Australian helmet laws, edit (survey results )

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wturber   1 MW

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Re: Australian helmet laws

Post by wturber » Sep 19 2017 2:54pm

dingoEsride wrote:Good points all round but to me regardless of a law I will still wear one especially when mixing with traffic or hooning in the bush, a cycleway ride I may pass. Most falls are predictable but it's those awkward ones where you may get a clip or tap from behind that'll throw your line out and into somewhere not intended, no biggy to me to clip one on but I respect the choice of others.
Yep. The one where my helmet saved me was totally unexpected. I had one hand on the handlebar while I was while I was making an adjustment to my shorts with the other. I didn't see the lump of asphalt that my front wheel hit because - well - it was a lump of asphalt on an asphalt road. It blended in. The lump kicked my wheel 90 degrees (road bike - I'm doing perhaps 17 - 18 mph or so) and I flew over the handlebars, landing on the left front temple of my forehead. I had no time to react to anything. I was just flying and then I hit.

The Avenir hardshell helmet kept my head from hitting asphalt. But the impact still nearly knocked me out. Crushed that polystyrene foam from about 1 inch to about a half an inch at the point of impact (leading front edge of the helmet).

I'm a pretty careful rider. But I still make mistakes. A helmet is no cure-all, but it adds a little protection at a pretty low cost.
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Re: Australian helmet laws

Post by Chalo » Sep 19 2017 4:40pm

You can never know when your helmet saved you injury by getting destroyed, or when it only got destroyed.

The fact that head injury and fatality rates have stayed pretty much exactly the same in the USA during the period when helmet use rose from zero percent to about fifty percent is a good testament to their overall effectiveness. So go ahead and spend your money, endure discomfort, make cycling look more dangerous than it is, and let drivers off the hook for their crimes-- but don't have illusions about how much protection you're getting.
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Re: Australian helmet laws

Post by The fingers » Sep 19 2017 5:16pm

https://www.bicycling.com/bikes-gear/bi ... d-my-life/ :wink:
The Bike Helmet That Saved My Life
These eight cyclists share their terrifying close-call stories—and the helmets they credit with saving their skulls
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Blue Schwinn High Plains
Black Fiore Cruzer 5: Amped Warp Drive 26" Front DD/SLA kit
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Chalo   100 GW

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Re: Australian helmet laws

Post by Chalo » Sep 19 2017 5:26pm

Everyone who bashes his helmet and screws it up seems to be convinced that it saved him from certain death. If that isn't confirmation bias, I don't know what is.

The proof is in the populationwide data. They don't really help at all, on average. Whatever meager extra protection they provide is fully offset by extra risk taking.
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Re: Australian helmet laws

Post by Raged » Sep 19 2017 5:55pm

Chalo wrote:Everyone who bashes his helmet and screws it up seems to be convinced that it saved him from certain death. If that isn't confirmation bias, I don't know what is.

The proof is in the populationwide data. They don't really help at all, on average. Whatever meager extra protection they provide is fully offset by extra risk taking.
why do you correlate wearing safety gear with increased risk taking? To me its to reduce the risk of doing normal activities.
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Chalo   100 GW

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Re: Australian helmet laws

Post by Chalo » Sep 19 2017 7:20pm

Raged wrote:
Chalo wrote:Everyone who bashes his helmet and screws it up seems to be convinced that it saved him from certain death. If that isn't confirmation bias, I don't know what is.

The proof is in the populationwide data. They don't really help at all, on average. Whatever meager extra protection they provide is fully offset by extra risk taking.
why do you correlate wearing safety gear with increased risk taking? To me its to reduce the risk of doing normal activities.
If I had a nickel for every time I heard someone say, "I'd never _____ without a helmet", or "this is crazy, I'm glad I'm wearing a helmet", I could use the proceeds to buy a helmet. Anytime someone takes on extra risk because they're using a piece of safety gear, they negate some or all of the protection offered by that gear. Given that cycle helmets don't offer much protection to begin with, you don't have to do much risk compensation to offset their protection. Not only does the illusion of protection make some cyclists feel comfortable doing things they would not do otherwise, but it has been proven experimentally to make drivers pass helmeted cyclists more closely.

There has to be some very significant reason, or set of reasons, that helmets have not decreased the rates of head injuries or fatalities among cyclists as they've come into widespread use. I believe the biggest single factor is risk compensation, both by cyclists and by car drivers.
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Re: Australian helmet laws

Post by Alan B » Sep 19 2017 9:46pm

It has been shown, in court, that smoking reduces healthcare costs. Anything that causes people to die younger reduces overall healthcare costs, since they integrate to larger numbers over the long term. The case was sealed so we won't read about it in the news, but it was a major case between large healthcare companies and big tobacco. Things are not always as they seem.

Protective equipment can reduce your pain, suffering and injuries. The big picture is harder to measure, the studies are so often set up to prove a point rather than provide unbiased results. When a risk taker is killed, many future risk events are terminated. The experiment itself is biased.

If your protective equipment doesn't fit well or interferes with your operation, get better gear. It is usually available these days.

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Re: Australian helmet laws

Post by Chalo » Sep 19 2017 11:44pm

Populationwide data is not set up to prove a point. Populationwide data is what tells us that helmets don't help-- even though they obviously do help mitigate instrumented single impacts.

I don't think there's any point in spending resources on things that observably don't do what they purport to do, especially when they come with negative side effects like reduced ridership and blame shifting.
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Re: Australian helmet laws

Post by Izits » Sep 20 2017 3:16am

Chalo wrote:The fact that head injury and fatality rates have stayed pretty much exactly the same in the USA during the period when helmet use rose from zero percent to about fifty percent is a good testament to their overall effectiveness.
//
Bicycle helmets obviously work to reduce impacts-- that's what they're engineered to do-- but they don't detectably reduce per-cyclist injuries or fatalities anywhere they've been adopted.
Here's a quote on bicycle helmets from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

"Bicycle helmets are a proven intervention that reduce the risk of bicycle-related head injury by about 80 percent, yet bicycle helmets are not worn by most riders."
https://www.cdc.gov/program/performance ... icycle.htm

You might be right or you might be wrong. But either you don't know what you're talking about or the CDC (a federal agency) doesn't know what they're talking about. Are you saying the CDC is publishing completely incorrect data and the claims of this massive federal agency should be ignored?
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Re: Australian helmet laws

Post by sn0wchyld » Sep 20 2017 4:23am

Raged wrote:
sn0wchyld wrote:
In Australia we do not have free gov healthcare, we have socialised healthcare. We all pay for it every time we get paid, or buy anything. And even then, its not 'free' in that regard, as there are numerous expenses not covered by medicare (MRI is a common one). The gov doesn't pay for it, they mandate that we all do.

And as rhino mentioned, by this logic even further intrusions into how individuals run their own lives are thus justified. far more for instance die as a result of over eating, lack of activity and other harmful habits - do you think we should start making laws to fine fat people going to maccas, unfit people from playing too many games, and smokers from smoking, because the gov (read - the people) wear the costs? Because principally there's no difference. There's a number of diseases that are highly heritable. Should we be fining parents for not checking for such diseases? for still having kids despite knowing it?

This also skips over the fact that the introduction of helmet laws had a marginal, if any, impact on fatalities and injuries - rates fell after laws were introduced around 1990, but the rates of cycling also reduced - by approximately the same amount. It may even be that helmet laws have increased the rates of death, due to reduced rates of exercise, particularly among children and teenagers. This would also mean much greater impact on those socialised healthcare costs too, if reducing costs is the primary objective...
https://www.theguardian.com/news/databl ... -australia
https://www.google.com.au/url?sa=t&rct= ... ShtEaEcFsw

In any case my point remains that peoples behaviour that only endangers themselves (or presents minimal risk to others, though where that line lies is up for debate) should be largely, or entirely unregulated. People have no choice to participate in our socialised healthcare system, quite the opposite, they will be imprisoned if they dont. I fail to see how that can possibly justify further intrusions into peoples lives in order to 'reduce the cost that its mandated you will pay'.

And just to be abundantly clear, I think wearing a helmet is in 90% of cases (particularly on a ebike) a good idea - this is coming from some one who's had some crashes where wearing one would have actually made things worse. I dont think however that the gov should be enforcing how people are to live their lives 'for your own good', no matter how small the intrusion.
You only pay the medicare levy when you earn over $80,000 ? If you make over $80k/year then you have the option to pay the levy (is it 1% or 1.5%?) or take out personal health insurance to reduce your burden on the public system. It's not a perfect solution, but it's the best that has been brought up to cater for most people considering the average Australian wage is still around $54k and the levy only targets "high earners" to support the less fortunate. I personally dont have an issue paying that levy or for personal health insurance as I've been on the other side and have needed to use it. With the system in place, an Australian citizen will receive the full medical protection regardless of their income/status in life. It's a very very good safety net. Having travelled around the world, I would say it is one of the most fair systems in place.

Imagine a system if you didnt have appropriate insurance or money, you'd just be frocked for life with either a permanent injury (no rehab) or staggering medical bills. That system would just empower the rich and burden the less fortunate. A simple act of falling off your bike and slipping a spine disc would be near terminal in a labouring career. Under medicare, it's mostly covered ( I do understand there's a 3 month waiting period for operations ).

The rates of death/lack of fitness/obesity is not directly correlated to cycling. It's just a manipulation of statistics. 1990s was the golden age of personal computers and you suddenly had a whole generation of youth playing video games etc. People who want to cycle will cycle... those who dont... wont. Correlation is not causation. Look at the kids who would rather spend the weekend on their iphone than go for a bushwalk and you get the idea... Wearing a helmet or not has zero impact on their decisions.

Smokers are getting punished btw. A pack of smokes in Asia is about AUD$2.50... A pack in Australia is about $30 now after the last increase. Government intervention to reduce smokers and the harmful effect it has on the health system which is 100% preventable. Same with alchohol... I was in the US earlier this year where a bottle of Vodka was $18 at the local ABC shop... Same bottle in Australia was $40 due to additional taxes. The government is just using the methods available to them to discourage excessive smoking/drinking.

In regards to wearing a helmet reducing healthcare costs... It may be the difference between a broken arm with concussion vs a broken arm and brain damage.

I do however believe in free choice... However I believe the government "should" try to protect the people as best they can. Whether it is financially driven or not, it is about the quality of life of an individual and reducing the risk and damage an accident can cause.
Apologies for long post - a few points i want to address...

The levy only partially funds the system, the rest is from general taxation. It doesn't particularly matter however, the gov receives revenue from multiple sources and sends it out to multiple sinks. Correct me if im wrong but theres no 'x fund' from which no other gov service can draw from or contribute to... its all a pool of funds that gets distributed as needed/required. Case in point, the medicare levy only funds ~50% of the medicare costs (and about 16% of the total federal healthcare expenditure). It doesn't matter even if it was all funded by the surcharge - its still all from the same 'pool' - the 'rich' funding it simply means the 'non rich' fund something else (as opposed to everyone funding it equally) - the end result is exactly the same... its not free, its socialized, we all pay for it.

PS the levy kicks in at around 22k, not 80k. the 'average' Australian ($60kpa) pays 1200 a year, 1600 for your average full time worker ($80kpa).
https://www.ato.gov.au/individuals/medi ... e-earners/
http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/6302.0

And please note - my objection is to the morality of taxation, not to the benefits that can arise from it - and the subsequent justification for further intrusion on individual freedoms being justified in order to 'reduce the need for such immoral acts'. Its not to say that good cannot come from immoral acts, but that offering a trade-off between immoral acts remains... immoral.

Beyond that I dont believe i said helmet laws were the cause for the reduction in riding - merely that it may have contributed (and the correlation is particularly strong - <50% reduction in just a couple of years doesn't scream 'computers' to me... certainly not solely). My primary point is that they had marginal, if any impact on overall injury and death rates, and as such 'reduction in healthcare costs' appears to be a poor justification for enforcing helmet wearing, both on a moral and financial basis.

Back to our health system - i think you see the altruism and generosity of people to be far short of what it is. Before public healthcare, do you know what happens? doctors wold provide care free of charge to those who genuinely couldn't afford it, and charities or social communities would also contribute. And the interesting thing is this - it still happens today. I myself benefited from it, when getting a heart condition checked (turned out to be benign, thankfully) the doc asked as to my employment status, and when i mentioned i'd just finished uni and was still looking for work, he gave me a considerably reduced rate, as he does with many in such a situation. Socialised healthcare, without the use of force.

And yes i get that there are some sin taxes, and i can appreciate they can help reduce abuse, if only marginally (theres a growing black market for cigarettes now - given the taxes are getting so high that they may as well be illegal, and we all know how well making drugs illegal works for reducing public healthcare burdens...). The point again is that there is a key benefit to riding, and a marginal if any impact for wearing a helmet (at least on average, something that still surprises me). There is no such case with smoking or drinking. Fining people for smoking (by way of a sin tax) may well improve the situation, by off setting costs and reducing uptake of smoking (though the latter point seems somewhat debatable). No such trade off appears for helmets, its just a strait out fee, with no commiserate benefit and multiple potential negative impacts.

"However I believe the government "should" try to protect the people as best they can."
I agree with the sentiment, just not with the scope. I'm happy for gov to advise on the best/safest way (in their view) to go about doing x, but not for them to mandate it (ie a anti smoking campaign with links to where/how people can quit vs fines/taxes/illegality etc, or in this case, advising that helmets are a good idea vs fining you if you dont). They should be there to protect us from others who might infringe on our own rights and freedoms, not to do so themselves, and not to be our nanny.

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Re: Australian helmet laws

Post by MadRhino » Sep 20 2017 4:56am

The fundamental issue is: Should a government have the right and power to force the people to wear protective equipment ?

I believe that it is the responsibility of the government to enforce that safety equipment must be made available, but not that people use it. The law should not protect people against themselves. It is pretty much like you should not raise your kids in a cage, to protect them from the risks that they may face outside. People are not government property.
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Re: Australian helmet laws

Post by Chalo » Sep 20 2017 1:13pm

Izits wrote:
Chalo wrote:The fact that head injury and fatality rates have stayed pretty much exactly the same in the USA during the period when helmet use rose from zero percent to about fifty percent is a good testament to their overall effectiveness.
//
Bicycle helmets obviously work to reduce impacts-- that's what they're engineered to do-- but they don't detectably reduce per-cyclist injuries or fatalities anywhere they've been adopted.
Here's a quote on bicycle helmets from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

"Bicycle helmets are a proven intervention that reduce the risk of bicycle-related head injury by about 80 percent, yet bicycle helmets are not worn by most riders."
https://www.cdc.gov/program/performance ... icycle.htm

You might be right or you might be wrong. But either you don't know what you're talking about or the CDC (a federal agency) doesn't know what they're talking about. Are you saying the CDC is publishing completely incorrect data and the claims of this massive federal agency should be ignored?
One single study, by Thompson Rivara & Thompson in 1989, came up with the much-repeated 85% protection figure. Guess what? That study covered a couple dozen children who were brought by their parents to a single hospital in Seattle. If you look at their paltry data, you can also extrapolate things like helmets give you 75% protection against leg injuries.

But the results of that useless study contained a number claim that the helmet promoters and victim blamers liked, so it got a lot of mentions, and continues to do so. If you dig into the CDC's supporting materials for the blurb you linked to, I guarantee you you'll find TR&T 1989. And that is bullshit.

All the whole-population studies I have ever seen show close to no effect from the introduction of helmets. Some show statistically insignificant increases in mortality, some show similarly minor decreases. But every time helmets become required, the number of cyclists diminishes significantly.
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Re: Australian helmet laws

Post by Izits » Sep 20 2017 1:28pm

Chalo wrote:One single study, by Thompson Rivara & Thompson in 1989, came up with the much-repeated 85% protection figure. Guess what? That study covered a couple dozen children who were brought by their parents to a single hospital in Seattle. If you look at their paltry data, you can also extrapolate things like helmets give you 75% protection against leg injuries.

But the results of that useless study contained a number claim that the helmet promoters and victim blamers liked, so it got a lot of mentions, and continues to do so. If you dig into the CDC's supporting materials for the blurb you linked to, I guarantee you you'll find TR&T 1989. And that is bullshit.

All the whole-population studies I have ever seen show close to no effect from the introduction of helmets. Some show statistically insignificant increases in mortality, some show similarly minor decreases. But every time helmets become required, the number of cyclists diminishes significantly.
I get it, you're telling us the claims of the government are completely false. In fact your arguments are so clear and unavoidable that we must conclude the CDC was intentionally lying to us. I'm pretty sure that's what I've been saying all along, governments lie about everything. Thank you for supporting the exposure of how evil governments are.
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Chalo   100 GW

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Re: Australian helmet laws

Post by Chalo » Sep 20 2017 1:34pm

Everybody who believes in bicycle helmets despite evidence to the contrary, cites TR&T 1989. It's the only study that made such wildly unrealistic claims. So it's gotten an unearned level of legitimacy through the huge amount of repetition and citation alone, despite being hopelessly flawed.

I'm not going to single out the CDC as being somehow more wrong than all the other people who cite the same study. But they're wrong about that.

Governments defend car driving over other forms of transportation. But so, it seems, do you. Are you even old enough to drive yet? You've never answered that question.
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Re: Australian helmet laws

Post by markz » Sep 21 2017 2:31am

I remember when drivers licenses were paper and liquor stores were closed on weekends. Now they are open 24/7 10a-2a except xmas day and if you wanted it a little earlier you'd hit the airport. Some bus stop waiting dude with a thick accent was wagging an index finger at me for not wearing a helmet spouting off it was the law. How am I suppose to wear a helemt when even the XXL sizes do not fit me. Besides its not the law here, maybe under 18. Its like the copper spouting off I wasnt allowed to ride my bike on a residential busy road. They are just mouth pieces that dont know the law, I know the law on those things. Main artery thoroughfares during rush hour is not allowed.

My point is when you know the facts and you got some mouth piece spouting bs, lose all respect especially those in authority.

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Re: Australian helmet laws

Post by dingoEsride » Sep 21 2017 8:45am

Chalo wrote:So go ahead and spend your money, endure discomfort, make cycling look more dangerous than it is
Except that they are not expensive and not uncomfortable, I put one one for the same reason I put on a pair of sunglasses or a hat on a sunny day, if a hat stays on at speed I may use that but the helmets come with a strap and handy peak to shade the sun from the eyes and plus a good place for a headcam or lamp
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Re: Australian helmet laws

Post by MadRhino » Sep 21 2017 2:27pm

I prefer boots and gloves, and a cell phone in my rear pocket. That is because I land feet first, and slide on my arse. 8)
Make it fool-proof, and I will make a better fool.
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Re: Australian helmet laws

Post by Chalo » Sep 22 2017 3:04am

Where I live, 100 degrees F is normal. Wearing a styrofoam hat in 100F is not normal, though.
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Re: Australian helmet laws

Post by HY10 » Sep 26 2017 4:24am

Recently had appendix removed, found out that my private health care is of little value
So any one that thinks health care is free in Australia has some kind of welfare support . I still think kids have more to gain from a helmet but the law can't touch them if they choose not to wear it.
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Re: Australian helmet laws

Post by markz » Sep 26 2017 1:16pm

Well everything under the health care umbrella cant be free.
The one thing I learned recently was that New Zealand has a superb drug plan at great rates, they made a deal with drug companies to buy in bulk and get a great discount. Here in Canada each province has their own health care, its not federal.

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Re: Australian helmet laws

Post by Pemalite » Nov 03 2017 2:33am

Helmets like all things... Are not all created equal.
You have your cheap $5 kmart helmet that would be better used as a dogs chew toy... And then you have the DH helmets that push into the hundreds of dollars.

The Physics behind helmets is sound... A shell that spreads and absorbs the impact force over a wider area that isn't directly your skull is going to help... Only an idiot would say otherwise.
Issues like centrifugal forces being applied is an issue with helmets... Which is why technology like MiPS is a thing in higher-end lids.

If I had my way I would never remove the chin bar on my Bell Super helmet... But I tend to be noticed allot more often by the cops, so it's not worth using the extra protection, which is ironic.

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Re: Australian helmet laws

Post by wturber » Nov 03 2017 1:18pm

Pemalite wrote:Helmets like all things... Are not all created equal.
You have your cheap $5 kmart helmet that would be better used as a dogs chew toy... And then you have the DH helmets that push into the hundreds of dollars.
This test shows inexpensive and expensive helmets performing at about the same levels. Perhaps there are other studies that show otherwise. If so, please post.

https://helmets.org/testbycost.htm

I've yet to see a $5 helmet at Walmart. Most of Walmart's helmets are made by Bell and are priced between about $15 - $35. I'd be surprised if any of them are not CPSC approved.

Expensive helmets may have better ventilation, have nifty brand associations, cooler styling styling, etc. But I've found little to suggest that they are any safer.
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Re: Australian helmet laws

Post by Chalo » Nov 10 2017 8:53pm

Bicycle helmets are all designed to the same few defined standards, which are all approximately the same. CPSC, ANSI, and Snell. They all differ, but not so much that one results in a more protective helmet than the others.

Cheap helmets are likely to exceed test standards by a wider margin than expensive helmets, because they're not painstakingly designed to barely pass the tests while minimizing weight, optimizing aerodynamics, etc. So throwing more money at a helmet can buy you pretty much anything except added protection.

For most riders, it doesn't matter how much or little they spend on a helmet. It's all wasted money. If you push your limits so that you are certain you'll crash, or if you have an incapacitating medical condition (e.g. epilepsy), or if you intentionally ride in unsuitable conditions like muddy rocks, then you should probably wear a helmet. A good one. But if you're a reasonable and responsible rider who isn't looking for trouble and who is riding on pavement, the loss of situational awareness and risk compensation that come with wearing a helmet probably do you more harm than good.
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