Kveck wrote:
> In article >,
> Frank Krygowski > wrote:
>
>
>>How many people know about speed cameras probably depends on the local
>>governments intentions. If they intend to reduce speeding, they'll
>>probably put up conspicuous signs. (I've been in places where that was
>>true.) If they intend to just raise revenue, they may not.
>
>
> If you don't mind, I'd like to ammend that "they may not" to "they
> *will* not". With budget shortfalls in many cities and counties, traffic
> enforcement has become a big source of revenue.

In New Yawk, toward the end of the month the meters seem to run out early.
Yeah, I know, ain't no such thing as quotas!

Steve

>

David Kerber
June 25th 04, 01:13 PM
In article >, cowpunk99
@hotmail.com says...
> > > accident worse. A study that proves the efficacy of helmets does not, yet,
> > > exist. I think that, as designed, the modern helmets, designed to barely
> > > meet the modest requirements of ANSI, are feeble protection, at best. None
> > > of the modern helmets meet the SNELL standard which might possibly offer
> >
> > Yes, they do. Many of Specialized's helmets meet the Snell standards.
> > Last week, somebody posted a link to Snell's list of certified helmets,
> > so a quick search should turn it up.
>
>
> ANSI rating is a joke and always has been.
> I have no idea of what a CPSC rating is.

I think the CPSC rating is about the same as the ANSI.


> All of Giros helmets used to be SNELL rated,
> and I think Bells also. But several years
> ago they dropped the SNELL cert.
>

--
Remove the ns_ from if replying by e-mail (but keep posts in the
newsgroups if possible).

Just zis Guy, you know?
June 25th 04, 02:48 PM
On Wed, 23 Jun 2004 09:16:18 -0400, Steven Bornfeld
> wrote in message
>:

>But something that bothers me in this argument is the "risk
>compensation" concept. As I understand it, it exists over populations.
> That doesn't mean it exists for a given individual.

Nobody believes in risk compensation. That's why it happens.

Here's a write-up of the Munich taxi experiment:
<url:http://pavlov.psyc.queensu.ca/target/chapter07.html>

In order for the observed effect to exist, in a relatively small
population, risk compensation behaviour /hed/ to be exhibited at the
individual level.

Although there will be some individuals whose perception of risk and
benefit means that their behaviour is, overall, safer after an
intervention, I don't think anyone is truly immune. Adams refers to
"risk thermostats" which are the mechanism by which we balance risk
and benefit as we perform a task. Risk compensation is intimately
bound with this model.

>When I made the
>comparison to compulsory seatbelt laws or airbags, several folks brought
>up the self-evident distinction that auto accidents statistically are
>far more dangerous than bicycle accidents. Then Guy brought up
>statistics that highway deaths only increased after mandatory seatbelt
>laws were enacted. This seems to imply that mandatory safety measures
>do not decrease accidental deaths--not only because a given activity is
>more or less dangerous, but because any benefit of the safety measures
>(let's leave aside the issue of just how effective they are for the
>moment) will be more than erased by riskier behavior.

Not necessarily, but the perceived benefit in seat belts was greater
than the actual benefit, with the result that overall deaths
increased. More to the point, the balance of risk shifted further from
the best protected to the worst protected.

>This cannot be uniformly true. If it were, one might decrease
>accidental deaths by making a conscious decision to make cars more
>dangerous, thus encouraging more careful driving. This is a logical
>absurdity, but not too far from what some folks are asserting about
>mandating these measures.

In some cases crash rates have been reduced by removing all paint,
signage and other traffic management measures from an area of roads.
The roads become superficially more dangerous, but actually safer,
because people compensate for the perceived danger by driving more
carefully.

Back in 1946 a JS Dean said: "The first thing that has to be learned
about the motor slaughter is that practically everything in it is
exactly the opposite to what is commonly supposed." I don't think
that has changed.

Guy
--
May contain traces of irony. Contents liable to settle after posting.
http://www.chapmancentral.co.uk

88% of helmet statistics are made up, 65% of them at Washington University

Just zis Guy, you know?
June 25th 04, 02:51 PM
On Wed, 23 Jun 2004 21:12:50 GMT, Bob in CT >
wrote in message >:

>What she failed to mention is that if she swerves, her SUV is much more
>likely to roll than a car. That'll probably kill her before a head on
>does. I've seen way more overturned vehicles than head on collisions.

One TV motoring journalist in the UK said he would refuse to buy the
Volvo SUV because it had a reinforced roof, and that indicated it was
likely to roll over. Clearly he hasn't even heard of "High And
Mighty".

Guy
--
May contain traces of irony. Contents liable to settle after posting.
http://www.chapmancentral.co.uk

88% of helmet statistics are made up, 65% of them at Washington University

Just zis Guy, you know?
June 25th 04, 03:03 PM
On Mon, 21 Jun 2004 19:14:36 -0400, Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS
> wrote in message
>:

>So when you think through the consequences, what do you think might be
>done to improve safety of operating motor vehicles?

You have to increase the perceived risk to the driver. Either through
prosecutions (risk of financial penalty) or through road engineering
changes which make the road environment seem more dangerous. And you
have to ram home the fact that cars are the number one cause of injury
death in children and so on.

Transport For London has been producing an absolutely shameful series
of TV ads with, for example, a dozy driver pulling out and killing a
motorcyclist - with the conclusion that motorists are dozy so
motorcyclists should ride more defensively. Blame the victim, why
don't you? So you need something like that, but the other way round.

Maybe bring back the pillory for people who are convicted of careless
driving, as well. So much of bad driving behaviour is macho bull****,
hurting them in their pride must be worth considering. Plus you could
raise money for accident victims' charities by selling rotten fruit.
I am almost serious about this one.

Ultimately you have to tackle the fact that a substantial number of
drivers who kill or maim get to walk away from the crash and keep
their license, suffering no significant personal inconvenience. And
indeed most incidences of careless or dangerous driving are simply not
detected or prosecuted, because someone more alert manages to avoid
the crash in the first place.

Guy
--
May contain traces of irony. Contents liable to settle after posting.
http://www.chapmancentral.co.uk

88% of helmet statistics are made up, 65% of them at Washington University

Just zis Guy, you know?
June 25th 04, 03:05 PM
On Mon, 21 Jun 2004 21:40:25 GMT, "Rick" > wrote
in message t>:

>> Statistics are the stock-in-trade of Liddites.

>Nice freudian slip. I assume you meant, "luddites?" Either way, good pun
>whether intentional or not.

Entirely intentional. Liddites adhere to an archaic "road safety"
model and don't care what damage gets done as long as they get their
way.

Guy
--
May contain traces of irony. Contents liable to settle after posting.
http://www.chapmancentral.co.uk

88% of helmet statistics are made up, 65% of them at Washington University

Just zis Guy, you know?
June 25th 04, 03:07 PM
On Tue, 22 Jun 2004 02:52:09 -0000, Bob Schwartz >
wrote in message >:

>He's confusing steel with aluminum foil. Aluminum foil helmets
>are said to have many interesting protective properties.

And helmets are sometimes known in the UK cycling NG as "polystyrene
foam deflector beanies" :-)

Guy
--
May contain traces of irony. Contents liable to settle after posting.
http://www.chapmancentral.co.uk

88% of helmet statistics are made up, 65% of them at Washington University

Just zis Guy, you know?
June 25th 04, 03:09 PM
On Mon, 21 Jun 2004 15:28:22 -0400, Frank Krygowski
> wrote in message >:

>One possibility was suggested by a British researcher on the subject of
>bike helmets. While I don't remember the exact quote, he said something
>like: "A bike helmet might possibly do you a little good, if you could
>be convinced that it wouldn't."

There was a quote in BikeBiz, the UK bike trade magazine: "there is
nothing inherently wrong with wearing a helmet as long as you remember
it's made of meringue covered in eggshell and ride accordingly". I
leave it to you, gentle reader, to guess who was being quoted here...

Guy
--
May contain traces of irony. Contents liable to settle after posting.
http://www.chapmancentral.co.uk

88% of helmet statistics are made up, 65% of them at Washington University

Frank Krygowski
June 25th 04, 03:56 PM
Just zis Guy, you know? wrote:

> On Wed, 23 Jun 2004 09:16:18 -0400, Steven Bornfeld
> > wrote in message
> >:
>
>>When I made the
>>comparison to compulsory seatbelt laws or airbags, several folks brought
>>up the self-evident distinction that auto accidents statistically are
>>far more dangerous than bicycle accidents. Then Guy brought up
>>statistics that highway deaths only increased after mandatory seatbelt
>>laws were enacted. This seems to imply that mandatory safety measures
>>do not decrease accidental deaths--not only because a given activity is
>>more or less dangerous, but because any benefit of the safety measures
>>(let's leave aside the issue of just how effective they are for the
>>moment) will be more than erased by riskier behavior.
>
>
> Not necessarily, but the perceived benefit in seat belts was greater
> than the actual benefit, with the result that overall deaths
> increased.

And again, this is the heart of the problem: if the _perceived_ benefit
is greater than the _actual_ benefit, people will overcompensate and end
up worse than before.

If you could truly convince people that a Superman cape would allow them
to fly 100% of the time, you'd have an increase in deaths resulting from
falls from tall buildings.

Part of the problem with bike helmets is that much mistaken, yet
perennially quoted "85% reduction in head injuries." 85% is so close to
100% that many people think a) they're bulletproof in their helmet, and
b) helmet promotion is all we need to do for cyclists.

--
--------------------+
Frank Krygowski [To reply, remove rodent and vegetable dot com,
replace with cc.ysu dot edu]

S o r n i
June 25th 04, 04:50 PM
Just zis Guy, you know? wrote:

> There was a quote in BikeBiz, the UK bike trade magazine: "there is
> nothing inherently wrong with wearing a helmet as long as you remember
> it's made of meringue covered in eggshell and ride accordingly". I
> leave it to you, gentle reader, to guess who was being quoted here...

Martha Stewart?

Bill "obscure reference to Scott Peterson trial" S.

Tom Kunich
June 26th 04, 05:48 AM
"Joe Riel" > wrote in message
...
> Tom Kunich wrote:
>
> > Consider - the styrofoam energy absorbant in a helmet is designed to
> > compress at a nearly uniform rate of 300 gees. This is the maxium amount
of
> > deceleration that an average human, male skull can absorb without skull
> > fracture. Women can only stand something like 280 gees and children
about
> > 180 gees.
>
> I doubt that skull fracture is the issue.

You're quite correct in that assumption Joe. The human head can stand quite
serious skull fractures without too much damage, but rotational forces even
at speeds much lower than the impact ratings of helmet can cause death in
some cases.

> > For instance - when helmets were designed originally it was assumed that
the
> > forces would be spread over the entire skull.
>
> Not likely. At best the force would be spread over an area around the
> contact point, not over the entire skull.

The original bicycle helmets had a reasonably hard shell which in fact did a
pretty good job of spreading the load over the entire inside helmet surface.

> No, the ventilated foam won't be shearing through the skull. Consider
> that the skull is considerable harder than the foam. If anything was
> going to break, it would be foam. Highly ventilated helmets certainly
> are less structurally sound, but they don't act like knife edges.

Sorry if you misunderstood me. I wasn't trying to say that the liner would
cut into the skull but that point loadings increase considerably and the
skull can probably sustain point fractures with the new helmets where they
wouldn't with the older less well ventilated ones.

Tom Kunich
June 26th 04, 05:50 AM
"Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS" > wrote in message
...
> Tom Kunich wrote:
>
> > "Steven Bornfeld" > wrote in message
> > ...
> >
> >>This cannot be uniformly true. If it were, one might decrease
> >>accidental deaths by making a conscious decision to make cars more
> >>dangerous, thus encouraging more careful driving.
> >
> > Would it surprise you to find that dropped objects always fall down?
> >
> Huh?

I was just trying to jog you into thinking about this - people learn to
drive at a certain speed, they then get the idea that it's safe to drive
faster - they do. If you told them that it is unsafe to drive as fast as
they have been doing they won't believe you because their experience tells
them that it IS safe.

The result of this is that accident in which the driver is injured but not
too seriously will slow them up. Virtually everything else will cause them
to increase their speeds and often drive more dangerously.

Tom Kunich
June 26th 04, 06:00 AM
"David Kerber" > wrote in message
...
> In article >, cowpunk99
> @hotmail.com says...
> >
> > ANSI rating is a joke and always has been.
> > I have no idea of what a CPSC rating is.
>
> I think the CPSC rating is about the same as the ANSI.
>
> > All of Giros helmets used to be SNELL rated,
> > and I think Bells also. But several years
> > ago they dropped the SNELL cert.

From memory: ANSI is nearly the same as the first Snell standard. CPSC is
almost identical to the latest Snell standard however - in order to maintain
your Snell certification you have to send your helmets in at regular
intervals to be tested by the experts. CPSC are SELF CERTIFIED.

Now this isn't altogether a rediculous idea. If you design a helmet to pass
the CPSC standard the only thing that would prevent each helmet out of the
molds from meeting that standard is a matter of quality control. Though were
the standard of any value to begin with I would prefer that it be tested at
regular intervals by a neutral party such as Snell.

Tom Kunich
June 26th 04, 06:26 AM
Ritch,

the NTSA article you cited is pretty scary to me. It was a comprehensive
report on OTHER STUDIES. We've seen precisely this used in Australia to
support bicycle helmet laws. Most of the studies on motorcycle deaths were
instituted by "safety" organizations often funded by helmet companies. If
you look in the right place at the right time you can prove just about
anything you want to do.

Moreover, a couple of the studies on bicycle helmets I reported on had
summaries that reported that helmets were always found in a positive light
but when you read the actual data exactly the opposite was demsontrated. In
one study of studies they used the data from the summary and not the actual
data from the text.

Never trust a government bureaucracy with other people's freedoms.

BTW, if you haven't anything better to do than to correct spelling errors
maybe you ought to take it up as an occupation.


"Ritch" > wrote in message
om...
> (Tom Kunich) wrote in message
>...
> [snip]
> > Racers are a different kettle of fish than the average road rider
> > don't you think? A racer really does have chances of dragging his head
> > on the ground and that being the primary cause of serious injury.
> >
> > A motorcycle road rider's greatest chance of serious injury or
> > fatality is from impacts with vehicles.
> >
> > The statistical data is very plain - serious head injuries and deaths
> > from racing accidents are very slight in number whereas road accidents
> > are the major cause of serious head injuries and deaths to motorcycle
> > riders.
>
> Obviously, there are less racers than public road users. It is also
> the case that collisions with other vehicles and stationary objects
> cause greater damage to the victim than bouncing along the ground (at
> least on average). Another reason you see few serious head injuries
> and deaths in motorcycle racing is that the riders wear safety
> equipment - as well as having prompt medical assistance in the event
> of an accident.
>
> >
> > Your arguments that you can save lives and serious injuries is
> > slightly comical in this regard considering that impacts with vehicles
> > are not significantly mitigated by crash helmets of any standard.
>
> This doesn't gel with the literature review at
>
http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/people/injury/pedbimot/motorcycle/Motorcycle_HTML/toc.html
>
> After reviewing many studies on motorcycle crashes in several
> countries, it found, inter alia, that helmeted riders had lower rates
> of head injury for all accident types. They also tended to stay in
> hospital for shorter periods and cost less to treat. Unless there is a
> systematic bias that non-helmeted riders crash into other vehicles or
> stationary objects more often than helmeted riders, the empirical
> evidence is fairly strong.
>
> >
> > > My point is that you have overplayed your hand in your objection to
> > > bicycle helmet laws by suggesting that motorcycle helmets are
> > > ineffective.
> >
> > Sorry, but I studied motorcycle statistics for many years before
> > getting into bicycling. I assumed that although motorcycle helmets
> > were showing no statistically relevant effects that they MUST work for
> > bicyclists. After studying bicycle helmets for several years (from a
> > pro-helmet perspective I might add) I came to the inescapable
> > conclusion that LIKE MOTORCYCLE HELMETS, bicycle helmets provide no
> > statistically significant effects.
> >
> > > Whether bicycle helmets are effective in reducing the likelihood of
> > > head injury in the event of an accident is an empirical matter. So
> > > far, the answer appears to be that they do. But...
> >
> > Perhaps you mis-wrote that? In fact perhaps you can demonstrate this
> > empiracle effect of bicycle helmets? The graph in the latest so-called
> > "pro-helmet" study which leaps to erroneous conclusions demonstrates
> > pretty dramatically what other authors have shown in similar data from
> > Great Britain, Canada and the USA - that head injuries to bicyclists
> > seems to perfectly track that of pedestrians implying pretty plainly
> > that the pertinent effects are from traffic control changes and not
> > from helmet useage.
>
> No "mis-write" there. The empiricle (sic) evidence on the efficacy of
> motorcycle helmets in reducing the incidence and severity of head
> injuries in the event of an accident is strong. I am not aware of
> similar evidence for bicycle helmets.
>
> I then followed up by saying that the case for mandatory helmet law
> ought not to rest those results because of interactions due to
> behavioural changes.
>
> >
> > > Finally, to make my point again, the effects of compensating behaviour
> > > as well as other factors may reduce or even reverse the supposed
> > > benefits of bicycle helmets such that it would be bad public policy to
> > > implement mandatory helmet laws. The empirical jury is (at best) hung
> > > on this matter. In my opinion, this (more complex) argument is a
> > > stronger one against mandatory helmet laws.
> >
> > Err, does it matter that bicyclist might be taking more chances
> > because they think they are protected by helmets? One might assume
> > such an effect to be equally neutralized by car drivers assuming that
> > bicyclists are more competent than they are because they are dressed
> > like professional racers.
>
> Exactly why the case for/against MHL should not rest on the (clear and
> obvious, but conditional) medical benefits.
>
> Ritch

Just zis Guy, you know?
June 26th 04, 11:22 AM
On Sat, 26 Jun 2004 05:00:49 GMT, "Tom Kunich" >
wrote in message
. net>:

>From memory: ANSI is nearly the same as the first Snell standard. CPSC is
>almost identical to the latest Snell standard however - in order to maintain
>your Snell certification you have to send your helmets in at regular
>intervals to be tested by the experts. CPSC are SELF CERTIFIED.

<url:http://www.bhsi.org/stdcomp.htm>

Quite what it means by "child helmets: CPSC: None" would be
interesting to find out.

And according to a man who tests helmets for a living, it is not
uncommon for random samples of helmets bought in the shops to fail the
standard tests - except in the case of Snell certified helmets, where
this is very rare.

He will also not recommend any helmet made by Bell. Specialized is
his recommendation as being the most consistent in passing the tests
(of the major brands anyway).

It's also worth noting that the impacts from which these helmets will
protect you are well within the protective capabilities of the Mk 1
skull, which has been evolved for impacts of around that scale.
Headform dropped onto anvil from 2m height - that's about the
equivalent of me tripping up while walking, an event which I would not
expect to cause serious or fatal injuries.

Guy
--
May contain traces of irony. Contents liable to settle after posting.
http://www.chapmancentral.co.uk

88% of helmet statistics are made up, 65% of them at Washington University

Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS
June 26th 04, 07:09 PM
Just zis Guy, you know? wrote:
> On Sat, 26 Jun 2004 05:00:49 GMT, "Tom Kunich" >
> wrote in message
> . net>:
>
>>From memory: ANSI is nearly the same as the first Snell standard. CPSC is
>
>>almost identical to the latest Snell standard however - in order to maintain
>>your Snell certification you have to send your helmets in at regular
>>intervals to be tested by the experts. CPSC are SELF CERTIFIED.
>
>
> <url:http://www.bhsi.org/stdcomp.htm>
>
> Quite what it means by "child helmets: CPSC: None" would be
> interesting to find out.
>
> And according to a man who tests helmets for a living, it is not
> uncommon for random samples of helmets bought in the shops to fail the
> standard tests - except in the case of Snell certified helmets, where
> this is very rare.
>
> He will also not recommend any helmet made by Bell. Specialized is
> his recommendation as being the most consistent in passing the tests
> (of the major brands anyway).
>
> It's also worth noting that the impacts from which these helmets will
> protect you are well within the protective capabilities of the Mk 1
> skull, which has been evolved for impacts of around that scale.
> Headform dropped onto anvil from 2m height - that's about the
> equivalent of me tripping up while walking, an event which I would not
> expect to cause serious or fatal injuries.
>
> Guy

Tell that to Robert Atkins' widow.

Steve

Just zis Guy, you know?
June 26th 04, 07:37 PM
On Sat, 26 Jun 2004 14:09:08 -0400, Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS
> wrote in message
>:

>> Headform dropped onto anvil from 2m height - that's about the
>> equivalent of me tripping up while walking, an event which I would not
>> expect to cause serious or fatal injuries.

>Tell that to Robert Atkins' widow.

Ah, well, being a cyclist rather than a lard-assed inventor of fad
diets I have less mass on which gravity can work its cruel magic ;-)

Guy
--
May contain traces of irony. Contents liable to settle after posting.
http://www.chapmancentral.co.uk

88% of helmet statistics are made up, 65% of them at Washington University

Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS
June 26th 04, 07:39 PM
Just zis Guy, you know? wrote:

> On Sat, 26 Jun 2004 14:09:08 -0400, Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS
> > wrote in message
> >:
>
>
>>>Headform dropped onto anvil from 2m height - that's about the
>>>equivalent of me tripping up while walking, an event which I would not
>>>expect to cause serious or fatal injuries.
>
>
>>Tell that to Robert Atkins' widow.
>
>
> Ah, well, being a cyclist rather than a lard-assed inventor of fad
> diets I have less mass on which gravity can work its cruel magic ;-)
>
> Guy

I note the traces of irony there, Guy.

Steve

DRS
June 26th 04, 07:48 PM
"Just zis Guy, you know?" > wrote in message

> On Sat, 26 Jun 2004 14:09:08 -0400, Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS
> > wrote in message
> >:
>
>>> Headform dropped onto anvil from 2m height - that's about the
>>> equivalent of me tripping up while walking, an event which I would
>>> not expect to cause serious or fatal injuries.
>
>> Tell that to Robert Atkins' widow.
>
> Ah, well, being a cyclist rather than a lard-assed inventor of fad
> diets I have less mass on which gravity can work its cruel magic ;-)

There was nothing "lard-arsed" about Atkins when he had his accident. The
massive bloating he experienced in his coma before he died is commonplace
for such patients. And how many decades does a diet have to exist before
it's no longer a fad?

--

A: Top-posters.
Q: What is the most annoying thing on Usenet?

Bill Z.
June 26th 04, 07:50 PM
> > Headform dropped onto anvil from 2m height - that's about the
> > equivalent of me tripping up while walking, an event which I would not
> > expect to cause serious or fatal injuries.
> > Guy

If you lock up the front brake, you'll go over the handlebars and
could have your head be the first thing to hit if you don't
tuck and roll adequately (which probably most people don't know
how to do in any case.)

If you are in a collision with a car such that you mostly slide over
the vehicle, you'll end up with a fall to the pavement of about the
same distance.

In both cases, you stand a good chance of hitting the ground in far
more of a head-first attitude than if you trip while walking.

Bill

--
My real name backwards: nemuaZ lliB

Steven Bornfeld
June 26th 04, 09:00 PM
DRS wrote:
> "Just zis Guy, you know?" > wrote in message
>
>
>>On Sat, 26 Jun 2004 14:09:08 -0400, Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS
> wrote in message
>:
>>
>>
>>>>Headform dropped onto anvil from 2m height - that's about the
>>>>equivalent of me tripping up while walking, an event which I would
>>>>not expect to cause serious or fatal injuries.
>>>
>>>Tell that to Robert Atkins' widow.
>>
>>Ah, well, being a cyclist rather than a lard-assed inventor of fad
>>diets I have less mass on which gravity can work its cruel magic ;-)
>
>
> There was nothing "lard-arsed" about Atkins when he had his accident. The
> massive bloating he experienced in his coma before he died is commonplace
> for such patients. And how many decades does a diet have to exist before
> it's no longer a fad?

Well, a lard-ass might be protective if you fell on it. It would
probably be more effective at resisting direct inpacts than rotational
forces though.
Unless he was a lard-head (which, given the amount of fat in his diet
he might have been), I couldn't blame his diet for his head injury.
I suspect that fatal head injuries from slipping on ice are not rare.
FWIW, I am hardly a fan of his diet. But the yucking it up about his
weight was (IMO) in rather poor taste, and wrong-headed besides.

Steve

>

Just zis Guy, you know?
June 26th 04, 09:47 PM
On Sun, 27 Jun 2004 04:48:26 +1000, "DRS"
> wrote in message
>:

>> Ah, well, being a cyclist rather than a lard-assed inventor of fad
>> diets I have less mass on which gravity can work its cruel magic ;-)

>There was nothing "lard-arsed" about Atkins when he had his accident. The
>massive bloating he experienced in his coma before he died is commonplace
>for such patients. And how many decades does a diet have to exist before
>it's no longer a fad?

You might want to check the .sig sometime.

Guy
--
May contain traces of irony. Contents liable to settle after posting.
http://www.chapmancentral.co.uk

88% of helmet statistics are made up, 65% of them at Washington University

Just zis Guy, you know?
June 26th 04, 09:53 PM
On Sat, 26 Jun 2004 18:50:45 GMT, (Bill Z.)
wrote in message >:

>> > Headform dropped onto anvil from 2m height - that's about the
>> > equivalent of me tripping up while walking, an event which I would not
>> > expect to cause serious or fatal injuries.
>> > Guy

>If you lock up the front brake, you'll go over the handlebars and
>could have your head be the first thing to hit if you don't
>tuck and roll adequately (which probably most people don't know
>how to do in any case.)

No I won't. If I lock the front brake, the front wheel will skid.
The only time I've gone over the bars was when something got lodged in
the front wheel - and I survived just fine, thanks, despite no
polystyrene hat (I was wearing an old-fashioned leather racing helmet
which undoubtedly saved me some stitches). I was goign downhill at a
fair clip at the time, and did suffer whiplash injuries.

It's also pretty unlikely that I could ever go over the bars at all on
my everyday bike.

>If you are in a collision with a car such that you mostly slide over
>the vehicle, you'll end up with a fall to the pavement of about the
>same distance.

No, I'll end up feet first in the side of the car. You've skimped on
your research, you see.

None of which affects the fact that there is no real-world evidence
linking helmets with any reduction in serious head injuries. Although
Thompson, Rivara and Thompson do report that helmets are more
effective in preventing death and serious brain injury than in
preventing cuts and minor injuries. Which would, I think, be highly
unusual if not unique in the field of personal protective equipment.

Guy
--
May contain traces of irony. Contents liable to settle after posting.
http://www.chapmancentral.co.uk

88% of helmet statistics are made up, 65% of them at Washington University

Bill Z.
June 26th 04, 10:50 PM
"Just zis Guy, you know?" > writes:

> On Sat, 26 Jun 2004 18:50:45 GMT, (Bill Z.)
> wrote in message >:
>
> >> > Headform dropped onto anvil from 2m height - that's about the
> >> > equivalent of me tripping up while walking, an event which I would not
> >> > expect to cause serious or fatal injuries.
> >> > Guy
>
> >If you lock up the front brake, you'll go over the handlebars and
> >could have your head be the first thing to hit if you don't
> >tuck and roll adequately (which probably most people don't know
> >how to do in any case.)
>
> No I won't. If I lock the front brake, the front wheel will skid.

Sigh. You probably let go in time or were in a turn (which is a
different case). Try riding very slowly (a few MPH) and lock the
front brake and the rear tire will lift up off the ground. A bit
faster, and over you go. If your bike can't do this, your brakes are
out of adjustment.

> The only time I've gone over the bars was when something got lodged in
> the front wheel - and I survived just fine, thanks, despite no
> polystyrene hat (I was wearing an old-fashioned leather racing helmet
> which undoubtedly saved me some stitches). I was goign downhill at a
> fair clip at the time, and did suffer whiplash injuries.

I.e., you were lucky.

>
> It's also pretty unlikely that I could ever go over the bars at all on
> my everyday bike.

I've had to do a maximum performance stop (front brake at almost but
not quite at the point where you'd go over the handlebars) on several
occassions - a driver running a stop sign, an agressive driver who
passed me and then slammed on his brakes in an attempt to get me to
tail end him, etc.


> >If you are in a collision with a car such that you mostly slide over
> >the vehicle, you'll end up with a fall to the pavement of about the
> >same distance.
>
> No, I'll end up feet first in the side of the car. You've skimped on
> your research, you see.

You'll sprawl across the hood, followed by an uncontrolled fall to
the ground. I've seen people post statements about this precise
thing happening to them.

> None of which affects the fact that there is no real-world evidence
> linking helmets with any reduction in serious head injuries. Although
> Thompson, Rivara and Thompson do report that helmets are more
> effective in preventing death and serious brain injury than in
> preventing cuts and minor injuries. Which would, I think, be highly
> unusual if not unique in the field of personal protective equipment.

You'd think they were the only people out there!
>
> 88% of helmet statistics are made up, 65% of them at Washington University

Give me a call if you'd like to buy the Brooklyn Bridge. I've got a
special deal this week.

--
My real name backwards: nemuaZ lliB

Tom Kunich
June 26th 04, 11:38 PM
"Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS" > wrote in message
...
> Just zis Guy, you know? wrote:
> >
> > It's also worth noting that the impacts from which these helmets will
> > protect you are well within the protective capabilities of the Mk 1
> > skull, which has been evolved for impacts of around that scale.
> > Headform dropped onto anvil from 2m height - that's about the
> > equivalent of me tripping up while walking, an event which I would not
> > expect to cause serious or fatal injuries.
>
> Tell that to Robert Atkins' widow.

Do we use anecdotal evidence of say, someone falling walking UP a 2 step
stairway and falling against the steps and dying?

Guy makes the point that the human body is designed to withstand the same
sort of impact that a helmet purports to do. Doesn't this strike a note with
you?

Tom Kunich
June 26th 04, 11:41 PM
"DRS" > wrote in message
...
>
> There was nothing "lard-arsed" about Atkins when he had his accident. The
> massive bloating he experienced in his coma before he died is commonplace
> for such patients. And how many decades does a diet have to exist before
> it's no longer a fad?

Well, you have to admit that the Atkins diet works by driving your body into
acidosis. This state is very hard on the internal organs of the body. Far
better to diet by reducing calory intake and increasing exercise and eat a
balanced diet. Atkins of probably easier for fat people though. Eating high
protein/fat diets does tend to make you feel full for a long time after the
meals whereas with balanced diets you always feel hungry.

Tom Kunich
June 26th 04, 11:45 PM
"Steven Bornfeld" > wrote in message
...
>
> I suspect that fatal head injuries from slipping on ice are not rare.

While in USAF School in Denver I was just returning from leave home to Sunny
California. My shirt was way too thin for the 2 feet of snow on the ground.
I was walking across the drill pad with my hands in my pockets and next
thing I know my feet were WAY over my head. I landed on glare ice on the
back of my head and my hands were stuck in my pockets and I couldn't get up.
Man I almost froze to death before someone came along and helped me up!

Tom Kunich
June 26th 04, 11:47 PM
"Bill Z." > wrote in message
...
>
> If you lock up the front brake, you'll go over the handlebars and
> could have your head be the first thing to hit if you don't
> tuck and roll adequately (which probably most people don't know
> how to do in any case.)

Right Bill, people are too stupid to know how to put out their hands.

Tom Kunich
June 26th 04, 11:49 PM
"Just zis Guy, you know?" > wrote in message
...
>
> No I won't. If I lock the front brake, the front wheel will skid.

Guy, you're being far to subtle for Zaumen. He reqiured a baseball bat at
full force to knock the slightest thought into his head.

Steven Bornfeld
June 26th 04, 11:49 PM
Tom Kunich wrote:
> "Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS" > wrote in message
> ...
>
>>Just zis Guy, you know? wrote:
>>
>>>It's also worth noting that the impacts from which these helmets will
>>>protect you are well within the protective capabilities of the Mk 1
>>>skull, which has been evolved for impacts of around that scale.
>>>Headform dropped onto anvil from 2m height - that's about the
>>>equivalent of me tripping up while walking, an event which I would not
>>>expect to cause serious or fatal injuries.
>>
>>Tell that to Robert Atkins' widow.
>
>
> Do we use anecdotal evidence of say, someone falling walking UP a 2 step
> stairway and falling against the steps and dying?
>
> Guy makes the point that the human body is designed to withstand the same
> sort of impact that a helmet purports to do. Doesn't this strike a note with
> you?

I'm not one of those "intelligent design" kinda guys. I also know
nothing about the Mk 1 skull, or what one can infer from testing it.
But as someone who's spent plenty of time in emergency rooms, I can
tell you that serious injury due to falling is far from rare.

Steve

>
>

Steven Bornfeld
June 26th 04, 11:52 PM
Tom Kunich wrote:
> "Bill Z." > wrote in message
> ...
>
>>If you lock up the front brake, you'll go over the handlebars and
>>could have your head be the first thing to hit if you don't
>>tuck and roll adequately (which probably most people don't know
>>how to do in any case.)
>
>
> Right Bill, people are too stupid to know how to put out their hands.

Gee, I was! ;-)

Steve

>
>

Bill Z.
June 27th 04, 12:15 AM
"Tom Kunich" > writes:

> "Bill Z." > wrote in message
> ...
> >
> > If you lock up the front brake, you'll go over the handlebars and
> > could have your head be the first thing to hit if you don't
> > tuck and roll adequately (which probably most people don't know
> > how to do in any case.)
>
> Right Bill, people are too stupid to know how to put out their hands.

And if someone doesn't react fast enough? Or didn't you think of
that.

--
My real name backwards: nemuaZ lliB

Bill Z.
June 27th 04, 12:23 AM
"Tom Kunich" > writes:

> "Just zis Guy, you know?" > wrote in message
> ...
> >
> > No I won't. If I lock the front brake, the front wheel will skid.
>
> Guy, you're being far to subtle for Zaumen. He reqiured a baseball bat at
> full force to knock the slightest thought into his head.

Looks like Kunich is reverting to form. You'll note his abusive
statments, and how he is not producing the URLs to back up the false
accusations he posted about me earlier -- hard to do when the messages
he talked about simply do not exist. Anyone with a shread of decency
would have gone away in shame after that, but not Kunich.

Even funnier, you can read about how you can't get the front wheel
to skid when riding in a straight line on dry, clean pavement in
_Effective Cycling_, among other books.

--
My real name backwards: nemuaZ lliB

Tom Kunich
June 27th 04, 12:24 AM
"Steven Bornfeld" > wrote in message
...
> Tom Kunich wrote:
> > "Bill Z." > wrote in message
> > ...
> >
> >>If you lock up the front brake, you'll go over the handlebars and
> >>could have your head be the first thing to hit if you don't
> >>tuck and roll adequately (which probably most people don't know
> >>how to do in any case.)
> >
> > Right Bill, people are too stupid to know how to put out their hands.
>
> Gee, I was! ;-)

yeah but you have really good dental coverage and so less motivation to
worry about your good looks.

Google

Home - Home - Home - Home - Home