Monday, September 25, 2006

Lycra-Clad Road Warriors

Apparently, wearing a helmet while cycling is actually more dangerous than not wearing one -- cars see a helmet, assume you're a "road warrior" and pass close enough to shave a few years off your life.

Using data from 2500 encounters with cars while cycling in England, Dr. Walker has determined that drivers cut it awfully close in some cases. Based on whether you are a woman or a man, and whether you are wearing a helmet or not, drivers either give you a wide berth, or cut in close -- an average of 3 1/2" from a helmeted male rider!

Now, Dr. Walker doesn't really suggest that cyclists should not wear helmets, but he does point out that wearing one actually increases your changes of getting hit by a car, in which case a helmet is of limited use anyways.

I do wonder if the same results would be found here in the US, where we have wider roads and in many places have wide shoulders to ride on. The UK seems to have much narrower roads with less room for cyclists in general.

No comments: