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(Washington Post)   Maryland bicyclists oppose mandatory helmet law, saying it would reduce rider safety   ( divider line
    More: Stupid, House of Delegates, bicycle accident, docking station, Arlington County, Silver Spring, Prince George's County  
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3535 clicks; posted to Main » on 09 Feb 2013 at 7:35 AM (4 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

Voting Results (Smartest)
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2013-02-09 08:09:58 AM  
4 votes:
Should helmets be mandatory for anyone out for a walk too? There are studies that find the risk of injury is comparable or greater than for cycling.

My big objection to mandatory helmet laws is that it discourages cycling - it adds expense and gear to deal with on every trip. It sends the message that cycling is 'dangerous'. Of course injury is possible, but it's simply not true that it's significantly more dangerous than any other means of travel. I think the roads would be better for everyone, safer too, if more people cycled when practical, so unnecessarily discouraging that has a real cost.

Here's another site with a lot of discussion and reference about the issue. Many popularly held assumptions, "facts", and statistics don't seem to be valid:

I think mandatory helmets for children are a much more sensible case - they're generally much less experienced both on a bike and getting along in any kind of traffic, and more likely to have the kind of low-speed, single vehicle accidents where helmets are usually very effective. But for adults it seems easy to make the case that they're unnecessary and inarguable that it's counterproductive to the goals of promoting physical activity and discouraging automobile use.
2013-02-09 03:59:41 AM  
4 votes:
I don't know what the law is, but you want to know how to improve bike safety in the DC area? Require bikes to use lights at night. And be willing to enforce it. I have very nearly hit bikers on quite a few occasions around here when for some reason, idiots decide that it's a really bright idea to bike around, on occasion even without reflectors, but definitely without lights, usually without helmets, at dusk, or even in the dead of night. If you're that much of an idiot, you honestly deserve to get hit by a car.
2013-02-09 09:26:35 AM  
2 votes:

farkeruk: Someone in the UK did a test with helmet on and off and used sensors and found that cars drive closer when wearing a cycle helmet than not. He also found that putting on a woman's wig made cars give him more room. ml

If you want to improve bike safety, make yourself farking visible, ffs. Had a near miss when a guy rode past my junction wearing a black jacket, dark trousers and no lights at night. Lights and if possible, a hi-viz (or at least, wear a brighter jacket than farking black).

Maybe because the car-drivers are assuming that the helmet-wearer is less of a farking idiot, and so could be better trusted.
2013-02-09 09:12:22 AM  
2 votes:
It doesn't sound like the issue is with the "helmet" part, the issue is with the "mandatory" part.
2013-02-09 08:20:41 AM  
2 votes:

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.

I've ridden bikes extensively in urban areas for 40+ years without a helmet, and have never come close to having an accident involving head trauma.

I just recently started wearing helmets on hill rides, but even then I don't really feel vulnerable without one.
I'd never ride my motorbike w/o a helmet, though. But I'd prefer the rest of the country allow lane-splitting than worry about helmet laws.

My grandmother smoked for 60 years and never died of cancer. I guess that's just a conspiracy too.
2013-02-09 07:54:33 AM  
2 votes:
Most of the non-helemeted cyclists I see are college kids riding while texting, and people weaving back and forth at a glacial pace on the wrong side of the road. I say let them forego their helmets, and with any luck we'll reduce the percentage of cyclists who act like jerks and give the rest of us a bad name.

2013-02-09 07:40:02 AM  
2 votes:
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.
2013-02-09 04:03:25 AM  
2 votes:
How about this: get rid of all bicycle & motorcycle helmet laws, then let Darwin do his thing.
It will sort itself out.
2013-02-10 04:12:57 AM  
1 vote:
Perhaps we should seriously consider that all persons in a car should be wearing a helmet. Nearly all racecar drivers (and their passengers/navigators) wear them. They would certainly save lives.
2013-02-10 03:03:22 AM  
1 vote:
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.
2013-02-09 11:05:52 PM  
1 vote:
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 04:06:16 PM  
1 vote:
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.

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 01:23:34 PM  
1 vote:
For all you fugs that don't know the difference:

This is a biker

This is a bicyclist

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.
2013-02-09 11:53:30 AM  
1 vote:

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 11:28:54 AM  
1 vote:
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 10:37:24 AM  
1 vote:
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 10:26:06 AM  
1 vote:
If you are going out for a 100 mile ride on your Bianchi, wear a helmet. If you're going into the woods for some fun with rocks and logs, wear a helmet. If your riding to the neighborhood pool for a swim, helmet un-necessary.

Judgement. Some people don't have any, so let's kill fun for everyone in the name of fairness.
2013-02-09 10:20:50 AM  
1 vote:

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

Unfortunately on the way out the door the non helmet riders will be in a coma for several weeks to months before dying costing a couple thousand dollars a day while in the hospital.

/Yes I wear my helmet when biking. To many accidents.
2013-02-09 10:12:46 AM  
1 vote:

Archie Goodwin: Step 1: Wear a bicycle helmet.
Step 2: Get hit by a car.
Step 3: Die anyway.

Step 1: Wear a Motorcycle helmet
Step 2: Get hit by car.
Step 3: Die of a broken neck.

What's your point?

Helmets are to prevent specific types of low speed injuries. You know, the ones where your brain starts swelling and then your mom has to unplug you from life support.
2013-02-09 09:28:09 AM  
1 vote:

Archie Goodwin: Step 1: Wear a bicycle helmetseat belt.
Step 2: Get hit by a carDrive into lake.
Step 3: Die anyway.

FTFYour logic.
2013-02-09 09:16:25 AM  
1 vote:
Step 1: Wear a bicycle helmet.
Step 2: Get hit by a car.
Step 3: Die anyway.
2013-02-09 08:34:18 AM  
1 vote:

OccamsWhiskers: My big objection to mandatory helmet laws is that it discourages cycling

You know, you are welcome to cycle all you want without having to feel validated by everyone else thinking they need to be a hip as you.
2013-02-09 08:21:44 AM  
1 vote:

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.

Yeah, I'm wondering where exactly the "stupid" tag is supposed to go?  To subby for reading comprehension failure?
2013-02-09 08:19:20 AM  
1 vote:

zez: There really isn't any reason not to wear one.

I just find them uncomfortable and don't like them.  That's my reason, and it's good enough for me.
2013-02-09 08:10:06 AM  
1 vote:
Let's just get it over with and require everyone to stay indoors wearing a helmet, kevlar vest, floatation device and eye protection.
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