The CycleChat Helmet Debate Thread

Discussion in 'Helmet Discussions' started by Shaun, 5 Sep 2015.

  1. Mrklaw

    Mrklaw Regular

    absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. I want evidence that backs one of three possible options:
    1) wearing a helmet reduces your risk of injury in a cycling accident
    2) wearing a helmet increases your risk of injury in a cycling accident
    3) wearing a helmet has no effect either positive or negative

    That will allow people to make meaningful decisions.
  2. benb

    benb Evidence based cyclist

    The evidence is clear: Helmet wearing confers no statistically detectable protection against serious head injuries.
    We must conclude therefore that either
    - the effect they confer is so small as to be undetectable,
    - or that there is a significant protective effect, but another factor (such as risk homeostasis) means that helmeted riders are more likely to suffer a head impact, thus cancelling out the protective effect.

    My opinion is that the first scenario is most likely, given that cycling is a low risk activity to start with, and that the likelihood of falling off is already small; the likelihood of an off that results in a head impact is therefore smaller still; and the subset of those that fall into the performance envelope of a helmet are vanishingly unlikely.

    It's also obviously the case though that helmeted riders are more likely to have a head impact, as the cross-sectional area of the head is being increased by at least 25%

    I think helmets are effective at preventing minor bumps knocks and scrapes, but any claims of their effectiveness beyond that are unfounded and spurious.

    I don't see that any further research would add anything to what we already know.
  3. Mugshot

    Mugshot Guru

    And so we create Pascal's helmet wager
  4. Profpointy

    Profpointy Guru

    Look at the australian or ontario head injury rates before or after compulsion. Both are large scale "trials" as it were showing no reduction, maybe slight increase of head injury rate (rate needs to be corrected for the reduced numbers of cyclists). It convinced me

    Another factor, which isn't per se evidence, but may nonetheless be telling is that the "pro lobby" seem happy to lie and dissemble to promote the cause. Why do this if there is real evidence? The prime example being the 75 or 85% head injury reduction claim pushed by various campaigners longer after the original research had been discredited.
    Andy in Germany likes this.
  5. classic33

    classic33 Legendary Member

    Full face can save you from cuts to the head, through impact with the surface.

    As for your brain in an impact, it will continue to move around inside your skull after impact. Helmet or no helmet.

    I did more damage, the specialists view, when T-Boned by a car wearing a helmet. The shoulder and side taking the impact on the car bonnet. The neck injury was said to be due to the helmet.
    Brandane and Andy in Germany like this.
  6. Brandane

    Brandane Fair weather cyclist.

    And there is of course a huge difference between "head injury" and "brain injury", a fact which is conveniently ignored by the pro-helmet brigade.
    A head injury is no worse than a leg or arm injury, so why not make body armour compulsory?
    simonali and classic33 like this.
  7. classic33

    classic33 Legendary Member

    For years they tried to get me to wear one of these
    for head protection, the research was there to validate their use as a safety device for epilepsy.

    The inflatable helmet that appeared on here is now being sold as head protection for people with epilepsy. Ignores the rest of the body.
    Brandane likes this.
  8. Dave Davenport

    Dave Davenport Guru

    Out for spin this morning and catch up with another rider;
    Me; Lovey day for a ride isn't it
    Her; Out without a helmet, you're brave, not many people do that
    The reply that went through my head was 'maybe just better informed' but I bit my tongue wished her a good ride and carried on my way. I have no problem with anyone wearing a lid, but this kind of thoughtless faith in a bit of plastic and polystyrene without any informed consideration and the implication that I'm some sort of nutter for not wearing one does irritate me.
    burntoutbanger and TinyMyNewt like this.
  9. TinyMyNewt

    TinyMyNewt An execrable pun

    South coast, UK
    It happens to me a lot, which might have a bit to do with perceptions of female vulnerability perhaps. Just this morning a new person on a club ride said to me, 'So, you don't wear a helmet then?' as if I might not have realised. I said, 'As you see ...' and scotched further remarks by riding off.

    A few weeks ago I gave a fully lycraed and helmetted roadie a smile as he approached me from the other direction, and as he passed me he absolutely bellowed, 'HELMET!' I am afraid I bellowed two words back, the second one being 'OFF'
  10. Fab Foodie

    Fab Foodie hanging-on in quiet desperation ...

    G. Has apparently backtracked on his statement....
    theclaud and TinyMyNewt like this.
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