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Thread: Do Bike Helmet Laws Do More Harm Than Good?...bicycling that is :eek

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    Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat Omega Man's Avatar
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    Question Do Bike Helmet Laws Do More Harm Than Good?...bicycling that is :eek

    Well, I thought this was kind of an interesting parallel~ helmet pros and cons as it relates to bicycling. I heard the interview with Rachel Bachman on NPR and tracked it down for your dining and dancing pleasure

    Do Bike Helmet Laws Do More Harm Than Good?

    OM
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    Registered User 36654's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Omega Man View Post
    Well, I thought this was kind of an interesting parallel~ helmet pros and cons as it relates to bicycling. I heard the interview with Rachel Bachman on NPR and tracked it down for your dining and dancing pleasure

    Do Bike Helmet Laws Do More Harm Than Good?

    OM
    Same old saw as H-D has taken.........helmet laws would discourage riding by some, therefore it's bad for the market and activity.

    Fortunately, the American Medical Assoc. has a vested interest in a restricted market. Otherwise, the Pharmaceutical Industry would argue that prescriptions are hindering people from participating in their own medical care.
    Last edited by 36654; 10-25-2015 at 11:10 AM.
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    As my dear late mother would have said, Balderdash.
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    Kbiker BCKRider's Avatar
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    British Columbia, Canada has had an "all age" bicycle helmet law for years. At least in the Okanagan valley where I live, I estimate half of all bicyclists don't use a helmet. Never heard of anyone being fined. Don't believe that is true of motorcyclists - though a useless beanie will save you a ticket.

    For me, law or no law, I always use a helmet for both forms of two-wheeled transportation. But then, I always ride from home. Might feel differently if I rode "rent -a-bikes" in a big city after using public transportation.

    A friend of mine who cycles a lot has THREE ruined helmets - and his brain still works just fine. Figures that would definitely not be true if he hadn't been wearing those helmets. Of course, you don't need a helmet until, well, you need a helmet. Kind of like wearing jeans on your motorcycle in the summer. Why don all that protective stuff if you aren't going to test it? And you aren't going to test it on THIS ride - right?
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    Rally Rat
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    Thumbs down

    Thanks for the posting. Always willing to listen to alternate explanations of human behavior.

    That being said, what a bunch of crap.

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    I hit a small rut on a road bicycle and it tossed me down before I could do a thing. I picked up the helmet pieces (don't litter) and put them back in the liner and rode home to nurse my shoulder. NO headache at all.

    Bought new helmet, old one went on the wall at the bike shop.

    Ground was baked rock hard in summer in Missouri. It could have been bad.

    I am a believer

    Rod

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    Still Wondering mika's Avatar
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    Cycling advocates are quick to say they’re not anti-helmet. Instead, they’re opposed to helmet laws and their unintended consequences—especially amid the rise of bike-share programs.

    The article describes a case being made by some bicyclists to question mandatory bicycle helmet laws using a law of unintended consequences argument that some greater good is being thwarted as these laws are put in place. At best, the article’s arguments seem lame. The parallels to mandatory motorcycle helmet law arguments have been made and quickly identified as lame by comments laced with the forum mandatory caricature phrases of those normally making them. Our work is done. Let the thread die a natural death after a few more posts. However, I am a firm believer in the Law of Unintended Consequences.

    At the risk of being pilloried once again, I believe we should look at mandatory helmet laws and our obsessive focus on ATGATT in light of that law, once again, before we don our gear to mount our motorcycles and ride over the horizon. Give me a moment before you run to get a rope to tie me to a post, start banging balderdash on you keyboard and allow me to explain. My increasing concern with the motorcycling impact of the Law of Unintended Consequences is with its impact on the road you were going to ride over the horizon on; not the gear you were going to don to wear while doing that.

    During my motoring lifetime we have worked to make both street and track bigger, better, more exciting and faster. At the same time a host of laws, highway/track regulations and standards have been developed and put in place to make those roads and tracks safer. However, those developments have been largely cage centric. While making streets and tracks safer for cagers these changes often have an unintended consequence of making the same streets and tracks dangerous for motorcyclists. Let me use the track setting as an example.

    The FIA for cages and the FIM for motorcycles are the bodies that sanction tracks for racing. In the past thirty years the FIA has increased the demands for driver safety equipment and protection. At the same time it pushed for more and better track safety components. The FIM, in a very similar fashion, increased its rules and regulations for rider and motorcycle safety protection. The FIM used FIA sanctioned tracks for the majority of its races during this period. While it continued to develop its own lists of rules and regulations for track safety it deferred to the FIA rules in many cases. In the past fifteen to twenty years, first riders and then the FIM began to realize, the Law of Unintended Consequences, at some tracks, was creating a bigger and bigger gap between what made cage racing safer and what made motorcycle racing safer. Solutions were developed and tracks were told they would lose their FIM sanctioning (and revenue from FIM events) if they did not implement them.

    At the same time the FIM and FIA have continued to sort their track safety regulations out, I have watched the cage centric safety improvements to the streets and roads I ride. I am have continuously adopted improved riding and motorcycle gear during this time. In many cases, I have come to the same conclusion that motorcycle races and the FIM came to. I will not give up my safety gear; however, the Law of Unintended Consequences has resulted in cage centric safety barriers and regulations that have made those streets and roads less safe for motorcyclists.
    Such as:

    Improperly installed safety barriers. A Governor’s Safety Study showed an amazing number of safety barriers were improperly installed creating an increased danger to cages and motorcyclists instead of the intended safety increase.

    Single rail armco barriers when careful application of double rail barriers will improve safety for both rider and cage while not breaking the DOT bank.

    Cheese Cutter median barriers do a wonderful job of catching up driver and tractor trailers but result in rider fatalities. Again, thoughtful applications of mat overlays which have been developed would decrease risk for rider death on impact with these barriers.

    Poor and unsafe, for motorcyclists but cage neutral, road DOT maintenance practices have been regularly documented on this forum.

    The list goes on and on.

    I wear a helmet. I use MGATT (most of the gear all of the time) and ATGATT. I urge my fellow riders to do the same. Yet if all you and I, or the BMW MOA and its Foundation do, is preach gear while ignoring the increasing gap between cage and motorcycle street/road construction safety issues, we are doing both ourselves and the entire riding community a disservice. YMMV

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    Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat Omega Man's Avatar
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    Along those lines, Chevy is really pushing one of their features on their new cars- the car being it's own "hot-spot" yet rallying against distracted driving
    Motorists/cyclists and the population at large don't seem to like being told what to do- like wear a helmet. We also have a school system that sends the men's and women's track team out to run in the street- nothing reflective.
    Usually it's a survived incident that brings change to an individual or group- hopefully on their own, no legislature involved.
    "Common sense isn't so common any more".
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    Agree with mika. Generally folks want good stuff to happen in life. More good, better. Extrapolate. Pass laws making more good, hopefully. Extrapolate. At some point one has to ask oneself, have enough problems been accommodated? Was there really a crisis in the first place? Before bicycle helmets can't remember one person in my sphere having been killed riding a bicycle. Every school, as an example, had full bicycle racks. I rode a bike everyday, including winter, delivering papers. Fell down a couple times learning, once pushed by a guy riding a scooter, for fun. On a mud rutted road while racing. No helmet. Based on anecdotal evidence, fill in blank.

    Laws are great until the fines kick in. Here's yer non-helmet ticket, we're here to protect you. Pay with paypal. Why are fines always attached? Duh. Answer, apparently, we're too dumb to take care of ourselves?

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    Rocky Bow BMW Riders #197 bogthebasher's Avatar
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    As a long time bicycle commuter (30 years in two major cities commuting 30 Km per day) and tourer (100,000 Km documented) I have to say that over all those years and distance I had two incidents - both while commuting (hit by a city bus as it passed me from behind and then merged me into a construction wall, glass truck again passing from behind and then cornering too sharply around me in a right turn sending me headfirst across the street into a curb) where my helmet very likely saved my life and needed to be replaced afterward. Helmets do work when despite all our other riding precautions some other person makes an error or miscalculation causing harm to the rider. Yes, as a kid on the farm riding lots of miles on single speed bikes I never had a problem on gravel or paved roads other than the usual scrapes and bruises but today's riding conditions on a bicycle are much different and can be exceedingly dangerous without head protection.
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    not so retired henzilla's Avatar
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    Arrow

    Have used some sort of helmet on bicycles since the late 70's...not everytime in certain circumstances. Riding the Seawall in Galveston or the beach paths in Southern California come to mind.
    In order to race in the 80's, the sanctioning body required one...though looking at it nowadays, seems like a 1930's football headgear. Went down once in it and still had a concussion. My next helmet looked like a hockey helmet and was heavy as heck compared to my current version
    il_fullxfull.318672348.jpg
    My daughter had a bad downhill getoff when she was 6 resulting in a skull fracture and permanent hearing loss in one ear...She had left her helmet in the garage when she ventured out on her own that day unknown to me. She rides the beach trails in SoCal with her kids now, they wear helmets, she sometimes does...trust me, she knows the risks.

    The decline of ridership is more likely a unintended consequence of modern technology like computers, smartphones and XBox style entertainment. I bought a brand new Schwinn remake of the Stingray years ago from a pissed off dad two weeks after Christmas...his kid wanted a XBox..not a bike.

    Mandatory laws like seatbelt use, have good intentions. For kids who need parental oversight until they are considered liberated adults, maybe a good thing. Asking some old fart renting a street cruiser to wear one for an hour or two, maybe not. It's one of those risk assessments we all must do in our motorcycle riding choices. Your choice may not be mine...and that's OK.
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    I too am still bicycling. If in an urban setting I ride where least likely to get slammed by a techno driver tapping. Translated, down an alley, into a vacant back lot, across a controlled intersection after checking ceaselessly, always over the shoulder, on a sidewalk, if with pedestrian, then onto the weeds, can't for second assume nothing is coming, everybody thinks it's cool I'm on my bike and they're looking out for me. I'll avoid certain areas simply because I want to avoid danger. Couple extra blocks? No problem, no smash down. My urban bike full suspension XC because it's needed. City streets are XC.

    Additionally, there are a plethora of new city bicycle right-of-ways painted everywhere. It's nuts. In the middle of the street next to bus lanes, next to curbs, between right turn lanes and thru lanes. Drivers have no idea where to drive, where the bikes are supposed to be, who the frick wrote these laws, and bikers assuming they're in the right get mowed down with regularity. Unintended consequence.

    So, on city streets? Better have a helmet and full armor.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 8ninety8 View Post
    Agree with mika. Generally folks want good stuff to happen in life. More good, better. Extrapolate. Pass laws making more good, hopefully. Extrapolate. At some point one has to ask oneself, have enough problems been accommodated? Was there really a crisis in the first place? Before bicycle helmets can't remember one person in my sphere having been killed riding a bicycle. Every school, as an example, had full bicycle racks. I rode a bike everyday, including winter, delivering papers. Fell down a couple times learning, once pushed by a guy riding a scooter, for fun. On a mud rutted road while racing. No helmet. Based on anecdotal evidence, fill in blank.

    Laws are great until the fines kick in. Here's yer non-helmet ticket, we're here to protect you. Pay with paypal. Why are fines always attached? Duh. Answer, apparently, we're too dumb to take care of ourselves?

    I agree. There's no doubt you can get a head injury or even killed falling over on a bicycle. Same taking a shower. Some years back here an experienced bicycle policemen was riding through the city park and did something to cause him to go over the bars which broke his neck killing him, he was wearing a helmet.

    My point is why are government agencies mandating laws stipulating protective gear to protect us from our own actions in the first place? Once we accept that government has this authority, or enough join to voluntarily give it to them, more and more laws and regulations to protecting you from yourself are inevitable.
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    Registered User 36654's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by milo View Post
    I agree. There's no doubt you can get a head injury or even killed falling over on a bicycle. Same taking a shower. Some years back here an experienced bicycle policemen was riding through the city park and did something to cause him to go over the bars which broke his neck killing him, he was wearing a helmet.

    My point is why are government agencies mandating laws stipulating protective gear to protect us from our own actions in the first place? Once we accept that government has this authority, or enough join to voluntarily give it to them, more and more laws and regulations to protecting you from yourself are inevitable.
    Considering that a good hospital stay will likely ruin whatever financial security you have, I would definitely worry about the Black helicopters......
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    Registered User Bob_M's Avatar
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    I was Mt. biking in the local hills and on a steep pitch I ran out of oomph at a water bar and fell over on the downhill side of the trail. Got up and a pencil size stich was embedded in my helmet. Agree that helmet use is required for people who value their heads. Here in Portland it is frequently a topic of discussion. When cars crash into cyclists news reports ALWAYS make a point of mentioning helmet use. If the rider didn't have a helmet, then victum blaming is enabled even if the cyclist was in no wat at fault.

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