To Helmet or Not To Helmet; This is the Question


The journal Accident Analysis & Prevention has accepted for publication some research that suggests wearing a helmet, while cycling, increases the risk of being hit by a passing car. Author of the report, Dr Ian Walker, a traffic psychologist at the UK's University of Bath, fitted sensors to his bike and rode with and without a helmet for a couple of months, to the point he had been passed by 2,500 vehicles. He concluded that when wearing a helmet cars got 8.5 cm (3.35") closer to him than without one. "The idea that helmeted cyclists are more experienced and less likely to do something unexpected would explain why drivers leave less space when passing." He goes on to say, "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. When people try cycling, they nearly always say it changes the way they treat other road users when they get back in their cars." We first spied this news in the New York Times, which was interesting because that City, in their own study of a decade of cycling, discovered that of recorded bike fatalities, 97% were not wearing a helmet. As was the case of Dr. Carl Nacht, (image above) who died earlier this year, after being hit by a police vehicle, whilst in a bike lane. We've covered this issue, bereft as it is of any definitive answer, many times before. Just two examples appearing here and here.

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