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MCNews bicycle helmet study


ncsonderman

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Anyone read the article in this months MC news? If not, here goes.

 

A staff member rode a bicycle for a number of days in a number of different traffic situations and different times of day. He was fitted with a proximity sensor to gauge the distance that drivers gave him when passing.

 

The first test involved the man wearing a long haired wig and no helmet. The second test involved him wearing proper safety gear. Both tests had thousands of vehicles pass him and all of the data was recorded.

 

I was surprised to read that when wearing the safety gear, the traffic was 5' closer on average than when he was dressed as a woman riding the bike. In fact, he was clipped by two trucks when dressed in ATG. Vehicles averaged 3.3' clearance.

 

Another surprise was that the morning commute showed drivers much more apt to pass with minimal clearance.

 

Anyone else surprised?

 

I don't know if this means that a vehicle will give less room for a rider in full leathers vs. tshirt and shorts. lurker.gif

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I don't know if this means that a vehicle will give less room for a rider in full leathers vs. tshirt and shorts. lurker.gif
With a little extrapolation from the article you posted, I would say you are correct, as long as the T-shirt is accompanied with "D" cups. tongue.gif
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A more complete article about the study.

 

My thought is that the study was biased. The author already had a strong opinion opposing wearing bicycle helmets when he undertook the study. He then measured the distance between himself and cars - well hey, that distance has something to do with where he points his bike, not just where the cage drivers point their cars. Since he was already opinionated, there's no reason to believe him.

 

Another indication that it isn't a good study is that the guy published it in his own un-refereed web journal, not in a reputable scholarly journal as would normally be expected for a professor doing research.

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Good stuff…. This is the first evaluation of the bicycle safety factors that I’ve seen. I spent sometime reading the Texas study and was surprise at some of their findings. Significant factors that affected vehicle proximity to the rider included bike lane width, adjacent space is lane with opposing traffic, and adjacent space is two-way left-turn lane. It makes sense at a gut level and now I have stats to support my biased gut.

 

Something else I was surprised by was this conclusion of the accident statistics:

The cyclist was solely at fault in 49.8 percent of all accidents and at least partially

responsible in 14.1 percent of all accidents. Motorists were solely at fault in only 27.2

percent of all accidents.

 

The accident stats do not line up with my casual observations, but I rarely ride with inexperience cyclists.

 

 

I would have added at least one hypothesis test—there is no difference in driver attitude toward cyclists and vehicle proximity to the cyclist. My guess is that this test would fail. Measuring attitude would be difficult and controlling it nearly impossible, however my real world experience points to attitude as a significant factor in how close a driver is willing to get to me on an open road without any opposing traffic.

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"The accident stats do not line up with my casual observations, but I rarely ride with inexperience cyclists."

 

Only inexperienced cyclists crash?

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Only inexperienced cyclists crash?

 

No, that is not what I meant. I was surprised by the data, but my observations are from within a group of very experienced cyclists, with an extremely low incident rate for close calls, accidents, brain farts, and so on. I just assumed accidents attributed to something the cyclist did were not as high as the stats revealed. I learned something.

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Anyone else surprised?

 

I ride a recumbent, when I'm not under power, and the response of people is quite different. I usually get a pretty wide berth. Of course it could be the yellow back bag that really looks like it should have POLICE on it. grin.gif

 

What does surprise me is the number of people who WILL NOT cross over the center line to give cyclists a wider berth, even when there is no other traffic around! Its like the line is some kind of barrier, weird. dopeslap.gif

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What does surprise me is the number of people who WILL NOT cross over the center line to give cyclists a wider berth, even when there is no other traffic around! Its like the line is some kind of barrier, weird. dopeslap.gif
I have had the same experience when running along the side of roads. Often drivers will not give me any extra room even when the road is empty. I think there are probably a number of different reasons. Some are probably just inattentive and don't even notice someone near their path; some so law abiding they are afraid to cross the center divider whether there is anyone coming the other way or not; and some I suspect are agressive and think I shouldn't be there so they aren't going to give me any space.
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I hit the back tire of my bicycle with a mallet, causing the rim to bend to the left. This in turn causes me to ride with a significant wobble, which I have found increases the average passing distance of vehicles by 28.3 inches, even when wearing my helmet! tongue.gif

 

I forwarded my findings to Dr. Walker, however, so far he has declined to participate in a follow-up study on my findings... eek.gif

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