Quick everybody burn your helmets

turns out helmets are dangerous!!!

more studenty types, making stupid claims based on dumb research…

sorry… i didn’t sleep well last night and this article anoyed me

Haha lol!
Did not reed it all but can understand, realy stupid i think :stuck_out_tongue:

i am giving this guy the thumbs up.
He goes out and were’s a bicycle helmet to see if people are more likely to hit him.
Then just to make sure it wasnt just having something on his noggin he dons a wig and rides of down the street. wow they gave him an extra 14 cm on average for wearing a wig.
but are wigs not meant to look like hair? thus would it maybe not possible for the driver to notice whether he was wearing a wig or not?
(note i skimmed not read the article)

That idea has been around ever since people started wearing cycling helmets. People say that drivers see the cyclist as “protected” so they don’t need to be so careful when overtaking.

But cycling helmets aren’t really intended to protect against being hit by a vehicle - if a car hits you hard you’re screwed whether you’re wearing a helmet or not. The type of accident cycling helmets are good for is, for example, slipping on oil/ice/leaves and falling sideways, hitting your head on the road. I was very glad of that last winter when I hit some ice on the bike, but I don’t expect it to save me if a car hits me at high speed.

I used to be very anti-helmets (at least for road riding) but since I got into the habit of wearing one I’ve had at least two accidents that would have been worse (but probably not fatal) had I not been helmetted.

Cue Ian Smith…

Why did it annoy you? Do you think it doesn’t make sense? It seems fair enough to me that drivers might ‘risk compensate’ differently depending on a cyclists appearance, this guy has found a way to measure it, and found that his evidence supports this idea.

The wig thing is a bit bizarre though, I don’t really understand why he didn’t just repeat the experiment with a female cyclist.

Noooo! The anti-helmet-arguer of doom!

He got knocked off twice during the experiment. It might not have been very easy to get volunteers :slight_smile:

Well, I’d not be here today if I hadn’t been wearing a cycle helmet as I went over the bonnet of a car that hit me coming out of a side road. I somersaulted and landed on my wrist, head and shoulder in succession. The main conclusion of the exercise is NOT that helmets make it more dangerous for cyclists, but that car drivers become more dangerous to cyclists if they see a cycle helmet. It’s more a problem of driver education and not cyclist protection. A long time ago I read something that a cyclist (Eddy Merkx, I think) said to car drivers - “Give cyclists room to fall off in.”

Jerry Attrick (uni newbie)

Re: quick everybody burn your helmets…

> Why did it annoy you? Do you think it doesn’t make sense? It seems fair
> enough to me that drivers might ‘risk compensate’ differently depending
> on a cyclists appearance, this guy has found a way to measure it, and
> found that his evidence supports this idea.

annoyed me because i studied statistics for 2 years at a levels and
part of
my job is analysising large amounts of data… and you can use the
to backup your therory… Lies, Damb Lies, and Statistics as the old
goes! And any research and that could influence people to take to the
on a bike or uni with out a helmet seems rather daft and irresponsible.
is this fella doing this for the good of cyclistist and road safty or
trying to get
papers published???

> The wig thing is a bit bizarre though, I don’t really understand why he
> didn’t just repeat the experiment with a female cyclist.

he probably wore womans underwear too… he looks the type!!!
ok that was just an-justified personal attack the fella, but i was in
of making a reasonable well thought out post for a second!!!

ride naked…

We should all ride naked. Then we would be invulnerable.


I agree that statistics can be used to prove anything, but you’ve put him in a catch-22 situation. He cant publish his findings, because it’s irresponsible to encourage people to engage in dangerous activity, but if he cant publish his paper than he can never prove that this activity is in fact safer than the alternative, if that turns out to be the case. I understand there is other evidence to support the fact that wearing helmets might not be such a good idea as it first seems, so maybe its discussion needs to be allowed in the interests of public safety, perhaps stopping such exchanging of ideas would be considered more irresponsible.

Not if it hits you head on, maybe. But I find the “possible conclusion” of this study to be laughable, because whether or not drivers will “crowd” a cyclist more if the cyclist is wearing a helmet, the type of fall that you’ll likely take if you’re hit by a passing motorist is exactly the type of fall that you described helmets being good for.

If you’re travelling at 15mph on your bicycle, and an oncoming car travelling at 40mph hits you, you’re right: your helmet will likely not help much with that 55mph impact (though I’d still argue that whatever good it might do is worth the bother of wearing it).

But if you’re travelling at 15mph, and a passing car travelling at 40mph hits you, two things are different: the impact is now at 25mph (not taking into account the angle of impact), not 55mph, since you’re travelling in the same direction, and you’re being struck by a glancing blow, not a dead-stop impact. So you’ll likely be knocked a bit sideways, and if you go down you’ll be falling sideways and will hit your head on the ground, not the vehicle.

The notion that since you’re x% more likely to be hit by a passing car if you’re wearing a helmet, you shouldn’t wear a helmet seems ridiculous to me: I may be slightly more at risk of being hit, but I’ll be more protected if I am hit.

Not to mention the other possibility: if a passing motorist is closer, I’m more likely to get bonked by his side-view mirror, and I’d much rather that bonk my helmet than my head!


I don’t know alot about statistics but it seems to me that if you can’t prove what you want to using one test, then you just use another.

However, the main point I want to make is that he seems to be a bit careless getting knocked off twice in one study. I rode a bicycle on the road for years and I have never been hit by a car. Neither do I wear a wig.


Yeah…what he (RichVoice) said… :thinking: Wear a cap over your helmet! A HUUUUUGE cap…I wonder if that would work? I think they’d be a lot more careful with a unicyclist* (with the unicyclist, the car in front would be pretty likely to get hit because the driver is staring at the unicycle and not the road*) because they’re ALWAYS reminding you of the possibility you’d fall, no matter how good you are, specially if you’re younger. A younger, advanced rider is more likely to be reminded he/she will fall than an older one*, assuming they’re thinking a younger rider has less experience and practice and the older one has more.

*None of this are “the facts” or anything, no research has been made that I know of, but judging by everyone’s posting and stuff on the other forums, and my own experience, and what I think adults think, it could be the case.

** I never typed so scientifically before!

***You can tell this isn’t official because it’s typed by a puertorrican(REAL research proves most high school teachers in Purto Rico would have stayed in ninth grade. These teachers need teachers of their own) 11-year-old (uh…I’m not a mind reader, and I can’t even legally call shotgun until November(1) let alone drive…)…(parenthesis, asterics, and the three dots are my favorite!)

That would be parentheses, asterisks, and ellipses. :slight_smile:

You type awfully well for an 11-year-old! Keep up the good work!


Only if you take it for granted that wearing a helmet automatically makes a cyclist safer. Helmets aren’t without disadvantages, such as the possibility of increased risk compensation on the part of the cyclist, and possible increased likehood of neck injuries.

Like JerryAttrick said, this research doesn’t say that wearing a helmet is more dangerous than not wearing one overall, but that drivers might pass closer to a helmet-wearing cyclist. Just another factor for cyclists to consider when choosing to wear a helmet or not, and also for drivers to consider when they pass cyclists.

I wasn’t annoyed by the article as it mostly focused on just the information in the guy’s study, and did not try to draw conclusions outside of that. Except for this part:

“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.

It doesn’t quite say to not wear a helmet, but those were interesting numbers. Only 2500 overtaking vehicles sounds like a relatively small amount for the whole test, and this information may apply more to England and less to anywhere else.

The key finding in the article, and I think they make it fairly clear, is that motorists need better education on how to drive. This has always been true.

If wearing a helmet (on a bike, on the side of an assumed-to-be-narrow road) makes me more likely to be hit by cars, my conclusion will be to stay off those sorts of roads as much as possible. Me and my helmet will try to ride only where there’s more room!

oh give me a break! no driver is going to bother to think, “oh ok, this guys wearing a helmet, i can pass closer.” thats just pathetic.

here’s more detail that the BBC article:

Here is the full press release from the Cyclist’s Touring Club for those wanting more information:

New research suggests helmets may be bad for cyclists’ safety

Wearing a cycle helmet may increase your risk of a collision, because drivers leave less of a gap when overtaking cyclists with helmets than those without, according to new research unveiled yesterday.

Dr Ian Walker, a researcher in traffic psychology at the University of Bath, carried out experiments to measure how much space vehicles left when overtaking him. He found that, on average, drivers passed 8.5 cm (3 1/3 inches) closer when he was wearing a helmet than when he rode bare-headed. His findings are to be published in Accident Analysis and Prevention magazine. He also found that drivers gave him a wider berth when he wore a wig to look like a woman cyclist, and that van drivers overtook more closely than car drivers.

The research comes in the wake of a number of recent research papers, four of them published in peer-reviewed medical journals within the last year, suggesting that increases in helmet-wearing are not related to any detectable improvements in cycle safety:

· A paper in the British Medical Journal by Dorothy Robinson (a statistician at the University of New England, New South Wales in Australia) found that helmet laws in Australia, New Zealand and Canada had simply reduced cycle use, thereby undermining its health and other benefits, without improving safety for those who continued cycling.

· Two papers by Paul Hewson (one in Injury Prevention magazine looking at all on-road cycling in Britain, the other in Accident Analysis and Prevention looking specifically at child cyclists) found no link between helmet-wearing rates and safety for on-road cyclists.

· Another paper, again in Accident Analysis and Prevention, found no evidence of a beneficial effect from helmet laws in San Diego.

· A report on children’s cycling from the National Children’s Bureau includes a very useful appendix surveying the literature on helmets. It states: “Those of us who cycle should be under no illusion that helmets offer reliable protection in crash situations where our lives may be in danger. Neither should we believe that widespread adoption of helmet wearing would see many fewer cyclists killed or permanently disabled. The evidence so far suggests otherwise.”

· A recent report to the European Conference of Transport Ministers (ECMT) said: “From the point of view of restrictiveness, even the official promotion of helmets may have negative consequences for bicycle use, and that to prevent helmets having a negative effect on the use of bicycles, the best approach is to leave the promotion of helmet wear to manufacturers and shopkeepers.”

Commenting on the latest findings, Roger Geffen, Campaigns and Policy Manager at CTC, the national cyclists’ organisation, said:
“It has long been clear that the main effect of efforts to make cyclists wear helmets is to put people off cycling altogether, without actually improving the safety of those who continue cycling undeterred. Cycle helmets are only designed to withstand impacts equivalent to falling under gravity from a stationary riding position, not collisions with moving traffic. So even in the event of a head impact, their effectiveness is limited at best. If they also increase the risk of having a head impact in the first place, as this research suggests, it is by no means implausible that the overall effect may be detrimental to cyclists’ safety.”

Aside from the possibility that drivers may subconsciously take less care around helmeted cyclists, there are a number of other possible reasons why helmets might increase cyclists’ chances of suffering a head impact:

· Cyclists themselves (as well as drivers) may act less cautiously when wearing a helmet, due to misplaced faith in its protective value. Teenagers in particular are known to take greater risks when using helmets.

· The head is effectively enlarged by wearing a helmet. This may mean that incidents which would have been mere glancing blows or even complete “near-misses” without a helmet, could instead result in very serious neck injuries or rotational impacts on the brain (i.e. the brain spins slightly within the skull). These are the type of impacts most likely to lead to brain injury, helmets do not protect against them and may actually increase their likelihood.

· The extra weight of a helmet (particularly on the heads of very small children) may make it harder for cyclists to control what happens once they are falling.

· A helmet may reduce the instinctive will to ensure that, when falling, the first thing to hit the ground is something other than the head (e.g. a hand, arm or shoulder).

· The extra head inside a helmet may reduce concentration.

· There may be a worsening of cycle safety as a side-effect of the reduction in cycle use due to pressure to wear helmets. There is good evidence that cyclists gain from “safety in numbers”, i.e. cycling is safer the more people there are doing it. Reducing cyclists’ numbers may itself increase the risks for those who continue cycling.

None of this evidence necessarily proves that helmets are of no value. In one of his two articles cited above, researcher Paul Hewson points out that they may be that there might be some benefits for particular groups and/or for particular types of cycling which are not detectable from the overall statistics adding that his own data cover on-road cycling only. However, he also argues that his findings clearly show the promotion of helmets should no longer be central to what road safety professionals do about cycle safety, given the lack of detectable benefits from helmets for on-road cyclists.

Roger Geffen added:
“Whilst it would be premature to conclude that helmets are of no value whatsoever, it is increasingly clear that road safety professionals can no longer assume that helmets are an effective way to improve cycle safety. There is a growing body of evidence which suggests otherwise, and that their main effect is to put people off cycling in the first place. This is counterproductive for their health and overall life expectancy, as well as for tackling such problems as congestion, air pollution and climate change.
“We should therefore focus instead on measures which encourage more as well as safer cycling. These include lower speed limits, cycle-friendly street design, better traffic law enforcement and the provision of quality cycle training to the newly adopted National Standard.”

So what’s your take on why they pass closer? I don’t doubt the data in the study.

scientific anomalies occur frequently, and they are unavoidable. i find it hard to believe that a thought process that complex goes on subconciously without the driver knowing it. 14 cm sounds too small to be a true result. maybe some people think like that, but most people dont.

wow this thread is popular. must be the provocative title. i had no idea people held such deep feelings about their helmets!