"Peak Car" in London and its effects

Any story about traffic calming measures in Brockley is sure to excite a long debate about the cars v bikes v people - seemingly the eternal struggle. So it's worth reflecting that car use in London is in long-term decline, having peaked about 15 years ago:

In the meantime, let me observe that as far as London is concerned, peak car use came and went at least fifteen years ago, when none of us noticed. Transport for London's most recent 'Travel in London' report records a steady decline in private transport's share of trips since at least 1993 (then 50%, 41% in 2008).

This trend is compounded by the fact that fewer young people are learning to drive, put off by high insurance premiums and declining cultural cache attached to having your own car:

Indeed, it seems fewer young people nowadays harbour the ambition to drive. Between 1992 and 2007, the proportion of 17-to-20-year-olds holding a driving licence fell from 48 per cent to 38 per cent and that of 21-to-29-year-olds from 75 per cent to 66 per cent.

London's population has been growing since the 1980s (reversing a long-term decline). The same is true across the country. Denser cities make public transport, cycling and walking relatively more efficient and attractive:

In the UK there's a huge degree of urbanisation. Eighty percent of the populace (50 million people) are classified as urban-dwelling and urbanisation is forecast to grow at 0.7 percent – 350,000 people – a year to 2015.

And all those road-safety measures that people say don't work seem to be having some effect:

The proportion of cars exceeding the speed limit on residential roads has fallen sharply in the past decade, down from almost three quarters in 1996 to only half in 2006.

Which is helping to improve road safety and save lives:

The new TfL figures reveal how deaths and serious injuries on London's roads have dropped by a staggering 57 per cent over the last decade.

Last year, the first time since records began in the 1970s, the number of fatalities fell below 150 to 126, which represents a 32 per cent reduction compared with 2009, and a 49 per cent reduction since the mid-to-late 1990s.

What's more, figures recently published by the Department for Transport (DfT) show that London is considerably below the national average in terms of fatalities at 24 per million people, compared to a UK average of 38 per million.

And that is creating a virtuous circle. As roads improve for cyclists, more people try it. The more cyclists on the road, the more safe they become:

Cycling gets safer the more cyclists there are. That's the finding of a new report by the CTC, the UK's national cyclists' organisation... CTC also highlighted a major change in London, which has seen a 91 percent increase in cycling since 2000 and a 33 percent fall in cycle casualties (going on absolute numbers) since 1994-98.

But there is more work needed if we are to reap the health benefits as well as cut congestion. Investment in cycling is often half-hearted:

So, say, if you make London a really hostile environment to cycle in then people won’t cycle in it. If you design stupid cycle paths, some of which — I could show you photographs — are shorter than the length of a bicycle; if you put bicycle paths right next to a set of parked cars, so that if you cycled in it then every time somebody opened a door you would just die, but if you cycle outside it then all the cars get really indignant and beep their horns because they think that you should be in the little green cycle path then, if you do all of that then people will cycle less and people will be less healthy in your capital.

So there we go, as London is growing, car use is falling. More of us are using public transport and cycling is increasing. As a result, roads are getting safer for everyone, with other benefits in terms of cutting emissions and improving public health.

But these benefits are the result of two decades of enlightened policy in the face of stiff resistance from a driving lobby that resists any attempts to curb cars' excesses, however much the evidence supports the action and benefits them in terms of reduced congestion.

62 comments:

Anonymous said...

Here be a cyclist and a driver.....IMHO massive potholes could now be the most dangerous hazard for cyclists.

Perhaps if less money was spent on speedhumps than on general road maintanence, even more people would cycle.

Other questions. Are roads surfaces allowed to become broken up as another way of slowing traffic down?

Bad roads and speedbumps may slow down or even damage your local bus vehicle.

Yours sincerely Greenberg

Your friendly anon said...

Hard core spin, this is PR at it's worse/best depending on your point of view.

Tim said...

How is it spin? Looks like cold, hard facts to me. I think it's great. The more cyclists there are, and the fewer people driving, the more space there is for me and my car!

Anonymous said...

"Men in midlife crisis help propel sales of bicycles upwards "


Explains the tone of the debate

"Mintel say the biggest growth in bike ownership has come from those approaching middle age, who are opting for more expensive road bikes, though top-of-the-range mountain bikes and hybrids remain as popular as ever."


Great news!
"Councils are introducing more cycle lanes and the Sustrans National Cycle Network now has routes covering 12,000 miles around the UK."

http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/business-news/2010/08/10/men-in-midlife-crisis-help-propel-sales-of-bicycles-upwards-86908-22477640/

Carys said...

I think TFL journey planner should automatically show how long it would take to walk or cycle from place to place. You can select this, but this means only those who already cycle/walk see these options.

So many times, cycling is the fastest option. If I get the bus to work, it takes just under an hour. If I walk, it's about 70 minutes. To cycle it takes under 30 (I cycle pretty slowly). I vary my journey depending on how I'm feeling or whether it's raining or if I'm going out - I'm no hardcore cyclist - but it's amazing how much time and money can be saved by walking or cycling.

Carys said...

I think TFL journey planner should automatically show how long it would take to walk or cycle from place to place. You can select this, but this means only those who already cycle/walk see these options.

So many times, cycling is the fastest option. If I get the bus to work, it takes just under an hour. If I walk, it's about 70 minutes. To cycle it takes under 30 (I cycle pretty slowly). I vary my journey depending on how I'm feeling or whether it's raining or if I'm going out - I'm no hardcore cyclist - but it's amazing how much time and money can be saved by walking or cycling.

Anonymous said...

I like cars they stop at red lights.

westsider said...

i don;t like cars, they break the speed limit all the time

Lou Baker said...

Not sure about these figures.

It seems to me that, over the last 15 years, traffic has got worse, parking has got harder, journeys have got longer. That suggests more car journeys - not less.

Though it's conceivable they've declined as an overall proportion of journeys as other modes of transport have become more popular more quickly.

I think the whole basis of this article is basically flawed. It should not be about improving things for cyclists or improving things for motorists. It should be about both.

As a frequent cyclist, I think London's cycle record has a lot to be desired. The cycle tracks are pitted with holes, badly signed post and full of obstacles. They start and stop and are, generally, poorly designed.

Boris' blue lanes are better. If nothing else they are much more visible - always a good thing - but they're only a start. We need more of them, more dedicated roads for cycling, lower speed limits on residential roads, better bike parking outside shops and at stations and companies need lockers and showers for employees.

There also needs to be more thought going in to cycling projects. Southwark recently created a new 'wrong-way' cycling lane down the bus-only bit of Rye Lane in Peckham. Brilliant - but badly executed. They paved it in such a similar stone to the rest of the road that pedestrians don't know it's a cycle lane and frequently stroll into the path of cyclists behind them. It'll only get changed when someone dies - which they will, eventually. Terrible.

But roads need improving for motorists too. It is scandalous that a 10 mile journey across London can routinely take an hour and a half or more. That's bad for the driver, it's bad for people who live along the permanently clogged roads and all those jams are terrible for the environment.

Sometimes people have to drive. If they need to carry heavy items, if they're not very mobile, if they work anti-social hours - they need a car. They should not be penalised for this and we dramatically need to improve the driver experience.

Personally, I think we need we need to pedestrianise vast swathes of central London. We need far fewer traffic lights - pedestrian lights should be completely removed. Speed limits lowered to 20mph almost everywhere and pedestrians given priority. Junctions need rethinking - many need improving. We need some new capacity - more dual carriageways - and better capacity too to remove bottlenecks.

By engineering huge traffic jams into our road networks and ludicrously long journey times we've got ourselves in a situation where driving is horrible, even when it's necessary. We need to get to a situation where driving is easy when necessary, but is not usually desirable. And we need to ensure that cycling is always easy and nearly always desirable.

If you live in Brockley and work in zone 1 or at Canary Wharf you have no excuse for not cycling to work. It is by far the best, cheapest, most environmentally friendly and - probably - quickest way to travel.

Brockley Nick said...

"I think the whole basis of this article is basically flawed. It should not be about improving things for cyclists or improving things for motorists. It should be about both."

I thought that precisely was the basis of the article.

Of course making things better for bikes means more bikes, means fewer cars, means reduced congestion, which is good for drivers. Which is why the kneejerk hostility from some 'drivers' towards investment in cycling is so frustrating.

Anonymous said...

as a cyclist of 30+ years ago, and from time to time now, i think the general experience of cycling in London has declined - not because of the road surfaces, they're pretty much the same (and I have the scars to prove it), but the problem is that more people are cycling and many of them have little road sense - it's all about road sense, not the vehicle that you're using.

It appears to me that cyclists can be prone to a 'holier than thou' attitude (going through red lights, entering the main carriageway with little regard for the flow of traffic etc etc), and, although this may be inevitable, it does occur at the expense of road sense.

I'm sure that Lou (I know he must like a namecheck) wears a helmet but there is very strong evidence that wearing a helmet actually increases your chances of having an accident on the road. Wearing a helmet is just one of the myths of cycling . . .

(I'm not trying to discourage Lou from wearing a helmet of course)


;)

Monkeyboy said...

Wearing a helmet increases your likleyhood of an accident? that in itself is dubious but even if it was accurate the important thing is the result. Wearing a helmet reduces the likleyhood of a severe head injury.

The following summarises 50 odd reports and does not really support your assertion.

http://www.rospa.com/roadsafety/info/cycle_helmets.pdf

Some people may feel invincible with a helmet but I suspect it's minimal.

Perhaps driving would be safer without seatbelts, airbags and statutory requirements for crash survivability?

Anonymous said...

yes, you can always find reports to back an argument, here's another (more recent) report from Western Australia that has a different viewpoint:

http://www.cycle-helmets.com/

mb said...

Yes, you can always find a report that backs your view point. There are far more that don't. Including one from Australia but I I'd be here all day if I posted links refuting that claim.

Where do you stand on Motor Cyclists? do you think they are safer withpout hlemets? seriously?

There are many more cyclists on the road coupled with a steady decline in killed or seriously injured. That's absolute numbers so the proportion killed or seriously injured has clearly reduced more. Infact injuries and accidents for all road useres, cars and paedestirans included, has shown a steady decline in London. No one seriously claimes otherwise. I guess you may 'see more' cyclists behaving badly, well if you have more cyclists as a proportion of road users you'll see more behaviour of all sorts

I would suggest that technology (anti lock breaks, airbags etc..) statutory requirements (wear a seatbelt, speed limmits) social attitudes (drink driving is not seen as an ammusing story) and perhaps the slower traffic caused by congestion

We're all safer on the road than we were 30 years ago.

Your argument is built on sand.

max said...

That's not a serious report, it's nonsense out of a sick mind.

That Australian report is saying that helmets do not prevent accidents, of course they don't!
They reduce brain damage following those accidents that they can't reduce though.

Headhunter said...

I always wear a helmet but anon is correct. The correlation between lives saved and helmet wearing is nowehere near as clear cut as wearing seatbelts in cars. Some evidence indicates that drivers will squeeze closer to and driver more eratically around cyclists with helmets than those without as though they feel that the cyclist is protected from all danger by the amazing force field that the helmet represents. Additionally, some surveys have shown that the weight of the helmet can cause whiplash and spinal injuries in crashes. As I said, I always wear one, but I most certainly do not think that they should be made mandatory.

Headhunter said...

"I like cars they stop at red lights."

They most certainly do not! Every single day I see drivers skip through red lights.... Every day... The difference is that drivers tend to do it just after the lights have flicked to red from amber whereas cyclists go through when they have been red for a while.

Personally I do not see the difference between cyclists passing carefully through red lights when there is no traffic than a pedestrian crossing willy nilly when the red man is lit.

Cyclists have far more in common with pedestrians than motorists. Cyclists are essentially pedestrians on 2 wheels, self powered, travelling at about 15mph or so. Cars are 2 tonnes of motorised metal and glass, potentially moving at great speed. Drivers have a vastly inihibited sense of what's giong on around them, the frame of the car itself blocks the eyeline, the car stereo obliterates sense of hearing and cars themselves are, compared with bikes, highly unmanoevrable. A cyclist has a very clear view across the top of most cars. Motor vehicles need complex junctions and light systems. Peds and cyclists do not.

I'm not sayin that cyclists should be allowed to blast through every red light as they wish, but with care I don't see the problem. Why as a pedestrian am I able to judge for myself when and where to cross a junction, but suddenly astride a bicycle I am no longer able to?

Headhunter said...

"But roads need improving for motorists too. It is scandalous that a 10 mile journey across London can routinely take an hour and a half or more. That's bad for the driver, it's bad for people who live along the permanently clogged roads and all those jams are terrible for the environment."


Motorists moan about "traffic" but they ARE the traffic! The more people encouraged onto bikes (or public transport etc) the better traffic flow will be in London

Headhunter said...

"Personally, I think we need we need to pedestrianise vast swathes of central London. We need far fewer traffic lights - pedestrian lights should be completely removed. Speed limits lowered to 20mph almost everywhere and pedestrians given priority. Junctions need rethinking - many need improving. We need some new capacity - more dual carriageways - and better capacity too to remove bottlenecks.

By engineering huge traffic jams into our road networks and ludicrously long journey times we've got ourselves in a situation where driving is horrible, even when it's necessary. We need to get to a situation where driving is easy when necessary, but is not usually desirable. And we need to ensure that cycling is always easy and nearly always desirable."

Agreed. It is impossible to do without cars in modern society but driving shuold be made as difficult as possible unless essential. A vast percentage of journeys made by car in London are of a matter of 2-3 miles at an average speed of about 10-12mph. People simply driving to meet someone for a coffee etc, simply because it's what they're used to. This needs to be discouraged.

Anonymous said...

The problem is not cyclists, pedestrians, or motorists. It's inconsiderate idiots who think they are above the law. These fit into all of the above categories.

Though anyone taking the 'cyclists only creep through red lights because it is safer to do that' line is clearly a deluded cyclist themself. Every single day I see cyclists flying straight through red lights in central london with no thought for anyone. They dont stop just beyond the lights, they carry on because their own arrogance tells them that they are more important than the rest of us.
Exactly the same goes for bad drivers, and pedestrians though.

Whilst I'm ranting about our 2 wheeled friends, when did it become acceptable to ride on roads in the dark with no lights on?

mb said...

All a bit academic, helmets are not compulsory. If you feel you're less likley to have an accident with one (an odd conclusion) or if you feel that headbutting a curb au natural is better than doing so with a helmet, you're free to do so.

Headhunter said...

I had an accident on OKR in 2009 and my head wasn't the primary impact but it hit the ground and a chunk of the helmet broke away, so I certainly wear one at all times, however evidence that they always save lives and injury is far from conclusive. However the evidence that making them mandatory as in countries like Australia reduces the number of people on bikes (and the consequential lost opportunity to exercise and increase in pollution) is there.

I read somewhere, will try to find the link, that when helmets were made mandatory in Australia there was something like a 30% reduction in the number of cylists however only a 10% reduction in injuries and fatalities amongst cyclists.

Mandatory hemlet laws have also meant that the Boris bike hire equivalent scheme in Melbourne is very unpopular as no one happens to carry a helmet with them all day on the offchance that they may use one of the bikes....

Anonymous said...

It may (and it's an 'if', no plans in the UK as far as I'm aware) put off a few people, but the idea that it has little effect on the number seriously injured or killed would be VERY hard to demonstrate.

Headhunter said...

There was a plan a few months back to make cycle helmets mandatory in Northern Ireland....

If there were plans to do the same across the rest of the UK then it's up to proponents to prove that it is necessary to change the law. I'm afraid it's always very difficult to prove a negative but there is lots of evidence from Australia that obliging people to wear helmets made a deep impact on the number of people cycling but a much lesser impact on the number of people with head injuries.

This demonstrates that helmets are not the magical protective talismans some people take them for. As far as I know, EU regulations governing cycle helmet safety only require them to be effective up to about 10mph, however the combined speeds of the cyclist and other moving objects in accidents can easily exceed that speed...

mb said...

"Head injuries, ranging from fatal skull fractures and brain damage to minor concussion and cuts, are very common injuries to cyclists. Hospital data shows that over 40% of cyclists, and 45% of child cyclists, suffer head injuries. A study of 116 fatal cyclist accidents in London and rural areas found over 70% of the cyclist fatalities in London had moderate or serious head injuries in London, and over 80% of those killed in collisions on rural roads"

http://www.rospa.com/roadsafety/advice/cycling/info/cycling_accidents_factsheet.pdf

Of course wearing a helmet would not reduce it to zero but really, even a marginal improvement in survival would be a no-brainer.... so to speak.

Anonymous said...

any lasting affects from that blow to the head HH?

Studies, studies.... bit like global warming. Most seem to point to wearing a helmet as being a good idea though, kind of intuative. I'm with the neurosurgeons. Yes it may put some people of cycling (if it was compulsory), thats a different argument though. No doubt seat belts puts some of driving and stops some going for a drink in the country.

Insider said...

It seems to me that in the majority of situations, roads suit cars, pavements suit pedretrians and cyclists are left to fend for themselves. I am not excusing any poor or inconsiderate road behavior from any mode but
Its not exactly a level playing field to begin with. Thr stakes are much higher for the cyclist.
I own a car (for my drum kit) a bike, used to own a motorcycle and often walk. Im not perfect but i do have an understanding of other modes when i use the roads/pavements. I would be interested to know what percentage of car owners have never used a bike in london and the other way around. A better understanding of other types of transport would increase safety.

Anonymous said...

That ROSPA document is too biased to be taken seriously - they have to say what they do in that document - PR guff - aren't, statistically, more people injured falling off ladders (per year) or something like that?

Make helmets compulsory for ladder climbers?

Headhunter said...

This gives a pretty balanced view of cycle helmet wearing...

Headhunter said...

Cycle helmet myths
Australia
Canada

doh! said...

it doesn't say make cycling helmets compulsory. It says that a large proportion of injuries are to the head.

Yes, a helmet would reduce head injuries if you fell off a ladder too I'm sure. Helmets do that, it's kind of their point. Are you saying that cycling is safer without helmets?

Lep Recorn said...

The best thing that could be done to increase road safety is to install a large and very sharp spike into the middle of every car's steering wheel.

I was a motorcyclist in the 1970's when helmets were made compulsory, and (almost) all the same arguments were paraded then as are paraded now about cycle helmets.

Anonymous said...

Le Recon.... and do you think more people are alive or dead as a result?

We can make up our own minds said...

Stop bullying people Nick, its tiresome. If people want to use a bike, they don't need to be 'nudged', manipulated into it. Just back off with your propaganda.

Lep Recorn said...

Because of the spike or because of the helmet?

pip said...

I heard a documentary a while ago on the radio about cyclists and helmets - a guy had done an experiment where he measured how close vehicles got to his bike when he was (a) wearing a helmet (b) not wearing a helmet and also the same two variables but while dressed as a woman (long wig etc.).

Can't remember the exact statistics but the interesting thing was that vehicles got a lot closer to the bike when he was wearing a helmet. They stayed further away when he appeared to be female and when he didn't have a helmet.

lucy on a bike in lycra said...

Bullying? Bless, are the facts causing you distress?

Headhunter said...

Yes, Pip. That's one of the reasons NOT to wear a helmet - drivers tend to view you as somehow invincible so they can drive as close to you as they like because if they knock you off, the helmet will save you (even if you don't land on your head)... That's an example when it may become MORE dangerous to wear a helmet...

pip said...

Yes HH - I thought that was self-evident so I didn't amplify the point! I found it interesting BECAUSE it goes against the intuitive view that a cyclist is safer wearing a helmet.

I take my (purely ornamental) hat off to anyone brave enough to ride a bike around London. I'm too scared to on the basis that almost all the cyclists I know have had accidents. I wish it were otherwise, but I'll stick to Shanks's pony and public transport for the moment.

Brockley Nick said...

@We can make up our own minds said...

That's very strange. I can't see anywhere in the article where I suggested anyone should do anything.

The article's not even primarily about cycling, it's about the fact that car use in London has been in decline - a fact not often discussed and worth noting.

Cycling actually has a minor role to play in helping London to stay moving without the use of the car - public transport is what has picked up the slack.

The point is there is a very positive story to tell about transport in London. Public transport is improving efficiency and cutting polution and pedestrians (and cyclists) are gradually clawing back little bits of the city. Instead of a being a roundabout, Trafalgar Square is now a leading London venue. Instead of the side streets off Regent Streets being rat runs or parking lots, they are now given over to pavement dining. Fewer people are dying on the roads every year!!!

Everyone's a winner.

It's worth celebrating these facts, because most of what we hear is whinging that London transport just gets worse, that efforts to make roads safer through cameras and bumps are expensive wastes of time, etc.

That's what this article's about. I couldn't give a toss whether you cycle.

Ed CPZ said...

The psychology behind not wearing a helmet reminds of why I don't tend to make eye contact with drivers as a pedestrian; people often act very differently once they know they have been seen.

Stating the bleeding obvious said...

I've done a quick experiment. I head butted a wall (a) with a helmet (b) without. I discovered that trial (b) led to tears and much confusion.

The vast majority of cycling deaths and serious injuries are head injuries. If you can't see the sense in wearing a lid, I'm surprised you can even dress yourself in the morning.

Wearing a helmet protects your head, no ones making you but it seems a small inconvenience for the level of protection.

pip said...

@State the bleeding obvious - the experiment I described in my earlier post shows that it's not as bleeding obvious as it may seem - if cars are more likely to get too close to cyclists wearing helmets then it's safer not to wear one.

If you have an accident, you're clearly better off wearing a helmet. If you're less likely to have an accident if you're not wearing a helmet, the question becomes a bit more tricky.

Anonymous said...

Possibly but I would suggest that you'd have to be far more likely to have an accident before the advantage of protecting your noggin was out weighed. The argument that cyclist take more risks if they wear helmets or drivers behave more aggressively to helmet wearers seems a stretch. Head injuries are by some way the biggest cause of death. If your twice as likely to have skinned palms or even a broken leg but five times less likely to be dead or brain damaged I'd go with a helmet.

Anonymous said...

Like Fish and chips, the driving standard in London is off the charts. If you think the average bad driver even notices if a cyclist is wearing a helmet you are deluded. Often the problem is not noticing the cyclist themselves.

Anonymous said...

Your average London driver doesn't even use indicators. It's a perfectly sensible place to cycle in though, and the suggestion that cyclists aren't cared for is ludicrous. There are loads of cycle lanes and shared lanes for cycles. A lot of people are just wimps - compare with the relatively slow takeup of borisbikes which are a fantastic system.

Headhunter said...

"The vast majority of cycling deaths and serious injuries are head injuries"

"Head injuries are by some way the biggest cause of death. If your twice as likely to have skinned palms or even a broken leg but five times less likely to be dead or brain damaged I'd go with a helmet."

Do you actually have a source for these statements? Not denying it could be true but it's a massive assumption.

"The argument that cyclist take more risks if they wear helmets or drivers behave more aggressively to helmet wearers seems a stretch."

Unfortunately it isn't a "stretch", see the links I posted above....

Helmethunter said...

HH have you actually read your owns links?

"For example, helmet wearers tend to be more safety conscious and there is evidence that they have lower impact collisions [6]"

Very hard to find stats on things which did not happen, monitering the head injury rate for cyclists in ER is hardly going to give any useful info and accidents averted. You would be better counting helmets in bins.
Or have faith in common sense and the totally obvious.

Anonymous said...

One of those links even says the stats have no value beyond 'interest'

Anonymous said...

No HH, I have no source. I made it up, I'm trying to illustrate that even IF your more likely to have an accident the fact that most serious injuries and death is due to head injuries would seem to suggest that wearing a helmet is a good idea. Do you wear a helmet?

Brockley Dogging Society said...

Our advice to members is simple; go out and enjoy yourself and if you have a helmet, use it. If you haven't got a helmet, ask a friend if you can borrow his.

Contrary to popular belief, damaged helmets can soon be restored to good health.

Headhunter said...

So Helmethunter & anon, it's simply an assumption that cyclist deaths in RTAs are largely by head injuries... I thought so.

I do wear a helmet but as I have mentioned, there is no definitive evidence that it is worthwhile and should therefore be made mandatory.

Anonymous said...

HH, no that's not what I said at all. It's a fact that most killed and seriously injured are as result of head injuries. I'm suggesting that if (it's a massive if) you are more likely to have an accident with a helmet you're still better off wearing one because it protects your head.

You wear a helmet and yet you believe that it makes you less safe? I think that clears up how much faith you have in your own theory. Whether or not compulsory helmets would lower cycling rates is an entirely different question. Wearing a helmet is better than not wearing one.

Anonymous said...

http://www.bmj.com/content/321/7268/1055.full.pdf

This addresses your particular issues about the Australian idea. I'm. Happy for helmets to be optional but let's pretend that choosing to wear them is a bad idea.

Headhunter said...

I'm afraid it's far from conclusive that cycle helmets actually effectively save lives in all situations. Yes certainly in some situations they must do, but as outlined above, in many cases, it has been argued that they in fact raise the level of danger for cyclists. See the following quotes from my links above...

"Cycle helmets prevent 85% of head injuries and 88% of brain injuries....The research on which the prediction was made has been widely criticised for fundamental methodological errors [1]....In places where helmet use has become significant, there has been no detectable reduction in head injuries relative to cycle use."

"Cycle helmets could prevent 90% of fatalities....Fatality trends in countries where helmet use has become significant give no reason to believe that helmets have saved even a single life...."

The following link:
http://www.cyclehelmets.org/1012.html

And the effect of obliging people to wear cycle helmets in Australia:

"The states with enforced laws at the time of the 1991 census ... saw a reversal of the trend of increasing percentages of people cycling to work. In contrast, the percentage cycling to work in states with no enforced helmet laws .... continued to increase, the sharp decline occurring only in the 1996 census, when helmet laws were enforced throughout Australia."

As for whether or not most cycle deaths occur through injury, you still haven't provided evidence... You're simply assuming...

I wear a helmet because I ASSUME that it makes me safer and having read up on it, I feel that the pros outway the cons. However I most certainly believe that there is insufficient evidence that helmets are effective for Parliament to enforce laws obliging all cyclists to wear helemts and see subsequent falls in the numbers of cyclists on the road.

Anonymous said...

HH, stop conflating two arguments. Im not suggesting that helemts should be compulsory. I'm suggesting that helemts prevent serious injury, specifically head injuries. Even your tortuous conclusion seems to see the sense in that. If you don't want to wear one don't, but you do. I win.

Helmethunter said...

HH The only assumption I was making was that your theory of helmetless cyclists getting into less accidents is impossible to stat. As pointed, it's only makes sense to the stupid, luckily your not stupid or you would take your own advice.

HH-"As for whether or not most cycle deaths occur through injury, you still haven't provided evidence"

Try to be clear, what do you want a stat for? Most cycle deaths are due to wear and tear. If you mean cyclist deaths the stats will tell you natural causes or cancer.

If you want the stats on fatalities arising from RTA's involving cyclists just say, I'm sure they are out there.

HH-"I'm afraid it's far from conclusive that cycle helmets actually effectively save lives in all situations"

Good work Sherlock.

Headhunter said...

I believe that helmets MAY prevent serious injury, however you argued, you seem to believe that they pretty much always will, but essentially we now seem to be saying the same thing. However wearing a helmet is far from likely to save you in all situations. As I mentioned above, they are only designed to take an combined impact of around 10mph, hardly a protective shield....

You have argued that:
"It's a fact that most killed and seriously injured are as result of head injuries."
But have provided no source.

And you have said...
"The argument that cyclist take more risks if they wear helmets or drivers behave more aggressively to helmet wearers seems a stretch."
which flies in the face of evidence in the links above...

Headhunter said...

Helmethunter...

"HH The only assumption I was making was that your theory of helmetless cyclists getting into less accidents is impossible to stat. As pointed, it's only makes sense to the stupid, luckily your not stupid or you would take your own advice."


See this link (posted above)

http://www.cyclehelmets.org/1052.html

"Helmeted cyclists have been shown to be more likely to hit their heads if they crash and may be more likely to crash in the first place [34]. The disproportionate number of helmet wearers who believe that a helmet has saved their life (see above) is further evidence that helmet use might adversely affect crash involvement or outcome."

[34] Wasserman RC, Waller JA, Monty MJ, Emery AB, Robinson DR. Bicyclists, helmets and head injuries: a rider-based study of helmet use and effectiveness. 1988. American Journal of Public Health: 1988 Sep;78(9):1220-1

Headhunter said...

Helmethunter...

I was looking for proof of the following by "stating the bleeding obvious"

"The vast majority of cycling deaths and serious injuries are head injuries. If you can't see the sense in wearing a lid, I'm surprised you can even dress yourself in the morning."

and

"Head injuries are by some way the biggest cause of death."
Anon 18 June 2011 12:02

You then ask "If you want the stats on fatalities arising from RTA's involving cyclists just say, I'm sure they are out there."

I have already said... Please read properly... If you are sure it is out there, please tell me where. This is what I have been asking for!

Anonymous said...

Rubbish, helmets are not tested against 10mph impacts. They wil be tested against energy of impact, in joules if anything. Of course they don't always protect against injury, they often do. If you think it increases your risk of death or serious injury why do you wear one? are you being wilfully risky? Do you think it makes no difference, but it keeps your head warm?

We can keep swaping stats, a lobby group against compulsory helmet wearing (which I'm not arguing for) against studies by the BMA and others who are simply looking at whether helmets work would trump that. How do you feel about global warming? there are some studies that say it's a myth. Most do not.

Headhunter said...

"Rubbish, helmets are not tested against 10mph impacts."

Look here....

"Standards involve the use of an instrumented headform which is dropped, wearing a helmet, onto various anvils. The speed of impact is designed to simulate the effect of a rider's head falling from approximately usual riding height, without rotational energy and without impact from another vehicle.[14][15]

Collision energy varies with the square of impact speed. A typical helmet is designed to absorb the energy of a head falling from a bicycle, hence an impact speed of around 12 mph or 20 km/h. "

and here....

"Cycle helmets are only designed and tested to withstand an impact equivalent to an average weight rider travelling at a speed of 12 mph falling onto a stationary kerb shaped object from a height of 1 metre."

and here....

"The test to which cycle helmets are subjected – and which they often fail – are all basically similar. The helmet is attached to a headform (usually aluminium) which is attached to a rod with a fulcrum at one end. The headform is dropped, rotating around the fulcrum, and at some point impacts onto either a flat surface or a profiled anvil. The test mandates the amount of energy the helmet must absorb. It is not supposed to break.

The amount of energy is equivalent to hitting the ground at around 12mph."

and here....

How much protection do you REALLY believe a shell of polystyrene and plastic is going to give in the event of a collsion with a car - cyclist travelling at (let's be very conservative) 12mph, but car travelling at (again conservative) 20mph? Combined speed of 32mph...

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