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

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

Postby Ross » Mon Nov 05, 2012 3:41 pm

human909 wrote:
Ross wrote:It has little to do with helmets

How do you know that? You don't.


You don't know that it IS to do with MHL. :roll:

Seriously, cyclists, or potential cyclists are generally going to be more put off from cycling because of having to ride up hills and therefore arriving at their destination all hot, sweaty and tired, lack of cycle paths and for those that do ride on the road they don't want to be killed or maimed by an ignorant or arrogant driver. Wearing a helmet is a minor inconvenience (if an inconvenience at all). Doesn't anyone know how to use a comb or a hairbrush? What happens to your hair when you aren't wearing a helmet, doesn't it get blown around as you ride?


human909 wrote:What we do know is:
-That in places where utility cycling is commonplace helmets aren't seen often. When surveyed the population of utility cyclists are generally against helmets.
-That in places where MHLs have been introduced the immediate impact on cycling rates is quite evident. Furthermore it is MUCH more difficult to encourage utility cycling.

Ross wrote:lots of cycle paths and the good behaviour of motorists.

This is no doubt very important. But when the roads are largely empty of cyclists where is the impetus for building cycle paths and promoting positive motorist behaviour?

As has been repeated thousands of times. Getting rid of MHLs are definitely not the only thing that needs to be done. However while they remain in place encouraging utility cycling is going to be MUCH more difficult. The evidence is clear.


*sigh*
Statistics can be skewed to prove or disprove any POV. For every 10 cites you find 'proving' MHL discourage cycling I'm sure I could find 10 'proving' the opposite.
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by BNA » Mon Nov 05, 2012 3:47 pm

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

Postby Percrime » Mon Nov 05, 2012 3:47 pm

No you cant. Clearly MHLs discourage cycling.. surely by now no one is remotely arguing otherwise. Its actually one of those few areas where anecdotal evidence means something.. cos if I say I quit cycling for 10 years because of MHLs then that proves it discouraged me. Or at least is a factor I perceive as discouraging me or am using as an excuse. (have not found any other excuses ever mind. So you can only be arguing it discourages few.. very few.. or just somewhat me. But you cannot possibly argue it had no effect. And no one has even tried to argue it encourages cycling before now.

So go ahead. 10 peer reviewed half credible studies saying MHLs encouraged cycling.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby il padrone » Mon Nov 05, 2012 4:02 pm

Ross wrote:Wearing a helmet is a minor inconvenience (if an inconvenience at all). Doesn't anyone know how to use a comb or a hairbrush? What happens to your hair when you aren't wearing a helmet, doesn't it get blown around as you ride?

As an obvious enthusiast cyclist I can see you don't have an appreciation of the common man's view. Did you even cycle without a helmet ie. prior to the early 80s ?? Do you really know the difference that a helmet makes, in a whole host of ways that trouble many people, apart from messed up hair. I'd agree that for many their hair will messed up by any wind, and it really doesn't bother me, but for a lot of people (women especially) it's the extra styling effects of the helmet hair that they don't want.

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

Postby human909 » Mon Nov 05, 2012 4:53 pm

Ross you continue to throw strawman arguments left right and centre. I wont continue to address things that have nothing to do with MHLs.

Ross wrote: Statistics can be skewed to prove or disprove any POV. For every 10 cites you find 'proving' MHL discourage cycling I'm sure I could find 10 'proving' the opposite.

:lol: Can you? Can you even find ONE city which has MHLs with widespread cycling?

No you can't! Of course I shouldn't need to explain to you the logic of why the existence of cities without MHL and very poor cycling doesn't in anyway negate the premise the MHLs discourage cycling. (Inner Melbourne comes a little close to be honest but it still has a long way to go.)
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby Mulger bill » Mon Nov 05, 2012 8:08 pm

Percrime wrote:So go ahead. 10 peer reviewed half credible studies saying MHLs encouraged cycling.


Jeez, I'd be happy to see one that wasn't funded by legislators, hemlet makers or health promotion agencies.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby Percrime » Mon Nov 05, 2012 8:55 pm

Hey he offered. Sheesh. OK I,ll be nice. One.. thats one.. half credible at a first glance study saying that MHL,s have increased cycling participation. Just one. Generous enough? One tenth of what he said he could supply. So Ross put up or shut up.


Of course this is the last we will see of him this year in this thread
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby DavidS » Mon Nov 05, 2012 11:21 pm

Ross, I have little hair and hate the Mandatory Helmet Laws. I wouldn't wear a helmet if it wasn't for the law unless I thought there was a specific reason to do so (racing or bunch riding might be reasonable reasons but I do neither). So, can we stop with the hairstyling strawman?

I'm a utility cyclist and I can see no reason why I shouldn't be able to ride sans foam lid. I regularly ride on busy roads and MHLs make cycling out to be far more dangerous than it really is. MHLs are a deterrent.

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

Postby Xplora » Tue Nov 06, 2012 7:48 am

The only reason I can think of that justifies MHL is that there is an assumption that cyclists will get hit by cars and trucks. Is this reasonable?
It can't be because riders can hurt their heads just falling off like a toddler trying to ride. There must be some kind of negative external influence at all.

Have you ever had a 30+kph contact with a car, Ross? Jules21? Other people who aren't vehemently opposed?

Honestly, if it wasn't because I am essentially forced by my circumstances to ride because all alternatives are unacceptable to me, there is no way I could justify the pain, distress and misery of a bike accident at regular speeds. I got off very lightly, and still spent a day in hospital on morphine 3 months ago. Hitting trucks and cars is going to be incredibly bad for you, whether you have a helmet or not. Do you think many people would drive if they were going to jail for hitting another car?
The impact on the cyclist is so severe that any alternative way of dealing out that punishment would guarantee jailtime. Accidently hit them with a shovel as hard as they could. Dragged them across gravel for 10m. Broke bones shoving them into a parked car. Sent them to hospital after running into them. MHL is not the solution to this problem, because pedestrians and motorcyclists face the same risk and dangers. The car is the issue, not the bike. Cars are not going to be made of Nerf foam soon, so the penalties for their failures need to reflect the penalties they inflict on others.

This is the best reason I can come up with for MHL, but there are far bigger issues that need resolution. This will be an even bigger problem once the electric car is popularised because there is no nasty "OMG car!" engine noise to warn people that a car is coming. Psychology pretty much shows that people switch off... is it realistic to expect people to be hyperalert on the footpath? Cars drive everywhere... I don't think it is realistic. What do others think?
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby il padrone » Tue Nov 06, 2012 8:06 am

The reason for a helmet is very different to most people's conception of it. Helmets and the Australian Standard for Bicycle Helmets were designed to protect against a head falling 2 meters onto the ground, or an impact speed of ~20 kmh. Car collision impacts really don't enter into this scenario at all. Back in the 80s the concern was the kids falling off on bike paths and ending up 'on life support'. So the powers that be made it compulsory for everyone - great!! :roll: How common is this sort of injury really?

When I was up at Yulara in September we rode about the resort to get to the shops and didn't bother to wear the helmets, just a sun hat. It was very nice. Next year we are going to Europe to travel by bike. Last night I dreamt of riding overseas.... and we were not wearing our helmets 8)
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby Ross » Tue Nov 06, 2012 8:41 am

Sorry to hear of your crash Xplora. I'm very surprised that this incident hasn't changed your views on helmets. I agree totally that having a collision with a car or truck is very bad and can lead to broken bones or worse.

I've been lucky so far with my cycling and haven't had any physical clashes with vehicles. Actually I did have a relatively minor one in about 1982 where a car failed to see me at an intersection and just clipped me and knocked me off my bike. Pre-MHL as well! Didn't knock my head, just a couple of minor scrapes and bruises. The lady driver gave me a lift home which was good of her and I liked riding in her GT Falcon!

I have had a couple of low speed crashes (~walking pace), one where I went over the handlebars and came down hard on bitumen road and banged my helmeted head on the road. Luckily I was able to get up and walk away (couldn't ride, front wheel was stuffed). I beleve this was due to my helmet protecting my head. Of course I have no "scientific evidence" to prove this.

It is my belief, based on experience, that it is not just high speed crashes, or crashes involving motor vehicles where helmets can prevent or lessen head injuries. It is low speed crashes as well that can be serious.

il padrone - A quick comb or brush of the hair would fix the double mohawk. Presumably this was after a longer ride, rather than just a 5 minute "pop down the shop for a loaf of bread" ride? Hair would be the least of your worries after a longer ride, say a 1/2 hour commute to work. I usually get all hot and sweaty when I ride a longer time/distance such as this and if going to work I get straight in the shower as soon as I get to work and again when I get home.

My view still is that traffic is the biggest factor in discouraging cycling followed by lack of cycling infastructure. MHL may play a small part but it is my belief that a lot of people just use that as an excuse rather than a reason.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby human909 » Tue Nov 06, 2012 9:24 am

Ross wrote:I have had a couple of low speed crashes (~walking pace), one where I went over the handlebars and came down hard on bitumen road and banged my helmeted head on the road. Luckily I was able to get up and walk away (couldn't ride, front wheel was stuffed). I beleve this was due to my helmet protecting my head. Of course I have no "scientific evidence" to prove this.

It is my belief, based on experience, that it is not just high speed crashes, or crashes involving motor vehicles where helmets can prevent or lessen head injuries. It is low speed crashes as well that can be serious.


This is my belief based on experience. (hmmm, different views maybe that should mean choice!)

For most able bodied coordinated people low and medium speed bicycle crashes are not a big issue. It is not too much different from tripping over while running. Should we have MHL for running? Sure some people may feel they do not have the necessary skills to protect themselves in the event of a fall, so by all means wear a helmet. However why should it be compulsory when MOST people can adequately protect themselves? (The evidence that most people can protect themselves it pretty clear from the lack of problems sans helmets in places like Holland. Lets not kid ourselves, every Dutch child could tell us stories of their bike falls.)

As a kid I was riding my BMX everywhere. "Stacks" as we called them were not uncommon. I took big falls off my bike many dozens of times. Most of this would have been without a helmet. We took lots of risks off road too with dirt jumps etc. Knees, elbows and hand scrapes were common. Heads were fine. As an adult I've had about a half a dozen falls in a decade either for silly reasons away from traffic or mechanical failure. Again nothing bruises and scrapes.

If you are advocating that we need helmets for low speed non motor vehicle involved falls too then there goes the entire "but Australia" is different argument. Europe functions just fine without MHL.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby il padrone » Tue Nov 06, 2012 10:55 am

Ross wrote:il padrone - A quick comb or brush of the hair would fix the double mohawk. Presumably this was after a longer ride, rather than just a 5 minute "pop down the shop for a loaf of bread" ride? Hair would be the least of your worries after a longer ride, say a 1/2 hour commute to work. I usually get all hot and sweaty when I ride a longer time/distance such as this and if going to work I get straight in the shower as soon as I get to work and again when I get home.

Not me, and not my problem.

The fact that you and I continue to ride, over longer distances and in hot conditions is of no consequence. The people who do not cycle in Australian cities, but do in many overseas cities, are the average Joe and Jane. Hairstyle, appearance and dress does matter to them.

Look at how many Dutch cyclists ride. They wear normal street clothing, they ride slow and chat with friends, they are only riding shorter distances (of course, due to more compact cities).

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In the objective of getting these people out riding their bikes, routinely, for transport as well as recreational exercise, the helmet is one of a number of barriers - but probably the first barrier after the cost of buying a bike.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby jasonc » Tue Nov 06, 2012 11:31 am

Ross wrote:Sorry to hear of your crash Xplora. I'm very surprised that this incident hasn't changed your views on helmets. I agree totally that having a collision with a car or truck is very bad and can lead to broken bones or worse.


I'm with xlpora. I've had 3 offs in the last 2 years. 2 my fault, the other was at the fault of a car. both that were my fault and single vehicle crashes resulting in me falling over and landing on my side.

a few months ago I changed my mind. I used to think you'd be mad not to wear a helmet. now, even though I'm thankful for the helmet, and continue to wear one (and would wear it no matter the law), don't think they should be compulsory. I will continue to wear one to protect myself, but I believe it should be your choice. no way in hell would I ride where/how I do without a helmet. But not everyone rides at breakneck speeds (well, i think I'm going fast) and they may perceive the risk as less. get the law changed/referendum/whatever. I'll support anti-mhl.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby Xplora » Tue Nov 06, 2012 1:45 pm

Ross,
Your beliefs are not key in the discussion however - it is my belief that I'm safe enough on my bike to ride on the road. The beliefs you are talking about will lead some people to not ride at all. If you can't swim, you don't jump into the deep end of the pool, right? If you can't ride, you won't cycle commute.

Yes, accidents of all kinds CAN hurt you. But is it a reasonable belief? You've gone OTB 3 times, a couple times at low speeds... you pranged in 1982... you've been riding for 30 years! Most car drivers can reasonably expect to suffer a similarly dangerous impact once a decade as well. Why no helmets for car passengers? The airbags and the seatbelts are far from perfect, and physics is even more dangerous at 80kmh...

Your arguments are valid and reasonable, but they show there is an inherent discrimination in the helmet law. I am happy for you to claim there is danger... but I'm not happy if you will not demand tougher protections for other modes of transport. Everyone has their own level of "danger" they can tolerate. I managed to do 63kmh on a suburban street last week... that's NOT safe on a bike with multiple intersections. Make no mistake. I am almost at the limits of safe speeds on the bike and my skill level. But that is my choice. Most people can't even get a bike to 60kmh to decide if it's safe!!! :lol: But they'll gladly do 70 in a 60 zone when driving. The human isn't great at assessing risk... but why must a bike rider have their freedom taken away, when we don't do the same to the car driver - the consequences for car crashes are catastrophic compared to bikes, simple momentum physics proves it. Why are we discriminating against bikes?! :idea:
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby human909 » Tue Nov 06, 2012 7:57 pm

jasonc wrote:a few months ago I changed my mind. I used to think you'd be mad not to wear a helmet. now, even though I'm thankful for the helmet, and continue to wear one (and would wear it no matter the law), don't think they should be compulsory.


And this is one of the reasons why I enthusiastically are involved in this mammoth thread. There are many cyclists who are still somewhat open minded.

The more open minded cyclists that I and others on these forums can reach, the more we can start changing minds and attitudes. It is also why I am disappointed that MHL discussion is treated as taboo on this forum. Personally I've never had a problem with helmets. It wasn't until joining these forums (and BVforum) and listening to the debate that I become opposed to MHLs.

More and more I've started riding helmetless. I did so today in my riding between Melbourne cup parties. My motives for riding helmet less is more about civil disobedience and my attitudes rather than a strong desire to ditch the helmet. (hair style excuse can't be used, I wore a wooly cap!) The funny thing is that I fear the cops more than I fear harm to me head. :roll:
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby damhooligan » Tue Nov 06, 2012 8:27 pm

for those that dont believe the mhl caused a drop in cycling...
have a look at the census results.

Surely the census is a respected form of evidence ??

Image

It clearly shows a massive drop in commuting.
and it stays down.

But im sure you find a way to say , its not just the mhl that caused the drop...

Image

Look at the size of the drop, it dropped almost straight back to where it started in 1976 :shock:
Thats a set back of 16 years..... :cry:
Sure it has risen a bit after, but imagine that rise on top of the amount we had before the MHL...
Without the setback, we could have achieved so much more !!!

The mhl is the only difference that could have cause a drop this massive...
this is not a fluctuation.
this is not caused by infra structure orany other excuse found in the excuses thread for not riding.
This drop is caused by MHL.

Thanks MHL, for reducing commuters, and making the world a safer place.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby damhooligan » Tue Nov 06, 2012 8:28 pm

The dutch have one word to describe the aussie MHL, this word is ;
SCHIJNVEILIGHEID !!
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby damhooligan » Tue Nov 06, 2012 8:57 pm

human909 wrote: The funny thing is that I fear the cops more than I fear harm to me head. :roll: [/i]


the only thing the helmet is garanteed to protect is our wallets...
It wil effectifly protect us from being fined !
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby ColinOldnCranky » Wed Nov 07, 2012 3:38 pm

The graph has me swinging a little AWAY from what I would have thought before I saw it. Let me explain.

The graph shows a rapid rise peaking for about a decade or a decade and a half before falling back just as rapidly to where it came from. That rapid rise indicates the liklihood of a craze.

If I was to find numbers on the jogging craze of the 70's I'd expect to see something similar - though I expect that the rise and fall was far more extreme. I don't recall anything that would explain the demise of jogging. It just happened as it does with many crazes.

I was not aware of that rise that the graph shows and that, to me, is at least as significant as the fall. Perhaps some one has some insight into the factors that gave rise to the rise.

===
I note that the city to surf events are resurging again but those are a poor comparison as the numbers in those will be largely a function of the deliberate promotion of them at different times.

The dying of the cycling craze of the seventies does not make me pessimistic about the maintenance of cycling numbers however. I am hoping that cycling is a bit like the triathalons that have shown a perserverence that jogging did not.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby human909 » Wed Nov 07, 2012 3:48 pm

A craze that lasts over a decade? As craze over how people get to work?

This is COMMUTING we are talking about. If it was recreational cycling it would be much more fickle to the whims of fashionable recreation. Somebody doesn't cycle to work everyday simply because it is fashionable!
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby il padrone » Wed Nov 07, 2012 5:31 pm

ColinOldnCranky wrote:The graph shows a rapid rise peaking for about a decade or a decade and a half before falling back just as rapidly to where it came from. That rapid rise indicates the liklihood of a craze.

The 70s and 80s were a bit of a craze I guess, to some. For most of us it was just living.

ColinOldnCranky wrote:I was not aware of that rise that the graph shows and that, to me, is at least as significant as the fall. Perhaps some one has some insight into the factors that gave rise to the rise.

Oil crisis and rising petrol prices. The fitness movement you alluded to. Rising environmental awareness.

But mostly, you may be misreading the graphs a little. The scale begins at 1.0% for one and 0.38% for the other. It's done to accentuate the shifts, but may make the absolute changes from the prior level look greater. If you want a clearer picture look at the table of actual numbers of commuter cyclists alongside - 91-96 there was a decline of some 18,000, and it took until after 2006 for the numbers to rise beyond the 91 level.


ColinOldnCranky wrote:The dying of the cycling craze of the seventies does not make me pessimistic about the maintenance of cycling numbers however. I am hoping that cycling is a bit like the triathalons that have shown a perserverence that jogging did not.

Glad you think its OK, I don't. However that does not change the simple fact that all these declines in cycle use (for commuting) happened right at and after 1991.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby ColinOldnCranky » Wed Nov 07, 2012 6:02 pm

human909 wrote:A craze that lasts over a decade? As craze over how people get to work?

This is COMMUTING we are talking about. If it was recreational cycling it would be much more fickle to the whims of fashionable recreation. Somebody doesn't cycle to work everyday simply because it is fashionable!

I agree, which is why I do not consider the current riding as whimsical and faddish. But I see a different rider now than I saw then. Presumably once a week sorta rider as opposed to three times a week sort of difference.

Back then I was not aware of anywhere near the riders that we have now. And I can assure you that, at the time, I was a very lonely person on the way into work on the southern freeway cycle path. And equally lonely at my place of work. Hot damn, we just had a single shower added into the ground floor male staff toilet with a flippable "Woman inside" sign on the door. And I almost always stepped straight into the shower. On a busy day there were three towels hanging. Seriously. That was all that was required for 500 staff at my office building.

Regrettably Census data doesn't give much detail. "Did you cycle sometime in the last week?" Yes/No. I can only surmise that whatever riding people did, it was not what we are doing now. And that makes me wonder how much I can use the raw counting to compare one lot of riding with another.

Equally regrettably the data points are only two and they could represent a peak over an interval of anything from 5 years to 15.

I never really considered it as deeply until I saw Damnhooligan's upside-down U curve. I suppose I should as the other commentary I have made here is not new to me, I just never tried to draw any string together. However I do not want to make too much on one simple set of data either. I have already stated the Census data is pretty definite but probably also pretty thin on detail.

I will still be interested in any insights into the rapid rise 1976 to 1991. Twice as rapid as the fall that is so often talked of according to damnhooligan's graph. Anyone have any ideas? (Prefereably not derived with a starting point of "MHL is bad for participation" or "MHL makes no difference to participation". Fat chance methinks.)

il padrone wrote:But mostly, you may be misreading the graphs a little. The scale begins at 1.0% for one and 0.38% for the other. It's done to accentuate the shifts, but may make the absolute changes from the prior level look greater.

Yes, I noted that. A 60% rise in ten years is still a big rise. If it isn't then neither is a post MHL 40% drop over 15 years that the graph indicates. (As always, working on very few data points but you get the drift.)
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby ColinOldnCranky » Wed Nov 07, 2012 6:17 pm

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

Postby ColinOldnCranky » Wed Nov 07, 2012 6:18 pm

Chuckle some more...
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby Evo6point5 » Sun Nov 11, 2012 12:58 pm

Xplora wrote:evopoint, are you going to provide the 50K required to fund such a study?

There is no study of these things outside Australia because they just don't see the point. It would be like studying the effectiveness of raising children by lions in the wild... the MHL is a waste of time for most of the world, they won't study it. The writing is already on the wall... cycling is an effective replacement for walking. It is no more dangerous than walking... the hysteria about helmets won't go away because it just doesn't make sense to any sensible person.

To the less sensible, well it's fine because they don't have the ability to see the loss of freedom as a bad thing.


How is a ride at an average speed of 35km/h no more dangerous than a walk at 7km/h? That's like saying driving at 300km/h is the same as 40km/h.

I've had many crashes throughout my mtb/road/tri days and each has hurt / injured me more than anything that's happened to me whilst walking.

Why would I have to put up money for the study? I think mhl's are good. How many motorcyclists ride without helmets?
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