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BBC website- 10 ways to rediscover the joy of motoring

BrixtonbikerBrixtonbiker Posts: 100
edited September 2008 in Commuting chat
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/7635486.stm

"9. TREAT ALL CYCLISTS THE SAME, HELMET OR NO HELMET

An experiment conducted in the UK discovered that drivers gave far more space to cyclists that did not wear helmets, than those who did.

The researchers concluded this was because motorists interpreted the helmet as a symbol of a more predictable and sensible cyclist, one less likely to veer into their path."

What a load of rubbish.

The study was by one person who works at a uni doing some lab job or something.

The 'far more space' was 3.3 inches, hardly far more space.

Who writes this stuff and gets away with it.

Posts

  • sc999cssc999cs Posts: 596
    Comment 10 LEARN FROM LEWIS

    says it all really.
    Steve C
  • Why is it rubbish?
    if you don't wear a helmet then you are giving out a message that you are a bit strange and liable to do anything.
    The gear changing, helmet wearing fule.
    FCN :- -1
    Given up waiting for Fast as Fupp to start stalking me
  • Well, the study had more holes in it than the inner tube presently in my front tyre. I confidently predict that the reseacher wishes he'd never let his press office run with the story. Now the whole world knows he sometimes cycles to work wearing a dress.
  • doog442doog442 Posts: 370
    I saw a bloke cycling a halfords full sus shockwave mtb down the busiest road in Dorset yesterday.

    He was on his phone, no lights, no reflective gear despite it being dusk,and wobbling all over the place, however i kept clear of him because i saw (before anything else ) that he wasnt wearing a helmet

    ..i gave him an extra few inches for his troubles :wink:
  • nwallacenwallace Posts: 1,465
    It's the the same argument that if car drivers were all driving Benz Patent Motor Wagens with censored all protection they would be driving a lot more carefully.

    Not sure how that works though, the drivers back then all drove like they owned the roads.... Oh, they did.
    Do Nellyphants count?

    Commuter: FCN 9
    Cheapo Roadie: FCN 5
    Off Road: FCN 11

    +1 when I don't get round to shaving for x days
  • alfabluealfablue Posts: 8,497
    The research was done by Dr Ian Walker at the University of Bath, he is speaking at next months Bath Cycling Campaign meeting, and is apparently going to be speaking all over the country, so he is certainly not at all shy about it! One major flaw with the study (amongst others) is that he collected all the data (he rode the bike), so there is the potential for experimenter effect.
  • alfablue wrote:
    The research was done by Dr Ian Walker at the University of Bath, he is speaking at next months Bath Cycling Campaign meeting, and is apparently going to be speaking all over the country, so he is certainly not at all shy about it! One major flaw with the study (amongst others) is that he collected all the data (he rode the bike), so there is the potential for experimenter effect.

    Yeah, I know. I'm equally qualified.
  • alfabluealfablue Posts: 8,497
    The 'far more space' was 3.3 inches, hardly far more space.

    Who writes this stuff and gets away with it.
    Well I have no wish to defend Dr Walker, but the 3.3 inches is a mean, which I presume achieved statistical significance, whether 3.3 inches (on average) is of practical significance is another matter, however it is probably the width of your elbow.

    (I am a helmet wearer by the way, but I have considered wearing a long wig as apparently women get a wider berth!).
  • alfabluealfablue Posts: 8,497
    alfablue wrote:
    The research was done by Dr Ian Walker at the University of Bath, he is speaking at next months Bath Cycling Campaign meeting, and is apparently going to be speaking all over the country, so he is certainly not at all shy about it! One major flaw with the study (amongst others) is that he collected all the data (he rode the bike), so there is the potential for experimenter effect.

    Yeah, I know. I'm equally qualified.
    Your qualifications are never in question Always :wink:
  • Look I've had this convo several times. Its an interesting bit of pub science, but he didn't measure his own mean distance from the kerb and he simply cannot eliminate his own knowledge of (a) what he was looking to test and (b) how it was being measures. On top of that, he had to ride with different clothing.

    It was few hundred miles of cycling, one cyclist and that cyclist knew what was going on.

    You know, he just might be right, but the tentative conclusions he came to (which were couched in good old "mights" and "possibly's" - suggesting that he's well aware of the merits or otherwise of the study) are rapidly becoming recceived wisdom, which is dangerous - just look at MMR.

    If its an interesting discussion point, fine. If its taken as definitive, I start to have a problem. At the moment though, its no more or less interesting than the EPSRC study to determine if toast falls butter side down more often. (True story).
  • alfablue wrote:
    alfablue wrote:
    The research was done by Dr Ian Walker at the University of Bath, he is speaking at next months Bath Cycling Campaign meeting, and is apparently going to be speaking all over the country, so he is certainly not at all shy about it! One major flaw with the study (amongst others) is that he collected all the data (he rode the bike), so there is the potential for experimenter effect.

    Yeah, I know. I'm equally qualified.
    Your qualifications are never in question Always :wink:
    Its a nearly worthless piece of paper indicating that I'm very determined and have a high tolerance for having very little money. (Perfect for being a cyclist, one might say.) That's why I get alarmed when someone else's is taken as a "rubber stamp" to anything they might say (don't think you were quite doing this though). It came up in an interesting way with that cyclehelmets.org website. Lots of Dr's on there. Lost of cobblers as well, but its hard to argue if Dr. Cobblers has said so.
  • alfabluealfablue Posts: 8,497
    Look I've had this convo several times. Its an interesting bit of pub science, but he didn't measure his own mean distance from the kerb and he simply cannot eliminate his own knowledge of (a) what he was looking to test and (b) how it was being measures. On top of that, he had to ride with different clothing.

    It was few hundred miles of cycling, one cyclist and that cyclist knew what was going on... etc etc

    Exactly, exactly, I'm not arguing with you Always, I agree!

    I was merely adding some info about who did this research and that he was peddling ( 8) ) it around the country. I give it no credence.
  • Actually, I'd like to hear the guy speak. We should suggest a podcast.
  • alfabluealfablue Posts: 8,497
    Actually, I'd like to hear the guy speak. We should suggest a podcast.
    that's a good idea, I'll suggest it to the BCC.
  • simon_esimon_e Posts: 1,692
    "Treat all cyclists the same" isn't enough. "Treat all other road users with respect" would be much more helpful.

    A mate of mine suggested wobbling deliberately (a little) when a car was approaching from behind - enough to remind them your line may change. I've tested it occasionally and it seems to work, but since I wasn't wearing a wig and/or women's clothes I can't get all scientific about it.

    My wife says the sticky-out red disc is the best 'deterrent' to close overtaking. I fancy one with a sharp blade at its outermost point, I always think of the chariot race scene in Ben Hur :twisted:
    Aspire not to have more, but to be more.
  • downfaderdownfader Posts: 3,686
    Simon E wrote:
    "Treat all cyclists the same" isn't enough. "Treat all other road users with respect" would be much more helpful.

    A mate of mine suggested wobbling deliberately (a little) when a car was approaching from behind - enough to remind them your line may change. I've tested it occasionally and it seems to work, but since I wasn't wearing a wig and/or women's clothes I can't get all scientific about it.

    My wife says the sticky-out red disc is the best 'deterrent' to close overtaking. I fancy one with a sharp blade at its outermost point, I always think of the chariot race scene in Ben Hur :twisted:

    Those discs looked interesting to me - until I saw a couple of red rods on pushbikes, presumably where a driver has torn through it at speed. :?

    I shall give this bbc site a whirl and then tear into it with severe venom if I have to. :wink:
  • downfaderdownfader Posts: 3,686
    Right, here is my reply - lets see if they print that!
    I find a couple of these points a little stupid tbh with you. Point 1 for example is at contradiction to the highway code for one!

    Point 4 - if your commute is less than 20 minutes then perhaps you should be taking alternative travel arrangements! Take a pushbike or the bus, or even walk. You're just wasting money using the car! If your work relies on a vehicle - eg you need tools, then its understandable you need the car, but otherwise leave it on the drive.

    Point 6 - you're telling me! There are far too many cars on our roads as it is. This leads to increased risk, stress and irrational behaviour.

    Point 8 seems to be worded to blame the driver in front equally for tailgaiting. What a bizarre point to get across?! If the driver behind receives damage or injury to their vehicle then they have themselves to blame.

    Point 9 - should be "treat cyclists with respect!" Many drivers DO treat all cyclists the same, and by that I mean contempt. The research quoted is also dubious as the Dr involved could never quantify how he measured the distances involved, couldnt set up a control study and did most of the work himself. I hardly call that good science.

    The reason why you give cyclists space is incase they slip on deisel/loose road surfacing (has happened), hit a hole, and it increases their visability to other road users.

    And the biggest thing we should learn from Lewis is that he's a pro and we're not.
  • jedsterjedster Posts: 2,004
    Look I've had this convo several times. Its an interesting bit of pub science, but he didn't measure his own mean distance from the kerb and he simply cannot eliminate his own knowledge of (a) what he was looking to test and (b) how it was being measures. On top of that, he had to ride with different clothing.

    It was few hundred miles of cycling, one cyclist and that cyclist knew what was going on.

    You know, he just might be right, but the tentative conclusions he came to (which were couched in good old "mights" and "possibly's" - suggesting that he's well aware of the merits or otherwise of the study) are rapidly becoming recceived wisdom, which is dangerous - just look at MMR.

    Spot on AT
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