Note: Please bear in mind that whilst this topic does canvass opinions, it is not a fight club. You may disagree with other posters but we do ask you please to stick to our Talk Guidelines and to be civil. We don't allow personal attacks or troll-hunting. Do please report any. Thanks, MNHQ.

Cyclists without helmets on..

(260 Posts)
Writerwannabe83 Sun 06-Oct-13 09:52:08

Am I the only one who gets really annoyed about this?

If it is the law that us drivers have to wear seatbelts why is their safety choice an optional one?

IF we knocked a cyclist of his bike and he suffered irreparable brain damage or death as a result of a head injury it is us who would have to live with that guilt, even though they made the choice not to wear a helmet.

And then you see some parents out with their children on bikes and although the children always have helmets on, not all the parents do. It is great they are protecting their children, but why do they think their own brains don't matter? I don't mind cyclists on the road at all, but I wish they would wear helmets and keep themselves safe.

Maybe I'm just overly anxious about hitting one....or do they think it will never happen to them?

badguider Sun 06-Oct-13 09:58:58

If you knock a cyclist off their Nike with your car you are more likely to break their neck and leave them paralysed. A helmet won't stop that or many other consequences.
Helmets give a false sense of security, a collision with a helmeted cyclist can still quite easily be lethal.

Save your efforts for not hitting them in the first place and your anger for those who ride dangerously or without lights making collusion more likely.

FredFredGeorge Sun 06-Oct-13 09:59:42

Bike helmets are very unlikely to provide any protection to a person in a crash with a car, or from any accident where brain damage is likely. They are very good at protecting the user from low force crashes such as you get when you fall off at slow speed on to the ground. Quite typical for children.

But any crash with high enough forces to cause brain damage, the helmet would not work. There's a reason motorcyclists don't wear bike helmets - it's 'cos the protection isn't worth it. If a bike helmet is broken in an accident, it's failed to protect the user.

hiddenhome Sun 06-Oct-13 10:00:02

YANBU

My dad died from severe head injuries after coming off his pushbike in the 70s (before helmets were worn) sad

People don't realise how easy it is to die from a brain injury.

polarpercy Sun 06-Oct-13 10:02:06

There are lots of examples of where car drivers have been at fault and not received an adequate punishment, UK Cycle Rules highlight some of these cases. Cyclists have also received lesser compensation if not wearing a helmet, called contributory negligence. Although this does not take into account how/why they were hit, rather it places blame for their injury partially on them.

There are also a large number of accidents where a helmet will make little difference. If you watch some of the cycle-cam videos on YoutTube you will see that a huge number of accidents and near misses involve cars pulling out into cyclists and not hitting them head on or from behind. A helmet will not make a huge amount of difference in such a case, when you are side-swiped.

treaclesoda Sun 06-Oct-13 10:02:46

I'm in the 'false sense of security' camp too. I think cyclists should wear helmets but the very idea that you might feel even a teeny bit less worried about driving into a cyclist with a helmet on is a bit scary.

treaclesoda Sun 06-Oct-13 10:05:23

sorry, I meant 'the consequences of driving into a cyclist wearing a helmet'. I didn't mean to imply that you were recklessly planning on mowing down cyclists safe in the knowledge that they'd be ok because they're wearing helmets.

BucketArse Sun 06-Oct-13 10:07:03

You are more likely to acquire a head injury as a car passenger or pedestrian (being hit by a car) than by cycling.

If there were incontrovertible evidence that cycling helmets reduced injury rates then they would be compulsory.

There isn't, so they aren't.

Please try not to let cyclists annoy you, OP. They depend for their lives on motorists treating them with patience.

Writerwannabe83 Sun 06-Oct-13 10:07:19

Lol treacle - that made me smile. I can see me on a rampage, hunting out helmet- wearing cyclists and mowing them down, safe in the knowledge that they are the better ones to hit smile

I find it interesting though that people say helmets don't actually make that much of a difference?

solveproblem Sun 06-Oct-13 10:08:32

Where I live there's lots of children not wearing a helmet! I don't know what the parents are thinking.

I always wear a helmet especially when biking with my kids as I think parents need to set a good example.

BucketArse Sun 06-Oct-13 10:10:22

If it is the law that us drivers have to wear seatbelts why is their safety choice an optional one?

Because cycling is inherently safe. It's only motorised traffic that makes cycling (or walking, or riding a horse) dangerous.

It would be absurd for the law to require anyone to wear safety equipment to pursue a safe and benign activity such as cycling (or walking down the pavement, or standing at a busstop, or any of the myriad other things we do every day that put us at risk of being killed by drivers).

BucketArse Sun 06-Oct-13 10:11:03

Actually, scrub that - riding a horse IS dangerous.

Latara Sun 06-Oct-13 10:12:16

As a child and teenager I never wore a cycle helmet, as they were only just becoming widely available then.

But If I cycled now then i'd wear a cycle helmet.

One of my friends ended up with minor injuries in hospital from a collision on his bike. He showed a photo of his dented cycle helmet on FB - if he hadn't been wearing it he'd have been in the head injuries unit.
That brought home to me the importance of wearing a helmet.

I would say that a cycle helmet can save you from serious head injuries, but never let it give you a false sense of security because there are many other vulnerable areas on a cyclist, such as the neck.

Forcing cyclists to wear helmets is just another example of avoiding the real issue, which is dangerous motorists. If roads were properly safe for cyclists, they would not be demanded to wear helmets. The irony is that people are probably put off cycling precisely because they have to spash out on a helmet.

In sensible cycle-friendly places like the Netherlands, cyclists do not wear them.

As for this:
If it is the law that us drivers have to wear seatbelts why is their safety choice an optional one?

(translation) "Miss! Miss! It's not fair!"

fossil971 Sun 06-Oct-13 10:12:56

So why don't pedestrians wear helmets too?

I sometimes don't wear a bike helmet if I'm just nipping up the road half a mile and I know it won't be busy. On longer journeys and with DC we always have our helmets.

I work in construction and am also a motorcyclist so I spend much of my life covered in hi-vis and wearing some kind of helmet. It's amazing the lengths we go to in case a car driver doesn't look where they are going.

The best thing for road safety would be if cars drove slower and looked where they were going. Unfortunately going anywhere near roads these days is a lethal risk.

YABU, but cycle helmets are still generally a good idea. They are just not the answer to everything.

BucketArse Sun 06-Oct-13 10:14:17

OP, riding a helmet while cycling actually impedes your peripheral vision and hearing - the wind whistling through the helmet can be very loud.

I cycle every day. Sometimes I wear a helmet, sometimes I don't. Depends how I feel. I know that, statistically, it makes no difference at all to my chances of survival if I'm hit by an impatient driver trying to squeeze pass me, or pulling out in front of me because they haven't looked properly, or cutting me up at a roundabout, or executing a 'punishment pass' far too close because my mere presence on the road irritates them and because they seem to think I deserve to die...

treaclesoda Sun 06-Oct-13 10:15:17

the horse one is interesting because I think its fair to say that I'd be horrified if I saw someone riding a horse without a helmet, yet the people that I know who have been seriously injured, or even kolled, whilst horseriding have been injured by the horse falling on top of them, which the helmet did nothing to prevent.

treaclesoda Sun 06-Oct-13 10:16:24

killed, not kolled hmm

binger Sun 06-Oct-13 10:17:08

Both my dh and a friend were protected against head injuries, resulting in severe damage to helmet to the extent they needed new ones. One was the result of a dog running in front of them and the other was caused by clipping the kerb. If they had not been wearing helmets they would have been seriously injured.

It's not just cars they need to think about.

caroldecker Sun 06-Oct-13 10:17:08

article here tht says the debate of whether they re safer rages on, with no conclusive evidence for either side

Writerwannabe83 Sun 06-Oct-13 10:17:57

Cycling may be considered safe in open areas but although cyclists can trust themselves to cycle correctly accidents do happen on busy roads - and not always are they the fault of a car driver. Fair enough to take a more casual approach to helmets if they are cycling around in a park or a field but I genuinely think that if a cyclist wants to share a road with motor vehicles then they should realise that the danger is there and try and do all they can to protect themselves.

BucketArse Sun 06-Oct-13 10:18:53

Forcing cyclists to wear helmets is just another example of avoiding the real issue, which is dangerous motorists. If roads were properly safe for cyclists, they would not be demanded to wear helmets.

This. A million times.

OP - examine your irritation. Irritation at cyclists generally translates into a feeling that they have no right to be on the road at all. And they really, really do.

DropYourSword Sun 06-Oct-13 10:20:37

There are some countries where it's mandatory to wear a helmet when you're riding a bike.

Writerwannabe83 Sun 06-Oct-13 10:21:09

If you looks at my original post Bucket I highlighted that I have NO problems. With cyclists being on the road, and I don't, I just worry about their safety, that's all. My husband is always on his bike, it never bothers me, I just make sure he has his helmet on before he leaves smile

MousyMouse Sun 06-Oct-13 10:21:10

yabu
there are plenty of studies showing that helmets do only help with specific head injuries and nothing else. it alsomakes drivers less cautious around cyclists which makes it more dangerous for everyone involved.
for (older) dc it is even more dangerous if they don't take the hemlet off before climbing playing (risk of strangulation).
I would be in favour of every driver to have compulsory bike-road-safety training as part of obtaining/reneeing the drivers license.

WMittens Sun 06-Oct-13 10:21:30

BucketArse

"It's only motorised traffic that makes cycling (or walking, *or riding a horse*) dangerous."

I think Christopher Reeve would disagree with that statement.

Also why riding school liability insurance is one of the few compulsory insurance classes in the UK (others being motor, employer's liability, aviation and nuclear risks).

BucketArse Sun 06-Oct-13 10:22:12

* genuinely think that if a cyclist wants to share a road with motor vehicles then they should realise that the danger is there and try and do all they can to protect themselves.*

Well I genuinely think that if motorists want to share the road with cyclists and other vulnerable road users, then THEY should realise the danger THEY alone cause and do all they can to protect those vulnerable road users.

Anything else is victim blaming.

fossil971 Sun 06-Oct-13 10:22:50

OP - do you ever ride a bike on the road yourself?

BucketArse Sun 06-Oct-13 10:22:57

You will see, WMIttens, that I retracted that assertion in my following post.

Horse riding is more dangerous than boxing, I believe.

Perhaps Christopher Reeve should have gone for a bike ride.

NoComet Sun 06-Oct-13 10:23:08

My DDs have both smashed cycling helmets and probably saved themselves a nasty headache, but both crashed doing wild and daft kiddy things, not in ways a competent adult would.

I wear a helmet on our lanes as chances of catching a pot hole or the verge avoiding cars are large and I cycle slowly enough a helmet would help. In a high speed accident on an A road or even being sent flying in a city I don't know.

A cycling helmet is very flimsy compared to a motor bike, or even a riding helmet, I don't think they can be relied on too far.

WMittens Sun 06-Oct-13 10:24:18

a feeling that they have no right to be on the road at all. And they really, really do.

But not all roads.

it alsomakes drivers less cautious around cyclists which makes it more dangerous for everyone involved.

Only the fucking idiot motorists. Seriously, does any driver think, "oh they've got a helmet on so I can drive like a dick, they'll be fine"?

WMittens Sun 06-Oct-13 10:26:04

Perhaps Christopher Reeve should have gone for a bike ride.

I'm guessing he enjoyed horse riding. If we lived to avoid every risk ever, I'd argue that we wouldn't live at all.

BucketArse Sun 06-Oct-13 10:26:17

It dismays me to see so much anti-cycling sentiment on MN.

Cycling is one of the safest, easiest, healthiest, most enjoyable, cheapest, most life-affirming and joy-bringing things you can do.

OP, you should join your DP on his bike rides. Leave your car at home.

Go out and get the wind in your hair! wink

Writerwannabe83 Sun 06-Oct-13 10:27:11

Of course drivers know they can pose a danger to cyclists Bucket - where has anyone disputed that?

We should all be mindful of other road users and keeping each other safe, but we are still responsible for our own safety too, which is why I don't understand why some cyclists are happy to cycle amongst traffic without helmets on. Surely they must know the added risks are there?

And has been said, not all accidents are a result of irresponsible car drivers. And surely to not to wear a helmet with the belief that "if something happens it was the car drivers fault anyway" is a bit like cutting off your nose to spite your face. Regardless of fault, a cyclist should want to do anything they can to protect themselves?

WMittens Sun 06-Oct-13 10:28:40

but both crashed doing wild and daft kiddy things, not in ways a competent adult would.

It reminds me of the 'competent' adult cyclist who was following me down a steep hill at 45mph (50mph limit) a couple of metres from my rear bumper; if there had been any occurrence causing me to brake he would have been through the rear windscreen (or over the top of the car and into the hazard I would be trying to avoid).

There are idiot cyclists and there are idiot drivers.

WMittens Sun 06-Oct-13 10:30:10

Regardless of fault, a cyclist should want to do anything they can to protect themselves?

Well said.

I notice that a lot of people on this forum appear to confuse 'legal right' with 'invincibility shield'.

Writerwannabe83 Sun 06-Oct-13 10:30:30

Fossil - I don't have a bike actually! I would love one though! I used to love riding around as a child! I know I'd wear a helmet though smile

7to25 Sun 06-Oct-13 10:34:28

I was unfortunately in a head on car crash with my son's possessions in the car. His cycling helmet was in smithereens and his cup and teapot were undamaged. It made me realise that helmets would prevent injuries from say falling off the bike, but not anything more serious than that.

fossil971 Sun 06-Oct-13 10:35:19

smile go for it. In fact if you want to experience real fear, go off road mountain biking. After that the people cycling calmly on nice flat roads will seem very safe.

This is such a contentious subject, you are sort of right to be concerned really but thank goodness there are still some areas of life where you get to choose what you do.

Writerwannabe83 Sun 06-Oct-13 10:36:57

Mist crucifix - do cycle helmets have to go through any safety checks before they are sold? I wonder what level of force they are exposed to in their Quality Assurance checks etc...

VinegarDrinker Sun 06-Oct-13 10:40:41

All the cyclist deaths in London so far this year (far too many sad) have been cyclists crushed to death by HGVs. Many were wearing helmets.

Countries which have made helmets compulsory have seen big drops in cycling rates, with the knock on effects on public health

Plus there is good evidence that motorists drive closer and more dangerously around those wearing helmets

Ben Goldacre did a recent article on this http://www.bmj.com/content/346/bmj.f3817?ijkey=I5vHBog6FhaaLzX&keytype=ref

FWIW I wear a helmet and so does DS when on my bike. However neither DC wear helmets in the trailer as it isn't designed for use with them, it has its own safety features (including roll cage design) and helmets would force their necks into an inherently unstable position.

TheFallenNinja Sun 06-Oct-13 10:40:44

It's yellow vest syndrome I think. People believe that donning something designated as safety equipment gives them some kind of invincibility or protection.

It does not.

polarpercy Sun 06-Oct-13 10:40:53

My husband was hit back in February, he had a hi-vis jacket, bright back light, lights on his wheels and a front light. He was also wearing a helmet, there doesn't seem to be much more he could have done. Short of wrapping himself in bubble wrap, a side-swipe like that a helmet would make little difference as your handlebars and then elbows/knees hit the floor first btw.

Thankfully he is an extremely competent cyclist and managed to avoid hitting his head. The other car driver pulled out onto the roundabout into the side of him. Their 'defence' they didn't see him. The police did not pursue the matter further, my husband now cycles with a helmet-cam so he has concrete proof of some of the self-centred things that other road users do.

DameDeepRedBetty Sun 06-Oct-13 10:40:55

OP I agree with you if what you're saying is that all users of public highways (which includes pavements, footpaths etc) have an equal responsibility to treat all other road users with respect.

So that means drivers, bear in mind that the draught from your overtaking manoevre can make a cyclist wobble. Treat a cyclist as being as wide as a car and you won't be too far wrong.

Cyclists, please don't ride up behind pedestrians on a shared path without alerting them. You have a bell or horn (or should have), use it! If you do, don't be all surprised when my dog chases you. If you'd warned me, I'd have had time to get it on a lead!

ILikeBirds Sun 06-Oct-13 10:41:03
VinegarDrinker Sun 06-Oct-13 10:42:26
polarpercy Sun 06-Oct-13 10:45:08

*Regardless of fault, a cyclist should want to do anything they can to protect themselves?

Well said.*

But, in many circumstances there is only so much a cyclist can do. You cannot stop a car driver from, pulling into the side of you, passing you at a pinch point, cutting in dangerously in front of you, not indicating when they turn or sitting aggressively close behind you. These are just a handful of examples of things I have either seen or experienced on a bike. A helmet does not change the fact that in these instances the car driver is either acting unlawfully or aggressively. No one has said cyclists are perfect or that they are invincible, but a helmet is not a catch all saviour.

dropyoursword

I live in one of those countries. In consequence, I wear a beat-up old helmet, about 8 years old, dropped many times. Thus I satisfy the stupid law that requires me to wear one. No way am I splashing out on a new helmet.

DropYourSword Sun 06-Oct-13 10:54:40

Yep. I think it's a stupid law! As many people have pointed out, helmets will protect your head if you slip on ice or a stone in the road etc and it causes you to fall off. If you're in a crash with a car, it will do pretty much sweet FA!

WMittens Sun 06-Oct-13 10:56:09

But, in many circumstances there is only so much a cyclist can do. You cannot stop a car driver from, pulling into the side of you, passing you at a pinch point, cutting in dangerously in front of you, not indicating when they turn or sitting aggressively close behind you.

Where was the assertion that a cyclist could do any more? The point was, why not take all measures available? What is the rationale for neglecting safety equipment? So far we've been offered: "it makes drivers drive dangerously around cyclists" and "it makes cyclists ride dangerously because they have a false sense of security."

ihearsounds Sun 06-Oct-13 10:57:17

Some cyclists do need to start taking responsibility for themselves and others. Some cyclists are a danger to others and themselves.

Writerwannabe83 Sun 06-Oct-13 10:57:56

Bit wouldn't you want your head to be protected if you fell after skidding on ice that was on the road?

Even if it can't fully protect you if you have a crash with a car, helmets still serve some safety purpose in smaller incidents so why wouldn't cyclists want to take advantage of that?

DropYourSword Sun 06-Oct-13 10:58:28

So we may as well say pedestrians should wear body armor when crossing a road because they'll be safer!

Sparklingbrook Sun 06-Oct-13 10:58:39

Why do all threads discussing cyclists go like this?

Just wear a helmet-can't do any harm. confused

VinegarDrinker Sun 06-Oct-13 10:59:02

Are you discounting those reasons WMittens? There is evidence backing both up. So it just isn't as clear cut as helmets reduce your risk of injury.

VinegarDrinker Sun 06-Oct-13 10:59:52

There is evidence of potential harm. That's the point.

polarpercy Sun 06-Oct-13 11:01:24

But a cyclist can take all safety measures available WMittens as my husband did, and still end up being hit. A helmet will do very little in a large number of accidents. Helmets are not as foolproof as some car drivers seem to think.

Why is the discussion not moving from 'cyclists should do more' to 'cars and other motorised road users could do more'?

GiveItYourBestShot Sun 06-Oct-13 11:03:24

There has recently been an awful case in Scotland where the judge said the cyclist contributed to her own death by not wearing a helmet. The main thing that contributed to her death was the truck driver who drove over her. She was the second cyclist he has killed. The judge has since been reprimanded. I'm not sure of the point I'm making, sorry. Adults should have choice. I choose to wear a cycle helmet on long rides but not short ones. Which I know is daft.

polarpercy Sun 06-Oct-13 11:03:33

Also, as I mentioned in my earlier post a helmet made little difference when my husband was hit. The side of his body and handlebars took the brunt of the accident. His head did not hit the floor. He was bruised and sore for weeks, he was also availing himself of all the possible safety gear possible at the time. The car driver was at fault for not looking properly or simply not caring. Cycle often enough and you see and hear about plenty of SMIDSYs.

WMittens Sun 06-Oct-13 11:04:43

If you're in a crash with a car, it will do pretty much sweet FA!

Based on what?

Crash test videos:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=uVZ0qiA-jBY

www.youtube.com/watch?v=mMl824DK1aE

www.youtube.com/watch?v=NDKEJEK8GJQ

www.youtube.com/watch?v=MKfrhroTOGA (motorcycle, but demonstrates the priniciple)

In every one of the 5 examples in these 4 videos, the head meets the car with significant force. A helmet will help dissipate the force and could reduce damage below fatal levels.

WMittens Sun 06-Oct-13 11:07:22

But a cyclist can take all safety measures available WMittens as my husband did, and still end up being hit.

I don't know that anyone is claiming that helmets are the magical thing that will prevent all accidents. It is about taking available steps to reduce risk.

polarpercy Sun 06-Oct-13 11:08:43

I agree about reducing risks, but that second video a helmet will really do very little as the head goes through the windscreen. If you look at the composition of many cycle helmets they are not as tough as people expect.

Sparklingbrook Sun 06-Oct-13 11:09:03

But why would you not wear one if there's a chance it will help-say if you fell off your bike cycling over a pothole or something?

WMittens Sun 06-Oct-13 11:09:13

Also, as I mentioned in my earlier post a helmet made little difference when my husband was hit. The side of his body and handlebars took the brunt of the accident. His head did not hit the floor.

Well no, in that situation a helmet isn't going to help. It doesn't mean heads never hit the floor, the car or other objects in an accident, it just means your husband's head (luckily) didn't hit anything.

Writerwannabe83 Sun 06-Oct-13 11:09:22

Exactly WMittens - taking steps to reduce risk is exactly my point.

specialsubject Sun 06-Oct-13 11:10:00

it is an option, some cyclists find that helmets reduce vision and hearing. It is an adult decision, not the obvious one of wearing a seat-belt in a car.

I knew someone who was knocked off his bike by a murderous driver and had a bad throat injury from the helmet strap. Never cut and dried.

However kids should wear cycle helmets, end of.

stop being annoyed at other road users and concentrate on your own driving.

VinegarDrinker Sun 06-Oct-13 11:10:07

I cycle in London, where average traffic speeds are usually well below 20 mph. Around here cars don't generally kill or seriously injure cyclists - HGVs do. By crushing them to death. And helmets will make no difference to that whatsoever.

I wear one primarily to set an example to DC (who have softer skulls) and also in case of a freak pothole/stone/ice skid etc. Having said that I've been cycling daily for 15+ years and yet to come off.

WMittens Sun 06-Oct-13 11:11:55

but that second video a helmet will really do very little as the head goes through the windscreen.

Well yeah, if there's a massive speed differential it's not going to help. However, if we're talking lower speeds and the helmet brings the injury below the threshold of death, or the threshold of brain damage, then why would you not wear one?

The whole point of risk is you don't know what will happen, not when. We don't have the luxury of knowing when to wear PPE and when we don't need it.

VinegarDrinker Sun 06-Oct-13 11:12:02

If you are taking "all available steps to reduce risk" (putting aside the fact that they may increase your risk of an accident) then presumably you apply that to all other areas of life? You know, like not skiing, horse riding, crossing roads, driving a car etc....

WMittens Sun 06-Oct-13 11:13:38

Are you discounting those reasons WMittens? There is evidence backing both up.

I'd like to view the evidence before making my mind up completely, if you've got any links?

Sparklingbrook Sun 06-Oct-13 11:13:43

How do you explain to children why they have to wear a helmet but adults don't?

VinegarDrinker Sun 06-Oct-13 11:18:55

I don't Sparkling - hence wearing one myself. In fact my FIL never wore a helmet til DS was born as he decided it was impossible to explain to a young child why he didn't.

Re evidence, I'm typing one handed on my phone while BFing so not really easy but will try & link

Sparklingbrook Sun 06-Oct-13 11:20:44

Isn't it leading by example Vinegar?

WMittens Sun 06-Oct-13 11:22:29

If you are taking "all available steps to reduce risk" (putting aside the fact that they may increase your risk of an accident)

That is an oxymoron; I'm not sure you understand the nature of risk. Risk is a product of frequency and severity. I suppose it is feasible that measures could increase frequency, but if the steps (as I stated) reduce risk then the severity must be reduced by a greater proportion. Otherwise, the steps do not reduce risk, so you don't take those steps.

then presumably you apply that to all other areas of life? You know, like not skiing, horse riding, crossing roads, driving a car etc....

Don't be daft. See my earlier comment about living.

Are those the most risky activities you could think of? In the last year I've done skydiving, rally car driving, a 12 mile assault course race, and in the past I've done motorbike track days and hare n hound (off road motorbike) races. A bungee jump is on the cards within a year.

Writerwannabe83 Sun 06-Oct-13 11:22:59

vinegar - of course people ski, ride horses, cross roads and drive cars, but they do it whilst taking steps to reduce the risk of any injury. Just as cyclists should do.

VinegarDrinker Sun 06-Oct-13 11:23:27

Here are Ben Goldacre's links, can't get them all on my phone so haven't read them

04. ↵ Phillips RO, Fyhri A, Sagberg F. Risk compensation and b icycle helmets. Risk Anal 2011;31:1187-95. CrossRef Medline

05. ↵ Adams J. Risk. Taylor & Francis, 2002.

06. ↵ Walker I. Drivers overtaking bicyclists: objective data on the effects of riding position, helmet use, vehicle type and appa rent gender. Accid Anal Prev 2007;39:417-25. CrossRef Medline

VinegarDrinker Sun 06-Oct-13 11:27:27

No your risk of injury is a product of both the risk of an accident and the risk of that accident causing injury

badguider Sun 06-Oct-13 11:27:49

There's a massive difference between - cyclists should choose to wear a helmet just in case. And - cyclists should be made to wear a helmet so that car drivers can worry less about hitting them on the road.
The second is essentially what the op says.

I always wear a helmet. But am totally against it being compulsory.

VinegarDrinker Sun 06-Oct-13 11:28:38

" Otherwise, the steps do not reduce risk, so you don't take those steps."

This is the crux of the discussion. Whether wearing a helmet does or doesn't reduce risk.

Writerwannabe83 Sun 06-Oct-13 11:30:52

That's really unfair badguider - nowhere have I said that I wouldn't care about hitting a cyclist just because they have a helmet on. That's a really nasty thing to say actually.

To amy parents who put the helmets on their children to keep them protected but don't feel them to be a necessity, at what age would you tell your child it is ok to now cycle without one?

badguider Sun 06-Oct-13 11:33:38

You did. You said if you ever knocked a cyclist off you'd feel terribly guilty if they were brain damaged from not wearing a helmet. That's exactly what you said.

Writerwannabe83 Sun 06-Oct-13 11:34:53

I said I would feel guilty - wouldn't anyone?
And how is that is the same as me saying I wouldn't care if I hit a cyclist?

PeppiNephrine Sun 06-Oct-13 11:43:11

IF we knocked a cyclist of his bike and he suffered irreparable brain damage or death as a result of a head injury it is us who would have to live with that guilt, even though they made the choice not to wear a helmet.

You hit them with your car, why wouldn't the guilt be yours? You imply that actually it would be their own fault as they didn't wear a helmet, but YOU HIT THEM WITH YOUR CAR (theoretically).

moustachio Sun 06-Oct-13 11:46:58

I got hit by a car last year. He was in the wrong and pulled out of a junction that was give way, whislt he was texting. I saw him and braked.

He knocked me off my bike but I fell to the floor and hit my head. In this case, I think it saved me as hitting the concrete hard would of been bad without a helmet. BUT in extreme collisions, it wouldn't help in my opinion. So I always wear one, just in case there is a minor accident like mine, or if I just fall off through hitting something in the road etc.

I agree with mousymouse about drivers needed to take a bike-road-safety aspect of their test.

VivaLeThrustBadger Sun 06-Oct-13 11:49:46

I always wear a helmet on my bike and I'm sure it savedmy llife when I fell off. Don't wear a helmet on my trike as I can't fall off it.

WMittens Sun 06-Oct-13 11:51:34

VinegarDrinker

From 04. ↵ Phillips RO, Fyhri A, Sagberg F. Risk compensation and b icycle helmets. Risk Anal 2011;31:1187-95

"There are also confounding variables that are generally unmeasured and perhaps even unmeasurable. People who choose to wear bicycle helmets will probably be different from those who ride without a helmet: they may be more cautious, for example, and so less likely to have a serious head injury, regardless of their helmets."

It doesn't say anything about a correlation between wearing helmets and increases in accidents; it appears to be saying the issue is extremely complex and unclear due to the number of variables.

I'll work through the others and get back to you.

whois Sun 06-Oct-13 11:52:01

Plus there is good evidence that motorists drive closer and more dangerously around those wearing helmets

Anecdotally, I have found this. I bike to work, usually in sports kit, high vis vest and helmet. Occasionally I bike in wearing a pretty dress and no helmet. Cars seem to give me a much wider bearth then.

WMittens Sun 06-Oct-13 11:53:38

No your risk of injury is a product of both the risk of an accident and the risk of that accident causing injury

That's what I said - frequency x severity.

Writerwannabe83 Sun 06-Oct-13 11:54:38

Not all accidents are the fault of careless driving - I just don't understand peppinephrine why a cyclist wouldn't want to take as many measures as they could to protect themselves.

moustachoi - when I took my driving test about 6 years ago there was only 1 question in the Theory Test about drivers and bike safety- not exactly very thorough. As part of the test we were required to lift the bonnet and point to water tanks etc, maybe it would be more beneficial to have to have a face to face discussion with an examiner about cyclists so they check our knowledge about the risks we pose as drivers. I agree that it is something people should have an awareness of before being given their licence.

WMittens Sun 06-Oct-13 11:57:06

VinegarDrinker

Nevermind, just found the reference in that article.

comingalongnicely Sun 06-Oct-13 12:32:50

I wear a helmet if I'm whizzing around off road, less so when cycling to town/station etc because it's more likely to be of use if I fall off at high speed. If I'm hit by a car it's all pretty moot.

On the other hand, when I'm on my motorbike I'm covered in protection, Hi-Vis etc so the cars can see me - but I still think the main aim of the Crash Helmet is to make sure I look presentable in the casket!

Oldraver Sun 06-Oct-13 13:01:34

I always assume cyclists without helmets dont value their life think more of their hairdo.

ButI think its criminal not to make children wear them. My other bugbear is those trailer bikes....I've seen very few children in them without helmets....they would give nil protection to any child who was hit.

ILikeBirds Sun 06-Oct-13 13:13:37

I would say 90% of the families I see out cycling with their children are wearing cycle helmets incorrectly with loose straps, or helmet sitting on the back of their head with the forehead entirely exposed. I always assume these cyclists are morons misinformed about helmets and how much protection they give

treaclesoda Sun 06-Oct-13 13:14:15

The idea that only neglectful parents don't make their child wear a helmet is a bit simplistic. My dd rides a bike up and down our own driveway and round her friends' gardens without a helmet. I pointed out that the helmet was for her safety and said that if she didn't wear it, she couldn't ride her bike. So, she chose not to ride a bike at all, and sat indoors whilst her friends were out playing. DH and I thought it through and made a calculated decision that the risk to her of inactivity, over the long term, was much higher than the miniscule risk of a head injury through falling off. We want her to be in the habit of cycling and running about, because a sedentary lifestyle could be a habit that's hard to break. It's not that we don't care about her safety, its just that we would prefer her to be active.

She understands that when she is older she will have to wear a helmet if she rides anywhere with traffic, but at the moment traffic isn't an issue.

quoteunquote Sun 06-Oct-13 14:01:09

When cycle helmets came out there was a dip in the amount of organs available for transplant,

My surgeon friends (all who cycle) call non wearing helmet cyclist organ donors, as they are usually fit, conscientious (they have donor cards) and die from a knock to the head.

My children never have to be asked to wear theirs, as above friends have explained what happens.

they wear helmets for cycling, kayaking, riding, caving, climbing, (bizarrely in climbing you have to wear them for all training, but you don't wear them in climbing competitions), we have a massive rack of helmets,

It's just natural selection, if you choose not to wear one, well you can't be surprised when you die from a knock to the head.

Opalite Sun 06-Oct-13 14:04:21

I cycle and never wear a helmet, I don't wear one while I'm walking either and I have had more accidents walking than cycling (I've had no accidents while on my bike) of course this is only 1 person but honestly, I don't think there's a problem with bike safety apart from drivers who aren't careful or respectful enough.

Sparklingbrook Sun 06-Oct-13 14:05:20

But cyclists can come off their bikes without any cars being involved at all Opalite. confused

Opalite Sun 06-Oct-13 14:07:02

They can indeed, you can also trip while you're walking, fall off a bus, crash your car into a wall......

Sparklingbrook Sun 06-Oct-13 14:07:36

confused Don't get the comparison.

Opalite Sun 06-Oct-13 14:08:00

Oh my point was that at the moment the safety issue to be focusing on is the negligent drivers, not people who don't wear helmets.

Writerwannabe83 Sun 06-Oct-13 14:08:33

But the chance of a head injury is higher when coming off a bike when compared to tripping whilst walking??

Sparklingbrook Sun 06-Oct-13 14:10:10

You do tend to be going at a much higher speed when cycling rather than walking. Speed increases the impact with which your head hits the ground.

ILikeBirds Sun 06-Oct-13 14:13:02

"When cycle helmets came out there was a dip in the amount of organs available for transplant"

Source???

I think you or your surgeon friends are confusing motorcyclists and cyclists

Writerwannabe83 Sun 06-Oct-13 14:13:42

Plus, when walking and tripping we have the natural protective factor of putting our arms out to break our fall which can't be done in some circumstances when coming off a bike.

ILikeBirds Sun 06-Oct-13 14:14:36

"You do tend to be going at a much higher speed when cycling rather than walking."

And you're going at a much faster speed when a passenger in a car. All the 'but why wouldn't you questions regarding helmets' apply just as much to car passengers and drivers as cyclists.

Writerwannabe83 Sun 06-Oct-13 14:16:12

Passengers have seatbelts. We have that safety measure.

Just like cyclists have helmets as their safety measure - some just don't choose to wear them.

Sparklingbrook Sun 06-Oct-13 14:16:37

I think you have the protection of the car, ie your head isn't exposed as it is on a bike?

ILikeBirds Sun 06-Oct-13 14:19:58

Look at the leading causes of head injuries.

Traffic collisions are way ahead there, ergo enforcing helmet wearing in cars would prevent more head injuries/reduce severity of head injuries.

ILikeBirds Sun 06-Oct-13 14:21:00

And as a car passenger why wouldn't you want to protect yourself against that risk, however small? smile

Sparklingbrook Sun 06-Oct-13 14:21:18

But we are talking about cycling.

VinegarDrinker Sun 06-Oct-13 14:23:17

" My other bugbear is those trailer bikes....I've seen very few children in them without helmets....they would give nil protection to any child who was hit."

Do you mean trailers, or tag-a-long type things?

My DC don't wear helmets in the trailer, as mentioned upthread.

If anyone can think of a single mechanism of action that involved them getting an impact to the head while strapped in to the trailer, I will be seriously impressed.

It is designed as a roll cage, though it's practically impossible to tip it over if somehow it did, all that wouldhappen would be the DC would dangle from their seatbelts. If it is hit from front, side, rear, there are strong metal bars that would take the impact of any collision well before coming near the DC. We travel on roads with a maximum 30mph limit, mostly they are 20 mph.

Plus, wearing helmets would force their heads forward from the seat and put them at higher risk of neck injury due to position of their head & weight of the helmet..

mersea208 Sun 06-Oct-13 16:14:33

Can I add why do some cyclists wear dark clothes? Car drivers can't see them.

WMittens Sun 06-Oct-13 16:44:23

And you're going at a much faster speed when a passenger in a car. All the 'but why wouldn't you questions regarding helmets' apply just as much to car passengers and drivers as cyclists.

Airbags? And curtain airbags are available on many models now.

Would you purposely buy a car without airbags?

comingalongnicely Sun 06-Oct-13 17:29:01

ergo enforcing helmet wearing in cars would prevent more head injuries/reduce severity of head injuries

LOL, and what do you think happens if you're in an accident? The seatbelt stops your body & your head whips forwards with the extra weight of a helmet on it - wouldn't give much chance for your neck.

That's why all the Rally/Racing drivers wear those great big collars too - but if you get car drivers to wear them then cyclists will need to start wearing suits of armour, because visibility is severely reduced due to the inability to turn your head....

maddening Sun 06-Oct-13 18:43:13

We should all try to be safer - cyclists and motorists - cyclists should wear helmets (not all accidents are with motorists and not all the fault of the driver) and ensure they are as visable as possible and all motorists should drive more safely and roads should br improved to allow cyclists and motorists to co-exist.

LessMissAbs Sun 06-Oct-13 19:05:40

Am I the only one who gets really annoyed about this?

Probably not. The UK, being one of the fattest, unhealthiest, car obsessed countries in the world, seems to be full of "cyclist-beraters".

If it is the law that us drivers have to wear seatbelts why is their safety choice an optional one?

Because they are two different things. By the way, it is also the law that cars have to have fully functional lights, drive at the speed limit, have MOTs and insurance. Not all do so. Does that annoy you too?

IF we knocked a cyclist of his bike and he suffered irreparable brain damage or death as a result of a head injury it is us who would have to live with that guilt, even though they made the choice not to wear a helmet

Is that the Royal We? Or are We thinking that cyclists only cycle because they cannot afford cars? If We knocked a cyclist of his (sic) bike with enough force to cause irreparable brain damage or death, a cycle helmet is highly unlikely to prevent this. They aren't substantial enough.

And are you aware you show sociopathic tendencies in your fixation on your own personal guilt in such a victim blaming statement, but no concern for your hypothetical victim. Btw, do you often go around imagining serious injuries to people? Particularly in connection with your driving? Its a bit disturbing.

Might I suggest you get off your backside, take some exercise, and maybe travel a bit outside your own location and whatever Brit destination you go on holiday, to a country where its considered beneficial to encourage people to cycle. Such as Belgium, Denmark, Germany, The Netherlands - gosh you even see MOTHERS with CHILDREN on CYCLE CARRIERS, some of whom are not wearing helmets.

Best to pack the smelling salts...personally, I think counselling might be worthwhile as well, at least to try and increase your acceptance towards your fellow members of the human race.

ps come near me with your cyclist hating attitude, and I'll sue your ass off. Helmet and all.

Opalite Sun 06-Oct-13 19:10:40

WOAH, how did I miss 'IF we knocked a cyclist of his bike and he suffered irreparable brain damage or death as a result of a head injury it is us who would have to live with that guilt, even though they made the choice not to wear a helmet' of course you'd have to live with that guilt if YOU knocked somebody off their bike! Strange victim blaming mentality

lljkk Sun 06-Oct-13 19:11:27

yabu.

ColinFirthsGirth Sun 06-Oct-13 19:15:06

There is no real hard and fast evidence to suggest that wearing a helmet whilst cycling is any safer than not wearing one. There is however research to suggest that wearing a helmet may be more dangerous as statisitcally car drivers are more likely to subconsciously take more risks near cyclists wearing helmets. The only answer from a car drivers point of view is to make sure they give cyclists plenty of room and to drive safely and patiently.

Pan Sun 06-Oct-13 19:19:33

ah, yet another driver on MN telling cyclists how to keep themselves safe. Who would have that that possible?grin

OP, the best way to prevent these 'accidents' is to not knock us off our bikes. Overtake when it is safe to do so. Surely you're a reasonable driver and this isn't beyond you?

SadBadMadFat Sun 06-Oct-13 19:27:04

there are sensible car drivers/motorbike riders and cyclists.
There are irresponsible '' '' '' ''.

Cyclists would help themselves if they wore bright reflective clothing (where I live they wear black on black, in the evenings, no lights or anything on their bikes, one was run over because car didnt see him as he cycled without hands on handlebars in front of car. bet car driver got the blame.)

If they held the handlebars when cycling, not on their mobile phones or arms folded.
and if they didnt weave in and out of traffic and jump traffic lights.

same with other irresponsible drivers of vehicles.( bug bear with cars is tailgating, loud exshautes (sp), leaving engine running while parked (fumes) and stereos and speeding.)

and if helmets were made for cyclists then cyclists should wear them?

Shenanagins Sun 06-Oct-13 19:29:00

I think they should be compulsory as well as it is all too easy to get a head injury on a bike.

My oh is a cyclist and one day came home all bloodied and dishevelled after falling off his bike. He was going relatively slowly at a roundabout and skidded on some fuel causing him to fall off. There was a big dent in his helmut so it could have been much worse if he hadn't it on.

And while we are at it we should make it compulsory to wear bright clothes whilst cycling. It is shocking the number of those cycling in drab dreary rainy days wearing dark clothes, no helmut or lights on.

LessMissAbs Sun 06-Oct-13 19:29:34

Opalite presumably the OP would then suffer no guilt if she merely broke the neck or back of the cyclist she knocked off with her //weapon of choice-- car. Or run over one of their legs and sever their legs from their body, as someone did to my friend's mother (incidentally she was wearing a helmet and was killed).

I really am fast running out of patience for these sociopathic types.

OP get out of your bloody car, walk, or take the bus, but please stop thinking your evil thoughts about other road users. You really shouldn't be driving, you do know that, don't you? I say that as a car driver as well.

Pan Sun 06-Oct-13 19:32:57

tbf for me to not wear a helmet is counter-intuitive. Same with the dark clothes at night etc.

Having said that, car drivers cause carnage with the best dressed bikes - in my commutes it;s always me that takes responsibility for knob drivers to avoid incidents, despite being as bright as a Christmas tree.
< I mean in terms of illumination, not intelligence...probably.smile>

Pan Sun 06-Oct-13 19:35:37

yes, it's a common obs I have about drivers' 'complaints on MN. If you're such a shit driver, stay off the roads. Really. (also a driver, horse rider, motorbike licence-holder, skier, canal boat driver etc)

Mumsyblouse Sun 06-Oct-13 19:39:27

My issue is with lights, round here many of the students either don't have lights and take a chance in the dusk (obviously whilst wearing dark clothing so you really don't see them til you are almost on top of them) or they have very small lights, the type that are powered by pedal power, but these are often very weak and blink rather like a cat blinking than a vehicle on the road. I'd like all bikes to have to have a certain (measurable) level of brightness of their lights as however careful I am, and I am (and my dc and DH cycle a lot), I often can't see cyclists with their weak lights.

LessMissAbs Sun 06-Oct-13 19:42:12

Personally, I think the roads would be far safer if it were made compulsory for drivers to ride a bike to a reasonable level, pass a social empathy test or test designed to assess whether or not they have anti-social personality disorder, and cover motorway driving.

Things that annoy me in a similar vein:

- Although I'm currently in Belgium, I'm still a UK taxpayer - what the fuck are they doing with all my taxes, since the infrastructure in the UK is third world standards compared to here?
- Cars with faulty lights/no MOT/insurance
- Boy racers
- Middle lane, 55mph drivers on the motorways
- Unrepaired potholes

FavoriteThings Sun 06-Oct-13 19:45:29

Agree with Shenanigans. I am imagining the uproar though! shock

But I think the uproar would calm down after about a year, and most people would not then dream of saying, "right, we have now decided it is a good idea to reverse the law".

VinegarDrinker Sun 06-Oct-13 19:46:08

Let's be clear - lights are a legal requirement. Hi viz is not. I do all my cycling to get somewhere, not just "going for a ride" and what I wear depends on where I an going from and to, and what I need to be wearing when I get there. Popping a mile up the road to nursery really shouldn't require a full change of clothing just to keep drivers happy. Do the hi viz evangelists think pedestrians should do the same?

I do tend to wear a hi viz jacket if it's jacket weather (too warm still here) because it happens to also be the best water/windproof one I own.

Pan Sun 06-Oct-13 19:46:56

And stop parking in cycle lanes! One one route in Manchester a parade of shops has a cycle lane running outside of it. Every day, twice a day, I have to pull out into main road traffic to get past. Bastards will still consider themselves 'good drivers' if asked.hmm

and the green/red boxes at traffic lights. At least half of you think it's just pretty paint to cheer up the environment.

<wails at helmet debate>

Writerwannabe83 Sun 06-Oct-13 19:53:53

I'm actually surprised that seeing as how popular cycling is there aren't more roads that have specific cycle lanes. I'm trying to envision the streets where I live and I can't think of any that have cycle lanes. Mind you, that might cause problems with people who don't have garages/driveways to park their cars and so have to use the street outside their home.

Do people really park in cycle lanes? - that's bad!

Does anyone know what criteria must be reached for a road to have a designated cycle lane as opposed to another road that doesn't have one?

Pan Sun 06-Oct-13 19:55:18

"Mind you, that might cause problems with people who don't have garages/driveways to park their cars and so have to use the street outside their home."

FFS sad

Writerwannabe83 Sun 06-Oct-13 19:57:01

What was wrong with me saying that?? I was agreeing with you that it would be a nightmare (and pointless) if cars were forced to park across cycle lanes...

Pan Sun 06-Oct-13 19:59:52

"if cars were forced to park across cycle lanes..."

stop it! It's just too funny.grin

VinegarDrinker Sun 06-Oct-13 20:00:36

A bit of paint on the road means nothing and gives a false sense of security. A young woman was killed this year (by yet another HGV) while cycling on one of London's supposed "cycling superhighways"

Writerwannabe83 Sun 06-Oct-13 20:01:50

I think you are deliberately being argumentative. My point still stands though, I do think it would be much better and safer if most roads had a cycle lane but due to poor parking in residential areas it just wouldn't be feasible.

Writerwannabe83 Sun 06-Oct-13 20:04:20

vinegar - how awful, was she knocked off? I have seen some people make reference to cyclists being crushed by HGVs. Are the HGVS drivers just not aware of how wide their vehicles are??

Pan Sun 06-Oct-13 20:04:40

Sorry OP, I'm not being deliberately argumentative. But your car-centricity is breath-taking. Why would anyone be 'forced' to park in a bike lane?

Writerwannabe83 Sun 06-Oct-13 20:07:48

Maybe forced was the wrong word - I was referring to how it would be great to have cycle lanes on most roads but in residential areas where most houses don't have garages or driveways it wouldn't be feasible as people use the street to park their cars. I.e if there were cycle lanes on those sort of streets it would mean that people would either not be able to park outside their house or they would wrongly park across the cycle lane.

Pan Sun 06-Oct-13 20:10:37

yes, I'd thought that was it. Another option would be for a car owner to not park outside their house, and park somewhere else where it was legal to do so.

I wouldn't advocate bike lanes on all roads at all, fwiw.

Pan Sun 06-Oct-13 20:15:31

VD - I think the paint does provide a sense of security, but not totally, as you say. Most of the time, ime they are observed and so helps re safety.

Writerwannabe83 Sun 06-Oct-13 20:21:52

Pan- what kind of lanes do you think should have them? I'm guessing you are a cyclist, do you feel more safe on some roads as opposed to others?

Pan Sun 06-Oct-13 20:33:00

OP - dual carriageways, compulsory. Bendy, wind-ey roads. Town centre roads. Off the top of my head. Yes I bike a lot and also drive. And yes, some roads are safer, but as I'm sometimes no more than a few inches from a knob-ish driver it isn't the road lay out that is most risky, is it?

LessMissAbs Sun 06-Oct-13 20:37:08

writer I'm actually surprised that seeing as how popular cycling is there aren't more roads that have specific cycle lanes

Presumably because of the same reasons the railway network and service is so poor in the UK, the road surfaces are appalling, there is a lack of proper motorways from north to south (the A1 isn't even dual carriageway the whole way fgs), etc.. As I say, I have no idea what they do with the taxes, but they certainly aren't spending them on things that are taken for granted in normal countries on a similar latitude in the rest of Europe.

Hence people feel unsafe cycling, and use their cars more. Hence the country becomes more reliant on cars, even for short journeys, and less people use other methods of transport. People become dependent on cars, and like the OP, develop really rather strange notions about people who cycle, "us" and "them" attitudes, etc..

I also notice that where I am in Belgium, road repairs are carried out frequently, and really quickly. Theres no "3 weeks to repair 10m of pavement".

LessMissAbs Sun 06-Oct-13 20:38:58

Although in answer to your question, it should be possibly to cycle relatively safely on rural roads. Unfortunately they are so busy, and the incidence of boy racers and mad drivers so high, you still take your life in your hands.

Even when driving, the likelihood of meeting someone coming round a corner on a country road on the wrong side is quite high, or drive at 60mph and you will invariably be overtaken by someone doing 80mph.

VivaLeThrustBadger Sun 06-Oct-13 20:42:27

Maybe one day we'll be like Holland and have proper segregated cycle lanes everywhere.

Writerwannabe83 Sun 06-Oct-13 20:46:24

I completely agree with you about the dangers of rural roads!

I think if I cycled on the road I would be constantly worried about being knocked off. When I see buses or lorries passing cyclists I find myself holding my breath until I see the cyclist has remained unscathed. I always give cyclists quite a wide berth but obviously larger vehicles can't always have that freedom. Is it not nerve wracking when a big bus/lorry drives past you?

colleysmill Sun 06-Oct-13 20:50:29

God I'm so tired I've just misread the title of this thread as "cystitis without helmets" and was thinking what?!?

Writerwannabe83 Sun 06-Oct-13 20:51:58

Hahahahahaha grin That sounds like it would be a very interesting thread though... smile

bearleftmonkeyright Sun 06-Oct-13 20:52:44

Can I just say I had a lovely bike ride today. My bike is an old frame, Reynolds tubing. I love it. I did 30 miles in the sunshine. Since I have rediscovered cycling I have lost a ton of weight, feel less depressed and enjoy life more. That is what cycling does to you. For all you people out there moaning about cyclists and how they should be on the road I say this. Get on a bike yourself. For all you joyless motorists out there who pass a cyclist with hatred I know the person on two wheels is getting far more out their life than the person on four. And you should be jealous.

I find it very odd that some parents put helmets on their DC (on a child seat on their bike) but then don't wear a helmet themselves. It is as if (and apologies that this sounds crude/shocking) they love their child enough to protect them, but don't love their child enough to prevent them having to live with a brain injured parent or with one fewer parent.

lljkk Sun 06-Oct-13 20:58:32

oh ffs, why don't we just make it compulsory for everyone to stay home wrapped up in cotton wool. World would be so much safer if we did.

Writerwannabe83 Sun 06-Oct-13 20:58:41

Not one person on this thread has ever said they hate cyclists or that cyclists shouldn't be on the road.

FWIW - I would love a bike but I don't think I'm brave enough to face the roads smile I do miss cycling though! I used to do it loads when I was younger. I bought my husband a bike for his last birthday and he has been making comments about buying me one and I do like the idea of us going out for rides together. Like I said though, I think I'd be too worried about getting knocked off in order to completely enjoy myself. Maybe I could convince him to buy a bike rack for the car and we could drive to places that are considered safe to cycle in I.e national parks and fields etc.

30 miles in the sunshine does sound lovely smile

VivaLeThrustBadger Sun 06-Oct-13 20:59:33

Maybe they think their child is more likely to fall off than they (the adult) is?

If we're off road on a cycle trail I don't wear a helmet but make dd wear one as she might fall off. Actually now she's 12 and doesn't fall off for no good reason I don't make her wear one either.

Pan Sun 06-Oct-13 21:00:39

You learn your road craft, OP, in answer. There are ways of avoiding big lorries/buses as much as poss. IF I know there is a big truck behind on a narrow road I pull out and dominate the lane until the road is wide enough for the truck to overtake. It's assertive/defensive riding. Sometimes it takes a bit of gumption, but rather that than wait to be hit, ime.

LessMissAbs Sun 06-Oct-13 21:01:49

Its true though that in The Netherlands, there are plenty of cyclists not wearing helmets. I would say the majority don't. You see children cycling to school without helmets, parents with children towed in cycle carriers without helmets, people on the back of bikes ridden by someone else, without helmets. Very rare to see hi-viz gear and lights aren't universal after dark either.

There are also plenty of parts of the Netherlands which don't have segregated cycle lanes, but just really quiet roads. I always find this strange because NL has a much higher population density than the UK, so it just must be much better planned and with a much better infrastructure. I'm thinking of parts of Overijssel, Drenthe, Overflakkee, Schoeree, etc.. In some of those parts, if you drive on the rural roads at the weekend, you really get in the way of families cycling, and have to go very slowly.

Incidentally, any motorist who is involved in a collision with a cyclist is automatically deemed to be criminally liable, unless the contrary is proven.

Writer Is it not nerve wracking when a big bus/lorry drives past you?

tbh I'm quite confident with good motor and reaction skills, and I don't spend too much time being scared and afraid of what might happen, although I do try to minimise risk. The main cause of death in my family is heart disease so, weighing the risks, I probably am safer to include cycling in my life. Certainly, I think eating too much, smoking, and drinking excessively, and doing no exercise, would be more risky to me than cycling on busy roads. In that my father had already had a heart attack and irreversible damage by my age.

Writerwannabe83 Sun 06-Oct-13 21:04:37

Bikes don't have to have lights on in the dark?
How come?? Surely if they are road users they should have to follow the same rules as the other vehicles using the road at night?

LessMissAbs Sun 06-Oct-13 21:05:16

lljkk oh ffs, why don't we just make it compulsory for everyone to stay home wrapped up in cotton wool. World would be so much safer if we did

I think in the UK, that is pretty much what a lot of people do. Hence they cannot conceive that cycling is nothing more than an anti-social activity done by cranks, so unusual has the concept of moving somewhere under your own steam become. Their concept of risk becomes skewed and their reaction is to restrict anything outwith their personal experience.

maddening Sun 06-Oct-13 21:05:55

vinegar - actually if a person was walking on a road eg where there are no pavements, at night then I would expect high viz wear yes.

and why is it a whole outfit change? High viz strips do not require an outfit change.

VinegarDrinker Sun 06-Oct-13 21:07:16

" Certainly, I think eating too much, smoking, and drinking excessively, and doing no exercise, would be more risky to me than cycling on busy roads."

Exactly. I am convinced that the long and short term health benefits of cycling/walking everywhere daily far outweigh any tiny risk of a serious accident.

VinegarDrinker Sun 06-Oct-13 21:09:58

You want me to stick hi viz strips on my work clothes? It'd certainly be a .... unique look!

If I'm not at work I cycle in jeans and a t shirt usually. I am on and off my bike 3/4/5 times most days, sometimes many more. It is like asking someone to put on a special outfit to walk to the corner shop.

VinegarDrinker Sun 06-Oct-13 21:12:34

So my day might be: cycle DS to nursery, back on bike to go to shops, do shopping, home by bike, back on bike to take DD to Drs for her jabs, back home, back on bike to pick up DS, home again etc etc. And that's a very quiet day! Either I get hi viz tattoos or refuse to stress about not wearing hi viz for every journey I do.

Pan Sun 06-Oct-13 21:14:22

Vehicles best avoided:
Buses, trucks, 4-wheel drives, white vans, any commercial vehicles, taxis, early model upmarket cars, dirty cars, cars with more than one person in them, that sort of thing.smile
and women are no less stupid than men.shock

LessMissAbs Sun 06-Oct-13 21:14:27

I've noticed this control freak tendency in those who do not participate in movement outwith the vehicle. The sense of self importance becomes unusually enlarged - they think its the duty of other road users to avoid being hit by them or inconveniencing them. Even when the consequences of their negligence is to cause death or serious injury.

bearleftmonkeyright Sun 06-Oct-13 21:15:04

It was, sorry after the lovely day I've had I find this thread a bit depressing. Cycling should be for everyone.

Pan Sun 06-Oct-13 21:15:22

hi viz tatoos! Excellent!

VinegarDrinker Sun 06-Oct-13 21:16:59

They should be compulsory for all cyclists, Pan, obviously. I should get the DC done too.

Pan Sun 06-Oct-13 21:18:28

But we'd glow in the dark. Not a good look.smile

Writerwannabe83 Sun 06-Oct-13 21:19:51

I think Maddening meant Hi Viz should be worn when cycling at night, not for every journey smile

Hi Viz tattoos though.....could be a money maker!
Get yourselves on Dragons Den smile

Pan Sun 06-Oct-13 21:20:37

the other thing about helmets is that most cyclists die at junctions - I'd doubt a helmet would be much use there tbh?

VinegarDrinker Sun 06-Oct-13 21:21:08

I'd look a tad strange at work, too, but hey why wouldn't you want to do everything you could to reduce your risk of being killed wink

Writerwannabe83 Sun 06-Oct-13 21:23:24

So do you think people choose not to wear helmets because they think that if they were involved in a serious accident it probably wouldn't do much to help them anyway so why bother?

(Genuine question, no nastiness or sarcasm intended, just interest as to the thoughts cyclists have about their safety) smile

VinegarDrinker Sun 06-Oct-13 21:23:47

In all seriousness, this British concept of "cyclists" as some other wordly breed of human rather than just, y'know, normal people using bikes to get around rather than their legs or a car, gives me the rage.

Pan Sun 06-Oct-13 21:24:33

Sooo what sort of article are you researching, Writerwannabe83?

VinegarDrinker Sun 06-Oct-13 21:26:25

Lol

Writerwannabe83 Sun 06-Oct-13 21:26:38

None, I promise grin

I like writing novels, not articles. smile

Pan Sun 06-Oct-13 21:28:23

Well you're hanging around a looong time with a fairly inquisitive mind over an issue that can be quite divisive, and which you don't participate, and are riding the arrows of accusations pretty well. Just wondered.

Pan Sun 06-Oct-13 21:32:44

okaaay. So what sort of character is this fictional bikist going to have in your next block buster? <realises may be conversing with a giant of the publishing world - Harry and the mythical Advanced Stop Line is next up.smile>

Writerwannabe83 Sun 06-Oct-13 21:34:00

I'm hanging around because it is a thread I started so am obviously interested in the responses. And I'm inquisitive because I like to be open minded and I like to hear the views of cyclists. I didn't just start this thread with the intention of saying my point of view is right and then leaving again, I did it to hear other people's thoughts and opinions, especially those of cyclists in order to judge myself whether my expectations are unreasonable.

Isn't the point of AIBU to ask question and learn from each other and take on board other people's view points? That's what I use it for anyway.

LessMissAbs Sun 06-Oct-13 21:35:04

*Writer - who knows? Why all the esoteric questions? Reading between the lines, you have an inherent agenda in many of your posts, which is to blame cyclists for their accidents, and you are simply trying to "spread your message" in different ways.

Vinegar's In all seriousness, this British concept of "cyclists" as some other wordly breed of human rather than just, y'know, normal people using bikes to get around rather than their legs or a car, gives me the rage is more in point I believe.

What I find strange is this attitude of superiority of some car drivers towards cyclists, because as an athlete, its all about physical superiority and what your body can do, so it always strikes me as akin to maybe a bunch of Vicky Pollards criticising a bunch of supermodels.

Unlike the OP, I actually feel guilt when I'm in a car and pass a cyclist, because I'm being the lazy one, the one polluting the environment, the one spoiling it for others just by being there in my car and contributing to busy roads.

Pan Sun 06-Oct-13 21:35:16

No!! Tell us you ARE indeed a giant of the publishing world etc....grin

maddening Sun 06-Oct-13 21:36:21

no vinegar - the just go over your shoulder and diagonally accross your body - not actually stuck to your clothes - or are you being deliberately obtuse?

seriously - we're all road users so when using the roads in the dark we all need to be fixable and some easy solutions can really help.

I don't think that any drivers are less careful around cyclists depending on whether they are wearing a helmet or not, I doubt many accidents happen deliberately - but we can all minimise the chance and impact of accidents by taking precautions as road users no matter what your mode of transport.

FWIW I am v cautious around cyclists and (touch wood, salutes magpies etc ) am a careful driver - I get pissed off with bad drivers - the twats that risk everyone's lives when they drive - and am in no means safe from them myself - but if they hit me I have a higher chance of survival than a person on a bike so why not make sure you are seen and have what protection you can have.

there are twats though using every mode of transport - it shouldn't be motorists vs cyclists.

Writerwannabe83 Sun 06-Oct-13 21:36:33

I wish Pan - the word 'wannabe' is in my username for a reason grin

LessMissAbs Sun 06-Oct-13 21:36:51

In other words, Writer, I'm beginning to wonder if you have a bit of a god complex.

maddening Sun 06-Oct-13 21:38:17

visable to fixable - unfortunately we're not all fixable

Writerwannabe83 Sun 06-Oct-13 21:40:22

I have a God complex because I asked why some cyclists choose not to wear helmets? I can assure you, I am 100% positive that I'm not a God of any sort, and not do I wish to be, I'm just a normal woman who is interested in road safety - makes me sounds sounds pretty boring actually as opposed to being a God.

VinegarDrinker Sun 06-Oct-13 21:42:48

Ah you mean a Browne belt type thing. Tbh I think they're pretty shit, an inch or so wide and only visible from certain angles. If I'm cycling at night I'll generally wear some actual decent hi viz.

VinegarDrinker Sun 06-Oct-13 21:49:19

" I don't think that any drivers are less careful around cyclists depending on whether they are wearing a helmet or not"

There is evidence to suggest you are wrong. See also - women, people dressed in "normal" clothes, people with kid seats on their bikes (I can definitely attest to this one being true - the difference in how I am treated is amazing) ....

Pan Sun 06-Oct-13 21:51:02

See, if I was a giant of the publishing world etc, I too would be quiet about it, and say I'm just a woman with a boring mild interest in road safety...<grasping at ever-thinning straws>

Writerwannabe83 Sun 06-Oct-13 21:52:25

grin

VinegarDrinker Sun 06-Oct-13 21:53:56

83 was a good year to be born btw.

bearleftmonkeyright Sun 06-Oct-13 21:54:18

Any competent motorist should be able to pass a cyclist safely. Whether they are wearing a helmet or not is neither here nor there. If you are interested op, go on a bike yourself. Then you will have more of an informwd opinion.

bearleftmonkeyright Sun 06-Oct-13 21:55:39

It will make a more interesting article.

Writerwannabe83 Sun 06-Oct-13 21:58:10

I don't think I'm brave enough Bear!! smile Too much general road rage and impatience around for my liking.

Trying to ignore my impending 30th vinegar hmm smile

VinegarDrinker Sun 06-Oct-13 21:59:13

I just went to the pub for mine. That's as exciting as it gets in my world grin

VinegarDrinker Sun 06-Oct-13 21:59:53

Still keep forgetting that I am actually 30 though. That's like, grown up, right?

Pan Sun 06-Oct-13 22:00:18

30?
<snigger>

Writerwannabe83 Sun 06-Oct-13 22:00:31

Well I'm pregnant, so can't even be that exciting, haha. grin
One caffeine free coke please smile

VinegarDrinker Sun 06-Oct-13 22:03:10

I had an 8 week old (now 13 weeks) who is exclusively BF, did manage some cheap fizzy wine though, she didn't seem to mind!.

Writerwannabe83 Sun 06-Oct-13 22:05:14

I think that's allowed smile.

aliasjoey Sun 06-Oct-13 22:08:30

Studies have shown that car drivers are more careful around cyclists who aren't wearing helmets.

I don't wear a helmet (although I stick to minor roads) Most cyclists are also car drivers - we shouldn't be thinking about an 'us and them' attitude, we are all road users.

bearleftmonkeyright Sun 06-Oct-13 22:11:16

It doesn't take any sort of bravery. You just sit on a bike and pedal, not difficult in the slightest. There are no medala for cycling. It's a perfectly normal way to travel. I do question people who have such strong opiniona on an issue which has no consequence to them. Just pass cyclists carefully. Not hard is it?

Pan Sun 06-Oct-13 22:16:17

When cars over take each other they give what 3 feet at the very least?

So what's so hard about giving cyclists at least that without banging on about how 'careful' you have to be? Just do it?

HomicidalPsychoJungleCat Sun 06-Oct-13 22:18:11

Cyclists can also be at fault too. A misjudged taking of a junction whilst not wearing a helmet and wearing headphones (something I see quite a few lone cyclists doing) killed a close friend of our family...not before he'd been in a coma for months, which was devastating for his entire family. The Drs were emphatic that had he been wearing a helmet he would have sustained far fewer injuries and would probably have walked away with just the broken bones he also suffered.

The person who hit him has to live with the vision of him lying in the road with his skull caved in. We know from local people that he is a wreck because of it. I'm not sure I could live with that even if a court had ruled that the accident was not my fault. OP yanbu.

aliasjoey Sun 06-Oct-13 22:19:01

I don't wear a helmet because I believe cycling should be a normal everyday activity like walking - thinking you have to wear special equipment discourages people who then worry that it is a "dangerous" thing to do. Viz the Netherlands where most cyclists don't wear helmets.

Accidents often occur at low speeds, at junctions. I do wear high viz though, and have a flashing light!

LessMissAbs Sun 06-Oct-13 22:19:30

I have a God complex because I asked why some cyclists choose not to wear helmets?

No. Its because you wrote an OP which showed sociopathic tendencies somewhere on the spectrum, then regrouped and pretended to empathise with those you previously treated as being barely being worthy, while continuing to pointlessly question them in order to court popularity but with no genuine interest in what you proclaim to be able to discuss - cycling.

I for one was horrified at what you wrote with such blithe disregard for other road users and victims of dangerous drivers. I was still horrified, although more mildly, by your evident inexperience of doing a normal healthy activity, such as riding a bike, which is something you think you load into a car to take to a safe place for exercise. What a lifestyle! Do you do any activity outwith driving at all?

FWIW DH had a serious accident causing a brain injury, and we (ie inc the doctors) are unsure whether the helmet caused a concussive effect between his skull and the kerb as he bounced along it. It also fractured his eye socket, when his sports sunglasses arm became trapped under it. Nevertheless cycle helmets do probably help in minor accidents but they are too flimsy in comparison to motor cycle helmets or riding hats to make a huge difference, and it is utterly impractical to expect everyone who uses their bike to nip to the shops to don helmet and hi viz. It would make more sense to pass law making all drivers automatically responsible for collisions involving cyclists (or pedestrians). I actually do wear a helmet, but am aware of the risk of neck injuries should you fall backwards - broken necks and paralysis due to spine damage is relatively common and is often associated with helmets, particularly when mountain biking. Helmet design has changed over the years to tackle this, but it is an inherent design concept.

HomicidalPsychoJungleCat Sun 06-Oct-13 22:19:46

This was on a country road in the middle of the day. Visibility was good.

HomicidalPsychoJungleCat Sun 06-Oct-13 22:21:46

It would make more sense to pass law making all drivers automatically responsible for collisions involving cyclists (or pedestrians

This is possibly the most insane thing I have ready on MN this year. ??????

HomicidalPsychoJungleCat Sun 06-Oct-13 22:21:58

Read, sorry.

LessMissAbs Sun 06-Oct-13 22:23:00

Vinegar There is evidence to suggest you are wrong. See also - women, people dressed in "normal" clothes, people with kid seats on their bikes (I can definitely attest to this one being true - the difference in how I am treated is amazing) ....

One of the cycling magazines (I forget which one and wish I had a link) did a study as to overtaking width given by cars to various cyclists. It was found that attaching a fake long blonde ponytail to a cyclist resulted in a wider overtaking gap being used...

bearleftmonkeyright Sun 06-Oct-13 22:25:10

Yes cyclists can be at fault. Motorist can be at fault. But noone sets out to.have an accident. Just pass a cyclist with plenty of room and enjoy the rest of your day. It's not hard, not difficult. It doesn't need any type of discussion. Lets just get from a to b as safely as possible. If you are going to start an internet discussion about it have an informed opinion. Cycling is not an activity for others. It's for everyone.

LessMissAbs Sun 06-Oct-13 22:25:21

It would make more sense to pass law making all drivers automatically responsible for collisions involving cyclists (or pedestrians This is possibly the most insane thing I have ready on MN this year. ??????

Are you actually unaware of Things That Go On Outside The UK???

Are you actually unaware that this is standard in most northern European countries?

Are you actually unaware that a burden of proof can shift as it is only a presumption???

Seriously??? It might be time to do some reading.

Pan Sun 06-Oct-13 22:26:00

No it isn't insane. I agree. When a vehicle hits a bike there are often no witnesses, so really bad driving with consequences go unpunished and cost free. Such a law would vastly and quickly reduce knobbish driving behaviour and make drivers aware that there are consequences to actions.

I t would not lead to more bikes riding into cars deliberately btw.

HomicidalPsychoJungleCat Sun 06-Oct-13 22:27:51

Less miss, I lived in Belgium for years, so quite aware, thank you. I still feel this is crazy, ESP with the incident I mention above where it was quite clearly NOT the drivers fault.

Writerwannabe83 Sun 06-Oct-13 22:28:02

Well I'm sorry if I caused you any offence Lessmissabs. You have clearly formed an opinion on me and so we will have to agree to disagree on the type of person which seems to be a not very nice one that you think me to be.

I'm sorry to hear about your family friend homicidal psycho - how very tragic for everyone involved.

Pan Sun 06-Oct-13 22:30:10

if it was 'clearly not the drivers fault' then he/she wouldn't have anything to worry about re responsibility. It's a presumption, not an edict of responsibility where the evidence is contrary.

Pan Sun 06-Oct-13 22:32:48

the other thing about that story is, how do we know the cyclist was at fault, if he was in a coma? Do we take the drivers word for it? Just asking.

HomicidalPsychoJungleCat Sun 06-Oct-13 22:34:00

Pan, of course it would not involve more collisions, but if someone pulled out in front of you without signalling or looking, and you hit them, and killed them, and had to live with the awareness that this had destroyed their families lives completely, then how would it be just or fair for you to also be labelled at fault and possibly face a prison sentence?

I live in the sticks, I cycle a LOT, I come across a lot of knobs in cars who don't know how to approach or overtake or leave enough space for a cyclist. I also come across plenty of thoughtful and careful drivers. Equally I also know several cyclists who take stupid risks and cycle, quite frankly like assholes.

Bike helmets save lives in some instances where collisions happen with any of these parties involved. They should be worn.

HomicidalPsychoJungleCat Sun 06-Oct-13 22:35:06

Pan, there were two witnesses. Both unknown to either party.

RIZZ0 Sun 06-Oct-13 22:35:54

I'm really irritated by all the people saying helmets only protect you if you fall over, speculating that being in a proper crash they would do nothing etc... ill informed excuses.

My friend was hit by a car at speed, flew over it and smashed her (helmeted) head on a postbox. She is alive today because of her helmet. She has problems with her leg and a frontal lobe injury to recover from but she's alive. This would not have happened without a helmet and every single specialist she dealt with said so.

Pan Sun 06-Oct-13 22:36:39

ok, thanks. just gets round the coma issue.

ILikeBirds Sun 06-Oct-13 22:37:03

in which case presumed liability would make little difference

HomicidalPsychoJungleCat Sun 06-Oct-13 22:37:15

And it's not a story. It happened, it was highly traumatic, and the picture of my very dear friend witha huge hole in his head and his face puffed up to three times its size due to injuries is something i will never forget. I think I need to step away from this thread.

bearleftmonkeyright Sun 06-Oct-13 22:39:57

Writer it does seem quite clear you know nothing about cycling and don't want to know. I do wear a helmet. But that's up to me. I suggest you concentrate on giving cyclists plenty of room and let us worry about our own safety.

ILikeBirds Sun 06-Oct-13 22:41:13

Rizzo, i also know people who have had doctors tell them their helmet saved their life. Thing is they weren't wearing one!

There are so many factors to consider when it comes to injuries that it is often not clearcut

microserf Sun 06-Oct-13 22:43:28

I find this thread utterly ridiculous. Of course cyclists should bloody well wear helmets. I make the dcs wear helmets when cycling or scooting. Not to give a false sense of security nor give motorists the sense they can mow them down like skittles (these are the most ridiculous posts I think I have ever seen) but because they travel at speed and can injure themselves when they fall off or go head over the handlebars.

Helmets save lives. If I see a cyclist without one, I think they are an idiot.

Pan Sun 06-Oct-13 22:45:54

if the helmet debate is too trying for you micro off you pop then.

It takes one to know one doesn't it Micro. But perhaps not in your case.

Pan Sun 06-Oct-13 22:48:05

ha!

Lililly Sun 06-Oct-13 22:52:12

I find wear a helmet when I cycle to work as it messes up my hair.
Though this decision sounds vein, the long term health benefits to me for cycling over my driving colleagues massively outweigh the slight chance of head injury.

Sedentary lifestyles are a massive, public health, slow motion car crash.

LessMissAbs Sun 06-Oct-13 22:53:43

HomicidalPsycho Pan, of course it would not involve more collisions, but if someone pulled out in front of you without signalling or looking, and you hit them, and killed them, and had to live with the awareness that this had destroyed their families lives completely, then how would it be just or fair for you to also be labelled at fault and possibly face a prison sentence?

Do you understand the word "presumption"? A presumption of guilt is a legal doctrine that can be overturned. Normally in criminal law, the onus of proof lies upon the Prosecution to prove the case. However this presumption can be reversed, and in certain cycle-friendly countries, this is done so that those who cause accidents due to what in this country would be termed dangerous, negligent or careless driving have to prove that they are not at fault.

Think about what this means - it means those genuinely not at fault would not be criminally liable.

Now, as a driver, you should be aware that other road users may do unexpected things. Usually this is other drivers. Your hazard awareness should prevent the usual excuse of "I didn't see you", which in my mind, is not really a satisfactory excuse for taking someone's life.

Reversing the burden of proof for such accidents is though to be for the greater good. It means, in countries like The Netherlands, you can have infrastructure such as cycle paths which cross roads and the cyclists have priority, so that drivers of cars automatically look for other road users before crossing. It brings down urban speeds as well, and the sanction that they will automatically be found guilty under criminal law of causing an accident if they hit a cyclist, unless the contrary is proven, is effective.

You are also aware I hope that civil law is a different branch of law and that there are moves in this country for strict liability for such accidents under civil law, again as in many Northern European countries.

I am sorry, but I am really shocked as I thought most people were aware of such things as part of their general knowledge.

RIZZ0 Sun 06-Oct-13 22:56:43

Helmets save lives. It's bloody obvious and belligerent suggesting otherwise. Clearly some people don't want to be controlled and told what to do, fine but don't discredit helmets.

Yes, sometimes a doctor might suggest someone was right to wear a helmet when they didn't...(?) don't know the details surrounding that incident, but doesn't make helmets les safe.

Sometimes a well packed teapot might not break before a loose helmet flying through a car (?) doesn't make helmets unsafe. They're suppose to break up to take force before your head does.

A lot of horseshit on this thread, can't really see why and I thought MNers were more intelligent that this.

Yes, a helmet won't help you if a lorry crushes you, or you get your head chopped off, or you break your neck or many many other things. It's supposed to give you more of a chance with a head injury. And I've seen first hand, thank fuck that it does.

And Pan and Toad, what are you, twelve? Pathetic playground insulting.

Pan Sun 06-Oct-13 22:58:17

A law change would force reckless drivers to think again before squeezing past us, or cutting across at lights, or cutting up generally ( happened to me last week - only sharp braking by me saved an incident). It's that sort of daily shit that it would cut down on. Thankfully.

LessMissAbs Sun 06-Oct-13 23:01:00

Rizzo Helmets save lives. It's bloody obvious and belligerent suggesting otherwise. Clearly some people don't want to be controlled and told what to do, fine but don't discredit helmets

Don't overcredit helmets either. As I have already pointed out, they are far too flimsy to do much good in a serious accident. They are not as effective as motorcycle helmets or riding hats. And they can cause neck and upper spinal injuries in certain types of falls.

I think it would be more accurate to comment that some people don't want to be patronised, particularly by those with less experience of being active and outdoors than them.

Yes, there really is a lot of horseshit on this thread. Please don't lead some of the more psychotic, irresponsible drivers out there to believe that they can drive more carelessly because a cycling helmet will save a cyclist from serious injury should they hit them.

Pan Sun 06-Oct-13 23:01:23

14. and a half. Actually.

And she started it!

If micro is so ill-informed and insulting about people/issues she knows nothing about then it isn't a surprise when her contribution isn't valued.

bearleftmonkeyright Sun 06-Oct-13 23:01:44

Rizzo, you are getting a hard time because you have clearly not read the rest of the thread, especially lessmissabs posts. Also you haven't added anything very useful or informative.

Abra1d Sun 06-Oct-13 23:03:41

Cycling is a normal activity, like walking. In countries where there is a lot of cycling, such as the Netherlands and Germany, helmets are rarely worn.

Shouldn't pedestrians on county lanes also wear them? And runners?

Evidence in favour of helmet wearing is patchy, OP. If you researched the matter, you would see this.
Drive safely and you are unlikely to hit me on my bike, without a helmet. If I have wear helmets I will start driving instead and there will be one more dangerous car on the road. My hair cannot cope with helmets and then a business environment. It goes flat and lank.

TrueToYou Sun 06-Oct-13 23:05:46

Most of the helmets I see on cyclists are incorrectly positioned and would offer no protection at all.
I knowof two people, one very recently, whose lives absolutely were saved by wearing (correctly fitted ) helmets.
Yanbu, btw!

bearleftmonkeyright Sun 06-Oct-13 23:05:49

Rizzo I've got to apologize, I got you and another poster mixed up.

Pan Sun 06-Oct-13 23:08:14

yes helmets should have the peak bit over the forehead, not pointing up to the skies. And strapped properly.

and sun glasses are essential.

LessMissAbs Sun 06-Oct-13 23:16:14

Pan If micro is so ill-informed and insulting about people/issues she knows nothing about then it isn't a surprise when her contribution isn't valued

This is going to sound horribly conceited, but I generally only take advice from people who are better qualified or more experienced than I am. I find its a guideline that serves me quite well in life.

TrueToWho Most of the helmets I see on cyclists are incorrectly positioned and would offer no protection at all

Really? How fascinating! Are you a helmet-fitting type person then? And you are blind to all those cyclists who race competitively and have aero helmets meeting not only British standards but BTA/British Cycling race rules which are terribly stringent? Amazing!

I knowof two people, one very recently, whose lives absolutely were saved by wearing (correctly fitted ) helmets

What on earth were these helmets made of? To actually make the difference between life and death is remarkable, as opposed to between minor injury and somewhat more serious injury. Theres not actually a lot of difference between dying from a brain injury, being brain damaged or having no long term effects. A lot of it is down to factors such as speed and direction of fall, surface hit and how effective the presence or absence of any helmet is. But if you are unlucky and suffer a catastrophic injury to a certain vulnerable and important part of the brain, and you have any factors which may exacerbate it, such as a history of recreational drug or steroid use, then you may die.

RIZZ0 Sun 06-Oct-13 23:22:29

I'm not over-crediting helmets. As I have already said, my friend walk away (eventually, after a coma and much surgery) from a horrible accident that she would have died from if not for her helmet. Her experience amongst others I have known or witnessed is good enough for me and worth more than most of the (mostly speculative) anti-helmet comments here.
If any of you can say that you have experienced the same as her and lived to tell the tale without wearing a helmet I'll shut my mouth.

Also, I drive carefully around a cyclist whether or not they are wearing a helmet, because they are a person!
Ridiculous to suggest people drive recklessly around helmet wearing cyclists. There are many ways to die from being hit in various parts of the body... helmets just protect your head!

Pan Sun 06-Oct-13 23:27:30

"I drive carefully around a cyclist whether or not they are wearing a helmet,"

this is a bit annoying RIZZO tbh. You should always drive carefully. We are not 'special cases'. As i'd said drivers give about 3 feet or so when overtaking cars/trucks etc. So just do the same for cyclists. This should not be a challenge for competent drivers and not something to be proud off.

Pan Sun 06-Oct-13 23:27:59

or of even..

bearleftmonkeyright Sun 06-Oct-13 23:28:53

Rizzo, I don't doubt your friends experience. The op started this thread as a motorist with no interest or knowledge of cycling. Helmet use should have no.consequence to the motorist. Which is why I feel the op was bu.

RIZZ0 Sun 06-Oct-13 23:31:26

I do Pan. I didn't say I don't drive carefully the rest of the time and you're splitting hairs.

I just said I drive carefully around them either way.

Pan Sun 06-Oct-13 23:36:24

I'm not splitting hairs at all. I appreciate your sentiment totally, but you wouldn't do anything risky when overtaking another car - so it's the same for bikes, surely. No special consideration needed.

RIZZ0 Sun 06-Oct-13 23:40:24

Maybe you're right Bear, I don't know about the OP.
When I'm the driver I do think it would be good to know everyone is a protected as poss though in case they did make a mistake and you end up colliding with them for any reason. Nobody's perfect and the road's a dangerous place (even though we're all trying to be safe), and seeing the torment of my DF's family I cannot now see cyclist not wearing helmets and not think of the risks.
Sometimes when you're in a scary place, praying for the life of someone you care so much about, it hits home how fragile we are and you think you would do anything to keep safe and keep your loved ones from pain. I'm a recreational cyclist and never wore a helmet before the accident, I do now.

Obviously this is emotive for me and I come from a particular angle, but it found a lots of comments on this thread flippant yet without knowledge. I'm off to bed.

RIZZ0 Sun 06-Oct-13 23:42:26

Jesus Pan, I don't know if you're being facetious but please listen. I was saying I wouldn't give special, or less, consideration to a cyclist. I said a HELMET wouldn't make me drive in any LESS safe a manner.

tiggerpigger Sun 06-Oct-13 23:43:05

Can't believe how many simpletons there are here who don't understand how wearing a helmet can protect your head... jesus...

RIZZ0 Sun 06-Oct-13 23:45:17

Quite. Night all.

bearleftmonkeyright Sun 06-Oct-13 23:45:37

Rizzo, my brother died in a car accident so I really do understand where you are coming from. Losing anyone in a road accident is a tragedy which is very difficult to come to terms with and you want to do your utmost to prevent. I would imagine you are an extremely cautious careful motorist.

bearleftmonkeyright Sun 06-Oct-13 23:49:25

Clearly tiggerpigger, you are a genius.

Pan Sun 06-Oct-13 23:50:04

Rizzo - no facetiousness at all. No reason for it? But what you just said now wasn't what you said previously?

Witching hour cometh, and I have some riding to do in the morning. Drive and ride safely, sans or avec helmet.

comingalongnicely Mon 07-Oct-13 07:43:21

I dread driving past cyclists, especially those with kids or youngsters as you've no idea what they're going to do. I especially love the ones that swing over to the middle of the road when they look behind them!

So, if anything, I tend to drive "super carefully" when going past them, compared to normal driving.

It makes no difference to my driving if they're wearing helmets or not.

Car's don't seem to drive differently past me when I'm cycling if I'm with or without helmet - but then I don't skulk near the kerb, I'm just to the left of the middle of the lane so that they can't try to squeeze past & have to wait until they can overtake properly. If there are cars behind me & are going to be for a while I tend to pull onto the pavement & ride there for a bit to let them past.

Helmets are a personal choice and should stay that way. The only reason a lot of professional cyclists wear them is because it's in the rules and nowadays you're more aerodynamic with one on.

If you want to wear one, fine - If I don't then please don't assume I'm an "idiot". I'm a grown up & my style of riding will probably make me much less likely than you to be involved in an accident in the first place.

NotCitrus Mon 07-Oct-13 10:05:41

DP cycles 8 miles to work in London traffic. He doesn't wear a helmet.
Reasons: cars and buses really do leave you less space if you have a helmet on. (main reason)
It's hot and sticky and reduces his view and hearing a bit.
Tosser drivers can see he's male without it, and so don't give him sexist aggro.
The types of accident he's most likely to have at the speeds he can get up to in the traffic aren't ones where a helmet is likely to help.
He knows (fromyears of martial arts) how to fall to protect himself. In 15 years he's been knocked off twice, scraped his knee badly one time, few bruises the other.

BIL cycles in faster traffic a similar distance and does wear a helmet - he looks blokier to start with, and doesn't have so much practice at falling, resulting in wrecked shoulder when he did get knocked off once.

I don't cycle on roads but did have an accident the only time I ever wore a helmet - it protected me from scraping my face in dirt, but a more experienced cyclist wouldn't have had that accident anyway.

Seeing kids on scooters,I wonder if helmets give them a false sense of security, or if the kid is going so recklessly to start that the parents then get them a helmet?

ColinFirthsGirth Thu 10-Oct-13 20:36:03

RIZZO -There is scientific evidence to prove that drivers drive less carefully near people wearing helmets. I totally appreciate that your friend was saved by wearing a helmet - that's great! I have seen as a nurse a child that was saved by a cycling helmet. However you can't say that they should be worn by all cyclists because of this. The question of whether helmets really are safer is a complicated one and the research is mixed on this. If drivers drive less carefully near cyclists with helmets on - and this is thought to be subconscious - then this is a very important factor to consider. It doesn't mean that we are idiots - in fact my husband and myself have read many of the studies related to helmet use. Knowing people that have been saved by helmets doesn't mean that they are necessarily safe for ALL cyclists in this country. People should read all of the research out there before calling people idiots.

ColinFirthsGirth Thu 10-Oct-13 20:38:07

A number of experts also think that if helmets were made compulsory that less people would cycle in this country. This would cause more deaths because of heart attacks etc.

RIZZ0 Fri 11-Oct-13 17:39:11

I think your last point is extremely moot. And a bit silly in assuming that those who cycle to work wouldn't exchange cycling for any other excercise.

Anyway... Cars aren't the only danger for cyclists, slipping on loose gravel and badly banging your head can cause you seriously injury. I had the bloodstained towels and calls for an ambulance to prove that, after a woman slid on my road recently and needed help form me and my neighbours. Arm injuries and concussion could have been a lot worse as she banged her head hard.

I drive around a lot of horseriders and if anything, I imagine people see the ones without the helmets as the "experts" as they seem to have the confidence to go without one.

I'm always suspicious of 'research' that people cite until I know who it was done by, and who was asked.
I haven't read any research, but anecdotally, I have a close friend alive, and another accident witnessed in which both riders were credit their well being to helmets. It's good enough for me.

I believe that horse and bike riders should wear head protection in case they fall, skid, faint, hit a pothole/get bolted with (horses, not bikes obv!), or collide with a car because they stand a better chance of survival if the brain is protected as long as, as some have said, worn correctly.

I'm assuming you didn't mean to refer your last point to me as I didn't call anyone an idiot.

Sukebind Fri 11-Oct-13 17:58:44

I realise I am coming to this debate extremely late in the day but I will just say my husband was hit by a car and ended up being dragged along and then trapped under a bus in London. The medics who helped him (who were amazing and included a doctor cycling to work herself) were almost incredulous that he walked out of hospital that day with no broken bones and only skin and muscle trauma. He was told in no uncertain terms that if he had not been wearing a helmet he would have died.
The drivers vs cyclist debate is a different matter and quite a painful one for our family after the above accident and its aftermath. I can't comment on much as I don't want to break forum rules. I will say though that the law and many car drivers seem to automatically assume the cyclist is at fault.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now