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Negative Consequences — 16 Comments

  1. Some time ago I came across some research on the dangers of cycling helmets. They ran a series of tests on cyclists with and without helmets. The results showed that motorists tended to give the non-helmets a much wider berth – presumably a subconscious awareness of apparent vulnerability. It makes sense?

    And I always drive much faster if I’m wearing a seat belt. 😈

    • I seem to remember that about twenty or thirty years ago they found that people who owned Volvos were involved in an unexpectedly high number of crashes, and the conclusion was that all the safety features on a Volvo gave people a sense of invulnerability which resulted in a more reckless driving style, leading to the higher accident rate.

      I’ve always maintained that putting a sharp spike in the centre of the steering wheel would result in much more careful driving (and less accidents) than surrounding people with airbags.

  2. I haven’t riden a motorbike for decades but I was able, on occasion, to ride without a helmet. Personally I would strongly recommend all bikers try it. As you say, periferal vision and hearing is much improved and you get a better feel for your own vulnerability. Not very practical above about 30mph though.
    I wonder how many people (outside of M. A. G.) have even heard of the great freedom fighter Fred Hill:
    http://wadmag.mag-uk.org/fred_hill.htm https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fred_Hill_(civil_rights_activist)

    • I read somewhere some years back that above 30mph a helmet doesn’t help much at all with an impact, because although your skull may not be broken, the trauma to your brain inside the skull is so severe that you would probably have been better off not wearing one and dying instantly. Michael Schumacher is an example of how much damage can be sustained, even at relatively low speeds, helmet notwithstanding. The same article went on to say that although the helmet law lobbyists shouted about how many lives had been saved by the helmet law, they omitted to mention the number of vegetables on life support who’d scrambled their brains inside the helmet which saved their lives.

      I also rarely wear a seat belt, and when I’ve owned Volvos or other cars with nagging beeps to tell you to buckle up, I’ve always disconnected the sensor. It seems somehow fatalistic to me, to strap yourself into the car on the assumption that you’re going to have an accident.

      I never was much of a one for the precautionary principle…

      Ah, just read the link about Fred Hill. Top man!

      • Reminds me of when I was driving my car before the seat belt legislation. I hit black ice on the road and lost control. I could see the car was going to hit a lamp post, broadside – drivers door, and was able to throw myself to the opposite side of the car. The car wrapped around the lamppost like a banana and my backside took the hit. If I had been strapped in, my head would have taken the impact and I am convinced that I would not have survived. All I had was a very sore bum!

        I witessed an almost identical accident some years later but the driver was wearing his seat belt – he died. NOT wearing a seat belt saved my life, and wearing one possibly cost him his!

        After a collision there is a small risk that a seat belt can become jammed and the prospect of being burned alive, strapped in and unable to get out, is very real. The thought of this scares the life out of me. All police cars where I live used to carry seat belt cutters (probably still do), for just such an occurrence – but what is the likelihood they will be close enough to use them in time if a post collision fire does break out?

        By the way, Great blog Nisikiman!

        • When I was driving big rigs in Aus, although there was already at that time (1970s) a seat belt law, no truck driver ever wore one. The reason being that when you have twenty tons of freight in the trailer (which itself weighs several tons), in the event of an impending head-on impact, your best chance of survival was to bail out rapidly, which wasn’t possible if you were wearing a seat belt. Wearing a seat belt under those circumstances pretty much guaranteed that they would have to remove your remains from what was left of the cab with a teaspoon.

        • Looks like he’s wearing a waistcoat with those fat leather buttons under his shirt. Either that or he dropped some M&Ms down there when he was having a sneaky snack.

  3. As for hearing, surely it would be possible to have some kind of “speaker grill” perforations around the ears that didn’t compromise structural integrity – a design idea?

    Speaking of design ideas, I remembered these from a few years ago, a sample here:

    http://www.beautifullife.info/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/30/02.jpg

    After all, if you have to wear one… why not make it a work of art?

    More from that design crowd here:

    https://good.kz/en/portfolio/helmets/

  4. I’ve often wondered if any of those ever-so-clever economists who leap in after every public transport strike/major traffic hold-up/bad weather scenario to tell us how much the latest “travel delays” have cost the economy have ever thought to calculate how much cyclists “cost the economy” each and every day, simply by delaying everyone else’s journey to and from work (or wherever). Is there an average amount of time lost by every driver, every day, due to having to slow down and wait for a safe place to pass a slow-moving cyclist, or to screech to a halt to avoid one who has just shot out in front of you? It may only be a matter of 5 or 10 minutes per day, of course, but when you consider how many little 5-10 minute delays are caused by cyclists every day to, probably, millions of people, I’d think that the cost would be quite considerable …

    • The worst is when you come across a gaggle of them on a country road, all in their Lycra and silly hats taking up most of the road, with the palpable attitude of “I’ve got as much right to use the road as any car”, and who seem to delight in exerting their power to create a slow moving road block.

  5. They look a right load of wally’s!!!! Anyroad, I WOULDNT COULDNT wear a helmet, by the time I got anywhere, me hair would be such a state (and I’m not joking) that it wouldn’t be a mode of transport I could take and I guess that would be the same for loads of women.

    • Yes, I hadn’t thought of that, but you’re right – compulsory helmets must stop a lot of women using bikes for that very reason.

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