Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby trailgumby » Fri Jan 26, 2018 9:45 pm

This just out in the BMJ. Contains some interesting numbers.

"Bike-share schemes improve safety - helmet laws do not"
http://www.bmj.com/content/360/bmj.k94/rr-2

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Re: Stupid poms

Postby Comedian » Mon Jan 29, 2018 12:29 pm

uart wrote:
Thoglette wrote:Unfortunately the ABC fails to cover itself in glory in reporting the debate going on in the UK with useless .au vox pops and quotes only from "experts" on the "pro" side, who trot out the usual crap. Depressing all round.

UK cyclists fight campaign to make helmets compulsory


Just wondering if there are any statistics available to compare head injuries by kms travelled (or by bicycle trips made) in the UK vs Australia. It would be interesting to compare.

I think it's very important to decide whether we're talking head injuries or brain injuries.

IMHO I think it's likely that helmets do somewhat reduce head injuries. These are cuts, grazes and bruises to the head. They aren't pleasant but they aren't usually life threatening.

Brain injuries on the other hand are effectively internal injuries. They are very very unpleasant, and IMHO it's very unclear whether helmets actually help with these. Some studies say yes, some no.

A lot of helmet studies count all "head injuries" together. Often they don't distinguish "brain injuries".

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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby uart » Mon Jan 29, 2018 12:47 pm

Comedian wrote:I think it's very important to decide whether we're talking head injuries or brain injuries.

IMHO I think it's likely that helmets do somewhat reduce head injuries. These are cuts, grazes and bruises to the head. They aren't pleasant but they aren't usually life threatening.

Brain injuries on the other hand are effectively internal injuries. They are very very unpleasant, and IMHO it's very unclear whether helmets actually help with these. Some studies say yes, some no.

A lot of helmet studies count all "head injuries" together. Often they don't distinguish "brain injuries".

Ok good point. Then just wondering if there are any statistics available to compare brain injuries by kms travelled (or by trips made) in the UK vs Australia.

I know that in the Netherlands it's way less than here (both by number of trips and by number of kms cycled), but people usually dismiss that statistic (as having any relevance to the helmet debate) because of the better conditions for cycling there. It seems that other than the mandatory helmet law, the cycling conditions in the UK would not be that dissimilar to here in Oz. So any comparisons in brain injury rate would be very interesting. Has anyone ever seen these two compared?

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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby Thoglette » Mon Jan 29, 2018 1:37 pm

uart wrote:Then just wondering if there are any statistics available to compare brain injuries by kms travelled (or by trips made) in the UK vs Australia.

In short: No.

Why? Two reasons.
1. Reliable data on distance travelled is extremely hard to find. In short, it's simply not funded.
2. Reliable data on cyclist head injury is hard to find. There's not much of it and it suffers noise & measurement problems.

The best efforts of researchers worldwide can be summarised as: the data's really noisy and we really can't see any population level improvements. Despite the apparent effectiveness of helmets (yes, I was an early adopter)

The academic question of interest for the last ten years has bee: Why? What's going on?

It now appears that any such study will be fatally flawed by assuming that "all cycling is equal".

That is, all types of cycling have similar risk profiles and can be bundled together in a single pot. The reality is vastly different.
And it appears that the impact of MHLs has been: those who already wore helmets kept riding; those who did not wear helmets stopped riding.

My favourite quotation is this, from an epidemiologist and a risk boffin.
Goldacer & Spiegelhalter, BMJ wrote: The enduring popularity of helmets as a proposed major intervention for increased road safety may therefore lie not with their direct benefits—which seem too modest to capture compared with other strategies—but more with the cultural, psychological, and political aspects of popular debate around risk.

Goldacre, B; Spiegelhalter, D (2013) Bicycle helmets and the law, BMJ (Clinical research ed), 346. f3817. ISSN 0959-8138 DOI: 10.1136/bmj.f3817
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Re: Stupid poms

Postby queequeg » Mon Jan 29, 2018 1:47 pm

Thoglette wrote:Unfortunately the ABC fails to cover itself in glory in reporting the debate going on in the UK with useless .au vox pops and quotes only from "experts" on the "pro" side, who trot out the usual crap. Depressing all round.

UK cyclists fight campaign to make helmets compulsory


Doctors call for change

Dr John Black, the medical director of the South Central Ambulance Service, has seen many traumatic injuries caused by bicycle accidents.

He is among those campaigning for compulsory helmets; however, he said they were "not a panacea".

"When I have attended patients with devastating head injuries, many of them have not been helmeted," Dr Black said.


I wonder if Dr John Black has a view on traumatic injuries caused by motor vehicle accidents (including pedestrians) that would benefit from a helmet as well, and how this compares to the number of cyclists?
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby Thoglette » Mon Jan 29, 2018 1:51 pm

uart wrote:but people usually dismiss that statistic (as having any relevance to the helmet debate) because

... it doesn't support their argument that cycling is fundamentally dangerous and needs MORE REGULATION.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby uart » Mon Jan 29, 2018 2:41 pm

Thoglette wrote:It now appears that any such study will be fatally flawed by assuming that "all cycling is equal".

That is, all types of cycling have similar risk profiles and can be bundled together in a single pot. The reality is vastly different.
And it appears that the impact of MHLs has been: those who already wore helmets kept riding; those who did not wear helmets stopped riding.


Yes, I understand when you say that, you realize it's an exaggeration, but I know what you mean. It's very hard to disentangle the effects due to the helmets themselves from the effects due to the change in cycling demographics caused by MHL.

I was also an early adopter of the helmet. So though I felt just a little uneasy when MHL first came in, it didn't really bother me all that much. Over time however, I have come to see it as having a very negative impact on cycling in Australia. It's definitely caused a skew in cycling demographics, and I think that (at least indirectly) this has worsened the public perception of cyclists here. I'm nearly 60, and TBH I've never seen it this bad before. I know that MHL is not the only factor here (with the rise of the "shock jock" and social media also big players), but to describe the current situation as toxic is really not an overstatement.

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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby Comedian » Mon Jan 29, 2018 3:12 pm

uart wrote:
Thoglette wrote:It now appears that any such study will be fatally flawed by assuming that "all cycling is equal".

That is, all types of cycling have similar risk profiles and can be bundled together in a single pot. The reality is vastly different.
And it appears that the impact of MHLs has been: those who already wore helmets kept riding; those who did not wear helmets stopped riding.


Yes, I understand when you say that, you realize it's an exaggeration, but I know what you mean. It's very hard to disentangle the effects due to the helmets themselves from the effects due to the change in cycling demographics caused by MHL.

I was also an early adopter of the helmet. So though I felt just a little uneasy when MHL first came in, it didn't really bother me all that much. Over time however, I have come to see it as having a very negative impact on cycling in Australia. It's definitely caused a skew in cycling demographics, and I think that (at least indirectly) this has worsened the public perception of cyclists here. I'm nearly 60, and TBH I've never seen it this bad before. I know that MHL is not the only factor here (with the rise of the "shock jock" and social media also big players), but to describe the current situation as toxic is really not an overstatement.


That's fascinating!

I basically stopped riding with MHL so I missed probably 20 years or so. Since starting riding again in 2010 I believe the road environment has gotten more hostile. In QLD I think the turning point was the 1m rule which really seemed to make people either massively more careful or massively more aggressive. I went from having one or two close passes a year to it being one or two a month.

I distinctly remember my first punishment pass after starting riding. I was shocked.. I'd had a couple of years with nothing before it. Now if I don't have one on a longer road ride "it's a good day". Anyway.. I don't think this is on topic per se..

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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby Thoglette » Mon Jan 29, 2018 3:37 pm

uart wrote: you realize it's an exaggeration,

Your comment is literally true.

However, in the context of the hyperbole around MHLs, I believe that my statement is a fair and reasonable summary of what has happened, as it is currently understood.

It is only in recent years (since scofflaw hipsters brought us the fixie apocalypse ) that utility cyclists (i.e. not in "active wear") have returned in any sort of numbers. A great many of whom still chose to risk large fines by not wearing their fine-protectors.

Before anyone starts whining "but Australia is special", I'm old enough to remember the pre-MHL years. It ain't so.
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Re: Stupid poms

Postby find_bruce » Mon Jan 29, 2018 5:20 pm

queequeg wrote:I wonder if Dr John Black has a view on traumatic injuries caused by motor vehicle accidents (including pedestrians) that would benefit from a helmet as well, and how this compares to the number of cyclists?

I wonder if Dr John Black has a view on chronic illness and disease as a result of a sedentary lifestyle & the contribution of barriers to incidental exercise to this illness.

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Re: Stupid poms

Postby queequeg » Mon Jan 29, 2018 6:45 pm

find_bruce wrote:
queequeg wrote:I wonder if Dr John Black has a view on traumatic injuries caused by motor vehicle accidents (including pedestrians) that would benefit from a helmet as well, and how this compares to the number of cyclists?

I wonder if Dr John Black has a view on chronic illness and disease as a result of a sedentary lifestyle & the contribution of barriers to incidental exercise to this illness.


That too!
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby uart » Tue Jan 30, 2018 1:20 pm

Comedian wrote:That's fascinating! I basically stopped riding with MHL so I missed probably 20 years or so. Since starting riding again in 2010 I believe the road environment has gotten more hostile.


Yes. TBH, if MHL had came in a few years earlier than it did (when I was younger) then like yourself, I might also have stopped cycling. In my early twenties cycling was very much a low key "background" activity for me (like a laid back ride into town on a Sunday afternoon to play video games at a milk bar type of thing), and at that time MHL might well have stopped me cold.

Later when MHL came in however, I was in my early thirties and had started doing a bit more serious cycling for fitness. So I'd started doing a little bit of racing and what-not, which needed a helmet anyway.

Then about the mid to late 1990's I stopped cycling for other reasons, and when I started again in about 2014 I was amazed at how much more hostile it had become.

Actually when I fist signed up here one of the first posts I as going to make was going to be titled: "I've given up cycling".

Then the body of the post was going to read: "I've instead joined the pedophile necrophiliac wife beating society. I found that there was just too much negative public perception of cyclists."

In the end I didn't post it, wasn't too sure how some people might take the "joke". :)

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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby Comedian » Tue Jan 30, 2018 3:18 pm

uart wrote:
Comedian wrote:That's fascinating! I basically stopped riding with MHL so I missed probably 20 years or so. Since starting riding again in 2010 I believe the road environment has gotten more hostile.


Yes. TBH, if MHL had came in a few years earlier than it did (when I was younger) then like yourself, I might also have stopped cycling. In my early twenties cycling was very much a low key "background" activity for me (like a laid back ride into town on a Sunday afternoon to play video games at a milk bar type of thing), and at that time MHL might well have stopped me cold.

Later when MHL came in however, I was in my early thirties and had started doing a bit more serious cycling for fitness. So I'd started doing a little bit of racing and what-not, which needed a helmet anyway.

Then about the mid to late 1990's I stopped cycling for other reasons, and when I started again in about 2014 I was amazed at how much more hostile it had become.

Actually when I fist signed up here one of the first posts I as going to make was going to be titled: "I've given up cycling".

Then the body of the post was going to read: "I've instead joined the pedophile necrophiliac wife beating society. I found that there was just too much negative public perception of cyclists."

In the end I didn't post it, wasn't too sure how some people might take the "joke". :)


It seems a little surreal.. but I have enduring memories of my childhood roaming the suburbs on my bike. As a 8-12 year old I roamed probably within a 5k range of home on my dragster. Strangely, I remember riding on a lot of roads and not really having any troubles. I think in those days you didn't run over kids on bikes because the community looked after them.

Contrast that to now - and there is no way I'd let my child ride in the same areas I did. He'd be punishment passed with a narrative of "pay rego you cyclist w@nker". If he didn't wear a helmet I think members of the community would be happy with him being run over as punishment.

It really is rather odd.

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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby bychosis » Tue Jan 30, 2018 4:12 pm

Comedian wrote:It seems a little surreal.. but I have enduring memories of my childhood roaming the suburbs on my bike. As a 8-12 year old I roamed probably within a 5k range of home on my dragster. Strangely, I remember riding on a lot of roads and not really having any troubles. I think in those days you didn't run over kids on bikes because the community looked after them.

Contrast that to now - and there is no way I'd let my child ride in the same areas I did. He'd be punishment passed with a narrative of "pay rego you cyclist w@nker". If he didn't wear a helmet I think members of the community would be happy with him being run over as punishment.

It really is rather odd.


I too spent my 10-12yo time on a dragster roaming the street. I knew to keep off the busy roads and rode a lot on the footpath.

I'm not sure now that a kid would get the same rage as an adult lycra lout would, but i suspect the increased traffic, distractions from in car systems and mobile devices and sense of entitlement that pervades 'us' does increase the danger of riding on roads. Back then there was also an increased connection with the outside world, as most cars didn't have AC and you had to have the windows down too.

It's not odd, it's sad.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby RobertL » Tue Jan 30, 2018 4:29 pm

bychosis wrote:
Comedian wrote:It seems a little surreal.. but I have enduring memories of my childhood roaming the suburbs on my bike. As a 8-12 year old I roamed probably within a 5k range of home on my dragster. Strangely, I remember riding on a lot of roads and not really having any troubles. I think in those days you didn't run over kids on bikes because the community looked after them.

Contrast that to now - and there is no way I'd let my child ride in the same areas I did. He'd be punishment passed with a narrative of "pay rego you cyclist w@nker". If he didn't wear a helmet I think members of the community would be happy with him being run over as punishment.

It really is rather odd.


I too spent my 10-12yo time on a dragster roaming the street. I knew to keep off the busy roads and rode a lot on the footpath.

I'm not sure now that a kid would get the same rage as an adult lycra lout would, but i suspect the increased traffic, distractions from in car systems and mobile devices and sense of entitlement that pervades 'us' does increase the danger of riding on roads. Back then there was also an increased connection with the outside world, as most cars didn't have AC and you had to have the windows down too.

It's not odd, it's sad.


Back then your average motorist probably had more empathy for your average child cyclist because they had been one themselves. Even the most bigoted angry driver back then had probably ridden a bike a lot as a child and so tolerated their right to be on the road.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby Comedian » Wed Jan 31, 2018 11:02 pm

However, Malta is the only European Union member state that has a blanket helmet law that requires all cyclists to wear a helmet, irrespective of their age or the type of area they are riding in.

AdTech Ad
That is set to change, however. A spokesperson for Transport Malta said it is currently drafting legislation that will “bring Malta more in line with countries where bicycles are regularly used as a commuting mode of transport.”


http://road.cc/content/news/236188-malta-scrap-compulsory-cycle-helmet-law-it-hinders-efforts-get-more-people

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Re: Stupid poms

Postby gorilla monsoon » Thu Feb 01, 2018 10:44 am

find_bruce wrote:
queequeg wrote:I wonder if Dr John Black has a view on traumatic injuries caused by motor vehicle accidents (including pedestrians) that would benefit from a helmet as well, and how this compares to the number of cyclists?

I wonder if Dr John Black has a view on chronic illness and disease as a result of a sedentary lifestyle & the contribution of barriers to incidental exercise to this illness.


He probably does but it is likely he was not asked that question.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby uart » Thu Feb 01, 2018 9:53 pm

RobertL wrote:Back then your average motorist probably had more empathy for your average child cyclist because they had been one themselves. Even the most bigoted angry driver back then had probably ridden a bike a lot as a child and so tolerated their right to be on the road.


I stumbled upon this the other day, very interesting reading. https://bangingonaboutbikes.wordpress.com/2018/01/18/on-why-be-safe-be-seen-is-nonsense/

The first few comments are quite insightful, and one of them posts a link to this story about the greatly differing levels of aggression that his daughter ( a schoolgirl) got depending on what she was wearing while cycling. https://twitter.com/baoigheallain/statu ... 8425117696

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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby Comedian » Fri Feb 02, 2018 3:32 pm

uart wrote:
RobertL wrote:Back then your average motorist probably had more empathy for your average child cyclist because they had been one themselves. Even the most bigoted angry driver back then had probably ridden a bike a lot as a child and so tolerated their right to be on the road.


I stumbled upon this the other day, very interesting reading. https://bangingonaboutbikes.wordpress.com/2018/01/18/on-why-be-safe-be-seen-is-nonsense/

The first few comments are quite insightful, and one of them posts a link to this story about the greatly differing levels of aggression that his daughter ( a schoolgirl) got depending on what she was wearing while cycling. https://twitter.com/baoigheallain/statu ... 8425117696


That's a good article. I've been on the roads on a bike for a bit now - and I've reached the conclusion that the whole SMIDSY thing is simply a motorist confronted by a police officer after he's run over a bike rider who spouts something that will get him out of trouble - and it works. To make matters worse it gets recorded in statistics, and it becomes truth.

In all my time riding, I've only had one occasion when I've thought "that motorist had no idea I was there". I've had plenty of other potential accidents which I've managed to avoid, and they have all been what I understand to be the "Screw the bike rider - he can make his own arrangements" thought process. The driver knew I was there, and that we were going to collide but chose to leave the avoidance up to me. I'm sure if they had managed to get me they would have used SMIDSY and it would have got them out of trouble.

Twist your thoughts to that of a deranged motorist.. he's thinking "I'll just keep doing this and the bike rider can look after himself". It doesn't take too much of an extension of that to realise that the more we are asked to look after our own safety (helmets, hi-vis etc) the less the motorist has to "be careful".

Personally I'm pretty sure that's one of the reasons why helmets don't make cycling safer. Helmets make riders take more risks (risk compensation), and motorists are somewhat less careful when driving around bike riders.

Yes, helmets may help you if you have a crash, but because of the law you're more likely to have one.

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Meanwhile on face book

Postby Thoglette » Mon Feb 26, 2018 10:59 pm

Stop handing them the stick! - Dave Moulton
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby London Boy » Mon Feb 26, 2018 11:18 pm

Thoglette wrote:Before anyone starts whining "but Australia is special", I'm old enough to remember the pre-MHL years. It ain't so.

I'm sure I'm not the only dual national here who has ridden for years in the UK and in Australia.

I'm probably not the only one to think that the only observable difference is in the safe, dry roads and nice clear days in Australia, compared with the slippery, wet roads and poor visibility in the UK.

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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby Tequestra » Tue Feb 27, 2018 9:48 pm

uart wrote:In the end I didn't post it, wasn't too sure how some people might take the "joke". :)

LOL! You made me sound like a cawing crow!

(sorry to interrupt. I read page 1 and jumped straight to the 2018 posts but nothing to say except that you got me in stitches, fella! Laughter, that is ...)
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Bike Snob strikes again

Postby Thoglette » Thu Mar 01, 2018 3:32 pm

Enough with the Helmet Shaming Already

Snobbie's got a new rant on VBS (victim blaming syndrome). As usual, he's witty (and a little crude) but the punch line is well placed.

BSNYC wrote:This isn’t to say helmets are useless or that you shouldn’t wear one, but it is to say that if you find yourself getting angry when others don’t, then you’re kind of being an !! BAN ME NOW FOR SWEARING !!. And by being an !! BAN ME NOW FOR SWEARING !! you’re undermining the most important factor in making cycling safe, which is getting more people out there on bikes.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby Scintilla » Thu Mar 08, 2018 11:00 pm

RobertL wrote:Back then your average motorist probably had more empathy for your average child cyclist because they had been one themselves. Even the most bigoted angry driver back then had probably ridden a bike a lot as a child and so tolerated their right to be on the road.

Having ridden bikes as a teen, and as an adult back in the '70s and early '80s (with no/choice-of, helmet use) I can assure you that the drivers back in the day WERE far more abusive and aggressive. It must be about 10 years since I last had a beer bottle thrown at me by a passing car, and over 30 years since I had the stick whacked in my back by a passenger in a passing car. Then there was the .22 aimed out the driver's window at us following an oncoming brake-stop :x Drivers had very poor tolerance of bicycle riders.

It was the aggressive close-passing by drivers on my commute to Notting Hill along Blackburn Road that persuaded me to buy an MSR helmet way back in 1979 - mostly as an act of protest. To some extent I now wish that I had-not-done-this!

The '70s really were NOT any 'golden years' for bicycle riding.

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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby Scintilla » Thu Mar 08, 2018 11:05 pm

Comedian wrote:The driver knew I was there, and that we were going to collide but chose to leave the avoidance up to me. I'm sure if they had managed to get me they would have used SMIDSY and it would have got them out of trouble.


SMIDSY is usually really SMIDGAF. I'll leave you to work out what the extra letters in this acronym stand for......

Comedian wrote:Personally I'm pretty sure that's one of the reasons why helmets don't make cycling safer. Helmets make riders take more risks (risk compensation), and motorists are somewhat less careful when driving around bike riders.

Yes, helmets may help you if you have a crash, but because of the law you're more likely to have one.


Yep!!

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