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Thread: helmets, because science

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by dasgeh View Post
    I've seen at least one study that said that riding in traffic without a helmet was more safe, because drivers gave more room to cyclists without helmets.
    I just find it hard to believe that most accidents (where cyclists could benefit from head protection) are caused by cars following *and* seeing cyclists -- yet still passing too close. Was this demonstrated or otherwise asserted by this study?
    Last edited by hozn; 04-30-2015 at 10:35 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hozn View Post
    I just find it hard to believe that most accidents (where cyclists could benefit from head protection) are caused by cars following *and* seeing cyclists. Was this demonstrated or otherwise asserted by this study?
    It could be that the data are of such poor quality, and the sample sizes so tiny, that any conclusions about helmets are specious. In which case, focusing public policy on things which do have strong evidence is probably the best strategy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hozn View Post
    I just find it hard to believe that most accidents (where cyclists could benefit from head protection) are caused by cars following *and* seeing cyclists -- yet still passing too close. Was this demonstrated or otherwise asserted by this study?
    The study was done in the UK by a university of Bath professor I believe? He took data on his commute daily swapping back and forth on wearing a helmet and not wearing one.

    On average, cars passed closer when he was wearing a helmet vs when he wasn't. Theres a lot of other factors in play there though. Perhaps he rides in a different location on the road with and without a helmet, sample size, repeatability, outliers (pretty sure he was hit twice.. both times with a helmet??? going all off memory here) etc.


    The concept is 'oh snap, look at that squishy melon head - i better give him room' vs 'plastic bucket, pass away at whatever speed'.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dplasters View Post
    The study was done in the UK by a university of Bath professor I believe? He took data on his commute daily swapping back and forth on wearing a helmet and not wearing one.

    On average, cars passed closer when he was wearing a helmet vs when he wasn't. Theres a lot of other factors in play there though. Perhaps he rides in a different location on the road with and without a helmet, sample size, repeatability, outliers (pretty sure he was hit twice.. both times with a helmet??? going all off memory here) etc.
    Thanks. Yeah, I've heard of this study a few times, but never read the original. And I could even appreciate how this passing-distance thing could be true, but I don't see any way to get from this assertion to the idea that wearing a helmet is less safe, unless we also know that this is how car-on-cyclists accidents/injuries/fatalities happen. Based on first and second-hand accounts, I don't buy that. (Every story I have heard of car-on-cyclist accidents involved the car not seeing the cyclist, pulling out quickly in front of a cyclist, under-estimating the cyclists speed and cutting them off, or simply hitting cyclist crossing an intersection. None of these scenarios seem improved by not wearing a helmet.) But I could imagine that in some environments it could be true that most accidents happen when cars just crash into cyclists from behind.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hozn View Post
    I just find it hard to believe that most accidents (where cyclists could benefit from head protection) are caused by cars following *and* seeing cyclists -- yet still passing too close. Was this demonstrated or otherwise asserted by this study?
    I honestly don't remember, but I believe it was a better-run study than what dplasters described. My point is more that helmet wearing isn't necessarily a clear-cut issue. Except in the case of mandatory helmet laws - those are clearly bad.

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    That kind of study is pretty much impossible to do scientifically. Pretty tough to measure passing distance, and even tougher to do it without some sort of measuring device that would probably change passing distance.

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    I didn't mean to make the study sound like rubbish. It is an interesting idea.


    For the forums eyes:

    http://www.bhsi.org/walkerstudy.htm
    http://www.bhsi.org/walkerfigs.pdf

    For those who want to spend $42...
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science...01457506001540


    Just saying though..
    The author was hit by a bus and a truck during the experiment, and was wearing a helmet both times.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jrenaut View Post
    That kind of study is pretty much impossible to do scientifically. Pretty tough to measure passing distance, and even tougher to do it without some sort of measuring device that would probably change passing distance.
    Why not just set up a camera?

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    Quote Originally Posted by jrenaut View Post
    That kind of study is pretty much impossible to do scientifically. Pretty tough to measure passing distance, and even tougher to do it without some sort of measuring device that would probably change passing distance.
    Walker used ultrasound. I didn't see a description of the sensor itself, so it's hard to tell if it was visible to drivers or not.

    Here's another paper which disputes the significance of Walker's results. TLDR, but it appears that Olivier and Walter conclude the following: The entire effect observed by Walker occurred for passing distances that are already sufficiently wide (i.e. > 1m). When only passes closer than 1m are considered, there is no significant dependence of passing distance upon helmet-wearing status.

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    wearing a helmet should be your decision. I wouldn't ever take that away from sensibly adults. However, I'm assuming most of you have never smashed a car windshield with one. Try that without a helmet on.... My decision as a sensible adult has always been to wear a helmet. It's too bad for the car windshield I smashed with it, maybe it would have been fine had I left it at home. Not judging people that choose not to. Just pointing out that shit happens when least expect it, including a block away from home in a residential neighborhood.

    As for driving related and helmet related studies, Hogwash. Purely circumstantial, way too many variables. I'll stick to my guns a assume that the added protection just may save my life again.

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