Re: Protection for casual rider
On Wed, 14 Jun, cathwood <> wrote:
> Ian Smith wrote:
> > By all means wear a helmet, but don’t pretend there’s a good reason -
> > you may as well say “because I was a soldier and have seen teh damage
> > that can occur when you’re hit by a bomb, always carry a lucky rabbits
> > foot when unicycling”.
> Due to having seen some nasty injuries incurred by people cycling
> without helmets, it makes me feel ‘safer’ when I wear a helmet when
> unicycling, however irrational that might be. I’m an irrational,
> emotional human being.
> (Is that better?)
It is at least coherent, yes.
There’s a good chance that you’re wrong, though it would be even
harder to prove (either way) for unicycling than it is for cycling.
> PS, just wondering why you have suddenly decided to criticize my
> ‘logic’. What purpose does it serve?
There’s a lot of misinformation and misunderstanding about cycle
helmets. People make statements that demonstrate that they blindly
assume helmets must be a good thing, when there is a lot of evidence
that they at best make no net contribution to safety, and at worst
positively harmful. I consider it expedient to highlight when people
claim they are doing something for a good reason, but the reasoning is
My underlying concern is that various people want the UK to pass a
mandatory cycling helmet law. That would certainly be a bad thing.
The Department for Transport says it will not support a mandatory law,
until a large proportion of cyclists wear helmets voluntarily. Thus,
encouraging people to actually think about whether wearing a helmet is
a good thing, and countering the common-sense blind assumption that
they must be a good thing, may help to prevent a mandatory helmet law.
It is a matter of common principle that you don’t impose obligations
on people unless there is a positive benefit. We would (or should)
not, for example, pass a law that makes it illegal to drive a blue car
- it inconveniences all owners of blue cars who must now buy a new
car, for no good reason.
We should not pass a law that says it is illegal to ride a cycle
(irrespective of number of wheels) unless you are wearing a
particular style of hat, unless it is clear that doing so has a
significant benefit. So far, the evidence of everywhere that has
passed such a law is that it has a significant disbenefit (since it
reduces activity levels, and increases head injury rates).
In the specific case of application to unicycling, were such a law
passed in the UK, it would mandate the use of a cycle helmet when
cycling. Which means that the various people that have a good and
rational reason for favouring wearing skate helmets when doing their
street unicycling or trials riding, would be acting illegally. Such a
law would mean one class of people (those that believe it’s fine to
ride without any helmet) would be obliged to go to the inconvenience
of obtaining a helmet and always wearing it, and another class (those
that wear skate helmets) would be obliged not only to obtain another
helmet, but a helmet that’s actually less suited to protecting their
head from the hazards they encounter. All for no provable (or even
regards, Ian SMith
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