Thursday, September 14, 2006

Danger of wearing a helmet

British research:
CYCLISTS who wear helmets are more likely to be knocked off their bicycles than those who do not, according to research.

Motorists give helmeted cyclists less leeway than bare-headed riders because they assume that they are more proficient. They give a wider berth to those they think do not look like "proper" cyclists, including women, than to kitted-out "lycra-clad warriors". ...

During his research he measured the exact distance of passing traffic using a computer and sensor fitted to his bicycle.Half the time Dr Walker, of the University of Bath, was bare-headed. For the other half he wore a helmet and has the bruises to prove it.

He even wore a wig on some of his trips to see if drivers gave him more room if they thought he was a woman. They did.

He was unsure whether the protection of a helmet justified the higher risk of having a collision.
This explains how an obvious safety measure can actually increase danger. Motorcycle helmets have additional safety risks, such as decreasing visibility for the rider.

It also may help explain why motorists are often so eager for laws requiring bikers to wear helmets. The helmets give the motorists excuses to ignore the safety of the biker.

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