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Sunday, November 6, 2011

Strict Liability

I have recently had a few near misses with vehicles whilst commuting to and from work and as those journeys are now in darkness I feel more Vulnerable.
In reality I am probably easier to see illuminated than I am mixed together in an assortment of other roadside furniture.
Recently a driver pulled right out in front of me and then proceeded to get as close to the kerb as possible to shut off my obvious escape route.
With the bike skills of Danny MacAskill I bunny hopped the verge and onto safety

Unfortunately for the driver his progress was hampered at a T Junction ahead where he had to stop for other cars ( apparently they cause more damage than cycles)

When I got alongside him he would not engage my glance, not until I started hammering my fist on his window and his kids started pointing. Slightly embarrassed he summoned up a coy shrug of the shoulders and a tepid 'sorry' appeared on the surface of his mouth.
I instinctively gestured with a V sign moving it towards my eyes as if to outline his deficiency, and mouthed back. Unfortunately my reply was audible and was a non intended insult to people who are visually impaired. As he turned red with embarrassment and his children's jaws dropped I think I got my message home.
One of the problems in this Country is that the traffic laws do not really cater for cycle users.
I mean that in both ways.
To protect them and to protect other road users from them.
In Holland and other European Countries there is strict Liability when it comes to collisions.
What a great deterrent, especially when you consider that the biggest excuse for people not commuting by bike is that they worry about being hit by a car.

Even in America the law states that you have to provide a specified distance.
I don't mind Sharing !!!

On the subject of Safety apparently wearing helmets can be 'more dangerous'
Research suggests that cyclists who wear protective helmets are more likely to be knocked down by passing vehicles.
The study from Bath University found drivers tend to pass closer when overtaking cyclists wearing helmets than those who are bare-headed.
Dr Ian Walker was struck by a bus and a lorry during the experiment. He was wearing a helmet both times.

But the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents said tests have shown helmets protect against injuries. I can certainly vouch for that having tragically witnessed an horrific accident with one of our Femules Karen. Her helmet use undoubtedly saved her life.

To carry out the research, Dr Walker used a bike fitted with a computer and an ultrasonic distance sensor to find drivers were twice as likely to get close to the bicycle, at an average of 8.5cm, when he wore a helmet.

The experiment, which recorded 2,500 overtaking motorists in Salisbury and Bristol, was funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

Dr Walker, a traffic psychologist from the University's Department of Psychology, said: "This study shows that when drivers overtake a cyclist, the margin for error they leave is affected by the cyclist's appearance.

“ This study suggests wearing a helmet might make a collision more likely ”
Dr Ian Walker
"By leaving the cyclist less room, drivers reduce the safety margin that cyclists need to deal with obstacles in the road, such as drain covers and potholes, as well as the margin for error in their own judgements.

"We know helmets are useful in low-speed falls, and so definitely good for children, but whether they offer any real protection to somebody struck by a car is very controversial.

"Either way, this study suggests wearing a helmet might make a collision more likely in the first place," he added.

Dr Walker thinks the reason drivers give less room to cyclists wearing helmets is because they see them as "Lycra-clad street warriors" and believe they are more predictable than those without.
He suggests different types of road users need to understand each other.
"Most adult cyclists know what it is like to drive a car, but relatively few motorists ride bicycles in traffic, and so don't know the issues cyclists face.

"There should definitely be more information on the needs of other road users when people learn to drive and practical experience would be even better."
Wig wearing
To test another theory, Dr Walker donned a long wig to see whether there was any difference in passing distance when drivers thought they were overtaking what appeared to be a female cyclist.

While wearing the wig, drivers gave him an average of 14cm more space when passing.
In future research, Dr Walker hopes to discover whether this was because female riders are seen as less predictable than male riders or because women are not seen riding bicycles as often as men on the UK's roads.

However, a spokesman for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents insisted: "We wouldn't recommend that people stop wearing helmets because of this research. Helmets have been shown to reduce the likelihood of head and brain injuries in a crash.

"[The research] highlights a gain in vulnerability of cyclists on our roads and drivers of all types need to take more care when around them."

Story from BBC NEWS:

And Finally I have recently been using a Trion Z magnetic and Ionic bracelet as its all the rave in the sports world at the moment. AS I am currently on a diet and increasing my training I am feeling fitter and leaner each day with far more energy.

Is my bracelet responsible in some way? I don't Know

Will I remove it, NO WAY !!!!!!


  1. Hi Philip,
    I have been using a Trion:Z doubleband for a couple of years. I don't really 'know'if it works but like you don't want to risk it by taking it off.


  2. I think it would help if the goverment did a campaign to try and educate drivers on how much space cyclists need with TV Adverts etc. Some drivers would ignore it but hopefully it would stick in the back of their minds

  3. Having cycled in the UK (No strict liability) and in Germany (Strict liability) it makes a very big difference in the way drivers react to cyclists: knowing they have to prove the cyclist was in the wrong is a powerful incentive not to be stupid.

    And where is the evidence that helmets reduce injuries in car/bike accidents? They certainly aren't desined to do so.


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