Industrialized Cyclist Notepad


Thompson Rivara Thompson ’96

Thompson, Rivara and Thompson M.D.s, “Effectiveness of Bicycle Safety Helmets in Preventing Head Injuries,” JAMA, 1996.

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This is probably the most cited of all helmet studies. It appeared at a time when the CPSC was considering the possibility of making new standards for little kids’ helmets. On one side of the discussion, engineers and advocates who thought child and toddler helmets should be made softer to protects kids from the type of head injuries they are most likely to suffer while bicycling. On the other side, helmet company reps who argued that kids didn’t need new standards or softer helmets.

Thompson, Rivara and Thompson’s “Effectiveness of Bicycle Safety Helmets in Preventing Head Injuries” came along just in time to lend the industry some apparent scientific legitimacy to their argument.

The study concludes like this: “Based on our study, changes in helmet certification standards or the design of helmets particularly for younger age groups are less likely to result in major benefit.” The mention of kids’ helmet standards–“particularly for younger age groups…”–comes out of the blue at the end of the paper.

This is quite strange because, earlier in the document, the authors revealed that the study, which included over 3,000 crashed cyclists, included only one helmeted brain-injured subject under 6 years of age. Because of this almost total lack of data, the authors admit that their study cannot estimate any protective effect of helmets for this age group.

Hmm. But in the conclusion, which is the only part of the privately held document that journalists or 99% of the public will ever read, the authors do just that. They claim that helmets give the same protective benefit “to cyclists of all ages…” And then they go out of their way to say that bit about little kids not needing better helmet standards.

I don’t know about you, but I think it’s very interesting that the particular age group that receives the most attention in the conclusion, is the one that received the least attention when collecting data. This seems to be a really smarmy piece of work.

See industrializedcyclist.com and Family Biking: The Parent’s Guide to Safe Cycling for more on kids’ helmet standards.



Family Biking: The Parent’s Guide to Safe Cycling

Christie and I both worked on this one. The book includes a comprehensive buyer’s guide for family biking Things like bakfietsen, cargo trikes, longtails, child seats, trailers, balance bikes and kids’ helmets, with in-depth, research-based commentary on safety issues. Is transporting your kid in a child seat as dangerous as people say? Are trailers safe in traffic? When is a child ready to ride by herself?

In answering these questions and dozens of others, we came across some surprising facts. For instance, we learned that approximately half of the kids’ injuries associated with bike seats occur when loading or unloading the child from the seat. We also found out, much to our dismay, that helmet makers have been allowed by federal regulators to make kids’ helmets with the same material that adult helmets are made of, even though kids’ heads are so much lighter—meaning the foam in kids’ helmets almost never compresses to soften the blow when they crash. In our opinion, it’s a scandal and needs to be fixed, by the helmet companies and the CPSC. We hope this book will help make that happen.

I promise this book will be interesting and useful for anyone who rides with their kid(s), or anyone who wants to.

Available now for just 14$ at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Family-Biking-Parents-Guide-Cycling/dp/1493009893

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To check out the rest of my books see www.industrializedcyclist.com/books.html



Youth helmet recall
January 7, 2012, 19:01
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , ,

These cheap helmets distributed by Triple Eight are recalled for failing CPSC requirements. Which is the first time I’ve ever heard of that happening. Not saying it doesn’t. I’ve just never heard that one before.

http://www.infozine.com/news/stories/op/storiesView/sid/50268/