Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Another Day, Another Dumb Newspaper Article About Helmets

I can't deal anymore, I just can't.

First of all, read this tweet:
Oh come on.  What next?  Bringing solitary bathroom masturbation to dating?  Of course, we've seen the AIRhub before, but this article contains new and exciting information, such as how you control it with a smartphone:

The AIRhub is a wireless self-powered resistance unit designed to be used outdoors and on the road. The unit is controlled by a smartphone app that allows users to program how much resistance is applied during a training session.

In practice, what that means is that the AIRhub is designed to slow the bike down. While this effect is somewhat analogous to applying the front brakes, the AIRhub does it automatically and silently, just like a smart indoor trainer. In addition, there is a choice of five different modes for modulating the resistance of the AIRhub to different kinds of workouts.

There's also insight into the inventor's inspiration, which came from riding around with inner tubes full of water and doing group road rides on mountain bikes:

Another aspect that was important was the way that the system behaved on the road. “I had been doing funny things for a number of years, like using heavier tyres, adding weights to my rims, filling my tubes with water, or going on a bunch ride with a mountain bike.

“If I used a heavy tyre, it would give me a certain kind of road feel. If I added weights to my rims, the road feel would be completely different. Putting water in my tubes was different again, but it wasn’t until I developed the first prototype for the AIRhub that I found the road feel and load I was looking for. It still felt a lot like a racing bike but I could give it a few percent extra. And the faster I went, the harder it got

In other words, the is the polar opposite of an ebike--all for the low price of $1,500:

Terrain Dynamics sells the AIRhub direct to customers via its website for AUD$1,950 (~US$1,530), excluding shipping. That price includes the wheel along with all of the accessories described, plus a two-year warranty.

Speaking of onerous accessories, august commenter Leroy alerted me to the following article, and while I did my best not to read it I ultimately failed:


Even a careful cyclist is likely to crash about once every 4,500 miles and, based on personal observation, many city cyclists are anything but careful. Although reliable details are lacking on bike share accidents in New York or elsewhere, one shattering statistic reported by New York City for cyclists in general stands out: 97 percent of cycling deaths and 87 percent of serious injuries occurred to people who were not wearing helmets.

Yes, when making statements about public health policy there's no more persuasive phrase than "based on personal observation," though "reliable details are lacking" comes close.

I’ve been a cyclist for more than 70 years, most of them before anyone thought about wearing a helmet (protective helmets for recreational cyclists didn’t even exist until 1975). Although I’ve owned many helmets in the last four decades, I admit to occasionally not wearing one to avoid “helmet hair” before an evening out.

Great!  So what's the problem?

But a few weeks ago I learned firsthand how foolish it was to worry more about my hair than my head. Luckily, my helmet was securely in place when, for reasons unknown, I fell forward over the handlebars while riding slowly uphill a few houses from home. Although I suffered a mild concussion and have no memory of the accident (I also sustained a nasty cut on my chin, badly bruised ribs and a scraped knee), my helmet prevented a serious brain or facial injury.

I will never again mount a bicycle without the helmet on my head where it belongs, not in my backpack, bike basket or, worse, at home.

Funny how when bad things happen to people "for reasons unknown" they come to one of two conclusions: wear a helmet, or accept Jesus as your lord and savior.

There are laws requiring young cyclists to wear helmets in 21 states and Washington, D.C., and at least 200 localities, but very few cover adult riders. A common sight in my neighborhood: Fathers riding helmetless with their helmeted child on a bike seat behind them.

Oh please.  A common sight in my neighborhood: Fathers dining in regular chairs with their child in a high chair beside them.  And don't even get me started on diapers!

People love to get sanctimonious when it comes to riding with kids, yet I've never heard anyone even attempt to cite statistics indicating child-portaging is particularly dangerous, probably because it isn't.  If anything, riding slowly in an upright position while avoiding risks because you've got a kid on the bike is probably about as safe as pushing a stroller down the sidewalk regardless of what anyone happens to be wearing on their heads.

But let's not forget the teenagers:

Teenagers seem especially resistant to wearing helmets, yet with their still-developing brains they probably incur the greatest risks and have the most to lose from a head injury. “There’s often a rebellion aspect among teens,” Mr. Swart said. “They say, ‘All through childhood, my parents forced me to be safe. Now I want to make my own decisions about risk.’” College students and young adults often also think similarly, he said.

This is absolutely true.  Teenagers refuse to wear helmets in cars and it's a major problem.  That's why so many of them die in motor vehicle collisions.

I worry too about younger children, even those whose parents insist that they wear a helmet when riding a scooter, tricycle or bicycle. I see many such riders with parents in tow in my Brooklyn neighborhood, and in at least half the cases I’ve observed, the helmet is too big or is not on correctly and likely to provide little protection in a serious fall or crash.

I see that too.  That's why you should just spare the child the foam dome altogether.  Here's something I watched in a playground just the other day:

KID ON BIKE WITH TRAINING WHEELS WEARING HELMET SIDEWAYS:  "Mommy, I want to ride without the helmet."

MOMMY: "NO!!!  You have to wear a helmet."

KID ON BIKE WITH TRAINING WHEELS WEARING HELMET SIDEWAYS: [Takes of helmet and walks away from bike.]

THE END

And that's how we're creating tomorrow's Hyundai lessees today.

Thanks, Jane E. Brody, for doing your part.

47 comments:

Victor Kaminski said...

vsk said ...

Podio Possibilities for reals !?!?!


vsk

wishiwasmerckx said...

Any chance at the podium?

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

Low drag scranus

Short on palmares said...

Podium dum dum dome head?

95% of cyclists hit by cars are injured, period.

Anonymous said...

sprinting for the queue

Benjamin Mack said...

Podium?

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

FOAM DOME

Benjamin Mack said...

Annoyingly I should have been wearing my helmet on my shoulder yesterday!

Philip Thoennes said...

Speaking of shaming/criminalizing anyone outside of a car, it looks like Ford Motor Co. got to the Honolulu city council. Being a petextrian is now illegal in that city:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/23/business/honolulu-walking-and-texting-fine.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fbusiness&action=click&contentCollection=business&region=rank&module=package&version=highlights&contentPlacement=11&pgtype=sectionfront

Anonymous said...

"An Australian invention that brings the indoor trainer, outside"

So it's boring as fuck, and smells like fetid ass?

Pass.

N/A said...

Take the indoor training outside? You mean, like... riding? And this wanker is filling his tubes with water or riding a MTB on a road ride? What a Fuck-O. I didn't watch the video, so perhaps there was something contained therein that made the whole idea not-stupid. I ain't bettin' on it, though.



In other news: reliable details are lacking, but 97% of all persons that died of pancreatic cancer were not wearing helmets.

NYCHighwheeler said...

I think you mean "takes OFF the helmet" not "takes of the helmet".

It puts the helmet on its head, or else it gets the hose again!



Chazu said...

That's a caricature of David Byrne in the NYTimes piece, isn't it?

Automobiles are the leading cause of death in the U.S. of children ages 2 to 19. Our society is in total denial of facts.

McFly said...

AIRhub resistance? And here I am freaking out if I'm being robbed of .00019 watts from a leaf wedged in my chainstays.

Anonymous said...

I'd be interested in satistics on bike inujuries among kids back in the 60's when everyone was riding their bikes to school. I grew up then, rode to school and everywhere else, never had a helmet and never needed one. Additionally I never remember anyone getting seriously injured or killed on a bike (I lived in a town of 30,000 so a kid getting killed on a bike would've been a very news worthy event). You'd think that with so many kids riding back then and no helmets it should've been universal carnage based on all the helmet BS we hear today. Of course I'm guilty of the "personal observation" sin on this one but my money says that there is no evidence that helmets have made riders any safer now then they were back then.

J-Ho said...

Assuming that 97% number came from here: https://helmets.org/stats.htm... The same study says, "Only one fatal crash with a motor vehicle occurred when a bicyclist was in a marked bike lane." Maybe if BIG PAINT were as dedicated as BIG HELMET, we could get people to scream "Put a bike lane on every road!" as often as they scream "Always wear a helmet!"

paulb said...

How did she leave out all the harm done to the elderly? Space limitations, I guess. Jane Brody. Next!

Serial Retrogrouch said...

...AND... cue commenters detailing how a helment once saved their life when they fell off the bike... and how everyone should wear it.

...my human child asked me this weekend when I handed her her Calimero eggshell, 'do I have to wear it, we're just riding to the park?'

...to which I replied, 'do you really want to listen to me giving you a lesson about stupid laws, policing, and litigation?'

...she just put it on her head and pouted.

...I felt like a schmuck.

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

Does Jane Brody also warn young women not to dress provocatively because it will then be their own fault if they are sexually harassed or raped? It seems to me that the sanctimonious foam proselytizers would be the first ones to point out victim blaming in that scenario.

What is the point of an Airhub when bikes have 22 speeds and there are hills to climb and descend and/or wind to ride against or with outdoors?

Anonymous said...

100% of cycling phatalities are inflicted on riders who are not portaging iguanas in their paperboy baskets. Never leave home w/out your iguana and you will not have a cycling accident.

cause statistics.

Anonymous said...

The helmet-must-be-worn-at-precisely-correct-angle argument might be viewed as industry damage control. With lots of evidence that helmets don't do what's claimed of them, shift the blame for their poor performance to operator error. The kids car seat industry uses lots of the same language-- focus on angles and a few other details like locking mechanism (even though the latter is built into the seatbelt ratchet), etc.... Not to conflate car seats with helmets, but it's the same bad energy and the same bad odds and saved-some-lives or not, the dead keep piling up. I wonder how often these two operator-error defenses come up respectively in civil litigation.

dancesonpedals said...

I'm old enough to remember when my balls didn't get wet when I sat on the crapper. How come Jane Brody doesn't write about that?

Grump said...

"Even a careful cyclist is likely to crash about once every 4,500 miles"??...Learn how to ride "Better".....As for higher resistance, roll out your front door, shift into the 53x15 and do your ride without shifting and without standing. (don't do this until you have over 1500 miles into your legs)

Poppa Wheelie said...

Has anyone else noticed that the perspective of this article is by someone in their mid to late seventies or early eighties who fell while riding slowly and is now scared.

Carl Pacheco said...

All my poop doping is getting me nowhere!!!

I need a full suspended crabon mtb, then the podium is mine!

Dooth said...

Yikes, I rode a bike before helments were invented.

Short on palmares said...

TO Anonymous at 3:16:

I grew up in what sounds exactly like a similar place and time - about 30,000 people in what was then a real college town. Everyone, I mean virtually everyone, rode to our middle school (6th through 8th grade) and never with a helmet. There were so many bikes that the 2 major delinquents in the school decided one day to take out their pocket knives and - one by one - slash damn near every tire of every bicycle on the bike stands. That was crazy! Anyway, no one wore a helmet to school and I do not remember anyone ever getting hurt. A few factors may be at play here: My unverified-and-obviously-unscientific-analysis is that today's drivers are just worse - too many screens in the car, the cars are too high up ('a la SUVs), and drivers are driving too fast. Regardless of this "analysis," (remember, you can't spell analysis without anal)the sanctimonious crowd of helmet lovers really wants to stop letting kids have fun.

JLRB said...

Could the difference between the safe helmetless sixties and today be: (1) more people; (2) more distractions for drivers (although possibly fewer impaired drivers); and (3) cars are now comfort bubbles with lots of safety gear to protect the distracted drivers and disconnect them from the outside world, whereas a 1960's slant 6 dodge dart with slippery bench seats and a metal dash and a crappy radio and leaky windshield left drivers feeling more exposed and part of their environs?

And/or (4) faded watercolor memories

JLRB said...

ps - in the burbs of Virginia my teenage son and his friends ride all around our neighborhood, often without helments (although I do push one on him when they are venturing out beyond the neighborhood bubble). Mixed bag - I love that he/they ride - I of course worry about their safety.

Accessorize Oneself for Maximum Effect said...

In high school, my friends and I wore our helments backwards inside the car while we driving to the trailhead, effectively combining obnoxiousness and safety.

mojo au gogo said...

the idiotic nonsense proposed by the pro and anti helmet factions is just a distraction from the real question why anyone would ride a bicycle in the first place... the accident rate of humans is limited only by the number dying daily from all sorts of related human activity... the more the better as humans are the least integrated species on this sorry planet... so by all means never wear a helmet and ignore traffic signals while peering intently at your silicon based entertainment device... this will certainly add to the toll of human demise... evolution has not been kind and the humans are ruining the natural balance of prey/predator relations...
it would seem that the SUV infestation is the natural balancing factor in this equation...
just remember no tobacco smoking as your parts should be free of poisoning for reuse...

as a robot i personally exempt from such foolishness...

cheers...

bad boy of the south said...

Not to get into the car seat debate,but my poor nephew,who is eleven years old and now in middle school,is put into the position of having to sit in a booster seat. If I remember correctly,when I was littler,and a bit younger than my nephew,a booster seat was formed by extra coats or phone books.(what's a phone book?)

Anonymous said...

I fell forward over the handlebars while RIDING SLOWLY UPHILL
That’s got to take talent. How’d he manage that?

leroy said...

My dog got me an AIRhub that goes to eleven.

My dog: You see, most blokes, you know, will be riding at ten. You're on ten here, all the way up, all the way up, all the way up, you're on ten on your cogs. Where can you go from there? Where?

Me: I don't know.

My dog: Nowhere. Exactly. What we do is, if we need that extra push over the cliff, you know what we do?

Me: Put it up to eleven.

My dog: Eleven. Exactly. One harder.

****
As for the helmet article, esteemed commentator DB told my dog, who told me to tell Mr. BSNYC.

My beef is that helmet fetishism is a blame the victim assertion, deflecting attention from more important safety issues: distracted driving (or worse) and consequence free maiming and killing cyclists and pedestrians:

"Nothing to see here, the cyclist wasn't wearing a helmet so of course the poor tractor trailer driver never had a chance."

The prime of Ms. Jane Brody's argument is a broad extrapolation, drawing a conclusion from one incident in more than 70 years of riding. That's not good science no matter how noble or sincere the intent.

I wear a helmet most of the time, but that's because for most of the riding I do, it's a good idea.

But for a slow ride on a 45lb step-thru Citibike? That'd be like wearing a helmet on the couch to watch TV.

Unless, of course, my dog is watching The Voice. Then a helmet is a good idea. He tends to throw stuff if I heckle.

Anonymous said...

If she's been riding for 70 years as she claims, that would mean she's around 80 years old +/-. Maybe her balance ain't what it used to be a she really needs that foam dome, but that's no reason for her to have to proselytize to the rest of us. In fact, if she's been riding that long her first 40 years must have been helmetless, 'cause they barely existed for recreational or utility cyclists before the 80s.

Winky said...

A nonny mouse @ 3:16 - Motorists violently kill your entire hometown, plus another 7,000 just for good measure. Every. Single. Year. Their activities directly and violently maim hundreds of thousands. Every. Single. Year. The toxic emission from their tailpipes prematurely end the lives of hundreds of thousands (perhaps millions). The obesity the arises as a consequence of our Hyundai-leasing lifestyles kills millions more.

Wear a helment, people! It WILL make a difference.

Anonymous said...

Via a motorcyclist who is recovering from being sideswiped...

"The Highway Patrol says that 30% of accidents involve distracted driving."

wishiwasmerckx said...

Helmets barely existed before the 80's?

Wish I still had my leather "hairnet." At least back then, I had a full head of hair. If that was nowadays, I would be walking around with the weirdest and most inexplicable headful of tan lines you have ever seen.

The first mass-market precursor to the modern foam kippah was the "Skidlid." I had one of those. Following research, they discovered that that design actually enhanced head injuries, and that you were better off riding bare-headed.

As I recall things, next up was a foam-only version lacking today's plastic topcoat. Instead, you bought interchangeable lycra covers in obnoxious neon colors made so popular by the adherents of that new "sport" of triathlon. I glued plastic Viking horns to the sides of mine.

Ah, memories. Glad that due to my insistence on wearing a helmet at all times, I have been spared head trauma, so I still have them.

Skidmark said...

98.6% of all accidents are not.

Nathan Johnson said...

The podium stuff is lame.

I never leave home without a HANS device, helmet and Nomex suit. If I'm going to be in an accident, then I'm going to be prepared.

der blaue Reiter said...

I'm sure i read something the other week about a guy who crashed, whose helmet didn't protect him, and where the court decided that the helmet manufacturer was NOT liable, but when i tried to dig it up using a popular search engine, all i found was this story about a guy who must surely have been a good friend of Brody's...

http://www.law.com/newyorklawjournal/almID/1202786933319/?slreturn=20170924232059

...because it sounds a lot like someone not in control of their bike for essentially reasons unknown. All those old people are friends, right?

Personally, if i ever start to feel like i need a helmet all the time because my balance is gone, i hope i have the dignity to rock a cruiser trike with ape-hanger bars, cargo basket, the whole kit.

D. Harry said...

"Mans GOT to know his limitations."

bad boy of the south said...

oops! I meant "having to sit ON a...".laying off editorial staff as I go.

bad boy of the south said...

You said Beacon.hey,that's our little town,ahem,city,we used to call home not too long ago.

Anonymous said...

Brody writes that she fell for unknown reasons and doesn't recall the event. I would have to put LOC preceding the accident on the list of culprits. Here in CA, that would likely invoke mandatory reporting to DMV. The real decision that may have reduced injury to her and others was the choice of bike over car that day-- something I noted in the Time's comments as well.

Paul Heckbert said...

"... one of two conclusions: wear a helmet, or accept Jesus as your lord and savior".

I might accept him, if he's wearing a helmet.

JLRB said...

You had me at TPS reports