In involved one researcher who was also the cyclist, making it impossible to blind. He claimed to be able to tell that cars were passing centimeters closer to him when he wore a helmet, but we have no way to be sure he was traveling in a perfectly straight line.
does sound like it could do with replication.
If wearing a helmet means I get knocked off my bike 1/100,000 passes as opposed to .75/100,000, maybe that's a risk worth taking if my risk of brain injury is reduced by 85%.
Anyway, yes, it's an interesting topic to discuss and I'd be happy to talk about it in more detail on the show some time, if it's topical. I'd have to look into what's been happening research-wise in the past few years.
if you feel like doing that some time, you might see if Steve would check out the cited "case-control study of the effectiveness of bicycle safety helmets. New England Journal of Medicine".
because I'd be curious to know just what it means to say that "Helmet use has been estimated to reduce head injury risk by 85 percent" -- "risk" confuses me a little, I must admit. I can understand a bulletproof vest* might reduce actual injury x%, and that a helmet might do the same, but the risk itself? I'm not sure I grasp that concept -- does this mean, theoretically it could have prevented zero head injuries, but nonetheless have reduced the risk a great deal? (I mean, if helmets work as proposed, they've reduced my 'risk' when I've worn them, even though I've never had contact to cause an injury either with or without a helmet on, which means they've not actually reduced any actual injury in my case). Risk aside, just a plain old Mythbusters/crash test dummy test, what is the force difference? I mean, suppose we're thinking in terms of boxing -- you take a punch in the head, can we put a helmet on you, then deliver a blow 85% more forceful and receive only the same force upon the skull? their number has nothing to do with how effective the helmets are, do they? Moreover, an increase force would still move the head/brain a greater amount, irrespective of helmet, right? or does the polystyrene and plastic actually absorb it? what's the nature of the head trauma, and how's it being prevented? (I'm a little incredulous to the idea because I know nothing of engineering, and I don't perceive polystyrene in the same way I view something visibly cushy)
*poor example, I know -- maybe causes bad bruising instead of a bulletwound, so, not an easy concept of 'reduced injury' like 'blow to the head' vs 'milder blow to the head'
they also say "The most serious injuries among a majority of those killed are to the head, highlighting the importance of wearing a bicycle helmet"
...are there any figures on which of the fatalities involved helmet use, and what the circumstances were that made these fatal rather than non-fatal crashes despite the helmet? (such that we can further appreciate the importance of wearing the helmet).
I mean, let's simplify to convey my question: suppose most people didn't die, thanks to the helmet, and the only people who did die had their head run over by the car in the accident. In such a case, it doesn't at all highlight the importance of wearing a helmet, because helmet or not you die. The only thing we don't know is how many who survived would also have survived without a helmet / how many additional deaths there would have been without a helmet. To have a complete picture, to get some honest statistics, wouldn't we need to look at the non-fatal crashes and head injuries? I'm guessing this isn't available/hasn't been done/is ignored because it's impossibly difficult, not because it's not relevant--if there are 100 crashes that result in concussion and a trip to the emergency room and 10,000 crashes that don't result in serious head injuries, there are no statistics for the latter to tell us how relevant the presence or absence of a helmet typically is. ('typically' only being relevant to "risk", not the actual function (which is basic physics?...the directions you strike your head, which part you strike, how your head/neck move with or without a helmet, the force applied to the head), which is more of what I think should be the concern).
EDIT: oh, wow, nearly 30% of those who were killed were drunk?!