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(Washington Post)   Maryland bicyclists oppose mandatory helmet law, saying it would reduce rider safety   (washingtonpost.com) divider line 107
    More: Stupid, House of Delegates, bicycle accident, docking station, Arlington County, Silver Spring, Prince George's County  
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3506 clicks; posted to Main » on 09 Feb 2013 at 7:35 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-02-09 10:37:18 AM

eiger: Wasn't there some study in the Netherlands that found that, counter-intuitively, requiring helmets actually increased fatalities? Something about wearing them made bicyclists less cautious. It was a few years ago, and I'm too lazy to google it on a Saturday morning.


Essentially, that was just one study and there are other studies that contradict it. The jury is still out on whether overall wearing a helmet is better than not.

Since I ride a lot, I've read up on this stuff, and what I've taken away from it is this:

1. When a rider wears a helmet, both the rider and the drivers around them are less safe in their behavior. This increases the risk of an accident.

2. When an accident does happen, it is better to have a helmet on than not. Especially if you ride fast. In life-saving terms, they are not as critical as they are for motorcycle riders, but you should still wear one.

3. If you are a cyclist, follow traffic laws, because yes, you are a vehicle, and yes, they apply to you too, you dumb twat.

// no html lists?
 
2013-02-09 10:37:24 AM
if your helmet in any way obscures your vision, you're wearing it wrong. I wear a full-face helmet on my motorcycle and can see very little of it. it obscures my vision far less than the a-pillar of a car when you're driving. since most bicycle helmets are are more open than a motorcycle helmet, you'd have to be wearing it over your face for it to obscure anything.
 
2013-02-09 10:37:27 AM
the helmet is a great place to affix lights so there's nothing to get stolen when parking

Attaching things to your helmet sounds like a great idea, but if you do happen to fall and land on the helmet, then you have a knob that could potentially push through the foam and into your head, or could catch on some other obstruction.
 
2013-02-09 10:45:35 AM
Oh sure you did nothing when they came for the motorcyclists, now they came for you bicyclists. And with head injuries Still the number one injury in car accidents. They're coming for you auto drivers! Mandatory Helmets for CAR DRIVERS!!! They have to in Motorsports and it still didn't save Dale Earnhart...
Helmets in cars! Helmets in cars! Helmets in cars!
 
2013-02-09 10:47:23 AM

Mi-go amigo: In life-saving terms

...

Forget life-saving terms, what about "Hey guys, I just went OTB, pass me a beer." instead of "Ugh, I smacked my head hard and can't stop puking, better go to the hospital and pay the deductible on an examination and over-night observation."
 
2013-02-09 10:54:29 AM
As long as we're being anecdotal, I've got to stories that are just as statistically relevant as your stories. I crashed my motorcycle once (it was my only crash - I don't ride anymore - not because of the crash though) and hit my head HARD on the ground.  I was wearing my helmet and all was well.  I'm pretty certain that would not have been the case if I hadn't been.  I also crashed my mountain bike once where I hit my head on a root so hard it dented the helmet.  My head was fine.  I like helmets.

And if you bike dorks think people look at you riding and say "gee, that guy would be so hot looking if he just wasn't wearing that stupid-looking helmet", you're wrong.  You look like a dork with or without the helmet.  Don't worry what others think of your ridiculous looks, just ride and enjoy your pain.
 
2013-02-09 10:56:04 AM
i183.photobucket.com

There's always a risk when riding in certain situations.
Be prepared.
 
2013-02-09 11:04:42 AM
I ride a bike as well.  It's a mountain bike with on road/off road tires so I can go anywhere.  Since my starting point is here in the city & my destination could be anywhere, you'd better believe that I've got my helmet on!  I won't leave the house without my day-glow green jersey on either.  It's the same color as a construction worker along the side of a road, so I'm very visible.  A CygoLite headlight on the front as bright as a car headlight & strobe tail lights on the back for riding at night.  I take riding my bike seriously.  The traffic here in the city is crazy & people won't hesitate to jockey back & forth between lanes of traffic just because a spot in a lane right beside them is open.  Car doors fly open all the time when riding past parking spots, people walk right out in front of you like you're not even there...no way would I even consider getting on my bike without a helmet in this metropolitan!  It's just when you don't respect the sport you do is when you get hurt.  Combine your weight with your bike & compare that to a several thousand pound vehicle in a crash with you...it's like a train hitting car.  The train always wins.  Broken bones will heal, but brain injuries...who knows?  It's a 50/50 chance.  You'll be normal or you won't, afterwards.  So why take the chance?

It's a lot cheaper to buy a helmet & save my head, than it is to try to meet a deductible for a hospital stay & physical therapy later on because my head got split open by some asshat in a vehicle texting away not paying attention to what's going on around them & causing a crash!

My biking skills are fine.  It's just everyone else that I have to watch for because they're simply not paying attention...even around the lanes CLEARLY marked for bikes!
 
2013-02-09 11:15:52 AM

Last of the Crazy People: Mi-go amigo: In life-saving terms...

Forget life-saving terms, what about "Hey guys, I just went OTB, pass me a beer." instead of "Ugh, I smacked my head hard and can't stop puking, better go to the hospital and pay the deductible on an examination and over-night observation."


There is that too. I had an accident once when I was a young man and was not wearing a helmet. I have had accidents since when I was wearing a helmet. I can say from experience that wrecking with a helmet has been far preferable.
 
2013-02-09 11:26:03 AM

wambu: NSFW

NSFW

NSFW

NSFW

NSFW

[i.imgur.com image 500x375]

Why do I now have a strange desire to grow up to be a bicycle seat?
 
2013-02-09 11:28:54 AM
To me, a helmet is like my seat belt. It feels wrong to not have it on when I'm riding. If I'm going two blocks to the store, I'm wearing my helmet.

Most of the people I see not wearing helmets are the DUI cyclists. Same guys who don't have lights.
 
2013-02-09 11:46:42 AM
I don't know why one would not wear a helmet.  No, if you get minced into burger by a semi it won't help much, but far more likely is a normal wipeout (loose gravel, dog, whatever) that with a helmet is bruises and raspberries but without one sends you to ER.
 
2013-02-09 11:46:49 AM
The best part about bike helmets - stickers!!
 
2013-02-09 11:48:27 AM

wambu: I'll play.
NSFW


That first one was the best of the thread.

/leg man
 
2013-02-09 11:53:30 AM

RandomAxe: First, cyclists wearing helmets tend to be much less aware of their surroundings. Not necessarily oblivious, but on average less aware.


Got a citation for this claim, or is this just your anecdotal observation?

My personal philosophy is that you should never assume a driver will not hit you. Don't give them the opportunity. It's great that they should be forced to share the road, but don't trust them, and don't try to make them do it.

I've been cycling for fitness for a year now (3x/wk 10 miles to work), and have found the exact opposite to be true. My personal experience has been that I need to "establish my own space" to get cars to give me that space. Riding right up against the right edge of the lane (either rural or in town) prompts cars to stay in the same lane where they brush by too close for comfort. In contrast, by moving out just a foot or two drivers seem to realize they need to move over to make a clean pass, and they act accordingly.

/wears a helmet 100% of the time on the bike
//against mandatory helmet law
 
2013-02-09 12:08:20 PM

jnoel: Never wore a helmet as a child.
Never needed one as an adult (on city streets anyway).

/biatches.


THIS.

Since 2008 I've done down on ice hundreds of times, wiped out on gravel dozens of times, hit a dog, a deer, been over the handlebars twice and not once did I need a helmet to protect my head.  Knowing how to crash is what saves your ass.  That skill comes from being a crazy kid on a bike.

The biggest danger on city streets is the cager that thinks he can kill anything on two wheels with impunity
 
2013-02-09 12:13:30 PM
Why do these helmet pushers hate fat people so much?  Why are they trying to kill so many people with heart disease and diabetes by pushing their farking opinion?  I hope they all die of ass cancer.

Want to not pay for my diabetes medication with your tax's? Stop making riding my bike LESS appealing ya farking dickwads!


/a lifetime of diabetes meds is a hellova lot more expensive than any brain injury.
 
2013-02-09 12:29:41 PM
It's basically the principle of adding safety features that temporarily reduce the number of injuries/fatalities, but after a while, as people feel safer, they take more risks and the number of injuries/fatalities goes back up to its original average.

This is exactly what happened when ABS brakes started being installed in all cars.
 
kab
2013-02-09 12:44:59 PM

SpdrJay: Nanny state.


Nanny country.

We need to drop the whole 'land of the free' schtick, because it's simply never ever been true (and certainly isn't now)
 
2013-02-09 01:23:34 PM
For all you fugs that don't know the difference:

This is a biker

i.imgur.com


This is a bicyclist

i.imgur.com

.
It would be nicer to outlaw all helmets on bicyclists. Then just maybe they would bother to respect all other traffic around them.

then again when I come across some bicyclist turd who was run over, I assume in an unbiased manner that I don't know who is to blame for the bi cyclist scratching the car and denting its windshield and putting blood all over the pavement.
oo0oo
 
2013-02-09 01:48:14 PM
   If you're going to wear one at least take the time to make sure it fits properly and that the chinstrap is properly adjusted. Probably over 50% of the helmets I see folks wearing either don't fit, are tilted to far back or forward or are rocking the NHL style chinstrap (ie. loose) thus it is jewelry and a waste of time and money. Regardless of the law I have worn a bike helmet since the mid 1980's (Bell V-1, remember that?) I've seen several instances where it has saved someone's life. We have a helmet law here in BC but it doesn't address whether the helmet actually fits, should we be ticketing people for improper fitting?

    Rider safety is directly related to the rider operating in a safe manner and respecting laws as well as the fact that vehicles (even in the wrong) are bigger than you and will kill you not what gear you're wearing.
 
2013-02-09 01:57:02 PM

wambu: NSFW

NSFW

NSFW

NSFW

NSFW

[i.imgur.com image 500x375]


Boy I used to like her. Now she's a right wing nutjob.


Former supermodel Kathy Ireland backs effort to end Planned Parenthood funding Maybe she was always dumb, but I didn't know it back in the day.

I always wear my helmet when I go for long, serious rides. But there are times when I ride my bike to the store for a Coke where I don't. I like having that choice.
 
2013-02-09 02:06:43 PM

Bronzed War God: Bob Falfa: How about this: get rid of all bicycle & motorcycle helmet laws, then let Darwin do his thing.
It will sort itself out.

Fine with me. Add in seat belt laws too.

/cyclist
//wears a helmet


We'd have to change the federal law that requires hospitals to treat emergency patients.  Let some admissions clerk decide whether you deserve to die.
 
2013-02-09 02:19:47 PM
Repo Man


I always wear my helmet when I go for long, serious rides. But there are times when I ride my bike to the store for a Coke where I don't. I like having that choice.

Hey kid, wanna make ten bucks?
 
2013-02-09 02:23:29 PM

New Age Redneck: If you're going to wear one at least take the time to make sure it fits properly and that the chinstrap is properly adjusted. Probably over 50% of the helmets I see folks wearing either don't fit, are tilted to far back or forward or are rocking the NHL style chinstrap (ie. loose)...


Obligatory...
 
2013-02-09 02:25:18 PM
Uhh...

www.hdforums.com
 
2013-02-09 03:04:18 PM

Stone Meadow: RandomAxe: First, cyclists wearing helmets tend to be much less aware of their surroundings. Not necessarily oblivious, but on average less aware.

Got a citation for this claim, or is this just your anecdotal observation?

My personal philosophy is that you should never assume a driver will not hit you. Don't give them the opportunity. It's great that they should be forced to share the road, but don't trust them, and don't try to make them do it.

I've been cycling for fitness for a year now (3x/wk 10 miles to work), and have found the exact opposite to be true. My personal experience has been that I need to "establish my own space" to get cars to give me that space. Riding right up against the right edge of the lane (either rural or in town) prompts cars to stay in the same lane where they brush by too close for comfort. In contrast, by moving out just a foot or two drivers seem to realize they need to move over to make a clean pass, and they act accordingly.

/wears a helmet 100% of the time on the bike
//against mandatory helmet law


I agree. As a cyclist if you do do feel circumstances are safe enough for an auto to pass you, due to parked cars, road conditions or oncoming traffic on narrow streets, then do not allow the car to pass you. Assertively take your lane and make the car driver wait until there is enough room. The worst thing to do is give a driver just enough room and have him see if he can squeeze by you.
As for the article, the cycling advocates are right. More cyclists make for safer streets for everyone. There are less car accidents overall when more bikes are on the road. Mandatory helmet laws discourage cycling and therefore roads have less bikes and are less safe.
As for wearing a helmet myself; I'd rather look like an idiot than actually become one.
 
2013-02-09 03:13:23 PM
RandomAxe:
btw, 'Random Axe of Kindness' would have been a great headline for the homeless hitchhiker story. Summ-MASH!
 
2013-02-09 03:35:07 PM

Ablejack: As for the article, the cycling advocates are right. More cyclists make for safer streets for everyone. There are less car accidents overall when more bikes are on the road. Mandatory helmet laws discourage cycling and therefore roads have less bikes and are less safe.


I see that claim being made and repeated, but I have to ask, "How so, and where is the evidence to support the claim?"

Don't get me wrong. I am against mandatory helmet laws for adult cyclists, but I'm not convinced helmet laws "discourage" riding. They certainly don't here in Cali where one sees zillions of children riding...all with helmets.
 
2013-02-09 03:56:06 PM

Stone Meadow: Ablejack: As for the article, the cycling advocates are right. More cyclists make for safer streets for everyone. There are less car accidents overall when more bikes are on the road. Mandatory helmet laws discourage cycling and therefore roads have less bikes and are less safe.

I see that claim being made and repeated, but I have to ask, "How so, and where is the evidence to support the claim?"

Don't get me wrong. I am against mandatory helmet laws for adult cyclists, but I'm not convinced helmet laws "discourage" riding. They certainly don't here in Cali where one sees zillions of children riding...all with helmets.




Very few of the kids I see riding in this part of California wear helmets. Too few cops to do much about it. It's too bad, the idea was to get them in the habit, hoping it would carry over into adulthood.
 
2013-02-09 04:06:16 PM
As a Marylander who is sick and tired of nanny-state bull, this is just more nanny-state bull.

Even if they pass this, will it ever be enforced?
I rode every day when I was a kid and rode with many others. Not once did an officer come over and point out that we didn't have helmets on. Hell, I've never seen a bicyclist of any sort get ticketed around here.

C'mon.
There are people getting shot, stabbed, robbed, and raped every day here. The last thing the police need to worry about is whether or not someone chose to do something that can only hurt themselves.

I'm still laughing at the idea and imagining helmets everywhere. I cannot see some 17 year old kid from the hood wearing a helmet while wheely-ing down the middle of the street on some 10-speed. If you're from Baltimore, you know of what I speak and how ridiculous the thought is.
 
2013-02-09 04:16:32 PM

Repo Man: Stone Meadow: I'm not convinced helmet laws "discourage" riding. They certainly don't here in Cali where one sees zillions of children riding...all with helmets.

Very few of the kids I see riding in this part of California wear helmets. Too few cops to do much about it. It's too bad, the idea was to get them in the habit, hoping it would carry over into adulthood.


I live by a Bay Area bedroom community where all the children I see riding on the streets and bike paths are wearing helmets. But you are correct...that won't translate to everywhere, for sure. Also, by state law they're only required for riding on public streets and paths. Not required off road or on private property.
 
zez
2013-02-09 06:04:19 PM
You know who else used to be against helmets?

media.egotvonline.com
 
2013-02-09 06:12:43 PM
It seems like no one else is going to say it, so here goes.

NO ONE SHOULD EVER WEAR A BICYCLE HELMET.

That's right, no one.

That's right, not ever.

Why?

Well, you're on a bicycle.  You ALREADY look like a complete douche.  The helmet takes it so far over the top that you look like you're running against a turd sandwich.

"But it makes me safer" you say.  WRONG!  It actually makes you less safe.  Helmeted riders have more wrecks, and get hurt more than unhelmeted riders, once you take the drunks out of the stats.  Cars will come closer to you if you're wearing a helmet.  You're more likely to do something dangerous if you're wearing a helmet.  So you are less safe with one.

"But I ride offroad, and fall into trees" you say.  Ok, so you need a helmet.  But not a bicycle helmet, because they're crap.  They can't do much of anything to protect your head, they're full of weak spots.  You need the sort of helmet used for offroad motorcycling.

"But it protects my children" you say.  No, it doesn't.  It's actually even more dangerous for children than for adults, because of the artificially increased sense of invulnerability, the same issue that affects adults is potentially FAR more deadly for children.  They think "I'm wearing a helmet, nothing can hurt me now."  You're not protecting the child, you may even be killing the child.

So:

1.  Do not wear a bicycle helmet, ever.

2.  Do not allow your children to wear a bicycle helmet.

3.  Discourage anyone else from wearing a bicycle helmet.
 
2013-02-09 06:14:24 PM
"bicycle helmet" is the wrong term for this thing. It should be called "foam hat". Because that's what it is. It's a bit of packing foam with a vacuum formed colorful thin plastic shell over it.

The actual ratings on bicycle "helmets" would expose that basically they protect from scratches and other minor injuries. Yes I am aware of all the people who hold up a cracked foam hat and declare it saved their lives. If they had an egg in their pocket it would have broken too, doesn't mean the egg saved their life.

Bicycle helmet laws, once corrected for reduce bicycling due to the law, show no positive change in severe injury occurrences. Which one would expect as a piece of syrofoam isn't going to help when you're hit by a bus.
 
2013-02-09 07:07:26 PM

leadmetal: "bicycle helmet" is the wrong term for this thing. It should be called "foam hat". Because that's what it is. It's a bit of packing foam with a vacuum formed colorful thin plastic shell over it.

The actual ratings on bicycle "helmets" would expose that basically they protect from scratches and other minor injuries. Yes I am aware of all the people who hold up a cracked foam hat and declare it saved their lives. If they had an egg in their pocket it would have broken too, doesn't mean the egg saved their life.


While helmets do primarily protest against minor injuries, it's simply not true that they don't offer "real" protection.

"As of 2008, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that head injuries account for 70% of cycling fatalities."

"According to a 1989 case study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, wearing a properly fitted helmet can help reduce the risk of head injury by 74-85%."

Source
 
2013-02-09 07:08:06 PM

sirrerun: Bike helmet laws are a conspiracy by the petroleum to sell more plastic.
The speed most casual cyclists ride at is not dangerous enough to warrant a helmet.


The ANSI standards for bike helmets only compensate for forces of a head hitting the pavement from a standing height.
 
2013-02-09 07:09:34 PM

leadmetal: "bicycle helmet" is the wrong term for this thing. It should be called "foam hat". Because that's what it is. It's a bit of packing foam with a vacuum formed colorful thin plastic shell over it.


I call them "bicycle hats".
 
2013-02-09 07:09:42 PM

Stone Meadow: While helmets do primarily protesct against minor injuries, that's because the preponderance of cycling injuries are minor. It's simply not true that they don't offer "real" protection.


FTFM...pushed send too soon.
 
2013-02-09 07:14:13 PM
I question I have is, Why is dooring a bigger problem in places that require bicycle hats than places without the legal requirement?

When I was 10 and spending lots of time on the road, my father would remind me to look in cars for people and assume they would be driving soon or opening their doors.
 
2013-02-09 07:37:39 PM

DON.MAC: I question I have is, Why is dooring a bigger problem in places that require bicycle hats than places without the legal requirement?


I've wondered about dooring, too. It's not a real problem here, though, as a bike has the same rights to the road as a car, and we are never required to ride on the shoulder or in the door zone.
 
2013-02-09 07:50:29 PM
My experience of personally going down and whacking my head two different times while wearing a bicycle helmet, and receiving nothing worse than a headache, bears out all of the research and other evidence that shows that these airy bits of foam are good for reducing your risk of serious head injury. Without them, all you have is a thin layer of skin, and a not much thicker layer of brittle bone to protect your brain. In the past eight years, there have been two separate altercations here where a guy got punched, knocked out, and hit his head on the concrete when he went down, causing a fatal brain injury. That's it, falling down on the sidewalk, and it turned into manslaughter.
 
2013-02-09 08:15:22 PM

DON.MAC: The ANSI standards for bike helmets only compensate for forces of a head hitting the pavement from a standing height.


So, the drop height standard for a motorcycle helmet is only 54.5". (Source)
 
2013-02-09 10:53:41 PM

Bob Falfa: How about this: get rid of all bicycle & motorcycle helmet laws, then let Darwin do his thing.
It will sort itself out.


Actually, I think we should take advantage of the stupid. Make it so if you are a registered organ donor, you get an exemption from helmet laws.
 
2013-02-09 11:05:52 PM
I'm against helmet laws, but I think if you ride without a helmet, you should be required by law to be an organ donor.
 
2013-02-09 11:07:46 PM

eiger: Wasn't there some study in the Netherlands that found that, counter-intuitively, requiring helmets actually increased fatalities? Something about wearing them made bicyclists less cautious. It was a few years ago, and I'm too lazy to google it on a Saturday morning.


It also makes cycling less accessible, and thus reduces numbers, which in turn causes other vehicle operators complacent in the idea that everyone outside their vehicle is in a safety cage and thus they don't get used to things like driving at a speed you can react to something slower ahead, passing at a safe distance, etc.
 
2013-02-09 11:09:49 PM

Bronzed War God: Bob Falfa: How about this: get rid of all bicycle & motorcycle helmet laws, then let Darwin do his thing.
It will sort itself out.

Fine with me. Add in seat belt laws too.


I'm not a fan of getting rid of the seatbelt laws.  Last thing I want to have happen is to survive getting hit head on by an idiot, only to get killed by his body flying through my windshield...
 
2013-02-10 12:23:42 AM
This whole "car" thing seems poorly thought out. It's like, "Hey, lets have a system where giant glass and steel boxes hurtle at unnatural speeds in opposite directions of each other separated only by a painted yellow line! And you know what else? Let's build all of our pedestrian footpaths right next to these thoroughfares with no kind of barrier or protection whatsoever! What could possibly go wrong!"
 
2013-02-10 02:50:56 AM

spyderqueen: Bob Falfa: How about this: get rid of all bicycle & motorcycle helmet laws, then let Darwin do his thing.
It will sort itself out.

Actually, I think we should take advantage of the stupid. Make it so if you are a registered organ donor, you get an exemption from helmet laws.


I have always thought that there should be no opting out of organ donation.  Your a citizen? you lose all the major organs to the bank upon death, your family can have dibs if they have an immediate need since they will be less likely to reject them.  The organs themselves should be free, your wealth should have no influence on if you actually get an organ though.

Yes horribly naive I know, rich people first, second and third and all that.
 
2013-02-10 03:03:22 AM
Most of the arguments against helmets are from lycra Nazis who cherrypick data from unreliable studies to prove their point. It's not rocket science to realise that if you've got something between your head and whatever it is your hitting to absorb the energy you're going to be better off than you would be otherwise. I know a number of cyclists - myself included - that would at BEST be drooling vegetables without bike helmets.

Having said that, the infringement of liberty still might not be worth the medical benefit, no matter how strong that is. That's a value judgement.
 
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