Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Do Helmets Save Lives????

Key facts about cycling safety

It takes over 3,000 years of average cycling to suffer a serious head injury. [1]
Road cyclists account for less than 1% of serious head injuries seen by hospitals in the UK. [2]
Only 1 in 350 emergency admissions to hospital are due to any kind of cycling injury.
Around 1 in 1,000 are due to head injury. [3]
The most effective way to reduce the likelihood of injury when cycling is to increase the number of people who cycle. When cycle use doubles, the risk of injury per cyclist falls by 35% to 40%. [4]

Read More Here


Myths about helmets are another absurdity that has taken hold in countries where bicycling is not commonplace. Fear mongering rhetoric has escalated to the point where those not familiar with bicycling believe that if you so much as swing your leg over a bicycle you will smash your head open. Helmet rhetoric that sets bicycling out as far more dangerous than it is, has done immeasurable harm to efforts for increasing bicycling. Be sure to take this fun Quiz to adjust your perspective on the dangers of bicycling:

Mandatory helmet laws often follow the spread of these myths, adding the weight of the law to the idea that bicycling is more dangerous than any other form of transportation. In fact, as you will have found in the above Quiz, if these laws took a realistic approach to their attempt to prevent head injuries, all pedestrians and car drivers would be required to wear helmets as well. And, it seems, wearing a helmet inside the house should also become mandatory.

Please understand that we support people who want to wear helmets and even encouraging the use of helmets. We simply expect the reasoning behind wearing helmets to be factual so that people who choose to wear a helmet understand the limit of safety that helmet will provide them. Combining this understanding with the facts about how safe bicycling truly is will do wonders for efforts to increase bicycling. See this web page for a good overview of reasons to question overzealous helmet propaganda: . You will also find important papers linked from that site. Here are some more we recommend :

Read More Here

From These Websites


themilkman said...

Very interesting. I don't know if I can rely on those statistics while riding around here. Huntsville's drivers are most certainly more accident prone than your average gas huffin' moron, considering the past 6 months alone, and that may stack the deck a bit. I think about 4,000 years of education might close the gap a bit. Who knows?

clintpatty said...

don't care about the statistics or critiques
it's saved me from death or at least brain injury more than once

Bello Velo said...

I think it is a choice. If you want to wear one wear one. I just have an issue with being told I have to wear one here to participate in certain rides.The point being is that there is not enough evidence to support it. I think what the critique and statistics show is that there are a lot of other factor besides "wear a helmet" and when you exclude those you are not any safer helmet or not.

Sounds like faith to me.

Tyler on the other hand, had a head injury and he is fine and did not wear a helmet.

I am not encouraging you to not wear one either.

clintpatty said...

When Tyler or Matt or someone else hits their head and something happens to it but they escape serious brain injury and I hit my head harder and just get up and ride off and my head is the only part that doesn't hurt, I don't call that faith. I'm not one to hate on people for not wearing helmets, but it's a good idea for me. It's not faith, I've observed them doing something to protect my head. And yeah all the other factors combined are more important than this one factor.

Bello Velo said...

I am not hating on anyone who wears a helmet. I wear one sometimes too.

My personal point is some people want to cram it down your throat. I just can not disregard the fact that a lot of other places around the world people do not wear them and are just as safe if not more. The last "Ride of Silence" we were all chastised by someone for not wearing helmets. This could have been handled much better by just leading by example instead of a condescending tongue lashing.

I do see you as someone who leads by example and that is great.

I think more people riding on the roads will make it safer for us all not creating more obstacles to ride your bike.

inc123 said...

I recently read that it makes a measurable difference in head injury outcomes in kids & teens under 18, since the brain is still growing and even more vulnerable.

I was with Anita Tygart when it saved her life & with Michelle H. when it did. Dr. Fambrough told me his saved his life. so I wear one. I have Anita's helmet for educational purposes & photos of other post-wreck photos, should someone wish to see them.

I would argue it isn't so much as saving the live & saving the quality of life after the accident. Some brain injuries are forever, and perhaps worse that death. I think M. Ali got injury- related Parkinson's from repeated brain trauma. SO to me, it isn't as much as about living as how I live.

But each to their own-- if an adult & making an informed choice.

Anonymous said...

1) Helmets do not prevent crashes! Improved road and pathway conditions, driver education, better protections for cyclists and increased numbers of bicyclists through safety in numbers, prevent crashes. Too often government officials, health practitioners and even insurance companies grasp at helmet laws as a lazy solution, following the misinformation that has proliferated about helmets decreasing head injuries.

2) Helmets do not prevent major head injuries – While helmets help to prevent minor head injuries such as minor skull fractures and lacerations, they cannot prevent major head injuries caused by brain trauma inside the skull. They have also proven to be of little use in car-bike crashes.

3) Helmet laws are another barrier - Potential cyclists see many barriers to starting cycling. Mandatory helmet laws add to this list and thus prevent many new riders from starting. These laws have also been proven to decrease numbers of current cyclists thus increasing the potential for crashes by hindering safety in numbers: . This is the main point on this site: which also has lots of other good resources.

4) Helmet laws also set in place a ready-made blame the victim reaction - Each time a helmetless cyclist is in a crash, their bare head becomes the focus even if the driver deliberately ran them over and they died not from head injuries, but internal injuries.

Remember that whenever one of these laws is presented, it is from a lazy knee jerk reaction, either to a recent crash or fear mongering rhetoric. They always divert discussions away from the real remedy - making the bicycling environment safer in order to prevent crashes. Any time we hear of efforts to make crashing safer, we must respond immediately and demand that they instead work to prevent crashes!

Also you all are mentioning all these accidents Anita, Clint etc... were these car & cyclist or just cyclist? It seems we are saying it saved their lives which I am sure it helped, but what was the cause of the accident?

Lastly Sarah was wearing a helmet.

Horace died of chest injuries.

clintpatty said...

I think all of the mentioned accidents were cyclist-only. I know mine and Michelle's were. One of mine was going down a mountain, so still a decent impact. I originally said what Nolen said, it may or may not have saved my life, but I'm pretty sure it saved me from debilitating brain injuries. So if I'm going to die anyway if I get hit by a car going 45, the helmet isn't hurting. And it's helping some of the time.

And Jim, I'd originally had a club roadie ride in mind, but it's lame that people were being preachy even if they weren't being exclusive on the ride of silence. It's not affiliated, so there is no liability issue.

Bello Velo said...

I am glad all of you have survived. I just do not think that there is enough facts to make a definitive conclusion. I also do not think it should be such a focus as it is here in Huntsville. I am also concerned that when someone is struck or killed that if they are not wearing a helmet that the cycling public will focus on that not safer streets etc...

I will say that I do wear a helmet if I am recreational riding and always on Monte Sano, Keel and any other mountains. I also generally wear one when riding in the " club rides" here. The tuesday intergraph ride I have had friends who raced have there necks run over on this ride. Nothing more scary and unsafe than amateurs who have something to prove.

Maybe next year we should do the Ghost Ride memorial ride. I am not much for silence:)

Anonymous said...


I'm undecided in the matter. As a mountain biker, helmets are a definite yay.

As a road biker..touring type, I'd say nay. As a racing cyclist, yes.

As a commuter, nay if you are familiar with your routes. Yay is you are in some strange land, unsure of road conditions.

Yay, if you are a drunk.

Cruisin? Nay.

So I guess it depends on how much daneger you think your in. Fear contributes to crashes and it creates more serious injuries. Why? Well relaxed fallers don't break much...

Learning how to fall by doing it with a helmet on first is wise...Be sure to practice beating your head on the road with helmet first...then it will program your neck to react by holding your knoggin up. Yep, that's a scientific fact.

Wearing a messenger bag full of groceries also helps, unless you land on your face, then your screwed.

TBI is funny(not haha, but queer). I went to a seminar discussing traumatic brain injury. I was unsure of how I felt when the lady explained that any harsh jarring of the brain causes it to scrape against the scull. She went on to say that thinks like headbanging and going to metal shows caused injury to the brain. I don't think so.

I would definitely say that wearing a helmet is important when you are unsure of yourself or people around you. That being the case...

wear a helmet.

or not.