Cycling in Melbourne Australia
Two thirds of British Medical Journal Doctors don't want mandatory bicycle helmets for adults.
From todays London Evening Standard :
Bicycle Helmets should not be made compulsory, doctors said today.
The shock finding came in a poll of readers of the British Medical Journal.
More than two thirds of the journals' readers voted against mandatory helmets for adults.
They said making helmet wearing compulsory could deter people from taking up cycling - meaning they would not get the benefits of added excercise.
Details can be seen here :
Probably true too; but we'll never know... unless someone actually measured the reduction in cyclits at the time that I noticed.
I choose to wear a helmet because I go fast on the roads.
It is up to the individual to decide what is safe for them
They should only make bike helmets compulsory if they also make car helmets mandatory.
(And ladder helmets, and bathroom helmets, and...)
Kathy, as usual we are in disagreement. This is not a survey of doctors! It is a self selecting group of READERS of the BMJ; yes, a significant proportion of them are doctors, but that does not make it a survey of doctors. This sort of misrepresentation is characteristic of this topic, a misrepresentation of the type that the readers of the BMJ are exposed to and which they are no better at sorting through than Joe public, despite your obvious belief in their higher level of discernment.
And of course, anybody who chooses not to cycle due to helmets (an unproven nonsense in itself) must then collapse onto the couch and do nothing but eat fatty foods and watch TV for the rest of their shortened lives, all the fault of the terrible nanny state! Shocking! Please desist from peddling this stuff; you may choose to ride without a helmet and face the risk of a fine, but what do you gain from encouraging others to do the same? Will you pay their fines? As far as I can tell a whole 34 people came to this demo - hardly a resounding endorsement! Why not put your energies into fighting for better infrastructure? Oh, I forgot, you are out in the country and unlikely to benefit.
Sorry Steve, it's not. Blindly accepting figures put in front of you just because they happen to agree with your own prejudices is not good critical thinking. I'm not a Doc but I have read the BMJ when doing research; the sidebar poll has all the scientific credibility of the Ponds Institute. Self selecting, open to any influence & any wally who happens to be pointed to the site by tweeting/email (& yes, this happened in this case, interest in the subject being what it is). So once again, nonsense results being promoted as fact. The real title should be "Two thirds of easily influenced people pointed to BMJ site don't want mandatory helmets to ruin their hair."
And what's so good about Doctors? I've met plenty who are complete imbeciles & I wouldn't let them care for a guinea pig, let alone give a medical opinion. <sheesh!>
"The BMJ is the journal of the British Medical Association, the professional association and trade union of British doctors. Part of the BMA’s remit it to lobby the government on issues that its members believe are important, and it has some clout in this area. These policies are decided by a representative democracy — a group of members elected by region and by field. In recent years, this body has decided that it is BMA policy to support legislation that would make helmets compulsory for cyclists." (my emphasis).
What about we all put all of this effort into pushing for better infrastructure? Here's my idea : what about a rumble strip between bike lane and car lane? Works very well on the freeway & is obviously cheap to implement (I think they just drive a heavy vehicle along with an imprinting shape on a special wheel). Won't interfere with riding, alerts drivers to the fact they are entering the bike lane. What about more constructive ideas and effort instead of agitating and whingeing about this helmet business?
It seems from this experiment http://drianwalker.com/overtaking/overtakingprobrief.pdf if you wear a helmet and are male drivers are likely to see you as a more experienced cyclist, not give you as much room on the road and hence heightening the likelihood of an accident :(
If a metre matters then maybe we need to ride helmetless, look female, ride a crunker, wobble about and drivers will give us the metre :)
An observation: The way some helmets are worn and adorned they are a likely to create a worse injury than if they had not been worn e.g. necking breaking stiff beaked baseball cups worn underneath or helmet splitting skull crashing batteries and high power lights mounted on top. I wunder why helmet boxes do not carry advisory statements to educate wearers of the likely consequences of doing such things that compromise the integrity of the helmets function.
Forrester ("Assertive Cycling") used to recommend a deliberate wobble when looking behind before making a turn. In his experience this made motorists more wary of him.
We're probably stuck with helmets for a long time, regardless of the rest of the world laughing at us for making them law, and most of us would probably wear them even if they weren't compulsory. It's fine to believe either side, regarding legal compulsion, but maybe our energies are better put into making cycling better then getting more people cycling that way. The helmet battle is lost until people recognise that cycling, while involving "risk", is actually "safe" and worth doing. Then we'll be able to re-examine the helmet law and have a better chance of success with repealing it.
BTW, there's a jerseyload of cyclists riding helmetless, from what I've seen. Usually on nasty, cheap mountain bikes and riding in tight, stonewash jeans. (It hurts to watch them, my nads ache in sympathy.)