Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thread)

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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby The 2nd Womble » Fri Sep 28, 2012 4:37 pm

Yes, the figures are very open to interpretation. I'd like to know what the head injury stats are in all of this as a rule of thumb too. A twisted ankle is hardly a life threatening injury but I bet a few clip stacks spend hours in the ER waiting for life saving Panadol Forte.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby KenGS » Fri Sep 28, 2012 6:54 pm

The 2nd Womble wrote:Yes, the figures are very open to interpretation. I'd like to know what the head injury stats are in all of this as a rule of thumb too. A twisted ankle is hardly a life threatening injury but I bet a few clip stacks spend hours in the ER waiting for life saving Panadol Forte.

Most of what you are looking for is in Serious injury due to land transport accidents, Australia 2008-09
http://www.aihw.gov.au/publication-deta ... 1997&tab=2
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby The 2nd Womble » Fri Sep 28, 2012 7:00 pm

My point is that such such presentations at ER's would result in the number of injured riders blowing out even further. I wouldn't be surprised if the figure is a bit vague tbh. What is categorised as life threatening? We've seen other statistics garnished or misrepresented before. Still, rather sobering and all that.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby KenGS » Fri Sep 28, 2012 7:08 pm

In the report they define a "serious injury with high threat to life"
‘High threat to life’ serious injury cases are selected on the basis of having an ICISS of less than 0.941. ICISS is a measure of injury severity based upon a patient’s injury diagnoses. The ICISS measure for this report is based upon ICD-10-AM coding and was derived using Australian hospital separations data (Stephenson et al. 2004).

I thought that was pretty clear...
Interestingly, the percentage of severe injuries that are high threat to life is lower for cyclists than for any other mode of transport - see page 21
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby DavidS » Fri Sep 28, 2012 11:47 pm

The 2nd Womble wrote:
Percrime wrote:six THOUSAND? Admissions? Source please.


Bear in mind theses aren't even current or recent figures: http://www.carrsq.qut.edu.au/publicatio ... ety_fs.pdf

There are approximately 6,000
emergency department
presentations and almost 10 deaths
each year from bicycle-related injury
in Queensland.
- Bicycle injuries make up a third of all
transport-related injuries presenting
to hospital emergency departments.


Interesting figures but quite strange. Unfortunately the federal government report is 2008/09 whereas the Queensland report is 2008 so a direct comparison is not possible. But the timing is very close. In addition, the source is different.

Anyway, the figures provided in the Queensland report do not agree with the federal report.

According to the federal report there were 9,577 serious injuries Australia wide in 2008/09 and of these 2,083 were of people normally resident in Queensland (can't seem to find a total for location of accident). This is a far cry from 6,000.

The death figures are just silly. In 2008 there were 6 deaths down from 10 in the previous year. Sorry, 6 ain't almost 10.

Again the federal figures disagree with proportions. In terms of serious injuries pedal cyclists represented 9,577 of 53,406 land transport serious injuries, hardly a third.

I understand the Queensland figures are measuring hospitalisations but, as someone has pointed out, hospital admissions can and do include minor injuries. I think the federal serious injury figures are a much better indication.

There were other interesting stats in there.

23% of serious injuries for road vehicle traffic crashes on bicycles were head injuries, this was second behind shoulder and upper limb on 44.5%. So, less than a quarter of serious injuries on bikes were head injuries, the only injuries potentially protected by a helmet.

They listed the nine most common vehicle accidents causing serious injury, only 2 of these involved bicycles (these were number 8 and 9) and of these neither was collision with a car. In other words you are more likely to be seriously injured in various ways as a car occupant, pedestrian, motorcyclist, then comes cyclist and the most common accidents causing serious injury for cyclists were either single vehicle or unspecified. All the talk of cars being the dominating factor are not borne out by the stats.

So, what do we have here? We have a situation where cycling is not all that dangerous, the main danger is not cars and helmets do not protect the most commonly injured part of a cyclist's body. So why are we forced to wear helmets? Seems a band aid solution where governments want to look like they are doing something. There is a need for better manners and education about road behaviour, but it is also the case that the current education and enforcement programmes which make the roads safer are also making the roads safer for cyclists.

Mandating helmet wearing for cyclists is certainly not justified when one looks at what is causing serious injuries.

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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby Howzat » Sun Sep 30, 2012 8:49 am

Percrime wrote: We have a situation where cycling is not all that dangerous

Not sure why this argument keeps cropping up, because actually cycling is in fact sort of, well, modestly dangerous, a little bit. It's also lots of fun. Those two aspects may not be entirely unrelated!

But cyclists are always a little more over-represented than we'd like to see in the stats.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby human909 » Sun Sep 30, 2012 10:26 am

Howzat wrote:
Percrime wrote: We have a situation where cycling is not all that dangerous

Not sure why this argument keeps cropping up, because actually cycling is in fact sort of, well, modestly dangerous, a little bit. It's also lots of fun. Those two aspects may not be entirely unrelated!

But cyclists are always a little more over-represented than we'd like to see in the stats.


Well the description "dangerous" is completely open to interpretation. Clearly everything has some degree of danger to it. In fact in terms of impact on life span one would expect that sitting on the couch to be similarly dangerous.

In terms of transport accidents cycling is does seem to be more dangerous than driving and public transport. Though naturally in both cases it really depends on the behaviour of the individual and the infrastructure one chooses to use. Sticking to separated paths and quiet roads on your bike will make you significantly safer. Driving a 5 safety star vehicle and never leaving 60kph roads one could almost reduce their chance of death to zero.


We don't describe a trip to work or down to the shops in a car as dangerous. Nor should we describe the same trip in a bicycle as dangerous.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby Howzat » Sun Sep 30, 2012 3:27 pm

human909 wrote:We don't describe a trip to work or down to the shops in a car as dangerous. Nor should we describe the same trip in a bicycle as dangerous.

Sure we think of car trips as dangerous, in some general and low risk sense. Seat belts are required even just going to the shops, right?

Bottom line is I think that there may be a case against mandatory helmet laws- but "the inherent safety of cycling" is not a part of that case.

That line of argument just runs smack into the numbers. Cycling has an element of risk! And the stats on the risk levels aren't where we'd like them to be. :(
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby Xplora » Sun Sep 30, 2012 3:40 pm

human909 wrote:We don't describe a trip to work or down to the shops in a car as dangerous. Nor should we describe the same trip in a bicycle as dangerous.

This sums it up perfectly... user error and the application of free choice makes a lot of things very dangerous. Snow, antifreeze, knives, guns, acid...
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby greyhoundtom » Sun Sep 30, 2012 4:46 pm

If you shave yours legs, and in some instances your arms as well, you obviously believe that sooner or later you are going to come to grief and will need to treat gravel rash.

Therefore you certainly need to wear a helmet.

Hairy arms and legs?

Obviously you believe you will never fall of the bike and have to treat skin abrasions, therefore you do not need to wear a helmet.

See..........choice is best............ :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby Comedian » Mon Oct 01, 2012 3:36 pm



Thanks for that... I love how we are the shining example of how not to do it for the rest of the world.. LOL.

Recent experience suggests that if a city wants bike-sharing to really take off, it may have to allow and accept helmet-free riding. A two-year-old bike-sharing program in Melbourne, Australia — where helmet use in mandatory — has only about 150 rides a day, despite the fact that Melbourne is flat, with broad roads and a temperate climate. On the other hand, helmet-lax Dublin — cold, cobbled and hilly — has more than 5,000 daily rides in its young bike-sharing scheme. Mexico City recently repealed a mandatory helmet law to get a bike-sharing scheme off the ground. But here in the United States, the politics are tricky.
Once you can climb hills on a bike it's all downhill. :mrgreen:

Hopefully I'll know what that's like..... one day. :shock: :lol:

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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby jules21 » Mon Oct 01, 2012 4:24 pm

i once did some work with the accreditation of railways. they are accredited to operate if they can demonstrate safe systems of work. some railways, particularly the smaller novelty ones would argue that they couldn't afford to comply with the safety demands. the analogy with MHLs is the argument that to allow these railways to run and flourish, we need to lower safety standards. this is not the approach in rail - if you can't meet safety, you don't run. what you guys are arguing for with bike hire schemes is the opposite - prioritising their patronage over safety.

i am more sympathetic for that argument in cycling than for rail, as you generally don't kill anyone but yourself if you ride a bike unsafely, but it is still regressive in that there is a (general) societal expectation of greater, not less safety. (yes i know about the safety-in-numbers argument, but this is disputed, no need to go over that again here).
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby Xplora » Mon Oct 01, 2012 4:45 pm

jules21 wrote: this is not the approach in rail - if you can't meet safety, you don't run.

Do you find the same standards in HR/HC trucks? What about little runabout cars from Asia? You are drawing a false parallel, because the same standards are NOT applied to the road. Any partly competent deadhead can get a licence, and you can drive quite easily without one. Rail is very very different, because the weights are greater by an order of magnitude or two, and despite the inability to veer off course, the ability of authorities to "clean up" rail accidents is much smaller than a car accident.

The risks involved in a cycling scenario are also much less serious than trains and automobiles. True?
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby jules21 » Mon Oct 01, 2012 4:53 pm

Xplora wrote:What about little runabout cars from Asia?

all new cars have to meet crash standards. failure to meet those standards = can't import into or sell in australia
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby human909 » Mon Oct 01, 2012 4:56 pm

jules21 wrote:i once did some work with the accreditation of railways. they are accredited to operate if they can demonstrate safe systems of work. some railways, particularly the smaller novelty ones would argue that they couldn't afford to comply with the safety demands. the analogy with MHLs is the argument that to allow these railways to run and flourish, we need to lower safety standards. this is not the approach in rail - if you can't meet safety, you don't run. what you guys are arguing for with bike hire schemes is the opposite - prioritising their patronage over safety.

i am more sympathetic for that argument in cycling than for rail, as you generally don't kill anyone but yourself if you ride a bike unsafely, but it is still regressive in that there is a (general) societal expectation of greater, not less safety. (yes i know about the safety-in-numbers argument, but this is disputed, no need to go over that again here).


Wow that is amazingly convoluted logic! :shock:

but it is still regressive in that there is a (general) societal expectation of greater, not less safety
So does that mean, that no matter the impact, what the cost, what the barriers we should implement all safety measures? Afterall if we don't then we are settling for less safety rather than more? Or is that simply the end game in the struggle to always improve safety? So first its helmets, then its wrist guards, gloves, kneepads.... Where does it stop?


Drawing analogies with workplace safety is interesting. Do you really think all the BS about workplace safety actually implemented sensibly? My brother works in a mine. He gets chastise for walking down stairs without TWO hands on the railings. Yet he gets pressure to work 15hour days after which he drives home tired on poor roads. Ever received a memo banning employees from changing clocks when daylight savings changes? Using BS attitudes to safety doesn't justifies things. It just shoes the same insane attitudes permeates other parts of society.
Last edited by human909 on Mon Oct 01, 2012 4:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby Comedian » Mon Oct 01, 2012 4:57 pm

jules21 wrote:i once did some work with the accreditation of railways. they are accredited to operate if they can demonstrate safe systems of work. some railways, particularly the smaller novelty ones would argue that they couldn't afford to comply with the safety demands. the analogy with MHLs is the argument that to allow these railways to run and flourish, we need to lower safety standards. this is not the approach in rail - if you can't meet safety, you don't run. what you guys are arguing for with bike hire schemes is the opposite - prioritising their patronage over safety.

That's not the case. heavily utilised bike share systems have proven extremely safe.. safer than when people ride their bicycles. At the time of that article some 4.5 million boris bike trips had been made without a single serious injury.

If that isn't good enough for you.. I'm not likely to be able to offer anything much else.. :mrgreen:
Once you can climb hills on a bike it's all downhill. :mrgreen:

Hopefully I'll know what that's like..... one day. :shock: :lol:

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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby jules21 » Mon Oct 01, 2012 5:25 pm

Comedian wrote:That's not the case. heavily utilised bike share systems have proven extremely safe.. safer than when people ride their bicycles. At the time of that article some 4.5 million boris bike trips had been made without a single serious injury.

i'm not emotionally wedded to MHLs or anything. if that's true then there's probably no need for MHLs - in that circumstance at least. however, there are often conflicting pieces of evidence on how safe or unsafe cycling in traffic really is. i'm always cautious about trying to seize on one conclusion and insisting that's all the evidence i'll need.
human909 wrote:So does that mean, that no matter the impact, what the cost, what the barriers we should implement all safety measures? Afterall if we don't then we are settling for less safety rather than more? Or is that simply the end game in the struggle to always improve safety? So first its helmets, then its wrist guards, gloves, kneepads.... Where does it stop?

we've been over this point so many times. No, is the answer to your question. the test of safety that is used in OH&S law is "reasonably practicable". not riding your bike at all is obviously the safest option (ignoring general health benefits for a moment) - but it's not reasonably practicable. wearing a helmet on the other hand, is. that's why it has been singled out.

same with your mining example. working 15 hours a day isn't great, but restricting workers to 8 would have enormous repercussions for the competitiveness of australian mining. therefore, while it would be safer, it's not reasonably practicable. using two hands on stair rails, while seemingly (or actually) very trivial, is reasonably practicable. you're ignoring that important test.

reading that back to myself, i wasn't clear about that in my rail example (which uses the same test) either.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby human909 » Mon Oct 01, 2012 5:40 pm

jules21 wrote:but it's not reasonably practicable. wearing a helmet on the other hand, is. that's why it has been singled out.

If wearing a helmet is reasonably practical why don't we mandate it for pedestrians and general living? Surely if it is practical for riding a bicycle then it is practical for life in general. The test or the judgement of "reasonably practical" is flawed. You are now applying legal logic to a common sense problem.

jules21 wrote:same with your mining example. working 15 hours a day isn't great, but restricting workers to 8 would have enormous repercussions for the competitiveness of australian mining. therefore, while it would be safer, it's not reasonably practicable. using two hands on stair rails, while seemingly (or actually) very trivial, is reasonably practicable. you're ignoring that important test.

Ok there you are clearly trying to fit a square block into a round hole. Common sense dictates the opposite Jules. Surely you realise that?
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby Mulger bill » Mon Oct 01, 2012 7:06 pm

jules21 wrote: the analogy with MHLs is the argument that to allow these railways to run and flourish, we need to lower safety standards. this is not the approach in rail - if you can't meet safety, you don't run. what you guys are arguing for with bike hire schemes is the opposite - prioritising their patronage over safety.

jules21 wrote:same with your mining example. working 15 hours a day isn't great, but restricting workers to 8 would have enormous repercussions for the competitiveness of australian mining.


Sorry Jules but the laws of physics are immutable. You CAN'T have your cake and eat it too...
...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 (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby zero » Tue Oct 02, 2012 8:43 am

jules21 wrote:i once did some work with the accreditation of railways. they are accredited to operate if they can demonstrate safe systems of work. some railways, particularly the smaller novelty ones would argue that they couldn't afford to comply with the safety demands. the analogy with MHLs is the argument that to allow these railways to run and flourish, we need to lower safety standards. this is not the approach in rail - if you can't meet safety, you don't run. what you guys are arguing for with bike hire schemes is the opposite - prioritising their patronage over safety.

i am more sympathetic for that argument in cycling than for rail, as you generally don't kill anyone but yourself if you ride a bike unsafely, but it is still regressive in that there is a (general) societal expectation of greater, not less safety. (yes i know about the safety-in-numbers argument, but this is disputed, no need to go over that again here).


People that drive cars, transfer the risk of their transport task to others, particularly pedestrians, and decreasing private motor vehicles improves bus services which encourages shift to the safest road transport mode and share bike users are likely to be bus and rail users rather than private car users, and both bus and rail are far safer on per km or per trip basis than cars.

ie the likelyhood that most people will modeshare when using a bike scheme means that their overall transport task is probably safer, even if the bike is not (currently) safer than a car on a per trip or per km basis.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby Ross » Tue Oct 02, 2012 4:36 pm

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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby jasonc » Tue Oct 02, 2012 8:43 pm

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/30/sunda ... .html?_r=0

note: you may have to register to read this
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby lturner » Tue Oct 02, 2012 8:54 pm

Ross wrote:http://www.smh.com.au/victoria/protesting-cyclists-to-make-merri-their-hair-blowin-in-the-wind-20120926-26lk6.html

The head of neurosurgery at The Alfred hospital, Professor Jeffrey Rosenfeld, said dumping compulsory helmets would be a retrograde step.

''I'm the one who sits at the hospital looking after the victims of road trauma,'' he said. ''There are many cyclists among them, and I can't help but think that if they weren't wearing helmets their injuries would be significantly worse.'' He said the idea that compulsory helmets dissuaded people from healthy exercise was ''specious'' and he called the October 6 ride a publicity stunt and a bad example.


This is a classic example of why we should not allow self-proclaimed "experts" too much say in dictating what laws should be. Because they are usually only an expert in one very narrow part of the question, like this doctor, but then claim jurisdiction over the whole area.

I am sure this doctor is extremely competent at treating head injuries, but that doesn't mean he has any knowledge at all about the best ways to prevent them or about whether or not compulsory helmet laws are detrimental in other ways. Yet this does not stop him making foolish comments about things he apparently knows little about.

This person may well believe that it is wise to wear a helmet while riding a bike, but his opinion is not made any more credible or persuasive because he is a neurosurgeon. After all, he would see many more patients with head injuries from car accidents and yet he is not saying: "I can't help but think their injuries would have been significantly lessened if they were wearing a helmet".
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby The 2nd Womble » Tue Oct 02, 2012 9:07 pm

Yes I'm sure a neurosurgeon knows nothing about preventative medicine or how to protect against head/spinal injuries :?
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