Re: [messengers] Some scientific bloke has made it his business to repeal helmet laws in Aussieland.

Date: 21 Aug 2010 18:22:32 +0200
From: "Vickie" <velochica@xxxxxxxxx>


I agree that mandating helmets is plain stupid, unnecessary, and absurdly
authoritarian.

HOWEVER, I have trouble believing that the helmet law is the reason so few
people ride bikes. Perhaps the good professor should look into the prevalent
car culture to find out why cyclists are scarce.

If a helmet law was introduced here in the Washington DC region, I doubt
very much that we would see any decrease whatsoever in what little bicycling
we have. The recreational cyclists - the petty bourgeoisie - they wear
helmets anyway to protect their precious selves, never mind they ride 7mph
on dedicated trails where their pathetic lives are not in any danger. The
hard core riders (including  commuters) - the majority of them wear helmets
anyway. When you have 5000lb metallic monstrosities buzzing you within a few
inches of your life all day long, you quickly learn to appreciate a helmet
for whatever protection it may offer (most of which is psychological, I
suspect).

The only people I see riding overwhelmingly without helmets are poor people.
They ride slow, on the sidewalk, and very carefully. Heck, most of them are
"illegal" Latino immigrants who would never dare run stop signs and red
lights (like we do) or even ride on the road - least they attract the
attention of the police. I don't see them getting into accidents and I doubt
helmets would make them any safer. A helmet law would only allow cops to
harass those already harassed people some more, not save any lives.

I have spoken.



-----Original Message-----
From: messengers-bounces@xxxxxxxxx [mailto:messengers-bounces@xxxxxxxxx] On
Behalf Of Michael Dodd
Sent: Saturday, August 21, 2010 8:13 AM
To: messengers
Subject: [messengers] Some scientific bloke has made it his business to
repeal helmet laws in Aussieland.

He released a study but i lost it. (this is one of his follow ups
statements)


http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/08/19/2987648.htm?site=email
*"Professor Chris Rissel on helmet laws*

*I do not advocate for repealing seat-belt legislation, because the evidence
is very, very strong that they reduced head injuries in the community.*

*This is not the case with bicycle helmets. I agree that no one study
answers all the questions one might have about the legislation, and my study
did not attempt to do this.*

*I agree helmets offer some protection to the head at an individual level,
but the evidence indicates that the effects of legislation are not apparent
at the community level over time. A policy that affects the entire community
should show effects at that level. *

*At the time Professor McDermott was with the Victorian Road Trauma
Committee there were many serious problems with road injuries, and the
desire to improve bicyclist safety was admirable. However, with hindsight,
we can see that there were many other strategies and programs that improved
the injury rates, but the helmet legislation was a negligible contribution.
*

*At that time we didn't have the enormous problems with obesity, diabetes
and renal failure that we do now. We know that helmets represent a barrier
to people cycling and the health effects of more people cycling and being
active far outweigh the injury.*

*One final point is about the way we talk about risk. The case-control
studies that indicate that cyclists with head injuries admitted to hospital
without helmets might have an increased-odds ratio of likelihood of injury
of 20 or 30 per cent compared to wearing helmets make the risk seem higher
than they really are. *

*The absolute risk of any individual on a bicycle getting a head injury
might be in the order of one in a million, and even doubling the risk (an
odds ratio of 2.0) to two in a million, it is still tiny. The known risks of
getting overweight or developing diabetes from inactivity are many times
more significant that the injury risk.*

*If helmet legislation was such a good idea, why hasn't the rest of the
world followed suit? The fact is that in the countries with high cycling
rates, Australia's helmet legislation is a joke."*
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