Is there a stigma to only wear a cap?

faster

Senior Member
I saw this today and wondered if anyone had more up to date figures?

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I've had a look into this and sadly, the data behind it can't be relied upon in my opinion. It wouldn't pass any sort of peer review.

I'd say the only good thing Steve has done here is provide the sources of his data. As such, we can check them out ourselves.

The first link, the accident data looks pretty good to me. It's based on actual, absolute figures, so it's difficult to go wrong really. The original data is not cycle injuries per 100,000 cyclists at all, but is actually a per population figure, which Steve has manipulated to be per cyclists by conflating it with the other study - an absolute no-no in my opinion as the other data isn't very good. The apparent rise in injuries is driven by the more questionable drop in cyclists. The raw data looks more like this:

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Note that I've not included non motor vehicle fatal accidents, as these are not significant and as such a per population figure isn't provided.

The data from the second link is very flimsy indeed. I've been through all of the relevant links, and I believe he's taken his data from here:

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As you can see, the data is mostly flat apart from the first two columns, which are wildly different. Note the following:

- The first two columns are single year data and there are gaps between them inconsistent with the rest. Two 8 year gaps in the data!!! It is disclosed elsewhere in the report (which is a general transport survey), that those two data points aren't even from the same study. They are unlikely to have been carried out by the same team and it's extremely unlikely they have been carried out in a comparable way.

- The more recent data is all rolling 3 year data (eg 2/3rds of the data in the 2004-07 column is the same as 2/3rds of the data in the 2003-06 column. There is only one good reason to do this, and it is to smooth noisy data. I wouldn't be surprised if there are single year spikes in the data which gave the percentage cycling as similar to 89/90 or 97/98.

- The methodolgy they have used for the survey just isn't appropriate in my opinion.

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They only ask about a 2 day period - the two day period refers to the 'Travel Days' in the title of the data above. Someone could be cycling 20,000 miles a year, but if they didn't ride a bike on their two travel days, they'd essentially be a non cyclist in that data. It's very difficult to make surveys like this work. They are surveying a tiny percentage of the population about a passtime/hobby/mode of transport that only a tiny percentage of the population partake in anyway.

By my reckoning, they are surveying about 0.3% of the population. They are not likely to survey many cyclists for a start. This is the sort of survey where there could have been a cycling boom and you wouldn't notice it in the figures, because even if the number of cyclists double or triples, the number of non cyclists stays similar in relative terms - and they are surveying mostly non-cyclists.

The data is probably a better reflection of what the weather happened to be like on the travel days within each time period.
 

classic33

Legendary Member
I see what you're saying, but there is plenty of good research on Risk Compensation. It's very hard to look subjectively at our own actions, but the science DOES show RC is a real thing for human risk assessment in general.

I can only say how _I_ interpret the bigger picture of studies; the example I keep coming back to is the pro-peloton - how come serious head injuries haven't dropped with compulsory helmet rules?
If @mjr did mean his compensation when wearing a helmet led to him crashing more, wouldn't adjusting his cycling be the best option. He(assuming it is risk compensation) decides the helmet is to blame for crashing.

This means he blames the helmet, not himself. Going so far as to say that helmet wearers "crash more often". It would have been much safer to modify the riding style, but easier to blame the fact that he was wearing a helmet at the time, therefore the helmet was the cause. He's "certainly not rushing to use helmets again and start crashing more again." He then extends this to all helmet wearers/users.

If you were to start crashing would you look to blame something you were using/wearing when you crashed or look at how you were cycling at the time. Would you modify your riding to avoid further incidents or lay the blame at something you were wearing/using to avoid further incidents?
 

matticus

Über Member
I'm quite happy with my own actions - imperfect as they no doubt are. What is significant is stuff like helmet laws; where it's more important to look at large-scale behaviour and injury trends. Risk compensation undoubtedly has some role to play in this. You asked about that - I tried to give you some info.

(if you want to keep your little tiff with mjr going, I shan't interfere; but I could book you a room if you like? :smile: )
 

mjr

Comfy armchair to one person & a plank to the next
If @mjr did mean his compensation when wearing a helmet led to him crashing more, wouldn't adjusting his cycling be the best option. He(assuming it is risk compensation) decides the helmet is to blame for crashing.

This means he blames the helmet, not himself. Going so far as to say that helmet wearers "crash more often". It would have been much safer to modify the riding style, but easier to blame the fact that he was wearing a helmet at the time, therefore the helmet was the cause. He's "certainly not rushing to use helmets again and start crashing more again." He then extends this to all helmet wearers/users.

If you were to start crashing would you look to blame something you were using/wearing when you crashed or look at how you were cycling at the time. Would you modify your riding to avoid further incidents or lay the blame at something you were wearing/using to avoid further incidents?
With the exception of one crash, I do not believe risk compensation by me was a reason for a crash while using that I would probably have avoided otherwise. Risk compensation by other road users seemed like a factor in some (for example, it's suspected some drivers think helmet implies more expertise implies less space needed)

Also, it is simply not possible to adjust one's riding style to completely overcome the impairment from strapping a half pound of insulation to your head without other negative consequences. For one example, if you mop your brow more to stop sweat running into your eyes, that's one hand off the bars more.

In one sense, you could say I did adjust my riding style - I left the helmet at home and rode unbowed instead! I didn't deliberately make any other adjustments to my riding at that time, although I did buy ice tyres before winter.

As for generalising, ok, maybe, but helmet users show up in most hospital casualty surveys disproportionately, which also suggests an above average crash risk.
 

mjr

Comfy armchair to one person & a plank to the next
I don't like wearing anything on my head but then even at 58 I still have a full head of hair. :becool:
Mine is rather too full just now but hair worries never stopped me using. I just carried a comb, plus that dry shampoo stuff for summer. That drawback I could overcome, unlike the crash one, for which the best solution seems to be switching to a cap.
 

raleighnut

Legendary Member
Location
On 3 Wheels
Mine is rather too full just now but hair worries never stopped me using. I just carried a comb, plus that dry shampoo stuff for summer. That drawback I could overcome, unlike the crash one, for which the best solution seems to be switching to a cap.
Wrong end of the stick man, I meant I don't need to cover my bonce when I'm outside to stop it frying. as for cutting hair I haven't troubled a Barber for nigh on 30yrs (I had a scalping once to try to get a job, never again :becool: )

In all my years of cycling I've very rarely banged my head, I've 'face planted' a couple of times though. :B) :cry:
 

classic33

Legendary Member
With the exception of one crash, I do not believe risk compensation by me was a reason for a crash while using that I would probably have avoided otherwise. Risk compensation by other road users seemed like a factor in some (for example, it's suspected some drivers think helmet implies more expertise implies less space needed)

Also, it is simply not possible to adjust one's riding style to completely overcome the impairment from strapping a half pound of insulation to your head without other negative consequences. For one example, if you mop your brow more to stop sweat running into your eyes, that's one hand off the bars more.

In one sense, you could say I did adjust my riding style - I left the helmet at home and rode unbowed instead! I didn't deliberately make any other adjustments to my riding at that time, although I did buy ice tyres before winter.

As for generalising, ok, maybe, but helmet users show up in most hospital casualty surveys disproportionately, which also suggests an above average crash risk.
You're at odds with yourself. You blamed the helmet wearing for crashing more. The reason for not wanting to rush to wearing one again was because you didn't "want to start crashing more again.

As for helmet wearers crashing more, if this, "the white elephant in the room",
"why helmet users crash more often. I'm certainly not rushing to use helmets again and start crashing more again."
had appeared as
"why non helmet users crash more often. I'm certainly going to use helmets again and not start crashing more again"
There'd have been an instant demand for evidence to back up the claims made. Possibly along with counter claims, with "proof" that helmet usage alone causes accidents. The way in which helmet usage has been questioned in A&E's over the years has also been questioned. It's been classed as unfairly weighted, amongst other things.

The last crash I had, a helmet would have made no difference. T-boned by a drunk driver, whose last reason for pulling out into me was "he thought I was a bus, so it was safe to pull out". Never once did he say he never saw me.

Risk compensation isn't just confined to what might be worn, but also by where we might ride. Taking selfies whilst cycling in a cycle lane, removes one hand from the handlebars, as does signalling a turn. The latter being a legal obligation, when it is safe to do so.

Presenting personal opinion as fact, whichever side you're on, doesn't help the issue, but muddies the waters even more.
 

Drago

Flouncing Nobber
I've gona bit low tech myself. One of my fleet is a nicely rebuild and newly powder coated Saracen from 1996. It sees little use, but I've repurposed it as a "pub" bike. It's the only bike of mine with flat pedals, and I steadfastly refuse to don anything more substantial than a baseball cap atop my noggin when riding it. A cycling cap wouldn't look right, but my favourite Duck Dynasty baseball cap suits the couldn't care less what you think ethos of the bike's newly found role.
 

GilesM

Guru
Location
East Lothian
I've gona bit low tech myself. One of my fleet is a nicely rebuild and newly powder coated Saracen from 1996. It sees little use, but I've repurposed it as a "pub" bike. It's the only bike of mine with flat pedals, and I steadfastly refuse to don anything more substantial than a baseball cap atop my noggin when riding it. A cycling cap wouldn't look right, but my favourite Duck Dynasty baseball cap suits the couldn't care less what you think ethos of the bike's newly found role.
As it's a pub bike I would suggest a flat cap, much more suitable for a British Pub than a baseball cap.
 
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