Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Stand against 'helmet hubris' - a no-brainer

I object to privatisation of risk, and intend to continue with my stand against the Australian stupidity and bullying that currently dictates Australian bicycle helmet law.

As far as I can make out from the literature put out there for all of us to read, and not just for the self appointed bicycle helmet academics who possess a default position that automatically disregards the views of people like me, my brain is loosely positioned inside my bony skull at all times and therefore can hardly be protected by some polystyrene container perched on the outside of my entire head ensemble.

Given that my brain is technically travelling around my skull without a figurative seatbelt or airbag, arguably protection needs to come from within because really whether I'm wearing a helmet or not is purely academic, wouldn't you say?

Moreover when we unpack the much discussed hypothesis of my 'entire head' in a collision, I understand from all that riveting helmet literature reading that perhaps a helmet is unlikely to prevent my blamangey-brain from careering into the solid wall of my skull and therefore unlikely to prevent exposure to catastrophic disintergration as my aforementioned blamangey-brain rapidly decelerates against hard surface of my aforementioned bony headcase.

Now whilst my skull may remain intact during the wearing of plastic mandated commodity, the likelihood of a 'closed head injury' is probable, and I am not prepared to risk such a probablity when the behaviour of wearing a helmet is acutely cultural rather than categorically proven - surely such a position cannot be considered an unreasonable one to entertain (?)

Thus, my elected Australian representatives, I mention yet again that you have no right to compel me to wear a helmet when I ride a bicycle just like you have no right to compel me to commence breast cancer screening or bowel cancer screening. You might suggest that I consider wearing a helmet, just like you did when you suggested the cancer screening procedures, but similarly with those optional health options, the decision to wear a 'helmet or not' is a matter for me. You can provide me with appropriate information in order to assist me make an informed consent or an informed refusal but you cannot force me to wear one - period.

After all if you recall there is still no test that proves helmets don't exacerbate brain injury, and inter alia the 'scientific expert jury' is still out.

So I shall continue to ride my bicycle without a helmet armed with knowledge that has informed my refusal.


  1. A direct impact generally causes localised brain injury at the location nearest the impact, and, due to shockwaves travelling through the jelly-like brain, at the location directly opposite. This type of injury is usually not too much of a problem, as the injury is localised in just two places.

    A sudden rotation of your head (perhaps because the polystyrene hat gripped the road rather than slid like your head would normally) tends to cause shearing of the brain structure all round the skull. This sort of brain injury is VERY SERIOUS and damages a lot of your brain all at the same time. A sudden head rotation can also lead to a broken neck, risking whole-body paralysis.

    Motorcycle helmets are tested so they skid, rather than twist your neck, in a crash. Bicycle helmets are not tested for this crash scenario because any lightweight vented "helmet" would have great difficulty passing the test. I think bicycle helmets should have to pass the same tests as motorcycle helmets.

    Cycle "helmets" are potentially very dangerous things to wear when you're riding a bicycle.

    1. Last week's Ride On Magazine published a 'crash course in falling'

      When out for a run I caught my foot on an obstruction (or vegetation?) in the informal dirt path. There was no chance of avoiding a fall so I automatically did a forward roll - a much safer option than putting hands out and doing a face plant. My only injury was a scrape on the back of the arm.

      But imagine if I'd been wearing a helmet. Attempting a forward roll in a helmet could entail a significant chance of catching the helmet in the ground and ending up with a serious brain injury.

      This is another demonstration of the stupidity of these laws.