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Protective gear and the image iof unicycling

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Old July 12th 03, 09:53 PM
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Default Protective gear and the image iof unicycling

Jack Halpern wrote:

One thing that bothers me a bit about protective gear, other than it
being uncomfortable,
is that when non-unicyclists see unicyclists riding around in full
armor, especially wearing
a helmet, is that it creates, or reinforces, an impression that
unicycling is dangerous.

In Japan, an important idea we have been pushng in promoting the sport
is that unicycling
is safe -- safer than bicycles, skates, roller blades, skateboards,
etc. The heavy armor
can create the opposite impression. I am not opposed to protective
gear, and am convinced
that it is essential for such activities as Cokering in traffic, but I
do have reservations about full
gear for every kind of unicycling, especially kids in schoolyards --
there hundreds of thousands
of them in Japan.

John Foss and the others who support protective gear, are you saying
that helmets etc.
should always be worn for any kind of unicycling? Maybe someone can
draw up a list of
priorities by kind of uicycling activity.

Stay on top, Jack Halpern
Executive Director for International Development
International Unicycling Federation, Inc.
Website: http://www.kanji.org

well, just to bring this back ot, that is; the \"image\" of unicycling
being \"safer\" than other sports...

japanese people (in general) aren't any more or less safety-conscious
than anybody else, but i have noticed that a lot of japanese people are
more inclined to buy and use all of the gear, clothing, and accessories
for a given sport, if that sport is introduced or displayed as
\"requiring\" that equipment.

when i first moved here, for instance, japanese people who went hiking
would only go after donning their woolen knickerbockers with embroidered
suspenders, gartered knee socks, european-brand hiking boots, and
tyrolean caps with the pheasant feathers in the brim. a few years
later, nearly everybody had switched over to head-to-toe goretex and
nike boots. even backpackers out for a summer weekend in the mountains
around kyoto (where there is no snow after february) carry crampons and
folding snow shovels... because it's -de rigueur-. if you go into a
sporting-goods store, you'll see in-line skates and all of the safety
equipment sold alongside, and it's rare to see people on in-line skates
without knee, elbow, and wrist-guards. skateboard shops carry the
latest skate helmets. *ike shops have all the safety equipment you
could want for road and mountain *iking... and generally, \"serious\"
riders wear helmets.

it's true that the average cycle-commuter (from the house to the train
station) here never wears a helmet. if you see somebody wearing street
clothes and a helmet riding a *ike, nine times out of ten, they're a
-gaijin-. many municipalities have helmet laws for kids, though.
this has not affected cycling in a negative way, as far as i know.
japanese road-racing enthusiasts and triathletes dress to look as nearly
like tour de france and ironman participants as possible, inclucing the
latest helmets.

japan has a helmet law for motorcycles and motorscooters (50cc).
everyone complies with this law; the exceptions being -bosozoku-
(motorcycle gangs), and fashion-conscious people in their teens and
early twenties (who wear their helmets dangling behind their head with
the chin strap around their throat... so they don't muss-up their
hair-do). japan also has a seatbelt law... but apparently only for the
front seat! i have yet to see a car over here with seatbelts for the
rear passenger seat. it's still a bit disconcerting to be sitting
beltless in a taxi while the driver is safely strapped-in.

i don't really see the point in portraying and promoting unicycling as
being \"safer\" than other activities... and it may be a bit
misrepresentational; not to mention unseemly, since a lot of the vendors
who carry or will carry unicycling equipment also sell *ikes,
skateboards, inline skates, etc. isn't it enough just to promote
unicycling as being lots of fun?

safety is mostly a matter of an individual's skill, ability to assess
and manage risks, and in the end; desire to be safe. snowboarding is
very popular here, despite injuries and deaths each year from beginners
trying to emulate the pros that make those exciting videos. my feeling
is that if you portray unicyclists wearing safety equipment
(wristguards, especially!), most japanese people will unquestioningly
accept it as part of the sport, and that can't be a bad thing.


sendhair - Human Fly bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

http://www.unicyclist.com/gallery/al..._eye_ball.gif] am
the [image: http://www.unicyclist.com/gallery/al...bun00/aac.gif] in
the ointment.
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Old July 15th 03, 09:42 AM
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Default Protective gear and the image iof unicycling

Graeme wrote:
*Oi! I live here too you know, and I'm sure I noticed one or two other
peope on my way to work this morning Or did someone crown Phil
during my absence (don't do it Phil, you're worth more than that
useless bunch!).

Sorry, I'd better go and calm down, three consecutive posts on helmets
and a dig at the useless UK monarchy, both things I get rather
animated about

Have (active and healthy) fun!

Graeme *

i just want to clear up the confusion ref the island
i was not ref'ing to the UK
in a post about a computer engineer who got nailed with a $12000 fine,
phil mentioned that he wanted to go live by himself on a island
that was the island i had in mind when i made my (no man is an) island
i would never say anything masty about the UK
i dont have to





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Old July 15th 03, 01:52 PM
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Default Protective gear and the image iof unicycling

protects you (sometimes)
hot in hot weather

treepotato - No brakes, No limits.........Felix
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Old July 15th 03, 08:46 PM
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Default Protective gear and the image iof unicycling

I think a lot of people are missing the point on Jack Halpern's original
post. When we talk to the press about unicycling being "safe," it does
not mean safer than bicycling, cars, or the household bathtub. The point
is that unicycling is, in reality, a lot safer than it looks to the
non-rider. That's the part that is true (though relatively impossible to
measure). Unicycling is still on a par with bicycling, skateboarding,
and other activities where you move forward and can fall down.

But to the uninitiated, unicycling looks like something where you must
fall down constantly. The danger level appears to be much higher than we
know it to be. So we tell the press it's not that dangerous, and they
generally know what we mean by that.

But in my case, this information didn't usually make its way into a
finished story, because it didn't make unicycling seem more compelling,
or interesting. So though I still mention it, when I talk to the press
today I try to emphasize more the amazing and interesting things riders
can do.


Points on the backs of bike helmets are for looks, based on aerodynamic
track helmets worn in bike racing. They do not provide any aerodynamic
advantage, unless you're going faster than most recreational riders can
manage. The point increases the chance of a neck injury if you land in
certain ways.


Head injuries in bike (or motorcycle) crashes are sometimes not from the
original impact. the rider falls down and slides or rolls across the
ground, *then* makes contact with a stone curb or other immovable
object. Sometimes this is where the damage occurs. What it boils down to
is the force of impact. Doesn't matter in what direction that force was
applied, whether across or downward.

Graeme wrote:
*Well that's nice and prejudiced of you You seem to be
ignoring the fact that there are no peer reviewed, whole population
studies which prove that a helmet is beneficial to a cyclist, but some
do show slight negative effects. *

For a guy who has specified he is pro-helmet and wears one, he seems to
have all the anti-helmet arguments I've heard in the bicycling and
motorcycling worlds.

The above statement talks about the fact that there have been occasions
of helmets *causing* injuries in crashes, which is a reality. Similar to
seatbelts causing problems in some car crashes, such as when the side of
the car is pushed way in and the passenger is attached to the seat
that's being crushed.

Though these incidents occur, you don't see a large backlash, by the
general populace or even the people who conducted the tests, saying that
seatbelts or helmets are doing more harm than good, because they aren't.
As Graeme has pointed out, it's real hard to say whether a person would
be killed or not if they had *not* been wearing their helmet in a given
accident. But most of us seem satisfied enough to know that their odds
of not being killed were greatly improved by having the helmet on.
Improved enough, if you ask me, to not question whether the helmet did
its job that day.

But these sorts of things can be debated forever (and already have), so
I'm glad Graeme and I are on the same side of the argument.


When should helmets be regulated? Graeme also pointed out about the
comparison of active people risking their "necks" vs. a non-active
population that's more likely to suffer from hear attacks and other
ailments. Very true. But this still doesn't work for me as a good reason
for me to chip in on the extremely high costs of life support for a
brain-damaged or braindead person who should have just worn a helmet
(thinking motorcycles here, where most of the US has a law).


We regulate helmets at unicycle sporting events for three major reasons,
listed in what I consider the order of precedence for the USA:
1. Liability. One bad lawsuit, and nobody will want to host one again.
2. Image. We want to be perceived as responsible. If kids are racing on
rocks at my event, they're going to have helmets on. This will look much
better (to me) in a newspaper article.
3. Safety. Someday, someone's going to need it.

It looks bad, having safety listed third. But remember, this is just the
question of whether to *require* helmets, not of whether or not to wear
one. That choice has always been there.

The USA and IUF currently require helmets for a few events, with the IUF
being less restrictive. Helmets are required for unlimited road races,
and downhill gliding. Trials, Fast Backward, and Trials. Because UNICONs
are held in various countries with different attitudes about helmets and
liability, it's not as specific. Were it up to me we would also require
helmets for all MUni events, high jump, and long jump.

For the rest of track unicycle racing, after years of debate, I am fine
with leaving it up to the rider.

johnfoss - On the Cutting Edge

John Foss
the Uni-Cyclone
jfoss [at] unicycling [.] com
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Old July 15th 03, 09:14 PM
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Default Protective gear and the image iof unicycling

I use a skate helmet, and I haven't found it to be too hot. Besides,
it's reflective silver, so looks really cool in pictures.
I used to never wear much protective gear (including not wearing a
helmet when I was playing around on glare ice). But because of all the
posts I read on here, I have started wearing my helmet, gloves, and leg
armor much more often. Not that I'm fanatic, I just feel like putting
it all on before I go riding.
Besides, I think I look more "hardcore" when I've got all my gear on,
instead of projecting the image of clown (unless I -am- dressed as a
clown; but then I don't wear all the gear).

paco - Creator of the "BUni"

There's a time to think and a time to unicycle.
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