Helmets!! Sorry, but this needs to be seen...

ct8282
ct8282 Posts: 414
edited July 2013 in Road general
So I did post this in the other helmet thread but I think it needs proper visibility as the data may be of interest to some of you! Here is just a straight copy of that post...

http://www.iihs.org/research/fatality.a ... &year=2009

Hmmm. Second table down..... Cyclist deaths by helmet use 1994 to 2009.

To make it easier I have taken the liberty of copying the table for you....

image_zpscd315232.jpg

So, in 2009 there were a total of 630 deaths recorded, of which 574 (91%) were not wearing a helmet and 53 (8%) were. (For the keen eyed among you the remaining 1% was unknown as to whether or not they had a helmet on or not)

I think that speaks for itself really.

(Data is from America and I do not know if this is nationwide or from one state etc. However, that is irrelevant)

Try to find a argument against the data or what it represents, but personally this certainly reaffirms my decision to wear a helmet. The opening statement says 'in the last few years of those fatally injured only 1 in 10 were wearing a helmet'. So it would seem you're 9 times as likely to be killed if you're involved in a major accident and are not wearing a one.
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Comments

  • zingaiya
    zingaiya Posts: 52
    Without knowing the proportions of riders who wear helmets to those that don't, it's not a terribly useful table.

    I still wear a helmet though.
  • ct8282
    ct8282 Posts: 414
    Zingaiya wrote:
    Without knowing the proportions of riders who wear helmets to those that don't, it's not a terribly useful table.

    I still wear a helmet though.

    That makes no sense. If someone said '1000 people were killed crossing the road. 900 of those had their eyes closed'. This clearly suggests its far more dangerous to cross the road with your eyes closed. The proportion of people with their eyes open or closed is completely irrelevant.

    The fact is we know that most people probably do wear a helmet so the fact that 90% of those killed were not makes the data even more compelling.
  • lc1981
    lc1981 Posts: 820
    ct8282 wrote:
    That makes no sense. If someone said '1000 people were killed crossing the road. 900 of those had their eyes closed'. This clearly suggests its far more dangerous to cross the road with your eyes closed. The proportion of people with their eyes open or closed is completely irrelevant.

    The fact is we know that most people probably do wear a helmet so the fact that 90% of those killed were not makes the data even more compelling.

    It does matter what proportion of people wear helmets, as your final sentence acknowledges. If there was only one person out there not wearing a helmet, and everyone else did, then it would be pretty unlikely that a non helmet-wearer would be killed. That doesn't mean that not wearing is helmet is safer than wearing one.
  • slowbike
    slowbike Posts: 8,498
    ct8282 wrote:
    Zingaiya wrote:
    Without knowing the proportions of riders who wear helmets to those that don't, it's not a terribly useful table.

    I still wear a helmet though.

    That makes no sense. If someone said '1000 people were killed crossing the road. 900 of those had their eyes closed'. This clearly suggests its far more dangerous to cross the road with your eyes closed. The proportion of people with their eyes open or closed is completely irrelevant.

    The fact is we know that most people probably do wear a helmet so the fact that 90% of those killed were not makes the data even more compelling.

    No ... It does make sense. If the number of ppl crossing the road with their eyes closed was 10000 then 10% of those were killed. Vs 200 ppl who cross with their eyes open - then 50% were killed.
    That turns it round to say that it is statistically safer to cross the road with your eyes closed.
    Obviously that's nonsense stats ...

    But to make total sense of the table you do need to know what the proportion of helmet wearers to non- helmet wearers is ...
    All I can guess from that table that there is a growing proportion of helmet wearers - as the proportion of deaths when wearing a helmet has gone up.
  • cat_with_no_tail
    cat_with_no_tail Posts: 12,981
    ct8282 wrote:
    Zingaiya wrote:
    Without knowing the proportions of riders who wear helmets to those that don't, it's not a terribly useful table.

    I still wear a helmet though.

    That makes no sense. If someone said '1000 people were killed crossing the road. 900 of those had their eyes closed'. This clearly suggests its far more dangerous to cross the road with your eyes closed. The proportion of people with their eyes open or closed is completely irrelevant.

    The fact is we know that most people probably do wear a helmet so the fact that 90% of those killed were not makes the data even more compelling.

    Sorry, but that's complete boIIocks.

    You don't *know* that most people wear a helmet at all, that's a preposterous claim.

    All we can really know from the table (if we can assume all the statistics were reported correctly, and it's not a case of someone simply missing a tick-box on a form or something) is that of all cyclists involved in fatal accidents 90% of them were not wearing a helmet. As stated above, it's not terribly useful as for all you know, only 1 in 100 choose to wear a helmet.

    There is another chart there that shows that only 18% of fatalities were women. So by your logic, women must be safer cyclists, and I should therefore go find a meat cleaver and chop off my c0ck.

    I wear a helmet whenever on the bike by the way. I just object to the use of questionable statistics to try and prove a point.
  • ct8282
    ct8282 Posts: 414
    edited July 2013
    Agreed. I didn't think that through. If 10 times more people cycled without a helmet then the proportion of deaths could be the same.

    So, do 10 times more people in the US cycle without a helmet? That's the question.

    I thought I had found something of use.... :(
  • Bozman
    Bozman Posts: 2,518
    It's got to be bullsh*t, the vast majority of cyclists wear helmets. It's almost saying that if you don't wear a helmet you will die.
    Surely the majority of the deaths would be down to a collision with a vehicle where a helmet would of been of little use in most cases.
    It's the do-gooder pro helmet lobby trying to scare the pants off the weak minded.
  • cat_with_no_tail
    cat_with_no_tail Posts: 12,981
    It's not even really the case of 10 times more people wearing a helmet though is it? It's actually far more complicated than that.
    As we can't assume that not wearing a helmet contributed in any way towards the poor souls accident in the first place, the question really needs to be: "would the accident have been survivable had the victim been wearing a helmet?".

    You'd also need to look at all the fatalities from those wearing a helmet, and ask the same question. Would this have been survivable if they'd been lidless?

    Edit: Beaten to it by Bozman
  • cat_with_no_tail
    cat_with_no_tail Posts: 12,981
    Actually, I'd be interested to see how they collect these stats. From the summary, it looks like this "Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS)" ...... (lol, farce) is basically information strung together by an admin somewhere from various reports:
    FARS data are obtained solely from the state's existing documents:

    Police accident reports
    State vehicle registration files
    State driver licensing files
    State highway department data
    Vital statistics
    Death certificates
    Coroner/medical examiner reports
    Hospital medical reports
    Emergency medical service reports
    Other state records

    So if helmet use is not determined in any of these reports (very likely given the situation), do they just assume one was not being worn?
    Also, what if the helmet fell off, or was broken off, or removed by a well-meaning witness in a misguided attempt at first aid? Again, do they just assume one was not present?
  • ddraver
    ddraver Posts: 26,383
    ctd I actually agree with you on Helmets, but this is a level of statistical abuse on a par with climate change denial mate...
    We're in danger of confusing passion with incompetence
    - @ddraver
  • slowbike
    slowbike Posts: 8,498
    ct8282 wrote:
    Agreed. I didn't think that through. If 10 times more people cycled without a helmet then the proportion of deaths could be the same.

    So, do 10 times more people in the US cycle without a helmet? That's the question.

    I thought I had found something of use.... :(

    All it does is raise more questions - it doesn't indicate how they were killed - was it an accident or was it a drive by shooting or something else.

    Even if you assume an equal number of helmet wearers to non-helmet wearers it doesn't suggest that wearing a helmet is safer - it could equally be that those wearing a helmet ride in safer areas, at safer speeds or any other number of reasons that they wouldn't have accidents.

    Statistics are useful things - if you know how to manipulate them to say what you want them to say. ;)
  • alihisgreat
    alihisgreat Posts: 3,872
    ct8282 wrote:
    So I did post this in the other helmet thread but I think it needs proper visibility as the data may be of interest to some of you! Here is just a straight copy of that post...

    http://www.iihs.org/research/fatality.a ... &year=2009

    Hmmm. Second table down..... Cyclist deaths by helmet use 1994 to 2009.

    To make it easier I have taken the liberty of copying the table for you....

    image_zpscd315232.jpg

    So, in 2009 there were a total of 630 deaths recorded, of which 574 (91%) were not wearing a helmet and 53 (8%) were. (For the keen eyed among you the remaining 1% was unknown as to whether or not they had a helmet on or not)

    I think that speaks for itself really.

    (Data is from America and I do not know if this is nationwide or from one state etc. However, that is irrelevant)

    Try to find a argument against the data or what it represents, but personally this certainly reaffirms my decision to wear a helmet. The opening statement says 'in the last few years of those fatally injured only 1 in 10 were wearing a helmet'. So it would seem you're 9 times as likely to be killed if you're involved in a major accident and are not wearing a one.


    :lol:

    The helmet issue is one massive bastard of a statistical problem.. leave it to the professionals.
  • Spinonit
    Spinonit Posts: 17
    You can quote all the stats in the world,the bottom line is until it is law to wear a helmet in this country(UK) it is still up to personal choice.
    Its just like smoking you fully know the risks involved and theres a chance it may kill you but people still choose to do it.
    Helmets are no different its pretty obvious they offer some form of protection but some people choose to wear them some not.End of story
  • Bustacapp
    Bustacapp Posts: 971
    Zingaiya wrote:
    Without knowing the proportions of riders who wear helmets to those that don't, it's not a terribly useful table.

    I still wear a helmet though.

    Rubbish. We can only deal with the facts. As we can never know the proportion of helmet to non helmet wearers, I would say that this table is the best indicator of Helmet Safety available.
  • chris_bass
    chris_bass Posts: 4,913
    Firstly do we really need 3 helmet threads running at the same time? Obviously me posting this doesn’t help but seeing as I have here goes:

    You cant read too much into this data without a load of other factors being know, someone who chooses to wear a helmet is probably a very different type of person than someone who chooses not to. They might be more likely to take risks, not such a regular rider, could be older or younger, etc etc. its not a fair comparison.

    it would be like saying that people who wear camouflage clothing are much more likely to be killed in combat without taking into account whether or not they have been in the army! Obviously that’s taking it to the extreme!
    www.conjunctivitis.com - a site for sore eyes
  • slowbike
    slowbike Posts: 8,498
    Bustacapp wrote:
    Zingaiya wrote:
    Without knowing the proportions of riders who wear helmets to those that don't, it's not a terribly useful table.

    I still wear a helmet though.

    Rubbish. We can only deal with the facts. As we can never know the proportion of helmet to non helmet wearers, I would say that this table is the best indicator of Helmet Safety available.

    This could just as easily be a table of men to women cyclists getting killed ...
  • alihisgreat
    alihisgreat Posts: 3,872
    Bustacapp wrote:
    Zingaiya wrote:
    Without knowing the proportions of riders who wear helmets to those that don't, it's not a terribly useful table.

    I still wear a helmet though.

    Rubbish. We can only deal with the facts. As we can never know the proportion of helmet to non helmet wearers, I would say that this table is the best indicator of Helmet Safety available.

    Does this table make an estimation of the average treatment effect of wearing a helmet?

    ..No? oh.. well there are probably much better indicators out there then...
  • Bustacapp
    Bustacapp Posts: 971

    Does this table make an estimation of the average treatment effect of wearing a helmet?

    ..No? oh.. well there are probably much better indicators out there then...

    It doesn't make any estimation. Only facts.
  • junglist_matty
    junglist_matty Posts: 1,731
    All it proves is that people who don't wear a helmet are more likely to be bad cyclists, i.e. those muppets on town bikes who don't wear helmets who also jump red lights, pull out in front of cars, try and undertake motorists who are turning left, wobble all over the road, ride drunk, (the list goes on).....

    If they started wearing helmets, the "number of deaths" stats would be no different, just that 100% would be wearing helmets.
  • Hoopdriver
    Hoopdriver Posts: 2,023
    All it proves is that people who don't wear a helmet are more likely to be bad cyclists, i.e. those muppets on town bikes who don't wear helmets who also jump red lights, pull out in front of cars, try and undertake motorists who are turning left, wobble all over the road, ride drunk, (the list goes on).....

    If they started wearing helmets, the "number of deaths" stats would be no different, just that 100% would be wearing helmets.
    Nothing like breathless assumptions...
  • simonhead
    simonhead Posts: 1,399
    There is no data on people shot, struck by lightning, ridden of a cliff face or trampled to death by horses whilst cycling. Sorry the data is too limited to be able to make a real conclusion. To make this meeningful you need to look at the actual cause of death in each instance, know the helmet utilisation rate and for those wearing helmets have an understanding of what type of helmet they were wearing.

    I wear a helmet, i choose to but i wouldnt force others to do so.
    Life isnt like a box of chocolates, its like a bag of pic n mix.
  • DavidJB
    DavidJB Posts: 2,019
    Hoopdriver wrote:
    All it proves is that people who don't wear a helmet are more likely to be bad cyclists, i.e. those muppets on town bikes who don't wear helmets who also jump red lights, pull out in front of cars, try and undertake motorists who are turning left, wobble all over the road, ride drunk, (the list goes on).....

    If they started wearing helmets, the "number of deaths" stats would be no different, just that 100% would be wearing helmets.
    Nothing like breathless assumptions...

    Its true though. Jean and t-shirt wearing idiots on £100 mtb from Tesco are the worst kind of 'person on a bike' I wouldn't class them as cyclists.
  • CiB
    CiB Posts: 6,098
    Like many others I've argued for a long time against the imposition of mandatory helmet wearing, cos this is where all this discussion will eventually end up. You'd be a numpty not to believe that someone somewhere with a vested interest - maybe part of the Safety Industry that loves to us sell us things we didn't know we needed - or someone with a desire to make a name for himself by being the man that introduced helmet laws - that someone isn't reading all this and using it as part of a growing body of evidence that supports The Cause. The subject pops up now & again, we all agree that it's a good idea to wear one sometimes or all the while or whatever then we move on back to things that matter. This time it's worked its way over three separate threads, each one carrying the usual arguments for & against and demands for proof and anecdotes about easy it is to nearly be killed. And in all the years I've been looking at this I've never seen anything that so conclusively demonstrates how vital it is to wear a helmet, as that table does. Which leads to the obvious conclusion that it's hokum. Either the stats have been manipulated, they're not representative of the bigger picture, or there's some other explanation for why a set of data that so clearly shows that cycling without a helmet = certain death has only just appeared after years of genuine discussion on the subject and which suggests a safety factor so intense but which has never before been seen.

    I don't really care if that data is valid or not. I'll continue to wear a helmet on events that force me to, will sign the waiver on Sportivs that I just intend to potter round on and will leave it at home when cycling to work thanks. In the meantime you all continue with the standard "I always wear one but wouldn't like to see it made compulsory" line, and then in a couple of years or so when Someone Important announces mandatory helmet laws and points to the 'consensus amongst the majority of cyclists that helmets are vital for road safety', you can all be pleased that you can carry on cycling with the same level of comfort and enjoyment with helmets still in place. Like I said when some haflwit over on a different part of this site started arguing for something that really no-one was that bothered about but it ended up ripping this place apart, be careful what you wish for. Personally I don't want to be part of a process that sees popping across the rec to the shops without a helmet become a criminal act.
  • Bustacapp
    Bustacapp Posts: 971
    CiB wrote:
    Like many others I've argued for a long time against the imposition of mandatory helmet wearing, cos this is where all this discussion will eventually end up. You'd be a numpty not to believe that someone somewhere with a vested interest - maybe part of the Safety Industry that loves to us sell us things we didn't know we needed - or someone with a desire to make a name for himself by being the man that introduced helmet laws - that someone isn't reading all this and using it as part of a growing body of evidence that supports The Cause. The subject pops up now & again, we all agree that it's a good idea to wear one sometimes or all the while or whatever then we move on back to things that matter. This time it's worked its way over three separate threads, each one carrying the usual arguments for & against and demands for proof and anecdotes about easy it is to nearly be killed. And in all the years I've been looking at this I've never seen anything that so conclusively demonstrates how vital it is to wear a helmet, as that table does. Which leads to the obvious conclusion that it's hokum. Either the stats have been manipulated, they're not representative of the bigger picture, or there's some other explanation for why a set of data that so clearly shows that cycling without a helmet = certain death has only just appeared after years of genuine discussion on the subject and which suggests a safety factor so intense but which has never before been seen.

    I don't really care if that data is valid or not. I'll continue to wear a helmet on events that force me to, will sign the waiver on Sportivs that I just intend to potter round on and will leave it at home when cycling to work thanks. In the meantime you all continue with the standard "I always wear one but wouldn't like to see it made compulsory" line, and then in a couple of years or so when Someone Important announces mandatory helmet laws and points to the 'consensus amongst the majority of cyclists that helmets are vital for road safety', you can all be pleased that you can carry on cycling with the same level of comfort and enjoyment with helmets still in place. Like I said when some haflwit over on a different part of this site started arguing for something that really no-one was that bothered about but it ended up ripping this place apart, be careful what you wish for. Personally I don't want to be part of a process that sees popping across the rec to the shops without a helmet become a criminal act.

    I forgot my helmet the other day and carried on to work as usual. However it doesn't hurt me to wear one so why not? And no I wouldn't bother wearing one to pop to the shops because I'd probably go in the car or walk. When I was a kid I don't think cycle helmets or high viz vests even existed.
  • CiB
    CiB Posts: 6,098
    Bustacapp wrote:
    I forgot my helmet the other day and carried on to work as usual. However it doesn't hurt me to wear one so why not? And no I wouldn't bother wearing one to pop to the shops because I'd probably go in the car or walk. When I was a kid I don't think cycle helmets or high viz vests even existed.
    Errrm yeah. Thanks for that. :?
  • chris_bass
    chris_bass Posts: 4,913
    All it proves is that people who don't wear a helmet are more likely to be bad cyclists, i.e. those muppets on town bikes who don't wear helmets who also jump red lights, pull out in front of cars, try and undertake motorists who are turning left, wobble all over the road, ride drunk, (the list goes on).....

    If they started wearing helmets, the "number of deaths" stats would be no different, just that 100% would be wearing helmets.

    This is what i was trying to say but you said it a lot better than I did!!
    www.conjunctivitis.com - a site for sore eyes
  • Bustacapp
    Bustacapp Posts: 971
    CiB wrote:
    Bustacapp wrote:
    I forgot my helmet the other day and carried on to work as usual. However it doesn't hurt me to wear one so why not? And no I wouldn't bother wearing one to pop to the shops because I'd probably go in the car or walk. When I was a kid I don't think cycle helmets or high viz vests even existed.
    Errrm yeah. Thanks for that. :?

    :D
  • Bustacapp
    Bustacapp Posts: 971
    If they started wearing helmets, the "number of deaths" stats would be no different, just that 100% would be wearing helmets.

    So you're saying a helmet has never prevented a cycling death ever?
  • rolf_f
    rolf_f Posts: 16,015
    Bustacapp wrote:
    Rubbish. We can only deal with the facts. As we can never know the proportion of helmet to non helmet wearers, I would say that this table is the best indicator of Helmet Safety available.

    Lol. "We can never know the proportion of helmet to non helmet wearers" yet mysteriously we can know the proportion of helmet to non helmet wearers killed in accidents!

    You have a lot to learn about data analysis. It doesn't have to be about matching helmets to corpses; we do have the option of actually asking people about their use of helmets........ And a summary table is of little use to anyone who is interested in the facts unless it comes with a lot of information about how the data was collated. For all we know, the helmet wearers were all children riding in the park on grass and the non helmet wearers people commuting in LA.
    Faster than a tent.......
  • alihisgreat
    alihisgreat Posts: 3,872
    Bustacapp wrote:

    Does this table make an estimation of the average treatment effect of wearing a helmet?

    ..No? oh.. well there are probably much better indicators out there then...

    It doesn't make any estimation. Only facts.

    You can't make a causal interpretation of the treatment effect of helmets from that fact alone.

    The only interpretation that can be made from that table is exactly as it was represented in the report:

    "Ninety-one percent of cyclists killed in 2009 weren't wearing helmets"

    Trying to see it as anything else is just ignorant.