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Fast Feelings An experimental study of cycle helmets’ effect on cycling pace and emotional reactions dr. Aslak Fyhri Senior researcher Department of Safety.

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Presentation on theme: "Fast Feelings An experimental study of cycle helmets’ effect on cycling pace and emotional reactions dr. Aslak Fyhri Senior researcher Department of Safety."— Presentation transcript:

1 Fast Feelings An experimental study of cycle helmets’ effect on cycling pace and emotional reactions dr. Aslak Fyhri Senior researcher Department of Safety and the Environment

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3 Page Lack of effects in legislation  Case-control studies show positive effect of helmet  Legislation for adults:  Australia  Canada (British Colombia)  New Zealand  USA  Mixed evidence  Some injury reduction, but more for other injuries  Reduced cycling  Why do the laws not work? 3

4 Page Risk compensation or population shift?  Risk compensation  Helmets make people feel more safe → cycle faster  Higher cycling speed → more accidents  Population shift  Helmet laws →cycling a hassle  Non-committed cyclists disappear  Eager, high-risk cyclists remain  Higher accident risk 4

5 Page Risk compensation involves risk perception (?) 5

6 Page Measuring emotions  Asking is difficult  Psychophysiological measures as indications of mental load (stress)  Differ in immediacy  Galvanic skin response, most common  but impractical in field studies (traffic) 6

7 Page Heart rate variability  Less dependent on physical load  Easy to measure 7

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9 Previous study (Phillips, Fyhri and Sagberg 2011)  Differing effects depending on helmet habits  Only routine helmet users cycle faster with helmet  No differences in emotions (heart rate variability) according to helmet use  Not enough control with physical activity 9

10 Page Procedure 10  Two sites, downhill sloped  Makrellbekken (0.9 km)  Kongsveien (1.4 km)  “Cycle for 100 meters, then stop pedalling”  One hand on the steering!  With and without helmet (random assign)  Measures  Speed  Heart rate variability

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12 Page Participants(N=27)  College students  Age (mean 22.1)  4 male/23 female  Nine regular bicyclists (> 1 t/week)  15 routine helmet users (> rarely use) 12

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15 Page Results, speed 15  Accustomed users cycle faster with a helmet, unaccustomed users do not

16 Page Results, heart rate variability 16  Accustomed users are less afraid with a helmet, unaccustomed users are unchanged

17 Page Potential long term effects, risk compensation theory 17

18 Page Potential long term effects, population shift theory 18

19 Page Conclusion  The helmet had an effect  on cycling speed  and on “emotions”  But only for accustomed helmet users  “Inverse” risk compensation?  yes, but most likely a transitory situation 19 Fyhri and Phillips (2012) Emotional reactions to cycle helmet use. Accident Analysis and Prevention in press

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