Cars give blondes more road space (revisited)


Women who cycle get given more leeway by motorists than men who cycle. This was the famous conclusion of a camera-on-a-bike study carried out two years ago by Dr. Ian Walker of the University of Bath. It got a load of media attention at the time, especially as the bearded Dr Walker donned his blonde wig for the paparazzi.

Nobody would dare skim too close to London’s blonde bicycling bombshell, Boris Johnson. The Mayor is an instantly recognisable figure on the roads of London. And this was Dr Walker’s point: drivers don’t lump all cyclists into one group, they perceive different cyclists in different ways, giving some more room than others.

Dr Walker talked about his findings, and other aspects of his job, on the second podcast, recorded earlier today. He has provided a quote for the back cover of the book, and it’s all about how the risks of cycling are always far outweighed by the benefits, especially health benefits. The podcast starts on these life-enhancing benefits and then meanders into blonde wig territory.

My co-host, Tim Grahl, also wanted to find out whether Dr Walker knew of bike-skimming research from other countries. The podcast can be found on iTunes here or as a direct download here. I’ve also loaded an MP3 to the podcast on iTunes.

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