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To helmet or not to helmet

As an older guy, it's hard for me to believe how many years I went w/o a helmet.

I would never do so now. My LAS is very nice & comfy, and (summers, at least) it also adds some UV protection for someone w/thinning hair. The sweatband-like advantages are also important.
 
What i don`t do is use scare tactics or examples of individual people dying to emphasize my point, when there are countless examples of people dying when it wouldn`t have made any difference. [...]
As you recognise, simontwosheds, it's about risk management. And there's still a lot of debate.

There was no debate about smoking in the 'old' days. It was cool; a form of self-expression. Then there was debate. Then the science matured sufficiently to prove that it is astonishingly harmful. Many of us may know someone who smoked 40 a day and lived a long, apparently healthy life. But the fact remains that 50% of smokers will die from smoking-related causes.

The images FarEast posted are from a campaign by the Asia Injury Prevention Foundation – a non-profit organization working towards reducing the number of traffic fatalities in developing Asian countries, starting in Vietnam. The National Helmet Wearing Campaign was started in Vietnam, June 2007.

The target in this case is the dumb excuses people use for not wearing a helmet. "...it ruins my hair" etc.

I don't know whether the campaign has made any difference in Vietnam. I wish I could find some higher-res images to copy and translate into Japanese. Sometimes shock tactics are what you need, in some markets. And sometimes shock tactics are counter-productive.

There were also television commercials as part of the same campaign. e.g. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7TpWG2GD20c

If such a campaign makes ONE person think about what they do and, on as a result of new information, decide to ride/drive/wear more safely, then it's worth ten or a hundred folks getting red faces and trumpeting and blustering that they don't like their personal freedom being questioned or oppressed.

Or suggest that if i wear a helmet and stick to the rules of the road that i'll be just fine.
Must have missed that bit.
Or adopt a fascist attitude towards it, it makes cycling seem like an exceptionally dangerous activity.
So how about a new one: "I always wear a helmet; not because you tell me I should, but because I want to."

I sort-of run a sort-of bike club. Fairly anarchic. Sometimes we do some irresponsible things. But anyone turns up without a helmet and they are disinvited from the ride.
 
I always wear a helmet when cycling, and recommend that others do the same, it makes sense, but it`s only a small part of the picture. Btw, I just bought the new Specialized Prevail, which is a joy to wear.
What i don`t do is use scare tactics or examples of individual people dying to emphasize my point, when there are countless examples of people dying when it wouldn`t have made any difference. Or suggest that if i wear a helmet and stick to the rules of the road that i`ll be just fine. Or adopt a fascist attitude towards it, it makes cycling seem like an exceptionally dangerous activity. I`m inclined to think that the pics posted by fareast are more likley to put people off cycling altogether, so how would that be good for your health? I also resent the suggestion that a cyclist without a helmet is some sort of reckless moron who deserves a serious head injury, a view clearly propagated by insurance companies.
My dad raced for a number of years when all that was available were the leather `hair-net` type of `protection`. He had no problems although does have a massive scar on his head from a later car crash. So should i wear a helmet whilst driving? or when on public transport? or walking through traffic? or climbing a ladder? etc.
Clearly the premium causes of the death of cyclists is bad driving and bad cycling, so pushing helmets on people is like making you wear a stab vest in rough neighborhoods, in case someone knifes you, rather than dealing with the actual problem.
Just to be clear, i always wear a helmet whilst cycling because i am being responsible for myself, it`s my choice, it`s not because someone says i damn well better, or else, and then shows me a bunch of pictures of head injuries. I also recommend that others wear one, but it`s their choice.
Fareast, is it OK for people to use choice when deciding what risks they expose themselves to? Do you work for an insurance company?

Please be a troll.

I am very good with trolls.
 
Am i a Troll?

Please be a troll.

I am very good with trolls.

Owen,
I`m not sure.
Just wiki`d "troll", since i`ve come across the phrase, but wasn`t sure what it meant.
I`d appreciate your interpretation, if you pls?
If there`s a problem with the way i word my argument, ie too "provocative or inflammatory", let me know, I`ve no desire to make enemies but i do want to make my point.
I occurs to me, however, that those with differing opinions are assured to provoke one another in an argumentative sense, which is, in my experience, one road to education, mine included, and i will admit that I`m happy to argue with those that i don`t agree with.
I`ll also admit that the last sentence of my last post was designed to illicit(provoke?) a response from fareast and yourself, but i in turn was provoked by your posts, and i felt inclined to continue an argument which you both seemed to think was fully settled, i disagreed and so i posted my argument. All part of an argument/debate, i believe, and It`s no more or less than i`d say face to face amongst friends with no disrespect or offence intended.
I`ll further admit to being quite opinionated on some subjects, not least various cycling related ones, but I`m new to this forum so feel free to straighten me out if you guys don`t do it that way.
Please have look at my other posts, there`s not many, and i`m fairly sure you`ll agree that they are for the most part un-troll-like.
When you say that you`re good with trolls does that mean that you make a strong argument, your last couple on this thread could hardly be called that (provocative statement!;)), or that you expose them to sunlight (Gandalf style) thus turning them to stone?

Simon.
 
LOL

Tell you what, you fancy going for a ride sometime?

Would be nice to meet you.
 
As you recognise, simontwosheds, it's about risk management. And there's still a lot of debate.

So how about a new one: "I always wear a helmet; not because you tell me I should, but because I want to."

I sort-of run a sort-of bike club. Fairly anarchic. Sometimes we do some irresponsible things. But anyone turns up without a helmet and they are disinvited from the ride.

Mike,
Some worthwhile points.
I guess my point is that all of ones life is risk management, and wearing a bike helmet deserves little more focus that my other, seemingly unconnected, examples.
I certainly subscribe to your `wear a helmet because you want to` statement, but then if i want to go on a ride with your crew i have to do what you tell me? That seems asthough your contradicting yourself.
I maintain that encouraging people to cycle is more important than making them wear a helmet, and pictures of head injuries are of little use to that end.
 
A ride would be good, I`d like that, but alas i fly back to London on saturday. So that would leave us with a swift one tomorrow during the daytime.
I`m in Mitaka, not sure where you are, any suggestions?
 
Not sure what you mean by that but i meant a brief ride rather than a swift pint, If you`re available.
I`m most familiar with the tama river route.
 
Hey Simon,

No offence taken here and if you had read back a few more posts you will have seen another of my posts that raises the question about issues about wearing a helmet and long term brain damage.

I posted the images to high light some of the really stupid reason people use for not wearing a helmet.

Again wearing a helemt is 100% up to the individual, but those riders shouldn't get offended if they are excluded from rides, why? well it all comes down to one thing..... common sense, if you are prepared to take a risk with your own life then what about mine, what kind of rider is this person going to be? I feel the same way about poorly maintained kit.

Oh and no I don't work for an isurance company :D
 
I can understand the helmet rule but not the gloves!

Is so that you can remove one and slap someone with it if you get offended?
 
Tim, James, any other takers? I thought the "wiggle" on the crotch was a nice......erm yeah, don't even want to think that let alone type it.
 
it makes cycling seem like an exceptionally dangerous activity.

For me, this is the problem. Cycling isn`t exceptionally dangerous compared to say rugby where there is a far greater risk of injury, yet there is the risk of fatality or disablement, but these events are very rare and it is how to deal with this paradox. 999 times out of a 1000, protective equipment isn`t required but for that 1 time it is... In Japan, well here in Kochi certainly, there just seems to be no understanding of the potential risks involved – I saw one old woman go past a van just as the delivery driver walked out from behind with his load and she got knocked off sideways, and her head missed the kerb by a couple of inches. But there seemed to be no awareness that a few more inches and it would have been lights out.

I`m inclined to think that the pics posted by fareast are more likley to put people off cycling altogether, so how would that be good for your health?

Likewise, I think anyone who rides without a helmet is stupid, and it does annoy me to see cyclists who wear caps instead. If you don`t like something on your head, then fine, but if you are wearing something, it might as well provide some benefit. But as you say, and studies show, is it better that they cycle without a helmet for the exercise benefit than not cycle at all?

is it OK for people to use choice when deciding what risks they expose themselves to?

My point here, is awareness of risks. So choice is fine, but is the choice made by the chooser based on full knowledge of the situation? I would make helmet wearing compulsory for anyone under 16, as young kids lack the awareness/capability to deal with unpredictable things, and older kids are too full of bravado/ego to make rational choices. Adults, allowed to ride without helmets but they to attend a helmet awareness course, so they can make an informed choice.

The other argument, is should people be protected from their own bad choices? It`s like watching people on bikes go through red lights across dual carriageways on the wrong side of the road - I`ve seen it a couple of times. In England, I have the legal right to drive into them, but here I would still be at fault. Do they deserve protection from their own stupidity/ignorance?

So should i wear a helmet whilst driving? or when on public transport? or walking through traffic? or climbing a ladder? etc.

Yes, there is an argument for all of these. It also raises the evolutionary question...why have we evolved with heads/brains that are so easily damaged by just falling over? Does this apply to our primate cousins?

But anyway, I still find it madness watching pro cyclists race and yet there is no protective equipment worn other than helmets and gloves, not even leg or arm covers to provide some semblance of protection for the skin if you fall off. What`s the ratio of say Tour De France riders who will crash in the race, 1 in 2??? :confused:

On a separate note, I`m still waiting for the helmets to come out that will protect against rotational injury. And also, why is there still no independent standard that cycling helmets have to adhere to. I can compare the weight, number of vents, style etc of any helmet I want, but not the level of safety it offers. Why is this? :hammer:
 
Hey Simon,

Again wearing a helemt is 100% up to the individual, but those riders shouldn't get offended if they are excluded from rides, why? well it all comes down to one thing..... common sense,

Fareast,
Thanks for you`re response.
My main gripe is with this "no helmet=no ride", "do as you are told", " look how stupid you are being" type of approach to the problem, apparently shared by Edogawakikkoman; It`s not helpful.
I`m all for common sense but it seems to me that, according to your statement above, it all comes down to people following your rules rather than that person being persuaded/allowed to develop/exhibit some common sense.

If i ride with people without helmets i`ll ask if they own one and explain that we (as a cycling group) wear them, because it makes sense, and recommend they wear one in the future. "But it`s your head, have a think about it" like.
I don`t send them home with the conviction that they`ve done something wrong because, by turning up for the ride, they`ve actually got it mostly right.

Rules don`t propagate common sense, most criminals, for example, are simply following the rules of their peer group. I assert, in fact, that rules and doctrine actually undermine common sense and encourage people to give up taking responsibility for themselves and their actions (or adequatly considering others) in lieu of the possibility that following said rules is all they need to do the right thing, and ensure the safety of themselves and others. A kind of "i`m in the right place, following all the rules, therefore everybody is safe" approach, which in itself is a dangerous perspective.
An example of this would be the way i see some Japanese drivers/mamachari behaving on the road; following the rules quite well but with poor common sense or genuine awareness.

I genuinely feel that my way is more likely to result in a bunch of people with better common sense (and a sense of personal responsibility), applied to all aspects of their fragile lives, which is not achieved by people simply doing as they are told, and so ultimately more people wear helmets!
I have influenced/persuaded many young riders using my way, and they now wear their helmets habitually, because they want to, not because i tell them to. How good is that!

I will agree that helmets are the way forward, but not at the cost of individuals being encouraged to think for themselves, since if they are so encouraged they wear one anyway.

Simon
 
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