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Oh Hell . . . BBC Reports Danger of Wearing a Bicycle Helmet !

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Oh Hell . . . BBC Reports Danger of Wearing a Bicycle Helmet !

Old 10-30-06, 01:23 PM
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Oh Hell . . . BBC Reports Danger of Wearing a Bicycle Helmet !

UK study shows that drivers will give you less room if you wear a helmet. Wear a wig with long braids and they'll give you more space.

A recent study in the UK concluded that bicyclists who wear helmets are actually MORE likely to be hit than helmet-less riders. Research by a "traffic psychologist" using a distance-sensing ultrasound rig found that drivers tend to crowd helmeted riders--around three inches closer on average. Wearing a long-haired wig caused drivers to grant an additional five inches or more of road space.

"This study suggests wearing a helmet might make a collision more likely" -- Dr Ian Walker

I've got to think about this . . .


- - - - - - - - - -

BBC NEWS
Wearing helmets 'more dangerous'
Cyclists who wear protective helmets are more likely to be knocked down by passing vehicles, new research from Bath University suggests.

The study found drivers tend to pass closer when overtaking cyclists wearing helmets than those who are bare-headed.

Dr Ian Walker was struck by a bus and a lorry during the experiment. He was wearing a helmet both times.

But the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents said tests have shown helmets protect against injuries.

To carry out the research, Dr Walker used a bike fitted with a computer and an ultrasonic distance sensor to find drivers were twice as likely to get close to the bicycle, at an average of 8.5cm, when he wore a helmet.

The experiment, which recorded 2,500 overtaking motorists in Salisbury and Bristol, was funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

Dr Walker, a traffic psychologist from the University's Department of Psychology, said: "This study shows that when drivers overtake a cyclist, the margin for error they leave is affected by the cyclist's appearance.

This study suggests wearing a helmet might make a collision more likely
Dr Ian Walker

"By leaving the cyclist less room, drivers reduce the safety margin that cyclists need to deal with obstacles in the road, such as drain covers and potholes, as well as the margin for error in their own judgements.

"We know helmets are useful in low-speed falls, and so definitely good for children, but whether they offer any real protection to somebody struck by a car is very controversial.

"Either way, this study suggests wearing a helmet might make a collision more likely in the first place," he added.

Dr Walker thinks the reason drivers give less room to cyclists wearing helmets is because they see them as "Lycra-clad street warriors" and believe they are more predictable than those without.

He suggests different types of road users need to understand each other.

"Most adult cyclists know what it is like to drive a car, but relatively few motorists ride bicycles in traffic, and so don't know the issues cyclists face.

"There should definitely be more information on the needs of other road users when people learn to drive and practical experience would be even better."

Wig wearing

To test another theory, Dr Walker donned a long wig to see whether there was any difference in passing distance when drivers thought they were overtaking what appeared to be a female cyclist.

While wearing the wig, drivers gave him an average of 14cm more space when passing.

In future research, Dr Walker hopes to discover whether this was because female riders are seen as less predictable than male riders or because women are not seen riding bicycles as often as men on the UK's roads.

However, a spokesman for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents insisted: "We wouldn't recommend that people stop wearing helmets because of this research. Helmets have been shown to reduce the likelihood of head and brain injuries in a crash.

"[The research] highlights a gain in vulnerability of cyclists on our roads and drivers of all types need to take more care when around them."

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/h...et/5334208.stm

Published: 2006/09/11 13:26:45 GMT

© BBC MMVI
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Old 10-30-06, 01:34 PM
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Old news that has already had several threads.
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Old 10-30-06, 01:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Keith99
Old news that has already had several threads.
I missed it. Pretty interesting to see, e.g., ". . . this study suggests wearing a helmet might make a collision more likely in the first place," he added. Dr Walker thinks the reason drivers give less room to cyclists wearing helmets is because they see them as "Lycra-clad street warriors" and believe they are more predictable than those without.”
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Old 10-30-06, 02:48 PM
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Ok, so now all I need is a helmet with long braids covering it, and I'm good to go. (rasta-helmet)

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Old 10-30-06, 04:54 PM
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Ride naked and wear one of these. Growl a lot.
http://www.sjfdistributor.com/mm5/me...egory_Code=Sch
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Old 10-30-06, 05:28 PM
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Originally Posted by CommuterRun
Ride naked and wear one of these. Growl a lot.
http://www.sjfdistributor.com/mm5/me...egory_Code=Sch
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Old 11-02-06, 01:10 PM
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14 cm more clearance with a wig?

Big deal.

I'm wearing my helmet.
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