Helmet debate + reader poll - its currently 50/50%


Those on the sharp end of cycling injuries want to keep the laws, writes Steve Dow.

A COUPLE of times a month, the neurosurgeon Jeffrey Rosenfeld operates on a cyclist who has suffered a serious head injury. They've almost always been wearing a helmet, removed by paramedics who bring it into the hospital. The helmet is often "crushed and messed up"............



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Tis been done, gotta get in quick: http://www.sydneycyclist.com/forum/topics/smh-word
A couple of times a month neurosurgeon Jeffrey Rosenfeld operates on a cyclist who has suffered a serious head injury. They've almost always been wearing a helmet ... The helmet is often "crushed and messed up"

Kinda suggests that the helmet didn't do much good, eh?

Vote early, vote often, vote nyet.
While unfortunately some crashes are so bad that no helmet could help, there could be quite a few potential patients out there that the neurosurgeons never meet because the helmet did its job. Such incidents would never be reported and no statistics held. Can we ever know?
"Can we ever know?"

Yes, because if helmets were effective at the population level the ratio of arm injuries to head injuries (as reported to hospitals) would have gone up immediately following the introduction of the MHL. But as Chris Rissell reports, it didn't.
From Dorohy Robinson, UNE resercher and MHL opponent, in response to Omar Khalifa's response (BNSW). Apparently we can know, because most cyclists with head injuries also have other injuries..:

"Here's a hypothetical example: Suppose before the law 100 cyclists had
head and 100 had non-head injuries requiring hospitalisation.

Suppose the claims of 80% reduction in head injury are true, so after
the law you have 100-non head injuries and 20 head injuries.

Before the law, the head injury percentage is 50%. Post-law, it's 20
out of 120 - 16.7%. So, if the number of head injuries falls because
cyclists don't need to go to hospital, the percentage head injured still
falls. Omar Khalifa's criticism [that we wouldnt know] is incorrect.

It's also incorrect for another reason - pre-law hospital data show that
more than 95% of cyclists with head injuries also have other injuries,
so most would still need hospital treatment.

A more realistic post-law scenario is that if helmets prevented head
injuries, 75 of the 80 would still need hospital treatment for other
injuries, meaning that the head injury rate should fall to 20/195 =

It's all too easy to fall and hit your helmet and assume that it
prevented a serious injury, even in circumstances where (because helmets
increase the size and mass of the head), the head wouldn't have even
contacted the ground without the helmet.

The small number of hirings for Melbourne's city bike scheme compared to
other cities is fairly compelling evidence that repealing the law would
increase cycling. Elsewhere, the city bike schemes made cycling so
popular that more people started to ride their own bikes as well as hire
city bikes. The resulting increase safety in numbers would benefit all
cyclists, including Bicycle NSW members.

In the longer term [we would] save a lot of brain injuries from heart attacks and

Thats the case for NMHL, but not the case for not wearing helmets.
these constant suggestions that cycling helmets are ineffective or worthless or even dangerous I do object to, because it just isn't true.

Oh really?

Let's see.

The helmet didn't prevent the crash happening, so it has failed to improve primary safety which should be our main aim.

The helmet didn't prevent a serious head injury, which most people think is the reason we have MHLs, so it has failed in its secondary safety role.

The anecdote about the neurosurgeon operating on cyclists heads fails to provide any evidence that mandatory helmet wearing is the road safety panacea the government wants us to think it is, unless he never has to operate on a motorist's head.

I'd say that's three strikes and you're out (to use an awful American baseball analogy because I can't think of a cricket one just now).
Over the fence is six and out!
why do we have to convince people to wear or not wear their helmets? let people get what they want out of the discussion i say.


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