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Hi, here's an interesting article regarding the efficacy of bicyclists wearing helmets.

I wear a helmet, by choice.

I am posting this to bring attention to the article, not to engage in a helmet vs no helmet debate.

I hope you enjoy the article.

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So in a nutshell, helmets unquestionably help reduce brain and head injuries. After that, things like PBL's/other infrastructure upgrades and public education do much more to help keep riders safe than a helmet will ever do.

"The study is just the latest to highlight the paradox of bike helmet laws. At the foundation of the puzzle is the fact that wearing a helmet, without question, reduces a rider's risk of injury. (Recent work estimates an 88 percent reduction in brain injuries and an 85 percent decrease in head injuries.)

The essential fact is that helmets protect your head if you're in a crash (a small number of people in the context of the entire population of a given place).  They don't prevent crashes.  This makes the public health benefit of helmets a hard topic to study, and makes legislation a tricky subject.

The main point of this article is in its limitation:

"When baseline trends in cycling related injury rates were considered, the overall rates of head injuries were not appreciably altered by helmet legislation."  (i.e. due to changes in infrastructure, the rates of head injuries were already decreasing, and when you correct for that, you can't attribute the decreases in injury to a helmet intervention.)

Does that mean you shouldn't bother wearing a helmet? 

I did a pretty extensive review of the literature (prior to the publication of this article) on Tiny Fix a few months back.  Shameless plug, I know, but I think it's a pretty good article.  

http://tinyfixbikegang.com/the-bicycle-helmet-debate-now-with-science/


dana said:

They don't prevent crashes.

I'm not agreeing or disagreeing with dana, but his/her statement was more than reasonable when considered in the context it was offered:

  **They don't prevent crashes.  This makes the public health benefit of helmets a hard topic to study**

Zoetrope said:


dana said:

They don't prevent crashes.



h' 1.0 said:

I'm not agreeing or disagreeing with dana, but his/her statement was more than reasonable when considered in the context it was offered:

  **They don't prevent crashes.  This makes the public health benefit of helmets a hard topic to study**

not sure if or exactly how you misinterpreted what i wrote, but maybe you should re-read it or offer a response.  it also wasn't an opinion on the efficacy of helmets.  i said helmet legislation is a tricky subject, because the fact is, the data on the public health benefit of helmets isn't great, because it's a *really* difficult topic to study.  i apologize if that wasn't clear.  

if you're trying to insinuate that i am anti-helmet (or just uninformed), you might be interested to know that i'm a physician who treats traumatic brain injury patients (among others).  just saying.



Zoetrope said:


dana said:

They don't prevent crashes.

Lets take the requirement out of the equation. No need to raise the ire of the Live Free or Die crowd and their Harley riding brethren.  It comes down to individual choice.  If I wear a Helmet I reduce the chance of a traumatic brain injury ruining my day.  Te wear or not to wear?  We all manage risk in our lives and all have our own assessment of what risk we are willing to entertain. We balance that risk against the cost of activities, purchases, behaviors that effect that risk. 

Personally, the cost of a helmet ($30 to $150 depending on style, comfort and use) and the cost of putting it on (my hair doesn't look as good) seem worthwhile to me.  A helmet  law will not  change my behavior. I don't need to be told what to do. Do you?  That being said, the mere act of getting on a bicycle, especially in an urban environment raises my risk. I am willing to take that risk and my mother has been telling me that I am crazy for years. We don't have to look far (put your cursor over the appropriate thread) to find that some have seemed to do all they could to minimize risk (wear a helmet, ride safely etc.)except that they did get on a bike and have had catastrophic consequences.

News report: helments do exactly what they are intended to do.

Zoetrope said:

So in a nutshell, helmets unquestionably help reduce brain and head injuries. After that, things like PBL's/other infrastructure upgrades and public education do much more to help keep riders safe than a helmet will ever do.

"The study is just the latest to highlight the paradox of bike helmet laws. At the foundation of the puzzle is the fact that wearing a helmet, without question, reduces a rider's risk of injury. (Recent work estimates an 88 percent reduction in brain injuries and an 85 percent decrease in head injuries.)

Let me do some more research and get back to you on this. I need to make things more complicated somehow. Thanks.

Adam Herstein (5.5 mi) said:

News report: helments do exactly what they are intended to do.

People smoke, and cite to obscure studies that suggest it is not actually dangerous.

People drink and drive arguing that it is really only the heavily intoxicated drivers that are dangerous.

People don't weat seatbelts citing those exceptions to the rule where the wearing of the seatbelt would have increased the injury.

People deny climate change

People deny evolution.

And people don't weat helmets.

At some point, you have to decide that you can't legislate stupid.   About the only one of the above that you have to legislate is the drunk driving as it hurts others.

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