Helmeted Men Ride Faster
Study shows why there's a difference in speed with safety
If putting on a helmet makes you feel invincible, you’re not alone. According to a new study published in the American Journal of Public Health, helmet-wearing men ride more than 1.5 miles per hour faster than those who let the wind fully whip through their hair (or bald spots).
The study, which took place in Bordeaux, France (a metropolis bustling with bikers), looked at more than 500 volunteers over the course of two years and tracked speeds using cameras at seven locations. While it’s hardly full tilt, helmet-donning men were found to ride, on average, at 11.9 miles per hour while the bare-headed topped off at 10.4mph (we assume the weaving around car traffic slows everyone’s average speed to the just-barely double digits).
Researchers speculate that this riding difference is due to a behavior known as risk compensation—the feeling of indestructability that men foster when safety precautions to an activity (or, perhaps, always—like this guy who rides helmet-less at 55mph). Study authors also say that the modest increase in speed is unlikely to change the amount of added protection that comes from strapping on a lid in the first place…so don’t use this as a lame-o excuse to not wear one.
Interestingly, women riders were also tracked and, unlike their male counterparts, didn’t show any significant speed difference, helmeted or not.