That’s one valid takeaway from a very simplistic study one rider in England undertook. Dr. Ian Walker of Bath University used an ultrasonic sensor to track how closely 2,500 overtaking drivers passed him while riding his bike.
He found that, when he wore a helmet, drivers cut things more closely, more than 3 inches closer on average. When, on the other hand, he wore a wig, drivers gave him an extra 6 inches or so.
Walker says the study provides some ammunition for the argument that helmets might actually detract from safety in some situations:
“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 judgements. “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’s not clear if the study is extensive enough to draw such sweeping conclusions, or if it would apply here in the United States. But we’re already decided: We’re starting a campaign to push for mandatory wig laws for cyclists.
(Via Del.icio.us Tag: cycling.)
That’s me, Abby, Amanda, and Mark posing together at Seward Park after riding together with a group of cyclists from the Space Needle. We joined the Ditty Bops for part of their ride to Portland on Sunday and saw their packed Saturday night show at Chop Suey.
The Ditty Bops have been touring the country by bike, playing shows, and promoting cycling. Their record company arranged an interview with us the night of the show, but they were tired after driving back from NYC, and invited us to the ride the next day, which was even better. I showed up for the ride on Bettie, gave Greg their piano player and his wife Boo hugga tees, and it was a sunny, beautiful day.
We rode, chatted, and just hung out like any group of cyclists would do. I did ask both of them one, sort-of interview-like question, which was, “would you ride across the country again?” Amanda and Abby both said “yes, but not like that.” They enjoyed touring, but I think the rigors of the tour itself was wearing them out. John, teammate of mine, is riding with the ladies all the way to Portland where they’ll play the Aladdin Theatre in Portland, Oregon tomorrow night.
Later, when asked what the Ditty Bops were like I said, “creative, artistic, cyclists, and just nice girls.”
In the first few Bettie rides, I joked with Eamon and Pam that you could hook up a push mower to the back of it and ride around mowing your lawn. Well, waddya know, Peter from the Chinook Cycling Club, took this photo of a lawn-mower bike in Walla Walla and there’s a website, a patent, and another photo.
See now, where those are all flawed, is the grass clippings are going to go right into your face. In my Xtracycle version, you’ve got the mower behind you.
The Ditty Bops are in town and playing Chop Suey tomorrow night at 6:00 PM. It’s an all ages show and costs $11.00 in advance and $13.00 day of. If you haven’t heard of the Ditty Bops, they’re an eclectic-pop duo that are riding their bikes across the county to promote cycling, clean air, and their new Moon Over the Freeway album.
We’ve posted on the Ditty Bops before and will be at the show. We’ve also got an interview planned and will blog about that when it’s confirmed.