Skip to comments.Neurosurgeon accused of putting lives at risk after claiming cycle helmets were useless
Posted on 06/01/2014 8:12:08 PM PDT by Huntress
Road safety campaigners have accused a leading neurosurgeon of putting lives at risk after he claimed cyclists who wear helmets were wasting their time.
Henry Marsh, who works at St Georges Hospital in Tooting, London, said many of his patients who had been involved in bike accidents had been wearing helmets that were too flimsy to be beneficial.
Mr Marsh cited evidence from the University of Bath which suggested that wearing a helmet might even put cyclists at greater risk.
It showed that drivers got around three inches closer to cyclists who wore helmets because they perceived them to be less fragile.
But campaigners said his remarks, made during a discussion with Ian McEwan, the author, at this years Hay Festival, were disappointing.
Kevin Clinton, head of road safety at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), said helmets were an important part of cycle safety. But said they should not be compulsory in case it put would-be riders off.
(Excerpt) Read more at telegraph.co.uk ...
“The monkey bars came in.....we lost 124 kids in one day.....”
Bill Cosby - Playground
In a training ride with dozens of riders, I was caught in a mess that happened in front of me. To this day, my mind won't recall what exactly happened.
I woke up in the hospital several hours later and was told I had a concussion and would have to spend the night for observation. My jersey and shorts had been cut off, I had a lot of road rash and several broken ribs. I was given a bag with my shoes and the remains of a Gyro helmet that the doctor said my head would have looked like had I not been wearing it.
As is done with all Gyro helmets, I sent the pieces back and it was promptly replaced by the company. As much as I didn't like them at first, I may not be sitting up typing right now, had I shunned wearing one.
I'll keep on wearing my helmet while riding.
Ya, LOL - had to sit through like five CD’s of his with my g’pop and gg’pop to teach and explain to me what it was like growing up in the city. I live 600ft. up the side of a heavily wooded mountain on the Olympic Peninsula (when I’m not working in Oz) - so I had no idea of what they were talking about until then. Now I’ve been to many sites showing pictures of old NYC and have a better understanding of what their lives were like when they were eight and up ....
Well, Dr. Marsh, the neurosurgeon with a lifetime of clinical experience, better mind his Ps and Qs. Doesn’t he know this is “settled science”? Is he some kind of helmet “denier”?
Even if helmets aren’t effective, they look kind of cool and lots of kids in China are employed making them. And they make certain people feel good that they’re doing something for the children.
My oral surgeon was 100% against me going on a medication because it can cause osteonecrosis of the jaw. The problem was the doctor only saw the tiny fraction of patients who had this rare complication, not the 95-99% who greatly benefit from it.
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What the neurosurgeon said sort of agrees with what an emergency room doctor said of motorcycle riders about a decade or so ago.
He said there are two types of motorcycle riders, those who don’t wear helmets, they are called organ donors.
Those who wear helmets...............quadriplegics.
Was it a bisphosphonate (e.g. Fossamax, Boniva, etc.)? I was on one of those for a while, and my dentist would not do any major work on me until I was off it for at least six months. He told me that osteonecrosis is rare, but is so awful he would not risk it.
It is like a bisphosphonate, it is called Denosumab. It works on a different principal and the risk of osteonecrosis is unknown (but does occur). What makes it worse is my treatment is for bone tumors in the jaw. I too can have nothing but cleanings until I am off the medication.
Helmets are generally wise; should they be required (and if so when) is the question.
I twice conked a helmet on the ground and was glad it was not the corresponding part of my head that had conked.
The neurosurgeon's analysis is different from an epi study, which would have taken a large sample size, included reporting bias and other errors.
I focused on the "too flimsy" comment. Flimsy can be good when it comes to impact attenuation.
I will wear my flimsy helmet as well.
I'd think that would depend on whether it's true or not. I'm so sick of people who act as if their opinion should be treated as sacrosanct and anyone who dares disagree should be treated as wrong, and probably malicious, and punished, without ever debating the issue on its merits.
Good question. Is this an actual scientific study.
The Motorcycle Safety Foundation in the USA, which HAS accessed scientific studies, always recommends the helmets, though keeping its hands off of political treatment of the issue.
Maybe there is a perverse point here. Basket cases with a helmet might have just died without the helmet.
But there is good reason to question whether this is scientific. He does not get a view into all accident cases, just some of them.
OK, just read the first couple sentences. Still reading the entire article.
his thinking is that a driver seeing someone without a helmet will stay farther away...
imo , another point is that helmets, just like on motorcycles, can interfere with hearing and sight and manuverability...maybe just enough so you don't catch the speeding car trying to get around you....
as with all our modern culture, we hold certain beliefs as "sacred" and not to be questioned, ala global warming, ala red meat, ala carbs, gluten,fatty oils, etc...
If you have a $10 head, wear a $10 helmet.
Anyone remember the days when as a kid you could ride in the back of a pickup truck. Those were fun days.
Ask Gary Busey if he should have worn a helmet when he crashed on a motorcycle in 1988.
Bicycle or motorcycle you should wear a helmet. You are on 2 wheels and a few pebbles can throw you off the bike.
I loved playing on those as a kid! :-)
I think they called the one at school a Jungle Gym.
I don’t remember that many girls playing on it though...
Yup, the neuro guys conclusions are poorly reasoned.
Somehow it just seems safer to wear a helmet, it’s a simple common-sense notion that I have.
It’s a population reduction technique derived from Darwin’s theories. Further, it has a bit of a Eugenic side: Stupid people will use this as an excuse not to wear one, and will be less likely to reproduce.
Interesting take on helmets, to conclude that the drivers of the cars around the cyclist give less room to helmet-wearers and thereby raise the risk of injury. I’ve already read that (likely non-professional/non-serious) cyclists who wear helmets apparently ride more carelessly and thus counteract most of the benefit afforded by the helmet. I imagine that those who cycle “seriously” as in the spandex/overpriced-components crowd probably don’t change their habits much, but kids and casual cyclists probably do infer more invulnerability from the helmet.
As to helmets on motorcycles, while I’m not a big fan of coercing riders to wear them, I cannot really understand the appeal of riding without one. I’ve had to do it a couple of times, when my helmet became unavailable for one reason or another, and it was miserable. The air rushing past my head drowned out all sound including the bike’s motor, my eyes watered so much I could barely see, and my face was constantly bombarded by dust/sand, bugs, and other assorted crap.
I remember the Navajos in NM always riding in the back of trucks, and we went from NW Arkansas to Springfield MO with my brother and me in the back of Dad’s old truck.
He did have stock racks on so we wouldn’t fall out.
I noticed the bed of my Dodge Trucks have places to put a 2x8 boards for seats if need.
In Illinois when helmet laws went away, eye protection was still required. I rode with nothing but eyeglasses on my head sometimes. It’s still tricky; wind getting around the lenses can get the eyes teary.
Folks who think helmets work don’t understand brain trauma.
Ok what about all the trauma of the head skidding against pavement.
Even if the helmet doesn’t prevent all brain injuries it is effective in preventing a lot of the out side of your head from being scrapped off.
Remember he is only seeing the people that come into the ER not the many more that just get up from a crash look at their banged up helmet and walk away.
I was taken down in a race from a rider who hit me from behind shattered my helmet lots of road rash (none on my head) other then that no damage.
I am a firm believer in them.
what a bunch of pansies...when I was growing up, metal monkey bars were on concrete.
Take away the coercion, and people do the right thing
I conked a helmet on the the ground once, not very hard. But it removed any doubt that I’ll always wear one when riding.
I remember first learning why they put those lycra “panties” on the foam Gyro helmets: “It’s to protect your head on the second bounce.” (Because the helmet turns into packing peanuts on the first strike, and keeping them around your head actually helps.)
I understand that every day in this country legions of psychiatrists and clinical psychologists visit hospital wards in which there are many, many young men (it's almost invariably young men, young women seem to have better sense) who have had motorcycle accidents and are lying in hospital beds and will never walk again. Some have lost the use of their hands and arms, too.
They are there to counsel these men on how to adapt to never walking or in some instances, never being able to do much of anything ever again.
Yep, motorcycling is a great sport.
Legions, huh? Actually there are multitudes more young people who are paraplegics from auto accidents. Much less football, soccer, bicycling, swimming pools.
Best to hide in a closet.
Having ridden (briefly) sans helmet, then extensively with a full-face helmet, I will always ride with the helmet. June bugs in the face HURT!
There’s certainly a range of prices there. Any suggestions (I think I need to replace my 15 y.o. helmet)?
I’ve had my share of head to earth encounters on my mountain bike and the helmets have done their job everytime. Had a Bell helmet that took the full of impact of an OTB at over 25 mph...the whole right side of the helmet was crushed...I was wobbly (concussed) and had a broken collarbone, but that was the best $45 I ever spent.
I learned a long time ago as a dirt and street biker to wear them and to not forego wearing one.
Btw, would you please add me to your bike ping list?
Alec Trebec - The answer is "It's made of 65 cents worth of plastic, and $1.10 in labor, the packaging costs75 cents and the liability insurance costs $4.40 yet sells for between $30 and $130"
contestant - "What is a bicycle helmet?"
Alec - "Correct!"
PS- welcome to the FR Peloton - TdF just one month away
Sure, people are injured and killed in auto accidents but at least they had some protection from the size and enclosure of the vehicle. With motorcycles you have no protection unless you think that helmet is going to save your butt. Maybe it does help a bit but the rest of you, well...
Comparing motorcycle accidents to sports injuries. Please. No comparison.
I’ll go with the odds and the odds say you’re safer in a car or truck. But, hey, it’s our a@@, not mine.
Motorcycling is a great sport, The Obama Economy forced me to sell my latest one, after more than 30 years of owning a cycle.
I miss it every day.
Forgot to add, seldom rode with a helmet. It interferes with the enjoyment of the countryside and exposes me to becoming a quadriplegic.
Ahh, let’s not forget the design, testing and subsequent certification costs...
I knew a youngster, who grew up with my sons, that misunderstood the protection a helmet could afford. He had a dirt bike. On his 14th birthday he got a new state of the art helmet and proceeded to go out later in the day and attempt to street race another kid who was in a car. He lost it on the road and died, probably thinking his new helmet made him safer.
Over 25 years ago and I remember it all too well.
Sad...I just don’t know what else to say to that, except there are crashes where even a suit of armor might not be enough.