Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby human909 » Mon Apr 09, 2018 9:35 am

Comedian wrote:Yes, and academia these days is all about getting sponsors to fund research. Given that the states who have their transport policies run by car centric organisations - having research done like this isn't going to happen. On the other hand, there is lots of money for research that supports MHL. I'm pretty sure this is one of the primary reasons why our research doesn't match research from anywhere else..


It also has a part to do with incentives for study. Academic study is HEAVILY biased just like most things in life. Three most prominent factors:

-Most 'academic' research is motivated more about completing a comprehensive and rigorous paper. The secondary and tertiary effects of MHLs are pretty hard to measure and the data is slim. So smart research would try to avoid starting a research paper that has inherent difficulty of quantification. (Because almost everything needs quantification these days. :roll: Rather than logical thought. *I'm a maths major*)

-The simple quantity of academic researchers in various fields. In the medical field there are plenty of people wanting to complete papers, and plenty of available hospital data. Since a question cyclists often get asked is were they wearing a helmet the paper hands itself to researchers on a platter.

-Internal bias of the researcher. You wish this wasn't the case but looking a the number of papers in Australia compare to The Netherlands. Yet The Netherlands have orders of magnitude higher number of cycling.

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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby queequeg » Mon Apr 09, 2018 11:13 am

BobtheBuilder wrote:Not having read the previous 388 pages, I may be repeating an earlier point ...

If MHL laws were rational and evidence-based, surely helmets would be mandatory for the driver and all passengers in all motor vehicles, where head injuries are so much more prevalent.

I'd love to see the uproar that would cause!

I'm lucky enough to live in a small town where the police don't care about helmets, so I only wear them on the rare occasion when I'm in the uncivilised southeastern states or actually riding fast and dangerous (also rare!).


If you want to have a bit of a read, I came across some old Hansard transcripts, which CRAG had scanned, as records that old have not yet been made electronically. It covers some of the debate on the MHL Introduction in the ACT

https://crag.asn.au/compulsory-helmets- ... -assembly/

It's an interesting read, because during the debate all the same issues about why cyclists have been singles out were raised, and despite all this, it still went through.

Here's a "snippet"

MR MOORE (8.46): I guess the irony that I find in opposing this legislation is that I am probably one of the very few people in this Legislative Assembly who ride a bicycle and wear a bicycle helmet. It would be of interest to me to know just how many other people own helmets and ride their bicycles. It is one of those curiosities, I guess.

It seems to me that in making this decision it is very easy to say that there is a simple black-and-white argument as to whether one should be free to wear a helmet, or whether we should compel because of the measure of damage done in our society. It seems to me that we draw our conclusions, and we make our decisions, after weighing up the cost and the benefit. By and large, having weighed up that cost and benefit, a quite large number of members of the Assembly have come down on the side that the benefit outweighs the cost. That is really what we are talking about this evening.

I do not believe that that is the case here and it concerns me in terms of the precedent that is set. Ms Szuty raised the issue of the possibility of having helmets for people who are wearing rollerblades or who are riding skateboards. I imagine that, if we were to look at the statistics per mile or kilometre travelled on those types of vehicles, we would find a quite significantly higher percentage using bicycle helmets. No doubt in this chamber some time in the next decade we will see legislation that will provide for the protection of rollerbladers, and the users of whatever new invention comes, saying that they should wear helmets. Another interesting point that was raised by someone else is the possibility, if one looks at the statistics, that we should be insisting on helmets for passengers in vehicles, and that is the next logical conclusion.

In looking at these matters, we weigh up the cost and the benefit and make our decision accordingly. Somewhere along the line we are going to have to draw the conclusion that it is no longer our responsibility to interfere with those rights and freedoms of other people and that we should allow education to fulfil the role. That is the point made by Mr Stevenson.

If we were really serious about using the statistics to determine whether people should or should not be wearing helmets, there are some interesting statistics that many of you would have received. I do not know how many of you would have studied them. They were provided to all of us by the Cyclists Rights Action Group. These statistics on fatal crash types come from the Federal Office of Road Safety and are for 1988. These statistics do not tend to vary that much from year to year. This body looked at road user fatality groups. Fatalities of cyclists, thanks to head injuries, accounted for 80 percent of the fatalities. For pedestrians it was 78 per cent, and the statistics go on similarly. So, one could easily make an argument to say that we should be ensuring that pedestrians wear helmets. The arguments that we have heard put initially by the Government in introducing the Bill, and then from others who are supporting the Bill, could be applied quite easily to pedestrians.

Once we have pedestrians wearing helmets, I think we could look at what happens in the home with young children and try to ascertain how many head injuries occur at home. Then we could consider whether or not we should ensure that babies that are being carried around by their parents have helmets on because, after all, occasionally their heads are bumped and so forth. The point I am making, and it becomes clearest of all when you look at vehicle occupants, is that an argument is very easily made for ensuring that helmets are worn under those circumstances. I think there are very good arguments for wearing helmets in motor vehicles. It may well be that shortly we will see people doing that. If we think back a matter of 10 years, it was very rare to see a cyclist wearing a helmet, although, going back quite some years ago to when I was a child, I remember that there were people who wore leather helmets.

The real question is: Where are we going to draw the line? In the chamber this evening, in the final run and obviously after considerable consideration the Liberals have come down on the side of saying that they will support this legislation and there is no doubt that the attempt by the Federal Government to bribe members of this Assembly with the black spot funding has been taken on. That in itself presents a quite significant style of precedent. The Federal Government will give us money if we are very good and do what they think is a good idea. I think that also needs to be questioned.

For myself, I have come down on the other side and would argue that there are some real costs in terms of cycle riding. One of the costs, of course, is the finding that where bicycle helmet legislation has been introduced there has been a reduction in the usage of bicycles. When you are looking at the overall health of the population, you cannot help but ask what that is going to cost us in terms of fitness and what it is going to cost the community in terms of extra hospitalisation and so forth.

It is too early to determine whether or not that result of the introduction of such legislation will diminish as time goes on. I quite accept that that is often the case; that as a reaction to a particular piece of legislation there is a drop-off, for example in this case, in the use of bicycles, but that use will in turn grow. That is a concern, and it is a concern particularly when there is such an emphasis, from an environmental perspective, on trying to get people to use alternative means of transport, cycling being one.

Another factor in this is people’s vanity. There is certainly the argument that people will not now ride bicycles simply because they do not like the way it makes their hair go sweaty, turn into rat tails, turn fizzy, or whatever. I am very fortunate in that, with a bit of barbed wire on my head that counts for hair, it does not really matter very much. We put a helmet on and off and it makes no difference. We do not get too concerned about what our hair is like at any given time.

I think the point is best put in terms of the costs and the benefits. As far as I am concerned in this case, the benefits, while they are clear, can be attained through education, and the costs are simply too great. Therefore, I oppose the legislation. I would like to make a final point about something that has been raised by both the Liberals and Ms Szuty. Attempting to sneak an increase in the overall fine level into this Bill was inappropriate. I spoke to Mr Connolly about this after the Bill was introduced and his reaction at the time was something along these lines: “Well, we get inflation, and obviously there has to be an increase”. But 500 per cent since 1984 is hardly in line with the CPI, even under a Labor government.


You may have noticed some comments about "protecting babies from bumps to the head around the house", and you might have laughed "how absurd", but in fact, there is a helmet available for that too: http://www.thudguard.com.au/
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby Thoglette » Mon Apr 09, 2018 11:23 am

Comedian wrote:On the other hand, there is lots of money for research that supports MHL. I'm pretty sure this is one of the primary reasons why our research doesn't match research from anywhere else..

human909 wrote:Internal bias of the researcher. You wish this wasn't the case but looking a the number of papers in Australia compare to The Netherlands. Yet The Netherlands have orders of magnitude higher number of cycling.


Combine these two and look at the authors of MHL related papers from Australia and you'll quickly find that there's Rissel on one side and Olivier et al. on the other.

Meanwhile the rest of the world (bar one or two anglophone safetynazis) has come to the conclusion that MHLs don't measurably improve outcomes. That was a decade ago.

The BMJ (that's British Medical Journal) nailed the coffin shut in 2013 (see Goldacre, B; Spiegelhalter, D (2013) DOI: 10.1136/bmj.f3817)

However that's not stopped the pro-MHL crowd from trying to find what's not there (e.g. Olivier's use of synthetic data in IRCOBI Conference 2016 - to be fair he's still trying to show helmets work) nor from appealing to the OMFG-my-helmet-saved-me evangelists (who, almost without exception, were wearing funny shoes anyway)
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby brumby33 » Mon Apr 09, 2018 12:23 pm

Can anyone actually remember the period leading up to the legislation whether or not at the time there was a spate of bike injuries (head traumas) more than there is since the legislation?
I've always felt that given the levels of corruption on all sides of politics that just prior to the legislation that many have been tipped off on it and invested in certain companies that make them....it'd be a sure investment wouldn't if it was to be legislation pending on it.
Sorta reminds me of the time of the Carr NSW Government when it was decided that pubs can buy poker machine licences and many pollies had formed investment syndicates buying liquer licences from some country pubs and transferring them to lucrative City regions and the value of hotels went through the roof....so i wonder how many pubs were bought back in the day before pubs could have pokies. Before then they were limited to card machines and an average punter could buy and run a pub...not anymore, now even a modest pub is wort millions due to the income of pokies and the state Government are raking in tens of millions in machine licencing fees. I wouldn't be surprised if i'm not that far from this assessment. When things like mandatory helmet laws are introduced to one segment of the community, i wouldn't mind betting there was greed behind it.

Just my opinion...not based on actual fact or proof.

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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby queequeg » Mon Apr 09, 2018 12:49 pm

brumby33 wrote:Can anyone actually remember the period leading up to the legislation whether or not at the time there was a spate of bike injuries (head traumas) more than there is since the legislation?
I've always felt that given the levels of corruption on all sides of politics that just prior to the legislation that many have been tipped off on it and invested in certain companies that make them....it'd be a sure investment wouldn't if it was to be legislation pending on it.
Sorta reminds me of the time of the Carr NSW Government when it was decided that pubs can buy poker machine licences and many pollies had formed investment syndicates buying liquer licences from some country pubs and transferring them to lucrative City regions and the value of hotels went through the roof....so i wonder how many pubs were bought back in the day before pubs could have pokies. Before then they were limited to card machines and an average punter could buy and run a pub...not anymore, now even a modest pub is wort millions due to the income of pokies and the state Government are raking in tens of millions in machine licencing fees. I wouldn't be surprised if i'm not that far from this assessment. When things like mandatory helmet laws are introduced to one segment of the community, i wouldn't mind betting there was greed behind it.

Just my opinion...not based on actual fact or proof.

Cheers

brumby 33


Maybe we'll get to see some of the confidential cabinet documents soon. Isn't it a 30 year release for classified cabinet documents? Wouldn't surprise me at all to find a few pollies had a deal going with Rosebank, whose product suddenly went from optional to mandatory for millions of people. It also wouldn't surprise me that Rosebank had something to do with backing the law.

What seems to have happened though, is the "debate" in the State Govt's was just talk. Since the Federal Govt had tied the MHL to Road Funding for Blackspots, the states were all blackmailed into MHL, regardless of whether it was the right thing to do. I find it ironic that the Blackspots program was to fix issues with roads where there were lots of motor vehicle accidents and injuries, and had nothing to do with cyclists. It was a pretty underhanded way to get an MHL through. It's almost like they knew it wouldn't stand on it's own.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby Philistine » Mon Apr 09, 2018 1:07 pm

brumby33 wrote:Sorta reminds me of the time of the Carr NSW Government when it was decided that pubs can buy poker machine licences and many pollies had formed investment syndicates buying liquer licences from some country pubs and transferring them to lucrative City regions and the value of hotels went through the roof.


I was never able to see any administrative or governmental justification for allowing pubs to install slot machines. The overall pokie cash throughput was unlikely to go up - and it didn't! Instead, some of the money that previously went through the machines at clubs became diverted to the new machines at pubs, the critical point of difference being that the profits from the club pokies were fed back into the community whereas profits from pub pokies went into the landlords pockets.

I had some skin in the game. When all this went down, I had a nice little side business running disco and karaoke shows in the clubs, and this died virtually overnight because the clubs no longer had the money to provide free entertainment for the members.

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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby Thoglette » Mon Apr 09, 2018 1:27 pm

brumby33 wrote:Can anyone actually remember the period leading up to the legislation whether or not at the time there was a spate of bike injuries (head traumas) more than there is since the legislation?


Yes, I can. There was no "spate of head injuries" in any statistically meaningful sense. Anymore than PPE as the sole response was meaningful.

MHL was a think-bubble from some brain surgeons in Victoria which got traction with a group of bureaucrats.

brumby33 wrote:more than there is since the legislation?

Let me say it again: MHL has a statistically immeasurable effect on cyclist head injuries.

The real research is into "why is this so?" as helmets themselves can protect against some types of impact
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby DavidS » Mon Apr 09, 2018 9:06 pm

Surely, unless there has been a statistically significant reduction in the proportion of cyclist injuries which are head injuries (the only part of the body protected by helmets), then they have been a failure on their own terms. Showing that a helmet offers some protection is all well and good but if they did not reduce the proportion of injuries which are head injuries then that protection counts for nothing.

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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby Mulger bill » Mon Apr 09, 2018 10:33 pm

DavidS wrote:Surely, unless there has been a statistically significant reduction in the proportion of cyclist injuries which are head injuries (the only part of the body protected by helmets), then they have been a failure on their own terms. Showing that a helmet offers some protection is all well and good but if they did not reduce the proportion of injuries which are head injuries then that protection counts for nothing.

DS


But they were, are and always will be the poster boy for the "be seen to be doing something" mob.

I'd like to see research on whether the increased mass and size of the headform changes in any way the likelihood of and severity of head strikes. Humans are usually pretty good at protecting the bonce, even if it means sacrificing other body parts...
...whatever the road rules, self-preservation is the absolute priority for a cyclist when mixing it with motorised traffic.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby Thoglette » Tue Apr 10, 2018 1:10 am

DavidS wrote:Showing that a helmet offers some protection is all well and good but if they did not reduce the proportion of injuries which are head injuries then that protection counts for nothing.


It is a whole lot worse than that:

On one hand MHLs appear to significantly reduce cycling participation rates through good old victim blaming; through making cycling appear more dangerous than it is; and through straight out discouragement. A conservative estimate is over a million trips a month, based on the Heart foundation study.

On the other hand, the pro MHL crowd (as seen in Hansard and the press) declare evidence counter to their views as either non-existent or flawed.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby bychosis » Tue Apr 10, 2018 6:17 am

Mulger bill wrote:I'd like to see research on whether the increased mass and size of the headform changes in any way the likelihood of and severity of head strikes. Humans are usually pretty good at protecting the bonce, even if it means sacrificing other body parts...

Absolutely. And cycle crash stats are massively skewed to historical admissions. Because unlike stats on car crashes from insurance records a lot of cyclist crashes do not get reported. If you don’t hurt yourself bad enough to go to hospital then there is no record of the incident to help compare.

I’ve had my fair share of crashes (mostly MTB), but outside my family and friends the govt only knows about 3. One a broken collar bone, one involving a car (no injury to me) and one where I got a finger checked out but didn’t mention to the dr about my smashed helmet.

Without the counter stats that cycle crashes often do not seriously injure people, and very often do not cause a head injury it is very difficult to counter the surgeon’s confirmed bias that head injuries are common.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby Scintilla » Tue Apr 10, 2018 12:03 pm

bychosis wrote:Absolutely. And cycle crash stats are massively skewed to historical admissions. Because unlike stats on car crashes from insurance records a lot of cyclist crashes do not get reported. If you don’t hurt yourself bad enough to go to hospital then there is no record of the incident to help compare.


In hospital admissions data IS collected. Often data on whether a helmet was worn or not is recorded, even in situations where a head injury was not even suffered, where the head did not even make any contact with anything. Smacks of drawing foregone conclusions :roll:

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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby bychosis » Tue Apr 10, 2018 1:02 pm

Scintilla wrote:
bychosis wrote:Absolutely. And cycle crash stats are massively skewed to historical admissions. Because unlike stats on car crashes from insurance records a lot of cyclist crashes do not get reported. If you don’t hurt yourself bad enough to go to hospital then there is no record of the incident to help compare.


In hospital admissions data IS collected. Often data on whether a helmet was worn or not is recorded, even in situations where a head injury was not even suffered, where the head did not even make any contact with anything. Smacks of drawing foregone conclusions :roll:

and I can think of at least one example where a 'helmet saved my life' :roll: and it isn't a statistic either. MTB riding and I ended up with a nice big dent on my helmet after a surprise get-off, but no serious injury otherwise so I carried on. I'm sure, if I'd broken something in that situation then hospital admissions would have asked the questions and recorded the stats.

I guess the same could be said for pedestrians. If you aren't hurt bad enough for medical intervention then only your friends and family will know.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby Scintilla » Tue Apr 10, 2018 1:34 pm

DavidS wrote:Surely, unless there has been a statistically significant reduction in the proportion of cyclist injuries which are head injuries (the only part of the body protected by helmets), then they have been a failure on their own terms. Showing that a helmet offers some protection is all well and good but if they did not reduce the proportion of injuries which are head injuries then that protection counts for nothing.

DS


Why did the helmet laws help reduce pedestrian deaths so MUCH??

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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby Cyclophiliac » Tue Apr 10, 2018 2:21 pm

Scintilla wrote:
DavidS wrote:Surely, unless there has been a statistically significant reduction in the proportion of cyclist injuries which are head injuries (the only part of the body protected by helmets), then they have been a failure on their own terms. Showing that a helmet offers some protection is all well and good but if they did not reduce the proportion of injuries which are head injuries then that protection counts for nothing.

DS


Why did the helmet laws help reduce pedestrian deaths so MUCH??

Image


Or: why did pedestrian deaths drop significantly after the MHL was introduced, and is there any causal relationship between these?

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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby brumby33 » Tue Apr 10, 2018 3:01 pm

Amazing....almost 400 pages talking about the humble esky skid lid :lol:
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby BobtheBuilder » Tue Apr 10, 2018 3:01 pm

Scintilla wrote:Why did the helmet laws help reduce pedestrian deaths so MUCH??


Why did they help DRIVERS so much?!?

Maybe roads / road laws improved and things were safer for everyone.

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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby Thoglette » Tue Apr 10, 2018 3:26 pm

Cyclophiliac wrote:
Scintilla wrote:Why did the helmet laws help reduce pedestrian deaths so MUCH??

Or: why did pedestrian deaths drop significantly after the MHL was introduced, and is there any causal relationship between these?

Or: why does umbrella usage cause an increase in car accidents?

I'm going to stop here: the available data is mostly noise due to confounding factors. Good luck explaining which things to put in the Principal component analysis

Instead, have a look at the big picture: there's no epidemic of head injury in Holland nor any of the great unwashed places where cycling remains unregulated. Likewise, as a public health issue, well, it wasn't and isn't. Obesity or motor vehicle accidents are another matter.

But never underestimate the tendency of bureaucratic gnomes to propose unneeded legislation and regulation which our elected representatives rubber stamp and then vigorously defend. E.g.ACT's recent $3000 fine for underage use of bike trailers
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby human909 » Tue Apr 10, 2018 3:50 pm

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Hearsay. But disturbing...

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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby Mulger bill » Tue Apr 10, 2018 4:16 pm

human909 wrote:Hearsay. But disturbing...

Statistics as they are created...
...whatever the road rules, self-preservation is the absolute priority for a cyclist when mixing it with motorised traffic.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby uart » Tue Apr 10, 2018 4:45 pm

BobtheBuilder wrote:Why did they (MHL) help DRIVERS so much?!?

Prior to MHL when drivers failed to give way to cyclists they often used to go through the front windscreen and clash heads with the driver. After MHL the same thing still happened, but the impact to the driver's head was lessened by the cyclist's styrofoam hat. :?

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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby BJL » Tue Apr 10, 2018 5:17 pm

uart wrote:
BobtheBuilder wrote:Why did they (MHL) help DRIVERS so much?!?

Prior to MHL when drivers failed to give way to cyclists they often used to go through the front windscreen and clash heads with the driver. After MHL the same thing still happened, but the impact to the driver's head was lessened by the cyclist's styrofoam hat. :?


Maybe it was the introduction of laminated windscreens that prevented cyclists from breaking and entering the vehicle in a collision. :P

In all seriousness, I'd say that around this time, red light cameras, speed cameras and booze buses were becoming more commonplace and drivers were starting to behave better. Not because of safety mind you. Also the introduction of ABS and air bags probably helped, along with the fact that over time, cars have gone from 'small bump, no damage' to 'butterfly hits the bonnet, $3000 for repairs'. New age bogans (NABs for short) hate nothing more than a scratch on their precious car. Hit a cyclist, they're more likely to check their car first, and then kick the crap out of the cyclist lying injured on the side of the road for scratching 'da car'. You only have to look at all the hit 'n' runs these days where motorists have done almost exactly that (except the kick the crap of the cyclist bit. No time as they must get away before they're caught)

Statistically, helmets are the most dangerous things ever invented. Before the MHL's, what percentage of cyclists who suffered head injuries were wearing a helmet, 50% maybe? What is that percentage since the MHL's came in? Probably close to 100%! :shock: And just to make sure I'm right, I'm going to ignore any other relevant data just like everyone else does

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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby Scintilla » Tue Apr 10, 2018 7:38 pm

brumby33 wrote:Amazing....almost 400 pages talking about the humble esky skid lid :lol:

Not about the plastic hat.

It. Is. All. About. The LAW.

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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby Scintilla » Tue Apr 10, 2018 7:42 pm

BobtheBuilder wrote:
Scintilla wrote:Why did the helmet laws help reduce pedestrian deaths so MUCH??


Why did they help DRIVERS so much?!?

Maybe roads / road laws improved and things were safer for everyone.

Why did bicycle deaths begin to decline BEFORE any helmet law?

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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby Jmuzz » Fri Apr 13, 2018 6:53 pm

Scintilla wrote:Why did the helmet laws help reduce pedestrian deaths so MUCH?


Because helmet laws were only a small part of a period of road safety reforms.

Deaths aren't really the right statistic anyway. Should be looking at brain injury reduction, plus keeping an eye out for neck injury increases.

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