March 22, 2019
Everyone knows that wearing a helmet helps keep you safe in the event of a cycling accident, but one study shows that wearing a helmet may also make cars feel safer around you. Unfortunately, that’s not really a good thing.
The study, originally conducted in 2007, has been the topic of much debate over the years, but it has finally been solidly reaffirmed and published in Accident Analysis & Prevention. The study conducted originally followed a psychologist that road the same stretches on his bicycle with a concealed camera and a ultrasonic sensor. Over 200 miles of riding and 2,355 encounters with cars with and without a helmet, he found that on average, cars passed around 3 to 5 inches closer when a rider was wearing a helmet. He also found that cars gave the widest berth to women on a bicycle without a helmet, which he tested by wearing a wig on some rides.
This study is problematic for cyclists and the cycling community that continues to be divided on the issue of helmets. Should you take this as an excuse to not wearing your bicycle helmet? Probably not. While the closer pass distance makes accidents more likely, the lack of a helmet while riding will make any accident more devastating.
Ideally, the solution to this would be for more states to pass mandatory safe distance passing laws for motorists and make sure they are enforced. However, when the passing distance is in a matter of inches closer, even law enforcement couldn’t enforce that. As such, this just adds another branch to the fire in the eternal debate in the cycling community on whether helmets make riders safer or less so.
Have you been in a cycling accident? If so, you were likely subject to substantial injury, and you deserve compensation to cover those medical bills. If you want representation for a cyclist – by a cyclist – contact us today to see what Gary Brustin can do to help.