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The CycleChat Helmet Debate Thread

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

  1. Justinslow

    Justinslow Lovely jubbly

    Nope, nothing from my second email.
    I kinda lost interest, I figure it’s a no win situation for anybody trying to counter it. Say you managed to get the ruling overturned with a big public fight then in the distant future some kid has an almighty bad crash whilst not wearing a helmet and was badly hurt, however remote this may be, how would this reflect to the masses? How would they feel about the person who got the “helmet compulsion” rule lifted?
    I know how some people think about it (pro helmet) who responded to my Facebook post regarding this matter, some quite vitriolic comments from friends who haven’t got a clue regarding helmet efficacy or “evidence”, and they are my friends!
    This is such a dodgy area as -to the uneducated, we are trying to stop a perfectly reasonable “safety measure”, they just don’t get it, much like I didn’t “get it” when I first got involved with this debate, they think we are mentally deranged if you question the wearing of a helmet as it’s obvious init- they must be a good thing, right?
  2. mjr

    mjr Wanting to Keep My EU Citizenship

    This is the core problem. Such freak head injury events are very graphic and visible and held against pro-choice advocates, whereas the harm done by the anti-choice rule-makers is far more subtle and long-term. No-one's going to point to all the premature deaths they cause by discouraging exercise and encouraging inactivity and polluting transport and blame it on them.

    In reality, the no-win situation is bending over and accepting their helmets, but how do we best convince people that they shouldn't force helmets?

    Appealing to any of the many worthy reports like Get Britain Cycling ("They should not simply seek to ban or restrict cycle use, or to impose helmet rules – these are not only misguided in terms of health and safety, but may also be illegal") or Gill's Cycling and Children and Young People ("the case for cycle helmets is far from sound") doesn't seem to convince the zealots. They just leap on any crumbs that suggest that helmets may offer some protection in some cases and say "aha, even your evidence says they work" while ignoring all the drawbacks.

    So I urge you to please keep pressing them. If nothing else, if you can get them to state their bonkers rationale in public, if cycling rates fall or fail to keep up with comparable schools, someone else might be able to go "we told you so" and get a future administration to repeal the rule.

    I think most people get it if you ask why drivers don't all wear F1-style protective equipment (it's disproportionate and in some ways unhelpful for ordinary driving because it restricts vision).
  3. YukonBoy

    YukonBoy Veteran

    But you are not demanding that kids do not wear helmets. You are demanding that it remains the choice of the parents of each kid. If a kid with a helmet has an accident and suffers brain injury as a result would they blame it on the school?
    Justinslow and glasgowcyclist like this.
  4. glasgowcyclist

    glasgowcyclist Bang on!

    Ah, they have that covered with the stock phrase: "Despite wearing a helmet... "
  5. lazybloke

    lazybloke Senior Member

    Surrey Hills
    So apparently there's an article in the Times later (Fri 24/11/17) about a consultation on compulsory cycle helmets and hi-viz.
    How could helmets be compulsory for Boris bikes? Exemptions for short-term hire maybe.
  6. srw

    srw It's a bit more complicated than that...

    The Times has got it wrong.


    (It's a rule of life - if it's in the Times or the Telegraph, check it elsewhere. If it's in the Mail, don't believe it.)
    nlmkiii, Fab Foodie and Adrian like this.
  7. lazybloke

    lazybloke Senior Member

    Surrey Hills
    No government plan for compulsion - that's all very well, but the matter will come up during any safety review.
    And given a logical argument against helmets and an emotional appeal for helmets from Headway (to stop children being killed) , which option do you think a well-meaning majority of the general public would side with? The compulsion argument could quickly gain favour- just look at anticyclist stories and comments in the media to see which way the wind is blowing.

    Given that road congestion is now blamed for poor uk productivity, and given the poor state of health of a typical UK adult, you would think HMG would be encouraging as many out of cars as possible and onto bikes. Compulsion (to wear bits of shiny plastic) can only have the opposite effect.

    Hopefully sense will prevail.
  8. MountainSide

    MountainSide Member

    I haven't read many posts here and don't intend too but I have to say all this talk of compulsory this that and the other just pees me off big time. I saw a report on tv recently that almost totally implied that helmets AND hi-vis jackets WILL be made compulsory for all riders in the new year. (Fortunately I since realized this is not yet true)

    If people want to wear a helmet great, I sometime even choose to wear one myself. I've been cycling more than four decades and never banged my head or collided or even made any contact with another vehicle or pedestrian or anything else. Sure, I've had a few "near misses" and pulled off some avoidance maneuvers and personally I find not having a helmet has helped by giving me that slight advantage in terms of balance, hearing and spacial awareness. People making up these laws need to consider that not everyone cycles in central London
    and we don't all ride around at 30/40 mph all the time either. If I want to cycle down my quiet cycle lane in tshirt and shorts on a nice sunny day, to post some letters or pick up some items at the local shop or just enjoy some fresh air, what do they want to do, fine me no doubt and lock me up as a repeat offender, confiscate my bike???? My bike will be at the local dump before then. I was considering a new bike but this is now on hold until this threat is over. Personally I think this is partly about autonomous driving cars/lorries as they know cyclists will be a nuisance for computers driving and they haven't worked out what to do about that but again that only really concerns big cities like central London. I personally think it will put a lot of people off cycling and more people will therefore die from obesity and heart failure etc, rather than "saving" anyone. Like I said I'm not against helmets at all (although as I sweat a lot, I find the straps stay wet and get manky which is unpleasant and uncomfortable and then they go moldy if not aired correctly and as I said above, they can slightly impair my riding IMO) and they have their place but If I just want to go out for a casual ride, then it should be up to me. What would be next - knee pads, elbow pads, gloves, eye protection, foot protection, protection for pedestrians crossing the road???? To me, strapping a bit of foam on top of my head has no comparison to seat-belts or motorbike helmets, for the casual rider.
    Hugh Manatee and Profpointy like this.
  9. benb

    benb Evidence based cyclist

    Even the Daily Mail has an article pointing out that helmet compulsion will cost more lives than it could possibly save.
    And Chris Boardman talking sense as usual.
    theclaud likes this.
  10. Regulator

    Regulator Not a SPM snowflake.

    Mr R has asked me to consider wearing a helmet...

    ...but only when I am off-roading, where it may actually have some use in a relatively low speed off, particularly if where I am riding is muddy/icy over winter. I've told him I will think about it.
  11. Mugshot

    Mugshot Guru

    What does Mr R do if you don't mind me asking Reg?
  12. mjr

    mjr Wanting to Keep My EU Citizenship

    Only Snell-standard helmets are currently tested against anything like a rock shape and even that is only an idealised hemisphere, not the sharp pointy stones, jagged ice or coarse gravel which I fear falling onto. The flat tarmac and kerb edge test shapes seem largely irrelevant to off-road ground IMO so I'm sticking with my thick fleecy hat.
  13. Regulator

    Regulator Not a SPM snowflake.

    He's a consultant psychiatrist.

    He's always accepted my views on helmets and on the lack of evidence for efficacy in many of the situations they're touted for (e.g. most on road incidents involving other vehicles).

    However, I have worn helmets in the past, particularly when off-roading/mountain biking as they may help in some of the low speed impacts you might get into in such circumstances. I think now that I'm doing more off-roading on 'off the beaten track' parts of Cambridgeshire he just worried in case something happens and no-one's around. He's not pushing it though.
    Mugshot likes this.
  14. mjr

    mjr Wanting to Keep My EU Citizenship

    GPS tracking is my preferred solution to that sort of worry. S can send a certain message to my phone and it replies with my location, thanks to the "Find My Phone" app - if I'm going somewhere with very patchy signal (so I could too easily be crashed somewhere with no signal), I can tell it to live-update a website, but that uses much more battery, so a top-up battery pack and the dynamo USB output or solar panel is also useful.
  15. Have you read the standards for helmets? The EU standard is testing it's performance of a drop of (about?) 2 metres. The standard assumes your only motion is falling. No helmet sold to cyclists is designed for 30 or 40 mph.