Legal Law

The myth of the bicycle helmet: true and not

Apparently, there’s a popular myth that city cyclists have been kicking around for years: that they’re more likely to get hit by a car if they wear a helmet than if they don’t. This myth so intrigued Ian Walker, a psychologist at the University of Bath, that he decided to put it to the test. Walker fitted his bike with a special ultrasonic sensor that would measure how close cars approached him as he commuted to and from work. To complete the experiment, he wore a helmet every other day and rode bareheaded every other day for two months.

Their findings may surprise drivers, but they won’t surprise anyone who has ever had reason to ride a bike on busy city streets: On average, when you were wearing a helmet, cars came 8.5 cm (3.35 cm) closer to each other. inches) to him and his bike than when he left his helmet at home. The helmet haters are vindicated and you can all throw away your nasty and annoying helmets.

Except they can’t, because the results are misleading. Bicycle helmets are not used to reduce the occurrence of accidents, they are used to reduce the impact of accidents and to prevent irreparable brain damage.

According to statistics, bicycle helmets reduce the risk of head injury by approximately 85% and the risk of brain injury by 88%. They also provide a significant measure of protection for the face and forehead. Additionally, studies have shown that bareheaded cyclists are 14 times more likely to be killed in a crash than helmeted cyclists.

Before purchasing a helmet, cyclists should consider their cycling habits and needs. For example, are they road cyclists or off-road cyclists, riding mountain trails or city streets? Road helmets can be distinguished from off-road helmets by their longer, sleeker, more aerodynamic design with narrow air vents. Off-road helmet vents are wider because cooling is supposed to take precedence over speed.

It is very important that the helmets fit you well. Helmets must fit snugly on the riders head; They must be level and must not lean backwards or forwards. The helmet should sit approximately two finger widths above the eyebrows for maximum protection and a clear line of sight. Helmets should not sit loose on the riders head, should not roll or fall forward or backward, but should not be too tight or too tight. Helmets often come with extra sponges for riders who need to make the helmet smaller. Sponges already in the hull can be removed to make extra space if needed.

Studies have shown that children are more likely to wear bicycle helmets regularly if their parents model wearing helmets. About 98% of kids wear helmets if their parents do, but that number drops to just 30% when their parents ride bareheaded. Given the fact that children ages 10 to 14 have the highest rates of serious brain injuries sustained in bicycle accidents, parents have a good incentive to buckle up.

Helmets have a lifespan of around 4,500 miles (7,242 km), which translates to about 5 years (for average, non-professional recreational cyclists). Beyond that, the materials start to break down and the helmet’s effectiveness is compromised. Helmets should also be disposed of after an accident, because no matter how minor the damage appears to be, cracks in the plastic and dents in the protective foam will reduce the helmet’s protective ability.

Far from giving cyclists license to feel the wind in their hair, Walker’s experiment underscores the importance of wearing a helmet at all times. While doing the study on him, Walker was knocked off his bike twice, once by a truck and once by a bus, both times he was wearing his helmet and both times he got up with his skull and brain intact. Who needs more incentive than that?

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