An Amusement & Diversion for The Genteel Cyclist. Daily.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Another idiotic argument against bike helmets

It's true that you can still find people who believe the Earth is flat. And this Australian is convinced that bike helmets actually pose a risk, and increase the possibility of brain injury. This will be news to folks at the CPSC who author and enforce the Safety Standard for Bicycle Helmets.

On the face of it, Bill Curnow's theory has the smack of flouride conspiracy, and shares nothing in common with Dr. Ian Walker's extensive statistical study that showed a wig might be safer than a helmet.


Curnow's alternative? Undoubtedly a tinfoil cap.



And oh yeah: It's good to be back! News about ArtCrank and Mexican Spin Class later this morning....

6 comments:

Dobie said...

The whole thing about "angular acceleration" I can't argue about. But the theory of helmets laws reducing ridership is accurate. When those laws first came around back home, I had people coming in the shop claiming they either still wouldn't wear a helmet, or not ride anymore.

Marrock said...

The whole notion of a helmet increasing the risk of brain injury is bollocks, but I've seen several items discussing how there's a slim chance it can increase the risk of neck injury since when you strike the helmet on something the force is transmitted to your neck.

Still, this wouldn't stop me from wearing one since, even is you have the worst possible luck, you stand a better chance of surviving a cracked neck than you do a splattered melon.

Richard Keatinge said...

Actually the folks at CPSC have known about the problems for years. To quote the senior engineer of Bell Helmets, in a letter to CPSC: “Another source of field experience is our experience with damaged helmets returned to customer service... I collected damaged infant/toddler helmets for several months in 1995. Not only did I not see bottomed out helmets, I didn’t see any helmet showing signs of crushing on the inside.” He was arguing for less rigid headforms in testing, headforms that would mimic the human head better. (See the Wikipedia article on bicycle helmet for the full reference.) He doesn't seem to have succeeded. The rotational injury is a more worrying possibility if the primary function is no good.

And yes, the evidence from Australia is pretty definite; when they made helmets compulsory, the amount of cycling went down by about a third. You'll be in the States I guess? Well, in most parts of the world, most cyclists take the simple option of riding without a helmet, but with care. Probably quite a good option, definitely more comfortable and less hassle.

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