Feeling secure?

Dr Ian Walker, a traffic psychologist from the University of Bath, has determined that drivers pass closer to cyclists who are wearing helmets than those who do not.

Apparently, drivers have the impression that cyclists wearing a helmet are more experienced whereas those who do not are more unpredictable. Drivers also give more distance to female cyclists.

You can read the press release here.

Image nabbed from here.

Comments

ammoontie said…
Hi Richard,
Just dropping by to say hello to you. Very interesting blog that you have here..I'll visit again soon...
have a nice day.
tin-tin said…
and i thought it was because those wearing helmets wouldn't get hurt that much. just kidding ;p
Barbara said…
You are the second person to point this out to me, after my discourse on wearing bicycle helmets a few weeks back. I still contend that the statistics would definitely come out on the side of safety with a helmet if a true scientific study was done. I'm standing by my helmet!
freckled-one said…
Is that cause women are unpredictable too? *grin*
Lunafish said…
I would not want to be the bicycle test dummy without a helmet.
Richard said…
ammoontie: thank you for dropping by and commenting.

tin-tin: the helmet protects the head from low speed impacts with the ground, however, according to the research, they make you more vulnerable to being hit by cars because of a changed perception in the driver's mind about your competence.

barbara: when I heard it on As It Happens I thought of your earlier post. Ian Walker did not study the effectiveness of helmets in preventing injury, he studied whether cars came closer to helmeted drivers or not. They do. In fact he was hit twice by a car while wearing a helmet and not at all when riding bare headed.

freckled-one: I am not sure why it is. Perhaps it is because drivers assess female cyclists as being more unpredictable.

lunafish: that is why the researcher was the guinea pig himself.
I'm with Barbara. Why tempt the fates? It's not that inconvenient just to clip one on and you get used to it. Plus they make you look and feel like a REAL athlete!
Richard said…
MOI: from the research, it could be argued that you are tempting fate each time you don the helmet.

In general, I think any reasonable precaution is sensible.

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