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9900Re: [Southwark Cyclists] BBC News - Compulsory cycle helmets - what's the proof

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  • millstream3
    Feb 4, 2011
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      The arguments in favour of wearing a helmet are based on an assessment of risk.  Risk is estimated as a probability and you multiply that by the estimated severity of the outcome of that risk occurring to produce a risk index.

      I'd like to believe that we can do a lot about the likelihood of a cycling "accident" occurring: as cyclists we can try to ride confidently, courteously and with common sense.  But we can do relatively little to limit the damage to our bodies in the event that an accident does occur.  We could cycle in body armour, but that doesn't seem a proportionate (or pleasant approach).  However, a helmet is cheap and offers some protection to the most important part of our body.  One could make a decision to wear one based not on whether one thinks they are likely to have an accident but on the outcome if they did.

      I have previously fallen over whilst sitting on a stationery bike (with a foot on the ground) and written off the helmet I was wearing when I landed on it.  I was grateful to have it!  Roads are hard (and usually uncarpeted).

      Personally, I would not be in favour of compulsory helmet wearing.  But, putting aside the low(?) risk of an accident occurring and concentrating on the potential outcome if it did, I wouldn't go cycling without one.  Either in London or anywhere else.  But that's me.

      Best wishes

      John Wingfield-Hill

      On 3 February 2011 13:10, ann warren <a_j_warren_se16@...> wrote:

      This is a huge issue for me.  If they make them compulsory I will either have to give up cycling or go to prison.
      My thoughts are:
      1.  Accepting the hostile cycling environment we have in London to the extent that we are willing to wear body armour seems like capitulation to me. I want motor-free cycle routes like they have in modern cities elsewhere. Forget Australia and Canada where there are no pedestirans. Think of Germany, Holland, Belgium, Denmark, China - no-one over the age of three wears a cycle helmet in these places.
      2.  If cycling is so dangerous that I have to wear a helmet, why on earth would I want to do it?  I wouldn't dream of doing any of those dangerous, boyish things like potholing or motorbiking for which people have to wear helmets.
      3.  Someone did some research a couple of years ago (in Bristol? Bath?) measuring the distance between moving vehicles and a moving cyclist - you get four more inches (10cm) if you don't wear a helmet.  This confirms what I have noticed myself.  (Apparently you get another four inches if you wear a blonde wig - but what's new?)
      4.  I don't really want my town filled with urban warriors in helmets.  It's not polite.  What kind of town do you want to live in?
      5.  I want my daughters to cycle.
      6.  If helmets are essential for cycling, then they are definitely essential for climbing or descending stairs.  Every staircase should have a basket of helmets of various sizes at top and bottom, especially public staircases.  Think of all those reckless young people who run up and down two at a time.  How can the authorities be so cavalier as not to legislate to ensure their safety?

      To: southwarkcyclists@yahoogroups.com
      From: bobsallyeva@...
      Date: Thu, 3 Feb 2011 10:09:00 +0000

      Subject: [Southwark Cyclists] BBC News - Compulsory cycle helmets - what's the proof


      I think some evidence suggests that drivers treat cyclists in helmets
      more respectfully but personal observation suggests the opposite to me.
      Neither is treated very well but lack of a helmet highlights the
      vulnerability of the cyclist.

      It seems obvious to say that helmets reduce head injuries. To what
      extent do they reduce deaths is a more interesting question.

      I wonder if we are set up genetically to only consider threats to
      ourselves or at any rate to consider them first. Thus another car/lorry
      is a threat to us and is considered first. The only threat posed by a
      cyclist is of spending the afternoon at the police station if the driver
      runs them over and probably feeling sad about it afterwards. This isn't
      enough to get through most drivers' carapace of stress etc


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