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Chris B.
November 10th 04, 12:38 AM
On Tue, 09 Nov 2004 16:21:48 GMT, "Steven M. Scharf"
> wrote:

>"Chris Phillipo" > wrote in message
.. .
>
>> When I see soemone without a helmet I an urked by it but when I see
>soemone riding towards me on the wrong side of the road I can only think
>that Darwinism sure takes a long time to kick in.
>
>It does take a long time.
>
>There are a lot of people that believe that because they've gotten away with
>dangerous behavior for a long time, that this is somehow proof that their
>behavior is in fact not dangerous, or even proof that their resultant
>survival is proof that their behavior enhances their safety.
>
>How many times have you seen (or heard) people say, "I've been doing xyz
>(smoking, riding without a helmet, not wearing a seatbelt, running red
>lights, cycling without good lights, cycling on the wrong side of the road,
>etc) for years and I'm still here," as if that proves anything other than
>that they've been extremely lucky for having engaged in such behavior.
>
>My favorite one is when they cite the example of an extremely horrific
>accident, where a helmet did not (or would not have) saved the person, as
>proof that helmets are worthless.
>
>I don't like holier than thou people that try to tell other people what to
>do; I encourage people to look at the facts and make their own informed
>decisions. But people that intentionally misinform others, while deluding
>themselves, are not my favorite people.

Contrasting the last paragraph in your post with nearly everything
else I have seen you write, I must conclude that you are doing parody
here.

No one person could possibly contain as much hypocrisy and
self-contradiction as you do.

--
"Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its
victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under
robber-barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber-
baron's cruelty may at some point be satiated; but those who
torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they
do so with the approval of their own conscience."

- C.S. Lewis

Steven M. Scharf
November 10th 04, 03:26 AM
Chris B. wrote:

>>I don't like holier than thou people that try to tell other people what to
>>do; I encourage people to look at the facts and make their own informed
>>decisions. But people that intentionally misinform others, while deluding
>>themselves, are not my favorite people.
>
>
> Contrasting the last paragraph in your post with nearly everything
> else I have seen you write, I must conclude that you are doing parody
> here.

No parody. On my lighting pages I provide referenced facts, and informed
opinions. The negative comments I've seen posted all use the same flawed
logic I see in the helmet debate: "this is what I do, I've been doing it
for a long time, I haven't had a problem with it, so this proves that
I'm right and everyone should do everything the same way I do it." This
line of reasoning is not logical. These people will refuse to believe
anything that contradicts their beliefs, regardless of the evidence.

I can see both sides of the helmet issue. The pro-helmet people vastly
over-exaggerate the statistical benefit of helmets, while the
anti-helmet people will simply ignore the evidence regarding injuries in
helmet versus non-helmet head injury studies.

Steve
http://bicyclelighting.com

"Letís pass more laws to make everything safe for everybody" P.J.
O'Rourke, National Lampoon Sunday Newspaper Parody, (c)1978 (and about
to be re-issued on 11/16/04).

November 10th 04, 06:40 AM
"Steven M. Scharf" wrote:

> Chris B. wrote:
>
> >>I don't like holier than thou people that try to tell other people what to
> >>do; I encourage people to look at the facts and make their own informed
> >>decisions. But people that intentionally misinform others, while deluding
> >>themselves, are not my favorite people.
> >
> >
> > Contrasting the last paragraph in your post with nearly everything
> > else I have seen you write, I must conclude that you are doing parody
> > here.
>
> No parody. On my lighting pages I provide referenced facts, and informed
> opinions. The negative comments I've seen posted all use the same flawed
> logic I see in the helmet debate: "this is what I do, I've been doing it
> for a long time, I haven't had a problem with it, so this proves that
> I'm right and everyone should do everything the same way I do it." This
> line of reasoning is not logical. These people will refuse to believe
> anything that contradicts their beliefs, regardless of the evidence.

> I can see both sides of the helmet issue. The pro-helmet people vastly
> over-exaggerate the statistical benefit of helmets, while the
> anti-helmet people will simply ignore the evidence regarding injuries in
> helmet versus non-helmet head injury studies.

I guess it would depend on the definition of dangerous, wouldn't it?
How many people are killed on stairs, in the bathtub/shower, walking
on the street. Wearing a motorcyle helmet is as dangerous as not
wearing one; if you have an impact accident, you -may- reduce
the injuries, if you happen to whiplash your head during the accident,
the extra weight of the helmet -can- snap your neck and kill you.

A bicycle helmet is much lighter than a motorcycle helmet, I grant you,
but I still think the choice should rest with the individual, not the
government.

--

-TTFN

-Steven

Just zis Guy, you know?
November 10th 04, 02:41 PM
On Wed, 10 Nov 2004 03:26:26 GMT, "Steven M. Scharf"
> wrote:

>I can see both sides of the helmet issue. The pro-helmet people vastly
>over-exaggerate the statistical benefit of helmets, while the
>anti-helmet people will simply ignore the evidence regarding injuries in
>helmet versus non-helmet head injury studies.

And the sceptics acknowledge both, look at the injury trends for whole
populations (which are necessarily more robust than for the tiny
groups in pro-0helmet observational studies) and conclude that,
overall, if you want to reduce cyclist injuries, helmets are a long
way down the prority list.

A poll of British doctors put it sixth out of six possible
interventions, a study by the Transport research Laboratory put it
tenth of ten possible interventions and a factor of 25 behind the
likely most effective, being traffic calming.

So the logical thing to do is tell all the helmet zealots to butt out
and return to a proper cycle safety agenda.

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 M. Scharf
November 10th 04, 04:06 PM
> wrote in message
...
> "Steven M. Scharf" wrote:

> > I can see both sides of the helmet issue. The pro-helmet people vastly
> > over-exaggerate the statistical benefit of helmets, while the
> > anti-helmet people will simply ignore the evidence regarding injuries in
> > helmet versus non-helmet head injury studies.
>
> I guess it would depend on the definition of dangerous, wouldn't it?
> How many people are killed on stairs, in the bathtub/shower, walking
> on the street.

None of this is relevant to the bicycle helmet debate.

Some people accept the added risk inherent in not wearing a helmet, because
the risk of being involved in an accident where head injuries are involve
are small. Very few people deny the evidence that shows that helmeted riders
had less severe head injuries in crashes involving head injuries.

Steven M. Scharf
November 10th 04, 04:12 PM
"Just zis Guy, you know?" > wrote in message
...
> On Wed, 10 Nov 2004 03:26:26 GMT, "Steven M. Scharf"
> > wrote:
>
> >I can see both sides of the helmet issue. The pro-helmet people vastly
> >over-exaggerate the statistical benefit of helmets, while the
> >anti-helmet people will simply ignore the evidence regarding injuries in
> >helmet versus non-helmet head injury studies.
>
> And the sceptics acknowledge both, look at the injury trends for whole
> populations (which are necessarily more robust than for the tiny
> groups in pro-0helmet observational studies) and conclude that,
> overall, if you want to reduce cyclist injuries, helmets are a long
> way down the prority list.

That is the typical flawed logic we've seen in this thread. The fact that
there are other ways to also reduce injuries, are irrelevant. These other
measures should be taken, but they are not exclusive. The anti-helmet
zealots want to prove that helmets don't prevent injuries, but the facts
speak for themselves. You have to look at how helmeted versus non-helmeted
cyclists fare in crashes, the fact that traffic calming might have prevented
some of the accidents doesn't figure into the equation.

Paul R
November 10th 04, 04:19 PM
>
> > > I can see both sides of the helmet issue. The pro-helmet people vastly
> > > over-exaggerate the statistical benefit of helmets, while the
> > > anti-helmet people will simply ignore the evidence regarding injuries
in
> > > helmet versus non-helmet head injury studies.
> >
> > I guess it would depend on the definition of dangerous, wouldn't it?
> > How many people are killed on stairs, in the bathtub/shower, walking
> > on the street.
>
> None of this is relevant to the bicycle helmet debate.
>
> Some people accept the added risk inherent in not wearing a helmet,
because
> the risk of being involved in an accident where head injuries are involve
> are small. Very few people deny the evidence that shows that helmeted
riders
> had less severe head injuries in crashes involving head injuries.
>

Granted. However, the debate here is on mandatory helmet laws. The important
question to be answered is "Will mandatory helmet laws make the streets
safer for cyclists?".

I'm not going to re-hash all my reasons (i've given them in other posts),
but I firmly believe that they will NOT improve the situation.

Paul

Steven M. Scharf
November 10th 04, 05:17 PM
Paul R wrote:

> Granted. However, the debate here is on mandatory helmet laws. The important
> question to be answered is "Will mandatory helmet laws make the streets
> safer for cyclists?".

That is not the question. The reason that the mandatory helmet law is
being advocated is because it will reduce the severity of head injuries
when a crash occurs. In Canada, with its universal health care, they
have a vested interest in reducing injuries, due to the cost of treatment.

I am not saying that the MHL is a good idea, but the reasoning behind it
is not to make the streets safer; making the streets safer is desirable,
but a separate issue.

The government is misguided in its effort because the absolute number of
injuries (or reduction in severity of injuries) that the helmet law will
impact (no pun intended) is very small. They are taking an emotional
response to a couple of accidents where helmets would likely have made a
difference between life and death. I'm not saying that anyone dumb
enough not to wear a helmet deserves death, but it was their choice to
take the risk, and they have to accept the consequences. Maybe the
province should simply insert a provision into the health care laws that
they will not treat bicycle related injuries that would have been
prevented by the wearing of helmet; treatment will be at the patient's
expense.

Steve
http://bicyclelighting.com

"Letís pass more laws to make everything safe for everybody"
P.J. O'Rourke, National Lampoon Sunday Newspaper Parody, (c)1978
(wll be re-issued on 11/16/04).

Just zis Guy, you know?
November 10th 04, 05:24 PM
On Wed, 10 Nov 2004 16:06:46 GMT, "Steven M. Scharf"
> wrote:

>Very few people deny the evidence that shows that helmeted riders
>had less severe head injuries in crashes involving head injuries.

But many deny the evidence - robust though it is, and colected by
traffic statistics programmes which have existed for decades - that
helmets have no measurable effect at the population level.

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?
November 10th 04, 05:36 PM
On Wed, 10 Nov 2004 16:12:51 GMT, "Steven M. Scharf"
> wrote:

>> And the sceptics acknowledge both, look at the injury trends for whole
>> populations (which are necessarily more robust than for the tiny
>> groups in pro-0helmet observational studies) and conclude that,
>> overall, if you want to reduce cyclist injuries, helmets are a long
>> way down the prority list.

>That is the typical flawed logic we've seen in this thread. The fact that
>there are other ways to also reduce injuries, are irrelevant. These other
>measures should be taken, but they are not exclusive. The anti-helmet
>zealots want to prove that helmets don't prevent injuries, but the facts
>speak for themselves. You have to look at how helmeted versus non-helmeted
>cyclists fare in crashes, the fact that traffic calming might have prevented
>some of the accidents doesn't figure into the equation.

Steven, please introduce me to an anti-helmet zealot some time. I
have never met one. I have met one person who is anti-helmet (in two
years of active campaigning at a national level), but he is an
academic and absolutely not a zealot of any description.

The logic is not flawed. Mention cyclist safety in almost any public
context and helmets will be the first ting mentioned. The reason for
that is that helmet zealots are obsessed with them. They put up
posters, they have websites, they lobby parliaments, they write bills
which sometimes become law, they fill the medical press, they are in
the newspapers and on TV. When was the last time you saw any
large-scale campaign on cycle safety which was not primarily focused
on helmets?

There is simply no justification for this monomania. We know that in
New Zealand %HI for peds and cyclists trended identically through a
period where helmet use went from the mid 40s percent to the high 90s.
We know that head injury risk per cyclist in the USA increased by 40%
as helmet use rose from 18% to 50%. We know that the two safest
cycling countries - Netherlands and Denmark - have negligible helmet
wearing rates. We know that the countries with the worst cyclist
safety records have high helmet wearing rates.

Any remotely sane approach to cyclist safety cannot help but view
helmets as a controversial irrelevance, a sideshow. The known bad
effects - portraying cycling as dangerous and thus deterring
participation; and giving an exaggerated view of the benefit of
helmets - make even promotion a risky business, let alone compulsion.

I can't immediately think of any other area of public policy where the
glare of legislative attention is focused so brightly and so
relentlessly on so obviously the wrong target.

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 M. Scharf
November 10th 04, 05:42 PM
Just zis Guy, you know? wrote:

> But many deny the evidence - robust though it is, and colected by
> traffic statistics programmes which have existed for decades - that
> helmets have no measurable effect at the population level.

But that is not the data that is being used to push through the MHLs.

The MHL proponents look at the comparative injury data of helmeted
versus non-helmeted cyclists. This data is compelling on its own. Also,
since they measure and report the severity of the injuries, a lot of
injuries that would be classified as minor on a non-helmeted rider show
up in the statistics, while the helmeted rider would not even go into
the ER for treatment.

I agree that they should look at the overall data, not just the
comparative severity of injury data when injuries occur. No law is
needed. They'd be better off finding another way to encourage helmet
use, i.e. charging for emergency care to non-helmted cyclists involved
in crashes where helmets would have an effect.

Just zis Guy, you know?
November 10th 04, 05:50 PM
On Wed, 10 Nov 2004 17:17:46 GMT, "Steven M. Scharf"
> wrote:

>That is not the question. The reason that the mandatory helmet law is
>being advocated is because it will reduce the severity of head injuries
>when a crash occurs.

And the people advocating it are in denial about the possibility that
the likelihood of crashing in the first place will increase.

And about the fact that helmets are not designed to withstand impacts
with motor vehicles.

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?
November 10th 04, 05:58 PM
On Wed, 10 Nov 2004 17:42:01 GMT, "Steven M. Scharf"
> wrote:

>> But many deny the evidence - robust though it is, and colected by
>> traffic statistics programmes which have existed for decades - that
>> helmets have no measurable effect at the population level.

>But that is not the data that is being used to push through the MHLs.

No indeed, the data used to push helmet laws is very selectively
chosen to exclude that which proves helmet laws don't work. There's
probably a reason for that :-)

>The MHL proponents look at the comparative injury data of helmeted
>versus non-helmeted cyclists. This data is compelling on its own.

"compelling on its own" in the sense of "coimpelling when viewed in
isolation from balancing data", I suppose. Although if it was /that/
compelling the proponents wouldn't need to make quite such a big deal
about the 1989 Thompson, Rivara and Thomspson study whose authors have
since published much lower estimates following criticisms of their
methodology. It's almost as if the problem is not big enough if you
use current data.

In the UK the proponents also find it necessary to exaggerate the
numbers involved. For example, we recently had them claim that 50
children a year die and 22,500 are hospitalised for cycling related
head injuries. The real numbers are 10 and 2,000, both figures easily
checked and in the public domain.

And they also feel it necessary to drag in fatalities, despite the
fact that almost all cyclist fatalities are in road trafic crashes
involving motor vehicles, whch vastly exceed the protective
capabilites of helmets.

Oh, and they engage in gratuitous shroud-waving. In the UK they
paraded the case of a boy who "would have been saved" by a helmet
after riding off the pavement into thepath of a car while riding a
biek with defective brakes. Only a true zealot can see this as a
justification for a helmet law, particularly since the child had
already broken the laws on maintenance and pavement cycling, so was
not much of a one for spontaneous compliance.

>since they measure and report the severity of the injuries, a lot of
>injuries that would be classified as minor on a non-helmeted rider show
>up in the statistics, while the helmeted rider would not even go into
>the ER for treatment.

If you read Dorothy Robinson's critique of TR&T 1989 you will see
where that falls down.

>I agree that they should look at the overall data, not just the
>comparative severity of injury data when injuries occur. No law is
>needed. They'd be better off finding another way to encourage helmet
>use, i.e. charging for emergency care to non-helmted cyclists involved
>in crashes where helmets would have an effect.

No, actually they would be better off looking at cycle safety n the
round, and realising that helmet use is just a sideshow. Tinkering at
the margins.

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
November 10th 04, 06:58 PM
Steven M. Scharf wrote:

> The fact that
> there are other ways [besides helmets] to also reduce injuries, are irrelevant. These other
> measures should be taken, but they are not exclusive. The anti-helmet
> zealots want to prove that helmets don't prevent injuries, but the facts
> speak for themselves. You have to look at how helmeted versus non-helmeted
> cyclists fare in crashes, the fact that traffic calming might have prevented
> some of the accidents doesn't figure into the equation.

First: In engineering, people are generally trained to expend resources
where they're most efficient or effective. If, for example, convincing
all cyclists to ride on the proper side of the road would prevent 35% of
bike traffic fatalities & serious injuries; and if convincing all
cyclists to wear polka-dotted jackets would prevent 1%, then its logical
to go with the 35% benefit.

What we currently have is, as Guy indicated, plenty of impartial
analysis showing that universal helmet use makes little difference, but
an almost total fixation on helmets as the be-all of bike safety. Even
if you're convinced helmets have significant value, the current
overemphasis on helmets makes no sense. There are better ways.


Second: If a person limits themselves to looking at how helmeted versus
non-helmeted cyclists fare in crashes, they _must_ be sure that the
presence of a helmet is the only difference! This isn't an academic
point; one of the common shortcomings of helmet promoting studies is to
assume that only the helmet is different.

The most quoted figure on helmet effectiveness is "85% benefit" - most
quoted precisely because it's the highest, so it's the best for selling
helmets. Yet that benefit has never been seen in large populations of
helmeted cyclists.

Why the discrepancy? The tiny study that produced that figure compared
two groups: essentially white, middle class kids wearing helmets who
fell riding on bike paths or soft surfaces, versus black low income kids
riding helmetless on streets and experiencing harder crashes. (Yes, the
division wasn't absolute, but those differences were significantly present.)

There are _many_ reasons those low-income kids appeared to fare worse.
Just as an example, it's likely the wealthier parents took their kid to
the ER "just to be sure" (since insurance covers the visit anyway).
It's likely that poor kids go to the ER much more reluctantly - that is,
only if the kid's seriously hurt. ER costs money if you don't have
insurance.

So, as usual, the issue is more complicated than many people believe.
For this reason, the most reliable indication of helmet effectiveness
really is the time-series study, especially when it involves nearly the
entire population of cyclists in a country.

And of course, those studies show the least benefit to widespread helmet
use.

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

Frank Krygowski
November 10th 04, 07:18 PM
Steven M. Scharf wrote:

> Maybe the
> province should simply insert a provision into the health care laws that
> they will not treat bicycle related injuries that would have been
> prevented by the wearing of helmet; treatment will be at the patient's
> expense.
>

If this makes sense, then the province should also treat heart attacks
only in people who are not overweight and who exercise at least half an
hour daily. Anyone for that? ;-)

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

Frank Krygowski
November 11th 04, 03:39 AM
Steven M. Scharf wrote:

> No law is
> needed. They'd be better off finding another way to encourage helmet
> use, i.e. charging for emergency care to non-helmted cyclists involved
> in crashes where helmets would have an effect.

This thinking is interesting!

Scharf's faith in helmets is strong enough that he wants to punish
anyone who disagrees. No, not by enacting a law; by making them pay
extra for medical treatment.

Seems to me helmets would have an effect in motor vehicle crashes, too.
And I'm not alone in that feeling. See
http://www.magma.ca/~ocbc/carhelm.html

So why not impose the same penalty on unhelmeted motorists? It makes
more sense. Those folks are about 50% of serious head injuries! Think
of the money savings!


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

November 11th 04, 03:26 PM
"Steven M. Scharf" wrote:

> > wrote in message
> ...
> > "Steven M. Scharf" wrote:
>
> > > I can see both sides of the helmet issue. The pro-helmet people vastly
> > > over-exaggerate the statistical benefit of helmets, while the
> > > anti-helmet people will simply ignore the evidence regarding injuries in
> > > helmet versus non-helmet head injury studies.
> >
> > I guess it would depend on the definition of dangerous, wouldn't it?
> > How many people are killed on stairs, in the bathtub/shower, walking
> > on the street.
>
> None of this is relevant to the bicycle helmet debate.

Yes it is, the issue is having a law shoved on the population to
protect people from harm, regardless of how the people feel
about it. Ok, then let's ban stairs, people are killed on them
also. Motorists lose control of their vehicles and kill
pedestrians and bicyclists, let's ban cars; or restrict them
to certain streets and not allow pedestrians or bicyclists
on those streets. Increase bicycle safety? Ok, no more
two wheel bicycles, people fall down without having a third or
fourth wheel. Mandatory knee pads, elbow pads, heavy clothing
to prevent road rash. Excessive speed? Gee, there goes all those extra
gears, now they won't ride so fast they speed into an accident.
Sound silly? Think of the how many people would be saved from
harm by those laws. When you make laws to protect
people from harm where do you stop? Helmets should be a
choice for the individual.



> Some people accept the added risk inherent in not wearing a helmet, because
> the risk of being involved in an accident where head injuries are involve
> are small. Very few people deny the evidence that shows that helmeted riders
> had less severe head injuries in crashes involving head injuries.

And it would be nice for the mandatory helmet crowd to admit that wearing
a helmet does not guarantee safety, or survival in case of an accident.
Your whole life is a risk. How much of it are you willing to give up to
government regulation?


--

-TTFN

-Steven

Steven M. Scharf
November 11th 04, 04:07 PM
Just zis Guy, you know? wrote:

> We know that the countries with the worst cyclist
> safety records have high helmet wearing rates.

Your lack of logic is astounding.

Steven M. Scharf
November 11th 04, 04:09 PM
Just zis Guy, you know? wrote:

> And the people advocating it are in denial about the possibility that
> the likelihood of crashing in the first place will increase.

I don't think that anyone is foolish enough to believe that helmet use
will cause the likelihood of crashing to increase. The people advocating
the helmet laws aren't in denial of this possibility, or in acceptance
of it; it's just so patently ridiculous that neither side has brought it up.

Steven M. Scharf
November 11th 04, 04:17 PM
wrote:

> Yes it is, the issue is having a law shoved on the population to
> protect people from harm, regardless of how the people feel
> about it.

You misunderstand the mindset of the people pushing the MHLs. They are
not going out and looking at myriad other ways that people do stupid
things and hurt themselves. They are not looking at other steps they
could take to make cycling safer. They are looking solely at the data
regarding head injuries in bicycle accidents involving helmeted versus
non-helmeted cyclists. We have all sorts of laws that many people or
corporations don't like, i.e. child car seats, seat belts, safety-glass,
etc. In each case it would be better to prevent an accident from
happening in the first place.

Ok, then let's ban stairs, people are killed on them
> also. Motorists lose control of their vehicles and kill
> pedestrians and bicyclists, let's ban cars; or restrict them
> to certain streets and not allow pedestrians or bicyclists
> on those streets. Increase bicycle safety? Ok, no more
> two wheel bicycles, people fall down without having a third or
> fourth wheel. Mandatory knee pads, elbow pads, heavy clothing
> to prevent road rash. Excessive speed? Gee, there goes all those extra
> gears, now they won't ride so fast they speed into an accident.
> Sound silly? Think of the how many people would be saved from
> harm by those laws. When you make laws to protect
> people from harm where do you stop? Helmets should be a
> choice for the individual.

Cute, but it demonstrates that you don't understand how the MHL
politicians think. I'm against the MHLs because the benefit is so small
that this is one case where they should just let people decide on taking
the extra risk.

Just zis Guy, you know?
November 11th 04, 04:30 PM
On Thu, 11 Nov 2004 16:09:14 GMT, "Steven M. Scharf"
> wrote:

>> And the people advocating it are in denial about the possibility that
>> the likelihood of crashing in the first place will increase.

>I don't think that anyone is foolish enough to believe that helmet use
>will cause the likelihood of crashing to increase.

Except the editor of Injury Prevention, one Barry Pless., who did a
study to prove that risk compensation doesn't exist and found the
exact opposite...

How well-versed are you on risk compensation? Have you read Wilde?
Adams? Are you aware of Hedlund's four tests for the likelihood of
risk compensation?

>The people advocating
>the helmet laws aren't in denial of this possibility, or in acceptance
>of it; it's just so patently ridiculous that neither side has brought it up.

You are displaying your ignorance again. There was an acrimonious
exchange between the Thompsons and Rivara on one side, and John Adams
and Mayer Hillman on the other, in Injury Prevention in June 2001, to
name but one instance.

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?
November 11th 04, 04:40 PM
On Thu, 11 Nov 2004 16:07:46 GMT, "Steven M. Scharf"
> wrote:

>> We know that the countries with the worst cyclist
>> safety records have high helmet wearing rates.

>Your lack of logic is astounding.

Oh do tell, what is the problem with the fact that the countries with
the best cyclist safety record have the lowest helmet usage and those
with the highest helmet usage have the worst safety record? Aside
from the obvious: that it contradicts your cherished beliefs?

I have spent two years as part of an international group studying
helmet research. I have read more on this subject than I ever wanted
to and the more I read the more uncertain the balance of evidence
seems.

I note that you have no answer to my main point, that there is no
evidential basis for the current excessive focus on helmets.

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

November 11th 04, 06:42 PM
Just zis Guy, you know? wrote:

> On Thu, 11 Nov 2004 16:09:14 GMT, "Steven M. Scharf"
> > wrote:
>
> >> And the people advocating it are in denial about the possibility that
> >> the likelihood of crashing in the first place will increase.
>
> >I don't think that anyone is foolish enough to believe that helmet use
> >will cause the likelihood of crashing to increase.
>
> Except the editor of Injury Prevention, one Barry Pless., who did a
> study to prove that risk compensation doesn't exist and found the
> exact opposite...

Not to mention the fact that the passage of a
law will transform the whole nature of society
in ways that could be unpredictable. A butterfly
flaps its wings in the Amazom and then a
hurricane wipes out Florida, you know, that
sort of thing!

> How well-versed are you on risk compensation? Have you read Wilde?
> Adams? Are you aware of Hedlund's four tests for the likelihood of
> risk compensation?

I, for one, am unashamed to admit that I have no
idea. But if you think these are good places to
start, I'll look them up.

> >The people advocating
> >the helmet laws aren't in denial of this possibility, or in acceptance
> >of it; it's just so patently ridiculous that neither side has brought
it up.
>
> You are displaying your ignorance again. There was an acrimonious
> exchange between the Thompsons and Rivara on one side, and John Adams
> and Mayer Hillman on the other, in Injury Prevention in June 2001, to
> name but one instance.
>
> 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


I am not a lawyer. I do not even see email sent to this address, due to
past DOS attacks. If you wish to respond, do so through this newsgroup.

Frank Krygowski
November 11th 04, 07:50 PM
Just zis Guy, you know? wrote:

> On Thu, 11 Nov 2004 16:09:14 GMT, "Steven M. Scharf"
> > wrote:
>
>
>>>And the people advocating it are in denial about the possibility that
>>>the likelihood of crashing in the first place will increase.
>
>
>>I don't think that anyone is foolish enough to believe that helmet use
>>will cause the likelihood of crashing to increase.
>
>
> Except the editor of Injury Prevention, one Barry Pless., who did a
> study to prove that risk compensation doesn't exist and found the
> exact opposite...
>
> How well-versed are you on risk compensation? Have you read Wilde?
> Adams? Are you aware of Hedlund's four tests for the likelihood of
> risk compensation?
>
>
>>The people advocating
>>the helmet laws aren't in denial of this possibility, or in acceptance
>>of it; it's just so patently ridiculous that neither side has brought it up.
>
>
> You are displaying your ignorance again. There was an acrimonious
> exchange between the Thompsons and Rivara on one side, and John Adams
> and Mayer Hillman on the other, in Injury Prevention in June 2001, to
> name but one instance.

Steven seems to be a guy who tries to figure things out on his own.
That's fine, of course, provided one has enough information. Steven's
problem is he doesn't seem to go looking for information, unless he's
trying to bolster his own beliefs! (We've seen this in the discussion
about bicycle lights.)

Risk compensation - that is, the tendency of people to behave more
dangerously if they feel more protected - is widely accepted, and very
easy to understand. In addition to Adam's book "Risk" (a very good
source, btw) you can find a classic study on the web, "Target Risk" at
http://pavlov.psyc.queensu.ca/target/index.html

Chapter 7 discussed a study proving risk compensation in taxi drivers
with anti-lock brakes. IOW, when the drivers knew they had those
brakes, they took many more chances. Classic risk compensation. You
can find other examples easily.

And if you think about it, we get perfect evidence of risk compensation
from time to time in these groups. When somone says "I won't ride
around the block without a helmet" they're saying "I'm doing something I
perceive as dangerous, and I'm doing it because I have protective gear.
I'm willing to increase my risk because of the supposed protection."

This can be fine, of course. There's no problem if the increase in risk
matches the increase in protection. The problem with bike helmets is,
they are promoted as being almost perfect protection ("85%
effective!!!") but in reality, they are certified to protect only
against a stationary topple off a bike - a "Laugh-In Fall." (Check out
the certification standards online.)

I recall being on a club mountain bike ride. Two of us were without
helmets, about six others had helmets. At one spot, the group decided
it would be fun to zoom down a very steep hill, launch up a rise at the
bottom and "get big air." But the two of us decided that looked too
dangerous.

Within five minutes, we were walking our bikes back to our cars, helping
the guy who'd broken his collar bone. Would he have broken that bone if
he had no helmet?

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

Just zis Guy, you know?
November 11th 04, 09:04 PM
On Thu, 11 Nov 2004 14:50:54 -0500, Frank Krygowski
> wrote in message >:

>Chapter 7 discussed a study proving risk compensation in taxi drivers
>with anti-lock brakes. IOW, when the drivers knew they had those
>brakes, they took many more chances. Classic risk compensation. You
>can find other examples easily.

The irony here is that Scharf has actually cited ABS as an example
where forecast injury savings were not realised in practice due to
risk compensation, and drawn parallels with the case of helmets.
Maybe the penny will drop eventually :-)

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 M. Scharf
November 12th 04, 04:26 AM
Just zis Guy, you know? wrote:

> Oh do tell, what is the problem with the fact that the countries with
> the best cyclist safety record have the lowest helmet usage and those
> with the highest helmet usage have the worst safety record? Aside
> from the obvious: that it contradicts your cherished beliefs?

What is wrong is trying to imply causation between high helmet usage and
poor safety records (and vice-versa). This is the classic error of
confusing correlation with causation. And BTW, I don't believe that you
actually believe that there is causation, rather you're intentionally
trying to mislead people who aren't skilled in critical thinking (and
there are apparently a great many such people, judging from many of the
posts in this thread).

Did you know that eating ice-cream causes bicycle accidents? Itís a
fact. The bicycle accident rate always goes up when ice cream sales go
up. Yet we donít regulate ice cream sales, but we force children to wear
helmets, how terrible.

Look at a country like the Netherlands and you'll understand why they
have a better safety record, and it doesn't have anything to do with the
percentage of people wearing helmets. But of course you already knew that.

I've seen the argument raised that if there were no helmet laws then
more people would cycle and facilities would improve, drivers would
behave better, etc., but of course none of these wonderful developments
occurred in the decades during which there were no helmet laws.

I am not in favor of MHLs, they are too intrusive for the tiny reduction
in injuries that is realized, and they do create the impression that
bicycling is much more dangerous than it actually is. It is deplorable
that Ontario is rushing this ill-advised bill into law, based on wild
projections of hundreds of millions of dollars in savings due to reduced
health care costs.

OTOH, you are doing the anti-MHL cause no favor by descending to the
same level of illogic as the proponents of these laws.

For an amusing read, see:
"http://www.thehammer.ca/content/view.php?news=2004-11-08-ontario-helmets-mandatory"

Just zis Guy, you know?
November 12th 04, 09:52 AM
On Fri, 12 Nov 2004 04:26:16 GMT, "Steven M. Scharf"
> wrote:

>> Oh do tell, what is the problem with the fact that the countries with
>> the best cyclist safety record have the lowest helmet usage and those
>> with the highest helmet usage have the worst safety record? Aside
>> from the obvious: that it contradicts your cherished beliefs?

>What is wrong is trying to imply causation between high helmet usage and
>poor safety records (and vice-versa).

Yes, it's every bit as wrong as trying to imply causation between
helmet wearing and presentation in emergency rooms - both completely
ignore the actual mechanisms of cause and effect in favour of
pretending helmets make all the difference.

But, unlike the authors of observational studies, I wasn't implying
cause and effect. I was stating, as a matter of plain fact, that the
countries with the best safety records have the lowest helmet usage
rates. That is not to imply cause, but to raise the question: if
helmets are, as the current monomaniac focus on them implies, the
first, best thing for cyclist safety, how can this be?

>Look at a country like the Netherlands and you'll understand why they
>have a better safety record, and it doesn't have anything to do with the
>percentage of people wearing helmets. But of course you already knew that.

The number one factor which increases cycle safety is more people
cycling. Helmet promotion and compulsion are both proven to deter
cycling. Ergo, helmet promotion is dangerous.

I have yet to see any evaluation of the relative merits of different
cycle safety interventions which puts helmets anywhere other than
last.

>I've seen the argument raised that if there were no helmet laws then
>more people would cycle and facilities would improve, drivers would
>behave better, etc., but of course none of these wonderful developments
>occurred in the decades during which there were no helmet laws.

What on earth are you on about? People were cycling for a century
before helmets were ever invented, and in most countries where cycling
is a normal mode of transport, helmet use is still negligible.

Here is a little exercise for you. Plot on a graph the percentage of
injuries which were head injuries for pedestrians and cyclists in New
Zealand. Start five years before their mandatory helmet law, when
helmet use was under 45%, and plot through to a couple of years after,
when helmet use was over 95%. See if you can tell which line is which
without looking at the legend. Now co-plot the helmet wearing rate.
Correlate the helmet wearing rate with the relative %HI of cyclists
and pedestrians. Ponder for a while what this tells us about the
efficacy of helmets against recorded injuries and fatalities.

Helmet promotion is justified with scare stories about death and
serious injury. We know, because every single large scale study has
told us so, that helmets make no measurable difference to death and
serious injury rates. We also know that the risk of cycling is small
to start with, and outweighed by the benefits. So the logical next
step is for the handwringers to butt out and leave us alone.

>OTOH, you are doing the anti-MHL cause no favor by descending to the
>same level of illogic as the proponents of these laws.

So you say. On the other hand, countering propaganda is usually seen
as a Good Thing; I have already played a significant role in stopping
one helmet law.

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

JRKRideau
November 12th 04, 02:44 PM
"Just zis Guy, you know?" > wrote in message >...
> On Wed, 10 Nov 2004 03:26:26 GMT, "Steven M. Scharf"
> > wrote:
>
> >I can see both sides of the helmet issue. The pro-helmet people vastly

SNIP

> A poll of British doctors put it sixth out of six possible
> interventions, a study by the Transport research Laboratory put it
> tenth of ten possible interventions and a factor of 25 behind the
> likely most effective, being traffic calming.

Guy,
Do you have a reference for the TRL study? I have not seen it and
would like to read it.

> Guy

John Kane
KIngston, ON Canada

Just zis Guy, you know?
November 12th 04, 03:01 PM
On 12 Nov 2004 06:44:10 -0800, (JRKRideau)
wrote:

>Do you have a reference for the TRL study? I have not seen it and
>would like to read it.

Yes and no: it passed through my hands about a week ago, but I don't
have it to hand and I'll be away this weekend so I'll have to catch up
with it later. Email me if I forget to follow up?

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 M. Scharf
November 12th 04, 04:32 PM
Just zis Guy, you know? wrote:

> Yes, it's every bit as wrong as trying to imply causation between
> helmet wearing and presentation in emergency rooms - both completely
> ignore the actual mechanisms of cause and effect in favour of
> pretending helmets make all the difference.

Not really. Your implication of causation is propaganda, pure and
simple. You claim that you were just stating a fact, but the reality is
that you want people to make a connection based on correlation, and many
people do confuse correlation and causation.

The emergency room statistics are valid in the context in which they are
presented, in bicycle accidents involving impact to the head, helmeted
cyclists fare far better in terms of the seriousness of injuries. The
MHL proponents focus on this fact, ignoring the bigger picture.

> I have yet to see any evaluation of the relative merits of different
> cycle safety interventions which puts helmets anywhere other than
> last.

This is not the point though. The MHL proponents will correctly point
out that the other safety interventions cannot practically be
implemented, or that even if they were, they should not be exclusive.
You'll never win the debate based on the relative effectiveness of the
different interventions.

> Here is a little exercise for you. Plot on a graph the percentage of
> injuries which were head injuries for pedestrians and cyclists in New
> Zealand. Start five years before their mandatory helmet law, when
> helmet use was under 45%, and plot through to a couple of years after,
> when helmet use was over 95%. See if you can tell which line is which
> without looking at the legend. Now co-plot the helmet wearing rate.
> Correlate the helmet wearing rate with the relative %HI of cyclists
> and pedestrians. Ponder for a while what this tells us about the
> efficacy of helmets against recorded injuries and fatalities.

Again, you are confusing correlation with causation. You'll lose every
time with that approach.

> Helmet promotion is justified with scare stories about death and
> serious injury. We know, because every single large scale study has
> told us so, that helmets make no measurable difference to death and
> serious injury rates. We also know that the risk of cycling is small
> to start with, and outweighed by the benefits. So the logical next
> step is for the handwringers to butt out and leave us alone.

No argument there. But if you read the articles and letters in the
Toronto newspaper, you'll see that this is barely mentioned. They are
concentrating solely on the reduction in severity of injuries when
accidents occur, not on the fact that the accidents are so rare as to be
inconsequential.

> So you say. On the other hand, countering propaganda is usually seen
> as a Good Thing; I have already played a significant role in stopping
> one helmet law.

Countering propoganda is a good thing when you do it with facts, rather
than with more propoganda. Another good approach is to try to make the
MHL proponents look ridiculous.

I composed a letter to the Toronto Star, we'll see if it's published.
It's along the lines of "Let's pass more laws to make everything safe
for everyone."

Just zis Guy, you know?
November 12th 04, 05:14 PM
On Fri, 12 Nov 2004 16:32:17 GMT, "Steven M. Scharf"
> wrote:

>> Yes, it's every bit as wrong as trying to imply causation between
>> helmet wearing and presentation in emergency rooms - both completely
>> ignore the actual mechanisms of cause and effect in favour of
>> pretending helmets make all the difference.

>Not really.

No, you're right - those who draw invalid conclusions from
observational studies use them to try to ram through legislation,
whereas I am not trying to compel anyone to do anything beyond think
for themselves.

>Your implication of causation is propaganda, pure and simple.

Actually no: it is non-existent, pure and simple.

>You claim that you were just stating a fact, but the reality is
>that you want people to make a connection based on correlation, and many
>people do confuse correlation and causation.

No, what I want people to do is start thinking for themselves. That
means raising little red flags in their minds that, hey, all those
studies which claim vastly inflated benefits, there isn't actually any
real-world evidence to back them up.

>The emergency room statistics are valid in the context in which they are
>presented, in bicycle accidents involving impact to the head, helmeted
>cyclists fare far better in terms of the seriousness of injuries. The
>MHL proponents focus on this fact, ignoring the bigger picture.

But the ER studies completely ignore too many other factors. Such as:
what if only risk-averse cyclists are wearing helmets? what if
helmets cause some increased rotational forces which turn some
injuries into deaths while reducing the severity of other injuries?

All this is speculation. Observational studies are speculation, too.
They are not clinical trials, or randomised controlled studies (that
would be unethical for any notionally protective device). They are
some researcher's best guess at how the intervention might affect the
outcome based on his best guess at the effect of the various
confounding factors. The confidence intervals are absurdly large -
the 95% confidence interval for TR&T's 88% is, from memory, between
60% and 98%, and the range of efficacy estimates from observational
studies ranges from about -10% to about 90%, with a pretty wide
distribution. Does 88% sound like a precise figure to you? You know
about the concept of meaningless precision? In context, 88% is like
saying something which ranges between 60c and $1 costs "approximately
88c" - it's absurd. And don't forget that this figure has never been
repeated since, even by the original authors whose later estimates are
much lower. Don't forget that word estimates, either.

And then we compare the observational studies with real-world figures
based on whole populations, millions of cyclists as opposed to the few
thousands (or in some cases tens) in the observational studies. What
do these much larger data sets tell us? They tell us that the effect
of helmets on serious and fatal head injuries is officially
unmeasurable.

That's not a surprise. Your computer came packed in more foam than a
helmet contains, and you wouldn't expect that to survive the kind of
impact which produces life-threatening injuries, like being hit by a
truck. The real surprise is that anyone would think otherwise. But
they do. They see 88% reduction and think, hey, if I wear a helmet I
can do what I want because if I get hit by a truck there's an 88%
chance I'll be fine! And the result of that is risk compensation,
which blows away what little benefit helmets might otherwise provide.

The way to get benefit out of helmets is to sell them quietly, without
hype. To say that cycling is very safe, but, hey, nobody likes to get
a headache if they fall off so you might want one of these. That's
what the evidence says they're good for, and perversely if they were
sold that way the benefit might even become measurable at a population
level, because without the hype the risk compensation might reduce.

Instead we have characters like these pushing helmets:
http://www.bikebiz.co.uk/daily-news/article.php?id=4886

Now we know who ate all the pies, anyway.


>> I have yet to see any evaluation of the relative merits of different
>> cycle safety interventions which puts helmets anywhere other than
>> last.

>This is not the point though. The MHL proponents will correctly point
>out that the other safety interventions cannot practically be
>implemented, or that even if they were, they should not be exclusive.
>You'll never win the debate based on the relative effectiveness of the
>different interventions.

It's a matter of context and priorities. Remember again, I am not the
one selling something, the Liddites are pushing their plastic
prophylactics, so they have all the burden of proof. Their usual
tactic seems to be to find the biggest number they possibly can and
scream "BIKE DANGER!!!".

When was the last time you saw a large-scale cycle safety campaign
that focused on anything other than helmets?

>> Here is a little exercise for you. Plot on a graph the percentage of
>> injuries which were head injuries for pedestrians and cyclists in New
>> Zealand. Start five years before their mandatory helmet law, when
>> helmet use was under 45%, and plot through to a couple of years after,
>> when helmet use was over 95%. See if you can tell which line is which
>> without looking at the legend. Now co-plot the helmet wearing rate.
>> Correlate the helmet wearing rate with the relative %HI of cyclists
>> and pedestrians. Ponder for a while what this tells us about the
>> efficacy of helmets against recorded injuries and fatalities.

>Again, you are confusing correlation with causation. You'll lose every
>time with that approach.

Nope. Here the lesson is absolutely valid. It goes to the heart of
the weaknesses in observational studies, because they, too, confuse
correlation with causation. It's science. You have a hypothesis -
helmets prevent deaths and serious injuries. You devise a test - make
everyone wear helmets. You have an outcome - no change in the number
of deaths and serious injuries. Where I come from that would be
counted as proof that the hypothesis was wrong. The Liddites
disagree: they think people are just doing it wrong. Presumably out
of spite for being forced to protect themselves against "BIKE
DANGER!!!"

>> Helmet promotion is justified with scare stories about death and
>> serious injury. We know, because every single large scale study has
>> told us so, that helmets make no measurable difference to death and
>> serious injury rates. We also know that the risk of cycling is small
>> to start with, and outweighed by the benefits. So the logical next
>> step is for the handwringers to butt out and leave us alone.

>No argument there. But if you read the articles and letters in the
>Toronto newspaper, you'll see that this is barely mentioned. They are
>concentrating solely on the reduction in severity of injuries when
>accidents occur, not on the fact that the accidents are so rare as to be
>inconsequential.

This only works if you think that helmets not only reduce the severity
of injuries, but radically change the distribution curve, so that
injuries which were previously high on the severity scale are now low
on the severity scale, injuries which were low on the severity scale
are unchanged, but fatal injuries are also unchanged - because the
proportion of head injuries does not change, and in order to get
recorded they generally have to be serious enough to make it to
hospital. I suppose it is theoretically possible that helmets have
this extreme differential effect, but William of Ockham would have
suggested an alternative hypothesis.

>> So you say. On the other hand, countering propaganda is usually seen
>> as a Good Thing; I have already played a significant role in stopping
>> one helmet law.

>Countering propoganda is a good thing when you do it with facts, rather
>than with more propoganda. Another good approach is to try to make the
>MHL proponents look ridiculous.

Having already played a significant role in defeating one helmet law I
know exactly what to do thanks. And I think you will find that your
fundamental problem is simply that you don't like some of the facts on
offer.

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 M. Scharf
November 13th 04, 06:11 AM
"Just zis Guy, you know?" > wrote in message

> No, you're right - those who draw invalid conclusions from
> observational studies use them to try to ram through legislation,
> whereas I am not trying to compel anyone to do anything beyond think
> for themselves.

Ah, but on Usenet, you see that people don't think, they argue, mostly
ineffectively, in an attempt to convince others that whatever behavior they
engage in is right. And unfortunately, as many posts in this thread
demonstrate, they lack the logic skills to convince anyone. Just look at the
posts by Roger and Frank!

The key to defeating MHLs is not to babble like Frank and Roger, it is to
formulate a position based on factual information. You will never convince
politicians to listen to you, as opposed to listening to ER and trauma
physicians, in regards to the statistics on the severity of injuries of
helmeted versus non-helmeted patients; you have no data only speculation.

If you use the personal freedom argument they'll counter with the seat belt
argument. One valid argument is to look at the percentage of catastrophic
head injuries incurred by bicyclists as a percentage of all catastrophic
head injuries, but the MHL people will counter that even if this is true,
any reduction is worth it. The New Zealand statistics regarding reduction of
bicycling after MHL represent a good argument (if they are true).

One good source in learning to argue effectively on Usenet can be found over
at: http://www.infidels.org/news/atheism/logic.html.

Bill Z.
November 13th 04, 08:07 AM
"Steven M. Scharf" > writes:

> The key to defeating MHLs is not to babble like Frank and Roger, it is to
> formulate a position based on factual information. You will never convince
> politicians to listen to you, as opposed to listening to ER and trauma
> physicians, in regards to the statistics on the severity of injuries of
> helmeted versus non-helmeted patients; you have no data only speculation.
>
> If you use the personal freedom argument they'll counter with the seat belt
> argument. ...

One I used was that we had people riding very short distances on quiet
residential streets to reach a train station, and that whether they
used a helmet or not, their commute (which was mostly by train) would
be safer than driving. Meanwhile there were not enough bike lockers
to go around, leaving the helmet tied to the bike was risky due to a
vandalism problem, and carrying it into work (without a bike) was
simply awkward.

I did get a favorable written response from my elected representative
and it was detailed enough that the letter was obviously read. I got
the impression that they really appreciated getting factual, rational
statements about the proposed legislation. We ended up with a helmet
law anyway, but it didn't pass until the next year and it excluded
adults.

--
My real name backwards: nemuaZ lliB

Frank Krygowski
November 13th 04, 04:56 PM
Steven M. Scharf wrote:

>
> The key to defeating MHLs is not to babble like Frank and Roger, it is to
> formulate a position based on factual information. You will never convince
> politicians to listen to you, as opposed to listening to ER and trauma
> physicians, in regards to the statistics on the severity of injuries of
> helmeted versus non-helmeted patients; you have no data only speculation.

:-) Steven is intent on disparaging me ever since I pointed out that
he, as a self-proclaimed "lighting expert," really should learn what
"lumens" are, and correct the many resulting mistakes in his "lighting
expert" website!


But the above paragraph contains yet another Scharf mistake. I have
already had politicians listen to me, "as opposed to ER and trauma
physicians." A few years ago, my state legislature was considering a
mandatory helmet law. I (along with another Effective Cycling
instructor) traveled to the capitol and testified before a committee
considering the bill.

It was a gratifying experience. We two were the only ones opposing the
bill, but we had the data the others did not. One legislator was
literally having trouble staying awake through the "Think of the
children!" and "85% effective!" testimony, but literally sat up and took
notice when we began our presentations.

The bill died in that committee.

I can't promise it would happen every time. But Scharf's "You will
never convince politicians to listen to you" is absolutely, totally wrong.


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

Steven M. Scharf
November 13th 04, 07:31 PM
"Bill Z." > wrote in message
...
> "Steven M. Scharf" > writes:
>
> > The key to defeating MHLs is not to babble like Frank and Roger, it is
to
> > formulate a position based on factual information. You will never
convince
> > politicians to listen to you, as opposed to listening to ER and trauma
> > physicians, in regards to the statistics on the severity of injuries of
> > helmeted versus non-helmeted patients; you have no data only
speculation.
> >
> > If you use the personal freedom argument they'll counter with the seat
belt
> > argument. ...
>
> One I used was that we had people riding very short distances on quiet
> residential streets to reach a train station, and that whether they
> used a helmet or not, their commute (which was mostly by train) would
> be safer than driving. Meanwhile there were not enough bike lockers
> to go around, leaving the helmet tied to the bike was risky due to a
> vandalism problem, and carrying it into work (without a bike) was
> simply awkward.

It sounds like Toronto is hell-bent on putting this law into place, and from
what I read on-line in the Toronto star, there are no people putting forth
sound arguments like this. You have two camps, both hardline, which makes
for bad laws.

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