Bicycle helmets

HelmetPeople are beating their heads and chests in support of this or that theory as to whether bicycle helmets do good or harm or both or neither. Here are two current items in the debate.

The truck ran over his head. “I didn’t see it coming, but I sure felt it roll over my head. It feels really strange to have a truck run over your head.” His helmet, a Giro, was crushed, but Lipscomb’s head was fine.

Madison Police Department Sgt. Chris Boyd said the officer at the scene urged Lipscomb to keep the helmet. He did. It is all flattened and mangled and broken, unlike his head.

So says a May 12, 2007 [Madison, Wisconsin] Capital Times report.

His findings, published in the March 2007 issue of Accident Analysis & Prevention, state that when Walker wore a helmet drivers typically drove an average of 3.35 inches closer to his bike than when his noggin wasn’t covered. But, if he wore a wig of long, brown locks? appearing to be a woman from behind?he was granted 2.2 inches more room to ride.

“The implication,” Walker says, “is that any protection helmets give is canceled out by other mechanisms, such as riders possibly taking more risks and/or changes in how other road users behave towards cyclists.”

So says May 2007 Scientific American report.

(Thanks to investigators Millie Aase and Thomas Holsinger, respectively, for bringing these to our attention.

UPDATE: Investigator Betsy Devine writes: “surely there’s a tie-in between the Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists (LFHCfS) and the research result you quote that LFH is worth an extra 2.2 inches.”