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

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

Postby twizzle » Fri Oct 05, 2012 1:28 pm

Ross wrote:I don't understand the (for want of a better word) "argument" put forth that if we had Amsterdam style segregated cycleways then we could do away with helmets. Is there some high-tech force field installed on these that somehow prevent crashes? How does it work? There would still be sticks, rocks, other cyclists of varying abilities and speeds and likely to be the odd pedestrian and stray animals as well, which can cause crashes.


Didn't you know? Accidents only happen to other people, and if you don't personally know them, it has no significance.

IMO, the whole anti-MHL thing has nothing to do with increasing cycling participation, it's about individuals wanting to be able to do whatever they want in public.

PS - The seven year old currently has his arm in a sling, the frame of the glasses was able to be straightened, and I'm very thankful that the front of the helmet kept his face off the concrete. The cost of avoiding extra pain & suffering in this specific case was $25 at BigW.
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by BNA » Fri Oct 05, 2012 1:34 pm

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

Postby Percrime » Fri Oct 05, 2012 1:34 pm

I swear.. its not pro MHL and anti MHL people but instead anti MHL and "those evil people want to ban me from wearing a helmet and make me die horribly"

And I also swear if anyone ever blames me cos their kid cant ride and falls off I,ll hunt em down and make them eat a helmet.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby jules21 » Fri Oct 05, 2012 1:46 pm

twizzle wrote:PS - The seven year old currently has his arm in a sling, the frame of the glasses was able to be straightened, and I'm very thankful that the front of the helmet kept his face off the concrete. The cost of avoiding extra pain & suffering in this specific case was $25 at BigW.

pfft.. the 7 year old obviously doesn't know how to ride a bike properly. it would have been his fault if he'd hurt his head, no sympathy from me. what does this have to do with others being made to wear helmets?
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby KenGS » Fri Oct 05, 2012 2:10 pm

ball bearing wrote:This ought to spark another flurry of outraged responses...

http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/society-a ... z28NMFO4D5

"Bike helmet critics not using their heads...

First, cycling has flourished since the helmet legislation was enacted in 1991. There is no sign of widespread grassroots ideological opposition to the law, any more than there is to mandatory helmets for motorcyclists or seatbelts in cars.

Cycling rates are rising rapidly and claims that repealing the law will encourage more cyclists are light on fact and heavy on opinion.

Second, there is solid evidence that cyclist head injuries have declined while other cyclist injuries have not during this period: that is, when accidents happen, helmets make an important difference. No one should need reminding that serious head injuries may exact a lifelong toll on the individual and be a great cost to the community..."

Peddling a strawman that those opposing MHLs are also against better infrastructure. I note the shift in the argument by Olivier from "MHLs save lives" to "MHLs and cycling infrastructure reduce injuries". As good as an admission that the previous argument that MHLs save lives doesn't stack up.
That plus the obfuscation of the debate by conflation of the two would suggest that even "MHLs reduce injuries" is on shaky ground.
Otherwise, why not come out and say "we've got strong evidence that MHLs alone save lives and prevent injuries"
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby human909 » Fri Oct 05, 2012 2:20 pm

twizzle wrote:IMO, the whole anti-MHL thing has nothing to do with increasing cycling participation, it's about individuals wanting to be able to do whatever they want in public.

Fancy that! We want individuals to be able to choose what goes on their head. What a terrible notion. Twizzle, no matter what your opinion is it doesn't change other peoples motives. You don't get to choose that twizzle. My motives to get rid of MHLs are to increasing cycling participation. This fact doesn't change no matter what you say to the contrary.

twizzle wrote:I'm very thankful that the front of the helmet kept his face off the concrete.

Without a chin guard a bicycle helmet has little chance of protecting the face. Seriously test it out. Even a forehead strike on the helmet would cause rotation and then a facial strike. The helmet most likely didn't protect his face. His arms did.

jules21 wrote:what does this have to do with others being made to wear helmets?

I'm still wondering that too. If twizzle or his son want to wear helmets nobody is wanting to stop them.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby twizzle » Fri Oct 05, 2012 2:21 pm

Percrime wrote:I swear.. its not pro MHL and anti MHL people but instead anti MHL and "those evil people want to ban me from wearing a helmet and make me die horribly"

And I also swear if anyone ever blames me cos their kid cant ride and falls off I,ll hunt em down and make them eat a helmet.


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

Postby jules21 » Fri Oct 05, 2012 2:23 pm

human909 wrote:I'm still wondering that too. If twizzle or his son want to wear helmets nobody is wanting to stop them.

precisely. while we're at it, we should repeal seat belt laws for the same reason.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby human909 » Fri Oct 05, 2012 2:28 pm

jules21 wrote:
human909 wrote:I'm still wondering that too. If twizzle or his son want to wear helmets nobody is wanting to stop them.

precisely. while we're at it, we should repeal seat belt laws for the same reason.

That is not what is being discussed Jules. You are throwing another strawman in the mix.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby jules21 » Fri Oct 05, 2012 2:40 pm

human909 wrote:
jules21 wrote:
human909 wrote:I'm still wondering that too. If twizzle or his son want to wear helmets nobody is wanting to stop them.

precisely. while we're at it, we should repeal seat belt laws for the same reason.

That is not what is being discussed Jules. You are throwing another strawman in the mix.

it's the same logic, just presented in a way that makes it easy to understand why it's flawed.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby human909 » Fri Oct 05, 2012 2:47 pm

jules21 wrote:it's the same logic, just presented in a way that makes it easy to understand why it's flawed.

Yep. Thats it. The rest of the world has flawed logic because Jules says so. Meanwhile Australia is leading the way for cycling safety. :roll:
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby jules21 » Fri Oct 05, 2012 2:54 pm

human909 wrote:Yep. Thats it. The rest of the world has flawed logic because Jules says so. Meanwhile Australia is leading the way for cycling safety. :roll:

if MHLs are necessary (and i'm not going as far as advocating that), it's partly due to australia failing - not leading - in other areas of cycling safety.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby human909 » Fri Oct 05, 2012 3:03 pm

Jules you are being so disingenuous here. You make accusations of flawed logic. And the turn around saying you are not advocating MHLs. Surely if you think the logic of free choice is flawed then you'd be against it? You are trying to have it both ways and as far as I can see just stirring up trouble. The only logic here that is flawed is yours.

human909 wrote:If twizzle or his son want to wear helmets nobody is wanting to stop them.

This certainly doesn't seem a statement that most people could deny.

Yet somehow you have turned it into accusations of flawed logic. :roll:
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby twizzle » Fri Oct 05, 2012 3:15 pm

human909 wrote:
human909 wrote:If twizzle or his son want to wear helmets nobody is wanting to stop them.
This certainly doesn't seem a statement that most people could deny.


Except that was never the point - my complaint is that children will follow modelled behavior, not what they are told. They see other children & adults riding without helmets, they will do it as well. All the evidence clearly showed that helmets reduce head injuries in children, but if you want them to wear them, you have to promote the behaviour!

PS - if you want more people to ride, spend more time riding rather than tilting at windmills. I spend an average of ten hours a week out in the traffic, I could stick to shared pathways and country back-roads, but I consider it important to get out there where the car-addicted public can see that cyclists do exist.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby jules21 » Fri Oct 05, 2012 3:15 pm

human909 wrote:If twizzle or his son want to wear helmets nobody is wanting to stop them.

This certainly doesn't seem a statement that most people could deny.

where did i deny that?
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby Percrime » Fri Oct 05, 2012 3:50 pm

twizzle wrote:
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.


Say what? Hemmingway would say you were talking tosh. And he would not put it as politely. Modelled behavior..probably should teach em how to ride properly. If they model themselves after people whose behavior their parents dislike... the problem is not what you think it is. And chin protection from an open face helmet.. phtttthhhhhh

Or are you implying my kids cannot ride properly either?
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby twizzle » Fri Oct 05, 2012 4:13 pm

Percrime wrote:If they model themselves after people whose behavior their parents dislike... the problem is not what you think it is

You obviously have limited experience with small children. And I never said anything about chin protection.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby newie » Fri Oct 05, 2012 5:28 pm

Edit - deleted less friendly formatted version of post below.
Last edited by newie on Fri Oct 05, 2012 5:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby newie » Fri Oct 05, 2012 5:46 pm

I have been a bit surprised that there hasn't been more discussion of the recent UNSW study by Olivier et al. I guess most people don't have access to the journal article and it is hard to know what to conclude from newspaper reports. Anyway I have had a look at the article and it seems to me that the data in it could mean the end of any hopes for a repeal of the MHL. I can't imagine any politician being “brave” enough to support a repeal of the law in the light of these numbers. Hopefully the formatting doesn't go astray.

Table 2
Bicycle related head injury and limb fracture hospitalisations in New South Wales for 1991–2010.
Year, Head, Arm, NSW pop, BI, CC, ERASS
1991, 590, 660, 5.9
1992, 648, 760, 6.0
1993, 635, 839, 6.0
1994, 634, 882 , 6.1
1995, 667, 964 , 6.1
1996, 732, 1114, 6.2
1997, 745, 1058, 6.3
1998, 750, 1144, 6.3
1999, 756, 1115, 6.4
2000, 828, 1334, 6.5, 0.9
2001, 715, 1171, 6.6, 0.8, NA, 400800
2002, 795, 1241, 6.6, 1.1, 1552, 429100
2003, 806, 1390, 6.7,1.0, 1693, 404300
2004, 882, 1457, 6.7, 1.2, 1870, 481700
2005, 847, 1583, 6.8, 1.2, 2251, 474200
2006, 1004, 1622, 6.8. 1.2, 2622, 468300
2007, 878, 1576, 6.9, 1.4, 2958, 447400
2008, 840, 1623, 7.0, 1.2, 3121, 539600
2009, 769, 1619, 7.2, 1.1, 3915, 503600
2010, 706, 1620, 7.2, NA, 3974, 603500
BI=bicycle imports (millions), CC= Sydney CBD cycling counts, NSW population in millions.
Sources: Admitted Patients Data Collection (HOIST), NSW Ministry of Health; Cycling Promotion Fund. CPF Annual Report 2009/10. Canberra (AUST): CPF; NSW Roads and
Maritime Services; Exercise, Recreation and Sport Survey (ERASS), Australian Sports Commission (2010).

While I was looking it up I came across another article published by a group in the Netherlands which I found a bit surprising. Here is the abstract.
“Governments aim to promote a shift from car to bicycle, but concerns about road safety seem to represent an important argument against this encouragement. This study examines the road safety impact of a modal shift from short car trips to cycling in Dutch municipalities. The road safety effect is estimated using Accident Prediction Models (APMs) that account for the non-linearity of risk. APMs are developed utilizing Negative Binomial regression. This study is the first to develop APMs using crash and mobility data from municipalities, and utilizing these models to estimate the effects of changing modal splits of current car and bicycle use to modal splits that actually exist in these municipalities. The results suggest that, under conditions such as in Dutch municipalities, transferring short trips made by cars to bicycles does not change the number of fatalities, but increases the number of serious road injuries. The neutral effect on fatalities, despite the high fatality risk for cyclists, can be explained by there being fewer cars on the road to pose a risk to others, the shorter length of bicycle trips compared to the car trips they replace, and the “safety in numbers” phenomenon. The rise in the number of serious road injuries is due wholly to the high number of cycling crashes with no other vehicle involved. The effect of a modal shift
is dependent on the age of the population in which the shift is concentrated, and can be influenced by measures affecting cyclists’ injury risk.”
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby Xplora » Fri Oct 05, 2012 5:51 pm

jules21 wrote:
human909 wrote:Yep. Thats it. The rest of the world has flawed logic because Jules says so. Meanwhile Australia is leading the way for cycling safety. :roll:

if MHLs are necessary (and i'm not going as far as advocating that), it's partly due to australia failing - not leading - in other areas of cycling safety.

Cycling infrastructure didn't happen BECAUSE of a flawed approach (that led to the MHL).

You are talking about a symptom of the disease...
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby lturner » Fri Oct 05, 2012 9:58 pm

jules21 wrote:precisely. while we're at it, we should repeal seat belt laws for the same reason.


If:

- significant numbers of people disliked wearing seatbelts
- seatbelts laws reduced exercise and had a net negative effect on public health
- seatbelt laws were completely destroying a useful public transport option
- the safety benefits of seatlbelt laws were hotly contested such that after 20 years there is still no agreement
- 98% of the world (including those countries with better car safety records than Australia) did not have seatbelt laws

then yes, there would a strong case to repeal seatbelt laws.

But none of the above are true for seatbelt laws, while they are all true of bike helmet laws.

Actually some of the above reasons are why we don't have to wear sealtbelts on buses and trains.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby Howzat » Fri Oct 05, 2012 10:09 pm

newie wrote: I have been a bit surprised that there hasn't been more discussion of the recent UNSW study by Olivier et al.


This study was the basis of an opinion piece in the Fairfax papers recently. cited here a couple of times.

On the other side of the coin, there was a recent study that showed that helmets didn't reduce injuries, so MHLs were unnecessary.
That's the infamous Rissel/Voukelatos paper that got formally retracted last year because it was badly flawed.

So that's the research background policy makers will rely on to decide about MHLs. It's looking very lopsided.

So in the real world, the consquences are that effective advocacy will depend on the case for making cycling more attractive and more safe and improving participation by improving infrastructure. Not by getting rid of MHLs.

Maybe when we do have bike lanes that are not in the door zone, when we're not riding in the same lane as the B-doubles, when we do have wide attractive and extensive network of dedicated bike lanes that make riding a fun and practical option, then we will make cycling safer, get more people commuting, and the stats will move enough so that helmets become less necessary - and then perhaps less mandatory.

But it's going to have to happen in that order: infrastructure first, helmets-optional second.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby lturner » Fri Oct 05, 2012 10:11 pm

newie wrote:I have been a bit surprised that there hasn't been more discussion of the recent UNSW study by Olivier et al. I guess most people don't have access to the journal article and it is hard to know what to conclude from newspaper reports. Anyway I have had a look at the article and it seems to me that the data in it could mean the end of any hopes for a repeal of the MHL. I can't imagine any politician being “brave” enough to support a repeal of the law in the light of these numbers. Hopefully the formatting doesn't go astray.


In NSW the helmet law came into effect on 1st January 1991 for adults and 1st July 1991 for children.

So can someone please explain how this study which looks at the decline in the ratio of head injuries to arm injuries AFTER the helmet law was already in effect proves that MHL was the cause?

If anything this only shows that other things besides helmet laws are responsible for some or even all of the declines.

PS According the previous research from these authors the rate of helmet wearing went up very quickly ie a matter of a couple of months, definitely not over many years.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby Howzat » Fri Oct 05, 2012 10:19 pm

lturner wrote:
jules21 wrote:- significant numbers of people disliked wearing seatbelts
- seatbelts laws reduced exercise and had a net negative effect on public health
- seatbelt laws were completely destroying a useful public transport option
- the safety benefits of seatlbelt laws were hotly contested such that after 20 years there is still no agreement
- 98% of the world (including those countries with better car safety records than Australia) did not have seatbelt laws

Those are assertions. To go from assertions to accepted facts, they need substantiation.

That's the hard part. The last people to try had to retract their paper from publication!

On the other hand I do remember people complaining long and loud about seatbelt laws after their introduction. "I wouldn't want to get trapped in the car after a crash" was a common reason I heard at the time.

And apparently there are still lots people who don't wear belts, judging by the enforcement programs the relevant responsible authorities roll out from time to time.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby Xplora » Fri Oct 05, 2012 10:26 pm

Howzat wrote:So in the real world, the consquences are that effective advocacy will depend on the case for making cycling more attractive and more safe and improving participation by improving infrastructure. Not by getting rid of MHLs.
But it's going to have to happen in that order: infrastructure first, helmets-optional second.

So your brilliant plan to fix the issue of vehicular cycling risk is to essentially render the bike absolute last... you'll note that there are no safe bike paths. Clover lanes in Sydney are constantly beset by peds. PSPs are set up to ensure that bikes can't go beyond 15-20kmh because peds have right of way.

There is nothing FUN about cycling infrastructure, because the people that use it tend to be oblivious to the fact that it is cycle infrastructure. I ride down the Parramatta-Meadowbank Riverwalk most days and it is NOT fun. I spend half my time trying to make sure someone doesn't run in front of me. I ride at 40kmh on a good day down that path and it's just not safe for a bike to do that.
If you can't ride that fast, you have a wide space for peds, rather than a space for bikes.

Legislative change is necessary first because our legislation doesn't support the goal of improving bike uptake, not just the helmet laws.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby Howzat » Fri Oct 05, 2012 10:40 pm

Xplora wrote:...you'll note that there are no safe bike paths. Clover lanes in Sydney are constantly beset by peds. PSPs are set up to ensure that bikes can't go beyond 15-20kmh because peds have right of way.

There is nothing FUN about cycling infrastructure,

I'm not sure why we end up opposing cycling infrastructure on a cycling forum. We should be leaving that stuff to the angry motorists listening to the shock-jocks.

I agree though we have a long way to go to improving infrastructure from the green-paint-in-the-dooring-zone level that's standard today. Cycling should be fun. Cycle infrastructure should support that.
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