This just in: wigs make cyclists safer

BBC NEWS | Wearing helmets ‘more dangerous’

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.)



9 Comments

“my ansi-approved wig saved my life!”

of course, if cycling wigs (in various wicking synthetics as well as authentic human hair from fair-trade rainforest sources, gel-sculpted for superior aerodynamics) become the new emblem of serious cyclists, then the protective effect will dissipate, leaving plain old short cuts, floppy hats etc. the most effective.

The obvious solution:  a wig on a helmet.

Reminds me of why I stopped riding at night. Drivers don’t have a perception of how wide you are, when they’re looking at a red flasher and have always thought bike running lights would be a good idea, but not just the bar end kind, but ones that stuck out.

After reading this, I went right out and preordered a Bell/Giro Wig from REI.  I can’t wait ‘til it comes in, but I’m still skeptical about its aerodynamics.

Somewhat unrelated, but: has anyone else noticed that the roads seem to get MORE dangerous once school starts again every year?  Doesn’t that seem counter-intuitive?  Shouldn’t people be attempting INCREASED safety?

This morning alone I had:
-a person walking along the street in the bike lane next to the sidewalk who suddenly made a move to cross the street without shoulder checking as I was passing him
-a group of kids crossing the street who walked off the sidewalk and THEN looked
-a guy walking who encountered a telephone pole and went around the left and into the bike lane when I was about 5’ behind him
-a car that was attempting to pass another by driving into the bike lane 20’ before a cross walk (with a very obvious yellow “No Passing” sign).  I matched his speed and blocked him which resulted in glaring and screeching tires.  The screeching happened behind me so I have no idea where he was trying to go with a car just ahead of him.  Scare tactics I guess.

And those specific incidents are of course besides the big increase in traffic volume (and therefore increase in your average day-to-day near death experiences) in the past week.

sigh - I guess I should be wearing a wig!

And didn’t Lance et al wear wigs one time on the Champs Elysees?

Wes, you might be on to something:  I was hit by a car yesterday, for the first time….

Jarret,

Man, you ok? Where are you located? The details.

Byron,

I’m okay, just a bit banged up and bruised lots of everywhere.  My bike’s probably still pissed about the ordeal.  I dunno how bad it suffered, but it appears to be substantially more than I did.

I’m down the road a piece, in Portland.  Some dude needed his Beemer SUV cleaned, and I happened to be between him and the carwash.  He never saw me as he turned thru the bike lane, cutting me off and causing me to slam into the side of his car, then into the ground (my first bike wreck!).  Fortunately, it happened fast and nothing on me is broken. 

The driver was nice about it, and seemed genuinely concerned, which was somewhat pleasant.  I’ve heard stories of horrible behavior by drivers after they’ve nearly killed someone.  Luckily, at least, I avoided an experience like that.

Not that there was any risk of it before, but I’m pretty sure I’ll never forget 9/11 now….

To comment

Or with us.





Advertise here

About this Entry

Bike Hugger meets the Ditty Bops was the previous entry in this blog.

Photo of the day is the next one.

Find more recent content on our home page and archives.

About Bike Hugger