A Cycling & bikes forum. CycleBanter.com

Go Back   Home » CycleBanter.com forum » rec.bicycles » Techniques
Site Map Home Register Authors List Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read Web Partners

THE CASE FOR A MANDATORY CYCLE HELMET LAW (IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA)



 
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old January 22nd 20, 01:21 AM posted to rec.bicycles.tech
Andre Jute[_2_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 9,651
Default THE CASE FOR A MANDATORY CYCLE HELMET LAW (IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA)

[This is an article I first published on RBT ten years ago on 17 August 2010 at https://groups.google.com/forum/#!ms...ch/ST4zkI8xqGw. I haven't checked the links because there is no point in updating the article since the numbers and the conclusion will be the same to within the margin of error.. I republish it because there's a lot of loose talk on a thread currently on the board about MHLs.]

THE CASE FOR A MANDATORY CYCLE HELMET LAW
(IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA)
by Andre Jute
It is a risible myth that your average American is a tall-walking free
individual untrammeled by government: he is in fact just as much
constricted as a European soft-socialist consumerist or Japanese
collective citizen, though it is true that the American is controlled
in different areas of his activity than the European or the Japanese.
To some the uncontrolled areas of American life, for instance the
ability to own and use firearms, smacks of barbarism rather than
liberty. In this article I examine whether the lack of a mandatory
bicycle helmet law in the USA is barbaric or an emanation of that
rugged liberty more evident in rhetoric than reality.

Any case for intervention by the state must be made on moral and
statistical grounds. Examples are driving licences, crush zones on
cars, seatbelts, age restrictions on alcohol sales, and a million
other interventions, all now accepted unremarked in the States as part
of the regulatory landscape, but all virulently opposed in their day.


HOW DANGEROUS IS CYCLING?
Surprisingly, cycling can be argued to be "safe enough", given only
that one is willing to count the intangible benefits of health through
exercise, generally acknowledged as substantial. Here I shall make no
effort to quantify those health benefits because the argument I'm
putting forward is conclusively made by harder statistics and
unexceptional general morality.

In the representative year of 2008, the last for which comprehesive
data is available, 716 cyclists died on US roads, and 52,000 were
injured.

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

The most convenient way to grasp the meaning of these statistics is to
compare cycling with motoring, the latter ipso facto by motorists'
average mileage accepted by most Americans as safe enough.

Compared to a motorist a cyclist is:
11 times MORE likely to die PER MILE travelled
2.9 times MORE likely to die PER TRIP taken

By adding information about the relative frequency/length/duration of
journeys of cyclists and motorists, we can further conclude that in
the US:

Compared to a motorist, a cyclist is:
3 to 4 times MORE likely to die PER HOUR riding
3 to 4 times LESS likely to die IN A YEAR's riding

Source:
http://www.google.com/url?sa=D&q=htt...Wt7vubH xju7Q

It is the last number, that the average cyclist is 3 to 4 times less
likely to die in a year's riding than a motorist, and enjoys all the
benefits of healthy exercise, that permits us to ignore the greater
per mile/per trip/per hour danger.

This gives us the overall perspective but says nothing about wearing a
cycling helmet.


HELMET WEAR AT THE EXTREME END OF CYCLING RISK

What we really want to know is: what chance of the helmet saving your
life? The authorities in New York made a compilation covering the
years 1996 to 2003 of all the deaths (225) and serious injuries
(3,462) in cycling accidents in all New York City. The purpose of the
study was an overview usable for city development planning, not helmet
advocacy, so helmet usage was only noted for part of the period among
the seriously injured, amounting to 333 cases. Here are some
conclusions:

• Most fatal crashes (74%) involved a head injury.
• Nearly all bicyclists who died (97%) were not wearing a helmet.
• Helmet use was only 3% in fatal crashes, but 13% in non-fatal
crashes

Source:
http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/download...ike-report.pdf

This concatenation of facts suggests very strongly that not wearing a
helmet may be particularly dangerous.

• It looks like wearing a helmet saved roundabout 33 cyclists or so
(of the 333 seriously injured for whom helmet use is known) from
dying.
• If those who died wore helmets at the same rate of 13% as those in
the study who survived, a further 22 or so could have lived.
• If all the fatalities had been wearing a helmet (100%), somewhere
between 10% and 57% of them would have lived. This number is less firm
to allow for impacts so heavy that no helmet would have saved the
cyclist. Still, between 22 and 128 *additional* (to the 33 noted
above) New Yorkers alive rather than dead for wearing a thirty buck
helmet is a serious statistical, moral and political consideration
difficult to overlook.


SO HOW MANY CYCLISTS CAN HELMETS SAVE ACROSS THE NATION?
New York is not the United States but we're not seeking certainly,
only investigating whether a moral imperative for action appears.

First off, the 52,000 cyclists hurt cannot be directly related to the
very serious injuries which were the only ones counted in the New York
compilation. But a fatality is a fatality anywhere and the fraction of
head injuries in the fatalities is pretty constant.

So, with a caution, we can say that of 716 cycling fatalities
nationwide, helmet use could have saved at least 70 and very likely
more towards a possible upper limit of around 400. Again the
statistical extension must be tempered by the knowledge that some
impacts are so heavy that no helmet can save the cyclist. Still, if
even half the impacts resulting in fatal head trauma is too heavy for
a helmet to mitigate, possibly around 235 cyclists might live rather
than die on the roads for simply wearing a helmet. Every year. That's
an instant reduction in cyclist road fatalities of one third. Once
more we have arrived at a statistical, moral and political fact that
is hard to igno Helmet wear could save many lives.


THE CASE AGAINST MANDATORY HELMET LAWS

• Compulsion is anti-Constitutional, an assault on the freedom of the
citizen to choose his own manner of living and dying
• Many other actitivities cause fatal head injuries. So why not insist
they should all be put in helmets?
• 37% of bicycle fatalities involve alcohol, and 23% were legally
drunk, and you'll never get these drunks in helmets anyway
• We should leave the drunks to their fate; they're not real cyclists
anyway
• Helmets are not perfect anyway
• Helmets cause cyclists to stop cycling, which is a cost to society
in health losses
• Many more motorists die on the roads than cyclists. Why not insist
that motorists wear helmets inside their cars?
• Helmets don't save lives -- that's a myth put forward by commercial
helmet makers
• Helmets are too heavily promoted
• Helmet makers overstate the benefits of helmets
• A helmet makes me look like a dork
• Too few cyclists will be saved to make the cost worthwhile


THE CASE FOR A MANDATORY HELMET LAW IN THE STATES
• 235 or more additional cyclists' lives saved
• 716 deaths of cyclists on the road when a third or more of those
deaths can easily be avoided is a national disgrace
• Education has clearly failed
• Anti-helmet zealots in the face of the evidence from New York are
still advising cyclists not to wear helmets
• An example to the next generation of cyclists
• A visible sign of a commitment to cycling safety, which may attract
more people to cycling

© Copyright Andre Jute 2010, 2020. Free for reproduction in non-profit
journals and sites as long as the entire article is reproduced in full
including this copyright and permission notice.
Ads
  #2  
Old January 24th 20, 12:01 AM posted to rec.bicycles.tech
Andre Jute[_2_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 9,651
Default THE CASE FOR A MANDATORY CYCLE HELMET LAW (IN THE UNITED STATESOF AMERICA)

It never ceases to amaze me that everyone has an opinion on the efficacy of bicycle helmets but the moment I cite two irrefutable sources, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and a full universe count of *all* the bicycle related hospital and morgue visits over an 8-year period in New York City, nobody wants to discuss the numbers or the implications. The Anti-Helmet Zealots have been deliberately ignoring the New York head, body and limb count for more than a decade now -- because they have no answers to its implications, nil, zero, no comeback.

In addition, I might note that when I arrived on RBT about a decade ago, I discovered even the hall monitor of the Anti-Helmet Zealots, Frank Krygowski, *under*-reporting how safe cycling actually is, compared to driving an automobile, because he's such a statistical incompetent. The completely graceless Krygowski has been using my numbers ever since, without as much as a thank-you -- indeed, on the contrary, he screeches often that I'm a member of the "danger-danger" crowd, which is an outright lie, as this reprint from ten years ago demonstrates.

Andre Jute
Any "study" may be attacked by axe-grinders, but a full-universe count is irrefutable

On Wednesday, January 22, 2020 at 12:21:32 AM UTC, Andre Jute wrote:
[This is an article I first published on RBT ten years ago on 17 August 2010 at https://groups.google.com/forum/#!ms...ch/ST4zkI8xqGw. I haven't checked the links because there is no point in updating the article since the numbers and the conclusion will be the same to within the margin of error. I republish it because there's a lot of loose talk on a thread currently on the board about MHLs.]

THE CASE FOR A MANDATORY CYCLE HELMET LAW
(IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA)
by Andre Jute
It is a risible myth that your average American is a tall-walking free
individual untrammeled by government: he is in fact just as much
constricted as a European soft-socialist consumerist or Japanese
collective citizen, though it is true that the American is controlled
in different areas of his activity than the European or the Japanese.
To some the uncontrolled areas of American life, for instance the
ability to own and use firearms, smacks of barbarism rather than
liberty. In this article I examine whether the lack of a mandatory
bicycle helmet law in the USA is barbaric or an emanation of that
rugged liberty more evident in rhetoric than reality.

Any case for intervention by the state must be made on moral and
statistical grounds. Examples are driving licences, crush zones on
cars, seatbelts, age restrictions on alcohol sales, and a million
other interventions, all now accepted unremarked in the States as part
of the regulatory landscape, but all virulently opposed in their day.


HOW DANGEROUS IS CYCLING?
Surprisingly, cycling can be argued to be "safe enough", given only
that one is willing to count the intangible benefits of health through
exercise, generally acknowledged as substantial. Here I shall make no
effort to quantify those health benefits because the argument I'm
putting forward is conclusively made by harder statistics and
unexceptional general morality.

In the representative year of 2008, the last for which comprehesive
data is available, 716 cyclists died on US roads, and 52,000 were
injured.

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

The most convenient way to grasp the meaning of these statistics is to
compare cycling with motoring, the latter ipso facto by motorists'
average mileage accepted by most Americans as safe enough.

Compared to a motorist a cyclist is:
11 times MORE likely to die PER MILE travelled
2.9 times MORE likely to die PER TRIP taken

By adding information about the relative frequency/length/duration of
journeys of cyclists and motorists, we can further conclude that in
the US:

Compared to a motorist, a cyclist is:
3 to 4 times MORE likely to die PER HOUR riding
3 to 4 times LESS likely to die IN A YEAR's riding

Source:
http://www.google.com/url?sa=D&q=htt...Wt7vubH xju7Q

It is the last number, that the average cyclist is 3 to 4 times less
likely to die in a year's riding than a motorist, and enjoys all the
benefits of healthy exercise, that permits us to ignore the greater
per mile/per trip/per hour danger.

This gives us the overall perspective but says nothing about wearing a
cycling helmet.


HELMET WEAR AT THE EXTREME END OF CYCLING RISK

What we really want to know is: what chance of the helmet saving your
life? The authorities in New York made a compilation covering the
years 1996 to 2003 of all the deaths (225) and serious injuries
(3,462) in cycling accidents in all New York City. The purpose of the
study was an overview usable for city development planning, not helmet
advocacy, so helmet usage was only noted for part of the period among
the seriously injured, amounting to 333 cases. Here are some
conclusions:

• Most fatal crashes (74%) involved a head injury.
• Nearly all bicyclists who died (97%) were not wearing a helmet.
• Helmet use was only 3% in fatal crashes, but 13% in non-fatal
crashes

Source:
http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/download...ike-report.pdf

This concatenation of facts suggests very strongly that not wearing a
helmet may be particularly dangerous.

• It looks like wearing a helmet saved roundabout 33 cyclists or so
(of the 333 seriously injured for whom helmet use is known) from
dying.
• If those who died wore helmets at the same rate of 13% as those in
the study who survived, a further 22 or so could have lived.
• If all the fatalities had been wearing a helmet (100%), somewhere
between 10% and 57% of them would have lived. This number is less firm
to allow for impacts so heavy that no helmet would have saved the
cyclist. Still, between 22 and 128 *additional* (to the 33 noted
above) New Yorkers alive rather than dead for wearing a thirty buck
helmet is a serious statistical, moral and political consideration
difficult to overlook.


SO HOW MANY CYCLISTS CAN HELMETS SAVE ACROSS THE NATION?
New York is not the United States but we're not seeking certainly,
only investigating whether a moral imperative for action appears.

First off, the 52,000 cyclists hurt cannot be directly related to the
very serious injuries which were the only ones counted in the New York
compilation. But a fatality is a fatality anywhere and the fraction of
head injuries in the fatalities is pretty constant.

So, with a caution, we can say that of 716 cycling fatalities
nationwide, helmet use could have saved at least 70 and very likely
more towards a possible upper limit of around 400. Again the
statistical extension must be tempered by the knowledge that some
impacts are so heavy that no helmet can save the cyclist. Still, if
even half the impacts resulting in fatal head trauma is too heavy for
a helmet to mitigate, possibly around 235 cyclists might live rather
than die on the roads for simply wearing a helmet. Every year. That's
an instant reduction in cyclist road fatalities of one third. Once
more we have arrived at a statistical, moral and political fact that
is hard to igno Helmet wear could save many lives.


THE CASE AGAINST MANDATORY HELMET LAWS

• Compulsion is anti-Constitutional, an assault on the freedom of the
citizen to choose his own manner of living and dying
• Many other actitivities cause fatal head injuries. So why not insist
they should all be put in helmets?
• 37% of bicycle fatalities involve alcohol, and 23% were legally
drunk, and you'll never get these drunks in helmets anyway
• We should leave the drunks to their fate; they're not real cyclists
anyway
• Helmets are not perfect anyway
• Helmets cause cyclists to stop cycling, which is a cost to society
in health losses
• Many more motorists die on the roads than cyclists. Why not insist
that motorists wear helmets inside their cars?
• Helmets don't save lives -- that's a myth put forward by commercial
helmet makers
• Helmets are too heavily promoted
• Helmet makers overstate the benefits of helmets
• A helmet makes me look like a dork
• Too few cyclists will be saved to make the cost worthwhile


THE CASE FOR A MANDATORY HELMET LAW IN THE STATES
• 235 or more additional cyclists' lives saved
• 716 deaths of cyclists on the road when a third or more of those
deaths can easily be avoided is a national disgrace
• Education has clearly failed
• Anti-helmet zealots in the face of the evidence from New York are
still advising cyclists not to wear helmets
• An example to the next generation of cyclists
• A visible sign of a commitment to cycling safety, which may attract
more people to cycling

© Copyright Andre Jute 2010, 2020. Free for reproduction in non-profit
journals and sites as long as the entire article is reproduced in full
including this copyright and permission notice.

  #3  
Old January 24th 20, 12:30 AM posted to rec.bicycles.tech
Tom Kunich[_2_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 255
Default THE CASE FOR A MANDATORY CYCLE HELMET LAW (IN THE UNITED STATESOF AMERICA)

On Tuesday, January 21, 2020 at 4:21:32 PM UTC-8, Andre Jute wrote:
[This is an article I first published on RBT ten years ago on 17 August 2010 at https://groups.google.com/forum/#!ms...ch/ST4zkI8xqGw. I haven't checked the links because there is no point in updating the article since the numbers and the conclusion will be the same to within the margin of error. I republish it because there's a lot of loose talk on a thread currently on the board about MHLs.]

THE CASE FOR A MANDATORY CYCLE HELMET LAW
(IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA)
by Andre Jute
It is a risible myth that your average American is a tall-walking free
individual untrammeled by government: he is in fact just as much
constricted as a European soft-socialist consumerist or Japanese
collective citizen, though it is true that the American is controlled
in different areas of his activity than the European or the Japanese.
To some the uncontrolled areas of American life, for instance the
ability to own and use firearms, smacks of barbarism rather than
liberty. In this article I examine whether the lack of a mandatory
bicycle helmet law in the USA is barbaric or an emanation of that
rugged liberty more evident in rhetoric than reality.

Any case for intervention by the state must be made on moral and
statistical grounds. Examples are driving licences, crush zones on
cars, seatbelts, age restrictions on alcohol sales, and a million
other interventions, all now accepted unremarked in the States as part
of the regulatory landscape, but all virulently opposed in their day.


HOW DANGEROUS IS CYCLING?
Surprisingly, cycling can be argued to be "safe enough", given only
that one is willing to count the intangible benefits of health through
exercise, generally acknowledged as substantial. Here I shall make no
effort to quantify those health benefits because the argument I'm
putting forward is conclusively made by harder statistics and
unexceptional general morality.

In the representative year of 2008, the last for which comprehesive
data is available, 716 cyclists died on US roads, and 52,000 were
injured.

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

The most convenient way to grasp the meaning of these statistics is to
compare cycling with motoring, the latter ipso facto by motorists'
average mileage accepted by most Americans as safe enough.

Compared to a motorist a cyclist is:
11 times MORE likely to die PER MILE travelled
2.9 times MORE likely to die PER TRIP taken

By adding information about the relative frequency/length/duration of
journeys of cyclists and motorists, we can further conclude that in
the US:

Compared to a motorist, a cyclist is:
3 to 4 times MORE likely to die PER HOUR riding
3 to 4 times LESS likely to die IN A YEAR's riding

Source:
http://www.google.com/url?sa=D&q=htt...Wt7vubH xju7Q

It is the last number, that the average cyclist is 3 to 4 times less
likely to die in a year's riding than a motorist, and enjoys all the
benefits of healthy exercise, that permits us to ignore the greater
per mile/per trip/per hour danger.

This gives us the overall perspective but says nothing about wearing a
cycling helmet.


HELMET WEAR AT THE EXTREME END OF CYCLING RISK

What we really want to know is: what chance of the helmet saving your
life? The authorities in New York made a compilation covering the
years 1996 to 2003 of all the deaths (225) and serious injuries
(3,462) in cycling accidents in all New York City. The purpose of the
study was an overview usable for city development planning, not helmet
advocacy, so helmet usage was only noted for part of the period among
the seriously injured, amounting to 333 cases. Here are some
conclusions:

• Most fatal crashes (74%) involved a head injury.
• Nearly all bicyclists who died (97%) were not wearing a helmet.
• Helmet use was only 3% in fatal crashes, but 13% in non-fatal
crashes

Source:
http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/download...ike-report.pdf

This concatenation of facts suggests very strongly that not wearing a
helmet may be particularly dangerous.

• It looks like wearing a helmet saved roundabout 33 cyclists or so
(of the 333 seriously injured for whom helmet use is known) from
dying.
• If those who died wore helmets at the same rate of 13% as those in
the study who survived, a further 22 or so could have lived.
• If all the fatalities had been wearing a helmet (100%), somewhere
between 10% and 57% of them would have lived. This number is less firm
to allow for impacts so heavy that no helmet would have saved the
cyclist. Still, between 22 and 128 *additional* (to the 33 noted
above) New Yorkers alive rather than dead for wearing a thirty buck
helmet is a serious statistical, moral and political consideration
difficult to overlook.


SO HOW MANY CYCLISTS CAN HELMETS SAVE ACROSS THE NATION?
New York is not the United States but we're not seeking certainly,
only investigating whether a moral imperative for action appears.

First off, the 52,000 cyclists hurt cannot be directly related to the
very serious injuries which were the only ones counted in the New York
compilation. But a fatality is a fatality anywhere and the fraction of
head injuries in the fatalities is pretty constant.

So, with a caution, we can say that of 716 cycling fatalities
nationwide, helmet use could have saved at least 70 and very likely
more towards a possible upper limit of around 400. Again the
statistical extension must be tempered by the knowledge that some
impacts are so heavy that no helmet can save the cyclist. Still, if
even half the impacts resulting in fatal head trauma is too heavy for
a helmet to mitigate, possibly around 235 cyclists might live rather
than die on the roads for simply wearing a helmet. Every year. That's
an instant reduction in cyclist road fatalities of one third. Once
more we have arrived at a statistical, moral and political fact that
is hard to igno Helmet wear could save many lives.


THE CASE AGAINST MANDATORY HELMET LAWS

• Compulsion is anti-Constitutional, an assault on the freedom of the
citizen to choose his own manner of living and dying
• Many other actitivities cause fatal head injuries. So why not insist
they should all be put in helmets?
• 37% of bicycle fatalities involve alcohol, and 23% were legally
drunk, and you'll never get these drunks in helmets anyway
• We should leave the drunks to their fate; they're not real cyclists
anyway
• Helmets are not perfect anyway
• Helmets cause cyclists to stop cycling, which is a cost to society
in health losses
• Many more motorists die on the roads than cyclists. Why not insist
that motorists wear helmets inside their cars?
• Helmets don't save lives -- that's a myth put forward by commercial
helmet makers
• Helmets are too heavily promoted
• Helmet makers overstate the benefits of helmets
• A helmet makes me look like a dork
• Too few cyclists will be saved to make the cost worthwhile


THE CASE FOR A MANDATORY HELMET LAW IN THE STATES
• 235 or more additional cyclists' lives saved
• 716 deaths of cyclists on the road when a third or more of those
deaths can easily be avoided is a national disgrace
• Education has clearly failed
• Anti-helmet zealots in the face of the evidence from New York are
still advising cyclists not to wear helmets
• An example to the next generation of cyclists
• A visible sign of a commitment to cycling safety, which may attract
more people to cycling

© Copyright Andre Jute 2010, 2020. Free for reproduction in non-profit
journals and sites as long as the entire article is reproduced in full
including this copyright and permission notice.


This is one of those really dumb studies Andre. It concatenates all of the little children riding out into traffic, all of the homeless high on drugs or drunk out of their minds with sports cyclists who are serious about their sport and know how to behave properly in traffic all together and "shows beyond doubt" that those wearing helmets are much safer than those not.

Cycling WAS safer in Europe and then got just as dangerous as in the USA even in Holland. I understand that it is going back in the other direction because driving is so expensive now.

This is the sort of absolutely meaningless data that is being used to prove that helmets are God's gift to man.

In most accidents they do not record whether the person on the bike was wearing a helmet or not. But if helmets did work you would find a change in the ratio of fatalities to injuries and this would grow steeper as the use of helmets increased. There is no change in this ratio. At least until now.

Finally neurologists are beginning to take control of the actual setting of standards and not MD's. Aside from the Bontrager helmet I've been trying to get everyone to look into, a Neurologist at Stanford is developing an entire line of helmets for various sports from football to soccer. As an engineer my analysis of his helmets isn't very good but he at least understands what he is TRYING to do.

I think that this will bring about a revolution of helmet design and finally they will become effective.

But Frank has a very good point - the actual numbers of bicycling fatalities is very low despite everything negative about the people on bicycles. This means that the actual danger to an intelligent, competent and careful rider is very close to nil. So that would indicate that unless you are a risk taker (and I am) there is little to no reason to wear a helmet.
  #4  
Old January 25th 20, 12:14 AM posted to rec.bicycles.tech
Andre Jute[_2_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 9,651
Default THE CASE FOR A MANDATORY CYCLE HELMET LAW (IN THE UNITED STATESOF AMERICA)

On Thursday, January 23, 2020 at 11:30:30 PM UTC, Tom Kunich wrote:
On Tuesday, January 21, 2020 at 4:21:32 PM UTC-8, Andre Jute wrote:
[This is an article I first published on RBT ten years ago on 17 August 2010 at https://groups.google.com/forum/#!ms...ch/ST4zkI8xqGw. I haven't checked the links because there is no point in updating the article since the numbers and the conclusion will be the same to within the margin of error. I republish it because there's a lot of loose talk on a thread currently on the board about MHLs.]

THE CASE FOR A MANDATORY CYCLE HELMET LAW
(IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA)
by Andre Jute
It is a risible myth that your average American is a tall-walking free
individual untrammeled by government: he is in fact just as much
constricted as a European soft-socialist consumerist or Japanese
collective citizen, though it is true that the American is controlled
in different areas of his activity than the European or the Japanese.
To some the uncontrolled areas of American life, for instance the
ability to own and use firearms, smacks of barbarism rather than
liberty. In this article I examine whether the lack of a mandatory
bicycle helmet law in the USA is barbaric or an emanation of that
rugged liberty more evident in rhetoric than reality.

Any case for intervention by the state must be made on moral and
statistical grounds. Examples are driving licences, crush zones on
cars, seatbelts, age restrictions on alcohol sales, and a million
other interventions, all now accepted unremarked in the States as part
of the regulatory landscape, but all virulently opposed in their day.


HOW DANGEROUS IS CYCLING?
Surprisingly, cycling can be argued to be "safe enough", given only
that one is willing to count the intangible benefits of health through
exercise, generally acknowledged as substantial. Here I shall make no
effort to quantify those health benefits because the argument I'm
putting forward is conclusively made by harder statistics and
unexceptional general morality.

In the representative year of 2008, the last for which comprehesive
data is available, 716 cyclists died on US roads, and 52,000 were
injured.

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

The most convenient way to grasp the meaning of these statistics is to
compare cycling with motoring, the latter ipso facto by motorists'
average mileage accepted by most Americans as safe enough.

Compared to a motorist a cyclist is:
11 times MORE likely to die PER MILE travelled
2.9 times MORE likely to die PER TRIP taken

By adding information about the relative frequency/length/duration of
journeys of cyclists and motorists, we can further conclude that in
the US:

Compared to a motorist, a cyclist is:
3 to 4 times MORE likely to die PER HOUR riding
3 to 4 times LESS likely to die IN A YEAR's riding

Source:
http://www.google.com/url?sa=D&q=htt...Wt7vubH xju7Q

It is the last number, that the average cyclist is 3 to 4 times less
likely to die in a year's riding than a motorist, and enjoys all the
benefits of healthy exercise, that permits us to ignore the greater
per mile/per trip/per hour danger.

This gives us the overall perspective but says nothing about wearing a
cycling helmet.


HELMET WEAR AT THE EXTREME END OF CYCLING RISK

What we really want to know is: what chance of the helmet saving your
life? The authorities in New York made a compilation covering the
years 1996 to 2003 of all the deaths (225) and serious injuries
(3,462) in cycling accidents in all New York City. The purpose of the
study was an overview usable for city development planning, not helmet
advocacy, so helmet usage was only noted for part of the period among
the seriously injured, amounting to 333 cases. Here are some
conclusions:

• Most fatal crashes (74%) involved a head injury.
• Nearly all bicyclists who died (97%) were not wearing a helmet.

  #5  
Old January 26th 20, 02:09 AM posted to rec.bicycles.tech
Tom Kunich[_2_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 255
Default THE CASE FOR A MANDATORY CYCLE HELMET LAW (IN THE UNITED STATESOF AMERICA)

On Friday, January 24, 2020 at 3:14:43 PM UTC-8, Andre Jute wrote:
On Thursday, January 23, 2020 at 11:30:30 PM UTC, Tom Kunich wrote:
On Tuesday, January 21, 2020 at 4:21:32 PM UTC-8, Andre Jute wrote:
[This is an article I first published on RBT ten years ago on 17 August 2010 at https://groups.google.com/forum/#!ms...ch/ST4zkI8xqGw. I haven't checked the links because there is no point in updating the article since the numbers and the conclusion will be the same to within the margin of error. I republish it because there's a lot of loose talk on a thread currently on the board about MHLs.]

THE CASE FOR A MANDATORY CYCLE HELMET LAW
(IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA)
by Andre Jute
It is a risible myth that your average American is a tall-walking free
individual untrammeled by government: he is in fact just as much
constricted as a European soft-socialist consumerist or Japanese
collective citizen, though it is true that the American is controlled
in different areas of his activity than the European or the Japanese.
To some the uncontrolled areas of American life, for instance the
ability to own and use firearms, smacks of barbarism rather than
liberty. In this article I examine whether the lack of a mandatory
bicycle helmet law in the USA is barbaric or an emanation of that
rugged liberty more evident in rhetoric than reality.

Any case for intervention by the state must be made on moral and
statistical grounds. Examples are driving licences, crush zones on
cars, seatbelts, age restrictions on alcohol sales, and a million
other interventions, all now accepted unremarked in the States as part
of the regulatory landscape, but all virulently opposed in their day.


HOW DANGEROUS IS CYCLING?
Surprisingly, cycling can be argued to be "safe enough", given only
that one is willing to count the intangible benefits of health through
exercise, generally acknowledged as substantial. Here I shall make no
effort to quantify those health benefits because the argument I'm
putting forward is conclusively made by harder statistics and
unexceptional general morality.

In the representative year of 2008, the last for which comprehesive
data is available, 716 cyclists died on US roads, and 52,000 were
injured.

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

The most convenient way to grasp the meaning of these statistics is to
compare cycling with motoring, the latter ipso facto by motorists'
average mileage accepted by most Americans as safe enough.

Compared to a motorist a cyclist is:
11 times MORE likely to die PER MILE travelled
2.9 times MORE likely to die PER TRIP taken

By adding information about the relative frequency/length/duration of
journeys of cyclists and motorists, we can further conclude that in
the US:

Compared to a motorist, a cyclist is:
3 to 4 times MORE likely to die PER HOUR riding
3 to 4 times LESS likely to die IN A YEAR's riding

Source:
http://www.google.com/url?sa=D&q=htt...Wt7vubH xju7Q

It is the last number, that the average cyclist is 3 to 4 times less
likely to die in a year's riding than a motorist, and enjoys all the
benefits of healthy exercise, that permits us to ignore the greater
per mile/per trip/per hour danger.

This gives us the overall perspective but says nothing about wearing a
cycling helmet.


HELMET WEAR AT THE EXTREME END OF CYCLING RISK

What we really want to know is: what chance of the helmet saving your
life? The authorities in New York made a compilation covering the
years 1996 to 2003 of all the deaths (225) and serious injuries
(3,462) in cycling accidents in all New York City. The purpose of the
study was an overview usable for city development planning, not helmet
advocacy, so helmet usage was only noted for part of the period among
the seriously injured, amounting to 333 cases. Here are some
conclusions:

• Most fatal crashes (74%) involved a head injury.
• Nearly all bicyclists who died (97%) were not wearing a helmet.
• Helmet use was only 3% in fatal crashes, but 13% in non-fatal
crashes

Source:
http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/download...ike-report.pdf

This concatenation of facts suggests very strongly that not wearing a
helmet may be particularly dangerous.

• It looks like wearing a helmet saved roundabout 33 cyclists or so
(of the 333 seriously injured for whom helmet use is known) from
dying.
• If those who died wore helmets at the same rate of 13% as those in
the study who survived, a further 22 or so could have lived.
• If all the fatalities had been wearing a helmet (100%), somewhere
between 10% and 57% of them would have lived. This number is less firm
to allow for impacts so heavy that no helmet would have saved the
cyclist. Still, between 22 and 128 *additional* (to the 33 noted
above) New Yorkers alive rather than dead for wearing a thirty buck
helmet is a serious statistical, moral and political consideration
difficult to overlook.


SO HOW MANY CYCLISTS CAN HELMETS SAVE ACROSS THE NATION?
New York is not the United States but we're not seeking certainly,
only investigating whether a moral imperative for action appears.

First off, the 52,000 cyclists hurt cannot be directly related to the
very serious injuries which were the only ones counted in the New York
compilation. But a fatality is a fatality anywhere and the fraction of
head injuries in the fatalities is pretty constant.

So, with a caution, we can say that of 716 cycling fatalities
nationwide, helmet use could have saved at least 70 and very likely
more towards a possible upper limit of around 400. Again the
statistical extension must be tempered by the knowledge that some
impacts are so heavy that no helmet can save the cyclist. Still, if
even half the impacts resulting in fatal head trauma is too heavy for
a helmet to mitigate, possibly around 235 cyclists might live rather
than die on the roads for simply wearing a helmet. Every year. That's
an instant reduction in cyclist road fatalities of one third. Once
more we have arrived at a statistical, moral and political fact that
is hard to igno Helmet wear could save many lives.


THE CASE AGAINST MANDATORY HELMET LAWS

• Compulsion is anti-Constitutional, an assault on the freedom of the
citizen to choose his own manner of living and dying
• Many other actitivities cause fatal head injuries. So why not insist
they should all be put in helmets?
• 37% of bicycle fatalities involve alcohol, and 23% were legally
drunk, and you'll never get these drunks in helmets anyway
• We should leave the drunks to their fate; they're not real cyclists
anyway
• Helmets are not perfect anyway
• Helmets cause cyclists to stop cycling, which is a cost to society
in health losses
• Many more motorists die on the roads than cyclists. Why not insist
that motorists wear helmets inside their cars?
• Helmets don't save lives -- that's a myth put forward by commercial
helmet makers
• Helmets are too heavily promoted
• Helmet makers overstate the benefits of helmets
• A helmet makes me look like a dork
• Too few cyclists will be saved to make the cost worthwhile


THE CASE FOR A MANDATORY HELMET LAW IN THE STATES
• 235 or more additional cyclists' lives saved
• 716 deaths of cyclists on the road when a third or more of those
deaths can easily be avoided is a national disgrace
• Education has clearly failed
• Anti-helmet zealots in the face of the evidence from New York are
still advising cyclists not to wear helmets
• An example to the next generation of cyclists
• A visible sign of a commitment to cycling safety, which may attract
more people to cycling

© Copyright Andre Jute 2010, 2020. Free for reproduction in non-profit
journals and sites as long as the entire article is reproduced in full
including this copyright and permission notice.


This is one of those really dumb studies Andre.


Let's see if it is.

It concatenates all of the little children riding out into traffic, all of the homeless high on drugs or drunk out of their minds with sports cyclists who are serious about their sport and know how to behave properly in traffic all together and "shows beyond doubt" that those wearing helmets are much safer than those not.


So does the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which everyone here uses all the time. Your implied claim that we shouldn't be bothered with kids on bikes, homeless people and drunks on bikes, is the same argument the fascist Krygowski spouts all the time.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is not a "study", it is a full universe compilation by the highest national body concerned with traffic incidents.

This is the sort of absolutely meaningless data that is being used to prove that helmets are God's gift to man.


Again, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data is a full-universe count.

And so is the New York compilation covering the years 1996 to 2003 of all the deaths (225) and serious injuries (3,462) in cycling accidents in all New York City a full universe count, not a sampling study.

Claiming that full-universe enumeration are "absolutely meaningless data" because you don't like the conclusions they inevitably lead to makes you sound just the anti-helmet zealot Krygowski, except that Krygowski has been studiously ignoring these data sets because he knows there is no answer to them.

In most accidents they do not record whether the person on the bike was wearing a helmet or not.


That data was recorded in 333 cases, a large enough group to work with, much, much larger than the sample size in most "studies" cited by the AHZ.

But if helmets did work you would find a change in the ratio of fatalities to injuries and this would grow steeper as the use of helmets increased. There is no change in this ratio. At least until now.


That's a different argument altogether, and I don't have numbers to argue it one way or the other, and no one else does either, which accounts for the AHZ idiot clasping the contention to their bosoms with excessive love.

But Frank has a very good point - the actual numbers of bicycling fatalities is very low despite everything negative about the people on bicycles.


Jesus, save me! "Everything negative about the people on bicycles"? Are you and Krygowski seriously suggesting that the only cyclists who count, and whose injuries should be counted, are roadies like you and utility riders like Franki-boy?

This means that the actual danger to an intelligent, competent and careful rider is very close to nil.


No, it isn't.

First of all, read the qualification on my safety numbers for cyclists, "compared to a motorist":

Compared to a motorist a cyclist is:
11 times MORE likely to die PER MILE travelled
2.9 times MORE likely to die PER TRIP taken
3 to 4 times MORE likely to die PER HOUR riding
3 to 4 times LESS likely to die IN A YEAR's riding


Secondly, cyclists, who are a tiny part of all road users, make up roughly 1.4% of road fatalities every year. That's an excessive number. Saving the lives of even a part of one percent is still several hundred people that you and Krygowski want to consign to irrelevance because you claim (without any evidence in the data) that they're children, homeless or drunk.

So that would indicate that unless you are a risk taker (and I am) there is little to no reason to wear a helmet.


There are many more injuries than the danger of dying that may be mitigated by helmet wear. But that's a personal choice, which has been adequately discussed in another thread. My article deals with the policy implications for lawmakers of available data on fatalities.

Andre Jute
Watching the bicycle racing at roadside and on television, one observes that the best sports cyclists in the world always wear a helmet. I wonder why.


I think that you misunderstand me Andre. When they have a study of people who are behaving badly in traffic and concatenate them with those who know how to behave in traffic and as a complete aside wear helmets you have a disproportionate percentage of accidents occurring to riders without a helmet.

The reasons aren't the helmets but better traffic control of a rider wearing a helmet.

Or to make it more clear - if you get hit by an automobile doing above 15 mph (25 kph) you're dead. Who is going to be more likely to get into a collision with a car at those speeds; a child swerving out into the street of a man wearing a helmet and riding according to the rules of the road?

So people that tend to not wear helmets also tend to get into the more dangerous accidents and those wearing helmets tend to get into far less dangerous accidents. Purely on a statistical basis you will find that only a tiny percentage of people wearing helmets have fatal accidents.

So this is why we end up getting these false "studies" of the effectiveness of helmets. And that is why they inevitably show helmets preventing fatalities when they not only do not but almost CANNOT.

Today on a ride one of the men in the back missed seeing some crap in the road and fell. He is still in the hospital for overnight observation. He fell sideways and hit his arm, leg and then slapped his head against the ground. This was the sort of accident that a helmet was supposedly made for. He should not have had ANY head injuries but was unconscious for almost a minute and the nurse who happened to be passing by started giving him CPR.

When I talk about helmets it is from years and years of study. I went to Bell who invented the damn things and had discussions with their engineers. I saw their testing methodology and I'm an engineer.

Plus I worked in science for 50 years and know absolute crap studies when I see them. You can open Science Magazine some months and find not one real scientific study - nothing but stupid opinions backed up with stupid methodology.

So there's little science in the world these days and it should surprise no one that an inch of Styrofoam is claimed to save your life when hit by a car doing 50 mph.
 




Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
THE CASE FOR A MANDATORY CYCLE HELMET LAW 
(IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA) Andre Jute[_2_] Techniques 54 September 17th 18 10:36 PM
THE CASE FOR A MANDATORY CYCLE HELMET LAW (IN THE UNITED STATES OFAMERICA) by Andre Jute Andre Jute[_2_] Techniques 76 May 21st 13 03:35 AM
THE CASE FOR A MANDATORY CYCLE HELMET LAW 
(IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA) Andre Jute[_2_] Techniques 87 November 12th 12 05:23 PM
For the Record, the Final Report: THE CASE FOR A MANDATORY CYCLEHELMET LAW (IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA) by Andre Jute Andre Jute[_2_] General 15 August 31st 10 01:09 AM
THE CASE FOR A MANDATORY CYCLE HELMET LAW (IN THE UNITED STATESOF AMERICA) by Andre Jute dbrower Rides 1 August 28th 10 06:41 AM


All times are GMT +1. The time now is 03:30 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright 2004-2020 CycleBanter.com.
The comments are property of their posters.