Crash Tests
Main AuthorDennis Ramón Lahmer; Markus Winninghoff; Hansjörg Leser
Type of Mediapdf-document
Publication Typelecture
Publication Year2015
Publisher24. EVU Conference, Edinburgh

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In recent years the subject of whether helmets improve or worsen the safety while cycling has been frequently discussed. On the basis of field studies it has been postulated that using a helmet often leads to reduced passing distances, a compensation of risk. Most often cited in this context is a paper by Dr. Ian Walker of the University of Bath published in June 2006.

The Unfallanalyse Berlin GbR developed a similar but slightly changed setup, which led to the collected data of 1049 overtaking events in the metropolitan area of Berlin. While the test setup was similar, the results differed significantly. The target of this paper is to show some of the parameters, which can lead to close passing distances.

For this field study a bicycle was equipped with a laser sensor to measure the passing distance of overtaking vehicles. Furthermore two cameras were installed, a full-HD camera directed crossways to the road, recording the overtaking event, and a wide-angle camera to the front to record the ending of the overtaking manoeuvre and to measure the distance of the cyclist to the road’s edge. Afterwards, the recorded data were implemented in the videos and the evaluated data of the videos entered into a database.

The results were divided into three major parts. The first part was the general distinction in passing distances depending on helmet usage. Second was the influence of road parameters. The third part covered environmental influences like wet or damp roads, lighting conditions and time of day. Differences between helmet usage varied only by a small amount, with slightly higher clearances when riding with a helmet. The cyclists increasing distance to the road’s edge lead to a higher passing distance while wearing a helmet.

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