Helmets, speeding and cake!

Well then, after our little introduction last time around this is where the traffic blog begins in earnest. So let’s start with a subject that causes the foundations of social media to shake with the choruses of “Yays” and “Nays”, every time it gets a mention on our twitter feed, that subject is of course…

Cycling Helmets, should you be wearing one?

“To wear, or not to wear” that is the question. No other subject stirs such feeling on both sides as this seemingly insignificant matter, given everything else that dominates our working landscape and resulting Twitter feed. With the recent explosion in popularity of both recreational cycling and commuting by pedal power, has come the ever increasingly volatile cycling helmet debate, that sometimes draws a surprising amount of vitriol from both camps.

Now before we continue along this path that is like skipping through a firing range, no matter how careful you are you will always draw fire from somewhere, let me make it clear the following views are representative of my own thoughts and in no way are the formal policies or thinking of the West Midlands Police on this matter. Neither am I going to cover law changes, cycling infrastructure or the balance of liability, this is about the decision as to whether to protect your noggin or not when astride a bicycle.

Before I can give you my opinion on the subject, it is only fair that I cover some of the most commonly thrown spears of argument from both sides, and debunk some very false arguments.

“They only work if you’re travelling under 12mph”. Utter rubbish, for a start if it were true, the professional cycling world wouldn’t bother with them. With speeds in the pro peloton averaging somewhere in the 25mph region, not one of those riders would be without a helmet. When you bear witness to some of the horrendous pileups that occur in racing at speeds well in excess of the 25mph average, and the forces involved, the fact that none come away with significant head injuries is in itself testimony to the effectiveness of modern cycling helmets. Just check out the manufacturers web sites and helmet testing regimes if your want further proof.

“They won’t save you from a ton of steel travelling at 50mph or a 44 tonne artic if it runs over you”. This is largely true, but there isn’t a lot that would save you under such circumstances apart from a miracle of biblical proportion. They do however give you a fighting chance of avoiding a serious head injury in “some” collisions. We must also remember that it might not be a collision, the cyclist is blessed with an elevated riding position and forward motion, two of the prime requisites needed in the formula for a serious head injury, just throw in a pothole, slippery surface or sharp (sometimes warranted) braking or the like and the formula is complete. I myself have been saved from a serious head injury under such circumstances, when a wet road and lack of talent saw me hitting my head on the kerb of a traffic island at well over 20mph. My head survived the blow, which as my hands were still on my drop bars when I hit the road, took full force with no time to break the fall. All I lost that day was a lot of skin and pride, thanks to the helmet I was wearing.

We have, unfortunately, dealt with incidents, which have resulted in the cyclist losing their life to a head injury that could have been prevented or lessened had a helmet been worn. Modern medicine is an amazing thing, we have witnessed people being brought back from the dead numerous times having suffered massive injuries, however a major head trauma remains a largely un-survivable injury.

“More people die in cars of head injuries than cyclists”. This again is largely true, however it must be placed in context by the fact that the majority that die of head injuries in vehicle born collisions do so because they or another passenger is not wearing a seat belt, either incorrectly or not at all, or they are killed due to intrusion into the vehicle interior. We don’t suggest they wear helmets because they are generally encased in steel and airbags, which as long as a seatbelt is worn correctly, does a pretty good job of protecting the occupant in the event of a collision.

“It stops people from cycling”. Does it? Cycling is booming and it seems that the majority are equipped with helmets. It’s actually quite unusual to see a commuter or recreational cyclist without a helmet of late. Besides helmets are cool, some of the coolest people on the planet wear a helmet, Sir Brad, Cavendish, Marianne Vos, the Brownlee Brothers, Peter Sagan, Fabian Cancellara, X Wing Pilots, Boba Fett, the Knights of the Round Table… I’ve gone off on a tangent again here ! Anyway, they are an accepted and increasingly important part of cycling fashion, can’t be seen in a lid that doesn’t match your bike or cycling apparel, can you?

“Why should I wear a helmet, it’s the drivers that endanger us” Sometimes true, sometimes not. Plenty of cyclists crash all by themselves (like myself) or endanger themselves through either judicious actions or lack of road sense. The tribal attitude of cyclist vs motorist is seemingly perpetuated by the “few” on both sides of the argument, that are incapable of accepting that to build a better future all must accept their failings, before we can truly share the road.

Having covered a few of the arguments here’s my take on the helmet debate, and I think I’ve got it pretty cornered really. So whether you’re a “Yay or a Nay” read it, digest it, mull it over, and sleep on it. Do not start cracking out your 140 characters on our Twitter feed without rationalizing in full the following statement and its obvious implications. Deep breath having been taken, here goes…

“Wearing a cycling helmet is akin to wearing a lifejacket whilst on the water, you don’t have to do it, but you’re guarding against an un-quantified risk that you know exists but hope you never encounter. A life jacket would not save you in all situations, but would you advise someone not to wear one? And for those of supreme confidence and ability just remember that the best of swimmers would not sail into a storm without a life jacket, nor would the greatest fighter pilots fly into battle without a parachute. And let’s face it, sometimes when you’re on the road sometimes it is like sailing into a storm or flying into battle, there is risk out there, our daily experiences and the casualty figures show that, please guard against part of that risk by wearing a helmet. If you don’t you or your loved ones might have to live with the consequences.

The same could be said of seatbelts as well, but we’ll talk about those next time.

Moving on…

Reflections on another speed campaign

It’s been a few weeks since the last speed campaign, following which, some of the most dramatic and heart wrenching footage of road users losing their lives due to excess speed we have seen has been released. Footage that even made the most hardened of traffic officers draw a sharp intake of breath.

The shock that such footage causes amongst the motoring public however never seems to dull the right foot or throttle hand of the motoring majority though. Let’s face it, when we stand at the side of the road with a Pro Laser we don’t fall short of target practice, do we. It’s a problem that is not reducing or has even plateaued, and makes me think that the one plus point of congestion is that it slows road users to steady crawl, saving a good many lives!

Now you don’t need me to tell you that speeding is a problem, because the majority of you reading this will be on the road daily and witness those who repeatedly place their desire to get somewhere seconds quicker well above the lives of those they share the roads of our region with.

So if I were to tell you that speeding kills far more people than drink driving, you would think that like drink driving, speeding would be socially unacceptable. But alas it is not, why not you may ask? Well some argue that it’s because at some point most drivers have experienced intoxication and realise the sheer senseless stupidity of driving under such circumstances. However, the vast majority have not born witness to the carnage a speeding motor vehicle causes, and as a result are willing to risk their own lives, and those of the innocent, to save a few extra seconds of their day. I however think different; I really think that the British motoring public all have the odd moment when they have a selfish total disregard for others. Why do I think this, well it’s because I have to listen to the endless tirade of poor excuses at the roadside, that when I counter with “Have you seen the advert when the child dies because the car is travelling above 30mph” and I get the inevitable “Yes” I then ask “Why are you speeding then”,….. they say silence is golden……

Traffice officer PC Tina Benbow on patrol.

We carry out our speed checks at locations that have a history of serious collisions, or just past a school, a pedestrian crossing, a playing field/playground or even one of those wonderful signs that flash to tell you that your speeding, yet even here we rarely get chance to raise our speed gun before the next “customer” comes charging towards us.

We aim to educate primarily, make motorists see the errors of their rapid ways, try to reform driving habits that endanger. We offer courses instead of prosecution, councils run campaigns, static cameras line the country’s roads and speed bumps and traffic calming measures lie across them. Manufactures make vehicles with speed limiters and audible warnings that can be set for road limits for those to distracted or to lazy glance occasionally at their speedo. Yet despite all of this my trigger finger still aches through overuse at the end of every speed check, and my pen takes the resulting battering. The courts see daily, motorists who have accumulated enough points to achieve the shameful accolade of a “totter”, those who have managed to reach disqualification through their unquenchable need for speed. There isn’t a lot more we and our road safety partners can do, it really is down to the great British motoring public to change the way you drive. However with 20mph limits on the horizon, I fear for my trigger finger, and the stationery cupboards stock of pens and tickets!

Prove me wrong, slow down folks, make speeding socially unacceptable, however I think we won’t be short of Pro Laser practice until the vast majority of vehicles drive themselves.

Cake and its importance in policing the road

Wonderful thing cake, in all its many forms it truly is a magnificent thing, especially when combined with a cup of tea. But what role does it have to play in policing the roads I hear you ask? Well come close and I’ll let you into a secret, you may not have noticed but the average traffic officer is partial to a bit of cake. Why is this?, well cake never fails to lighten the mood of the worst day, and seeing as most traffic officers are a little dour in demeanour, a little sugar enhanced calorific mood lifter goes down nicely at any time of the day. Cake is readily available and can be eaten 24hrs a day and never even fails to put a smile on my face and smooth the furrows in my brow, and I was born frowning and haven’t stopped since!

And of course for those of us who cycle to work burning somewhere between 1000 and 2500 calories a day alone during our commute, we need cheap carbs to keep us going.

Next time we’ll discuss minimum driving standards, the one reason why you really should wear your seatbelt but never thought of, and the important role Star Wars plays in keeping our roads safe.

Until then, safe journeys all.

PC Mark Hodson
E unit

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15 thoughts on “Helmets, speeding and cake!

  1. chris

    If “speed kills” then why are those UK roads that carry the highest volume of traffic at the highest average speed the safest?

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    1. pchodson Post author

      Easy one that. I assume your refering to Motorways, this is because all the traffic is travelling in the same direction with barriers dividing opposing vehicles, with no “junctions” as such, just on/off slips. Also there are no vulnerable road users (pedestrians/cyclists). In the event of a collision if all vehicle safety features are properly utilised by occupants you get a survivable collision, as the impact is lessened due to the vehicles travelling in the same direction.However if you get a crossover (when a vehicle, usually a HGV goes through a barrier), or a hard shoulder “stationary vehicle” impact you get devastation. If you take our second fastest roads (rural national speed limit or unbarriered duel carraigeway with “give way” junctions) you have the most dangerous roads in the UK as they mix high speed with vulnerable road users and collision hotspots such as junctions. Hope that answers your query.

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      1. stymaster

        I’d be interested in your opinion on this: Is it actually speed itself, or inappropiate speed and lack of attention? Taking your examples above:

        If a HGV crosses the barrier, you’re probably screwed as much at 65, 75, or 90, TBH, as the HGV will be coming towards you at 56 (less whatever it has managed to lose on the barrier). Of course, if you’re tailgating in the wet some way behind the initial impact, then speed becomes a factor, when you pile into the aftermath (like the M42 fog crash…)- but the speed itself is not the issue, the driving too fast or close for the conditions is: we should drive with enough space to stop in what we can see to be clear. Also, thankfully, a crossover is still relatively rare (and hopefully more so with the improved barriers now).

        Taking your second example, obviously they’re the most dangerous, and for the reasons you state (and things like blind bends, the possibility of a stranded vehicle on the carriageway, the prescence of pedestrians, horses, cyclists etc), but the plain “speed kills” message is too simple: there’s many sections of NSL SC road where the 60mph limit could be exceeded safely (but of course, not legally)- wide, no sharp bends, good visibility, but there’s also many sections of road technically NSL that are only safe at 20mph, yet I’ve had someone rip the drivers mirror off my car driving down them at 30 (i.e: under the limit) and say “I was only doing 30”- the assumption being that if they were below the speed limit, that’s safe.

        I appreciate that the faster a vehicle is being driven, the more damage it will cause, but the overall aim should be not to collide at all :-). Sadly too many people don’t think about the physics of piloting 1.5 tonnes of car down a road…

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      2. pchodson Post author

        You are right that the catalyst for the majority of collisions is a driving error. However the impact factor that causes serious or fatal injuries is speed. We are faced with the situation where we will never stop collisions, we can only try to make those collsions less serious. Given that vehicle safety design is nearing a pinicle the only option is reducing the speed of the collisions. Thats why rural and suburban limits are being reduced by local authorities.

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  2. Mike Stead

    Let’s look at some of your ‘arguments’:

    “When you bear witness to some of the horrendous pileups that occur in racing at speeds well in excess of the 25mph average, and the forces involved, the fact that none come away with significant head injuries is in itself testimony to the effectiveness of modern cycling helmets”

    Google these names: ‘Thomas Casarotto’ ‘Wouter Weylandt’ ‘Junior Heffernan’. All pro cyclists, all dead wearing helmets. Your lack of research here is telling. Noting that for how far, how fast and how hard they ride, pro cyclists fall off incredibly rarely.

    Also the fact that there are many pileups yet few head injuries is more to do with the fact that ***hitting your head on the ground in a bike crash is pretty uncommon***. Only about 1 in 10 bike crashes results in any form of head impact. We have evolved to protect our heads.

    You are happy to suggest that because pro cyclists wear them doing 25MPH, I should wear one doing 10MPH to the shops on my Dutch bike. Yet you say that helmets in cars won’t make a difference because “they are generally encased in steel and airbags, which as long as a seatbelt is worn correctly, does a pretty good job of protecting the occupant in the event of a collision”. I’d say 3,000 people per year dead in cars in the UK, half from head injuries makes a mockery of your point.

    By your pro-cycling-wears-them helmet logic, all car drivers should wear helmets because F1 drivers wear them.

    “It stops people from cycling”. Does it?” – yes it does stop people cycling. Particulary young people and women. See here: http://www.cycle-helmets.com/imgs/nz-injuries-participation-per-cyclist.gif – can you spot when the helmet law was introduced? HINT: 1993-1994.

    “Cycling is booming” – no, it’s not: http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/sep/19/britain-cycling-craze-myth-dawes-claud-butler-tandem-group – except among recreational male road cyclists, who make up a tiny % of the population.

    You seem not to understand the design standards of helmets. The widely-accepted standards mean a helmet will fail to absorb more energy than is present at the equivalent impact of tripping over your feet and hitting your head. FYI that’s a 5KG mass moving at 12MPH. If you add in significant body mass (as in going over the handlebars and piledriving head-first into the ground) or speed you will have grossly exceeded the design standard, maybe by a factor of 10 or more. So yes, wearing a helmet might have removed a tiny fraction of the energy involved in a collision. It’s the other 9/10ths (or whatever) that kills you.

    Almost all cycling deaths involve multi-ton steel boxes moving at high speeds. The lunacy of believing a 200gm hole-riddled coffee cup will make even a slight difference / save you is stunning.

    Well done for showing yet again why Britain fails utterly to provide for and keep cyclists safe. With a victim-blaming mentality engrained into road policing, it’s hardly a surprise Police forces basically ignore driving likely to harm or kill cyclists.

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  3. Elisabeth Anderson (@roseofwinter)

    As a driver (IAM Advanced Motorist), motorcyclist and cyclist who races bicycles as well as rides socially, I wanted to reply to this article. On a motorcycle I always wear a BSA approved helmet, on a bicycle I mostly wear a helmet, although not always.

    I’d like to make a few points about this article which I feel is rather full of rhetoric, mis-interpretation and emotive inaccuracies.

    As follows:

    “No other subject stirs such feeling on both sides as this seemingly insignificant matter”

    I’m not sure that’s true. Or that people think it insignificant.

    ““They only work if you’re travelling under 12mph”. Utter rubbish”

    Well no, they’re /tested/ at that speed. Manufacturers won’t even claim they will work /at/ 12mph.

    “if it were true, the professional cycling world wouldn’t bother with them”

    Many injuries are caused in the ‘professional cycling world’ at lower speeds and helmets can help guard against some abrasions and very low-speed knocks. Nothing at high speeds though. Also the professional cycling world is subject to the demands of insurance companies who, due to health and safety reasons require all participants to wear helmets. They also provide an aero-dynamic advantage in some events.

    “When you bear witness to some of the horrendous pileups that occur in racing at speeds well in excess of the 25mph average, and the forces involved, the fact that none come away with significant head injuries is in itself testimony to the effectiveness of modern cycling helmets. ”

    That’s just simply not true. Or at best it’s based on a logical fallacy. I’m a ‘racing cyclist’ and I see pileups but helmets aren’t really of much benefit here. Most of the injuries are broken wrists, arms, collar bones etc.

    ““They won’t save you from a ton of steel travelling at 50mph or a 44 tonne artic if it runs over you”. This is largely true”

    No, it is *completely true*. To suggest otherwise is, quite frankly, ridiculous!

    “They do however give you a fighting chance of avoiding a serious head injury in “some” collisions.”

    You mean they /may/ give you…

    “a major head trauma remains a largely un-survivable injury.”

    Which helmets are *not intended or designed to protect you from*!

    “More people die in cars of head injuries than cyclists”

    Well, the argument is that people die /on the roads/ due to head injuries; both drivers, passengers and pedestrians. But, again, a cycle helmet is not intended to protect against vehicle collision. No manufacturer will tell you their helmets do this!

    “”It stops people from cycling”. Does it? ”

    Yes it does.

    ““Why should I wear a helmet, it’s the drivers that endanger us” Sometimes true, sometimes not.”

    In fact *mostly* true. TfLs own study shows that it is mostly driver error causing collisions with cyclists. But again, cycle helmets are not designed to protect you against a collision with a vehicle.

    “Wearing a cycling helmet is akin to wearing a lifejacket whilst on the water”

    Although it’s not. You’re conflating the two things as ‘safety equipment’. Nobody would argue that a life-jacket doesn’t perform its intended task of keeping you afloat. Although it’s not possible to assert or prove that cycle helmets prevent head injury with the same level of efficacy.

    “A life jacket would not save you in all situations, but would you advise someone not to wear one?”

    Nobody is advising people to /not/ wear helmets. Nobody. They are saying it should be a choice, and it should be; given the particular conditions in which you’re cycling.

    “nor would the greatest fighter pilots fly into battle without a parachute”

    Although millions of commercial pilots fly every day without a parachute.

    “sometimes when you’re on the road sometimes it is like sailing into a storm or flying into battle, there is risk out there”

    I think you’re confusing risk with threat.

    “The same could be said of seatbelts as well,”

    Well, the evidence /does/ show that seatbelts can prevent injury.

    I’m certainly not going to suggest that people shouldn’t wear helmets, but I’m a little more guarded in assuming that they’re as effective as you are alluding to here. I feel it’s just as harmful to purport opinion to be fact either if you’re for or against helmets. You’ll also probably find that people aren’t just ‘anti-helmets’ but ‘anti-ignorance’ and have a sensible and fact-based view of the efficacy of cycling helmets.

    Thanks,

    Beth

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  4. wheelsonthebike

    “When you bear witness to some of the horrendous pileups that occur in racing at speeds well in excess of the 25mph average, and the forces involved, the fact that none come away with significant head injuries is in itself testimony to the effectiveness of modern cycling helmets.”

    This isn’t true. http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/pro-cycling-plagued-by-head-injuries

    “Just check out the manufacturers web sites and helmet testing regimes if your want further proof.”

    Alright, I did. The standards only test a vertical drop between 9 to 16 mph. There is no testing of forward or rotational displacement, which is what would happen with an ‘over the handle bars’ crash.
    http://www.helmets.org/stdcomp.htm
    http://www.helmets.org/dropcalc.htm

    But even if the standards were more comprehensive they are meaningless if they are not applied. There is absolutely no requirement for helmets to be independently tested, and so they aren’t. The manufacturer does the testing themselves. Even if helmets were proven to be effective, you are advising people to wear anything, without any knowledge of their quality.

    “I myself have been saved…”

    Thank goodness we have officers who still use anecdote based policing. Who needs evidence when we have reckons?

    “They do however give you a fighting chance of avoiding a serious head injury in “some” collisions”

    This is true. But why do you only apply it to people on bikes? It helps in some collisions, whether while cycling, walking, driving. To say otherwise is hypocrisy.

    “Cycling is booming”

    No it’s not.

    And it’s certainly not in Australia after they brought in mandatory helmet laws.
    http://www.cycle-helmets.com/cyclist-travel.html

    In fact you’ll find that in countries that bring in mandatory helmet laws the only stat that ‘booms’ is the proportion of head injuries from cycling. People stop cycling the easy, simple journeys leaving a higher proportion of those who already wear helmets, such as those who cycle for sport and are more likely in sustain a head injury.

    I used to wear a helmet. I used to think that “it might help!” But I don’t any more. There just isn’t the evidence. You’ve provided none in your blog, despite the information being easily found online. You’ll find it’s very mixed.

    And now it’s my turn for an analogy.

    Wearing a cycling helmet is akin to wearing a lifejacket whilst in a warm, calm sea. The lifejacket looks very fancy, and the manufacturer has very nice adverts for it, but you can see that in rough seas the straps won’t hold, and there’s, at best, conflicting scientific evidence that they even float. You don’t have to buy one, but you’re guarding against an un-quantified risk that you know exists but hope you never encounter. Risks like suddenly losing the ability to swim, or the potential existence of venomous jellyfish in these idyllic waters. This life jacket would not save you in all situations, but it might help. After all you can see British police nearby advising holidaying Brits to wear them, instructing on how to deal with shark bites, jellyfish stings, strokes, heart attacks, and sudden blindness. Maybe the calm sea isn’t so safe after all, and it’s quite easy to pop in the car and drive to the swimming pool instead.

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  5. David Robjant (@bike3isavolvo)

    “A life jacket would not save you in all situations, but would you advise someone not to wear one?”

    Interesting analogy.

    One of the best arguments for wearing a “life jacket” (as opposed to a buoyancy aid) is that anything sold as a “life jacket” (as opposed to a buoyancy aid) is designed to keep your airway above water while unconscious.

    The likely scenario is that you are unconscious as a result of a blow to the head- in a sailing context, as a result of getting your noggin in the way of the Boom. There ARE safety helmets for the use of sailors. I don’t see recreational associations like the RYA or seriously powerful and rigorous marine safety organisations like the MCA pressing for their general use. I don’t know why. It may be to do with lack of data about the balance of effect. Example question: does secondary safety (PPE) in this case reduce primary safety (situation awareness)?

    Moreover, you won’t find the British Canoe Union promoting, endorsing, or even permitting the use of a “life jacket”, because Canoeing safety depends crucially on self-rescue techniques, which a “life jacket” (as opposed to a buoyancy aid) would obstruct.

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    1. David Robjant (@bike3isavolvo)

      PS. I should add, PC Hodson has made some fairly well considered remarks here, on the basis of some personal experience, but (rather impressively) without substituting anecdote for science.

      I sometimes wear a Helmet, sometimes not. For instance, it would be bonkers to wear one while cycling on a hired bike in the Netherlands.

      Or it would be bonkers to opt for driving to my destination, over bike & train, on the grounds that I won’t have any way to store a Helmet- because Bike&Train without helmet can be vastly safer to myself than driving, even excluding the rather important question of danger to *others*.

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  6. andrewrh

    Pleased to see you blogging and look forward to more.

    Your points about speeding are welcome – the faster a multitonne car goes the more the force of impact if something goes wrong (which sadly happens all too often). Having lower limits like 20mph in residential areas (like in mine of Whitchurch, Hampshire) also makes the place feel more liveable (and a bit quieter!).

    Reducing road danger requires a rethink of our road network. Its present design is to ‘smooth traffic flow’ for people that have chosen to drive but at the expense of people that have chosen to walk and cycle.

    Thankfully campaigns like ‘Space for Cycling’, ‘Stop Killing Cyclists’ and ‘Live in Hope’ are starting to have an effect on people’s views regarding the everyday dangers and how governments can remove the conflicts in the first place.

    Others have commented here well regarding bicycle helmets, and I am glad we have a choice in the matter (Jersey excepted). If you want to wear one be my guest. It doesn’t take long to do the research to educate yourself on their effectiveness (or lack).

    It is intruiging to me that most police officers wear stab vests but I have never heard them promoted for public use, even in rough areas. There is even debate it seems around their effectiveness, comfort, practicality…
    http://touch.policeoracle.com/news/article.html?id=59305

    Best wishes,

    ~Andrew~

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  7. george reeves

    aged 17,now 50, learning to drive I witnessed a head on between 2 ford coritnas MK4/5 on a nat speed limit country rd,result was the screens where actually touching the entire fronts of both cars where in the cabins both fatac.Nothing in life is worth your or someone else’s life.speed kills end of,,,

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    1. stymaster

      But what caused the cars to hit head on? Probably one driver the wrong side of the road- perhaps a badly judged overtake?

      A head-on collision with both cars doing 30 mph (particularly in a MK4 or 5 Cortina with no airbags and limited crash protection, and in 1981 perhaps not wearing seatbelts) could easily have been fatal. Speed is not the only factor here- if one car had not been the wrong side of the road, there would have been no collision: the speed just makes the consequences worse- of course you’re more likely to kill or injure someone at a higher speed, but does that mean we should ignore the other factors, the driver errors that casue collisions?

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  8. coolsmartphoneblog

    The amount of critical opinions thrown at this post is pretty terrible if you ask me. Wearing a helmet is just common sense on a bike and it’s far better than not wearing one. The same goes for seatbelts in cars. Whether true or anecdotal, we’re generally not the ones seeing the resulting horror in road collisions, so digging out random links on the web to try and dent such a positive and well-written message isn’t helping.

    I’d not been on a push bike since my teenage years and only recently started again for fitness. I’ll admit to previously being an impatient driver and one who becomes annoyed at bikers slowing me down. We’re all guilty of breaking the speed limit too at some point, if we’re honest with ourselves.

    Being on a bike and especially recently cycling to France has shown the huge difference in attitudes between the drivers in our country and across the water. I’ve been clipped and shouted at here.

    Everything carries a risk. Experience changes attitudes quicker than anything. I now give more space to cyclists as I know what it’s like to be cycling in such an imposing and at times hostile road environment. I also wear a helmet, because if I didn’t I wouldn’t be typing this.

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  9. Philip Diprose

    Hello,
    Im the editor of The Ride Journal, a cycling magazine based in London but covering all kinds of cycling all over the world. Its easiest to let you look at our website so you can see what we are about (you can even download issues 1-5 for free if you have the spare time).
    http://www.theridejournal.com
    In a number of your blogs its evident that you have a number of passionate cyclists in your midst and I wondered if one of them would be interested in writing for the next issue. It would only be a 750-800 word piece we were after. And rather than a traditional manifesto of why the cycling team is effective it would be great to know more from the front line. Hear some stories about what it involves, how the police feel as they are chasing on bike, how things pan out as the incident evolves. Please email me theridejournal@hotmail.com if you are interested.
    We had a piece from a London policeman in issue 3 (page 30) but Id like to have something that is more about specific events etc, if possible.
    We would love to be able to give our readers insight into how it really is rather than how people imagine cycling police.
    Regards Philip Diprose
    (obviously this doesnt need to be posted on your blog)

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