Thursday, August 8, 2013

The silliness of helmet laws

No helmet necessary for ridge-running




...or clambering through drift wood


...mosey on down to local cafe get latest on 'Fonterra' or whatever...sigh

...and you'll find New Zealand is just as stupid as Australia


  1. Hi Sue,
    This sems to be a variation of this:

    I agree that helmets are unnecessary for slow speed cycling as described in the lower two photos. UNfortunately the photos above are not germane to this position. The arguments above relate to each separate premise not to the cycling helmet premise. An attack on mountaineering helmet laws or non-laws is not a defence or attack on MHLs. It is an attack on mountaineering helmet laws.

    The silliness of helmet law arguments might be a better heading.



  2. Exactly, Seamus, helmet laws are very much straw man arguments and have been all along - useless, irrelevant, and completely off point - basically used to push helmet manufacturers' barrow - they are the biggest 'logical fallacy' ever... fact now you've mentioned straw men et al, in my opinion I do believe that you're rather partial to the straw-man argument tactic yourself in this whole debate about MHLs. For example, I and many others call for 'liberalisation' of bicycle helmet laws and you exaggerate our proposal to a 'position harder to defend' - yes the ultimate 'logical fallacy' - smoke and mirrors, Seamus, smoke and mirrors...none of which mask the silliness of helmet laws

  3. Can you give an example of a strawman argument that I have used, Sue? I'd be interested to see an example.

  4. Sue,
    Can you give an example of where I have used a strawman argument?


    1. In my view you ignore my actual position on mandatory helmet law and substitute a distorted and exaggerated version. Your "reasoning" assumes the following pattern:

      - Sue has 'Position B' on MHLs.
      - Seamus presents 'Position C' (which is a distorted version of B and one that Sue does not support).
      - Seamus then attacks 'Position C' claiming B is false and flawed all along.

      Your reasoning is the stuff of strawman logical fallacy because attacking a distorted version of my position simply does not constitute an attack on my position itself.

      You constantly try and lure me into clarifying what my position is 'not' instead of talking about what my position is, and I know that when a lie is repeated, even if it is repeated in order to refute it, the repetition can reinforce misinformation in the minds of people.

      Perhaps you enjoy tossing straw men in my way perhaps because they are easily knocked down, and make you look like a hero - but nevertheless
      at the end of the day your straw man approach is a way of misrepresenting my non-extreme position.

    2. Sue,
      That is evasive. I have no interest in a tit-for-tat argument that I have been engaged with on other sites, but i feel forced to press my case here. You have accused me of using a strawman argument to present my case and I reject that. You have not offered an example as to where I have used a strawman argument.

      To answer your attack: you have indeed offered a series of premises on your blog. I have provided evidence to refute, or at least show the extremity of your position. I have done this by providing either evidence or a counter-argument against your premises. I don't see where I have used a strawman argument, that is mis-representing your argument and attacking the misrepresentation.

      I ask again, can you offer an example of where I have used a strawman argument to attack a premise on this site? Can you give an example of 'position c' that you refer to above? Just saying it doesn't make it so.

      I strive for honest and logical argument. If I have fallen into a logical fallacy in rebutting your premises I would honestly like to know where. If I have not then I would like you to retract your ststement.



  5. Sue,

    I might guess that you've never fallen while riding your bike, but if you ride long enough you will.
    I ride about 4000 miles/year. I've fallen twice - once when I was struck by a car; another time when swerving to avoid an accident. On both occasions I broke my helmet, which of course would have been my skull. The statistics are unequivocal - you are 4x more likely to die if you are not wearing a helmet (see Please, just wear the flipping helmet for sake of those who care about you and taxpayers who will likely have to help keep your feeding tubes connected after you're incapacitated.

    1. Dear Anonymous,

      Thank you for your concern - it has been noted and duly filed.

      I too ride ride thousands of kilometres a year and have been doing so for many a decade now though minus the plastic hat which you apparently favour.

      Quite how a plastic helmet will protect me against diabetes and coronary artery disease after I'm incapacitated and you're grappling with my feeding tubes is not made clear by your comment.

      At my age, I'm only too well aware that riding a bicycle without a helmet is not the killer looming on my horizon as you predict.

      I've never been a 'chicken-little-sky-falling-down' person and therefore cannot get all excited about the doom and gloom you appear to be invoking for me in my helmetless life on a bike.

      Kind regards,
      Sue (Freedom Cycliste)

    2. I unfortunately traveled to Australia last week - unfortunately because I like to ride a bike (more than 4000 miles per year BTW) but dislike wearing a helmet - I never wear one unless compelled by law. Anyways I was in a bike shop and thought to look at the helmets to see if they were more comfortable than my $20 k-mart special. Even the $280 ones weren't much better. The salesman was ***very*** much a helmet supporter and said "you will fall off your bike and if you are wearing that old helmet you will die, but if you wear one of these new helmets you will survive" - charming. What is with these people? I would expect a person working in bicycle sales would try to encourage cycling and not indulge in baseless fear mongering. As I said in reply "If I honestly thought I needed to wear a helmet while riding a bicycle (more than 4000 miles per year) I wouldn't ride one."