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Offline Mister Paul

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Re: Share the Road
« Reply #30 on: April 22, 2019, 10:54:41 PM »
Tapping your head on the floor while wearing a helmet is not evidence that they will "greatly decrease their chances of a serious head injury in the case of an accident". Because they won't. It's only evidence that in a light impact you might save yourself a superficial injury. As I said, there's no evidence that helmets will prevent a serious head injury in a collision with a car. They're not even designed to resist an impact above 12mph.

Trials in Bristol found that drivers gave less passing space to helmet wearers than to those with bare heads. They really are counter-intuitive in several ways. They reinforce the lie that cycling is a "dangerous" activity. This puts people off cycling, and impairs kids who aren't allowed out without a helmet. We've had schools over here trying to ban children from riding to school without a helmet on. And we're now getting courts suggesting that a cyclist is in some way responsible for a collision because the weren't wearing a helmet. In countries where helmet wearing was made compulsory there has been a negative impact on cycling.


Online ewryly

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Re: Share the Road
« Reply #31 on: April 22, 2019, 11:18:12 PM »
*Originally Posted by Mister Paul [+]
Tapping your head on the floor while wearing a helmet is not evidence that they will "greatly decrease their chances of a serious head injury in the case of an accident". Because they won't. It's only evidence that in a light impact you might save yourself a superficial injury. As I said, there's no evidence that helmets will prevent a serious head injury in a collision with a car. They're not even designed to resist an impact above 12mph.

Trials in Bristol found that drivers gave less passing space to helmet wearers than to those with bare heads. They really are counter-intuitive in several ways. They reinforce the lie that cycling is a "dangerous" activity. This puts people off cycling, and impairs kids who aren't allowed out without a helmet. We've had schools over here trying to ban children from riding to school without a helmet on. And we're now getting courts suggesting that a cyclist is in some way responsible for a collision because the weren't wearing a helmet. In countries where helmet wearing was made compulsory there has been a negative impact on cycling.

Most cycling accidents are falls, and they also involve the greatest number of head injuries.  They also often happen at slower speeds--diverting type falls which a motorcyclist would call a highside--and can be devastating to your head and face and collar bone.  Do you actually think that helmets make you less safe?   And the stat about not wearing helmets and getting respect on the road is contrary to what I recall, though it was from years ago.  My recollection is that bicyclists who wear traditional cycling gear, including a helmet though the rest of the gear was the significant factor, get better treatment on the road.  The studies I looked at back then were partly concerned with women cyclists getting more respect, and the conclusion was the more professional you look, the more respect you got.  I'm not real big on laws requiring helmet use, but I am big on helmet use.

Here is something from https://www.iihs.org/iihs/topics/t/pedestrians-and-bicyclists/fatalityfacts/bicycles/2014

Each year about 2 percent of motor vehicle crash deaths are bicyclists. In a majority of bicyclist deaths, the most serious injuries are to the head, highlighting the importance of wearing a bicycle helmet. 1 Helmet use has been estimated to reduce the odds of head injury by 50 percent, and the odds of head, face, or neck injury by 33 percent. 2  Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia have helmet use laws applying to young bicyclists; none of these laws applies to all riders. Local ordinances in a few states require some or all bicyclists to wear helmets. The odds that a bicyclist will wear a helmet are 4 times higher after a helmet law is enacted than before a law is passed. 3  Helmets are important for riders of all ages, not just young bicyclists. Eighty-six percent of bicyclist deaths are persons ages 20 and older. During the past few years, no more than 17 percent of fatally injured bicyclists were wearing helmets."

Offline Mister Paul

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Re: Share the Road
« Reply #32 on: April 23, 2019, 12:11:04 AM »
*Originally Posted by ewryly [+]
Most cycling accidents are falls, and they also involve the greatest number of head injuries.  They also often happen at slower speeds--diverting type falls which a motorcyclist would call a highside--and can be devastating to your head and face and collar bone.  Do you actually think that helmets make you less safe?   And the stat about not wearing helmets and getting respect on the road is contrary to what I recall, though it was from years ago.  My recollection is that bicyclists who wear traditional cycling gear, including a helmet though the rest of the gear was the significant factor, get better treatment on the road.  The studies I looked at back then were partly concerned with women cyclists getting more respect, and the conclusion was the more professional you look, the more respect you got.  I'm not real big on laws requiring helmet use, but I am big on helmet use.

Here is something from https://www.iihs.org/iihs/topics/t/pedestrians-and-bicyclists/fatalityfacts/bicycles/2014

Each year about 2 percent of motor vehicle crash deaths are bicyclists. In a majority of bicyclist deaths, the most serious injuries are to the head, highlighting the importance of wearing a bicycle helmet. 1 Helmet use has been estimated to reduce the odds of head injury by 50 percent, and the odds of head, face, or neck injury by 33 percent. 2  Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia have helmet use laws applying to young bicyclists; none of these laws applies to all riders. Local ordinances in a few states require some or all bicyclists to wear helmets. The odds that a bicyclist will wear a helmet are 4 times higher after a helmet law is enacted than before a law is passed. 3  Helmets are important for riders of all ages, not just young bicyclists. Eighty-six percent of bicyclist deaths are persons ages 20 and older. During the past few years, no more than 17 percent of fatally injured bicyclists were wearing helmets."

Of course helmet use goes up when it becomes mandatory. You ignore the fact that cycling decreases.

All cycling incidents are falls. That has no bearing on the effectiveness of helmets.

Here's a more accurate review of the evidence https://www.cyclehelmets.org/1052.html

A helmet will not protect your face. Nor your collar bone.

Helmets will not protect your head from the kind of impact that results in a severe head injury. They're just not designed nor tested for this kind of impact. They're a failure of form over function. Stick a motorcycle helmet on a cyclist and you might afford them some protection. Stick a fragile lump of expanded polystyrene on their head and you won't.

As I said, the research suggests that cyclists who wear helmets are given less room by drivers. Also, being geared up results in drivers not being as careful around you as the driver thinks you know what you're doing. Advice from some studies suggest that looking a little precarious will give you more attention from drivers, and more space. A wobble as a car approaches and you'll get a wider berth.

No, I'm not saying that wearing a helmet is more dangerous than not. That would be stupid. However, when investigating helmet use you cannot just pull one-liners off the surface, you have to dig deeper. And when you do you see that focusing on helmets is a false economy and a diversion. On the whole, the benefits of cycling far outweigh the risk. Helmet use is an insignificant factor. Take a trip to Amsterdam and you'll see why the risk is lower there. And hardly anyone wears a helmet.


Offline UnmzldOx

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Re: Share the Road
« Reply #33 on: April 23, 2019, 02:52:15 AM »
Some observations and a prediction occurring to me in the interim. Sorry if these are too obvious:

Observation 1: The intended use for a road can be inferred from its design. A reasonable inference is that a rural highway with a 12' wide lane is designed for one 8' wide vehicle with 2' allowance on each side. "Safe" speed limits up to 60 mph are posted for these single vehicles. Curves are banked assuming those speed limits. Many / most of our two-lane, two-way rural highways (so prized by cyclists now) were not designed with cyclists in mind. Asphalt and concrete were upgrades to dirt to accommodate a quickly growing, post WWII, modern society falling in love with cars. Horse-and-buggy days were gone. Farm vehicles were to be merely tolerated. But recreational cycling on these new roads was not even on the horizon. We are now employing these once modern roads for a task beyond their original intent, and that is the root of the problem.

Observation 2: Cyclists have won the right to use the roads such as they are. The car is now ill-favored. Cycling must be accepted and integrated into the existing infrastructure. That presents the challenges we're debating. Roads will not be changed anytime soon. The narrow lanes of the UK testify to that. Our local 50 year old "new" bridge is another testament to stalled modernity.

Prediction: The current rules and practices are not enough to keep cyclists safe. If cyclists' death rates become unbearable, pressure will build to adjust the infrastructure, but it must be low cost. That might be adding a dividing line to create an outside lane dedicated to cycling. Dropping the speed limits significantly would make sense also. Paint and signs are relatively cheap.

Meanwhile, I'm re-thinking my (literal) approach to cyclists. I have been passing cyclists (who are safely hugging the white, outside line) while going nearly full speed. The problem is that if one of them were to suddenly move into my path while I'm passing in his lane, I would probably be found at fault even though the law requires only 3'. The legality of occupying the same lane while passing is ambiguous. This ambiguity is similar to the fact that speeding while passing is illegal even though the law also requires passing to be "expeditious".

FWIW,
« Last Edit: April 23, 2019, 03:14:20 AM by UnmzldOx »

Online ewryly

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Re: Share the Road
« Reply #34 on: April 23, 2019, 04:27:08 PM »
*Originally Posted by Mister Paul [+]
Helmets will not protect your head from the kind of impact that results in a severe head injury. They're just not designed nor tested for this kind of impact. They're a failure of form over function. Stick a motorcycle helmet on a cyclist and you might afford them some protection. Stick a fragile lump of expanded polystyrene on their head and you won't.

I'm not saying that helmets will protect you from all head injuries.  It is a matter of reasonable harm reduction.  And at least in the states, most helmet rules are for kids under a certain age and typically the police do not enforce these rules.  Instead, they are invoked in the case of an accident to cite the rider. 

The UCI has made helmet use mandatory in all pro/am races, I believe.  That seems pretty telling. But at this point, we have probably made ourselves clear.  I know my head is hurting :).  Thanks for the give and take!

Offline Mister Paul

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« Last Edit: April 23, 2019, 04:59:47 PM by Mister Paul »

Online ewryly

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Re: Share the Road
« Reply #36 on: April 23, 2019, 05:05:13 PM »
*Originally Posted by UnmzldOx [+]
Some observations and a prediction occurring to me in the interim. Sorry if these are too obvious:

Observation 1: The intended use for a road can be inferred from its design. A reasonable inference is that a rural highway with a 12' wide lane is designed for one 8' wide vehicle with 2' allowance on each side. "Safe" speed limits up to 60 mph are posted for these single vehicles. Curves are banked assuming those speed limits. Many / most of our two-lane, two-way rural highways (so prized by cyclists now) were not designed with cyclists in mind. Asphalt and concrete were upgrades to dirt to accommodate a quickly growing, post WWII, modern society falling in love with cars. Horse-and-buggy days were gone. Farm vehicles were to be merely tolerated. But recreational cycling on these new roads was not even on the horizon. We are now employing these once modern roads for a task beyond their original intent, and that is the root of the problem.

Observation 2: Cyclists have won the right to use the roads such as they are. The car is now ill-favored. Cycling must be accepted and integrated into the existing infrastructure. That presents the challenges we're debating. Roads will not be changed anytime soon. The narrow lanes of the UK testify to that. Our local 50 year old "new" bridge is another testament to stalled modernity.

Prediction: The current rules and practices are not enough to keep cyclists safe. If cyclists' death rates become unbearable, pressure will build to adjust the infrastructure, but it must be low cost. That might be adding a dividing line to create an outside lane dedicated to cycling. Dropping the speed limits significantly would make sense also. Paint and signs are relatively cheap.

Meanwhile, I'm re-thinking my (literal) approach to cyclists. I have been passing cyclists (who are safely hugging the white, outside line) while going nearly full speed. The problem is that if one of them were to suddenly move into my path while I'm passing in his lane, I would probably be found at fault even though the law requires only 3'. The legality of occupying the same lane while passing is ambiguous. This ambiguity is similar to the fact that speeding while passing is illegal even though the law also requires passing to be "expeditious".

FWIW,

I agree that roads are often not designed for the use they are now getting, and that is one thing bicycle advocates have been working on for the last 30 years:  Inserting themselves in design reviews to be sure that bicycle interests are accommodated. 

As for a bicyclist swinging into your lane, the odds are that the cyclist would be the one found at fault simply because most juries still see cycling as a dangerous and an immature use of roads though maybe that is getting better.  In the case you describe it should be the cyclist fault because that would basically be a lane change.  I had a case where a tandem trailer truck just two feet narrower than the lane carrying a load of hay on some mountain roads attempted to pass a bicyclist in the lane.  There was an oncoming car, and rather than wait a few seconds and then move left, the driver kept going and hit the cyclist who was charged with veering into the truck!  That boggled my mind! 

Below is the CA vehicle code regarding where cyclists should ride in the lane.  It basically says as far right as "practicable" and then spells out what that means.  The interesting part is the mention of substandard lane widths.  The effect is to permit cars and bicyclists to share a lane (actually to effectively create a lane of bicycle traffic in the outside lane) when the outside lane is wide enough.  The tricky part is determing what that means.  In older cities with street parking, almost all lanes are substandard, but the traffic is also slower and cyclists can actually be faster than cars on shorter trips.  In rural CA, the roads were typically plenty wide to share the lane, and sight distances were good.  In NE, rural roads are often too narrow and I almost always take enough of the lane to force cars to change lanes to pass me.  I don't let them even think about passing me in the lane if I have any concerns.  And though I am a good cyclist with a good understanding of traffic patterns, etc., there are roads I won't ride because the traffic is too aggressive and though I may be able to control things, it is not fun.

 From CA vehicle code:

(a) Any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway at a speed less than the normal speed of traffic moving in the same direction at that time shall ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway except under any of the following situations:

(1) When overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction.

(2) When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.

(3) When reasonably necessary to avoid conditions (including, but not limited to, fixed or moving objects, vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, animals, surface hazards, or substandard width lanes) that make it unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or edge, subject to the provisions of Section 21656. For purposes of this section, a substandard width lane is a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and a vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane.

(4) When approaching a place where a right turn is authorized.

(b) Any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway of a highway, which highway carries traffic in one direction only and has two or more marked traffic lanes, may ride as near the left-hand curb or edge of that roadway as practicable.

Online ewryly

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Re: Share the Road
« Reply #37 on: April 23, 2019, 05:09:48 PM »

Lots of bad arguments there!  But I am opposed to mandatory helmet rules for bicyclists. 

Offline Mister Paul

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Re: Share the Road
« Reply #38 on: April 23, 2019, 05:17:31 PM »
« Last Edit: April 23, 2019, 05:19:04 PM by Mister Paul »

Online ewryly

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Re: Share the Road
« Reply #39 on: April 23, 2019, 11:58:38 PM »
I am a fan of John Forrester's Effective Cycling.

 


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