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Calls for compulsory helmets on French ski pistes following death

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
See this recent article in Connexion:
https://www.connexionfrance.com/French-news/Calls-for-compulsory-helmets-on-French-ski-pistes-following-death
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
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What's with the compulsory stuff nowadays? Damn socialists always trying to paternalize everyone...

Mandatary vaccines, mandatory helmets, mandatory hydration with the Police checking if you drink enough water per day...

Stop it already.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Might I recommend Ross Clark's excellent 'How to label your goat'?

Laws have given us some excellent things. Free speech. Justice. Safe food. Safe cars. Safe aviation. Clean rivers (actually that hasn't worked).

What Ross rightly points out is a very important principle: do not pass laws that you are not going to enforce. Unenforced laws bring the law into disrepute - the Lord Chancellor is clear on that even now.
Anarcho-syndicalists would add: only pass laws which you are going to feel the effects of (No10 should pay attention to that one).
Perhaps we also should add: don't pass stupid laws, laws which contradict other laws, nor laws which will cost a stupid amount of money to implement. Or laws which don't root out the essential problem.

Some time after the passing of the Dangerous Dogs Act we calculated that each dog destroyed had cost the State 6 million gbp. The most bite attacks in England are caused by ... labradors.

Most laws do not even go through discussion in the House. They are passed by executive decision. That's not particularly democratic, and the various processes result in the 20-30 Bills and 3,000 statutory instruments which we have every year in England.

One problem of passing too many laws is that some on them are just weird. Others just get terribly tangled. Ross cites the shopping trolley legislation. I know we see trolleys randomly in streams, car parks and front gardens, but they are not a scourge of the urban landscape. But some MP thought they were, and so a Bill was passed that made it illegal to leave a trolley off premises. This meant that a local authority needed to employ someone to receive complaints, collect trolleys and try to find the owning store. They couldn't destroy the trolleys since that was not included in the Act. So they had to store the trolleys for 30 days in case the owner made enquiries as to where their trolley was. Bonkers.

But most people break many laws unintentionally every day. That's bad for us and bad for the Law. There are strict regulations about what you can and can't put into the sewage system. You can't be drunk in a pub. You can't carry a plank of wood down a street. You can't linger after a funeral. You can't jump a queue at a tube station. And so on.

In the case of skiing helmets, the cost to health systems is negligible compared with motoring deaths and injury. And most people wear helmets anyway. It is not needed. By contrast, consumer rights, food standards and equal rights legislation is essential, and we should definitely have that.

Finally, there were laws which would have prevented that crazy and fatal Italian cable car accident (2021) when the emergency brakes had been held open by the relief forks for a number of years. THAT was illegal, shouldn't have happened (since people had relied on trust and exposed themselves unwittingly to risk) and the criminal negligence law was entirely adequate for prosecuting the lift staff and company. But having the law was not enough - it needed to be implemented and enforced. And it wasn't.


Last edited by Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see? on Fri 21-01-22 22:27; edited 1 time in total
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@valais2, one of the best posts I've read on here in a very long time. Chapeau.
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A person skiing without a helmet is not creating any danger for anyone else. Indeed, if you are going to collide with another skier, one without a helmet would pose less risk. Making helmets mandatory would be like a law requiring sailors to wear life-jackets. And shouldn't even be contemplated until cyclists are required to wear helmets and cigarettes are prohibited.
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sugar should also be prohibited. /s
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Quote:
one of the best posts I've read on here in a very long time. Chapeau.
Surely you mean 'Helmet'? wink

Yes, great post Smile
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moosepig wrote:
@valais2, one of the best posts I've read on here in a very long time. Chapeau.


+1
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valais2 wrote:
Might I recommend Ross Clark's excellent 'How to label your goat'?

...


Great post
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Good post @valais2, and really shows that the people involved when making the law simply don't consider how absurd it may come to implement and control the effects.

There's a road junction near me that's been used to illustrate in the press something like this. A 3 lane each side dual carriageway with a bus only exit that crosses a side road entering and exiting the dual carriageway. 36 signs Shocked visible to an approaching driver for control and prohibition of using that bus route(literally virtual forested signpost holding various alert priority) backed up by bollards rising from the surface to close the route to non-bus traffic. Someone crashed into the bollards at night in an accident resulting in serious injuries as the sitelines give the impression of access. You really couldn't make it up, or read the signs on the approach in a 50mph limit with other traffic following you.

The assumption that once it becomes law then problems will cease are wildly inaccurate.
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Excuse me if I don't get too excited about this well-meaning but silly proposal. If you really want something to worry about, c'mon over here where we have people packin' heat without so much as a license or background check!

Last week Seattle said they would stop enforcing the bicycle helmet law here. Inadequate enforcement resources and the fact that most violators were too poor to pay the fine let alone buy a helmet were cited as the reasons.
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Very easy to enforce helmet wearing. The main thing that needs to be policed is dangerous skiing.
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Less grooming, more moguls - please
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
runkmc wrote:
Less grooming, more moguls - please


this
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@valais2, Excellent post.

I find that most people (politicians and party bores) say these things without the slightest idea of what they are demanding or potential unintended consequences.

As someone mentions above, we would save a lot more lives and money by removing added sugar from processed foods than mandating helmets for skiing or cycling.

It would be interesting (if impossible Very Happy ) to see a graphic detailing skiing days / injuries and deaths before and after helmets became fashionable.

We could do the same with Bath v Shower deaths over the same period to see if laws need introduced for washing ones self.............
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@GreenDay, hmmm, I think we might be able to source those data ...
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@under a new name, On the baths as well ?? Toofy Grin
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@GreenDay, that would be interesting!
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Calls for compulsory helmets on French ski pistes following death

It strikes me that that might be rather too late... Puzzled
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@shep, perhaps ... Twisted Evil
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@valais2, what a post, enjoyed that immensely , fine form!
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@valais2, excellent stuff, thanks.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Nevis.... I think that’s right. Almost-universal helmet wearing during in-resort skiing could be enforced easily since all skiers use lifts, and lifts are monitored. Easy job. But then it gets interesting.

Most people wear helmets now. The number of deaths in alpine skiing is extremely low: 0.42 traumatic deaths per million skiing days.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6981978/

It is not clear how many of these would have been prevented by helmet wearing, certainly not all. There’s one important thing to note, relevant to your key ‘dangerous skiing’ point, which is that helmets are a definite aid to mortality prevention, but only when impacts are below a certain level of kinetic energy. So making helmets compulsory will have a significant effect on concussions (which indeed is a good thing) but a negligible effect on mortality.

See:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3989528/

And this article suggests that legislators are not held back by the issue of risk behaviour changes or impingement of peripheral awareness, but the possibility that helmet use can increase the possibility of neck trauma, particularly in children - they are thus leaving it to individuals to choose. We always have chosen to wear the highest quality helmets - POC MIPS - for our Groms and ourselves, and we’re early adopters (embarrassing Boeri dome-heads).

So the issue with this proposition regarding compulsory helmet law is that (i) it IS enforceable; (ii) the benefit regarding mortality is extremely small; (iii) there are other legislative priorities which would save far more lives; eg reducing air pollution, improving diet etc.

I mither about the issue of concussions - helmet wearing reduces the chance of these significantly, and we are now seeing a lot more evidence on the seriousness and long term impact of concussion. But personally I would still leave this to individual choice.

I think you are absolutely right, the key issue is dangerous skiing (I assume that the young girl so terribly killed in Flaine was wearing a helmet as most ESF youth classes require) - and that I think needs much more attention than it currently gets. I have argued for much more active patrolling by pisteurs, who I believe simply need to stop and talk to irresponsible skiers, with a facility for withdrawing passes. I don’t think that law will help (enforcement problem) and I think culture needs to change (education challenge).
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UANN - excellent....my brother researched bath design in the 1970s...

But always glad to look at left-field research: bath deaths in Japan:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5675144/

Higher than the Japanese medical profession previously thought! Quick...ban baths!
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@valais2, I don't think I've had a bath since 2015 ...
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valais2 wrote:
Nevis.... I think that’s right. Almost-universal helmet wearing during in-resort skiing could be enforced easily since all skiers use lifts, and lifts are monitored. Easy job. But then it gets interesting.

Most people wear helmets now. The number of deaths in alpine skiing is extremely low: 0.42 traumatic deaths per million skiing days.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6981978/

It is not clear how many of these would have been prevented by helmet wearing, certainly not all. There’s one important thing to note, relevant to your key ‘dangerous skiing’ point, which is that helmets are a definite aid to mortality prevention, but only when impacts are below a certain level of kinetic energy. So making helmets compulsory will have a significant effect on concussions (which indeed is a good thing) but a negligible effect on mortality.

See:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3989528/

And this article suggests that legislators are not held back by the issue of risk behaviour changes or impingement of peripheral awareness, but the possibility that helmet use can increase the possibility of neck trauma, particularly in children - they are thus leaving it to individuals to choose. We always have chosen to wear the highest quality helmets - POC MIPS - for our Groms and ourselves, and we’re early adopters (embarrassing Boeri dome-heads).

So the issue with this proposition regarding compulsory helmet law is that (i) it IS enforceable; (ii) the benefit regarding mortality is extremely small; (iii) there are other legislative priorities which would save far more lives; eg reducing air pollution, improving diet etc.

I mither about the issue of concussions - helmet wearing reduces the chance of these significantly, and we are now seeing a lot more evidence on the seriousness and long term impact of concussion. But personally I would still leave this to individual choice.

I think you are absolutely right, the key issue is dangerous skiing (I assume that the young girl so terribly killed in Flaine was wearing a helmet as most ESF youth classes require) - and that I think needs much more attention than it currently gets. I have argued for much more active patrolling by pisteurs, who I believe simply need to stop and talk to irresponsible skiers, with a facility for withdrawing passes. I don’t think that law will help (enforcement problem) and I think culture needs to change (education challenge).




The stats on ski helmets are similar to cycling.

If you need a helmet for skiing or cycling generally then you should also need one to walk down the street - Walking has a higher head injury rate than cycling (and I believe it is also higher than skiing)... This is before you even consider a significant chunk (if not most) of skiing and cycling head injuries have impacts SEVERAL orders of magnitude harder than any helmet is designed to cope with...

50% of head injuries occur inside motor vehicles. Universal designs do exist to help with this (generally injuries are from impacts to forehead against windscreen/steering column etc. So you can't make the vehicle that much better, but what amounts to a padded band is a one size fits all solution (unlike helmets that need to be fitted properly (e.g. the guardian did a marketing article for childrens bikes; IIRC 14 children used for the photos, every single one had helmets that clearly didn't fit properly!)) yet if you suggest this when people tell you cyclists should always wear a helmet they declare you insane (despite it being more effective to population as a whole (i.e. preventable head injuries).

Ski Racing - absolutely you should wear a helmet; it most likely won't help if you fall, but if you make a mistake and hit a gate/pole head first it could easily be the difference between carrying on and falling due to the shock of impact (even if that impact is relatively harmless).
Off piste - depends - in trees definately - major risk is hitting low branches. If your Candide doing backflips in powder etc why bother (he didn't in the last video I saw) - any likely impact is going to be so far beyond a helmet as to make it irrelevent...

Mountain biking trails - sure, your risks are falling at low speed while negotating tricky terrain or hitting branches
Down hill mountain bike racing - Forget cycle helmets - full motocross helmets + back protection etc offer enough to be useful, but cycle helmets don't

Road cycle racing - within 2-3 seconds they exceed the maximum speed a cycle helmet is designed for... Mandatory helmets made no measurable difference to Pro road riders head injury rates (seriously!) - they are a perfect control group for cycle helmets not working on the road (went from not using them (extra weight) to all using them (mandatory))...
Tarmac trails, commuting etc - your choice, but your risk across all cycling (and you are on the safest form) is lower than walking; Also your main risk is drivers running into you, well beyond any helmet helping.



I believe some resorts pushed helmets and had a measured effect of going from ~20% usage to ~80% usage with no significant reduction in head injuries; They only reduced as a proportion of other injuries (which all went up despite similar conditions etc). One explaination (though not proven/provable) is risk compensation - people doing even more dangerous things because they think they are protected by the helmet... It isn't implausible that universal use of helmets without SIGNIFICANT enforcement against dangerous behaviour will make things worse not better...
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Genuine question, are they compulsory in any countries for under 18’s?
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Snow&skifan wrote:
Genuine question, are they compulsory in any countries for under 18’s?

Italy I believe
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Snow&skifan wrote:
Genuine question, are they compulsory in any countries for under 18’s?


Yes

Italy has compulsory helmets to teens, not sure what age, but they keep raising it.

Sud Tyrol (italy) it's 18

Some austrian provinces it's 15
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Idris wrote:
Snow&skifan wrote:
Genuine question, are they compulsory in any countries for under 18’s?


Yes

Italy has compulsory helmets to teens, not sure what age, but they keep raising it.

Sud Tyrol (italy) it's 18

Some austrian provinces it's 15


Thanks.

My view is that, say, under 18’s should wear them. Thereafter their choice.

Although a parental rather than legislative analogy, I insisted on my kids using properly fitted bike helmets up to about school year 11. All their riding was on roads.

They then whinged and were 16, so I relented. “Your call now” my rationale.

In summary, protect the young a little as they can’t see risks and feel indestructible.
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I am quite happy wearing a skid lid, I wear it willingly as it also keeps my head and ears warmer + holds earphones for music and have no issue about it. My son however is 28 and is very anti-compulsory wearing of them for adults stating it's just another nannying of the state and you should be able to decide for yourself. He's off to France in March and has no intention of wearing one. Whilst I'd rather he did wear one, I respect it's his choice and don't nag him.
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@Snow&skifan, it's the same in cricket - helmets compulsory up to 18 then up to the individual. Makes sense when the person making the decision is the only one carrying the risk.
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mountainaddict wrote:
Quote:
one of the best posts I've read on here in a very long time. Chapeau.
Surely you mean 'Helmet'? wink

Yes, great post Smile

Sorry... casque snowHead
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I fell headfirst on a steep firm black today doing about 20mph when I fell. As I arced gracefully forward I must admit I thought glad I'm wearing a helmet. The impact was on my helmet just above my goggles. Did it save me an injury who knows? But someone else can be the control for that experiment...
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Valais 2, I agree with all of that, I think the tests in some countries for people drinking and skiing is good news. My son was hit when he was 8 by a drunk snow boarder in France, and sustained concussion and a broken arm. The French authorities did SFA to the perpetrator basically because he was French, (despite me detaining him )
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Nevis - that’s a terrible story - basically Grevious Bodily Harm. At 8. I hope he recovered both from the shock and the stress. That’s exactly where there ARE laws and they should be enforced by police. You must have - and I assume remain - very frustrated by that.

I know the law in CH - you need to exchange details after an accident, in case that serious injury has been caused or emerges after the mayhem of an incident. But even there you can get the same local preferences and closing ranks which you experienced.
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Pieman666 - my history

MTBing in 2000 - BANG....8 hours of amnesia - consultant said ‘the helmet saved your life...’
Skiing 2009 - hit weird ice shelf under crud - BANG - concussion but recovered quickly
Commuting 2019 - BANG - council had applied wrong grit - huge jaw injury but helmet worked brilliantly
Skiing early 2020 BANG - skiing with a virus (probably COVID) and had impaired balance - helmet worked

All of these could have resulted in very serious injury or death, they were big impacts. All were at speeds at which the helmet could do a really good job.

Oh...and a friend of mine...BANG...in the lift queue, hit round the head by someone with skis over their shoulder who had turned to talk to someone - DUH...a really big impact, but jolly good that he had a helmet on. Big dent in the helmet which would have been a big dent in his head.
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There is considerable debate in Women's and Girl's lacrosse about wearing helmets. They generally don't, men and boys do. The (very simplified here) rationale for maintaining the status quo is that the women will get hit in the head more if they started wearing them, like the men do. I don't have the answer, only pointing out that the right way forward isn't always obvious.

Helmets should be worn without a doubt. But they can cause unexpected problems. When I started wearing a helmet I quickly learned that if you're 6'2" your helmet makes you just enough taller to get hit in the head with the "safety bar" when it comes down. If you think its a small thing when a stranger hits you in the helmet with a pipe, guess again. No problem with the safety bar, we know its coming, just let the rest of us 3 or 5 or 7 get settled, takes two seconds.

@nevis1003, I respect your restraint. I'm mad just reading that. Drinking and skiing is incredibly stupid, and the penalties should be brutal.
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valais2, Agree with the rest, couple of great posts.
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valais2 wrote:
Pieman666 - my history

MTBing in 2000 - BANG....8 hours of amnesia - consultant said ‘the helmet saved your life...’
Skiing 2009 - hit weird ice shelf under crud - BANG - concussion but recovered quickly
Commuting 2019 - BANG - council had applied wrong grit - huge jaw injury but helmet worked brilliantly
Skiing early 2020 BANG - skiing with a virus (probably COVID) and had impaired balance - helmet worked


For number 3 - you don't make it clear if you were on a bike? Or just wearing a helmet while walking down a slippery pavement? Very Happy
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