Police in Denmark hug bicyclists without helmets, then give them helmets

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241 Responses to “Police in Denmark hug bicyclists without helmets, then give them helmets”

  1. Tdawwg says:

    Um, OK, “Tak,” but calling out your trolling isn’t uncivil. It’s just my factual interpretation of events: you’re a troll, you’re trolling on this issue, and you’re even vaguely threatening other posters at times. And I’m calling you on it. Deal with your feelings about this, quit trolling, and let’s move on.

    Other issues are raised by your trolling, such as your unofficial “Takuan the Churlish BoingBoing Mascot” status. It would be great for the moderators to address this issue: why is it that Takuan often speaks in the name of rationality, even pseudo-moderates, then goes over into asshat mode when it suits him/her? No reprimands, no corrective moderation that I can see. Whereas I and other are quite rightfully corrected when our posts go over the line. Why is that, mods?

    PeterBruells, we disagree about terminology, but it’s a rank ad hominem for you to ascribe our disagreement to some perversion by me of some obvious truth, due to the need to fit some agenda. Look up the theory I’ve mentioned, learned helplessness, and hit me back. Otherwise, don’t offer kneejerk ripostes to stuff you seem uninformed about. Obviously, acting responsibly in one part of one’s life carries over into other parts of said life: it’s called “care of the self,” responsibility, etc. It’s a quite unobjectionable phenomenon: careful people are careful people.

  2. apoxia says:

    New Zealand has free healthcare. You fall of your bike and have brain damage – don’t worry we will pay for your recovery, and if you can’t work we will pay you a living wage every week for the rest of your life. That’s how it is in New Zealand. Hence, if we can avoid even one person sustaining head injury the state can potentially save millions of dollars (that’s right, we’re talking thousands of dollars a day just for the hospital/rehabilitation part). If that’s idiotic and stupid then I must be retarded.

    In response to Takuan’s suggestion of banning other dangerous activities, personally, I think recreational fishing should be banned. Dozens of fishermen (yes they are all men) are killed in NZ every year, mostly because they don’t wear life jackets. It is the most dangerous recreational sport in New Zealand.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I bike commute and wouldn’t consider riding without a helmet.

    A lot of folks think they look uncool, and I think that when 50% choose not to wear helmets, the other 50% will tend to not wear their helmets.

    Thankfully my state (western Australia) has manditory helmet laws, and i don’t look any less cool than the other kids :)

    It’s a no brainer, like putting on your seat belt. Still, not everyone does that either…

  4. Anonymous says:

    in the us they hit u in the head and tell u to go get a helmet as they impound ur bike

  5. HotPepperMan says:

    In Australia (Melbourne) the use of helmets, reflective jackets, and high intensity flashing lights led to a significant increase in injuries and deaths with cyclists. The nannyism simply gives people a false sense of security. I have yet to see a significant study that unequivocally shows the benefit of wearing a helmet as opposed to not.

  6. Ambiguity says:

    I have a nine year old son, and he rides a bike. Do I make him wear a helmet?

    No, I do not.

    Does he wear a helmet? Yes, usually he does.

    You see, instead of just telling him what he should do, I’ve tried to raise him to think clearly about things like risk. I kind-of wish the governments of the world would extend the same courtesy to their citizens. It would be really helpful, for example, in the “drug debate.”

    As to if helmets actually increase safety or not… I guess that’s an interesting discussion as far as it goes, but it seems to be a separate one.

  7. mgfarrelly says:

    I think out on some gun-infested compound an anarcho-capitalist’s first edition of “Atlas Shrugged” just burst into flames.

    Thank goodness.

  8. Snowrunner says:

    @Apoxia

    I’ll go out on a limb to say that every time I see a rider without a helmet I consider them to be ignorant and an idiot.

    Although helmets under certain circumstances can be useful for the majority of people they will probably do very little (if anything at all).

    Why? Because regardless if you are a 50 pound kid or a 200 pound guy they are all tested to the same exact force standard. Simple physics lessons from highschool should tell you that this is pretty much BS.

    Even Helmets.org admits that the helmet really is only good up until around 10mph:

    Research on crashed helmets shows that most people hit the ground at a relative speed of about 10 MPH. If a rider is hit by a car or hits a brick wall at 30 mph and the head takes a direct blow at that speed, no helmet will prevent injury or death. But that type of crash is rare, and helmets are designed for the severity of the most frequent crash types.

    http://www.helmets.org/negativs.htm

    Most people don’t just fall off their bike, they usually hit something (usually a car), there would be much better money spent on separating bicycles and cars and educate car drivers about cycling than forcing people to wear a helmet. Much more so as most people equate safety with the helmets. The most “oblivious to danger” cyclists I see on the road are usually the ones plastered in reflectors and protective gear.

  9. Anonymous says:

    That’s a pretty hamfisted troll there, Takuan.

    I think this is great. It makes the police protectors, not enforcers. In a cost-benefit analysis, I like to imagine handing out free helmets is less expensive than fining the helmetless, or cleaning up their splattered brains. If you count the value of lives saved, the benefits definitely outweigh the costs. Plus, those are pretty sweet helmets they’re handing out there.

  10. Michiel says:

    @snowrunner Wow, that’s some BS right there.

    I’m a bike messenger and have gone down at high speed quite a number of times.

    If I hadn’t been wearing a helmet every single time, I’d have had concussions so bad I wouldn’t be able to tell up from down by now.

  11. Osprey101 says:

    We could so totally improve that here in the US. We’d tase them off their bikes, hug them, THEN give them helmets.

  12. nosehat says:

    A bicycle helmet probably saved my life once in a particularly nasty crash involving a sharp turn, a stone wall, and a very hard tree (I still have scars on the non-helmeted parts of my face to this day)…

    ….. but to each their own, I guess.

    Seriously though, your brain is pretty delicate, and it’s one of your more valuable possessions. I know there’s no such thing as 100% safety, and every endeavor worth doing has some risk involved, but I don’t see any disadvantages to wearing a helmet when bicycling or motorcycling. Maybe it’s because I never really understood the whole vain/hair thing.

  13. BlackPanda says:

    I received a hug and a kiss from an on-duty policewoman in the UK, two years ago.

  14. jackie31337 says:

    colonel gentleman @135 I’m confused, did this video mention anything about mandatory helmet laws?

    I was wondering the same thing: does Denmark even have mandatory helmet laws? For adults?

    I saw this video as police promoting public safety by encouraging people to wear helmets in an awareness campaign, rather than enforcing any law. Kind of like when fire departments give out free smoke detectors and point out the benefits of having one.

  15. Anonymous says:

    This was really awesome.
    I mean, somehow it seemed that they cared about the people and not about just screwing them over for not wearing a helmet.
    Hats off to the person who came up with this!

  16. Tdawwg says:

    Hotpepperman, that’s ridiculous. Studies show a minor uptick in crashes due to cars being lulled into a false sense of security when they see helmeted riders. (And this is due to the drivers’ carelessness, after all: there’s NOTHING suggesting that what you call “nannyism” affects bikers’ behavior.) But this small increase is dwarfed by the many lives that are saved by bicycle helmets. Science and statistics, not ideology, please.

  17. Chundermutton says:

    I’m curious as to what they’d do if a cyclist politely declined a helmet.

  18. murrayhenson says:

    Little things like this go such a long, long, ABSURDLY LONG way.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Mario Andretti with a highly tuned sports car. And a half-blind 80 year old woman with a 20 year old Dodge.

    They both have to drive 55 mph.”

    they both can go as fast as they want – as long as they don’t go below the lower limit of 60 km/h or so..

    By your “logic”, helmets should be worn by everyone at all times in every instance.

    Takuan, please look up the term “slippery slope”. You might want to know the definition before you do it again.”

    slippery slope – as in “countries that impede on individual freedom for the alleged benefit of the greater good are usually on a slippery slope to…” – sterilizing disabled people – anyone?

    So, it’s got nothing to do with anything I said. You’re pissed about something that happened long before this conversation even started. You don’t want to talk about it, that’s fine. But don’t try and convince me your rage has anything whatsoever to do with me.

    well, bundeling contankerousness, ignorance and complacency to argue that it’s ok to impede on individual freedoms is a proven method to get people steaming – nice job :P

  20. Anonymous says:

    Living in Copenhagen (two weeks so far, huzzah!) they’re a great many cyclists with no helmets and it seems about a third of the city traffic is done via bicycle. I think the police handing out helmets is grand as it’s quite nerve wracking to commute in the mornings when the vehicle lanes are full of cars/busses and the bike lane is absolutely jam packed. It makes me quite glad I brought my helmet with me when I moved.

  21. Ratdog says:

    @ 105 Anonymous

    Don’t hug me bro!

  22. peterbruells says:

    @TDAWWG There was no ad hominen at all involved, not counting you putting down Tak as a troll.

    Your interpretation of learned helplessness in this context is objectionable. Simply because it has not been shown that wearing a bicycle helmet helps. No, “I banged my head once and nothing happend” or “My neurosurgeon swears by it(*)” are not proof. For fairness sake: “I used bikes for 35 years and never needed one” isn’t one, either.

    I actually do take a lot of careful stuff. I never stay in a room with large people without checking where the escape exits are. I will not ride in the back of cars where the head rest have been taken down. I lock my car (and I live in a very save area) even when putting the trolley away and the car’s in my line of sight. I do not use chairs to climb up to get something from the top of cabinet. When making modifications to power-tools, I always disconnect it from the powerline.

    For the bike-riding I do, a helmet doesn’t demonstrably (again: anectode is not the singular of data) decrease my risk. That’s why *I* don’t wear one. If you want to use one: Go ahead. I don’t mind. But when people *like* you start passing laws based on “common sense”, *then* I mind it very much.

    *) One M.D. actually recommened homeopathy to me. I changed the doctor. Anectode. I know. Couldn’t resist.

  23. Anonymous says:

    The new scientist did a little piece on a new study , worth a read.

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn17032-bicycle-helmet-laws-could-do-more-harm-than-good.html

    Like all bike helmet studies, including those looking at how effective helmets are, the conclusions are not clear cut.

  24. monstrinho_do_biscoito says:

    that would NEVER happen in the UK. You’d get thousands of pounds spent on bicycle tracking CCTV, fines on anyone not wearing one and routine police harassment of cyclists.

    Good for you Denmark.

  25. GregLondon says:

    Takuan, snark needs to be snarky enough so that “most” people get it’s snark. If most people don’t get it, everyone ends up assuming you’re serious and wearing tinfoil in a room walled with tinfoil.

  26. japester says:

    Moderators – ban Takuan. He has consistently trolled and been needlessly offensive throughout this thread.
    example comments #34, #37, #76, #80, #85, #109,
    and that’s an incomplete list.

    Do not apply different levels of tolerance for abusive behaviour simply because he’s usually a consistently insightful poster.

    After reading this thread and seeing how much unjustified violence has come out of his mouth I am seriously considering finding an equivalent of the youtube comment snob firefox extension for bb. That saddens me greatly.

    back on topic.

    I’m of the opinion that for the most part, people do should not be coddled and instead, be allowed to make their own decisions. I make an exception with that belief when it comes to making decisions about safety though. I base that premise from the general human population not being educated enough (about being safe) to be able to make rational choices about safety. It’s not something you can test empirically on yourself.

    Personally, I feel naked without a helmet on my bicycle, in much the same manner that I feel naked without a seatbelt in a car.

  27. Snowrunner says:

    @Michael

    If I hadn’t been wearing a helmet every single time, I’d have had concussions so bad I wouldn’t be able to tell up from down by now.

    Huh? I quote the helmet advocates and I the one with the BS?

    I am also not quite sure how you manage to wipeout so often? I’ve been riding in all kinds of conditions (and quite high speeds at times) for almost 30 years and so far my wipeouts on the road were reduced to mechanical failure in the drive train and falling over once because I got stuck in my clip on and forgot to keep pedaling.

    If you don’t like the advocats reasoning behind the product they advocate, I suggest you take it up with them though, not with me.

  28. GregLondon says:

    You know what medics call motorcyclists without a helmet?

    Organ donor.

  29. Anonymous says:

    “Hey, my wallet is gone!”–bicyclist shortly later

  30. The Life Of Bryan says:

    I’ve got two good friends who had a falling out and now cannot be put in the same room together (which is often inconvenient rather for me). I sometimes have to warn others “Hey remember, when you’re around Robert, don’t mention Ben’s name.” When they ask why I tell them that Robert’s a really great guy most of the time, but if the topic of Ben comes up, that’s thirty eight minutes of our lives none of us will ever get back.

    As soon as I saw Takuan post in a discussion about bike helmets, I knew exactly which road we were heading down. Other than that though, he seems to be a great guy.

    As to bike helmets, yep, this has been done to death on every cycling forum on the web. Twice.

    To all of you who can’t ride fast enough to put yourself in any real danger, I’m so sorry. I, however, start each day by pacing cars in traffic, so I do it wearing a helmet. I also do it wearing padded half gloves, largely because I’m exponentially more likely to land with my hands in a crash. If anybody cares (or is even still reading this far down), I don’t think either should be mandatory. But I do think that playing in traffic without a lid is simply daft.

  31. Phikus says:

    Japester@~204: I feel naked without a helmet on my bicycle

    You put a helmet on your bicycle? Yer doin’ it wrong!

  32. Snowrunner says:

    @TDAWWG

    But this small increase is dwarfed by the many lives that are saved by bicycle helmets. Science and statistics, not ideology, please.

    The problem with those statistics is though that they aren’t really all that accurate. Or rather, it is problematic because it only captures a sub-set of all the bike accidents that happen.

    The cops (and thus a police report etc.) are only called up when either serious injury occurs or if a car or other registered vehicle is involved. The x number of spills that happen at the same time never find their way into a statistic.

    Additionally, every cracked helmet is seen as proof that the helmet actually worked and if there wouldn’t have been a helmet it would have been the head.

    Again from helmets.org:

    A helmet does have a larger diameter than the head. But it would be more accurate to say that the helmet might increase the likelihood of hitting the helmet itself, not the head.

    They like it both ways, on the one hand the helmet makes it more likely that you actually do make contact, but at the same time this is also proof that without the helmet you’d be dead. Talk about messing with the statistics.

    The big question in the end is not so much: Do helmets work? But rather: Do helmets work often enough to really make a difference?

    From everything I have read (and clearly that’s at best a guesstimate too) you’re more likely to bang your head in the shower after the bike ride.

    There’s also another concern I have about helmets. I have heard several times that when a cyclist got into an accident with a car that it was the cyclists fault. Why? Because s/he was reckless and didn’t wear a helmet.

    A helmet is a passive device, not an active one, wearing one is a gesture of last resort and says absolute nothing about the riders capability or responsibility.

  33. Bill Albertson says:

    Well, this is certainly better than the treatment I received by the San Jose PD when I was legally making a right turn on my bicycle- their response was to clear leather on me and force me to goose step my bike across the street and ride on the sidewalk crowded with pedestrians, in violation of the CA Veh Code.

    Or, we could talk about some of the $150 tickets they give out here in some towns for minor infractions that they don’t give to motorists.

    Nah, I feel that the way the Dutch police treated the cyclists was great, and they will probably get better than 60% compliance.

  34. Takuan says:

    you know what free men call slaves?

    slaves.

  35. magpiekilljoy says:

    Here’s to hating helmet laws and loving helmets. Government, in as much as it should exist (arguable), shouldn’t prevent us from hurting ourselves.
    That’s what common sense is for. And if you are given a free helmet and refuse to wear it, well, you’re kinda a moron, more concerned with looking cool than, oh, living.

    In Portland a few years back, a nonprofit got a grant from the city to stop bicyclists without bike lights and give them lights. It was pretty sweet.

  36. Anonymous says:

    In 1997 or whenever that study was done, helmets stopped people from cycling. However NOW helmets are better and cheaper than ever, Australia is going through a bicycle sales boom, why buy a $400 bicycle and not shell out $30 extra for a helmet?
    I had a helmet back in 1986, my parents insisted and ended up paying after some argument. It was expensive, heavy, hot and uncomfortable. I have no such problem with my current 375 gram model and when I replaced it I destroyed my old one-took 5 blows with an 8 pound sledgehammer to stove in the crown. Lets see some facts, not these 911-truther style arguments where you repeat a statement at nauseum until some poor sap believes you.

  37. Sea Daddy says:

    Around here, you would be knocked off the bike with a nightstick, cuffed, and the helmet nailed to your head, just to make sure it doesn’t fall off accidentally.

  38. Snowrunner says:

    @GREGLONDON

    You know what medics call motorcyclists without a helmet?

    Organ donor.

    That’s funny. As the majority of motorcycle accidents happen within the city at speeds below 50kph I wonder why a bike helmet is so differently constructed and rated?

  39. doggo says:

    Those that fear the gentle guidance of the state need it all the more.

  40. Michiel says:

    @snowrunner It’s not you I disagree with, but what you quoted as what the advocates are saying. I just don’t think it’s true and if that is the case, they might be doing more bad than good. If people start to believe their helmets won’t be any help, they won’t wear them.

    Re: falling, try being a bike messenger: you’ll see. A busy city is quite difficult to get through at high speed, since most people don’t actually watch where they’re going.

  41. Anonymous says:

    “I don’t think the state should mandate common sense, except when doing so saves the state money”

    1. Helmets are not common sense.
    2. Having a madatory helmet law would cost money in extra medical costs from the people who stop cycle. Helmets are shown to reduce cycling numbers. Cycling 9with or without a helmet) is good for you.

    You only have to look at the fact that people are more likely to wear helmets when they are in traffic, which is exactly the situation where the helmets spec is exceeded, so see that it is more about counteracting a perception of danger than of anything to do with real safety.

  42. Roast Beef says:

    I used to think helmets were lame–when I was 12, and used words like “lame”. Now that I am old enough to have outlived more than a few friends killed in traffic accidents, a helmet is a necessary part of my gear, just as much as inflated tires. Yes, I know a helmet can only do so much. This is why I use my eyes and ears (I officially call out dude at :21 who is totally grooving on his headphones while DRIVING in TRAFFIC) and drive defensively.

    Neal Stephenson’s stand-in character in Zodiac explains at length that he rides without helmet or lights because if he’s depending on external safety mechanisms then he’s already screwed (or something to that effect). And I get this–ride as if you were invisible at all times; don’t depend on the other guy to see you. But still, helmets? The worst thing that can happen BECAUSE I’m wearing a helmet is my head gets sweaty. I’m happy to take that risk. I only regret that mine didn’t come free with a hug from a nice municipal employee.

  43. Anonymous says:

    I thought Rodney King said “Why can’t we all get along”?

    … and also, when I saw the police, I got this gut reaction- I assumed they would hurt the bicyclists. I associate cops with evil and sadism… when they hugged them, I teared up a little. I know, weird.

  44. GregLondon says:

    Do you know what happens to a frog that gets struck by lightning?

    The same thing that happens to everything else.

  45. apoxia says:

    Takuan – what a moronic statement, simply and utterly moronic.

  46. Jinglefritz says:

    1. Swine Flu “pandemic”
    2. Earthquakes
    3. I agree 100% with Takuan.

    Y’all better get to church – only 4 more signs of the apocalypse left.

  47. Matt Katz says:

    @snowrunner Cities that support bike messengers are a totally different biking environment.

    I occasionally ride into NYC on my bike and it is insane.

    I was a bike delivery guy in a sleepy southern town for one summer and was hit by a car from behind. It’s no joke out there.

  48. rosyatrandom says:

    Speaking as a cyclist, I hardly ever wear a helmet. And I feel quite bad about that, because I know I should. And I listen to music too. I’m a terrible person.

    If you’re on a bike then you are quite likely, whether through your own liability or just fate, to have accidents. Even though I tend to ride paranoidly and defensively, I have had some, and luckily I’ve kept my head out of it so far. That’s just luck. As someone who’s concussed himself running into a tree while playing hockey, I know my head is far from invincible.

    So I am going to go out now, and I shall be wearing my helmet. I would not be against this being mandatory. It probably should be; going out without one _is_ reckless.

  49. Takuan says:

    when I rode, I used camouflage.

  50. desiredusername says:

    There are a lot of bicycle and moto haters.

  51. Takuan says:

    *sniff* my my, what a lot of one hit wonders oozing out of the woodwork. Reeks a bit mehfehish…

    Dawgg, I understand you may be smarting from my previous dismissal of your grand work, but I’m telling you now to take whatever manufactured issues you have to the moderation thread rather than letting your petty vendetta threadjack this discussion.

  52. Takuan says:

    last chance Dawgg, take it out of here.

  53. Matt Katz says:

    Also, I’m psyched to see coverage of cops being nice. Way to go.

  54. myob1776 says:

    The helmet debate is a bit different in Denmark than here in the US. In the US, most people who bike do so as a form of recreation. The percentage of commuting bicyclists is miniscule in comparison with the percentage of commuters who travel by car. (In Portland, the US city with the highest percentage of bike commuters, only about 3.5% of commutes are by bike. The US average is .4%.)

    In Denmark, particularly in Copenhagen, vast numbers of commuters hit the streets each day on their bikes. (Roughly one-third of commuters in Copenhagen do so by bike, versus 30% who commute by car.) There are well-marked, well-regulated, and well-respected bike lanes that help this mass of people get not only from point A to point B, but from there to points C, D, and E as well. (As opposed to most bike paths in the US, which may appear and disappear seemingly at whim.)

    Why is that relevant? In the US, bikers need to be protected from cars. In Denmark, for the most part, they just need to be protected from each other.

    Another point: the Danish commuting bicyclist tends to ride with (bike) traffic at more moderate speeds than do US commuters, whose incentive is to try to go with the auto flow.

    A third point: Recreational bikers in the US tend to ‘gear up’ for their rides; we’ve all seen the Lance wannabees in their day-glo, logoed jerseys with guts hangning out over the crossbar as they speed through red lights and cut across lanes as though traffic laws do not apply to them. Helmets are very much a part of this get-up. Danish commuters, on the other hand, are dressed for work. Most of their jobs do not require them to be helmeted.

    Is wearing a helmet better than not wearing one? Probably. Is it THAT much better – in Denmark? I don’t know. We make choices like this all the time – for example, school busses have seat belts, but city and long-haul busses don’t.

    One strong argument against a helmet law — in Denmark, at least — is that it will act as a disincentive for even more people to get on a bike and ride to work. As good as the Danish bike commuting percentage is, there are many who are actively working to increase it, and believe that mandatory helmet laws will drive the percentage down rather than up.

  55. colonel gentleman says:

    I’m confused, did this video mention anything about mandatory helmet laws?

    Tak actually has figured out the safest behavior of all – spending all of your time on the internet calling people names.

    Tak, I’m disappointed you haven’t broken out “sheeple” yet, but you may just be saving that for the encore.

  56. failix says:

    “I stopped riding when they made helmets compulsory.”

    Just don’t wear a helmet and continue riding. I don’t understand why one would stop riding a bike because of a law, and I don’t even want to know in what world we would be living in if everybody followed every single useless law out there…

    The cops look nice in the video but nique la police even if they give out free helmets.

  57. Takuan says:

    something for you puling milquetoasts that can’t be trusted to look after yourselves.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7633989.stm

  58. peterbruells says:

    @183 Okay, you ran against a tree and a concussion. A helmet might have alleviated this.

    I take it that you know wear a helmet whenever you run?

  59. Takuan says:

    p’raps some adult diapers to go with?

  60. Takuan says:

    you do realize that by passing a bad law they now make it possible for any cop to harass you at will? What pleasure can you take in riding when you now know the mere sight of a cop could be prelude to war?

  61. kaosmonkey says:

    @ tak 233

    Or else what?

  62. GregLondon says:

    snowrunner: As the majority of motorcycle accidents happen within the city at speeds below 50kph I wonder why a bike helmet is so differently constructed and rated?

    Just so you know, your nutjob conspiracy theories? They’re not working on me.

    You wanna whine about the “man” telling you what to do, then whine away. You wanna make up fantasy tales about who shot JFK, aliens in hanger 18, or the conspiracy of helmets? I’m not buying it.

    No, seriously. I’m not buying it. Just save your tired little fingers the typing. My mom has been an EMT for a couple decades. Real world splatter trumps your imaginary demons every time. Helmets make a huge difference in surviving a crash. Go take your meds.

  63. Ratdog says:

    This is an amazing thread.

  64. burningcanoe says:

    I think its genius.

    the cops were talking to each cyclist. I suspect something like ” I don’t want to see you dead” or something better.
    When you hear that, and an authority figure hugs you, you are going to remember this each time you get on a bike with your free helmet nearby.
    Can you imagine if you got caught speeding and the cop said, ” look please slow down, I’ve seen way too many deaths from people who speed, I can’t take another one” this would stay with you.

    If they had been day to day cops, giving fines, each cyclist would have had a fuck you attitude.

    whoever developed this idea is stellar.

  65. Anonymous says:

    …wow..

    no one has actually realised that the video is just a PSA, and in no way reflects any current legislation in Denmark?

  66. Tdawwg says:

    Nah. And until I hear otherwise, that’s not for you to decide. And unless you’re a moderator in disguise (which would raise its own set of problematics), stop giving orders: you don’t speak for the site (as far as anyone knows) and you demean all of us by ordering one of us about.

    Your trolling is offensive, objectionable, and, worst, ludricrously false. Acknowledge it, stop it, and we can move on.

  67. Jake0748 says:

    Jake, you get wise… you get to church…

  68. AlexG55 says:

    Monstrinho@185: This sort of thing is already (kind of) happening here in Cambridge. Cyclists stopped riding at night without lights (which is illegal) are fined £30, but are then given a free set of bike lights which retails for… yes, that’s right, £30. Not quite a hug and a free helmet, but a focus on prevention above enforcement. And if you’ve paid for the lights, you’re more likely to keep them on your bike and use them.

    As for laws in the UK, lights are mandatory, but helmets (for bicyclists of any age) are optional. To me, this makes a lot of sense- not wearing a helmet only endangers yourself, but riding in the dark without lights endangers others by making a collision more likely.

  69. Jeroen says:

    Looks to me the policemen are focussing on ATB riding people, that’s why they let the others pass. Though it’s a short film, so who knows for sure?

    In the Netherlands riding with a helm is considered sissy, though when I got myself a racing bike I bought a helmet as well. Not only because of the speed, but also because your body leans forward more, which makes it more likely you’ll land on your head when in an accident.

  70. Takuan says:

    someone posed the absurdity that forced helmets made police protectors, bloody nonsense. All I’ve observed is that the poor, unable to afford cars, now have yet another thing to fear from cops. With vagrancy laws struck off the books as unconstitutional, the local gestapo now has selective enforcement of helmet laws as their “lookin’ at me funny” ace in the hole.

  71. Anonymous says:

    Those who don’t wear helmets don’t need to for they have nothing to protect.

  72. Anonymous says:

    Dane here.

    I seriously doubt that they ignore the woman because of the risk of being sued for sexual harassment. Those that think so, don’t know Denmark (I don’t blame you for not knowing us ;) ). Most likely it’s just coincidence. If you don’t believe me, then check out speedbandits.com – made by the danish traffic safety council.

    Helmets aren’t required here in Denmark either – if it was, the police would be handing out tickets, not hugs ;)

    I like the effort, but I would honestly rather see them spend a lot more effort on catching bike thieves. It’s a quite big problem here and I’ve gotten several bikes stolen.

  73. GregLondon says:

    Takuan: something for you puling milquetoasts that can’t be trusted to look after yourselves.

    Jeebus, did some crazy person possess your brain, Tak?

    For future reference, I’ve done enough in my life that I no longer feel the need to prove to anyone that i’m not tough enough to meet their “standards”.

    Even Marty McFly eventually got over being called “chicken”. You’ll have to do better than ad hominems like “puling milquetoasts”.

  74. SeattlePete says:

    More cops hugging and free helmets would mean a lot less of these:

    http://www.ghostbikes.org/

    I am pro.

  75. ea.calendula says:

    @jackie31337
    No, there aren’t any mandatory bicycle helmet laws in Denmark.

  76. Snowrunner says:

    @GREGLONDON

    Just so you know, your nutjob conspiracy theories? They’re not working on me.

    “Nutjob Conspiracy Theories”? Come again? Where’s my conspiracy here?

    a.) I am wrong, Bike Helmets and Motorcycle Helmets are tested by the same standard.
    b.) I am wrong, Motorcycle crashes are at much higher speeds (and forces)
    c.) …. ?

    Please explain where my “conspiracy” is coming in?

    If you would actually bother to look a bit into the bike helmet history you will quickly realize that initially they wanted to advocate an open faced motorcycle helmet. That was until someone realized that heavy physical exercise and a heavy (motorcycle) helmet did not go well together.

    so they compromised, by the logic that “any helmet is better than no helmet”. Too bad that the average person doesn’t realize that. After all, a helmet is a helmet, right?

  77. Takuan says:

    I see you didn’t bother reading the moderation thread. No wonder you persist. Very well, your contempt for the house is noted.

  78. Snowrunner says:

    @MICHIEL

    Re: falling, try being a bike messenger: you’ll see. A busy city is quite difficult to get through at high speed, since most people don’t actually watch where they’re going.

    When I was in my early 20s I did that for three months, yes, it is hairy and it can get close and even on my daily commutes right now (partially on trails) I am all too aware that most people are in lala land when they are riding their bikes / jogging / “driving” their car.

  79. andygates says:

    Ooh, I haven’t seen the bicycle helmet flamewar (done to death on cycling forums) here on BB before. Do carry on, I’ll be chasing unicorns.

    Unless they’ve got unicorn flu. :(

  80. Takuan says:

    a real motorcycle helmet capable of protecting your skull from significant impact trauma costs a thousand dollars. And is supposed to be condemned if even dropped once. What a joke these plastic and styrofoam beanies called bicycle “helmets” are! Nothing but a cynical scam aided and abetted by hysteria, ignorance and that loathesome primate trait of “someone’s having fun stop it now!”

  81. Raj77 says:

    @187; you run as fast as you cycle? Impressive.

  82. Hamish MacDonald says:

    How beautiful, the way this gesture turns the cop/public relationship on its head. Why can’t it be like this? Jumping straight to antagonism clearly doesn’t work.

    Oh, and I raise my hand: I’m another person who would be dead if it wasn’t for bike helmets. My front tyre twisted sideways in a pothole, I went over the handlebars and landed, slamming my head, shoulder, and wrist into the pavement. My wrist was fractured, but more seriously I sustained a concussion and lost my short-term memories for a day. (They gradually came back over time.)

  83. Kyle Armbruster says:

    I’m with Takuan here. Foam hats. Bah.

    I’m against helmet laws for motorcycles too. I’m not saying you shouldn’t wear one (I’ll be honest: if I’m riding a scooter in the bike lane, no, I don’t want a helmet–on a sportbike on the interstate? Well, I wouldn’t even want to do that because helmet or no that’s just stupidly dangerous, IMO–but yeah, helmet), but that it’s my head and if I’m cool with it getting mashed off by a telephone pole, then so be it.

    In the case of bicycles, though, guess what? Getting hit by a truck from behind, or sideswiped, or obliterated head-on is not the kind of injury that is going to be helped much by a foam hat. I refuse to wear a helmet while riding a bicycle. I think they are utterly ridiculous.

  84. GregLondon says:

    With vagrancy laws struck off the books as unconstitutional, the local gestapo now has selective enforcement of helmet laws as their “lookin’ at me funny” ace in the hole.

    Tak, whatever button of yours this story pushed, it’s your button, not whatever story you made up to try and distance yourself from your personal experience and turn it into some massive epidemic about cops being “gestapo” picking on the “poor”.

    It’s a short video about some cops in denmark who are handing out helmets for free. That completely does not jive with your “gestapo” dystopian fantasy.

    Consider taking a break from this one for a bit.

  85. Ratdog says:

    @138 Antinous

    *Horn Solo*

  86. Anonymous says:

    I don’t deny that bicycle helmets may prevent head injuries when an accident occures(
    altough some statistics indicate the oposite
    ), but it’s better to prevent accidents from happening. Bicycle helmets make everyday bicycling more complicated. If it makes it complicated enough that people take the car instead, with all the increased risks involved, accidents will become more frequent and grave.

    I’m 39 years old and bicycles have been my main transportation my whole life — yes, since the age of 0. I started as a passenger on my mothers standard bike (with my brother as another passenger, making us three riding one standard bike). I have never been involved in a bicycle accident nor have I been close to one. I have been a passenger in two car accidents and only by luck and good reflexes avoided being in one as a driver on several occasions.

    If helmets would be made mandatory for bicyclists it should be made mandatory for passengers in cars and buses. Statistics shows that they need them more then bicyclist, even if they use a seat belt (a very fine and unobstructive Swedish invention that makes me proud of my nationality, but it will never prevent all injuries).

    I live in Sweden, but I have biked a lot in Denmark. Denmark is really, really good for bicycling (compared to Sweden), unless you are really, really stupid there is a very low risk of accidents. Bicycle accidents are rare both in Sweden and Denmark (compared to car accidents, and almost all serious car accidents in Sweden and Denmark involve only one vehicle).

    There is already a law in Sweden that mandate that bicyclist below the age of 15 should wear helmets. It’s mostly ignored. When authorities make an effort to increase the use of helmets (police controls et.c.), you see a decrease of young people biking and an increase in car traffic when their parents have to drive them.

    I only use a helmet when I ride on roads with heavy car traffic (long distance, although usually good when it comes to intracity biking (for some odd reason there is usually a lack of bicycle lanes to factories and other places were people work, but other then that it’s good), Sweden sucks when it come to intercity biking, Denmark is really good at both) or at very rough terrain. Unless someone invents a bicycle helmet that I can put in my pocket, without pocket sweat, and put on/off at the same instance I jump on/off my bike, I will not use a helmet more then that. I bike to save time and effort (compared to driving a car), not to waste time or do a lot of complicated and unessecery things.

  87. GregLondon says:

    Please explain where my “conspiracy” is coming in?

    Right now it’s coming in from your IP address.

  88. Anonymous says:

    Sidestepping the more emotional bits of the argument, the trouble with bike helmets is that the figures don’t show that they work – helmet laws have stopped a lot of people cycling and have done nothing for head injury rates, see Robinson DL. No clear evidence from countries that have enforced the wearing of helmets. BMJ 2006;332: 722-5. http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/332/7543/722-a. It appears that helmets break easily, but don’t absorb the impact, see the engineers quoted at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicycle_helmet. A broken helmet has simply failed. At my moderately advanced age it’s far too dangerous not to cycle – regular cycling, Danish style, not too far, not too fast, nearly halves the death rate, see http://archinte.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/160/11/1621 All-Cause Mortality Associated With Physical Activity During Leisure Time, Work, Sports, and Cycling to Work. Andersen et al, Arch Intern Med. 2000;160:1621-1628. Helmets have also strangled some young children who were wearing helmets while playing off their bicycles. RK

    • Anonymous says:

      Oh, man, are you ignorant. Helmets clearly protect people from traumatic brain injury and by the way, they are designed to break apart on a major impact — it is how they redirect the force of impact. I can explain all day, but do this experiment: First, bash your head on the sidewalk without a helmet, and then do it with a helmet. By which method does your head look better? Please report back your findings.

  89. bcsizemo says:

    Wow, I love the fact you have two arguments going on here and one doesn’t even understand the other.

    I agree with Takuan 100%.

    It’s not the ideology of wearing a helmet that’s the issue, it’s the enforcement of asinine rules and regulations to protect you from yourself.

    As an adult I should have the right to choose how to protect myself. If I’m riding in a park or a relatively safe area and see no need to wear a helmet I should have that right…but I don’t. I agree that “if” you are partaking in something somewhat dangerous (even cycling in traffic) that a helmet is a good idea. But ultimately that shouldn’t be my call to make for you. That is exactly what the government has done. Just like people are lured into a false sense of security by airbags and SRS stuff… A big rig hitting a mini cooper isn’t going to leave much behind, period… Sure it’s better than say an original VW beetle, but you are still going to be seriously hurt or possibly dead.

    And that all ties directly back into things like state/government run health care. OF COURSE THEY CARE ABOUT YOU! It directly affects their bottom line. If it didn’t, then you could splatter your brains out where ever you’d like…and there would be marginal monetary impact to the state.

    You can directly think of a state/gov run health care system just like the military. They both want you safe because they have invested a lot of resources and time into you. You need to be a productive member as long as possible. And it will be their job to make sure that happens.

    Notice how I never mentioned what YOU wanted. Cause it doesn’t matter. When someone else or some other entity starts thinking for you, telling you what to do, how to live, how to act, then you become their resource. Then you are essentially working for the government, not the government working to make your life better.

  90. andygates says:

    What’s most likely to cause fatal head injuries? Cars.

    Making cyclists wear helmets is like making girls wear chastity belts at parties to prevent drunken frat rape. It’s misdirected and offensive.

    Make the dangerous thing safe, don’t compel the potential victim to wear ppe. We’ll be onto the “free range kids” vs “age of fear” thing again.

    Ride. It’s good.

  91. gerta says:

    What’s with the weak moderation in this thread? Why is Takuan permitted to continue trolling? I don’t give a rat’s ass about the helmet laws or the laughable “helmet lobby” — the laws go completely unenforced no matter what people think of them. But bottom-feeding comment about pushing cyclists into traffic and driving in the bike lane are so far out of line that I can’t understand how he’s continued to post ad nauseum. A gentle admonition from one mod, then nothing? Please either clean things up or stop throttling the Greasemonkey script for silencing obnoxious posters.

  92. senorglory says:

    I love cops!

  93. GregLondon says:

    Greg: Consider taking a break from this one for a bit.

    Takuan: well Greg, I wouldn’t expect a flaming nancy-boy skydiver to grasp really manly attributes like riding to the corner store bareheaded for a quart of milk. Parachute poofter.

    Ooorrrrr, call me “chicken” several different ways and see if you can get my goat.

    You do realize you’re enraged far beyond what this particular conversation is about, right Takuan? You’re not mad about helmets as some theoretical concept. You’re mad about something specific that happened to you. Don’t know what it is. But I do know based on this last response, that you’re clearly not responding on a level based on anything I said.

  94. Jake0748 says:

    Gerta, please get a clue.

  95. Avram / Moderator says:

    Takuan, knock it off.

  96. Takuan says:

    since nothing matters but money, how about (in those civilized places with universal public health care) those who wish to ride helmetless be able to purchase their own medical insurance to cover accidents? I’ve always felt that skiers who go out of bounds and spark dangerous, expensive rescues should have to get past the snipers first, but any who want to helicopter ski the back country should be allowed as much danger as they can pay for.

    Private insurance countries should not even be having this debate.

  97. Michiel says:

    @Bcsizemo I’m deliberately ignoring the second argument, because I live in a country where there is no bike-helmet law. I truly don’t understand how such a law would feel.

    What I wonder, though, should seat belts be deregulated as well?

  98. Anonymous says:

    I live in Denmark, and of course this is a commericial for better safety and no they probably would never hug you..

    but cops are easy to approach here..the stuff I read about your experience in the states. Ive never had.. and I live in the middle of Norrebro.. if you dont know what this is..

    take a look:

    [url]http://www.united-creatives.dk/handlers/casetitelbillede.ashx?size=1&id=219[/url]
    [url]http://i2-images.tv2.dk/s/06/1571406-98d8b828a8afa637db47664b8015df28.jpeg/[/url]

    about a year ago.. the state sold a house that had been invaded by a youngsters group.. rumours spreadede they didnt wanna leave.. so the police had to force them out.. that turned up 5000 young people from across europe to support them keeping the house.. I live 100 feet away from that house.. I felt the police did everything right.. nobody got seriously hurt.
    the police didnt bring weapons of any kinds.. only shields..

  99. dragonfrog says:

    Well he’s our pet troll, you see…

  100. presto says:

    We do that here in the states, if by “hug” you mean “tase repeatedly until dead.”

  101. Elistar says:

    Wow. I don’t post much, but wanted to say a few things here:

    1) After the NYC cop-attack-on-cyclist made my blood boil, this video brought tears to my eyes. Cops should definitely be more huggable. They’re there to keep us safe, right?

    2) I was a bike courier for about 16 months. Destroyed 2 helmets by smashing them heavily into the ground. Once, I slammed my head into the curb after vaulting a car that cut me off. It was impressive: ladder trucks, fire trucks, two ambulances and a police car all showed up. EMT said I would have been dead without the helmet.

    Another time, I slipped on a patch of oil and just banged my head hard on a bench. While riding slowly. In a park.

    From personal experience, I can say that the little foam things they sell you definitely protect your head.

    3) I also ride a motorcycle. Funny thing is, it turns out that the sub-$100 helmet (Z1R) protect you as well as the thousand dollar (Schuberth) helmets. Full test by Motorcyclist was here: http://www.motorcyclistonline.com/gearbox/motorcycle_helmet_review/index.html

    4) So if you want to ride dangerously, go ahead! (Except, perhaps, in Canada where I live, and your decision will cost me extra money for your medical care… when the state provides free health care, I don’t think it’s necessarily an insult to call it your nanny.)

    Bestest,
    elistar

  102. Takuan says:

    there’s good arguments for seatbelts based on facts.
    Unlike the the bicycle helmet lobbies fantasies.

  103. GregLondon says:

    As an adult I should have the right to choose how to protect myself.

    The FDA requires that food be labeled properly and that food be prepared to certain standards. I had an argument with some moron a little while back who hated being told what to do that he was willing to argue that he ought to have the right to buy food of questionable content prepared to questionable standards, just so he could hold to his philosophical nonsense that the government can’t tell him what to do.

    Helmets make you far safer in a crash than no helmet. That’s the fact.

    you want to choose which is safest? Or do you wnat to choose which is safest?

    Did the bug crawl up your behind because the government is telling you what to do? Or do you seriously think that helmets are NOT SAFER?

    Cause if you question whether helmets are safer or not, then you need adults to tell you what to do.

    On the other hand, if you think helmets are indeed safer, but you don’t want the government telling you to do the right thing, then you NEED an adult to tell you to do the right thing.

    Either way, helmets are safer than no helmet. Whatever issue you have with authority and “don’t tell me what to do”, I hope you learn before you are forced to do other things via government orders, like, you know, pay taxes you don’t want to pay, or drive below a certain speed or get a ticket, or not drive drunk. Stuff like that.

  104. Takuan says:

    “Helmets make you far safer in a crash than no helmet. That’s the fact.”

    No. Your “fact” is not in fact a “fact”. Bicycles are their own case and every ride is its own case as well. By your “logic”, helmets should be worn by everyone at all times in every instance. “Just in case.” The statistics do not support you, common sense does not support you and general experience does not support you.

  105. Anonymous says:

    What? No Tasers?!

  106. Nelson.C says:

    Ignore Takuan. Cephalopods don’t have skull bones to break; it’s all flexible cartilage. if you hit one on a bike, he’s likely to bounce off your hood.

    Their gullets also pass right through the middle of their brains, so every time they swallow, their brains get squeezed. It explains a lot about Takuan.

  107. Michiel says:

    Hm, yes, usage cases do differ.

    Should the law be amended to something like “Helmets are mandatory when riding a sports bike in a sporty way, or in a busy environment” or something similar?

  108. GregLondon says:

    I’m trying to picture the three cops that tazed the naked wizard going through new orientation for hugging non-threatening individuals who are breaking the law.

    Trainer: So, you hug them, and give them some clothes.

    Cop1: We what?
    Cop2: Ha! for a second there I thought you said hug.

    T: Yes, you hug them.

    Cop3: Wait, wait, wait. You mean we tazer them and then body slam them? That’s what you mean by “hug”.

    T: No, you just hug them.

    Cop1: And then pull their hair?

    T: No, you just hug them.

    Cop2: After putting a knee in the chest?

    T: No, you just hug them.

    Cop3: AH! That’s when we plant the drugs on them.
    Cop1: Oh. I see.
    Cop2: I get it.

    Trainer: No, gawddamnit, you just hug them

  109. Cowicide says:

    They should hand out the helmets and then sock em’ like they do in this Time Bandits clip (skip ahead to 3:17)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0yezu0L3gCU

  110. Takuan says:

    (kicks circling jackal in chops)
    you mean amend a bad law that shouldn’t have been made in the first place so as to waste more resources and erode more basic rights and freedoms?
    Sure, I suppose. If common sense loses again I guess.

  111. GregLondon says:

    Takuan: every ride is its own case as well.

    Yeah, and different people can drive automobiles at different skill levels, and different cars handle differently at high speeds. And yet everyone has to observe the exact same speed limit.

    Mario Andretti with a highly tuned sports car. And a half-blind 80 year old woman with a 20 year old Dodge.

    They both have to drive 55 mph.

    By your “logic”, helmets should be worn by everyone at all times in every instance.

    Takuan, please look up the term “slippery slope”. You might want to know the definition before you do it again.

    And none of this makes a damn bit of difference because you’re not furious at the theory of helmet laws. It’s the thing you’re not talking about that’s got you so pissed.

  112. AGF says:

    Tak? I thought we were at least comment friends! Now don’t go running over cyclists with helmets, you might run me over. Trust me – I need the helmet – given the icy streets and the frequency that my head hits the ground. Actually biking is a pretty good excuse for me to generally leave the house wearing my helmet – which I have to say is pretty sexy. Bright pink with a COOP girl on the side – bomber pinup style.
    Now for real Tak. Are you feeling ok? Do you need a hug? Maybe you need some fresh air? Perhaps a bike ride?

  113. Rindan says:

    Bah. This is not so special. We do the same thing in New York City here in the States. Granted, New York City’s finest give far more manly hugs. Here, see for yourself.

    http://gothamist.com/2008/07/28/cop_caught_on_video_assaulting_cycl.php

  114. Takuan says:

    next!

  115. Michiel says:

    @takuan Alright, I thought it made sense. Never mind me and my willingness to try and see your point.

  116. Takuan says:

    perhaps what has me pissed is your complacent, sanctimonious acceptance of a bad and stupid law for no other reason than an apparent authority fetish. You have yet to make any kind of real world case based on established facts for the imposition of state authority on yet another aspect of daily life. There is absolutely no defensible reason to impose the force of law on a harmless, private activity such as riding a bicycle in manner and environment that poses no risk whatsoever to the operator. Your Diana Moon Glampers logic drags us all down to the level of domestic animals incapable of independent survival and is really just a thin disguise for other more unwholesome intentions.

  117. sinclair_mckay says:

    Ignoring all the trolls trolling these comments.

    It is nice to see this image of the police. Alas, it’s an image. I suspect that all the folks stopped were worried that they were about to get a summons or ticket of some sort, regardless of the reputation of the police in Copenhagen(?).

    That said, wouldn’t it be a nicer world if the police were looking out for us instead of against us? Wouldn’t it be great if we weren’t afraid for them to stop us?

  118. peterbruells says:

    @208 Because it costs money. And it would – over here – probably handled as traffic misdeamenor and “earn” me demerit points, which could lead to the suspension of ma driver’s license.

    I do not use a bicycle for recreation. It can be fun once in a while, but overall I consider it a boring pastime with no appeal to me. I use it to get from A to B and for most of my transportation needs, it’s simply the most convenient one. Having to wear a helmet is inconvenient to me. As soon as it becomes mandatory, the 2nd choice – a scooter – will become more convenient to me, so I’ll junk the bicycle and will get a scooter/small motorbike. Case close. It’s not my problem when this leads to further road congestion and more pollution – I freely admit that I am a very selfish person.

    As of now, I use the bicycle to get to work each and every day. Save during a few days during the windows, when the dirt roards to dirty to use the bike and ice increases the risk of falling – both on the dirt road AND the street where I might fall and get hit by a care moving 50 to 80 kpH. Well, I guess I might be “responsible” and wear a helmet which will protect me from harm, but I’d rather be rational and *walk* during those times.

  119. AGF says:

    alright. but I’m still a bit worried.

  120. failix says:

    Face the harassment. But the best thing would be not to get caught in the first place. IMO you don’t fight a law you disagree with by following it.

  121. Anonymous says:

    Takuan, for the many thousands of comments you make daily to BB, this is only the second time you’ve begun to annoy me. That’s a darn good average.

  122. Takuan says:

    my pardon Michiel, I fear you misapprehend me. try not to stand betwixt me and the jackals. Sorry.

  123. colonel gentleman says:

    Run for your lives! It’s a socialist nightmare!

  124. Takuan says:

    no one obeys the helmet law anyway. It’s just used by cops when they want to shake someone down.

  125. gruben says:

    The NYPD cop who pushed over the Critical Mass cyclist should be ordered to do this for about 1,000 hours.

  126. Anonymous says:

    What a fantastic, non-dickish way to enforce the law.

  127. Tdawwg says:

    I want protections from this all-seeing, all-hugging, corporatist happy-police state!

  128. zebbart says:

    I hate biking with a helmet, but a couple years ago I wrecked riding up hill by clipping a parked car mirror with the tip of my handle bar. Front flip, landed on my head, unconscious in the middle of Market Street, Philadelphia. I will not test luck that way again. Bike helmets protect you mainly from downward momentum, not lateral. As a compromise, I advocate mandatory helmet wearing only for the 30 seconds before and after a wreck. Otherwise I think fools should be allowed to decide that hundreds of helmet-free, wreck-free rides are worth one bad wreck followed by years of brain damage or death.

  129. farkinga says:

    AWESOME

  130. peterbruells says:

    @190 My bad. I meant 186.

    However, full frontal impacts in normal, everyday cycling are *rare*. The usual accidents are “getting under a truck, because the driver didn’t check the mirror” and “falling to side.”

    In the first case, a puny bicycle helmet will not help.

    In the 2nd case, it might help. Usually for the same reason why it would help for people walking or running and then falling down, because the head “falls” from the height of 1,5 to 2 metres, i.e. at about 20 kph. A speed , I note, not far from what most bike riders achieve. A possible faster speed adds only up to the impact when it’s full frontal. Remember: The bullet you shoot (horizontally, of course( falls to the ground as fast as the bullet you just dropped. OTOH, there’s also some increased risk of the helmet providing leverage because of your heads increased diameter, resulting on more stress on your neck.

    The sad fact is, that there is no conclusive proof that helmets are harm- or helpful. Most of the pro-based stuff is based on hearsay and “common sense”, of the same kind which brought us policies like stepping our of your shoes at the screening, not bottled water in planes and vitamin pills.

  131. Takuan says:

    and for all your anecdotes I can relate a hundred more of my own close calls. Do you see me trying to confine you to your home for your own good?

  132. Anonymous says:

    Waaaa?!? There’s an anti-helmet lobby?

    WTF guys!? You’re angry about helmets? seriously? THAT’S what gets your blood boiling? SERIOUSLY?
    Are you related to the Anti-Seatbelt Brigade, the Liberation Front of Car-Seated Children, the Lifeboats Are For Pussies League, the Direct Sun-Gazers United and the Pilots Against Life-jackets Under Your Seats?

    Hey, I’m no fan of how we experience state control in developed countries, but helmets?

    Prison: Nearly 2,5 million people are incarcerated in the USA alone, with 7 million people under some sort of correctional supervision. Levels of incarceration are NOT related to crime rates. 1 in every 3 (close to 1 in 2 now) African-American males will spend at least a year of his life in prison.

    Drugs: Prohibiting substances creates lucrative black markets which have no other recourse to solving trading disputes than through violence. Alcohol – more toxic than opiates. Alcoholism is defined as a disease which places the problems arising from its consumption within the individual rather than within the drug itself, legitimising its continued use/prevalence, unlike any other drug.

    Seriously? Helmets? You’re angry about helmet?

  133. DoctorMantis says:

    That’s awesome. I think a huggable police force should be on every country’s agenda. In the US, I suspect hugging a cop would get you tasered (at best).

  134. peterbruells says:

    @apoxia out of curiosity If New Zealand’s free health care allows them to pass biciycle laws, shouldn’t it follow that they can forbid smoking and drinking acoholics, which *have* been demonstrated to be a calculable risk to he users?

  135. Apreche says:

    Notice how they ignore the female cyclists, and only hug the male ones. I hope they have some female cops to give helmets to the other gender. Equal opportunity free helmeting.

  136. Takuan says:

    I stopped riding when they made helmets compulsory.

  137. Anonymous says:

    So.. are women not eligible, or are the cops just wary of soliciting hugs from them?

  138. sorted says:

    sweetness

  139. Takuan says:

    will you make us wear helmets?

  140. Nelson.C says:

    Bicycle, surely, Antinous?

  141. jimh says:

    lulz
    trolz
    Takuan, master of hyperbole, slave to none.

  142. Tdawwg says:

    Snowrunner, that’s just dumb. Indeed, helmets are larger than your head, sure. But most accidents and crashes don’t begin with your head hitting anything: usually, your bike hits something. It’s not like low-hanging trees clip off helmeted bikers at some amazingly high rate because of an extra half inch perimeter around riders’ heads.

    The idea that helmets are passive is also crazy. It’s called actively taking responsibility for your safety. That the helmet doesn’t flash and blare noisily “LOOK OUT CARS I’M BIKING” is not the point. Kindly research the theory of “learned helplessness,” which is what you’re advocating, and get back to me. I’m willing to bet that bikers alert and careful enough to wear helmets are alert and careful, and thus more safe, in other contexts as well.

    Takuan, you’re officially now a troll. Congratulations!

    For the non-biking, anti-helmet trolls, this is not about how big your dick is. For the biking, anti-helmet trolls, this is not about how big your dick is. For the bikers who responsibly wear their helmets, congratulations, keep being safe, see you on the road, perhaps! (Biking on the road, that is, not lying or splattered…. :D)

  143. drawingbreath says:

    Could have done with more of that attitude in London around April 1st.

  144. AGF says:

    alright. not worried anymore. lolz.

  145. GregLondon says:

    perhaps what has me pissed is your complacent, sanctimonious acceptance of a bad and stupid law

    Except you were pissed before I got into the discussion. Excerpts from your post @16:

    make money for a helmet lobby
    cops yet another handle to oppress with
    Nanny state bullshit
    cynical profiteering
    power grabbing
    Condoned by sheep and idiots

    So, it’s got nothing to do with anything I said. You’re pissed about something that happened long before this conversation even started. You don’t want to talk about it, that’s fine. But don’t try and convince me your rage has anything whatsoever to do with me.

    an apparent authority fetish

    Huh? Well, since we’re taking completely blind swings in the dark, I’m going to guess you had a bad run in with a cop (or two) and cant bear to see cops shown to be nice guys giving out hugs and free helmets, so you’re on the offensive.

    That blind guess can’t be any more absurd than you saying I’m having an “authority fetish” because I think a helmet is safer than no helmet.

    Since you won’t, I’ll go for a walk and check back in tomorrow. later.

  146. failix says:

    I agree… but you still wouldn’t bike even if there was no such helmet law right?

  147. Michiel says:

    @Takuan Helmets are fine, just get a nice one like the ones they were handing out, or those made by Nutcase.

  148. Anonymous says:

    Socialized health care would make it cost effective for the government to encourage people to avoid a head injury. And that’s a sweet way to do it.

  149. Takuan says:

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5huNki6C0X-VOpxtP6gezf0rqebow

    I confess I am at a loss for a decent ethnic Danish slur. “pastries?” “open minded stewardesses”? “Dogme95ers?” “mildly flavourful cheeses?” help me out here.

  150. Takuan says:

    I think I see what the issue is here.

    Many who support compulsory helmet laws feel they will be made safer from the vicissitudes of physical Fate and the errors of others. This is understandable, it is very fatiguing to maintain full alertness at all times and even more wearing to accept the brutal facts of one’s own mortality and a totally uncaring universe. Even harder to admit that your life is all too frequently in the palm of another, another who could easily be poltroon, fool or worse.

    I can accept that, we all have limited pools of strength and varying tolerances for sobriety. I suggest you look up “Knurd” if you don’t already know what it means. Equipping ourselves with what small armours life permits makes it easier to get to the next day.

    What I do ask though, is that you make some effort to understand my point of view and reality. If I die today, I die. I’d probably rather not, but it is MY choice. Respect my choices as I respect yours.

    As for riding; pedal and motorcycle both, over decades I’ve had scrapes, wrecks and near terminal experiences. My full coverage helmet saved my teeth once in a walking speed drop caused by a front wheel washout on plastic litter. Which was only a threat from weight of machine and passenger. The hundred yard, skin shredding slide following a ten foot high rooster tail of sparks in my only high speed wreck wasn’t the slightest bit affected by the helmet I was wearing. Bicycle wrecks don’t even register. A few skinned parts, some inbedded gravel, nothing really. Not once would a helmet have mattered.

    When I rode, I was invisible in a sea of assassins. I expected nothing from them but premeditated murder and that is what I received in limitless failed attempts. No bright clothing, no lights, no reflectors, no expectations. I ALWAYS saw them before they saw me. The idea of being struck from behind or T-boned at an intersection was laughable – as if I’d let them!

    Now, if you wish to participate in a broader society by placing your life in the hands of strangers with your assumption they will follow some rule, very well, go ahead. I sincerely wish you luck. But I will state very clearly: your helmet is not a magic amulet against loose gravel, rabid dogs, drunk drivers and all the rest in the very unpleasant, real world. In a way, you burden me with your reliance on a phantasm of an orderly universe and I could just as easily claim it is unfair for me to foot your medical bills because of your choice to build your trust on sand.

    I hope that eases your mind Ami.

  151. GregLondon says:

    Pansies.

  152. apoxia says:

    Takuan – I think that’s really sad. I would wear a helmet even if I moved to Denmark (which I was considering last week actually). I think this video is really nice :)

  153. Ernunnos says:

    Nobody seems to have mentioned that those are actually pretty nice helmets. If I’m going to be taxed, I’d much rather have the money distributed to normal folks on bikes with a hug on the side than by the billions to bankers with a sincere ass-licking from Chris Dodd.

    Supposedly the military once did a study that showed that most soldiers never used their sidearms, and that they’d be better off carrying extra ammo for their primary weapon, the rifle. But individual soldiers don’t like the idea of not having a backup, and from time to time sidearms do come in useful. Maybe helmets are useless on the whole too. But I don’t live on the whole, I’m an individual. And this individual has found helmets useful on more than one occasion.

  154. Takuan says:

    I thought sidearms were only issued to officers so the cannon fodder could be driven forward into the machine guns?

  155. Takuan says:

    ? I bike where there are no cops, I resent not being able to ride where there are. It’s like going open ocean freediving in bad weather and finding an idiot in a lifeguard chair at your best hunting beach.

  156. Anonymous says:

    No doubt soppy propaganda, but sweet nonetheless.

    Suggestion of reward trumps certainty of punishment in human psychology — rilly!

    Even if it doesn’t, I’d rather live in that world!

  157. Hawley says:

    sexual harassment and big brother treatment

    one nice package

  158. Takuan says:

    that’s not the point. The law was passed to make money for a helmet lobby and to give cops yet another handle to oppress with. A helmet to ride a quiet park at a walking pace? Nanny state bullshit and cynical profiteering and power grabbing. Condoned by sheep and idiots.

  159. Anonymous says:

    My favorite part (apart from the sexism) is when the last guy bikes off with his helmet unbuckled.
    WIN!

  160. Ratdog says:

    I’m assuming Master Chief would be pro-helmet?

  161. AGF says:

    well at least i’m sure it’s you ;). on that happy note – good night. (oh and i like the pig jokes)

  162. jimh says:

    A helmet saved my life, or at least prevented a severely diminished quality of life, so I’ll wear it. Even if it never helps me again. That’s my experience, not a superstition. But wearing them should be a choice. Like condoms.

  163. Takuan says:

    I’m still waiting for someone to confirm or debunk the story that this video is viral.

  164. Anonymous says:

    This is just lovely; more than: a wonderful psychology marrying the unexpected ut Good from an authority figure to engender the Expected in the Subjugated.

    Yes cycle paths should be more and accessible. Yes the Police Do Shit.

    But this is a fluid symbiosis in action. Or I’m asleep too.

  165. jowlsey says:

    Video is borked (at least for me it is). Anyone have a mirror?

  166. MrMonkey says:

    Surreal.

  167. Anonymous says:

    @6

    I suspect they avoided the girls to avoid any awkwardness or claims of sexual harassment, you never know.

  168. Phikus says:

    should boxers wear helmets?

    I don’t know, but my helmet wears boxers.

    Troof: I’m glad you have headgear for every occasion, especially the Lincoln tophat for blogging. =D

    I just wear my hair like this. It works as a helmet with the amount of hairspray I have to use, but I have to watch the clearance as I pass under bridges.

  169. Ratdog says:

    They will never get people to wear helmets like that. They need to beat the shit out of them first, and force them with fear.

  170. jowlsey says:

    Opps, never mind. This works just fine- http://www.youtube.com/v/vWF4x01MkzE&hl=en&fs=1

  171. dculberson says:

    Wow, where is a helmet compulsory for riding a bicycle?

  172. peterbruells says:

    @195 Helmets are, by any reasonably sane criterium of passive, passive. Wordplay like “wearing one is taking acticly responsibly” is just that: wordplay. To but it bluntly: Kissing a hare’s foot before riding is also an *act*, but that doesn’t make it an active installment.

    Active traffic security are acts like maintaing the roads, enforcing speed limits, etc. Passive traffic security are devices that minimize the results of an accident. Like the seat belt or a helmet.

    Please don’t misuse terms just because it fits your agenda.

    Refering to “learrned helplessness” is also a little weird in this context. It can – and has been shown – that riding a bike is statistically as safe or safer as taking a shower or using the stairs. By telling people that they need a helmet for this demonstrably save act, who’s enforcing learned helpnessless.

    Next, your statement ” I’m willing to bet that bikers alert and careful enough to wear helmets are alert and careful, and thus more safe, in other contexts as well.” I don’t get at all. If helmeted bike riders are more save because they are more alert, in which way making people wear helmets make them more save? Does wearing a helmet make people more alert, all of the sudden? Wow, I didn’t know.

    Seriously, there are stuies, that suggest that helmeted bikers take more risks because they overestimate the helmet’s protection AND that drivers pass helmeted bikers at a closer range than they woud. Personally – but that’s anecdotal – I’ve heard quite a lot of people excuse the greatest stupidity with “but I wore an helmet” or “I’m insured”, as if those two prevent stuff.

  173. dainel says:

    Helmet laws forces everyone to wear helmets. This increases the market size and reduces prices. (I’m thinking of helmet laws in small third world countries like mine).

    I have no doubt that the thousand dollar helmet that is discarded after dropping just once, is better than the $50 helmet, which is better than the $20 one that is badly scratched and has been dropped who knows how many times, which just better than just your hair and skin. It’s not all or nothing, either you buy the most expensive helmet possible, or wear nothing at all.

    Look at house doors and locks. Either you get the super secure lock with extra reinforced doors that can withstand a cannon ball, or you might as well have no door at all. Plenty of people take a middle ground. Doors and locks that are not the absolute best money can buy, but nevertheless are quite good and works in most instances. Few people have just a hole in the wall with no door.

    Helmet laws also protects those who do not have the power to make decisions. Children and spouses who defer to their dominant partner. “I’ll send you. You don’t need a helmet. It’s only a 5 minute ride”. And employees. “Don’t take the bus. Jack will send you on his bike. You’ll get there in 5 minutes. I’m not paying you to waste time waiting for the bus”.

  174. Moriarty says:

    Fascist servants of the helmet lobby, hug-raping innocents. Cops are perverts, full stop.

  175. dragonfrog says:

    I stopped riding when they made helmets compulsory.

    This for me is the issue.

    So, let’s grant that helmet laws are an annoyance, an overreaching public health law of dubious efficacy. What good does your refusal to ride do? Are you Lance Armstrong, that your refusal to ride a bike will make lawmakers sit up and pay attention?

    Bicycling is freedom; bicycling is gliding through the open air like a bird; bicycling is the perfect form of travel, experiencing the sound, smell, and feel of the landscape you move through. Bicycling is life, man.

    Tak, think of all you’re denying yourself to no end. It’s like refusing to eat cheese because raw milk products are illegal, refusing to go outside and breathe fresh air because public nudity is illegal – you hurt no one but yourself. Either put up with the stupid law and get a helmet, flout it to force a test case, or move where there is no such law. Avoiding cycling entirely is cutting off your nose to spite your face.

  176. Architexas says:

    After reading this, I thank the good Flying Spaghetti Monster that I never learned to ride a bicycle.

  177. apoxia says:

    Takuan – wow, I didn’t realise you were the conspiracy type. There was no helmet lobby involvement when the law was changed in New Zealand in the early 90s (helmet-lobby – seriously?). I ride in a quiet park every day with a helmet on. I’ve learnt far too much in neuropsychology to not wear a helmet and as a future neuropsychologist I will always feel that way. Although you may say that those who condone compulsory wearing helmets sheep and idiots, I’ll go out on a limb to say that every time I see a rider without a helmet I consider them to be ignorant and an idiot.

  178. Bugs says:

    Takuan: I condone helmets because I once got knocked off my bike and I’m glad I shattered the helmet when my head hit the ground instead of my skull.

    Not sure if I’m a sheep or an idiot, but regardless I’m one with an intact noggin.

  179. davedorr9 says:

    While the therapeutic index of helmets may not be perfect, it is wide, mainly because the harm is minimal and there is some real benefit. Except, apparently, to some people’s sense of liberty.

    On that note, the evidence:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18646128

    Bicycle ridership is not studied, but the summary ‘Cops giving awesome hugs to male bicycle riders increases helmet use and reduces head injuries’. Or rather ‘Bicycle helmet legislation appears to be effective in increasing helmet use and decreasing head injury rates in the populations for which it is implemented.’

    Cops giving man-hugs have not been systemically studied.

  180. markfrei says:

    @14 Takuan
    I stopped riding my bike back in 1999 when I was hit by an SUV that ignored a red light. I was riding at a walking pace in a quiet park near my house.

    Luckily I was wearing my helmet…

  181. Takuan says:

    I rather lure cops to secluded places.

  182. Michiel says:

    @Takuan. Sure. Now get a helmet and ride your bike.

  183. Ansanter says:

    The argument for having the right to not wear a helmet is like the argument for not having to wear your seat belt.

    I could give a damn less about you and your noggin getting split open. But what I do care about is your carelessness becoming a burden on the health care system. I say this as a socialist Canadian.

    If my loved one has to wait any longer for an ambulance for a serious medical issue that is no fault of his/her own because some idiot decided it was uncool/uncomfortable/inconvenient for them to wear a helmet and took what normally would be a minor spill (don, then I say damn you non helmet wearers!

  184. GuyInMilwaukee says:

    Very nice but I do have to say I enjoy the freedom here of not having to wear a helmet.. even on a motorcycle.

  185. Phikus says:

    Alternatively, you could go for this, which should afford the same amount of protection, with the added bonus of fooling the non-hugging cops. Perform your duty now for the future!

  186. Tdawwg says:

    Takuan, surely you’re joking. Or do you really need statistics on head injuries sustained by helmetless bikers, even at slow speeds?

  187. Anonymous says:

    Only men?

  188. Takuan says:

    I’ll thank you to keep your uncivil tongue tethered, Dawgg, if you’ve nothing to contribute of any substance that is.

    I’ll back that bet Peter, of course the accident prone and clumsy will tend to measure everyone else by their stunted ruler. Alcohol does enormous, easily provable harm, shall we let the Grundies reinstate Prohibition?

  189. SamSam says:

    @Snowrunner:

    Even Helmets.org admits that the helmet really is only good up until around 10mph:

    Research on crashed helmets shows that most people hit the ground at a relative speed of about 10 MPH. If a rider is hit by a car or hits a brick wall at 30 mph … no helmet will prevent injury or death. But that type of crash is rare, and helmets are designed for the severity of the most frequent crash types.

    Most people don’t just fall off their bike, they usually hit something (usually a car)…

    Errr… you do realized that you completely ignored what was written in the quote you quoted, right?

    Yes, helmets.org admits that helmets are less effective at > 10 mph, but you then go on to state that most accidents happen faster than that, completely ignoring that they said twice that research shows that most accidents happen at below that speed.

    And trust me, you can get a pretty good concussion at 9 mph.

  190. curiouspencil says:

    This is just lovely; more than: a wonderful psychology marrying the unexpected but Good from an authority figure to engender the Expected in the Subjugated.

    Yes cycle paths should be More and accessible. Yes the Police Do Shit.

    But this is a fluid symbiosis in action surely? Publicity stunt or no, if someone gave me a helmet for free I wouldn’t rant about it.

    Until eBay or asked.

  191. SamSam says:

    Would Takuan and the other anti-gov’t regulations folks be happy with an amendment to the law? How about

    Bicyclists are free not to wear a helmet, so long as the state is completely exempt from paying for any injuries which would have been prevented had the rider been wearing a helmet, including emergency care, unemployment benefits and death. Ditto for skiers who ski outside of designated bounds (who would also have to pay for their own rescue teams), etc.

  192. copenhagenize says:

    this film is a fake viral film, most likely made by the incredibly car-centric Road Safety Council in Denmark.

    Strangely, the actors weren’t instructed to hand out helmets to motorists. They have a higher risk of head injury than cyclists. Where’s the logic in that?

  193. Ratdog says:

    To quote Jack Nicholson: “Why can’t we all just get along?”.

  194. zuzu says:

    that’s not the point. The law was passed to make money for a helmet lobby and to give cops yet another handle to oppress with. A helmet to ride a quiet park at a walking pace? Nanny state bullshit and cynical profiteering and power grabbing. Condoned by sheep and idiots.

    “Oh monsters, why did I create you?” ;)

  195. Takuan says:

    Skiing should be banned, far too dangerous. Skateboarding, totally unnecessary, right out. Sky-diving? insane. Bungee jumping? serves no purpose, ban it. Walking on hard concrete sidewalks? Well, a helmet for sure.

    When you infantilize by removing individual responsibility for judgement, you destroy capacity for judgement.

    Wrap yourselves in chains if you wish – leave me out of it.

  196. emilydickinsonridesabmx says:

    That is so cool. It’s great to see countries realize that riding bikes is a good thing that should be encouraged.

    I don’t think helmet companies can really be considered evil. They make a product that stops people from cracking their skulls. Are you against the evil seatbelt and airbag lobby?

  197. Takuan says:

    you have further proof of this despicable conspiracy of pure evil?

  198. Anonymous says:

    @Doggo re: “Those who fear…” Great quote! Was that said by someone else or did you coin it yourself?

  199. Takuan says:

    I do console myself though, by crowding helmeted cyclists into oncoming traffic.

  200. peterbruells says:

    Yah, a bike helmet thread.

    Personally, I’m with the no-mandatory-helmet crowd. After hearing both sides, I judged them not to beneficial. The petty fear mongering of some parts of the pro fraction didn’t help, btw.

    I’d probably stop using the bicycle if helmets became mandatory and switch either to walking or to use a scooter. Yes, the later has mandatory helmets over here, but if I’m going to be inconvenienced by a helmet, I’d rather gain some convenience seomewhere else.

    About anecdotal evidence: It’s a tricky thing and frankly, your stories about your happy helmet stories don’t help. I’ll ignore the bike couriers (who are generally known as people who’d never speed and ride extremely relaxed) , but the rest? Come one? “I fell because I clipped a car mirror?” Please, DO use a helmet and keep riding, because I sure don’t want you to use a care when I’m near. “I slipped and hit my head on a bench”. Yeah, like this never happens when ou walk, right?

  201. Lester says:

    True Confession for Takuan: I helped craft messages for an anti-head injury group headed by neurosurgeons that advocated helmets. Yes, I was a shill for Big Head Injury.

    (Honestly, I don’t think the state should mandate common sense, except when doing so saves the state money. You should be against universal healthcare too.)

    I noticed the cops let a few women pass lest they get in trouble for harassment. That’s most absurd part about it. They’d rather women get brain damage than risk offending them.

  202. Takuan says:

    yep, so long as people who drink alcohol are also denied medical care. As well as overweight people. And people who belong to stupid religions. Also those who voluntarily join the army knowing full well their government has a long track record of starting illegal wars for private profit.

  203. TroofSeeker says:

    I don’t wear a helmet because it’s the law.
    I wear a helmet because I’ve destroyed two.
    I get it.

  204. Takuan says:

    I started as an altar boy, working at the church
    Learning all my holy moves, doing some research
    Which led me to a cash box, labeled “Children’s Fund”
    I’d leave the change, and tuck the bills inside my cummerbund

    I got a part-time job at my father’s carpet store
    Laying tackless stripping, and housewives by the score
    I loaded up their furniture, and took it to Spokane
    And auctioned off every last naugahyde divan

    I’m very well aquainted with the seven deadly sins
    I keep a busy schedule trying to fit them in
    I’m proud to be a glutton, and I don’t have time for sloth
    I’m greedy, and I’m angry, and I don’t care who I cross

    I’m Mr. Bad Example, intruder in the dirt
    I like to have a good time, and I don’t care who gets hurt
    I’m Mr. Bad Example, take a look at me
    I’ll live to be a hundred, and go down in infamy

    Of course I went to law school and took a law degree
    And counseled all my clients to plead insanity
    Then worked in hair replacement, swindling the bald
    Where very few are chosen, and fewer still are called

    Then on to Monte Carlo to play chemin de fer
    I threw away the fortune I made transplanting hair
    I put my last few francs down on a prostitute
    Who took me up to her room to perform the flag salute

    Whereupon I stole her passport and her wig
    And headed for the airport and the midnight flight, you dig?
    And fourteen hours later I was down in Adelaide
    Looking through the want ads sipping Fosters in the shade

    I opened up an agency somewhere down the line
    To hire aboriginals to work the opal mines
    But I attached their wages and took a whopping cut
    And whisked away their workman’s comp and pauperized the lot

    I’m Mr. Bad Example, intruder in the dirt
    I like to have a good time, and I don’t care who gets hurt
    I’m Mr. Bad Example, take a look at me
    I’ll live to be a hundred and go down in infamy

    I bought a first class ticket on Malaysian Air
    And landed in Sri Lanka none the worse for wear
    I’m thinking of retiring from all my dirty deals
    I’ll see you in the next life, wake me up for meals

  205. Anonymous says:

    Move to Delaware, Tak.

    Delaware makes kids under 16 wear helmets in theory (in actuality it’s rarely enforced). If you are busted, you can buy a helmet and have all charges dismissed, or you can pay $25 for a first violation and $50 subsequent. Failure to wear a helmet may not be cited as “either comparative or contributory negligence in any civil suit arising out of any accident in which a person under sixteen years of age is injured, nor shall failure to wear a bicycle helmet be admissible as evidence in the trial of any civil action.”

    As for motorcyle helmets, you have to wear them until you are 19, and that law is actually enforced. After age 19 you just have to own a helmet, you won’t have to wear it. Land o’ the free, home o’ the brave, eh?

    http://courses.cs.vt.edu/~cs3604/lib/WorldCodes/Cowboy.Code.html

  206. Takuan says:

    oooh, out of beer, time for a drive to the liquor store. In the bicycle lane.

  207. Anonymous says:

    There should be a video next to it of British police using their nightsticks. 1:0 for Denmark

  208. daen says:

    Sorry these next links are all in Danish, but run them through Google’s translator, and they come out quite well.

    I don’t know what this video purports to be, but the Federation of Danish Cyclists (Dansk Cyklist Forbund) is very much in favour of helmets (http://www.dcf.dk/composite-533.htm). There’s a link on their website to accident statistics in Denmark in 2007 (http://www.si-folkesundhed.dk/Ugens%20tal%20for%20folkesundhed/Ugens%20tal/17_2008.aspx) showing a continuing trend for declining numbers of cycle injuries (21000 in 2007, down from 23000 in 2006), attributable in part to increasing use of helmets.

    Interestingly, there were also 5000 garden trampoline related accidents, 400 toboggan accidents and 260 bunk-bed related injuries in 2007 in Denmark …

  209. Brainspore says:

    Make fun of Takuan if you want, but have you seen the chief lobbyist for “Big Helmet?”

  210. Snowrunner says:

    @SamSAm

    Errr… you do realized that you completely ignored what was written in the quote you quoted, right?

    Actually not at all. They phrase that on purpose rather “confusing”. They claim that most people hit the ground at 10 mph and the helmet can withstand that without much problem.

    The problem is: Speed is a really bad indicator it’s the force of impact that matters and a 220 pound guy (like me) will hit (even at 10mph) with more force than a 120 pound woman.

    Yes, helmets.org admits that helmets are less effective at > 10 mph, but you then go on to state that most accidents happen faster than that, completely ignoring that they said twice that research shows that most accidents happen at below that speed.

    Interesting that they don’t seem to care to:

    a.) link to any of the studies.
    b.) Seem to confuse the impact speed with impact force, the latter one is what really matters.

    And trust me, you can get a pretty good concussion at 9 mph.

    I had two concussions in my life.

    The first one in the Gym when I sat up from an incline bench press and graced the bar with my head, knocked me out for a week.

    The second one in a car accident when I slammed my head into the b-pillar of the car.

    What I am getting here at is this: There are many ways you can hit your head, yet for some reason when on a bike we should wear a helmet, by my personal experience we all should wear helmets while driving a car (as race car drivers do) and while being at the Gym.

    Let’s be clear about one thing here: A properly designed helmet in the right circumstances can make a difference.

    What this does NOT mean though is that we should force people to wear a helmet in low risk situations. Riding a bicycle is statistically still less dangerous than taking a shower and doing a myriad of other things. You want to protect people from accidents? Seperate cars and bikes, offer bike handling courses and you will see the same effect, if not better and improve the urban landscape.

    Now: If you Mountain Bike or have a little kid, by all means, put on a helmet (and some knee pads), but to force everybody to wear a helmet under the false promise that it will save their life is causing more harm than good.

  211. Moriarty says:

    Regardless of how you feel about helmet laws for adults (I’m shruggingly against), that doesn’t make riding without a helmet not stupid. Same for seatbelts in cars.

  212. Anonymous says:

    All helmet haters should come to the Netherlands. 17 million people, 17 million bicyclists using their bikes every day and almost nobody wears a helmet. Only bike messengers and sports bicyclists, who are driving fast, wear a helmet. The rules are simple for car owners: the bicyclist is always right. To protect cars, we have lots of bicycle lanes, but unfortunately we also have tram rails. Our children are trained to ride a bike at age 2 when they are placed in front of the parents’ bike and learn to see. At age 6, they ride to school on their bikes (no child obesitas here) up to distances of 20 km. At first under guidance, but after a year alone.
    Yet there are hardly any fatal accidents. Most are caused by truck drivers turning right.

  213. Takuan says:

    any decline in numbers relates more to the more bovine in alertness being made aware that “I am riding a bike now” by the physical stimulus of a helmet on their head rather than any true prophylaxis.

  214. Michiel says:

    @Takuan: Sure, now get a helmet and ride your damn bike.

    Re: the females. Surely there was only one camera but more groups of policemen and women handing out helmets and hugging cyclists.

  215. Snowrunner says:

    @Ansanter

    The argument for having the right to not wear a helmet is like the argument for not having to wear your seat belt.

    Actually no. A seatbelt, by and large, works because it has a very limited function in a very controlled environment.

    The simple reality is: A seatbelt keeps you in one place in one direction of movement (forward).

    A helmet has to accomplish much more, depending on how you hit, what angle, what force and speed etc.

    You get the idea. These two things really just aren’t comparable.

    Additionally, nobody performs helmet crash tests, why? Because a dummy does not behave like a real human being (they can’t move, tense / relaxe etc.), so all the helmet testing is static, meaning, a pre-determined amount of force is applied at a pre-determined angle to pass the test.

    If you’re lucky and you “need the lid” you stay within these testing parameters, if you go outside of them the helmet may or may not work, no guarantees.

  216. Anonymous says:

    “Bicyclists are free not to wear a helmet, so long as the state is completely exempt from paying for any injuries which would have been prevented had the rider been wearing a helmet, including emergency care, unemployment benefits and death. Ditto for skiers who ski outside of designated bounds (who would also have to pay for their own rescue teams), etc.”

    That would be placed in the law books right next to the one that says you’re free to have sex (hetero- or homo-) outside of marriage, provided that you don’t seek medical treatment for any STD that you may catch? Or perhaps the one that says you can eat greasy french fries, subject to the same contraint? Or perhaps the one that makes you sign a stupidity waiver if you buy a six pack of beer? Or maybe….

    I think you get my point. The only problem with such arguments is that is assumes a degree of autonomy between individuals that is illusory at best. Everything we do — good and bad — affects other people. We need to start admiting that fact, and — frankly — quit whining as much about how much “you affect me.”

  217. Tdawwg says:

    When you infantilize by removing individual responsibility for judgement, you destroy capacity for judgement.

    Yeah, kind of like when you infantilize yourself by abdicating your individual responsibility toward self-preservation (called “good judgment”), and destroy your capacity for judgment, or, indeed, thinking at all, by SPRAYING YOUR BRAINS ON THE SIDEWALK.

    I mean, Takuan, think of the long years of silly comments you’d be denying us if your brains painted the roadways. You’ve got your future as a minor Internet snarkmeister to think of! Wear a helmet, man!

  218. Snowrunner says:

    @Samsam:

    Would Takuan and the other anti-gov’t regulations folks be happy with an amendment to the law? How about

    Bicyclists are free not to wear a helmet, so long as the state is completely exempt from paying for any injuries which would have been prevented had the rider been wearing a helmet, including emergency care, unemployment benefits and death. Ditto for skiers who ski outside of designated bounds (who would also have to pay for their own rescue teams), etc.

    Yeah, slight problem there sport. How do you want to prove that with a helmet the injury wouldn’t have happened? Force everyone to wear a camera, several sensors and put cameras everywhere so that you can use computer models to calculate the impact force during the accident?

    That’s exactly where the bike helmet laws completely fail. They work on the BELIEVE that a helmet will actually prevent injury or death.

    I DID have this argument with a cop who pulled me over for not wearing a helmet. When I made it clear she could give me a ticket but I’d be fighting this and still not wearing a helmet she tried to get the “let’s scare the shit out of him” route:

    Her: I have seen people getting hit by cars and not wearing helmets, that wasn’t pretty!
    Me: Wait a second. Did they get injured because they were hit by the car or because they weren’t wearing a helmet?
    Her: That’s not the point.

    And THIS is my gripe with the whole helmet laws and the mantra that as a “responsible cyclist” you need to wear one.

  219. gobo says:

    Make fun of helmet-wearing cyclists all you like, but since when is it acceptable to make empty, vague threats of violence towards them on message boards? We get it, Takuan, you’re a big tough guy in a car. Jeez.

  220. Takuan says:

    should boxers wear helmets?

  221. Anonymous says:

    I agree with Takuan regarding state-regulated common sense, with the following proviso: non-helmeted cyclists (motor or other) should _automatically_ be made organ donors if they are in an accident and declared brain-dead; despite what their drivers license information may indicate.

  222. phillamb168 says:

    Something is rockin’ in the state of Denmark.

    *ducks*

  223. Anonymous says:

    “AND that drivers pass helmeted bikers at a closer range than they woudld…”

    This is true — in fact, it was written about in the introduction to “Free Range Kids,” which, amazingly, seemed to be pretty well received when posted about here a few weeks ago…

    I guess people are more receptive of free-range kids than free-range adults? That seems a little conter-intuitive to me.

  224. Phikus says:

    Here in Texas, mandatory bicycle helmet laws came into place just as they repealed mandatory motorcycle helmet laws around ’96. Go figure. One notorious Austin musician and cyclist named Thor started wearing a viking horned helmet in protest. -He was fully in compliance with the law, and helped to point out it’s ridiculousness, as his photo was widely seen in the local papers (would that I could find this photo to link it for you.) Later this law was amended to only apply to those age 17 and under.

    I still wear one from time to time, especially if I go rock hopping. I would feel much more inclined to wear one at all times if I were given a free one with a hug. XD

  225. daen says:

    Anyone know of any statistics for people involved in cycle accidents who were wearing a helmet and who still sustained head trauma?

  226. Anonymous says:

    @16 I think the law may have been passed to prevent head injuries, thus reducing the long-term burden on the health care system. The costs for minor injuries like broken bones, punctured lungs and spleen-ectomies pale in comparison to those associated with brain injuries.

    Nice cops for once. I wish I’d rode my bike past these huggers instead of spending €70 on a helmet.

  227. moose_hp says:

    It’s a trap! I bet the helmets contain RFIDs or some other tracking devices!

    Anyway, putting the tin-foil hat down, I think this is pretty awesome, where I ilve, the image of the police is of someone you have to fear, even if you have done nothing wrong, you have to fear them.

  228. Takuan says:

    policing is dangerous work, they should all wear helmets at all times.

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