Cycle helmets

October 9th, 2012 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The NYT Sunday Review:

One common denominator of successful bike programs around the world — from Paris to Barcelona to Guangzhou — is that almost no one wears a helmet, and there is no pressure to do so.

In the United States the notion that bike helmets promote health and safety by preventing head injuries is taken as pretty near God’s truth. Un-helmeted cyclists are regarded as irresponsible, like people who smoke. Cities are aggressive in helmet promotion.

But many European health experts have taken a very different view: Yes, there are studies that show that if you fall off a bicycle at a certain speed and hit your head, a helmet can reduce your risk of serious head injury. But such falls off bikes are rare — exceedingly so in mature urban cycling systems.

On the other hand, many researchers say, if you force or pressure people to wear helmets, you discourage them from riding bicycles. That means more obesity, heart disease and diabetes. And — Catch-22 — a result is fewer ordinary cyclists on the road, which makes it harder to develop a safe bicycling network. The safest biking cities are places like Amsterdam and Copenhagen, where middle-aged commuters are mainstay riders and the fraction of adults in helmets is minuscule.

That’s one anti-obesity measure I’d agree with – remove the legislative requirement to wear a cycle helmet or get fined.

I note helmets are becoming more common on ski fields. I dread the day when some official or NGO proposes making them compulsory.

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92 Responses to “Cycle helmets”

  1. Rightandleft (574 comments) says:

    As a social libertarian I completely agree that people should be free to choose whether or not to wear a helmet and accept the risks if they don’t. Helmet laws should definitely be repealed since the only person being hurt is the one choosing not to protect themselves. However I have to say I can’t understand why people are so averse to wearing a helmet. I’ve worn one every time I’ve been on a bike since I was a toddler. What’s the issue with them?

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  2. liarbors a joke (1,069 comments) says:

    Your first sentence should also include seatbelts in cars. Ive driven for 30 years and have never worn a seatbelt..never will either despite what the revenue collecters preach on about when they pull you over

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  3. Mike Wilkinson (64 comments) says:

    Excellent post, DPF. Unfortunately, people believe the government requiring cyclists to wear helmets is just the same as it requiring passengers in cars to wear seatbelts. Accepting that it isn’t requires people to think more about the likely results of such laws: unfortunately, that’s no simple thing.

    [DPF: Few people are put off driving due to seatbelt laws. Many are put off cycling due to helmet laws, so yes they are different I agree.]

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  4. Manolo (12,643 comments) says:

    You can almost hear the howls of outrage from the “protect-us-from-everything” brigade, ready to produce bogus figures and statistics to support their case.

    The responsibility of parents and individuals seem to be a thing of the past. We live regulated to the nth degree.

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  5. liarbors a joke (1,069 comments) says:

    Yes Andy Knackstead from the LTSA will be along shortly along with Inspector Derek Erasmus from the Police waving figures and threatning compliance and enforcement

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  6. Rightandleft (574 comments) says:

    I also agree seat-belt laws should be repealed, at least for adults able to make their own decisions. In New Hampshire when you cross the state line the sign says “Buckle Up Under 18, Common Sense for All.” They are the last state in America to give adults the choice to take personal responsibility. Incidentally they also have no motorcycle helmet law. Their state motto, printed on every number plate “Live Free or Die.”

    The argument I regularly hear is that we have to pay for the medical bills for people who don’t wear helmets etc. My response is that I have to pay for the accidents people suffer playing rugby, bungy jumping and all other sorts of dangerous sports and no one on the left is saying we scrap ACC. I see far more people injured playing sport than in car or bike accidents.

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  7. The Baron (17 comments) says:

    Mike, R&L,

    Seatbelts aren’t quite the same thing – a passenger not wearing a belt in the rear seat can cause injury or death to the person in front of them. I support free choice whereby the only person harmed by a poor choice is the one that made it – that isn’t the case with seatbelts.

    As for cycle helmets, I seem to remember the focus originally was “won’t somebody think of the CHILDREN” ala Mrs Lovejoy ;) A simple revision and compromise would be to make helmets compulsory for those under 18, and let adults ride free with the wind in their hair…

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  8. Mighty_Kites (77 comments) says:

    So you oppose waste in ACC, yet you want to make wearing helmets voluntary, bringing in tens of millions of unnecessary ACC payouts? Clear as mud

    [DPF: Can you cite your data for your claim that wearing helmets has reduced the number of ACC payouts? Also try reading the article which makes the point you get far better health outcomes in areas like obesity by not requiring helmets - and that saves money.

    An alternative is to not make helmets compulsory, but if you don't wear one when cycling, you don't get a full ACC entitlement. Use incentives, not laws]

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  9. tom hunter (4,012 comments) says:

    I note helmets are becoming more common on ski fields.

    If you think that’s bad have a listen to this Radio NZ piece from Last Thursday, October 4. This was on around midday and again on Checkpoint and the only reason I heard it was that I was driving at the time.

    It’s about “Child Safety Groups” demanding that the government immediately raise the age limit to seven for children to ride in booster seats..

    Fair enough you may say and according to the report the government apparently will raise the age, but not for a few years. However, you really should listen to the whole thing because these groups also make the argument that it should be about height and they want that set at 148cm – which they acknowledge would mean any number of 12 year old children riding in booster seats. By the way, the fine will be $1000.

    Can you imagine that? Even 6-year olds look forward to getting out of these things as a mark of growing up. Can these idiots actually imagine what it might be like to “persuade” (force) a 12 year old – or even a 10 year old – to continue riding in a booster seat? What are their poor, bloody children like, assuming they have any? Will they ever escape being infants?

    As almost a side note, it should be pointed out that the entire radio piece contains only comments from these groups, with some reported comments from the government. I did not hear any of the numbers involved that would lead to the conclusions that such an approach would be “significantly safer”: nothing about the number of accidents each year where a child’s injury could be directly related to them being too short for the shoulder belt, let alone what proportion of accidents and deaths and child deaths these amounted to. In short, the news item contained nothing that would allow an ordinary person to assess the society-wide cost-benefit equation. It simply told us that “experts” had assessed the situation, made the appropriate conclusions about the rules and their enforcement – and that we should simply go along with this unless we want to be thought of as “bad”, irresponsible parents. And in the future, criminals to boot.

    I dread the day when some official or NGO proposes making them compulsory.

    I dread that day too, but only because NZ is filled with people who will simply shrug their shoulders for any number of reasons (“Our kids have long since grown up so it doesn’t affect us”, “I don’t ski!”) – together with those who will consider a negotiation settling on a height of 135cm for children in booster seats or only wearing helmets on Black Diamond runs, to be a great success for moderate, centrist bi-partisanship.

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  10. BeaB (1,959 comments) says:

    500 cycle stands and constant problems with bike thefts. Helmet Lady visited the school and made emotional plea. Helmets made compulsory. Next year 25 cycle stands left after the rest ripped out, unused. More parking needed for parents’ and students’ cars.

    We may have saved one kid a year getting a brain injury but made sure thousands of teenagers never got on a bike again.

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  11. YesWeDid (1,003 comments) says:

    You libertarians really are a special breed, not wearing a seat belt because it imposes on your personal ‘freedom’.

    I hope you are thinking about ‘freedom’ as you are flying through the windscreen of your car in an accident where a seatbelt would have saved your life.

    Honestly how hard is it to put on a seatbelt?

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  12. RRM (8,997 comments) says:

    The libertarian view on this issue rather ignores the reality that in NZ, most of us fund the cost of cycle crash injuries through our own payments into ACC, therefore we as “society” DO have an interest in what cyclists are doing to mitigate their injuries.

    And on a completely different note… speaking as someone who has actually been in a severe nose-to-tail crash on the motorway, and walked away thanks to a tonne of 1970s British steel (NO airbags or NCAP stars!) and a SEATBELT I would be so bold as to venture that inexpensive measures to preserve life safety are not the stage on which to wage some philosophical war about FWEEDOM. Human life is far too precious, and that BANG that can instantly end it might come out of the blue at any time even if you personally are doing everything right.

    (1) Only an ignorant person or a fool would fail to use a seatbelt in while riding in a car, or fail to wear a helmet while on a bike, or fail to have their child in the best car seat but at the same time

    (2) Only an ignorant person or a fool would try to argue that an ignorant person’s freedom to not wear a seatbelt or a helmet is an important freedom worth fighting for!

    Human life is far to precious to put at risk through masturbatory arguments about small and worthless “liberties”. Some people really really are wrong and they need to be told what’s good for them.

    /Let the “socialist” flaming begin :-)

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  13. MT_Tinman (2,795 comments) says:

    many researchers say, if you force or pressure people to wear helmets, you discourage them from riding bicycles.

    I’ve just become an advocate for compulsary bike helmets. ;-)

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  14. scrubone (2,971 comments) says:

    The libertarian view on this issue rather ignores the reality that in NZ, most of us fund the cost of cycle crash injuries through our own payments into ACC, therefore we as “society” DO have an interest in what cyclists are doing to mitigate their injuries.

    Translation: because we have a public health system, our lives belong to the government. All hail our overlords!

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  15. tom hunter (4,012 comments) says:

    … or fail to have their child in the best car seat but at the same time

    I note that you recently had a child RRM. I presume that you’ll be willing to strap them into a booster seat when they’re 11 or 12 years of age? Perhaps I should I wait until then to find out how well that worked with you?

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  16. jgw739 (16 comments) says:

    ‘However, you really should listen to the whole thing because these groups also make the argument that it should be about height and they want that set at 148cm – which they acknowledge would mean any number of 12 year old children riding in booster seats’

    Yeah, and I bet my mother in law will be stoked to get a booster seat for Xmas too – theres plenty of adults under 5′ tall and shes one of them. Sad thing is, the groups pushing this stuff will probably get thier way since its a stupid idea but will sound good to the sheep who have no sense of personal responsibility. Chances are Nanaia Mahuta will be the one to put in a bill for it too, since Shearer seems to have misplaced his balls and will probably keep her on.

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  17. RRM (8,997 comments) says:

    tom hunter – neither my wife or I are particularly short people so I expect that at 11 or 12 neither of the kids will require a booster seat. Miss 8 is still in one though. Thanks for your concern. :-P

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  18. nasska (9,558 comments) says:

    RRM

    I’ll give you a pass on the seatbelts for under 18′s only on the basis that parents (& to a lesser extent, society) have a duty to get them through to adulthood. After that the socialist nannies can go & play with themselves!

    Since lack of exercise has produced a multitude of fat useless kids who can barely make it unaided to Mum’s car triple parked at the school gates I would very much like to see the results of an independent study giving numbers saved from serious head injury through compulsory helmets & those eventually condemned to decades on a dialysis machine from Type 2 diabetes.

    Think of the children!

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  19. Longknives (4,051 comments) says:

    “if you force or pressure people to wear helmets, you discourage them from riding bicycles. ”

    Suits me- Obnoxious, arrogant cyclists do my head in. If there are a few less of the prats that ride slowly three abreast in front of me as I’m trying to drive to work every day would be fantastic. And it would be nice if they stopped/gave way at intersections every now and then as well..
    Why these obnoxious gits believe that they are exempt from the rode code that the rest of us adhere to mystifies me…

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  20. RRM (8,997 comments) says:

    It’s the ones who abuse you for driving past a mere 3 metres away them, and then pedal away through a red light while not wearing a helmet that make my blood boil… tell me more about how your safety is MY job, not yours, knob end…

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  21. Brian Smaller (3,915 comments) says:

    The difference between a seat belt and a cycle helmet is that in almost all circumstances in a crash, a seat belt will improve your chances of surviving. A cycle helmet, in almost all circumstances, will not.

    Virtually none are rated for any impact over 24kph. Getting hit by a car going 100kph or run over by a twenty ton truck makes helmets pretty redundant. There is also a lot of data that suggests that they cause more injuries than they protect from – especially rotational injuries to necks. Pro-helmet people point to a 75% reduction in head injuries since helmet laws were introduced, but the neglect to tell you that there has been a 75% reduction in the numbers of people riding.

    The best thing that will improve cycle safety is more cyclists. By that I mean people who want to enjoy their ride, not middle-aged tossers who think they are Lance Armstrong.

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  22. tom hunter (4,012 comments) says:

    Thanks for your concern.

    I’m as concerned for your freedom to do what you think is right as you are about the safety of other people’s children.

    But to return to the pertinent point. If your expectation is not fulfilled, you think it’s perfectly reasonable and rational to strap a 10 or 12 year old into a booster seat? Oh to be a fly on the wall at the beginning of those RRM family car journeys. And as an engineer you’re not worried about the lack of numbers that justify this legal enforcement of a cost-benefit, “safety” calculation.

    Of course both elements – teaching compulsion from an early age and trusting in experts who can’t show their reasoning in hard data – are essential to a progressive society, so there is that rationale.

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  23. RRM (8,997 comments) says:

    Tom – oh the benefits of keeping small people in booster seats is so well written up – mainly by the Australian transport safety authorities – that it hardly needs me to repeat it all here.

    The installation of automatic transmissions in large SUVs designed for school mums to use on the school run would be another thing that would go under the ban hammer if RRM was in charge around here.

    The LAST thing you want to do is make it EASY for the very UNSKILLED to drive heavy vehicles…

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  24. Manolo (12,643 comments) says:

    RRM, your suppoort for “socialist” ideas and suggestions hardly disappoints. Good on you, mate. :-)

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  25. liarbors a joke (1,069 comments) says:

    if rrm had his way we would all be forced to sit at home in our lounges , have meals on wheels delivered by the govt and thinking for ones self would be illegal. You are a dinosaur rrm..so glad you and your ilk are a dying breed.

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  26. David Garrett (5,152 comments) says:

    Brian S: I have read similar data about maximum 24kmh impacts and all that…but maybe helmets have changed? I have always worn one and always will, after an accident I had in Christchurch 25 years ago. Long story short, a car turned in front of me (I would probably have been doing closer to 40 k’s than 20) and I ended up head butting the car. The bike was totally wrecked, with the front wheel several inches behind the bar which joins the crank to the handlebar stem. The fibreglass shell of the helmet was unmarked, but the polystyrene lining was split right through, from the front to the back.

    When I took the bike to see if it was repairable (it wasnt) the bike shop guy looked at the helmet and told me it had just saved my life. I believed him. I henceforth never got on a bike without one. But then I dont give a rats how cool or uncool I might look…I am trying to teach my kids that dribbling in a wheelchair looks pretty uncool too…

    RRM: Women would have to a special licence to drive a 4WD if I was running the show! Almost all of them are scared of the damn things, and havent a clue how to drive them..

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  27. Redbaiter (6,482 comments) says:

    “Honestly how hard is it to put on a seatbelt?”

    Spoken like a true mush brained ignorant of history half educated knuckle dragging slavish and barbaric product of socialism.

    Just utterly disgusting..!

    Of course the real problem with this is ACC.

    If we had private insurance it would all be so much simpler.

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  28. nasska (9,558 comments) says:

    …”If we had private insurance it would all be so much simpler.”…

    In deed. The insurance company would have some clause in the fine print which excluded liability unless the rider was wearing a helmet & chain mail overalls. Those not insured could scrape their brains off the road & walk home.

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  29. rouppe (852 comments) says:

    Regarding ski helmets, there more to it than safety…

    1) More often than not, you have to wear something to keep your head warm. Woolly hat, yes, helmet yes

    2) On the days you don’t need to waer a hat, you have to wear something else to stop sunburn. Baseball cap, perhaps, wolley hat no, helmet yes (they have airflow vents to help keep the head cool on hotter sunny days)

    3) For one reason or another goggle have become more popular that plain sunglasses. They can be put over a hat obviously, and also straight over an unadorned head. However the strap has to be adjusted for each scenario. If you have it over a helmet then a) you don’t need to adjust it, b) there is a dedicated channel and clip to keep it in the right place, and c) If you take a spill it stays attached to the helmet instead of ending up over that cliff you nearly went over. Helmet, tick.

    4) Most youf want to hear their tunes while they’re skiing or riding. A lot of helmets have integrated speakers, or at the very least the helmet helps keep the buds in place. Otherwise they get to fall out when the going gets rough, or you take a spill, or you sweat.

    Disclaimer: I don’t wear a helmet – yet. Thinking about it though… Esp with the fx rate so good, they’re half the price on eBay than in the shops here

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  30. David Garrett (5,152 comments) says:

    Nasska: Very good sir…

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  31. Redbaiter (6,482 comments) says:

    Nasska, it is already well apparent that you’re (like Davey G) an economic and commercial illiterate.

    Really no need to work so hard at reinforcing that impression.

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  32. MT_Tinman (2,795 comments) says:

    David Garrett (2,621) Says:
    October 9th, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    RRM: Women would have to a special licence to drive a 4WD if I was running the show! Almost all of them are scared of the damn things, and havent a clue how to drive them..

    Old men (my age and up) are far worse drivers of 4WDs than (non-blonde) women.

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  33. TheContrarian (1,043 comments) says:

    Yeah Red! Putting on a seatbelt is Communist!

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  34. nasska (9,558 comments) says:

    Which part of my hypothesis do you disagree with Baiter Boy. I presume that somewhere along the line you must have lived in the real world where insurance companies charge premiums but don’t pay out because of some loophole.

    More importantly, if they weasel out of car or burglary claims what could possibly make you believe that they wouldn’t for events involving injury?

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  35. tom hunter (4,012 comments) says:

    oh the benefits of keeping small people in booster seats is so well written up – mainly by the Australian transport safety authorities – that it hardly needs me to repeat it all here.

    jgw739′s mother-in-law is in trouble then – or are adults compelled into booster seats by the force of law regarded as a reductio ad absurdum rather than a logical next step in Safety World?

    Speaking of which – what are the current rules for a driving dwarf?

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  36. Redbaiter (6,482 comments) says:

    “Yeah Red! Putting on a seatbelt is Communist!”

    That’s the major problem with Kiwiblog.

    Too many commenters with an intellect that would embarrass a cockroach.

    Its not about seatbelts per se you low IQ retard, its about the government shaping people’s thoughts.

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  37. David Garrett (5,152 comments) says:

    Nasska: Perhaps (in fact almost certainly) the ‘baiter has never read the fine print of an insurance policy. I may well be an “economic and commercial illiterate” but I am well aware that the insurance departments of the large law firms – one of which I once worked for – are there almost entirely to find legal ways for insurance companies to avoid paying out on claims

    Google “contracts uberrimae fidae” ‘baiter old boy…you might learn something….

    And just out of curiousity, do you have children? The relevance of the question is that as a parent, one’s paramount duty is to protect them from harm…”nanny state” has got nothing to do with it.

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  38. TheContrarian (1,043 comments) says:

    “its about the government shaping people’s thoughts.”

    So the government is wrong in telling people that if you don’t wear a seatbelt and have a head on crash at 100km per hour you are likely to be in a spot of bother?

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  39. TheContrarian (1,043 comments) says:

    @Garrett
    Indeed, if Red doesn’t want to wear a seatbelt but has an accident he’ll still be covered by ACC. A private insurance company…probably not.

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  40. Redbaiter (6,482 comments) says:

    Nasska, in the real world, which you might one day have to inhabit (shock horror at the thought) there are informed customers able to make choices for themselves based on their own judgment and normal cost/ price competitive factors and service levels.

    Things that arise through people being able to access choice and competition amongst providers.

    I know in socialist lal la land those things are long forgotten relics of a hazy and distant past, but that’s only because most people have by the force of all caring government, been turned into dull unimaginative shit for brains mushrooms like you.

    (who are also so dull they mistake the political forum Kiwiblog for some kind of juvenile chat room and busy themselves posting fucking tired old clapped out jokes night after night after fucking night. FFS..!!)

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  41. Redbaiter (6,482 comments) says:

    “So the government is wrong in telling people”

    The government’s role should be limited to enforcing the law.

    It should not ever shape people’s thoughts.

    Go away you tiresome moron.

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  42. TheContrarian (1,043 comments) says:

    “The government role should be limited to enforcing the law”

    So the government should be enforcing the law, but not telling people why there is a law in the first place.
    “You must wear a seatbelt! But we not telling you why!”

    Indeed, the government advising me what will happen if I go through a windscreen at 100km is ‘shaping my thoughts’. We should all be free to decide on what happens when a fast moving human hits plate glass at high velocities ourselves but those damned socialists keep trying to tell me i’ll wind up as a sausage creature smeared over the road.

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  43. Redbaiter (6,482 comments) says:

    Davey G, it happens often enough in other countries.

    Not many on the globe are wealthy enough to run a no fault insurance racket covering everyone at all times.

    NZ can’t either, as you’ll find out in the near future when ACC goes broke.

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  44. TheContrarian (1,043 comments) says:

    You’re right Red…it’s way cheaper in a places like the US…oh wait…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:International_Comparison_-_Healthcare_spending_as_%25_GDP.png

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  45. Redbaiter (6,482 comments) says:

    “i’ll wind up as a sausage creature smeared over the road.”

    Well, on the upside, at least Kiwiblog would then be spared your endless irrational infantile and ignorant drivel.

    Imbecile.

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  46. nasska (9,558 comments) says:

    Reddy

    As David G has given up his valuable time to explain to you, insurance companies are out to make money….lots of it. What with advertising, private investigators & legal teams to pay in order to avoid claims there really isn’t much left in kitty to pay for your accident.

    So leaving aside your pathological aversion to governments being involved in anything what makes you think that the consumer would be better served by taking apart ACC?

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  47. Redbaiter (6,482 comments) says:

    Nasska, if you took your idiotic anti-profit commie thesis to its logical conclusion, there would not be a private insurer existing in the world today.

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  48. TheContrarian (1,043 comments) says:

    “Well, on the upside, at least Kiwiblog would then be spared your endless irrational infantile drivel.
    Imbecile.”

    Oh, failed to address any of the points I raised (admittedly raised in a sarcastic manner).

    Tell me Red, what’s wrong with a government advising it’s citizens that a head on collision with no seatbelt will cause a fairly nasty death?

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  49. nasska (9,558 comments) says:

    Reddy

    I never suggested that they refuse all claims….just that having one accepted is a lottery over which the average person has no control.

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  50. Redbaiter (6,482 comments) says:

    “I never suggested that they refuse all claims….just that having one accepted is a lottery over which the average person has no control.”

    Fuck I really do not have the patience for you commie retards who constantly foul this discussion group.

    If the chance of an insurance company not paying out was so high as to disuade consumers from buying that insurance (as you claim) then no consumer would ever purchase insurance

    Yet strangely nasska they do purchase it, every day all over the fucking globe.

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  51. Rightandleft (574 comments) says:

    Getting rid of ACC and having a private healthcare system will not do anything to make NZ less nanny-state. The US has had a private system all along but still passed seat-belt and helmet laws in most states. In fact there is a lot more nanny-statism in the US than over here. Try walking in any public place barefoot, you’ll be thrown out lest you stub your toe or get a splinter and sue them. Kids are bubble-wrapped like we can’t imagine in NZ. Child booster seats are already required up to age 8 or higher in many states.

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  52. Scott (1,614 comments) says:

    I would like to see a fresh approach to cycling and helmets in New Zealand. I know in Denmark they cycle a lot and don’t wear helmets. Apparently women for example don’t wear helmets because it messes up their hair. But over there they have physical separation between the roads and the bike lanes. The result is that in Copenhagen many people commute to work on their bicycles. The Danish experience could be worth exploring for us.
    Certainly the introduction of helmets has meant that within a generation the kiwi kid has stopped riding to school.

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  53. workingman (84 comments) says:

    @nasska

    I never suggested that they refuse all claims….just that having one accepted is a lottery over which the average person has no control.

    Working with insurance companies a lot, from an IT point of view, I would say this is totally incorrect. Indeed most claims are paid automatically with minimal intervention. There are certain insurance companies that may have a “reputation” for trying to avoid claims, but these are companies that charge low premiums, so you get what you pay for. They partly keep the premiums low by reducing claims paid. A lot of people are happy to pay those low premiums and then complain. A bit like buying cheap meat or fruit and then complain about the quality. I think State Insurance used to run an advertising campaign that they paid out over 98% of all claims. Are you suggesting that 98% of lottery ticket holders win?

    Can you imagine the 100s and 1000s of people who have worked in insurance claims department and would love to be able to say that insurance companies do not pay claims on a regular basis. With limited exceptions there are no stories to show this. When this does happen the relevant company is punished by people avoiding buying from them. Where do I go to buy Accident Insurance to punish ACC who were really crap in my one and only dealing with them?

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  54. TheContrarian (1,043 comments) says:

    “Certainly the introduction of helmets has meant that within a generation the kiwi kid has stopped riding to school.”

    And this is the fault of cycle helmets because…?

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  55. David Garrett (5,152 comments) says:

    Scott: You are confusing causation with correlation. I do not believe the introduction of cycle helmets has much to do with kids no longer riding to school. Far more likely it is because parents dont believe it’s safe for little johnny to ride to school as his father did because there are more cars on the road. So little Johny’s mother drives him to school…thus putting more cars on the road.

    Living in the country, my kids take the school bus. I would like to think that if we lived in town I would make them bike…but then there are a lot more cars on the road than there were…

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  56. tom hunter (4,012 comments) says:

    insurance companies are out to make money….lots of it.

    Farmers are out to make lots of money too, as are the food production companies, the supermarkets and every other layer in the food industry.

    Amazingly this has not led to starvation in the developed world.

    Snark aside, that comment reveals a hell of a lot about the gut instincts of New Zealanders. Profit in NZ truly is a dirty word if it’s associated with something like health care, even if it works with an equally basic human necessity like food. Amazing – and it leads to this:

    what makes you think that the consumer would be better served by taking apart ACC?

    No other country in the world runs anything like ACC. In the developed world it’s called Workers Compensation Insurance and I’ve not heard of any nation proposing to replace those long-running schemes with something like ACC. They work at least as well as ACC and probably better because of the incentives at both the company and individual level.

    And of course ACC has slowly morphed from its original model into something that operates very much like a private work injury insurer anyway. It slices and dices it’s “customers” for premiums on the actuarial basis that companies with better safety deserve to have lower premiums than ratbags. They’ve also increasingly gone after companies in much the same fashion that injury lawyers do overseas and the laws around lawsuits by people injured by companies have been eased to allow people to pursue compensation above and beyond what ACC provides.

    The reasons for that change is that the original no-fault-universal model has come to be seen as a failure from almost every perspective. Check out our workplace injury and death rates compared to other OECD countries. It’s not pretty and if there is “no fault” those results should hardly be a surprise.

    Given all those changes, the addition of other insurers into the marketplace can hardly be considered “wrong” by anybody outside the left-wing universe. “Taking apart” ACC is not actually what’s been proposed in any case and with more insurers in the market you will have a wider choice in buying an insurance product that matches your assessment of risk cost vs. injury cost. Central planning geniuses will disagree – but there’s no evidence they’re right either in the specific or the general. They almost never are.

    I don’t want to continue to to divert the thread on these lines but it seems to me that DPF’s original posting addressed the following argument that …

    .. most of us fund the cost of cycle crash injuries through our own payments into ACC, therefore we as “society” DO have an interest in what cyclists are doing to mitigate their injuries.

    … by pointing out that there appear to be negative public health outcomes from the reduction in the numbers willing to regularly bike.

    And aside from these very utilitarian arguments, has the word “safety” become such an ill-defined, emotive tautology that it can be used to justify any amount of government rule creation? If we can have 12 year old’s forced to sit in booster seats because it results in a slight (? – still no numbers) statistical increase in their safety, or people forced to wear helmets on skifields then what are the limits on “safety” laws and their enforcement? As I said earlier, why is the short mother-in-law-in-a-booster seat not a logical outcome of this approach and do people really not see how wrong that would be in pursuit of a statistical advantage?

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  57. Scott (1,614 comments) says:

    It just seems to be not cool to wear a helmet? I think it is helmets that stop kids cycling. In the town where I live there has not been an increase in population. Maybe a few more cars than 25 years ago. But very few kids ride to school. And almost unknown amongst school girls. I think it is the helmets.
    I rode to school every day and then to varsity. I notice even the number of students riding to varsity is a fraction of what it was. So yes I think it must be helmets.
    The Danish experience shows when you get rid of helmets and have separated cycle lanes then lots of people will get on their bicycles.

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  58. tom hunter (4,012 comments) says:

    In fact there is a lot more nanny-statism in the US than over here.

    In some respects that’s right. But I always chuckled at the fact that in one of the most nanny-state parts of the USA – Chicago – the bikers came out every summer to roar up and down the boulevards without helmets. Whenever it has been suggested that they be made compulsory the reaction has been massively negative, which is quite strange when one regards their other rules.

    Mark Steyn had a very funny piece on this:

    Italian tanks may have five gears for reverse and only one for forward, but in a Fiat the size of your cupholder it’s a different story. The French may plant trees on the Champs-élysées because the Germans like to march in the shade, but they’ll still pass you at 120 on the Grande Corniche. When you’ve done your last surrender-monkey crack, that cloud in your windshield is a dinged deux chevaux leaving your fully loaded SUV for dust. Continentals would never for a moment tolerate the restrictive driving conditions of the United States, and they don’t understand why Americans do. Mon dieu, is not America the land of the car chase?

    Gitcha motor running
    Head out on the highway
    Looking for adventure . . .

    Actually, America is the land of the car-chase movie. Off-screen, it’s a more sedate affair. Gitcha motor running, head out on the highway, shift down to third gear as there’s a stop-sign-ahead sign ahead. At dinner, I listened to a Frenchman and an Italian while away the entrée chortling at how docile and compliant Americans are. Americans would counter that they’re the only country with a Second Amendment. But Continentals don’t see a gun rack in your pickup as any consolation for not being able to pass for the next 28 miles.

    Most of all they were amused by the constant refrain from the American Right that if the nation doesn’t change course it will end up as mired in statism as Europe. “Americans love Big Government as much as Europeans,” one chap told me. “The only difference is that Americans refuse to admit it.” He attributed this to our national myth-making — “I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free.”

    Maybe they should change it to “at least I know it’s free.”

    Ouch!

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  59. workingman (84 comments) says:

    @David Garrett

    From my own anecdotal evidence, which of course is meaningless from a stats basis, I can say with 100% confidence that my daughter and nieces do not ride bicycles due to the requirement to wear a helmet. That has been said to me many times, no way will they ride a bike and wear those ‘horrible’ helmets.

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  60. Colville (1,780 comments) says:

    My wife got knocked off her bike back in the days before helmets, a guy on a motorbike failed to give way. 6 days in intensive care with fractured skull with impacting the road just behind her ear. lost all senses on one side of her body. has most back now but sense of smell failed to return and she has hearing aids. The hearing aids cost ACC $17K. She wears a helmet and still rides.
    Kids dont ride coz they are lazy and indulged.

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  61. Redbaiter (6,482 comments) says:

    “as a parent, one’s paramount duty is to protect them from harm”

    So when your kids are on the school bus Dave, do they wear a seat belt? (or a helmet for that matter)

    Let me answer that for you Davey.

    No they don’t, yet you still, even when you say “their safety is paramount”, let them ride on the bus.

    How is this possible?

    How do your kids survive this risk?

    I’ll tell you Dave.

    They survive it because you are a thinking adult able to conduct reasoned risk assessments and make rational decisions regarding the safety of yourself and your children.

    Why then are you happy for the government to tell you you can’t make these decisions in other cases?

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  62. redkea (14 comments) says:

    Helmet regulations have engendered the perception that ‘cycling for children is inherently dangerous’ throughout the majority of the population. Hence, the queue of cars outside every school each morning and afternoon from mid 1990s onwards.

    The abundance of ‘school’ traffic each morning and the advent of helicopter parenting is the true cause of a decline of cycling.

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  63. nasska (9,558 comments) says:

    workingman @ 4.57

    Points noted & I agree that as in most things you tend to get what you pay for.

    ACC is far from perfect & most of the trouble is that government interference has distorted the original concept of having a no fault public insurer by tacking on liabilities which would be far better funded from Welfare, if at all. It was a good concept which has been endangered by meddling politicians.

    As an aside, as a farmer & contractor I pay out a fair bit in premiums on vehicles, equipment & public liability. The one move which saved me money & headaches was putting the lot in the hands of an insurance broker. For instance the house is still insured with NZI but the premium is 10% lower, vehicles have lower excesses & public liability is about $1000pa cheaper.

    Go figure.

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  64. Redbaiter (6,482 comments) says:

    “The one move which saved me money & headaches was putting the lot in the hands of an insurance broker.”

    Wow, what a stroke of genius.

    Look out Donald Trump.

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  65. nasska (9,558 comments) says:

    She’s right Reddy….. 99000 people are making love right now, 22000 are kissing, 11000 are getting oral and one sad wanker is reading this…..

    You hang in there, friend!

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  66. rolla_fxgt (311 comments) says:

    DPF, what about the fact that the UCI (cycle sport regulator) mandates wearing of helmets in all forms of competitive events. Surely the fact they do so suggests that there is some benefit to wearing them, vs not wearing them? At least as a harm minimisation measure.
    Sure helemts won’t stop all injuries, but neither do most other common safety regulations. After all there is no research I’ve seen that shows that ABS has saved one life, or made roads statistically any safer. Yet we mandate ABS on all cars coming into the country.
    We also have stupid laws, that state, you can’t have a roll cage or race harness in a car used every day on the road, due to it potentially being more dangerous to other cars, or a safety hazard for emergency personnel. Yet research and experience shows that roll cages would be beneficial to road safety.

    What about helemts for motorcyclists? Many states in the US have optional wear laws for motorcycle helmets. Should we follow their example, and have such laws here? Some research shows that motorcyclists are safer drivers for having ridden bikes, as they are more in tune with the road, and adjust better to the conditions.

    Also its a slippery slope if you have it that ACC pays less if you’re not wearing/using certain equipment. Because you can bet your life that ACC would soon expand it into other areas, such as snow sports needing helmets, rugby needing headgear and an approved shock reducing mouthguard, no full cover for at work injury if you’re employer isn’t ACC tertiary approved, no full cover if you’re driving a car that isn’t the safest on the road, etc etc. I’m sure you can see where it would lead.

    Also I note that the surveys/studies on helmet usage, usually ask the question, “would you be more likely to cycle if you didn’t have to wear a helmet?” not “would you cycle if you didn’t wear a helmet?” which of course is the question you actually need to ask to judge the affect of helmet usage rules on cycle usage. i.e someone might like to think they’d be more likely to cycle if they didn’t have to wear a helmet, but not do so even if the law changed.
    Also in most european countries where there is no requirement to wear a helmet there are laws that make it a drivers fault regardless of actual fault if a car and a cyclist collide. Something else cycle commuting advocates would soon want here to go hand in hand with this type of law change.

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  67. tom hunter (4,012 comments) says:

    UCI (cycle sport regulator) mandates wearing of helmets in all forms of competitive events. Surely the fact they do so suggests that there is some benefit to wearing them, vs not wearing them? At least as a harm minimisation measure.

    But this goes to the heart of the issue – or at least what should be the heart of the issue – personal choice – and I don’t see why that should be regarded as an extremist position held only by hard-line libertarians.

    When I’m biking trails such as the ones along the Waikato Lakes (especially the Maretai-Waipapa dam route) then I certainly wear a helmet. The trail is fairly rough, with lots of steep down-slopes and tree trunks all around, not to mention some harsh drop-offs either side.

    But when I’m biking along the Auckland waterfront – NO – because I assess that the risk of crashing is much lower, especially since I’m just cruising, and the likelihood of a head injury also lower if I do crash. Yet I’m awaiting the day that some little snot of a bureaucrat will hit me with an instant fine, probably along with a little message about the cost to the public of my irresponsibility – something along the lines of “Always blow on the pie” perhaps.

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  68. Kea (10,451 comments) says:

    I remember when they passed this law. I almost left the country and have never ridden a push bike since. It is one of the things that prompted me to become interested in politics and current affairs.

    The decision to impose cycle helmets on us came about because a grieving mother lost her kid to a head injury. As part of her grieving process she lobbied for this terrible law. Kids popping down the shop on their bikes are now fined by Police. It just another example of our feminised society and passing laws based on knee-jerk emotive reactions which that entails.

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  69. krazykiwi (9,188 comments) says:

    Well I ALWAYS wear my helmet – 400km last week. My last helmet was broken instead of my skull, and ‘safe’ roads or not, I never know where nasska is lurking.

    What is so comforting about this thread is hearing those who’ve expressed genuine contempt for cyclists arguing for their liberty. Hmmm, on reflection perhaps that’s not so comforting ;)

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  70. nasska (9,558 comments) says:

    krazykiwi

    Chicken! :)

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  71. Raphael (61 comments) says:

    Speaking as a mountain biker (who only started wearing a helmet in about 1996, shortly before I started riding in races), I’ve wiped out enough times where my helmet has prevented me from serious injury (one crash that left me concussed also left big deep holes in my helmet) that I personally think you’re an idiot if you don’t wear a helmet. Should it be the law?
    Dunno, there are some many other stupid things people do that aren’t against the law, so maybe not

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  72. Rufus (606 comments) says:

    Hilarious – do you really, honestly think that the only thing that’s stopping the lazy, the fat, the obese to take up cycling is the fact they must wear a helmet?!

    Yes, the only reason they’re obese is because the poor souls simply can’t be seen out in public with a helmet. Or running shoes, or gym attire, or walking shoes, or swimming togs, or…

    When I read “mature urban cycling systems”, I don’t immediately picture Christchurch, Wellington, Auckland, or any other NZ city.

    Any Dutch city is a delight to cycle in – they’re designed with cyclist safety in mind. NZ not so much.

    Sure, don’t wear a helmet if you don’t want to. I guess as long as the medical system still takes care of idiots who deliberately risk harm to themselves in any number of ways, you cannot logically exclude a non-helmeted cyclist who cracks his skull open. At least they felt cool doing it.

    I will keep wearing mine. I’m an experienced and competent cyclist, but there’s always some idiot driver pulling out in front of you. Last year some car pulled across my lane, I braked so hard I snapped both brake cables, I endo’d and bounced off her (stupid bint) car, then splat onto the road. I was so pissed off, I almost smashed my bike lock through her windscreen. Gave me a wopping headache for days (probably mild concussion in hindsight). Can’t think what my head would have felt like without a helmet. Bike = head intact.

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  73. Longknives (4,051 comments) says:

    “there’s always some idiot driver pulling out in front of you. ”

    Strange- As one of those “idiot drivers” I find fault with obnoxious ,arrogant cyclists who think they are somehow above the rode code that the rest of us politely abide by…
    Is it because you cyclists are looking so ‘fabulous’ in that ball-hugging 1980s gay-bar lycra that you are somehow exempt from basic road rules like stopping at a stop sign/basic give way etc??
    Also- If you could clarify why I have to drive at 20kph behind three-abreast cyclists every freaking morning on the way to work…

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  74. tom hunter (4,012 comments) says:

    I will keep wearing mine. I’m an experienced and competent cyclist, but there’s always some idiot driver pulling out in front of you.

    And again – personal choice and assessment of risk. If I’m riding in traffic on the road you can bet I wear a helmet. But on some bike path through various Auckland parks – NO.

    FFS. Why is this such a difficult concept to get through people’s skulls? As much as this descends into a left-right thing it’s really all about ordinary people being disdainful about the choices of other ordinary people.

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  75. Redbaiter (6,482 comments) says:

    “Why is this such a difficult concept to get through people’s skulls?”

    Staggering isn’t it, how difficult it is to make socialists drunk on the dogma of compulsion understand something as simple as choice.

    As if they’re from some distant planet where the concept is completely foreign.

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  76. Bullitt (136 comments) says:

    In the past three years I have came off a road bike twice with no cars involved. Once through a glancing blow on a gutterbridge (in hindsight it was pretty stupid on my part) and once through a sudden massive gust of wind (I live in Wellington). Both times I hit the ground hard enough there was enough visible damage to the helmet I threw it away afterwards . Both times if I hadnt had a helmet on Im sure I would have at least ended up in hospital with a head injury. I have to question why anyone would ever ride without a helmet as I certainly wouldnt.

    Anyone who claims they never ride because of helmet laws is using it as an excuse.

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  77. graham (2,211 comments) says:

    I’m a cyclist AND a driver, and I fully agree with Rufus’ comment about idiot drivers. Dunno about the rest of the country, but Auckland is terrible.

    Next time you’re on the road, try this simple experiment – compare the number of people who signal correctly (while turning, changing lanes, going around a roundabout) to the number who don’t. Guess which number will be higher.

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  78. Kea (10,451 comments) says:

    Numerous studies show that injury rates are not reduced by wearing cycle helmets. But if you choose to go down the path of the public health cost ect, there is a far greater case to be made for banning rugby outright.

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  79. burtthebike (1 comment) says:

    RRM (5,519) Says:

    “(1) Only an ignorant person or a fool would fail to use a seatbelt in while riding in a car, or fail to wear a helmet while on a bike, or fail to have their child in the best car seat but at the same time”

    All the reliable data about cycle helmets shows that at best they do not improve the safety of cyclists and at worst they increase risk. It would appear that those who don’t wear a helmet are well informed. It hardly needs pointing out what that makes someone who calls people who are well informed “ignorant”. You might be surprised about seat belts too, but judging from your post, your beliefs are probably resistant to data.

    “(2) Only an ignorant person or a fool would try to argue that an ignorant person’s freedom to not wear a seatbelt or a helmet is an important freedom worth fighting for!”

    You seem to have this belief that anyone who disagrees with what you believe is ignorant or a fool. Only a fool or an ignoramus would believe that.

    “Human life is far to precious to put at risk through masturbatory arguments about small and worthless “liberties”. Some people really really are wrong and they need to be told what’s good for them.”

    Sad.

    Check out cyclehelmets.org for a few facts, not that factual evidence is going to change your mind.

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  80. Jim (385 comments) says:

    Bullitt: I agree to a point. Over the past 20 years I’ve also had quite a few tumbles and cracked a number of helmets. However at all of those times I was risk-talking (either high-speed cornering on the road, or steep off-road descents, or racing) and would not have felt comfortable without a helmet.

    I’ve never had an injury while trickling along at jogging pace. It’s quite reasonable that a cycle-friendly commuter route could be ridden safely without a helmet without any more danger than pedestrians face many times a day. I don’t wear a helmet when moseying around to the local shops because it feels like paranoid overkill.

    My only run-in with the law was after a traverse somewhere on the Coromandel. After a full day of off-road riding in the rain I reached the coastal road covered in mud, took off my helmet and rested while coasting along the road shoulder at walking speed. Next thing a police car comes up behind and does its loud electronic ‘bwaaaap’ – I nearly fell off with fright. “WEAR A HELMET” they shouted over the loudhailer.

    Wankers. No better than those drivers that enjoy playing chicken at pedestrian crossings.

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  81. annie (533 comments) says:

    What’s the current evidence on the number and type of injuries prevented by bike helmets?

    At the time helmets became compulsory, the bulk of actual evidence pointed to there being no significant benefit, if you considered brain injury alone and ignored more superficial injury. The brain was still considered to suffer deceleration injury regardless of whether a helmet was present outside the skull. Furthermore, helmets are too light to protect against injury sufficient to cause depressed skull fracture and consequent brain damage.

    Helmets and evidence have both presumably improved a bit over the intervening years. Does anyone have up-to-date evidence? (Single papers don’t count unless they have clean-as-a-whistle design, sufficient statistical power and the authors aren’t barrow-pushers. Also keeping in mind that correlation isn’t causality.)

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  82. annie (533 comments) says:

    annie (443) Says:
    October 10th, 2012 at 8:45 am

    What’s the current evidence on the number and type of injuries prevented by bike helmets?

    At the time helmets became compulsory, the bulk of actual evidence pointed to there being no significant benefit, if you considered brain injury alone and ignored more superficial injury. The brain was still considered to suffer deceleration injury regardless of whether a helmet was present outside the skull. Furthermore, helmets are too light to protect against injury sufficient to cause depressed skull fracture and consequent brain damage.

    Helmets and evidence have both presumably improved a bit over the intervening years. Does anyone have up-to-date evidence? (Single papers don’t count unless they have clean-as-a-whistle design, sufficient statistical power and the authors aren’t barrow-pushers. Also keeping in mind that correlation isn’t causality.)

    Addition to previous post: “superficial injury” includes undepressed skull fracture, which, while being associated with brain injury, isn’t the cause of it.

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  83. hinamanu (2,352 comments) says:

    Helmets in cars ?

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  84. laworder (265 comments) says:

    Like a couple of others here, I personally wouldnt cycle without a helmet. The huge helmet sized hole in the windscreen of the car that I collided with a few years back was a very convincing argument (the driver was in the wrong incidentally).

    Rufus is right about drivers here – a lot are so bad they are not even aware of the keep left rule in the Road code, and cannot see cars let alone cyclists in their rear view mirrors. We need to have far more stringent driver competence testing, would do far more for road safety that all these speed cameras.

    There is something to be said for more cycle lanes that are completely seperate from the roads, like the excellent West Auckland one down the side of the motorway. Perhaps relaxing helmet laws on cycle ways like that might be in order, although personally I’d still wear mine.

    Regards
    Peter J
    see http://www.sensiblesentencing.org.nz

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  85. annie (533 comments) says:

    “We need to have far more stringent driver competence testing, would do far more for road safety that all these speed cameras.”

    I agree. However, given the idiots who drive cars without consideration to other road users are pretty much the same testosterone-poisoned idiots who ride bikes, I think we also need modern road rules for cyclists and probably cycle registration so that cyclists can be identified.

    A good many of the road idiots in my suburb are on bikes – weaving and freeforming about the road. The cyclists who are safest are those who are predictable, and at present they constitute a minority of the cyclists I see in Wellington.

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  86. Kea (10,451 comments) says:

    The real issue here is one of “choice”.

    On one side we have people who want their personal view imposed on others by the police and justice system.

    On the other side, we have those that let individuals choose for themselves.

    The discussing the merits of helmets is a red-herring.

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  87. MH (558 comments) says:

    They do take up room at the hospitals putting surgery back for others. The trouble is they don’t comment on the hits people have had and been saved by wearing a helmet,fancy having to compel these idiots to do so. No helmet no ACC,go directly to blue cross hospital and towage for the removal of your bike.A bike is outmoded/outmotored on the current designed roads and the bikies refuse to pay their fair share for special treatment and lanes,no need to carry a license,few if ever get ticketed. Few even have a rear red reflector capable of being seen at 100m or night lights.

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  88. Left Right and Centre (2,397 comments) says:

    Helmet or not, there’s just so many idiots driving in NZ that it’s not safe to ride a bike anywhere anyway. It seems like cyclists are always in the news being hit or killed, I’d say mostly not their fault.

    Political/ philosophical argument aside… people seem to think the evidence leans towards crash survival/ injury not being largely determined by cycle helmet use. The fatalities in the news… they’re usually wearing helmets. Didn’t save them, did it? But then… why not wear it? They’re light… they’re ok. Personally it’s not that big a deal, not that I cycle now.

    I came off as a kid and cracked my white Stackhat on two white footpath guardrail posts. Maybe that would’ve hurt a lot more with no helmet?

    I drive two wheels and if there was no helmet law in NZ, would I ride with no helmet? You’ve got to be fucking kidding me. I also stay the fuck away from everything vehicle wise mostly… lots of pricks on NZ roads. I once had a B train try to run me off SH1 because I ‘held him up’ on a two lane no passing stretch (doing about 70 in an 80? No doubt I was preventing him from doing his customary 100 in an 80 rain or shine). That was an Owens set of units. That’s a NZ ‘professional’ driver for ya. Psychopath more like.

    As to road behaviour… there’s good and bad cyclists and drivers alike. I’ve run lights cycling in the CBD before. Having driven trucks and buses… I see the road from all perspectives… don’t be a pain in the arse and hold up other people or make their life difficult. Keep left. Signal. Be predictable. Look around (safely).

    Cycle helmet vs seatbelt: I used to not wear a seatbelt up to early twenties. Got a couple of fines. You get older, start reading the news and seeing stats and also seeing people who don’t wear seatbelts get thrown from cars. Do I want to get thrown from a freakin car? Not really. I would wear a belt now regardless fine or no fine for my own damn safety. ((In a truck it’s a bit different… wear a belt.. hit a bump… belt tries to cut your lap in half. I usually pull all the slack out and try to set it up so it’s off the body. It happens because the seat bounces but the belt assembly is separate. Seat bounces up into fixed belt mountings with a hairtrigger locking mechanism and BOOF!! Modern trucks it’s all one unit seat and seat belt and they bounce together. But older medium-large trucks… shit.))

    Interesting that it’s said that one effect of seatbelts was that people felt safer and therefore their driving standard slipped as a result. Didn’t see him… no worries, the airbag will get this one… hahaha. ABS and side impact beams… BRING IT ALL ON!!!!

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  89. Griff (6,263 comments) says:

    Nanny state sucks
    quad bikes
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/7799814/Quad-bike-death-Safety-calls-renewed
    January 2011: Wellington coroner Ian Smith demands mandatory helmets, lapbelts and roll bars, blasting authorities for a lack of action.

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  90. Lee C (4,516 comments) says:

    Newsfalsh – I agree with Mr. Garrett.

    Look – it’s really quite simple. people should wear a helmet for their own safety and to raise the chances that they may not end up a vegetable if they are unfortunate enough to hit their head.

    I fell off not so long ago (my fault) and would have ended up with a shiner and mild concussion (I’m assuming) had I not worn a helmet. Fact is I gat a family to feed, and not to wear a lid is almost criminally negligent. I’m going to risk their slow-starvation in the event of and accident, so I can look ‘cool’?

    Should it be compulsory to do so? Yes, in my opinion.
    People who don’t ride a bike based on the rather shallow ‘excuse’ that they would have to wear a ‘lid’ are probably doing the national IQ rates a favour by clocking out early due to their stupid avoidable heart/diabetes conditions.

    So ironically, a helmet would offer practically zero protection for the functioning areas of their frontal cortexes anyway . . .

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  91. Lee C (4,516 comments) says:

    … so, as they are already proven to be incapable of making grown-up decisions I think they should be forced to.

    At gunpoint.

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  92. nasska (9,558 comments) says:

    …”… so, as they are already proven to be incapable of making grown-up decisions I think they should be forced to.

    At gunpoint.”….

    Those steering the good ship “Nanny State” will be relieved that you see it their way.

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