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PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2006 08:09 
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Daily Telegraph

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Wearing a helmet puts you at greater risk, cyclists warned
By Catriona Davies
(Filed: 12/09/2006)

Cyclists who wear helmets are more likely to be hit by vehicles than those without, says new research.

It found that drivers leave less room when overtaking cyclists in helmets because they perceive them to be more experienced.

Dr Ian Walker, a traffic psychologist at Bath University, used a bicycle fitted with an ultrasonic distance sensor and video camera to record data from 2,300 overtaking motorists.

The research, which will be published in the journal Accident Analysis & Prevention, will further divide doctors, road safety campaigners and cycling groups who disagree over whether cycling helmets should be made compulsory.

The British Medical Association policy is that helmets should be compulsory, but CTC, the national cyclists' organisation, believes that such a law would deter people from cycling.

Dr Walker, who carried out the research in Bristol and Salisbury, found motorists passed, on average, more than three inches closer when he was wearing a helmet than otherwise. He was hit twice, once by a lorry and once by a bus, both times while wearing a helmet.

Dr Walker said: "This study shows that when drivers overtake a cyclist, the margin for error they leave is affected by the cyclist's appearance. By leaving the cyclist less room, drivers reduce the safety margin that cyclists need to deal with obstacles in the road, such as drain covers and potholes, as well as the margin for error in their own judgments.

"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."

Although the research did not specifically study the likelihood of a collision, Dr Walker said it was clear that passing closer made an accident more likely. He suggested drivers give less room to cyclists wearing helmets because they are perceived as being more serious and experienced.

"We know from research that many drivers see cyclists as a separate subculture, to which they don't belong," said Dr Walker. "As a result they hold stereotyped ideas about cyclists, often judging all riders by the yardstick of the Lycra-clad street-warrior.

This may lead drivers to believe cyclists with helmets are more serious, experienced and predictable than those without."

Dr Walker wore a woman's wig for part of the study, and found that drivers gave more space to cyclists they thought were women. He said drivers of lorries and buses passed closer than those of cars. The average car passed just over four feet away from the bicycle, whereas the average lorry got seven and a half inches closer and the average bus nine inches closer.

Cyclists who rode farther from the kerb were given less room than those who stayed near it, contrary to conventional wisdom among riders.

Dr Walker, a regular cyclist who rarely wears a helmet, said: "I'm involved in discussion groups with cycling professionals and these issues come up again and again, but there was no evidence. Everyone has a theory from their own experience, but it needed to be tested objectively."

Official figures show 11,257 adult cyclists were injured and 109 killed on the roads in 2004, the latest year for which figures are available.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2006 10:51 
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Quote:
It found that drivers leave less room when overtaking cyclists in helmets because they perceive them to be more experienced.


I can believe that!

Quote:
the national cyclists' organisation, believes that such a law would deter people from cycling.


Cant understand the Logic here!

Quote:
Although the research did not specifically study the likelihood of a collision, Dr Walker said it was clear that passing closer made an accident more likely.


Ahh Here we go! The "Received Wisdom" bit! A PhD should really know better! You dont "assume" stuff in scientific research, especially when you are making such a big claim!

Quote:
We know from research that many drivers see cyclists as a separate subculture, to which they don't belong," said Dr Walker. "As a result they hold stereotyped ideas about cyclists, often judging all riders by the yardstick of the Lycra-clad street-warrior.


Whilst this is certainly true in some places (Central London!) for the most part, Drivers tend to regard Cyclists as (Stationary) Obsticals to be avoided rather than vehicles in their own right. I suspect that many accedents occur because Drivers misjudge cyclists speed!



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He said drivers of lorries and buses passed closer than those of cars. The average car passed just over four feet away from the bicycle, whereas the average lorry got seven and a half inches closer and the average bus nine inches closer.


Larger vehicles have less road available so tend, out of nececssity, to take advantage of smaller gaps. Also Drivers of larger vehicles/Vans tend to be better at judging their own dimentions and will go thorough gaps with smaller marginds and more confidence than car drivers.

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Cyclists who rode farther from the kerb were given less room than those who stayed near it, contrary to conventional wisdom among riders.


See above! There is only so much road space! Also Cyclist "In the middle of the road" *will* be perceived as being deliberatly obstructive and will get little sympathy from drivers stuck behind them!

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2006 11:00 
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I wouldn't believe a single word that Dr Walker said. I saw some very dodgy similar 'research' by him a month or two ago.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2006 11:28 
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2006 11:52 
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He was on the BBC south news.
It may be poor science but interesting, posing more questions.
he reported that he got a bigger gap whilst wearing a womens long black wig.
He concluded that motorists wrongly judged a cyclist by thier looks and gave girls a wider birth than boys and assumed that cycle helmit riders might be better cyclists than non wearers..
this is a diferent conclusion that reported in the paper??

A chap from the CTC said that when helmet law was introduced in one country cycle injuries fell but not by as much as expected and not by as much as the cycle use.

cycle helmets= less cycling

Is this a drivers perception of the cyclists abillity?
or the driver not seing a human once a helmit is worn?
Is the space offered to cyclists a measure of the drivers ability or a measure of the driver shareing the available space?

I liked this report but it provided a very small sample size... 1 cyclist.
3 samples

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2006 13:02 
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Dixie wrote:
Cyclists who wear helmets are more likely to be hit by vehicles than those without, says new research.

......

Dr Walker, who carried out the research in Bristol and Salisbury, found motorists passed, on average, more than three inches closer when he was wearing a helmet than otherwise.

........

Cyclists who rode farther from the kerb were given less room than those who stayed near it, contrary to conventional wisdom among riders.

Well duh!

Using his style of reasoning, I could conclude that riders with helmets must be cycling farther away from the pavement :roll:

Maybe Dr Walker should stick to what his name suggests.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2006 13:16 
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2006 14:41 
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FJSRiDER wrote:
smeggy wrote:
Well duh!

Using his style of reasoning, I could conclude that riders with helmets must be cycling farther away from the pavement

Well duh! That is using the journalists article as if it is the actual research data. :roll:


His own words:
Dr Walker wrote:
”Either way, this study suggests wearing a helmet might make a collision more likely in the first place”

No room for journalistic interpretation there.

Both his and my statements made cunning use of weasel words; that is my point!


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2006 14:53 
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2006 18:52 
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FJSRiDER wrote:
Do you agree or disagree with that?

I thought it obvious that I‘m questioning the quoted logic leading to the conclusion

FJSRiDER wrote:
It is not a comment that you mentioned in your first interpretation of the article. :roll:

I didn't think there was any need :roll:

FJSRiDER wrote:
smeggy wrote:
Both his and my statements made cunning use of weasel words; that is my point!

While journalists certainly have a way of spinning the 'facts' to suit their purpose you don't know anything is 'weasely' in Dr Walkers paper unless you have read it. Have you?

Do we know he controlled his distance from the curb?
Did he use sensors to measure this? Granted I haven’t read his paper (I can't find it) to see if he controlled that surprisingly subtle yet important little characteristic but I know of no sensor capable to doing that (especially when affixed to a vertically unstable bike)!
IMO his use of weasel words in his interview leads me to suspect his work does not stand up to scrutiny. Unless he gives clear proof that he controlled the said characteristic (which I don’t believe is possible but I would be happy to be proven wrong) then his logic can be just as (in)valid as given in my first post.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2006 21:24 
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SafeSpeed wrote:
I wouldn't believe a single word that Dr Walker said. I saw some very dodgy similar 'research' by him a month or two ago.


Ditto. By the way - having a piece published is not the same as "peer reviewed" and much of his "findings" would not stand up.

However, am aware that another Professor Emeritus of the University of Kent at Canterbury wants some cyclists and drivers to participate in a more controlled and objective experiment. I will post up details as soon as I know them.. as yet .. he is in "plan/audit" mode and not yet "sampling" for research until he's fully decided on his inclusions/exclusions and means of sampling" Per my sources. gather he's looking to research "behaviour" over a period commencing March to August next year. I will post up details as soon as I have them in case anyone wishes to be part of his research.


Speaking personally.. think it depends on region to some extent as well. I find people are less patient and pleasant in the South than here in the North. and yet find most continentals more in tune with hardy UK North than the busy abrupt South UK in general :wink:

As for me and mine? We ride bikes.. we treat as we would expect to be treated when on bikes. :wink: I give a decent space and time all the time. and do not find anyone has a problem with this either.. though admit.. it's in the North and we have the green pleasanter lands of tranquillity as well :popcorn:

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2006 21:32 
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2006 21:43 
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FJSRiDER wrote:
(Not that I expect either of you to answer with anything other than a newspaper article.)

And did we expect anything more from you?

Firstly I could only question the statements given in the original article given that I could not find an online copy of the paper; secondly, parallel to that I threw in some basic technological knowledge (something you seem to have conveniently evaded).

Tell you what, see if you can do better. Find the appropriate section in his paper that shows how he controlled the distance from the edge of the road! If you can’t then will you admit that there is at least a good chance :roll: that his research does not stand up to scrutiny?


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2006 22:04 
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FJSRiDER wrote:
Mad Moggie wrote:
SafeSpeed wrote:
I wouldn't believe a single word that Dr Walker said. I saw some very dodgy similar 'research' by him a month or two ago.


Ditto. By the way - having a piece published is not the same as "peer reviewed" and much of his "findings" would not stand up.

I have to ask 'What and where' have you seen very dodgy similar 'research' to you too?

(Not that I expect either of you to answer with anything other than a newspaper article.)


Having a piece published in any one journal is certainly not the same as being "peer reviewed!"

Pennington's BMJ piece was not peer reviewed and certainly not taken overly seriously. :wink: Likewise Linda Mountain agrees her work is open to "constructive criticism" which means still not reviewed nor asseessed objectively as yet :wink: Ditto Professor Rose Baker whose findings do support Paul to some extent .. and she has mixed peer reviews on her "lottery ping" theory and working on it per the Math Journal in which she published intitial "take" for feedback and further research :wink:

Please be aware that I pay to view some professional journals and may be breaching a copyright and a civil law if I were to paste it into any site or personal blog. You can google and pay the £30 to view or be a bona fide professional who has the access anyways :wink: But I cannot paste or link to something which requires a pay to view the materal :wink: Morals and ethics.. mate :wink:

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2006 22:04 
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FJSRiDER wrote:
SafeSpeed wrote:
I wouldn't believe a single word that Dr Walker said. I saw some very dodgy similar 'research' by him a month or two ago.

What and where?


Start here: http://www.safespeed.org.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?t=8043

I think there's more too, but I haven't found it yet (out of the office).

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2006 22:15 
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Quote:
Do we know he controlled his distance from the curb?
Did he use sensors to measure this? Granted I haven’t read his paper (I can't find it) to see if he controlled that surprisingly subtle yet important little characteristic but I know of no sensor capable to doing that (especially when affixed to a vertically unstable bike)!


he apeared to have some sensors pointing right on the rear rack wired to a laptop in the panniers he also recorded video of passing traffic to tie in with the data.

Again we do not know how much data he gathered.(but it must be quite small) He appears to be the constant here. He is assuming his riding style didnt change with the diferent head pieces.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2006 22:25 
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anton wrote:
he apeared to have some sensors pointing right on the rear rack wired to a laptop in the panniers he also recorded video of passing traffic to tie in with the data.

If it was aimed to the right then it can only be the ultrasonic distance sensor to measure the distance from the passing vehicles.

anton wrote:
Again we do not know how much data he gathered.(but it must be quite small) He appears to be the constant here. He is assuming his riding style didnt change with the diferent head pieces.

EXACTLY! :yesyes:


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2006 22:50 
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SafeSpeed wrote:
FJSRiDER wrote:
SafeSpeed wrote:
I wouldn't believe a single word that Dr Walker said. I saw some very dodgy similar 'research' by him a month or two ago.

What and where?


Start here: http://www.safespeed.org.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?t=8043

I think there's more too, but I haven't found it yet (out of the office).


Oh THAT guy again.

It would be good to see a breakdown of his methods and controls. Since he is obviously interested in this issue, is it possible he is influencing the results to turn out as he wants (maybe subconciously) by changing his own riding? Was the traffic the same in each test, or did some have more oncoming cars which would force closer but more careful passing?


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2006 08:40 
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FJSRiDER wrote:
Zamzara wrote:
SafeSpeed wrote:
FJSRiDER wrote:
SafeSpeed wrote:
I wouldn't believe a single word that Dr Walker said. I saw some very dodgy similar 'research' by him a month or two ago.

What and where?


Start here: http://www.safespeed.org.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?t=8043

I think there's more too, but I haven't found it yet (out of the office).


Oh THAT guy again.

'That guy'? From what the article(s) tell us it looks like it is taken the same journal aricle.

You lot need a serious dose of reality if you think you can pick apart any research from a couple of newspaper reports. :roll:


Insufficient data. Insufficient controls. WILD conclusions. Game over.

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