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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Individual rights. I suppose that’s what it comes to. I am talking about the huge number of “casual” bikers (including a few not so casual roadies) who refuse to wear a helmet. I am thinking about the subject because I just returned from my ride. Back at the parking lot, I ran into a couple – probably mid 50’s – who were just going out. Neither had a helmet, so I could not help but casually ask why not. “Oh, we would never wear those silly things. We like the breeze”. I wished them well.

Allow me to say a few more word as to why I take an interest in what other’s do.

First, I have son who spent several years as head of a Level One trauma center, before going private. The stories he can tell about bicycle accidents would fill a large book. The leading injury, as you might guess, is head trauma. Many times, a blow to the head might not produce immediate symptoms. Recall the skier who fell, got up with no apparent injury and died three days later. The injury very often is bleeding of the brain. There are various classes of this, but the result is seldom good.

One odd part of this is that it is the casual rider, riding between 5 and 10 mph who seem most prone to head injury accidents. Besides the obvious – that they as a group tend not to wear helmets – another factor may be that serious bikers just have better skills.

To cap off my rant and reasons: My own father now suffers from a severe brain injury due to a “bump” on the head.

I won’t be leading any effort to force bicycle riders to wear helmets – so don’t get too excited. I just think the obvious needs to be pointed out occasionally.
 

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I was having a conversation with a friend who moved to the Netherlands--- and she was saying they stopped wearing helmets while they lived there--- that it felt odd at first, but they felt like freaks wearing them while riding a hybrid to the grocery store. There is an over-protective culture of safety in the US. When I go to Asia, I will see a family of four or five all riding the same scooter---- holding an infant on the handlebars--- and no one is wearing a helmet. Do you think they care any less for their children?

Lets put this into perspective--- I rode for almost 30 years before I started wearing a helmet. For the last ten years I have worn one--- almost 100% of the time I ride-- and it feels odd not to wear one (as strange as not wearing a seat belt). But what is the REAL risk of head injury while biking? Sure there is a risk, and wearing a helmet obviously reduces risk, and road bikers are probably the MOST LIKELY group to wear helmets. But scary anecdotes do not inspire change in people. Everyone knows smoking is bad, knows the risks--- and you see people smoking all the time.

I believe there is far more risky behavior out there than not wearing a bike helmet.
 

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I would rather see folks ride without a helmet than not ride at all.

Sure there all sorts of horror stories of what can happen to you without a helmet but all the horror stories (and the evening news) of what happens when someone drives too fast or aggressively or while texting or talking on the phone doesn't stop folks from driving that way.

Ride your bike.
 

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I can see both sides. When I lived in a small town, I'd run to the store on my bike, and never wear a helmet. When I started biking more, I started wearing my helmet more and more, and now you won't see me without it (unless, you know, I'm not biking). I also don't agree with the individual rights theory, because if safety was an individual right, there wouldn't be seatbelt laws. Things that are proven to decrease injury can easily be written into law (and I've lived in many areas that have bike helmet laws).
 

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What annoys me about clueless novice riders is those who ride with no helmet and AGAINST the flow of traffic. There is a local road here that is a mecca for these folks. Having to dodge them as they come the wrong way down the roadway is a major hazard - especially when automobiles are thrown in the mix!
 

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Population control.
 

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With rights come responsibilities, or at least they should. In my mind everyone has the "right" to take part in risky behavior (smoking, no seat belt, no helmet) IF, IF, IF, they are willing to be responsible for the consequences. The problem is that in our culture it is damn near impossible to responsible for your own actions. Society ends up footing the bill through higher insurance premiums, increased medical expenses and extended care costs.
 

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Clueless is right

KennyG said:
What annoys me about clueless novice riders is those who ride with no helmet and AGAINST the flow of traffic. There is a local road here that is a mecca for these folks. Having to dodge them as they come the wrong way down the roadway is a major hazard - especially when automobiles are thrown in the mix!
Yeah, well, I had one of those guys run into me a couple of months ago when I was making a left turn. He hit my door (the driver's side) with his bike and his head as I was turning. He was on the wrong side of the road and not wearing a helmet. But I digress....

This topic has been beat to death in this forums, so I won't say anything more than wear what you like when you ride. But, at least, ride on the correct side of the road.
 

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Blue CheeseHead said:
With rights come responsibilities, or at least they should. In my mind everyone has the "right" to take part in risky behavior (smoking, no seat belt, no helmet) IF, IF, IF, they are willing to be responsible for the consequences. The problem is that in our culture it is damn near impossible to responsible for your own actions. Society ends up footing the bill through higher insurance premiums, increased medical expenses and extended care costs.

+100 on personal responsibility! I'm tired of paying for irresponsible/stupid behavior of others.
 

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jaydub_u
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well I want to tread lightly here as I know that this can be a heavily debated topic but, I personally do not wear a helmet and I have been riding for years. on and off. Now for me it is all about the risk factor. If it is raining out and I am on my road bike, I wear one. If I am doing alot of downtown riding, I wear one. But if it is a nice day and I am going out for a routine ride in the burbs or on the bike trail and I am not pushing the envelopes, then I don't wear one. I don't bet on the freak things to happen. If that were the case, I would put a roll bar in my honda accord. I am 50 years old and I never rode a bike with a helmet in my younger days either. I fell, crashed alot. No head trauma. I have a friend that works as an EMT and they said that 90 percent of the motorcycle accidents that they see are folks on sport bikes. I say that because I ride a harley and I don't go dashing in and out of traffic, pulling wheelies on the freeway, ride around like a bike racer.
Now if you are an aggressive bicycle rider, then it is only smart to wear a helmet. I can see that. But I do think that as a society, we are easily scared into safety. I mean, most people involved in an airplane crash, die. That doesn't mean that I am going to quit flying. I think that we have a tendency to get scared by the freak accident.
True story, I new a guy that was out with a bunch of us on a motorcycle ride one June afternoon. It was 97degrees and he was wearing full leathers. When I asked him why, he said, "I feel a lot safer in case I was to go down". Later that afternoon as we stopped for a break, he wasn't looking so good and we wound up calling an ambulance. Heat exhaustion. I am just saying that everyone has to asses their own risk level comfort.
Oh, and I have very good insurance so no one has to cover my bills. At least not today. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
As the “starter” of this thread – I would remind – that I very clearly said I would not be leading any movements to enforce helmets. I totally agree – do what you will. What I did was point out a few facts – and if you were to spend 30 minutes listening to my son – well I guess I don’t really know what the reaction would be do I?

Broken arms, legs, collar bones, etc. are scratches compared to head injuries. As I indicated – I see the result every time I see my father. About 6 days a week.

So I generally agree with what all of you say – EXCEPT in this country so many people are uninsured or underinsured – I wind up paying their bills! Well I get some help from the others of you who pay LOTS for insurance.

Free world – do as you please? I will go along with it, but I know very well I am getting kicked in the rear by those who choose to ignore simple things. I have an Uncle who to this day will not wear a seat belt. Seems he read an article back in ’83 that someone got trapped in their car. How many did not get trapped Uncle?
 

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One danger of wearing helmets is that people are sometimes not as careful or observent as they would be if they were not wearing one, and potentially have a greater chance of an accident.

Personally I think they should be mandatory for cycling beginners, but after you've ridden for a while, taken a few spills and know what it's all about, it should be personal choice.

As for you people who are concerned that you have to pay an extra $0.50 premium a month in order to help people who have serious head trauma because they didn't wear a helmet, what kind of low lifes are you? Are those extra few bucks you pay a year that account for these cases going to make a difference in your life, that you'd rather see seriously hurt people not get treated. I mean it's not like the guy wanted this to happen to him, or did it to spite you and get your few bucks a year.

Only in America....
 

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rockcrusher said:
2 words: natasha richardson
15 more words for you: we can not say that a helmet would have made any difference in her case. Or any other case for that matter.

humans overestimate both risk of injury and the effectiveness of safety equipment, and the helmet industry loves it.
 

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pacificaslim said:
15 more words for you: we can not say that a helmet would have made any difference in her case. Or any other case for that matter.

humans overestimate both risk of injury and the effectiveness of safety equipment, and the helmet industry loves it.
can't say a helmet wouldn't have saved her life either. Rather be safer than deader.
 

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iamnotfilip said:
One danger of wearing helmets is that people are sometimes not as careful or observent as they would be if they were not wearing one, and potentially have a greater chance of an accident
This is kind of like saying that people don't drive as carefully when they use a seat belt- which I sincerely doubt.

A friend of mine is a neuropsychologist at a major New England hospital, and deals with brain-injured patients on a daily basis. He refers to non-helmet wearers as "organ donors".
 

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iamnotfilip said:
One danger of wearing helmets is that people are sometimes not as careful or observent as they would be if they were not wearing one, and potentially have a greater chance of an accident.
That's a crazy supposition. I don't know anyone that thinks they are suddenly so much more impervious to injury with a helmet on that they are less careful or less observant while riding. Your level of carefulness and observance is a habit. It is not likely to be modified just because you pop on a bicycle helmet.

S-
 
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