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        Showing posts with label helmets for motorists. Show all posts
        Showing posts with label helmets for motorists. Show all posts

        19 February 2011

        Australian Helmet Science - For Motorists

        helmet for motorists head protection for motorists helmet for motorists

        Since posting about mass-produced motoring helmets and later Protective Helmet-ish headbands for motorists I was curious to learn more about the latter, produced at the University of Adelaide.

        It's taken a while but I finally recieved the study done in 2000 at the Road Accident Research Unit at the U of Adelaide, called CR 193: The development of a protective headband for car occupants (Andersen, White, McLean 2000).

        A chap at Road Safety Policy, Department of Infrastructure & Transport in Australia was kind enough to send a link to the Australian Government website wherein the study is presented.

        I don't think cyclists should be bullied with helmet promotion and threatened with legislation when there exists a very real and present danger to car occupants. I think that the car lobby as well as the general population should be presented with more data and facts about the dangers of driving.

        It's only fair and logical.

        From the Australian report we can read about the background for the study:

        "Car crashes remain a significant source of head injury in the community. Car occupants have an annual hospital admission rate of around 90 per 100,000 population. Of drivers who are admitted to hospital, the most serious injury is usually to the head (O'Conner and Trembath, 1994).

        In a previous study, McLean et al. (1997) estimated the benefits that are likely to accrue to Australia from the use of padding of the upper interior of the passenger compartment. This study specifically examined the effects of the amendment to the United States Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 201 (FMVSS 201) in which passenger cars have to pass head impact tests with the upper interior. That report estimated the total annual reduction in harm to the Australian community to be around $123 million.

        But more impressive were the estimates of introducing protective headwear for car occupants. The authors of the report estimated that the annual reduction in harm would be in the order of $380 million. The benefit of padding the head is that the head is protected from strikes with unpadded automotive components, exterior objects and in vehicles that predate any eventual introduction of padded interiors."

        These are Australian numbers so the numbers for annual reduction in harm would be even higher in the EU or US.

        The tests were a success, which is great news for drivers and car occupants:

        "The results from Phase 3 indicate that a headband can greatly reduce the severity of an impact to the head. HIC was reduced by 25 percent [...] when compared with an impact with no headband."

        The RARU headband prototype covers 44% of impact points usually suffered by car occupants. You can see on the photos at top that the protective area was actually extended when the prototype was designed so this 44% must be a bit higher.

        The researchers go on to recommend further work on the subject:

        "The results from Phase 3 indicate that a headband can greatly reduce the severity of an impact to the head. HIC was reduced by 25 percent [...] with the use of 25 mm of BB-38 polyurethane, and 67 percent with the honeycomb cardboard prototype, when compared with an impact with no headband."

        "We recommend that further investigation is made into materials of a honeycomb structure to find a material of the correct crushing strength and durability. We also recommend that prototypes be developed further to be included in a testing program that would include other vehicle structures tested over a range of velocities."

        It gets extremely difficult to ignore the bull when you're looking at this kind of science.

        If we're serious, as societies, about really saving lives, these headbands should be promoted on all levels. There are two positive effects: One is that there will be fewer head injuries among car occupants. The other is that we would be informing people of the danger of driving and thereby branding driving as dangerous which will only serve the cause of encouraging people to consider safer transport options like... oh I don't know... cycling?

        Take the Poll:

        Here's a link to the Australian Government website about the motorist headbands.
        Here's the study as a .pdf: The Development of a Protective Headband for Car Occupants

        17 February 2011

        Australian Call For Motoring Helmets

        One of our readers in Australia, Peter, sent us this article written in 1989 by Alan A. Parker. It's an interesting backward glance to the days when Australia were debating mandatory helmet laws.

        The latter half of the article is interesting. In it, the author discusses motoring helmets and, indeed, calls for them. I found this bit to be enlightening:

        "There is an embarrassing silence from the police and the police unions about their willingness to enforce bicycle helmet laws but, in the closing days of 1987, they went public with the proposal that motorists should wear helmets which they regard as a worthwhile change in the law that they are prepared to enforce."

        Hadn't heard that one before. That the police went public backing motoring helmets. A little piece of the puzzle falls into place.
        Helmets for Motorists - bilisthjelm
        Our article from back in May 2009 about Australian motoring helmets - "The World's First" - produced by Davies Craig was greeted with chuckles at first. Until we started looking into it and discovering that motoring helmets have been taken seriously, as we wrote about later.

        But the question of WHY Davies Craig would start producing them has remained vague. We were aware of studies showing the benefits of motoring helmets from the late 1990's but Davies Craig were selling theirs in the late 1980's. A company wouldn't invest in a product like this unless there was a good reason. So it's interesting to learn that motoring helmets were on the agenda and that the police, at least for a while, were backing their use.

        Davies Craig, on the box, say that they had spent 3 years developing the motoring helmet so the subject must have been topical for a while.

        With that, said, the author questions self-enforcement of helmet laws. He was, it must said, correct. Over 20 years later, the police in most Australian cities may ticket cyclists for riding without, but it's not a priority by all accounts and often it is the exception. Except in Melbourne where urban cyclists are constantly hunted down like vermin.

        The author calls for equality, saying that bicycle helmets are perfect for car occupants and he even proposes making them a standard feature in new cars:

        "The design rules for all new cars should be changed so that all new cars come with a complement of bicycle helmets with built-in clips to conveniently store them, on the back seat or under the dashboard, so as to minimise the inconvenience to motor vehicle users."

        He also hits the bullseye when he writes that:
        "It is very difficult to take politicians and car driving safety experts seriously when they know so little about head injuries that they don't wear a bicycle helmet in their own cars. I have been wearing a bicycle helmet for ten years because it protects me yet I have never seen any of the hundred or so big-mouthed helmet advocates, who don't ride bicycles, wear a helmet in their car. I wonder why?

        Perhaps the Cain government should set an example and have all MPs and government drivers wear helmets?"

        The big-mouthed helmet advocates are still out there and still driving without helmets so little has changed on that front apart from the names and faces.

        In all the time we've been writing about the issue of motoring helmets I have never heard any good excuse why we shouldn't promote them. From anyone. Even the cycling helmet advocates avoid the issue like the plague.

        Even though the issue of motoring helmets could be the singlemost potent weapon in the bicycle advocacy arsenal.

        27 October 2010

        Road "Justice"

        You're going to love this...


        Does the thought of an angry motorist driving about the city taking photos and filming whilst behind the wheel make the city a safer place? Hardly. Does Angry Motorist's congratulations to Toronto's new mayor Rob Ford give him street cred? Nah.

        We recommend Angry Motorist hook up with this chap in Montreal and buy one of these.

        11 May 2010

        Driving Without Dying - Helmets for Motorists

        Helmets for Motorists - Driving Helmets - Bilist hjelme
        It's no secret that we're big fans of helmet campaigns for motorists. It would do wonders for reducing car traffic and encouraging people to ride bicycles.

        We've previously blogged about the first Motoring Helmet, developed in Australia in the late 1980's. Later we covered the Protective Headbands for Motorists developed at the University of Adelaide on the background of an Australian government study that showed that many lives could be saved and serious injuries reduced if car occupants wore helmets or similar devices. We added a blogpost about the headbands here.

        A few days ago, our colleague, Chris from Britain's CTC, sent us the link to Driving Without Dying. It's a Canadian website called Driving Without Dying by a man named Jack who says,

        "There are giant gaps in highway safety that need to be filled. My legacy to humanity is to change the driving habits of the entire world and I don't care how long it takes."

        The man sounds committed. Check out his website. You can even translate his 10 Reasons to Consider Wearing a Helmet While in Your Car into other languages and send them in.

        In addition, this chap also has www.SafetyTuque.com - 'tuque' being a Canadianism for ski hat. He argues that you should acquire one because, among other things, "Crossing busy streets and falling on icy sidewalks are commonplace dangers for everyone when the snow is flying." Not to mention "Falling ice and snow off large buildings have been known to strike many unsuspecting pedestrians."

        "If helmets should be mandatory anywhere it's inside cars. Driving is the only thing most of us do that's really dangerous, with almost 50,000 deaths a year in North America. Going for a drive is like going to war - and we should probably wear combat helmets - especially teenagers". Josh Freed, The Gazette, Montreal, 17 February 2007.

        What do you think? Is Jack on the right track? The only reason that the two Australian motoring helmets never made any real impact is that the automobile industry wouldn't touch them with a ten-foot pole. It would be a catastrophe for sales if we started telling people that driving is dangerous. 1.2 million deaths a year and many more injuries. Goodness, no. That's bad marketing.

        Should the bicycle crowd back Jack's quest?

        We've had a poll running for a while here on Copenhagenize.com. It got buried in older posts, but's lets keep it running.

        16 August 2009

        Head Protection for Motorists

        helmet for motorists head protection for motorists helmet for motorists
        A while back we posted about an Australian 'motoring helmet' designed to protect motorists' heads in car accidents. It was designed in the late 1980's.

        Then we recieved this tip yesterday. Another head protection device for motorists, this one developed at the University of Adelaide, in Australia. A serious product for the serious of protecting motorists from the dangers of driving. Despite airbags and seatbelts, motorists are victims of alarming head injury rates. Here's what the Centre for Automotive Safety Research [CASR] in Australia says:

        The Centre has been evaluating the concept of a protective headband for car occupants. In about 44 percent of cases of occupant head injury, a protective headband, such as the one illustrated, would have provided some benefit. One estimate has put the potential benefit of such a device (in terms of reduced societal Harm) as high as $380 million, compared with $123 million for padding the upper interior of the car. This benefit derives from the fact that in a crash, the head strikes objects other than those that could be padded inside the car.

        Wikipedia has some more:
        CASR were investigating the benefits of padding the inside of a car, which is a legal requirement in some jurisdictions. They discovered that although the head may strike any of a number of places in a car, many of which would be difficult to pad, that about half of all serious head injuries occurred to the forehead, side of the head or behind the ears. From these findings CASR embarked upon a project to develop a headband which could protect these areas of the head in a car collision.

        The BBC wrote about the new product here.

        Would you wear one?

        Any bicycle advocate worth their salt will dedicate the majority of their time to promoting cycling positively and highlighting the many benefits of cycling for the individual and for society.

        Unfortunately, it proves necessary to spend a great deal of time debunking well-established myths about the 'dangers' of cycling. The health benefits of cycling - both for the individual and society - are 20 times greater than the relatively small risk of serious accident. This is where the focus should lie.

        Increasing the number of cyclists in any urban environment fights obesity and a host of illnesses associated with our modern sedentary lifestyles. More citizens choosing the bicycle reduces injury rates. If you double the number of cyclists in a city, the risk of injury falls by one-third, due to the Safety in Numbers principle.

        Futhermore, in Copenhagen we've calculated that:

        For every kilometre cycled, society enjoys a net PROFIT of 1.22 kroner [$0.23].

        On the other hand, for every kilometre travelled in a car, society suffers a net LOSS of 0.69 kroner [$0.13].

        Politicians here, like anywhere else, love cost-benefit analysis. Cycling and investment in infrastructure is fantastically profitable for a society.

        The Copenhagen calculations are based, among other factors, on reduced costs for wear and tear on the roads, the health benefits of cycling and the extended lives of healthier citizens.

        We're not even talking about testosterone cycling, merely pedalling to work, the supermarket, the cinema, etc. When more people cycle, there are fewer sick days, fewer hospital admissions and the working population is generally more productive.

        It is even more unfortunate that many of the people who are eager to keep the myths about cycling alive are cyclists. More often than not, cyclists who enjoy the adrenaline version of cycling and not the casual urban transport style on the rise in cities all over the world.

        Imagine if the most vocal advocates of 'going for walks around town' were racewalkers and racewalking clubs.

        Copenhagenize.com, in the interest of exploring how logic works - or rather doesn't - thinks that the focus on the mythical dangers of cycling is misplaced. In logical terms, proponents of bicycle helmets should extend their campaign to include helmets for pedestrians and motorists. Anything less than that is misleading, statistically incorrect and just plain ridiculous.

        Promoting the positive aspects of cycling seems so blatantly obvious, but it is, sadly, an uphill battle and has been for the past few decades.

        The time is ripe for Bicycle Culture 2.0. The more people who promote cycling as positive, the quicker we arrive.

        21 May 2009

        Motoring Helmets for REAL High-Risk Transport

        Helmet for motorists
        Cool, light and comfortable.
        Let's just get one thing straight right off the bat. This is a real product, produced in Australia in the 1980's by a company called Davies, Craig.

        And I'm so pleased to know it exists. Chris from the CTC - Cycle Touring Club - which is Great Britain's cyclist advocacy group with 130ish years behind it, has this helmet in their offices and my mate Chris was kind enough to send me photos of it.

        I can't describe the calm that has now settled over my soul now that I know true safety exists.

        The box reads:
        "You have made a sound decision to purchase your Davies, Craig Motoring Helmet. Wear it and don’t feel self-conscious. Driving even for the most proficient is dangerous.

        Ultimately, motoring helmets will be commonplace, but in the meantime, you will be a leader whilst those who may consider your good sense misplaced, will follow."

        Finally, with the quality Motoring Helmet, we can now begin active advocating of helmet use for motorists. Not only do those poor souls suffer higher levels of pollution inside their cars - compared to cycling next to them - but they also have a higher risk of head injury than safer activities like... um... oh i don't know... cycling. Just to pick a safe activity off the top of my head. Completely random. Honest.

        Here's Chris trying it out in a car. Not his car, just a car. He doesn't even have a driving licence.
        From the instruction manual we can learn these important tips:
        "Davies, Craig recommends you wear your Motoring Helmet at all times when motoring but particularly at the following, documented high-risk times:

        - After consuming any alcohol.
        - When other drivers are likely to have consumed alcohol especially 4:00PM to 2:00AM Fridays and Saturdays.
        - After dark and during twilight.
        - In rain or when the roads are wet.
        - During long trips when you may become tired.
        - Within five kilometres of your home or destination.
        - Christmas, Easter and long weekends.
        - If you are aged under 25 or over 60."

        What's even better, you can buy a Motoring Helmet just like this one on Ebay Australia! Hurry, hurry! Be the first!