Richard Burton 
Member since May 13, 2015

Recent Comments

Re: “Cautionary tale of an accident survivor

"Dear Richard,
Quite some time ago I checked out cyclehelmets.org and they, like many internet sites have some good and some bad information.“

Cyclehelmets.org is the most comprehensive collection of publicly available research about cycle helmets, and it is inclusive, having all research, whatever its conclusions. I can only assume that the bad information you refer to is that which has been conclusively disproved, the research which shows huge benefits from helmet wearing.

“I don't know the source for your statement about diffuse axonal injury but that's not been my experience unless the helmet is not fitted properly and catches on something.”

There is a considerable body of evidence about DAI e.g. http://www.cyclehelmets.org/1182.html
You seem to have misunderstood what DAI is, as having a properly fitted helmet, one which has minimal movement on the head, will increase the risk of DAI. When helmets are involved in a collision, they inevitably “catch on” something, otherwise there is no collision, so I’m not sure I understand your point.

“I'm old enough to have a Medicare card and in my prime I rode and raced between 5 and 7 thousand miles a year. Heaven's knows how many miles are in my legs but the bottom line is that I've got a bit of experience.”

I too have many years and miles experience, but I prefer evidence rather than disproved opinion. All the reliable evidence shows that cycle helmets at best make no difference to cyclists’ safety, and at worst, increase risk.

“On at least three occasions I've crashed (two auto/bike and one bike/bike collision) with what would have been fatal or near fatal blows to the head but my helmet saved me.”

So how is it that nowhere with a massive increase in helmet wearing, whether due to a law or propaganda campaign, is there any reduction in risk to cyclists?

“In one of them, a head-on with a minivan that abruptly turned left, I bounced off it and "flew 30 feet through the air" according to a witness then landed on my head. I know I would have been dead or severely brain damaged without a helmet but was carted away for surgery on ... my knee. Head was fine.”

Your certainty is misplaced, and unless you repeat the collision in exactly the same circumstances without a helmet and are then killed or seriously injured, it is an unjustifiable assumption. There are thousands of these “helmet saved my life” stories, and if even a tiny fraction of them were true, the death rate to cyclists would fall as helmet wearing increased, but it doesn’t and the stories cannot be true.

“Richard, check out the Tour de France this summer. Those guys wear helmets. They're professionals. It's a multi-million dollar enterprise and those millions are at stake in the riders' safety. If you were right. They'd be bareheaded like they used to be before it was evident that helmets save lives.”

And your assumption that the riders are wearing helmets because it makes them safer is also false. There are two reasons they wear them: they are sponsored and the rules say they have to, so no helmet, no ride, no income. There is limited data about risk to professionals because there are relatively few of them, but such as exists doesn’t seem to show that cycle helmets make them any safer.

But you are right about the multi-million dollar enterprise, but not in the way you think. Cycle helmet propaganda and laws have two effects: a reduction in the number of cyclists and obscene profits for those making and selling helmets, there is no safety benefit. Helmets cost peanuts to make and are sold at an incredible mark up, and it’s all based on a myth.

Posted by Richard Burton on 05/17/2015 at 5:15 PM

Re: “Cautionary tale of an accident survivor

An interesting story, but the implication that a helmet would have helped cannot be substantiated and is extremely unlikely to be true. Nowhere with a cycle helmet law can show any reduction in risk to cyclists, and the biggest ever study found an increase in risk with helmet wearing.

The author suffered a diffuse axonal injury, which is frequently caused by rapid rotation of the head, and it has been shown that cycle helmets can increase the likelihood of such injuries.

We should all learn from our mistakes, but not wearing a helmet was not one. The mistakes were riding without lights and riding drunk.

Check out cyclehelmets.org for the facts about helmets.

3 likes, 7 dislikes
Posted by Richard Burton on 05/13/2015 at 4:46 AM

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