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Thank you Stephen Covey for Wearing Your Bicycle Helmet!

11 comments

I love Stephen Covey's books. They just make sense to me. I'm sure many of you know of Covey through his book "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People."

Covey is recovering today from a bicycle accident yesterday that knocked him unconscious. The good news – he is expected to make a full recovery and not have any long term issues. The reason the news is good? Covey was wearing a bicycle helmet at the time of the accident. Thank goodness.

Covey was with one of his assistants at the time of the crash.

When he fully recovers, I'm going to ask him to work with our Injury Board Lawyer Group to provide helmets to kids whose folks can't afford to provide a helmet. We do this throughout the year because we know how important it is to be wearing a helmet when riding your bicycle – no matter what your age is.

Best wishes for a speedy recovery Mr. Covey.

Drive Safe – X THA TXT

Say No to Distracted Driving

Jeff Weinstein, Dallas injury lawyer

11 Comments

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  1. Mike Bryant says:
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    Interesting post Jeff, I have been thinking a lot about this topic and the need or no need for a helmet. This helps.

  2. Meso says:
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    A case-control published in the “New England Journal of Medicine” found that: “Riders with helmets had an 85 percent reduction in their risk of head injury and an 88 percent reduction in their risk of brain injury . For children, helmets are very important, since they suffer the majority of serious head injuries from bicycling falls.”

    I found some old data for England (2003) from their Department of Health:

    Serious head injuries:
    All causes: 5,875
    Cyclists: 385 – 550
    Pedestrians: 4,564
    Cycling represents 6.5% of all serious head injuries

    Deaths due to head injury:

    Cyclists: 10
    This represents 53% of child cyclist deaths!!!

    Some studies tell us, where helmet became mandatory, the use of bicycles decreased dramatically. And there are contradictory evidence about the effectiveness of cycle helmets.

    But my advice will always be .. especially to children. Helmets on the heads and enjoy the ride!!!

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    Thank you Mike and Meso. The study Meso notes has some really great statistics to support the argument that we should all wear helmets all the time – even those of us who are old enough to remember when there wasn’t such a thing.

  4. Doug Rand says:
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    “The reason the news is good? Covey was wearing a bicycle helmet at the time of the accident.”

    There is nothing in this report that refutes the possibility that the presence of the helmet didn’t make the injury worse than it would have been without the wearing of a helmet. Neurologists know that focal brain injuries from direct impacts are generally less severe than diffuse brain injuries that typically result from angular impacts. A helmet that grabs an uneven surface can turn a direct impact into an angular one resulting in rotation of the brain inside the skull.

    I’d rather have a cracked skull with blood from a laceration than a concussion (ie brain injury).

    If I were a plaintiff in an injury damages case, I’d be reluctant to have the author represent me if I had to counter a claim of contributory negligence because I wasn’t wearing a helmet.

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    Doug, Thanks for chiming in with your opinion.
    I don’t understand the need for the personal dig. You’d be reluctant to hire someone that considers your contributory negligence for failing to wear a helmet? You wouldn’t want your lawyer to be truthful with you?
    My opinions on the internet don’t become evidence in a Court case unless I’m the Plaintiff. If I ride a bicycle without a helmet and have an accident that is caused by the fault of another, you can bet the other side brings up my contributory negligence whether I have an opinion on it or not.
    Do you have any research that supports your position?
    Let me know if you would like to have a debate on this issue and I’ll arrange it on blog radio for the two of us to professionally discuss this issue.
    take care,
    Jeff

  6. Doug Rand says:
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    Jeff,

    The legal point is peripheral to the main issue, ie there is nothing in your report that refutes the possibility that the presence of the helmet didn’t make the injury worse. Perhaps you could address this. (Although If my counsel wouldn’t consider it as a possibility then obviously I’d prefer to have someone that would. Nothing personal.)

    Doug

  7. Richard Burton says:
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    Jeff,

    You’re making the assumption that the helmet had a beneficial effect on Mr Covey’s injuries, but there is no evidence to support that, and much evidence to show that it is highly unlikely.

    Wherever there is a helmet law, or massive rise in helmet wearing due to propaganda campaigns, there is no resulting reduction in risk to cyclists. All long term, reliable and unchallenged on peer review research shows no reduction in risk with helmet wearing, and the biggest ever research project showed a small but significant rise in risk with helmet wearing. No helmet manufacturer makes any kind of claim about their protective effect, quite the opposite in fact, and most of them have a disclaimer.

    Your correspondent Meso appears unaware that the figures he quotes of 85% and 88% have been completely disproved and are no longer even supported by the researchers who produced them.

    Check out cyclehelmets.org for a few facts rather than wishful thinking and common sense. You might be surprised.

  8. Meso says:
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    Richard,

    I am sorry to see that our viewpoint is different, but I think you’re wrong ..

    The fact that I have presented here, is not the only source of data, so that your statement does not stand.

    http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/108/4/1030.full (Pediatrics; Committee on Injury and Poison Prevention)

    or

    http://www.nhtsa.gov/people/injury/pedbimot/bike/BikeHelmetUseLawsWeb/pages/toc.htm

    or

    http://www.nhtsa.gov/DOT/NHTSA/Communication%20&%20Consumer%20Information/Articles/Associated%20Files/810886.pdf (Bicycle helmet laws have proved effective in increasing bicycle helmet use by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)

    or

    In this link…
    http://depts.washington.edu/hiprc/practices/topic/bicycles/helmeteffect.html

    you have several quoted studies. And all of this studies are not specifically for the use of helmets, but the conclusion is the following

    “Summary of bicycle helmet studies

    In all studies reviewed, there are consistent data indicating that wearing an industry-approved bicycle helmet significantly reduces the risk of head injury during a crash or collision. The reduction in risk is somewhat dependent on whether the controls originate from the emergency department or the population at large. However, population-based controls provide the best estimate of helmet effectiveness and allow it greatest generalizability. Overall, helmets decrease the risk of head and brain injury by 70 to 88 percent and facial injury to the upper and mid face by 65 percent.”

    And on a question “Should I Wear a Bike Helmet?”
    Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute say… http://www.bhsi.org/shouldi.htm

    Etc…..

    How I see all the sources that say helmets should be worn are strong.

    Is there any site where the government or any official organization is recommended to not wear helmets???

    And if they believe so strongly in what they promote, why on a website that you specified is noted for the leading people, “Being a patron does not signify agreement with any particular point of view in favor or against cycle helmets.”

    And here you are some public statistics..
    –Statistics from New York City–

    New York issued a statement on their bicycle safety study including these numbers:

    Bicycle lanes and helmets may reduce the risk of death. (!!!)

    -Almost three-quarters of fatal crashes (74%) involved a head injury. (!!!)
    -Nearly all bicyclists who died (97%) were not wearing a helmet. (!!!!!)
    -Helmet use among those bicyclists with serious injuries was low (13%), but it was even lower among bicyclists killed (3%).

    “Only 4 bicyclists who died (3%) were wearing a helmet. All child or teen bicyclists who died were
    not wearing helmets(!!!!)”

    Full report on http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/downloads/pdf/episrv/episrv-bike-report.pdf

    If you follow cycling as a sport, then you know that they introduced the compulsory wearing of helmets, few years ago. The reason is the death of cyclists in the races, due to falls.

    I will repeat here “Is there any site where the government or any official organization is recommended to not wear helmets???”

    And Richard, please do not take this my response as something personal. I personally ride a bicycle, I have a son of 7 years who rides with me. I am very interested that we all come to the right data. If I see that I’m wrong, I will publicly apologize.

    All the best,
    M.

  9. Meso says:
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    Sorry,

    Just to add this…

    “The rationale for promotion of bicycle helmet legislation for children up to 18 years” by The National Center for Children’s Health and Safety, Israel..2007

    In this link http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17969306

    and

    “The effect of bicycle helmet legislation on pediatric injury” by Akron Children’s Hospital, Ohio…2007 (CONCLUSION:The greatest reduction in injury occurred 1 year after legislation, suggesting that promoting bicycle helmet use in the community is effective in reducing injury. The overall rate of bicycle-related injury in the population studied continues to be down 24%, suggesting bicycle helmet legislation for children is an effective adjunct in reducing injury.)

    In this link http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17579327

    Coffman S. from Nevada State University, Henderson, NV, USA say “Bicycle injuries are the most common cause of serious head injury in children, and most of these injuries are preventable(!!!). The protective effect of bicycle helmets is well documented(!!!!!), but many child bicyclists do not wear them. This article summarizes the current state of research on bicycle injuries and helmet use and examines the effectiveness of legislation and injury-prevention strategies. Current studies indicate that children who wear helmets experience fewer head injuries(!!!) and decreased severity of injury.”

    In this link.. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12640947

  10. Doug Rand says:
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    Much of what is passed off as peer reviewed helmet research is actually junk science. More often than not, those putting their names to research are trying to find evidence to confirm their previously held opinions.

    Fundamental to comparison of data is the principle “co-relation does not imply causation”. Unfortunately it is typically ignored when the subject is bicycle helmets. Confounding factors such as behavior, age, involvement of motor vehicles, severity of impact, and exposure among others can affect results. Combine these and author bias and you have a recipe for junk science.

    One prominent Canadian helmet activist whose published work had been heavily criticized for the “cherry picking” of data has had to reverse positions and admit that there is no evidence to link declines in head injuries with helmet laws http://injuryprevention.bmj.com/content/16/Suppl_1/A228.3.abstract

    Discussion at: http://www.cyclehelmets.org/1244.html

  11. Richard Burton says:
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    Meso,

    almost all, if not all, of the studies you quote use the discredited research which produced the 85% and 88% figures. These have never been repeated in any other research, and all real world experience shows that helmets at best make no difference to the safety of cyclists, and at worst reduce it. As I’ve already pointed out, these figures have been completely disproved and are no longer even supported by the researchers who produced them; they were just bad science. A quick way to check whether any research is valid is to see if they quote those figures, or the researchers who produced them. If they do, they can safely be discounted.

    If you’d like to check out cyclehelmets.org you will find scientific, reliable refutations of most if not all, of the papers you quote.

    The whole cycle helmet thing is a scam on the public, with overtly biased researchers finding that their results supported their preconceived ideas, which are then quoted by other biased researchers too lazy to do their own research. As Goebbels said “A lie often repeated becomes the truth”.

    All the whole population, reliable, unchallenged, data shows that cycle helmets do not improve the safety of cyclists. All the short term, small scale research, done by demonstrably biased researchers, using methods frequently proved unreliable, and disproved on peer review data, shows massive benefits. You are free to chose which you believe, but please check out some of the refutations of your quoted research.

    The whole story of cycle helmets is one of bad science, done by biased researchers which is repeated so often that it is accepted as true. Fortunately, enough people now realise that this is just a scheme to make money for the manufacturers, who don’t even have to advertise their products themselves, they get people like you to do it for them. Why do you think the manufacturers are very careful to make no claims for the protective effect of their product? They are happy to leave that to the people who’ve swallowed the bad science hook, line and sinker.