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Federal Panel Seeks Mandatory Helmet Laws

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Federal Panel Seeks Mandatory Helmet Laws

Old 11-05-19, 09:16 PM
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detroitjim
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Federal Panel Seeks Mandatory Helmet Laws

Federal Panel Seeks Mandatory Helmet Laws


A federal safety board issued a surprise recommendation for mandatory bike helmet laws in all 50 states — unanimously approving a last-minute resolution that had not been recommended by the board’s own staff.

The National Transportation Safety Board voted 3-0 to recommend helmet laws even as staff members reminded panelists that such laws may reduce overall cycling, and lead to the “unintended consequence” of more road fatalities because fewer cyclists will mean less pressure on local officials to build the kind of protected infrastructure that is proven to improve cyclist safety.

He was also asked during his part of the presentation why the Netherlands has such a low rate of bike fatalities, especially given the country’s low rate of helmet use and lack of mandatory helmet law. Cheung made it clear — as did his report — that the real way to protect cyclists is to make roadways safer and to reduce speed limits on drivers rather than worrying so much about cyclist behavior.

The entire article https://nyc.streetsblog.org/2019/11/...y-helmet-laws/
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Old 11-06-19, 01:17 AM
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Video of the meeting:
http://ntsb.windrosemedia.com/11052019/
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Old 11-06-19, 04:50 AM
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Well, the good news is that the NTSB can't make the states do this.
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Old 11-06-19, 07:59 AM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
Well, the good news is that the NTSB can't make the states do this.
No but this decision will give some ammo to mandatory helmet advocates in State govts. We all know how easily laws are passed without clear understanding of all factors.
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Old 11-06-19, 09:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Moe Zhoost View Post
No but this decision will give some ammo to mandatory helmet advocates in State govts. We all know how easily laws are passed without clear understanding of all factors.
True, but it's not like there hasn't been a built-in lobby of manufacturers and advocates up to now. Always hard to know how the balance will tip in various states, but I'm not at all sure that anything coming out of a short-handed NTSB carries a lot of credibility with the state legislators. Also, this is a bit of an odd issue for the NTSB to weigh in on--their jurisdiction over bicycle safety issues is fairly incidental. Unless the bicyclist is hit by a train, on a highway or by a plane, they have no jurisdiction to investigate, and I don't think anyone who knows what they actually do would consider them likely to be expert in bicycle safety issues generally.

This would be a lot more important if it came out of an agency that administers federal funding to the states.
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Old 11-06-19, 10:29 AM
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in SC you don't have to wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle, so I doubt this is coming here

why not mandatory helmets for skateboarders, or children playing outside in general

next thread
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Old 11-06-19, 10:37 AM
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While I dont turn a wheel even on my trike with out my helmet, I totally dislike government dictating to people what to do.

Besides people that dont wear helmets make great organ donors.
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Old 11-06-19, 10:39 AM
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I would really like to know who is on this "FEDERAL PANEL", and if they bike or even own one.
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Old 11-06-19, 11:14 AM
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
I would really like to know who is on this "FEDERAL PANEL", and if they bike or even own one.

Here's a radical idea--why don't you actually read the article? It names the three members of the board. It also says that the board member behind this is the one who describes herself as "a regular cyclist". Why does that make a difference?
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Old 11-06-19, 01:17 PM
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Even more radical idea, at least browse the presentations if not watch the meeting.

(If you are only interested in watching the helmet presentation, click on the second Ivan Cheung in the Index of the link to the video posted above in the second reply.)

-mr. bill
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Old 11-06-19, 01:32 PM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
Here's a radical idea--why don't you actually read the article? It names the three members of the board. It also says that the board member behind this is the one who describes herself as "a regular cyclist". Why does that make a difference?
rydabent doesn't even believe in reading the thread before posting his knee-jerk reaction to the title.
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Old 11-06-19, 01:44 PM
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Originally Posted by detroitjim View Post
even as staff members reminded panelists that such laws may reduce overall cycling, and lead to the “unintended consequence” of more road fatalities because fewer cyclists will mean less pressure on local officials to build the kind of protected infrastructure that is proven to improve cyclist safety.
In my opinion, that is a pretty weak argument. As far as my riding environment, I see about 100 cyclists riding up a local mountain road. On flatter sections, bike trails, coast highways, I see hundreds of cyclists on every ride.

It is very rare that I see even 1 cyclist without a helmet.

So to say that if the helmet was made mandatory, there would be less cyclists isn't true. I've met hundreds and hundreds of cyclist and only 2 have said they don't care for helmets. One had a bud that crashed with head injuries and even now that dude wears a helmet.

This is in Sunny California, so I am not sure with the weak attitude of other states that could end cycling over a helmet, but that won't happen here.
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Old 11-06-19, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by TheDudeIsHere View Post
In my opinion, that is a pretty weak argument. As far as my riding environment, I see about 100 cyclists riding up a local mountain road. On flatter sections, bike trails, coast highways, I see hundreds of cyclists on every ride.

It is very rare that I see even 1 cyclist without a helmet.
Do you ever observe or talk to bicyclists who ride in the city for transportation purposes rather than sport, or are not members of your bicycling club or people who do not resemble your personal profile?

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Old 11-06-19, 02:15 PM
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
Do you ever observe or talk to bicyclists who ride in the city for transportation purposes rather than sport, or are not members of your bicycling club or people who do not resemble your personal profile?
I hate cycling clubs for the record and will never join!

I ride for sport so yeah hundreds of cyclists on the weekends wear helmets. I chat with many for the record, noting about helmets, observation.

I ride on the roads during weekdays. I see some riding for sport, all have helmets. I see some commuters, all have helmets.

I have seen a ton of commuters while driving, all have helmets. Utility riders wearing helmets.

I'm guessing you come from a weak cycling community or state. Seeing not long ago you made a comment, speaking for the rest of the USA, that you did not see many cyclists sporting Specialized bikes. Now that is very odd to me as I see them ALL THE TIME, EVERYWHERE around here.

But yes, here, I see all kinds of cyclists. Sport, race, commute, recreational, and seriously even the children wear helmets on kiddie bikes as it is the law here.

You must live in a small town community. Things must be very different where you are compared to my home. I see some posts on Strava as well from other small town cyclist. As an example, many times I have seen posters claim top ten spots on the Strava leader boards. Well yeah, when you only have 20 riders on a segment, the chances are much higher to post a top ten spot.

As an example, this is an image from Strava to show how many cyclist ride on the local segments. Very popular stretch used by racers, recreational, sport, commuters, touring, you name it!

Take a look at the red circle, 19, 3432 cyclists on this one stretch. Believe me, there are hundreds of miles around here that are highly populated by cyclists, all types. Our mountain roads are also highly populated with thousands of cyclists as the Tour of California rides through our hometown.

Not sure how many cyclist ride in your area but we have THOUSANDS OF ALL TYPES. I wish I could see the amount of cyclists for each segment on your local Strava.


Yes, 19,342 cyclist on this one of a million segments in our local area. Of course the commuter types "MIGHT" be at the slower end but they are there too, and wearing helmets. I say MIGHT because I know a guy who commutes that kills many cyclists riding superlight roadies while he rides a heavy commuter type old rusted mountain bike.

This is why I find it strange when you speak for the rest of the USA saying there is no place where there are lots of people riding Specialized bikes. I guess you have never ridden your bike here!

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Old 11-06-19, 02:34 PM
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I don't ride my bike without a helmet either, and it likely saved my life recently. However I'm perplexed at how some wish spend tax dollars and mandate increased expense for a few while ignoring other places where potentially more lives can be saved.

There are only about 800 or less deaths from bicycling accidents each year in the USA. I don't know what percentage of those are from head injury but I'd expect it's a very high percentage. Nor do I know how many of those were wearing a helmet but died anyway. Probably many were as I don't see many with out a helmet around here.

There are roughly 45,000 deaths to occupants of motor vehicles each year in the USA. Estimates are that over a third are due to head injury. That would be nearly 15,000 deaths. Yet no one is considering requiring helmets in the car. Even if helmet use by motor vehicle occupants only saved a small percentage of those dying from head trauma, it's likely more lives would be saved.

It seems an emphasis in the motor vehicle area might save more lives. So if the government were trying to make you wear helmets while driving, would your side of the argument change??
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Old 11-06-19, 03:05 PM
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Originally Posted by TheDudeIsHere View Post
I hate cycling clubs for the record and will never join!

I ride for sport so yeah hundreds of cyclists on the weekends wear helmets. I chat with many for the record, noting about helmets, observation.

I ride on the roads during weekdays. I see some riding for sport, all have helmets. I see some commuters, all have helmets.

I have seen a ton of commuters while driving, all have helmets. Utility riders wearing helmets.

I'm guessing you come from a weak cycling community or state. Seeing not long ago you made a comment, speaking for the rest of the USA, that you did not see many cyclists sporting Specialized bikes. Now that is very odd to me as I see them ALL THE TIME, EVERYWHERE around here.

But yes, here, I see all kinds of cyclists. Sport, race, commute, recreational, and seriously even the children wear helmets on kiddie bikes as it is the law here.

You must live in a small town community. Things must be very different where you are compared to my home. I see some posts on Strava as well from other small town cyclist. As an example, many times I have seen posters claim top ten spots on the Strava leader boards. Well yeah, when you only have 20 riders on a segment, the chances are much higher to post a top ten spot.

As an example, this is an image from Strava to show how many cyclist ride on the local segments. Very popular stretch used by racers, recreational, sport, commuters, touring, you name it!

Take a look at the red circle, 19, 3432 cyclists on this one stretch. Believe me, there are hundreds of miles around here that are highly populated by cyclists, all types. Our mountain roads are also highly populated with thousands of cyclists as the Tour of California rides through our hometown.

Not sure how many cyclist ride in your area but we have THOUSANDS OF ALL TYPES. I wish I could see the amount of cyclists for each segment on your local Strava.


Yes, 19,342 cyclist on this one of a million segments in our local area. Of course the commuter types "MIGHT" be at the slower end but they are there too, and wearing helmets. I say MIGHT because I know a guy who commutes that kills many cyclists riding superlight roadies while he rides a heavy commuter type old rusted mountain bike.

This is why I find it strange when you speak for the rest of the USA saying there is no place where there are lots of people riding Specialized bikes. I guess you have never ridden your bike here!

Sorry, but this is a nutty argument. First of all, if you want to encourage more people to ride, "weak cycling communities" are exactly where you would target your efforts. Second, that's BS, anyways. I see tons of people in the Boston area riding without helmets. It's definitely a biking city, it's just that there are a lot of different kinds of bicyclists doing a whole bunch of riding in a fairly dense geographical area. Third, what the heck is all this Strava nonsense? Who cares how many people ride that segment?

Neither of you speak for all of cycling or the entire country or the rest of the country or whatever it is you all think you're speaking for.
I always wear a helmet, but I ride really fast habitually so I think I have a pretty high probability of hitting my head in a crash whenever I ride. If I rode slower for shorter distances, my calculations might be entirely different. We get more people to bike by lowering the barriers to entry, not imposing ones they may not actually need for the type of riding they're thinking about doing.
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Old 11-06-19, 03:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
I don't ride my bike without a helmet either, and it likely saved my life recently. However I'm perplexed at how some wish spend tax dollars and mandate increased expense for a few while ignoring other places where potentially more lives can be saved.

There are only about 800 or less deaths from bicycling accidents each year in the USA. I don't know what percentage of those are from head injury but I'd expect it's a very high percentage. Nor do I know how many of those were wearing a helmet but died anyway. Probably many were as I don't see many with out a helmet around here.

There are roughly 45,000 deaths to occupants of motor vehicles each year in the USA. Estimates are that over a third are due to head injury. That would be nearly 15,000 deaths. Yet no one is considering requiring helmets in the car. Even if helmet use by motor vehicle occupants only saved a small percentage of those dying from head trauma, it's likely more lives would be saved.

It seems an emphasis in the motor vehicle area might save more lives. So if the government were trying to make you wear helmets while driving, would your side of the argument change??
I don't remember if it's in the article or the comments, but someone pointed out that if the NTSB were serious about wanting to reduce deaths by regulation, they could do a lot more by requiring auto manufacturers to limit the maximum speed of most motor vehicles to, say, 70 mph.
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Old 11-06-19, 03:14 PM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
Second, that's BS, anyways. I see tons of people in the Boston area riding without helmets.

Neither of you speak for all of cycling or the entire country or the rest of the country or whatever it is you all think you're speaking for.
oing.
Well if your reading comprehension was up to par, you would see that is my point. I speak for my area and say the other poster must live in a different type less populated, weaker cycling community. She has said that there is no place in the US where Specialized bikes are not everywhere. That is BS, they are all over here. My point is that it is different here from there, but again, if you were able to comprehend.

OK, so Boston is different. OK whatever, I was speaking for California to point out that it would not make a difference here. I say Calif, you say Boston, what is the argument? I did not say everywhere and as far as the other poster, that was my argument, if you could understand.

The strava? It shows how many cyclists ride through the area showing the other poster just how many cyclists I see as she asked if I only saw, chat, and record what I see with only cyclists similar to me. No, the point is that there are many, different levels, and types in that amount of thousands I pointed out.

That was the reason for circling the amount of cyclists on the board. But again, I guess you were not able to comprehend that either.
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Old 11-06-19, 03:48 PM
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Originally Posted by TheDudeIsHere View Post
In my opinion, that is a pretty weak argument. As far as my riding environment, I see about 100 cyclists riding up a local mountain road. On flatter sections, bike trails, coast highways, I see hundreds of cyclists on every ride.

It is very rare that I see even 1 cyclist without a helmet.

So to say that if the helmet was made mandatory, there would be less cyclists isn't true.

Originally Posted by TheDudeIsHere View Post

You must live in a small town community. Things must be very different where you are compared to my home. I see some posts on Strava as well from other small town cyclist. As an example, many times I have seen posters claim top ten spots on the Strava leader boards. Well yeah, when you only have 20 riders on a segment, the chances are much higher to post a top ten spot.

As an example, this is an image from Strava to show how many cyclist ride on the local segments. Very popular stretch used by racers, recreational, sport, commuters, touring, you name it!

Take a look at the red circle, 19, 3432 cyclists on this one stretch. Believe me, there are hundreds of miles around here that are highly populated by cyclists, all types. Our mountain roads are also highly populated with thousands of cyclists as the Tour of California rides through our hometown.

Not sure how many cyclist ride in your area but we have THOUSANDS OF ALL TYPES. I wish I could see the amount of cyclists for each segment on your local Strava.


Yes, 19,342 cyclist on this one of a million segments in our local area. Of course the commuter types "MIGHT" be at the slower end but they are there too, and wearing helmets. I say MIGHT because I know a guy who commutes that kills many cyclists riding superlight roadies while he rides a heavy commuter type old rusted mountain bike.

Originally Posted by TheDudeIsHere View Post
Well if your reading comprehension was up to par, you would see that is my point. I speak for my area and say the other poster must live in a different type less populated, weaker cycling community. She has said that there is no place in the US where Specialized bikes are not everywhere. That is BS, they are all over here. My point is that it is different here from there, but again, if you were able to comprehend.

OK, so Boston is different. OK whatever, I was speaking for California to point out that it would not make a difference here. I say Calif, you say Boston, what is the argument? I did not say everywhere and as far as the other poster, that was my argument, if you could understand.

The strava? It shows how many cyclists ride through the area showing the other poster just how many cyclists I see as she asked if I only saw, chat, and record what I see with only cyclists similar to me. No, the point is that there are many, different levels, and types in that amount of thousands I pointed out.

That was the reason for circling the amount of cyclists on the board. But again, I guess you were not able to comprehend that either.

I'm able to comprehend a logical argument, but you're all over the barn. Start with that first statement I quote above--that's not limited to your area, you're making a blanket statement that the assertion that mandatory helmet use will reduce ridership isn't true. Then you make an argument that seems to be because you see a lot of bicyclists in your area, that you can make some sort of generalizations about helmet use in "strong" cycling areas. My point with Boston clearly being different is that whatever connection there is between allegedly universal helmet use in California (not my observation when I lived there, btw), it isn't an indication or side effect of "strong" cycling patterns.

Frankly, I didn't believe him when he said he doesn't see Specialized bikes in the land of RAGBRAI, and I don't believe you when you say you don't see utility riders and commuters without helmets. Well, let's put it this way, I don't believe they're not there, I think both of you see what you want to see and don't see what you don't want.

Finally, you know what the biggest difference is between biking in California and New England? It's the friggin' climate. If there really is a difference in helmet use, did it occur to you that people who are likely only going to ride part of the year might find it harder to justify putting money into a helmet?

Oh, and the cat/troll fellow is definitely a he.
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Old 11-06-19, 04:04 PM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
I'm able to comprehend a logical argument, but you're all over the barn. Start with that first statement I quote above--that's not limited to your area, you're making a blanket statement that the assertion that mandatory helmet use will reduce ridership isn't true. Then you make an argument that seems to be because you see a lot of bicyclists in your area, that you can make some sort of generalizations about helmet use in "strong" cycling areas.

Oh, and the cat/troll fellow is definitely a he.
Wow, so I respond to a blanket statement (in the OP) with a comment about my local surroundings that explains my point of view then you call my comment a blanket statement. Wow! You're not following along.

Again, read what you typed. "BECAUSE YOU SEE A LOT OF BICYCLISTS IN YOUR AREA"......EXACTLY!!!!!!

I am in California. You are in Boston, am I trying to tell you what your cycling environment is like there? No, I have never been there, never cycled there. If I tried to tell you how cycling conditions were there not knowing, I would feel like a fool. ;-)

Again, I have no idea what it is like in Boston. I am no stupid enough to try to correct what someone says about that area. BUT as HE mentioned before, If someone says there is no place in the US where many people ride Specialized, I will argue that is not true because in California, A LOT OF PEOPLE are riding Specialized. That is a fact and I can pull up a few pics of MY friends riding them.

AND again, you are going to try to tell me that I only see what I want to see not ever being here? WOW! You are a winner! I see every commuter and utility rider wearing helmets where I ride. Road, trails, and mountains (though not many utility or commuters there). But every cyclist I see here is wearing a helmet. I am not that much of a fool to tell you about your area without having been there.

I did also mention that I know a couple of guys who don't wear a helmet, but you failed to mention that.
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Old 11-06-19, 04:14 PM
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
Do you ever observe or talk to bicyclists who ride in the city for transportation purposes rather than sport, or are not members of your bicycling club or people who do not resemble your personal profile?
Do you ever see anyone on a bike? Anyhow, banished to the everlasting gobstopper thread in three, two....

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Old 11-06-19, 04:23 PM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
True, but it's not like there hasn't been a built-in lobby of manufacturers and advocates up to now. Always hard to know how the balance will tip in various states, but I'm not at all sure that anything coming out of a short-handed NTSB carries a lot of credibility with the state legislators. Also, this is a bit of an odd issue for the NTSB to weigh in on--their jurisdiction over bicycle safety issues is fairly incidental. Unless the bicyclist is hit by a train, on a highway or by a plane, they have no jurisdiction to investigate, and I don't think anyone who knows what they actually do would consider them likely to be expert in bicycle safety issues generally.

This would be a lot more important if it came out of an agency that administers federal funding to the states.
I've seen some strange things coming from our NC General Assembly. All it takes is for one representative to become a crusader after an injury to a constituent. I would like to think that most representatives are objective and reasonable; however I feel that may not always be the case.

The NTSB does seem to understand that the data for bicycle incidents is not well detailed.
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Old 11-06-19, 04:31 PM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
I see tons of people in the Boston area riding without helmets.
Define “Boston area” and define “tons”. Out of 100 people on bikes, how many are not wearing helmets?

I mean, taking you literally, you’ve seen a few dozen people riding bikes without a helmet. That’s not the truth, the whole truth, and nothing....

-mr. bill

Last edited by mr_bill; 11-06-19 at 04:35 PM.
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Old 11-06-19, 04:48 PM
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Originally Posted by TheDudeIsHere View Post
I see every commuter and utility rider wearing helmets where I ride. Road, trails, and mountains (though not many utility or commuters there). But every cyclist I see here is wearing a helmet. I am not that much of a fool to tell you about your area without having been there.

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Well, I live is something of a premiere riding territory in California, and yes the majority of cyclist wear helmets. But the majority of cyclists fit into the club rider, Lance rider and commuter ride groups. The lone wolves and the Fred and Mary riders don't wear helmets. If you ride with groups they demand you wear a helmet, so it's a peer pressure or fitting in thing. I have actually seen non-helmeted riders get yelled at by helmeted riders - it's bordering on a religious fervor. Do helmets make you safer? I doubt it, but it's not an enormous nuisance to put one on.
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Old 11-06-19, 05:39 PM
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Originally Posted by FrenchFit View Post
Well, I live is something of a premiere riding territory in California, and yes the majority of cyclist wear helmets. But the majority of cyclists fit into the club rider, Lance rider and commuter ride groups. The lone wolves and the Fred and Mary riders don't wear helmets. If you ride with groups they demand you wear a helmet, so it's a peer pressure or fitting in thing. I have actually seen non-helmeted riders get yelled at by helmeted riders - it's bordering on a religious fervor. Do helmets make you safer? I doubt it, but it's not an enormous nuisance to put one on.
I beg to differ about a helmet possibly being a nuisance to put on. Where I ride it's often very hot and very humid at the same time in summer. Putting on a helmet leads to overheating and copious amounts of sweating much of which runs into the eyes causing a burning sensation. Because of that the wearing of a helmet can actually be more dangerous than not wearing one. I think it should be up to the individual to decide whether or not to wear a helmet. After all, the tests a helmet must pass in order to be certified are quite slack. I had a helmet break a large chunk off its side when it fell off my handlebar and hit a non-ceramic tile floor. That was a drop of less than three feet. Then I found out that none of the helmet tests are fore impacts to the side of the helmet. Actually, I was amazed at just how little a helmet needs to do in order to be certified.

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