/ NEWS: BMC Helmet Campaign Video

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UKC News - on 21 Jun 2012
BMC Helmet Campaign Video, 4 kbDo you wear a helmet? This year the BMC's helmet campaign aims to educate climbers and help them make their own informed decision about whether to wear a helmet or not. They have now brought out a short video exploring this topic.

"We ask climber Neil Bentley about why he chose to wear a helmet on the first ascent of Equilibrium, the UK's first E10, and find out how a serious head injury affected his life, after an accident on the Marmolada in the Dolomites..."

Read more at http://www.ukclimbing.com/news/item.php?id=67204

EZ on 21 Jun 2012
In reply to UKC News:

How interesting that a range of opinions about when to wear a helmet was included.

Good video.
Will Hunt - on 21 Jun 2012
In reply to UKC News:

Not sure if its just me. The video doesn't seem to be working (seems to be a Vimeo problem?)
Dangerous Dave - on 22 Jun 2012
In reply to UKC News:
The guy from the BMC comes across very poorly and doesn't convince you he knows what he is talkin about.
sheavi07 - on 22 Jun 2012
In reply to Dangerous Dave:

Yes totally agree. The BMC should have spent our money on a professional presenter who gave the impression he knew what he was taking as opposed to their technical officer who does know what he's talking about.
ericinbristol - on 22 Jun 2012
In reply to sheavi07:

miaow! How about BG "Here [puff, pant!] I am about to take my [puff pant!] life in my hangs by [puff, pant!] while being [slyly top-roped] up a truly deadly unstable rock formation that [puff pant!] here at the Roaches known as Maud's [puff pant!] Garden. Bit of it [puff, pant!] could rip apart [puff-pant!] at any moment which is why I [puff pant!] have a helmet [puff pant!] strapped to each arm". etc.
Dangerous Dave - on 22 Jun 2012
In reply to sheavi07: No, he could have prepared what he was going to say in advance and practiced it then he would have come across better.
winhill - on 22 Jun 2012
In reply to Dangerous Dave:
> (In reply to UKC News)
> The guy from the BMC comes across very poorly and doesn't convince you he knows what he is talkin about.

Well, it is outdoors but apart from the rising intonation (this is a hybrid helmet?), which these days you have to accept is not framing a question at all, I can't see why you think he's not convincing?

Just a few fairly simple, basic facts, what do you need convincing about?

It would be interesting to know if a 7 Aldi pushbike helmet made more sense than a lid like the climbers on Stanage use in the film.
Dan Middleton, BMC - on 22 Jun 2012
In reply to Dangerous Dave:

At the end of the day, we shot a great educational film for a pittance, so I'm happy with it, but feedback is welcome as long it's constructive.

The day we filmed, it was very windy, it was pissing it down on and off and was also my first attempt at making a film. It was from a rehearsed script and everyone who viewed the film before we released it thought it was great. You obviously can't please everyone though!

We had to cobble a few takes together because of the weather (and me forgeting my lines!) which explains why it maybe doesn't flow that well. I thought we got some great quotes from the people we randomly met at the crag - thank you to everyone who took the time out to talk to us!

More importantly, what do people think about the issues raised, has it made any of you think about why and when you wear a helmet?

ericinbristol - on 22 Jun 2012
In reply to Dan Middleton, BMC:

Hi Dan. I liked the fact that the film presented multiple perspectives rather than just pushing one.

You might be interested in the results and discussion of a little survey I did on helmets and sport climbing:
http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=498264
StephanEsq on 22 Jun 2012
In reply to UKC News:





"educate climbers and help them make their own informed decision" - really ?



You know, I had a friend who was (re)educated.



He wasn't told was to think, he was "helped" into making the "right" (informed?) decision.



It was East Germany of course.





Dan Middleton, BMC - on 22 Jun 2012
In reply to StephanEsq:

Being compared to the Stasi is the nicest thing anyone has said to me all day. Thanks for that. What I thought was an even handed look at in important issue for climbers (95% or so of climbers we met at Stanage were happy to put across THEIR views on camera by the way) turns out to be the first step in a totalitarian crackdown on personal freedom. Fancy that!
AlH - on 22 Jun 2012
In reply to Dan Middleton, BMC: FWIW I thought it was a good job well done (Herr) Dan. ;-)
StephanEsq on 22 Jun 2012
In reply to Dan Middleton, BMC:


Well...

Don't take it personnally of course, but - "totalitarian" apart - the first step in a crackdown on personal freedom is exactly how I perceive your attempts at "educating" me to make an "informed" decision.

It's supposed to be very helpful, very goody-goody, very liberal, but some people may find the wording absolutely oppressing.

One naturally shouldn't publicly take you on, with the weight of moral authority you carry, but throwing a spanner in the cogs of self-righteousness is too tempting.

Don't lecture people, because that what's it's all about. Respect others' views, even minorities, please. They're adults and don't need lecturing, however justified it may feel.






kevin stephens - on 22 Jun 2012
In reply to StephanEsq:
yeah right on mate! just like the interfering busybody BMC campaign to make sure folk tie on properly, stamping on climbers' freedom man!
Radioactiveman - on 23 Jun 2012
In reply to UKC News:

Its quite interesting the helmet debate, I wear one and always do and until recently I thought people that didn't were ill informed and daft(please read on then kick me )

But I have recently done some training and some of that struck a chord reading this thread

Until I truly look at things from a non helmet wearers point of view I will never understand why they choose not to wear one. For example I see risk of injury as a negative thing that is certain to happen, they may see that as negative also but unlikely/uncertain.

Then factor in that the positive of freedom of vision/cooler/less sweating that they see as positive and completely certain you start to understand why they feel the way they do about helmet wearing. Its not about the things that are positive/negative that may happen its the positive/things things that they think are certain

Just my opinion guys, it might sound like bs but it made me think until recently I was in the ardent you must wear a helmet camp.





Bulls Crack - on 23 Jun 2012
In reply to StephanEsq:


Fortunately for you, since this is not a totalitarian state, you can choose not to watch the video
Dan Middleton, BMC - on 23 Jun 2012
In reply to StephanEsq:

Have you actually watched the video? I obviously have a different understanding of what education means than you do. To me, it means making information freely available to people, and opening a forum up for discussion. People then make their own decisions based on the evidence.There isn't any lecturing in the film, because as a climber I'm more than aware that the sport is fundamentally built around personal decision making and consequences. That's one of the things that makes climbing so special.

As for the motivation behind work such as this, it's got nothing to do with the reasons you suggest. It's very simple - we asked our members what they wanted us to spend their money on, and after Access & Conservation, work like this was at the top of their list.

See you at the crag (I'm the one with the clipboard and loudhailer)
Dave Garnett - on 23 Jun 2012
In reply to Dan Middleton, BMC:
> It's very simple - we asked our members what they wanted us to spend their money on, and after Access & Conservation, work like this was at the top of their list.

Really? When you say "work like this", how specifically this or do you mean 'good practice' generally?

I'm neutral about this (I find the helmets only photo comp slightly more concerning, plus the obvious commercial interest) but I'm genuinely surprised to hear there is a groundswell of concern about the lack of helmet wearing among the BMC membership.
Landy_Dom on 23 Jun 2012
In reply to StephanEsq:
> (In reply to Dan Middleton, BMC)
>
> Respect others' views, even minorities, please.

I've watched the video, and it came across as a balanced opener to discussion on the subject, with viewpoints being presented from both sides. Both viewpoints were respectfully aired.

I am genuinely shocked that anyone could be offended by this. The only material presented in the video that could be seen as pushing people towards the wearing of helmets was the statistical info on accidents. But statistics are what they are - objective data that you can take or leave as you wish.

The fact that the BMC campaigns issues like correct tying in, the wearing of helmets, etc. I see as a GOOD thing - it is trying to reduce the number of accidents and deaths in the sport and therefore make it safer for all participants and also reduce negative publicity, improve access issues, lower insurance premiums etc...

I am reminded of Dale Earnhardt Sr., who after years of campaigning against the HANS head restraint device for racing drivers, died of basilar skull fracture - the very type of injury HANS is designed to prevent. Contrast this to Jackie Stewart, whose tireless campaigning on the subject of driver safety has undoubtedly saved the lives of countless drivers.

For the record, yes I do usually wear a helmet when climbing, but I do ocasionally (rarely) go without when conditions dictate.

Thanks to the BMC for bringing the subject to public debate.
deepsoup - on 23 Jun 2012
In reply to Dave Garnett:
> I'm genuinely surprised to hear there is a groundswell of concern about the lack of helmet wearing among the BMC membership.

Based on the various helmet debates on here, I'm not really.
There does seem to be a certain um.. evangelism about those who always wear a helmet. Whereas those who always/often/sometimes choose not to tend to concern themselves less with what others ought to do.
deepsoup - on 23 Jun 2012
In reply to deepsoup:
> There does seem to be a certain um.. evangelism about those who always wear a helmet.

Hmm.. Though thinking about it a bit more, of course that isn't quite true. There's a certain evangelism about those who choose to weigh in on the 'pro-helmet' side of debates on here. Not really the same thing at all.
Dan Middleton, BMC - on 23 Jun 2012
In reply to Dave Garnett:

Dave - I meant equipment advice and information generally, not helmet wearing specifically. I don't know about you, but the relative proportion of injuries caused by rockfall and climber falls stopped me in my tracks when I first saw it. It has made me reconsider why and when I wear a helmet myself, but I don't wear one all of the time. Sometimes it's nice to just go soloing with boots, beertowel and a chalkbag.

Radioactiveman - your post is heartening to read, I'm glad the film got you thinking.
StephanEsq on 23 Jun 2012
In reply to Bulls Crack:

Yes it's a free state, but be honest: 80% of climbers are found at a climbing wall. Sad, but true (and more often than not they top rope). They're not really likely to fall backwards or be hit by a falling rock there, are they?

Yet teenagers have to wear a helmet: BMC recommendation, insurance, "good policy" etc. It used to be only kids. Sooner or later I fear that everybody will have to wear one, and I don't like that for two further reasons:

- how reasonable is it that bolting is a crime, trad climbing a route that often can't be properly protected is cool, and it's all important to wear a helmet? Makes no sense.

- how come there is so much focus on "security" (again, thanks but no thanks, leave me alone) and not performance? All these oafs who carry all that gear - as if they were mountaineering, not crag climbing - and can't climb 5.11... Moon, Moffat and McClure focus(ed) on perfs, not policy. This gentrification of climbing is annoying.

But in the end I just don't like to be "educated", that assumption that I haven't made an informed decision. The self-righteousness, the greater good despite people's own preferences. Why not respect others's choices ?

Anyway, thanks for the forum space.



In reply to StephanEsq:

> It's supposed to be very helpful, very goody-goody, very liberal, but some people may find the wording absolutely oppressing.

Yeah, people with absolutely no sense of perspective and who go through life trying to find things to be offended by.

<walks off head in hands>
In reply to StephanEsq:
> Sad, but true (and more often than not they top rope). They're not really likely to fall backwards

You should tell that to the mates of the chap who died at the Brum wall doing exactly that.

Many things aren't likely, but when loads of people are doing the activity where the unlikely thing might happen, sooner or later it happens.
StephanEsq on 23 Jun 2012
In reply to TobyA:

And then? Boss everybody around because of the freak accident?

It's a pretext, and taking that pretext to regent people's life is exactly like "educating" them... An affront to their free will.

And to the few "cool" guys around pretending to be relaxed: good job guys. Self satisfaction is hard these days, esp. with Blair gone and cousin Crawley long dead, keep up the good work!

Just stop being dishonnest and admit you can't help but think you're in the right, you're just too cool to force others. Let's educate them or, failing that, rail them. You're cool.

Too bad you can't climb harder than what your predecessors were climbing twenty years ago. You might then be slightly credible.

kevin stephens - on 23 Jun 2012
In reply to StephanEsq:

Big talk from someone with no profile and no other posts apart from on this thread. Hence you have no credibility whatsoever
kevin stephens - on 23 Jun 2012
In reply to kevin stephens:
I've just watched it again, from your comments I can't understand how your saw the same video. The aim of the video was clear at the start: to explain the benefits of modern helmets and which would be best in different circumstances. On a good day I climb harder than I did 20 or even 30 years ago (predecessors???). The reasons why I wear a helmet more often now IS the modern design, specifically back of head protection which is much more effective than with alpine helmets, and that I ended up in hospital with a sport climbing head injury without one last year.

Nothing in the film to say "you must" we all have the freedom to make our own judgements. I can't understand why you are arguing for a right to ignorance in making those judgements.

StephanEsq on 24 Jun 2012
In reply to kevin stephens:

I see your point esp. since you had an accident - let's say that some people don't want to wear a helmet though. Whether cycling or climbing - personal choice. I'd say most people know the risks and decide that the freak event doesn't justify being permanently bothered with that piece of gear.

Let's say that insurance matters. Be it inside at the wall or, in the long term, outside. Insurance companies look at what the BMC "thinks" so that eventually it'll become harder or impossible to go climbing without a helmet, whether you like it or not. It's already started.

That worries me.

Then there are a couple of personal feelings too. First and as I already wrote I don't like being "educated". If you're ok with soft persuasion and "it's for your own good" stuff, fine, but you can understand that others feel mature enough and don't like that, right?

Then the whole "security" argument is unsound: why wear a helmet and yet climb on a cam that may pop out? It's like suggesting filters on cigarettes; ban these or let people do what they want, please.

Conclusion: I don't buy the argument that the BMC, with all its weight and experience, is offering a choice or simply presenting a view. It's its policy, albeit kindly "explained" and not imposed, and I don't like either that policy nor being educated (sorry I keep repeating myself).

PS: you mentioned my lack of profile. Does it matter? I thought a point was a valid point could be discussed on its own merit. But if it matters, and since the perfs of British climbers are to dismal (world cups or FAs), maybe the BMC should drop its Blairite community spirit and remember climbing is a sport for people who choose it, knowing the risks.




kevin stephens - on 24 Jun 2012
In reply to StephanEsq:
> (In reply to kevin stephens)
>
>
> PS: you mentioned my lack of profile. Does it matter?

You can't get away with the last line of your reply to TobyA without posting some sort of profile yourself

JayPee630 - on 24 Jun 2012
In reply to Dan Middleton, BMC:

I think you did well BTW whatever the moaners say, thanks for making it.
JayPee630 - on 24 Jun 2012
In reply to StephanEsq:

You utter tool.
JayPee630 - on 24 Jun 2012
In reply to JayPee630:

Having suffered a near death or worse accident involving a head injury (not climbing) and having always wore a helmet climbing (except indoors, and on one or two sports routes which made me feel very exposed) I think not wearing a helmet, while of course a decision that people are free to make, is a little foolish.

And those that argue against wearing one just sound very much like those people that railed against seat belts as nanny state interfering, time wasting, annoying, uncomfortable, etc. etc..

For those of you that decry wearing helmets I suggest you talk to someone whose life has been altered by a head injury, climbing or not. It's not expected, and we all have little bit of denial that it could ever happen to us, but it does - quicker, scarier, and often not your fault. And the aftermath can be terrifying, life destroying, and tragic. Think about being potentially being brain damaged and unable to move below your neck, and being fed pureed vegetables for the rest of your life versus just wearing a helmet. It just seems crazy not to to me.

I think educating people with videos like this (although actually I think it could have been a little more forceful in it's advocation of the risks of not wearing a helmet) is exactly what the BMC should be doing, so thanks Dan and the rest of you.
Dan Middleton, BMC - on 24 Jun 2012
In reply to JayPee630:

One of the things I found when making the video, is that in general people who have had a bad accident or head injury tend to be a bit more pro-helmet. No real suprise there, I guess.

Please don't lay into Stephan's point of view though. I don't agree with the way he originally framed it - personal attacks aren't nice, but his underlying concerns are very valid. I don't think they mean we shouldn't have a debate though.

The only policy the BMC has about helmets is that we don't have one. That isn't our job, or our place. We aren't the crag police, thank God (although my friends do sometimes call me The Scaremonger) but do I think it's a good idea to raise awareness and get people thinking, rather than blindly following their peers or heroes? Yes, absolutely.

Of course insurers and other outside organisations look at what we say, which is why we are very careful to remind them about the importance of personal choice, but also that wearing a helmet will often not make any difference. Climbers who wear helmets are killed and injured too.

My last word on this subject goes back to something Stephan said - that climbers understand the risks. Not necessarily. I've been climbing for 25 years, and based wearing a helmet on whether there was loose rock or not. It turns out that maybe I need to account for likelyhood of falling off too. All those years my personal risk assessment has been skewed by lack of knowledge. Is it wrong to share that insight, so that others can make their own assessment?
JayPee630 - on 24 Jun 2012
In reply to Dan Middleton, BMC:

Good point about the understanding of risk, I think many climbers *think* they understand the risk, but actually have no real comprehension of what a head injury might entail. I think this is especially true amongst the younger climbers were a totally normal feeling of immortality and denial prevails.

I think whether people wear a helmet or not actually comes down less to understanding the risks, and more to whether the people they started to climb with did and whether their peer group now do. I was very lucky to start climbing with my partners parents (both MIC/instructors since the 1960s) and wearing a helmet amongst them was the norm, so that's what I did, and then later it just seemed very foolish to stop.

As for laying into Stephan, anyone likening you and/the BMC to the Stasi deserves everything they get ridicule and abuse wise!

Thanks again for making the video.
AlH - on 24 Jun 2012
In reply to Dan Middleton, BMC:
>
> My last word on this subject goes back to something Stephan said - that climbers understand the risks. Not necessarily. I've been climbing for 25 years, and based wearing a helmet on whether there was loose rock or not. It turns out that maybe I need to account for likelyhood of falling off too. All those years my personal risk assessment has been skewed by lack of knowledge. Is it wrong to share that insight, so that others can make their own assessment?

Personally I'm delighted to have been educated by this last statement in terms of my awareness of the risks.
In reply to StephanEsq:
> First and as I already wrote I don't like being "educated".

We see that.

Seriously, I'm not sure how you can get so upset over this. No one is forcing you to wear helmet. Some people think the benefits or wearing one outweigh the cost, others disagree. Bringing Blair into the discussion is odd to say the least.
Offwidth - on 07 Jul 2012
In reply to TobyA:

It's not odd at all, in fact its all too common and due to fixed ignorant views defended aggresively on both extreme ends of the argument. Most of us try to risk assess when we do and dont wear helmets and as such I think this excellent short video is a very welcome educational tool. Someone mentioned kids being foced to wear lids.. there is no such compulsion unless they are in a commercial taught group where the company rules apply.

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