my refusal to wear a bicycle helmet

my refusal to wear a bicycle helmet
...is informed

Monday, August 9, 2010

Where is the proof that bicycle helmet laws are of any value?


It is somewhat chilling to realise that no proper experiments have ever been conducted to see what bicycle helmets actually provide...

...this is our reality because of ethics and an imagined presumption that helmets are of value.

...consequently Class 1 evidence has long been absent and I am imperilled by the Reg 256 (Road Rules 2008).

Flimsy anecdotal summations should never be the basis for restrictive legislation - we are impoverished as a result - grrrrr!

10 comments:

  1. You may depend that certain Companies are making a lot of Money out of them that is the main Reason.

    The overwhelming amount of Lethal Accidents involve Cars and the Drivers end up with Lethal Head Injuries and those Cars cause all the other Accidents not Bicycles.

    Cyclists have very very few Accidents and those Accidents are caused by Motorists crashing into them.

    So in spite of the Seat Belts and Air Bags it is not preventing Car Drivers from Fatal Head Injuries. It might be a very good Idea instead of Cyclist being forced to wear them it should be the Motorists instead who should wear them compulsorily.

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  2. ...and leading on from your comments, l'homme au velo, apparently aussie ski resorts are going to impose mandatory helmet wearing on their slopes from next year - they have found that with the increased wearing of helmets there has been an increased rate of accidents - therefore they have concluded (& this is just so typical!!!!!) there is a need for mandatory helmet wearing!

    omg!!!!!!

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  3. Thompson DC, Rivara F, Thompson R; Helmets for preventing head and facial injuries in bicyclists (review) http://is.gd/eaLQz

    Main results
    We found no randomized controlled trials, but five well conducted case-control studies met our inclusion criteria. Helmets provide a 63
    to 88% reduction in the risk of head, brain and severe brain injury for all ages of bicyclists. Helmets provide equal levels of protection
    for crashes involving motor vehicles (69%) and crashes from all other causes (68%). Injuries to the upper and mid facial areas are
    reduced 65%.
    Authors’ conclusions
    Helmets reduce bicycle-related head and facial injuries for bicyclists of all ages involved in all types of crashes, including those involving
    motor vehicles. Our response to comments from critics are presented in the Feedback section.

    If, as stated, there are no proper experiments conducted to see what bicycle helmets actually provide how does it logically follow that you are imperiled by Reg 256?

    If there is evidence that wearing a helmet increases risk of injury then this is either 'proper experiments' (which is contrary to your first statement) or you are basing your views on 'no proper experiments' which is your position regarding the pro-helmet argument.

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  4. Thompson DC, Rivara F, Thompson R; Helmets for preventing head and facial injuries in bicyclists (review) http://is.gd/eaLQz

    Main results
    We found no randomized controlled trials, but five well conducted case-control studies met our inclusion criteria. Helmets provide a 63
    to 88% reduction in the risk of head, brain and severe brain injury for all ages of bicyclists. Helmets provide equal levels of protection
    for crashes involving motor vehicles (69%) and crashes from all other causes (68%). Injuries to the upper and mid facial areas are
    reduced 65%.
    Authors’ conclusions
    Helmets reduce bicycle-related head and facial injuries for bicyclists of all ages involved in all types of crashes, including those involving
    motor vehicles. Our response to comments from critics are presented in the Feedback section.

    If, as stated, there are no proper experiments conducted to see what bicycle helmets actually provide how does it logically follow that you are imperilled by the wearing of a helmet?

    If there is evidence that wearing a helmet increases risk of injury then this is either 'proper experiments' (which is contrary to your first statement) or you are basing your views on 'no proper experiments' which is your position regarding the pro-helmet argument.

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  5. Well I went for a ride this afternoon along a local bike path. I passed a guy cruising... there was something not right about him but onwards I continued.

    Anyway, I stopped further along for a rest and he pulled in and we got chatting. He started apologising for not wearing a helmet - he had gone half way before he noticed it. I could instantly see the image of the river on the right and green fields on the left, and this gent riding with wind in his hair.

    I told him not to worry about it and enjoy his ride while I complied... grumble grumble.

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  6. Mandatory ski helmets... great... just great...

    I was in the USA skiing not long ago and witnessed an enormous rise in ski helmet use.

    I also noticed that most of those wearing the helmets were taking risks over and above what an unhelmeted skier would take and that they fell more frequently. I fell once in 2 weeks...

    Talk about risk compensation! Someone needs to educate these people but I fear that the helmet manufacturers are better able to fund 'education' than the real thinkers of the world.

    Talk about solutions looking for a problem!

    Here is an article I stumbled upon when I went to read about these silly helmets (which are bicycle helmets with fewer holes.

    Dr Paul Martin
    Brisbane, Australia

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  7. Citation: Thompson DC, Rivara F, Thompson R. Helmets for preventing head and facial injuries in bicyclists. Cochrane Database of
    Systematic Reviews 1999, Issue 4. Art. No.: CD001855. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD001855. PDF available here: http://is.gd/eaLQz

    Main results
    We found no randomized controlled trials, but five well conducted case-control studies met our inclusion criteria. Helmets provide a 63
    to 88% reduction in the risk of head, brain and severe brain injury for all ages of bicyclists. Helmets provide equal levels of protection
    for crashes involving motor vehicles (69%) and crashes from all other causes (68%). Injuries to the upper and mid facial areas are
    reduced 65%.
    Authors’ conclusions
    Helmets reduce bicycle-related head and facial injuries for bicyclists of all ages involved in all types of crashes, including those involving
    motor vehicles. Our response to comments from critics are presented in the Feedback section.

    ==============================================

    Furthermore:
    [...] consequently Class 1 evidence has long been absent and I am imperiled by the Reg 256 [...]. This would appear to be a false dilemma with the position. If no proper experiments have been carried out, wearing of helmets is dangerous'. The stated lack of scientifically rigorous testing surely still leaves three possible outcomes: 1 - Helmets are a benefit, 2 - Helmets do nothing or 3 - Helmets are a risk. [Incidentally, I could not find particular online references to Class 1 evidence. The closest being Level I (USPSTF) or Level A (NHS). Could you clarify or link the appropriate references?]

    Also, if you are imperiled by the wearing of a helmet, where has your knowledge of this come from by which you make this statement? As you have stated, "no proper experiments" have been carried out. So are your statements based on equivalent "Flimsy anecdotal summations" as those of the pro-helmet law lobby?

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  8. Err.. Anonymous, why can't you put your name to that rubbish? That Thompson paper has been discredited so many times it is getting a little tired!

    Have you really read it in its entirety, including the responses to it in the Feedback section?

    It is the main (dubious) meta-analysis that is quoted by the authorities to support their mandatory helmet laws, while they ignore any new evidence; probably including the latest work from the University of Sydney's Assoc Prof Chris Rissel, published this week.

    Here is a good list of criticisms of the Thompson article:
    http://www.cyclehelmets.org/1069.html

    Also, can you please explain to me (after putting on a bicycle helmet and looking in the mirror) how on earth a bicycle helmet can reduce facial injuries? Is there some version with a magical force field that is not yet available in my local bike shop? Or do the 'chin straps' offer all this protection?

    All of this nonsense shows plainly that making bicycle helmets mandatory is just plain disingenuous.

    A meta-analysis is only as good as the data going into it. Rubbish in = rubbish out.

    Dr Paul Martin
    Brisbane, Australia

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  9. Dear Unidentified Anonymous,

    Thank you for your input into this important public debate which at last we seem to be having 20 years down the track.

    Given your represenations indicate that you consider yourself a 'bicycle helmet' expert, it is somewhat disappointing that you have omitted to make yourself known to my readership.

    Needless to mention, I am in complete agreement with Dr Martin who in the eyes of the law possesses 'specialised knowledge based on his training, study and experience' - see below:

    ===============
    Evidence Act 1995 (NSW
    Section 79 Exception: opinions based on specialised knowledge
    (1) If a person has specialised knowledge based on the person’s training, study or experience,
    the opinion rule does not apply to evidence of an opinion of that person that is wholly or
    substantially based on that knowledge.
    ===============

    Dr Martin's opinion cannot be dismissively discounted by the customary hubris meted out by 'Helmet Believers' that so often silences other dissenters.

    Thank you again for taking the time to comment so extensively.

    We look forward to hearing from you again (but would really like to meet you next time)

    Yours faithfully,
    Sue Abbott (Freedom Cyclist)

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  10. I guess s/he is not coming back?

    LOL :-D

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