Study: What Puts Cyclists at Greatest Risk? Itís Not What You Wear-
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  1. #1
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    Dec 2009

    Study: What Puts Cyclists at Greatest Risk? Itís Not What You Wear

  2. #2
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    Reputation: rogbie's Avatar
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    Jun 2011
    I want enough visibility for motorists to see me, but not so much they stare at me. Object fixation is a huge cause of incidents. That's something my father imparted on me from his riding of motorcycles for ~40 years. "If they stare at it, they'll steer at it."

    There are several studies I've seen that confirm high visibility clothing has no statistically significant impact on actual visibility. Of course that's across a normalization and outliers certainly exist.

  3. #3
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    "The report looked at injury severity among about 700 adults in Toronto and Vancouver who were hospitalized after a bike collision or fall. Researchers teased out which factors had the biggest impact on the extent of peopleís injuries."


    "Other factors with no statistically significant link to worse injuries: wearing dark or light clothing, road signage about the presence of cyclists, and whether the cyclist had taken a cycling training course."

    Am I wrong to think that the primary benefit of light clothing, road signage about cyclists being present, and cyclist training, is the avoidance of cyclsits being in an accident? If that surmise about avoidance is correct or at least is accepted as a likely premise, then isn't the sample set of hospitalized cyclists the incorrect population to examine for the effectiveness? Or if examined for residual effect once hit, isn't the conclusion however valid for this population, doing a potentially great disservice, if many avoided severe enough injuries to be hospitalized because these were factors in their avoiding collisions, or minor mishaps?

    Maybe to be hit hard enough to be hospitalized required a certain obliviousness on the part of the driver. Almost all those drivers more in tune, did not hit, or if they did did not send the cyclist to a hospital?

    As you can see, this part of the study was invalid. It is the worst sort of over-extrapolation of a dataset outside of the sample into the base population. A survey and monitoring of a group of cyclists over time who vary in these accident avoidance measures is needed to evaluate their effect.

    The Helmet issue may be similar. If helmets are good for minor dings, then you won't see them in the hospital. Since helmets don't help much in more major impacts, other than to reduce damage but not stop the hospital visit, about all we can say is that helmets don't help big impacts much. We all know that.

    The MUP/sidewalk dangers likely suggest some poor sharing by both cyclists and pedestrians. Dog leashes across the path and 20 mph + speeds are two examples. I witnessed a downhill pass of a man and two dogs approaching me on a blind corner that was the oncoming cyclist's fault.He had no idea if anyone was in the oncoming lane. Could have been someone walking big mean dogs. So there is some idiocy on both sides contributing to the reduced safety there.

  4. #4
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    So they have a study that suggests off-street paths are dangerous, and conclude that there is an urgent need for off-street paths?

    Using different names won't change what it is. If it is off the street people will walk on it.
    The above statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration

  5. #5
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    At least in the U.S., I'd say the greatest threat is road design that sees cyclists and pedestrians as a hindrance to fast automobile movement.

  6. #6
    since 4/10/2009
    Reputation: Harold's Avatar
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    Dec 2003
    Agreed, Brian.

    I was troubled by the article stating that bright clothing did not have a statistically significant impact on injury severity (among other statements). Well no $hit! It's supposed to help you AVOID the incident/injury in the first place.

    This article is not about RISK. This article is about injury severity, and it only examined riders who were hospitalized. It's missing a huge subset of riders who were NOT injured at all, and another large subset of riders whose injuries did not warrant hospitalization.

    ANY attempt to add those groups of riders into this survey would have changed the results substantially, I think.

    Who's going to be hit by cars more? Riders who are unseen, I'm fairly sure. Are all those incidents going to be recorded by hospitalizations? Absolutely not. Why would being seen (or not) affect injury SEVERITY once you've already been hit?

    If you're going to tease out helmet effectiveness, you're going to have to look at head injuries exclusively where the primary impact did not involve the face.

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