A non extensive list: 1) Dutch car drivers all have been bicyclist before they get their driver license, everyday to school more than an hour being nothing being frowned on. 2) Major transit bike routes have separate bike lanes, the tiny narrow ones of the gif in the article barely exist. 3) Bike lanes in cities usually are placed between the footpath and the parked cars, with most of the times a 50cm wide band left of the bike path allowing for car doors being opened without going over the bike paths, usually this is used for planting trees too 4) All politicians drive bike, the Dutch Prime Minister comes to work on his bike 5) There are local associations part of the national http://fietersbond.nl in every town and they passionately lobby every time they see an opportunity. 6) these volunteers are highly respected and their input is valued by the municipalities 7) one of the prime goals of Dutch national ministerie of Traffic is lowering the number of injured and death in traffic, good recording of cause by police is step one, good statistics then determine the ways roads are laid out. 8) On smaller roads without a separate bicycle path, as a bicyclist you're always on the watch if someone might step out of a car and try to keep a distance by bicycling towards the middle of the road which isn't an issue as this is low traffic street, major bike transit always has separated bike paths with distance to the parked cars. 9) during driving lessons, watching bicyclist is a prime part of the lessons and a good driver keeps an eye on the mirrors for back-coming bicyclist and will warn passengers on the back seats before they get out.
And there are probably more reasons that Dutch have few accidents being doored.
So the relevant question is "Of all the differences, which are the relevant ones?" If the "Dutch reach" is, say, 75% of the contribution, it's worth bringing over.  If it's 3%, it not worth worrying about at a governmental scale, as the costs of getting everyone to do it are not zero, and the benefits need to outweigh the costs. (You are free to adopt it; the costs for a person are negligible and the possible benefit of "not dooring a biker" are substantial both to you and the biker in question. But what you should do is a different question than what the government should do.)
In this sort of situation, listing out all the possible reasons and then leaving people to intuitively apply equal responsibilities is a great way to ensure that nothing happens. (I mean, you can actually use that as a technique next time you're in a meeting proposing that something be done that you don't want done; just exhaustively enumerate all the things that would be necessary, watch the idea wither as people intuitively assign incorrectly-large values to every little task if you do it right. You didn't hear this from me though. (I haven't done it, but have been on the receiving end.)) Bringing over one practice at a time in order of effectiveness is something that can happen. Implicitly insisting that we adopt 10 cultural practices all at once, some of which are major changes, just causes fatigue and people to just give up and walk away, and nothing changes.
: Albeit possibly with a different name. It probably would actually be good marketing in the end to leave the name sounding vaguely like a sexual thing as it would get people's attention and generate some good buzz, but I doubt our bureaucracy would go in for that approach.
I personally don't think he had any obligation to be charitable in his response, yet he actually has been charitable, in the sense that he provided a different viewpoint; charitable to the group that is.
I know most people try to be sensible in their dialogs with other people, but I think we should strike a balance between accommodating everyone's feelings and actually telling it like it is. Now finding that balance is as much art as it is science.
And because human communication is so contextual, subjective and imprecise, I'm sure multiple individuals will internalize my comment differently. Given these, sometimes I'm surprised we can all get together. (:
1) Yes, the Dutch have a great, deeply embedded culture around biking which promotes high levels of safety.
2) But, it is also possible to learn from and integrate a few of the most impactful & compact aspects of that culture to increase safety in other nations.
This is very important with regards to understanding and predicting how others behave. It's very hard for people to appreciate how different the POV can be in a different situation. I experienced this once when I herniated a disk in my lower back. Before I had to live with such a condition, I had been annoyed at how oddly and slowly some elderly people moved when boarding the bus. After having to deal with the pain, I understood the motivation behind waiting until the bus was fully stopped before moving, and why some people would methodically move from hand-hold to hand-hold: because to move more quickly would result in Pain!
In the US, I see lots of drivers who seem to struggle with even understanding other car drivers. It's no wonder that bicycle riders feel cars are a-holes to them. It's because cars don't understand what they are doing and what it's like to be on the receiving end of such behavior.
Large cities in Germany or the UK or anywhere else I've seen cannot compare to the magnitude of people on bicycles in The Netherlands.
Since I had a bad crash after being hit in the eye by an insect, I wear a helmet and cycling glasses on my commute as well. This has a remarkable effect on how you are treated in traffic. Gone is the usual friendly coexistence between cyclists, pedestrians, drivers and even scooters. Without the helmet, I'm just one of the thousands riding their bike to work, but wearing it, apparently now I'm an asshole bike racer who needs to be taught a lesson, much the way cyclists in general seem to be treated in cycling-hostile countries. A helmet doesn't really make you feel safer if it changes the way you're treated by the rest of traffic.
When you are not in The Netherlands you should most definitely wear a helmet no matter what kind of bike. The fact that you can ride a bike without a helmet in The Netherlands is a sort of democratic miracle of the 70's where the public convinced the politicians to make bikes a first class mode of transport. The effect of this is that almost every road in The Netherlands has some sort of provision for bicycles, or has at least been considered to have some. And in most cases not just in the form of a line but actual infrastructures, curbs, asphalt, specifically constructed in a way to make bicycling safe.
And even when there would be no infrastructure for bicyclists, every motorist is trained to deal with cyclists. From the driving lessons (usually 40-50 hours are necessary to pass the exam these days) where a considerable amount of time is spent on being aware of cyclists, to the fact that when you're on a Dutch road and you want to turn right you are almost guaranteed to wait for cyclists you have to yield to, so not having a shoulder check habit wouldn't get you 100m out of your driveway without an accident.
Why? It's actually not statistically safer.
few years ago decided to buy new cross country (ie all-rounder) one, lightweight and blazing fast for what it is. Decided to go for a helmet for the first time. After 2 weeks, had a head-first fall because of my GF stopped on some narrow forest path uphill, behind the corner and I hit brakes full power when I saw her with no place to avoid.
I miss few seconds of memories, just waking up laying in the grass, picking my head from sharp pointy stone sticking out of the ground - helmet hit it in forehead area. Have I not worn it, it's more probable than not I would die there, I was still badly shaken from impact force on my head, and I was driving slowly when it happened (10-15 kmh).
Fiancee works on emergency, the stuff she sees daily makes her wear helmet too. Link all articles you want, we're keeping our helmets where they are, on our heads, thank you.
1. Death traps
2. Dutch bikes
You want less people to die in traffic while riding a bike? Don't make a helmet mandatory. Make the dutch bike mandatory. Your bike needs to be heavy. You need to sit up straight. And if you stretch your legs you have to stand.
Whenever i see the images of americans on rice bikes and mountain bikes in NYC, i too think it looks incredibly dangerous.
If i would hit a door with a dutch bike, i wouldn't fall, i would just stand still. And the door will likely be a bit broken.
It's not about the helmets. Its about the bike design.
p.s. as a NYC cyclist, whenever I see a Dutch bike I think it looks incredibly inefficient. But that’s cool, whatever, all bikes are good as long as they're ridden safely.
Many bikes here have wheels that are not straight anymore. But still they are used daily. Tires are soft, chain is worn out, and still it works. They not only carry the cyclist but also his or her friend on the bagage holder on the back, which is probably wobbly.
OK, what I'm describing here is the typical student bicycle. It may not be efficient, but it is cheap and it works and it gets you there. We don't use these bicycles for long distances, but for short onces, going from home to the supermarket or school.
In Amsterdam and Utrecht at Central Station they have bicycle parking lots for about 20.000 bikes. And many times you have to search and search to find an empty spot. When you park your bike here, anyone can throw his or her bike against it, or pull another bike out of it with force, damaging your bike. Not everyone acts like this, but it happens now and then.
So bikes are efficient in a different way than the bikes I see on pictures in NYC.
The weight point is different. You really don't flip 'over'. That direction is as likely as flipping 'under'. Given enough momentum and a very heavy/strong object you ride into, your front wheel will collapse.
Again, on a dutch bike, all this has to happen at at most 15 km/h. You put your feet down and you are standing still.
>p.s. as a NYC cyclist, whenever I see a Dutch bike I think it looks incredibly inefficient. But that’s cool, whatever, all bikes are good as long as they're ridden safely.
They don't just look inefficient. They are. By design. They are faster than walking, and that's enough. Our trips on average are about 10 to 30 minutes at at most 15 km/h (<10 mph). They involve about 10-200 turns, about 3-50 stops.
Why? Because that's how they build the cities. If you ride at that speed, you wait for a green light just once (and then follow the wave though-out town). You can go faster, but then you have to wait at the next intersection. Also: you don't want to get to work/school/friends needing a shower. The amount of energy put into it, needs to be identical to walking for the same amount of time.
People move children, groceries, even furniture by bike. So they pick a bike based on durability, size, stability and how well you can stand still while remaining seated on your bike.
They turn a distance you can safely walk in an hour, into a safe 20 minute ride. And like most cities in the world, the cities are designed around the 30min travel time from any point A in the city to any point B in the city. This is by bike or public transport. By car it generally takes twice that time.
Why? Because cars are more likely to get stuck in traffic. They often have to take detours (many streets are just one direction). They have a problem finding parking space, etc. And then you pay about 1 to 5 euro per hour to park your car.
But if police sees a race bike going 30 km/h (20mph) they would stop it.
Agree that fixies should be banned outside of a race track.
Yeah, a fixed gear can be an encumberence to a poser, but to someone qualified, it can also be a means of greater control.
I don't think blowing through red lights at or near full speed is any safer. Come on, at least do a California roll.
It's easier if you downshift before stopping, but the only time it's a problem is if climbing a hill, in which case you probably downshifted anyway
If I include what fiancee sees on emergencies, which most people don't even want to know about but it's real life anyway, then wear it everywhere on bike.
you can see people getting quite emotional feeling they know what's best for them. Usually never had an accident, so it cannot happen to them. Whatever, I wouldn't push it, use whatever you want. But 1) you will cover all medical cost caused by lack of helmet in case of accident and 2) I would be cautious what to push on kids, but once people get emotional on the topic any discussion is over, as seen in this thread
That said, despite personally wearing a helmet on my daily commute, I don't support legislation. I unfortunately don't have sources on hand, but I firmly believe that spending public dollars on bike infrastructure and better legislation for bicycle/car interaction would yield better safety improvements for cyclists AND increase cycling uptake.
At least one of your studies notes that it doesn't cover that argument:
> None of the included studies measured actual bicycle use so it was not possible to evaluate the claim that fewer individuals were cycling due to the implementation of the helmet laws. Although the results of the review support bicycle helmet legislation for reducing head injuries, the evidence is currently insufficient to either support or negate the claims of bicycle helmet opponents that helmet laws may discourage cycling.
Hence the legal requirement to wear seatbelts.
Are you trying to argue against seat belts and airbags now? Are you going to claim that you're safer being thrown clear?
> Bicycle helmet use was associated with reduced odds of head injury, serious head injury, facial injury and fatal head injury. The reduction was greater for serious or fatal head injury. Neck injury was rare and not associated with helmet use.
What I had in mind was that helmet users tend to risk-compensate, taking more risks in traffic.
My point is - situations where a helmet has saved a life are rarely recorded, so they don't show up in any sort of statistic(even I had an accident where I flew across the handlebars, hit my head directly on the edge of a curb, helmet split in half, and I was fine - yet this wasn't recorded anywhere. It does not exist in any sort of statistic, despite - very clearly - saving my life).
It might have protected you from cuts & abrasions, but if it didn’t crush then it didn’t absorb any of the impact.
I think that the parent comment's statement "situations where a helmet has saved a life are rarely recorded" is a bit of an exaggeration, because quite often, if the helmet saves your head, you still suffer some other injuries. But it is indeed possible that people fall so that they suffer no other injuries, they'd just have cracked their head without the helmet.
I mean, you would expect some improvement, but (as a Dutch citizen), i expect it to prevent harm in the same way wearing helmet during sex would prevent harm.
In general: if you taking those kind of risks (as a car, as a bike, etc.) that people on a bike need a helmet, you don't belong in traffic here. The effect on mentality may be as important, if not more important.
Also, interesting to realize, if car and a bike have an accident, by law, it is automatically the fault of the car, no matter what. Even if the person on the bike is drunk, driving in the wrong direction, etc.
So, although bikers are betting their life going out, cars are betting their wealth, money and freedom.
It turns out, instead of focusing on 'who is at fault' and 'who is right', it is much safer to focus on 'lets make sure we don't hit each other' and turn accidents into a mutually-assured-destruction kind of deal. This way, every actor in traffic has a natural tendency to compensates for mistakes of the other actors. And this attitude is the one that prevents most accidents.
Both drivers and cyclists seem to believe this, but it is an exaggeration. The law says a court may decide to hold your (mandatory) liability insurance liable for some of the damage 'without having to prove your guilt'. It does not say you get the blame no matter what the pedestrian or cyclist does. At the same time, you can still sue the cyclist or pedestrian for damage to your car.
I wonder how much safer this misbelief is making us though.
Isn't this because the motorist has insurance while a bike rider does not? I've never seen cyclist insurance, although maybe the Dutch have it? There's no point trying to get blood from a stone by assigning blame to the uninsured party.
But more relevant to the Dutch situation:
The main takeaway is that nobody in Netherland wants helmets to be mandatory. The positive effects of a helmet are insufficiently proven, and the negative effects of making helmets mandatory seem not worth the risk. Some organizations do recommend helmets for children between 10 and 14, which seems to be the group that's most likely to benefit from them.
There are other countries beside the NL and the USA.
China must be a real paragon of democracy.
- fietsen i.e. literally "bicycling" would refer to riding an opafiets  bicycle, at moderate speed, without helmet or any sort of cycling attire;
- wielrennen, i.e. literally "wheel running" instead describes sort of cycling that you would see in Tour de France race - racing bike, helmet, lycra gear on, considerably faster.
Second is far less common, and doing so on busy city streets during rush hour is frowned upon, of course.
Here in Germany, it's all radeln, and when I commute along the ordinary bike lanes, I usually go as fast as I can, which is something like 20-30km/hour. That's nothing like racing, but it not moderate and so I am overtaking more casual cyclists all the time.
As far as I know, people who ride like me or faster are not frowned upon here. We are just expected to do our overtaking safely and politely.
In the Netherlands, it's rare to find speed or even higher end street bikes parked in any of the massive bike stands. They're all mostly old-school cruisers (what some people might call scooners). They don't go very fast and it's not uncommon to see a 2nd person just sitting on the back cargo mount.
Also, I find it interesting Germans have the same word for drive and ride. That's one of those common language mistakes you'll hear Germans make when they say, "I drove the bus."
Also, yes the word fahren is a bit strange to my English-trained years. But if it lumps "drive" and "ride" together, it also make a distinction that isn't available in English: it is to travel on a vehicle (be it just a pair of roller skates), but not on your own power or on the back of an animal.
That might sound like a weird distinction to make, until you realise that fahren is the absolute favourite activity of the German race. That's why
they are so keen on trains and bikes and why they invented motor cars, jet engines, freeways and (I suspect) the parent-powered sleigh.
If I remember correctly, drivers see helmets as increased safety for the cyclist and feel they can engage in less safe behavior because it evens out.
Edit: For exact distances, see the paper (doi: 10.1016/j.aap.2006.08.010).
the only 2 things that matter - speed of the cyclist and the stability of their ride (ie keeping straight path close to side of the road which I do on bike is ideal, aholes driving 2-3 next to each other taking full lane and sometimes more, chatting together and going left to right is on the other side of the spectrum)
The idea that a helmet-wearer is somehow an "asshole bike ricer" because he wants to avoid a brain injury in case he falls off his bike onto a hard surface seems rather asinine to me.
And yes, glasses are a good idea too because of bugs and wind. You don't need anything fancy; just cheapo clear safety glasses will work great.
How did that happen, did you reflexively close both eyes and jerk on the handlebar or something?
It just seems excessive to go through the hassle of both glasses and a helmet every time you use a bike. Then you might as well get the car out.
You probably don't have much experience if you write things like that :)
I think the most important thing is to come to a stop before trying to clear bugs from your eyes. Which remind me of my biggest bike crash: cleaning ice off my glasses on an icy bike path. I knew it was that slippery, but somehow I'd forgotten because everything was going so well. But obviously low speed, so no big deal.
Good or bad; I am Dutch and I would confidently say that all people I know would never ride a bike again if they have to wear those silly helmets. More likely if it would be mandatory, they just would refuse and not do it, but if largely enforced they would just not use bikes anymore.
185 cyclists died last year in the Netherlands . I wonder how many of those weren't wearing a helmet.
I also found this interesting article  going into a lot more detail on why the Dutch don't seem to want to wear them.
Normal Dutch bikes for everyday use go much slower (say 15-20 km/h), and you sit in an upright position. That gives you a much better overview of the road (you look over all the cars) and it also makes it easier to recover from a near fall.
Also 185 dead isn't much given that the 17 million Dutch use the bicycle on average 300 times per year for a total mean distance of 878 km per person per year (http://www.fietsersbond.nl/de-feiten/fietsen-cijfers#1)
In countries where helmets are mandatory, cyclists tend to run a much bigger risk of serious injury. Whatever Netherland is doing differently is clearly working. Claiming that Netherland should adapt to countries that are doing worse is ridiculous.
Netherland takes bike safety very seriously. Don't just assume that you know better than the country that has the highest bike density in the world. I have seen research about the effect of bike helmets, and while some research showed that helmets offered substantial benefit in very specific, artificial situations, other research showed that those benefit didn't translate to practical real life situations. And research that only tests how much a helmet protects your skill, tends to ignore the impact of the helmet in preventing the accident in the first place. Some research suggests that simply wearing a helmet can make people more reckless, putting more trust in their helmet than in their own carefulness.
I also said for good or bad; like smoking or drinking or processed meat eating; you collect the info you can and believe, interpret it and make your choice; it's your life. I'm just saying that most people I know wouldn't be caught dead (...) with one of those things on even if it would mean they are less safe.
And the things are uncomfortable and impractical: what are you going to do with it when you arrive on your destination? Lug it around all day? Bring a bag everywhere?
I cycle to work (in the UK, similar climate I guess) for about 15 minutes each way with no steep roads and I gotta be very careful with my pace if I don't want to sweat.
1. The weather is Holland is kind of optimal in maximizing not sweating.
2. We are not going that fast. The effort we put into it is identical to a normal walk. You just go three times as fast.
The difference between walking/running. Which is why you don't need a shower and why you don't need a helmet. So you go about 15 km/h at most. The bike is heavy (giving you much more stability). You sit up straight (giving you a much better view). You stretch your legs and you are standing still with a bike between your legs. You don't fall with a bike a holland, you loose balance and choose to stand.
For all intents and purposes, its just like walking and every non-dutch person keeps coming at it as if we are doing sprints or a marathon.
Not really. Our cycling is pretty relaxed, it's not like we're trying to race there as fast as possible. And we don't have steep hills to climb either. The only time I really sweat on a bike is when I'm wearing a rain suit. The lack of ventilation causes transpiration.
I hardly know anybody who commutes by cycle for an hour every day, that is too long. Personally I ride to the train station (8 minutes), take the train to the city I work in (~20 minutes), then ride the other bicycle to work from there (15 minutes).
I guess that works in countries where there are no steep hills ;-)
I've had the bike light stolen twice (both in January this year), and the jersey vanished once, but I think it blew away. No one's ever taken my helmet, which has somewhat surprised me. I've also gotten too lazy to lock my tires these past few years, and they've been let alone.
Admittedly anecdotal and maybe a little lucky, but there don't seem to be people trolling around for bike helmets to steal. They're probably not easy to resell. I'd go for the pumps and lights first, personally.
Stolen bikes can be resold. But who wants to buy a stolen bike helmet??
Most people don't really want to buy used items which are personal in nature. While a bike helmet isn't underwear, it's still in contact with your head and your hair, while you're sweating a lot, and probably never gets cleaned. I imagine that for the same reasons, no one would want to steal your jersey or gloves. I'm more surprised that your pump and tools never got stolen, but there again it probably has to do with the black market realities: people will buy stolen bikes, but how many people are looking to save money by buying a stolen tire pump?
It stops someone from just picking your helmet up and walking away with it, but it takes no more than half a minute to undo the strap, so it's not going to stop someone intent on stealing it.
So firstly as has been covered in other comments here, cyclists in The Netherlands don't want to wear helmets for their daily commuting, it doesn't solve any sort of safety problem for them when you factor in the inconvenience they cause.
Secondly even if they did most bicycle chains here are over an inch thick, not something you can thread through a bicycle helmet.
Sure you could carry some extra wire just to lock the helmet to the bike, but that gets you even further down the road of making a bunch of special accommodations to solve a problem that doesn't exist in the first place.
This sounds very much like "I don't wear my seatbelt for commuting. It doesn't solve any sort of safety problem when you factor in the inconvenience it causes."
Add into that that in this parallel universe driving a car daily had big long-term health benefits, and the introduction of seat belt laws in other countries had caused driving to drop by 1/3 , causing fewer people to cycle, overall health to decline, and a reduction in car safety due to less car safety in numbers. Since a major cause of accidents was that few people used cars daily, leading to accidents where people weren't expecting them.
Then yeah, I think it would be completely fair to question whether wearing a seat belt in your car was worthwhile. But of course none of this analogy makes sense, which makes your argument rather nonsensical.
Answer me this: if you needed or wanted a bike helmet, would you buy a used one to save money? Especially if it's never been cleaned? (Those foam pads inside don't seem to be conducive to cleaning.) What kind of person would steal a helmet?
How would you feel if you had to wear a helmet every time you walk outside? That's a bit like how the Dutch people would feel if they had to wear a helmet on their bikes. Arguably, it would help to avoid some injuries, but it is just not worth it. People in the Netherlands don't just bike to work or school; they bike when they go out (yes, even after drinking), when they visit friends, when they have a doctors appointment. Bringing a helmet every time would both be a major inconvenience and make you seem like a huge dork. People usually bike pretty slowly, and there are not many accidents. I live in one a city where the biker density is one of the highest in the Netherlands, and I have never been in an accident. I would never wear a helmet every time I would ride my bike. I would even argue it would reduce my quality of life.
185 cyclists died
In all my reading around this issue, those that don't want to wear helmets don't tend to wear them for fashion reasons, and interpret the stats they read to insinuate that helmets don't save lives. They don't like how it looks, feels, or that they will be teased for wearing one. I'd rather live to see the next day than care about what a helmet looks like.
And one other point to end on, it's not just deaths we're talking about here. Many people have suffered brain injuries from the impact of falling off their bike. Imagine there was something you could put on your head that would prevent that impact.
Do you wear one while walking? Or hiking? There's also an increased risk of brain injury from these activities.
Most people I know don't wear one, because the combination of the discomfort, hassle, inconvenience and appearance aren't worth the perceived low increased risk of cycling compared to, for example, walking.
I found that helmets for winter sports are better than hats. They don't soak up sweat like a hat does so do better in cold and are better vented than a hat as well. They also really help with the trees.
It's also interesting that they used to be "nerdy" on ski slopes in the US, then several major states required everyone under 18 to wear them. Now 80% (feels like) of kids wear them all the time, so you actually look wierd if you don't wear a helmet.
I definitely wear them on bikes and have needed them (and bounced off of them) many times. I tend to tuck when I go off the bike so I bounce the back of my helmet. There's a heart warming sensation of relief when you hear that hollow thunk sound of the helmet taking the blow on the pavement, tree, hardpack, rock, etc, with no bad effects on you.
Also on my commute I tend to hit 45 mph multiple times in the first 2 miles (I drop 500 ft in 2 miles and I feel it's safer to do 35 like the cars on the nicely paved winding suburban road than to sit in the bike lane).
Finally... I made this guy (who hates helmets) put one on after the kite pulled him up into the goal posts on a previous run. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9PGKG5ZFMQg He thanked me a year later.
There was also this study from a university in Utrecht showing that [in the Netherlands] cyclists wearing helmets are more careless and cause more accidents, nullifying any safety benefit...
Are there any links in English to that study?
Someone said only people racing (or with racing bikes) trend to wear helmet in Netherlands. Knowing that it feels like that study confuses correlation with causation, but a university probably knows more than I do, hence why I'd like to read the study. Maybe it's just the press getting the wrong conclusion out of the study for agenda purposes.
I don't know. The helmets are not weird nor nerdy. They save lives even though you might not need it ever if you're lucky. I always wear helmet, high viz, reflective vest, lights everywhere... You know, I don't want to be that guy in the statistics.
It is an interesting point and I didn't know about it.
Almost unrelated, but I've found this part of the article funny - shows how we have to be careful with grand headlines and look at the article itself:
> Henry Marsh, who works at St George’s Hospital in Tooting, London, said that many of his patients who have been involved in bike accidents have been wearing helmets that were ‘too flimsy’ to be beneficial.
Well, no shit Sherlock. The cases where the helmet helped don't end up in your hands. Guy's a neurosurgeon.
I just think, based on people's comments, that there's some silly stigma associated to the helmets like "they're ugly" or "you look silly with it". I've only started cycling again a few years ago, after a childhood of cycling every day without any safety gear; it was hard at first to make myself comfortable with the idea of wearing a helmet. Some time later it just feels natural and I actually get worried when I see people without helmet.
It seems to be something similar to the seat belt. It took time for people to get used to it and nowadays I still see that problem in some countries (usually with old people in small towns).
Edit: Typos. Lack of coffee. Lack of sleep.
Most people aren't "sport" cyclists here, and therefore most don't wear helmets.
I wouldn't wear a helmet to walk up the stairs, but if I go rock climbing I do. Same difference.
Are you doing like offroad biking or something? Otherwise you should probably practice on your riding style...
- Two over-the-handlebars crashes on my bike at relatively low speed (one when mountain biking).
- A low tree limb and several backwards falls when inline skating.
- Countless backwards falls when learning to snowboard.
For whitewater kayaking, a helmet is effectively mandatory because head strikes against underwater rocks may knock you unconscious in rapids (and because very few groups will paddle with somebody lacking standard safety gear). I once saw a guy paddling in a hockey mask with a cage, which is non-standard for whitewater kayaking. I later learned he had bounced that face cage off an underwater rock once.
As for cars, well, I once hit my head against the door frame in a car accident (no side air bags in that vehicle) and ended up needing to work half time for over 6 months. Even minor concussions can be no fun at all. Happily I made a full recovery.
I like my helmets. I earn my living using my brain, and I intend to strictly minimize the risk of future concussions.
Most Dutch riders are cycling slower than a running pace.
I noticed that you categorized bicycling as a sport. For most Dutch people, bicycling is not a sport but a form of transportation. Commuting by car is a form of transportation, just like Formula 1 is a sport form which uses cars. The safety requirements are quite different between those two, just like they are different between those who mountain bike as a sport and those who use a city bicycle to get groceries.
Just to confirm, this is absolutely true. When running, I overtake bicyclists all the time. Especially uphill :) (by which I mean traffic overpass, not actual hills of course :p)
Personally I go a bit faster on my bike, but not much. 15 km/h (9.3mph) usually, and if I go much faster than that, I find that it does indeed get a lot more dangerous! Amazing, right? So, I don't do that. Just another clever Dutch workaround, I guess :-P
(This is actually something that the safety researchers advocate for if you go read the literature.)
You should take a look at this:
[…] In contrast, despite increases to at least 75% helmet wearing, the proportion of head injuries in cyclists admitted or treated at hospital declined by an average of only 13%. The percentage of cyclists with head injuries after collisions with motor vehicles in Victoria declined by more, but the proportion of head injured pedestrians also declined; the two followed a very similar trend. These trends may have been caused by major road safety initiatives introduced at the same time as the helmet law and directed at both speeding and drink-driving. The initiatives seem to have been remarkably effective in reducing road trauma for all road users, perhaps affecting the proportions of victims suffering head injuries as well as total injuries. The benefits of cycling, even without a helmet, have been estimated to outweigh the hazards by a factor of 20 to 1 (Hillman 1993; Cycle helmets—the case for and against. Policy Studies Institute, London). Consequently, a helmet law, whose most notable effect was to reduce cycling, may have generated a net loss of health benefits to the nation. Despite the risk of dying from head injury per hour being similar for unhelmeted cyclists and motor vehicle occupants, cyclists alone have been required to wear head protection. Helmets for motor vehicle occupants are now being marketed and a mandatory helmet law for these road users has the potential to save 17 times as many people from death by head injury as a helmet law for cyclists without the adverse effects of discouraging a healthy and pollution free mode of transport.
For concussion you'd probably want something which is able to decelerate the brain inside the skull gently like an airbag.
If we assume that this Canadian study would apply as such to Netherlands:
the figure would be
(71/129)×185×(100-65)% = 35 of these people would have not have been killed.
Of course, the figures are probably not quite right for Netherlands. For instance, in Canada a majority of bicycle fatalities involve another vehicle, whereas where I live (Finland), this is not true because we have separate bike/pedestrian paths in many places. Like the Netherlands. This actually increases the effectiveness of helmets, because fewer of the accidents are about being crushed by a big vehicle, and more of them are falls.
And the physics of falling off your bike are not that different and the ground is about as hard in Canada as in Netherlands.
You would think that would be true, but no.
1. The ground in Holland is flat.
2. The bike is heavy.
3. The bike is the type where you are sitting up (not leaning forward like a race bike).
So, when a dutch person bikes they are going no faster than 15 km/h. When they stretch their legs they are standing still. When they fall to the side they generally fall into grass or sidewalks (which are thin stones on top of moisty earth), that can actually absorb quite a lot of energy/momentum.
The rest of the world keeps talking about helmets, even though they ride complete death traps. Their mountain bikes and race bikes. Off course you are going to die riding one of those in NYC.
I would advise them to just outlaw those bikes, instead of making/keeping helmets mandatory.
Forcing helmets onto people seems to increase pollution (by the reduced use of cycling), so the problem in fact should be: A lack of proper health and safety education leads (indirectly?) to more pollution.
That's why I think that statistic is very good for a different discussion - I don't think it should belong into "Should people wear helmets while cycling?", it belongs into "Should we force people to wear helmets while cycling?". The answer to those two questions could be YES and NO without being contradictory really.
I'm not really saying that helmets should be mandatory, but the attitudes and arguments remind me a lot about the time when mandatory seatbelt laws were coming to force. People will be trapped in burning cars and sink in vehicles and can't get out, and it will mess up the cothes, etc.
 Effects of the compulsory bicycle helmet wearing law in victoria during its first three years, Cameron, Newstead, Vulcan, Finch / http://22.214.171.124/Presto/content/GetDoc.axd?ctID=MjE1ZT...
An even more interesting statistic is how many of those deaths would have been prevented by even better bicycle infrastructure.
That's one statistic dutch counties often scrutinize closely, IIRC.
One thing that's fairly apparent is that making people wear them decreases cyclist numbers dramatically.
The bicycle is a very simple solution to a lot of problems.
Of the almost 8+ million people biking almost every day. Just to put that in perspective.
And that's not even counting the tourists, which likely skew the results a bit (since they will have less experience and likely won't be sober at all)
It's a fairly safe bet most of those over 70's weren't going so fast that hitting a car or the ground hit much harder than a hit or a fall while walking would.
E-bikes may be changing that; that is being studied and may lead to changes in helmet laws. I think it is more likely it will lead to changes in road design and to recommendations to certain groups to wear a helmet.
This was a slow collision in London traffic - probably doing about 10-12 MPh.
This has been demonstrated by the experience of New Zealand where helmet use was made compulsory in the 1990s. Not only did cycling rates decline by more than 50%, the rates of serious cycling injuries and deaths actually increased. It turns out that when there are less cyclists on the road, remaining cyclists are more vulnerable - helmet or not.
I never used to wear one, and neither did most of the people I ski with, but over the last 5 years its changed until we now seriously judge people for being reckless if they won't wear a helmet.
The death of Natasha Richardson (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natasha_Richardson#Injury_and_...) was fairly well publicised in the UK and I think that had a bit of a catalytic effect for us, but it was pushing at an open door of a change that was already happening.
Ten years ago, only racers wore helmets.
Five years ago, some people did.
Now, I suspect it's the majority who wear a helmet.
I bought one too, a few years ago.
To quote my Dad (who admittedly hasn't skied in years) "You wear a helmet? Why? I never needed one".
It's not that I think they're stupid or anything. And I do wear helmets for various other sports. I just never have for skiing and don't feel compelled to change.
Also, the fact that I've never had a potentially fatal car accident doesn't mean that I don't see the need to wear a seatbelt. The safety numbers made a risk obvious and the behavioural pattern changed to manage the risk.
But there's risk in everything and, for me, I'm not going to worry about the incremental risk of downhill skiing without a helmet a couple days a year.
There's been a big shift. I suspect at least part of it has been that helmets have been the norm for kids for a while--especially after snowboarding became common. I assume many parents felt they had to start wearing helmets if they were telling their kids they had to.
I believe it's mandatory already in several Swiss resorts, I know it is in Zermatt.
I really hope the ESF will mandate helmets for all instructors, this would go a long way to normalising them.
I don't think wearing a helmet when skiing is comparable to commute cycling. I think motorcycling would be closer. In both cases you're going at relatively high speeds with quite long breaking distances.
The major difference I think is that in the Netherlands there is a law which gives vulnerable road participants (pedestrians, bicycler) the benefit of the doubt whenever there is an accident. Even if the guilt is proven to be with the bicycler, the car driver should have paid more attention.
One way this is good for bicyclers because they are protected but on the other side they do tend to be more aggressive and reckless in their driving.
As far as I know, this is also true in Germany and many people wear helmets. I never wore a helmet in The Netherlands, but I do now that I live in Germany. Why?
- German car drivers are less used to cyclers. They are either extremely careful (like driving behind you for five minutes or passing you with a distance of 2 meters). Or they are extremely reckless (e.g. cutting you off on the very few bicycle lanes). So, in general I feel less safe than in The Netherlands.
- Altitude differences. The Netherlands are mostly flat. Here (southern Germany) it's quite hilly. That often makes it more difficult to brake abruptly.
Weeelll ... not use a bike any more?? How are you going to get around then? :) :)
Indeed most would refuse and not do it, and if largely enforced, many would still refuse and not do it. ... but give up our bikes? Never! :)
They'll never enforce it though. Too many bikes. Take mandatory working front and back lights. I don't know about all cities of course, but where I live, they only enforce that a few weeks per year, at only a few same spots every year. Any other time, anywhere else, you can drive past a police car with no lights and they won't stop you (because they are there with something better to do). And this is for a bike law that pretty much everyone agrees is useful and important for safety (it's just that those damn lights break so quickly).
Why not? You make it sound like Dutch aren't very committed to cycling.
Apart from the cities, there's also some pretty nice longer distance bike tracks. I belive Germany has one of the best bike route network/infrastructure. There's the so called D-Route (12 sections): http://www.radnetz-deutschland.de/en/d-routen.html
But the Dutch are #1 when it comes to bikes (imo).
Fun sidenote: The German term for what is typically known as a roadster bike is even "Hollandrad". In the Netherlands it's known as "Omafiets" which roughly translates to grandma-bike :)
Motorists who enjoy racing also wear helmets when speeding round the race track, but don't wear them on the commute.
No doubt deaths around be prevented if car occupants wore helmets, but it's not considered risky, just like routing cycling.
Cycling (in the US) sort of falls between those two categories but, at least for adults, many who use bicycles as transportation also use them as a sport.
Safety is usually about going after the lowest-hanging fruit: making improvements that have the biggest net benefit. In cycling, head injuries are common because of how the rider is exposed and how they frequently fall and what kind of surfaces they're likely to impact. In car driving, not so much; the biggest benefit in car driving is to keep the body anchored to the seat so that it doesn't fly into the dashboard or steering wheel or anything else, so that's why we wear seat belts. There's still problems with body parts hitting parts of the car, so then we added airbags. There's still problems with getting whiplash, so now we have seats and headrests designed to minimize whiplash injuries. It just isn't often that you hear about someone getting a head injury in a car wreck in a modern car; I can't think of ever hearing of such a thing in fact.
Also, the speeds people reach on city streets aren't as high as what race cars reach, and in most auto racing, helmets are indeed required. However, the helmets used in auto racing (full head-covering types) also negatively affect visibility, which is very important in city driving, and not that important in racing where the conditions are far more controlled and you don't have to worry about random pedestrians or bad drivers all around you.
It's not like we don't have safety devices in cars; we do, and in fact we have many of them and they tend to be rather expensive and highly-engineered. 3-point seat belts with pre-tensioners, multiple airbags (front, canopy, A-pillar, seat side), anti-whiplash head restraints and seat mountings, etc. They also tend to be passive in nature: only seat belts require you to do anything to make use of them, the others are just waiting there until they're needed. As a society we've put a lot of money and effort into reducing deaths and injuries in cars, and it's paid off well. We could go further with helmets and 5-point harnesses, but how much benefit would there be, and how many people would refuse to use them? (BTW, there's an argument against 5-point harnesses, that they shouldn't be used unless a car has a roll cage otherwise your head can get crushed in a rollover, whereas with a 3-point harness your torso just moves to the side towards the center if the roof caves in.) Oh yeah, don't forget what we do with kids these days: they have fairly elaborate child seats they're required to sit in, which they really are anchored into.
Perspective, perspective. The amount of bicycles in Germany (which is next-door) is surreal to me (so few) and I find it interesting that people wear helmets. They're such a bother and don't help your scraped arm or broken teeth if you land wrong. The odds of hitting your head on a curb seem about as slim to me as when you're walking.
At that speed, if you hit a pothole or get doored, or get hit by a car, you are going to go down very hard. I've crashed exactly 3 times on my bike in New York City, and every time I would've cracked my head open if I didn't have a helmet.
Can someone cite a study on this claim? I ride my bike every day and never ever see the need to match traffic, unless it happens to be going slower than me. If it's going faster ... I pick another route. I just don't think biking is safe in the city at say >17mph.
Going slow (and carefully selecting routes that allow you to do so -- the avenues in manhattan are a deathtrap btw) is the single most important factor in bike safety IMO.
I'm pretty sure the difference is not the speed but the traffic. It sounds like the odds of crashing in the first place are a lot higher in NYC than in the Netherlands.
One time I went wiped out in a bike lane because some trash bag had leaked some kind of garbage sludge all over the sidewalk (garbage day in NYC means 5-foot-tall piles of stinking trash bags on the sidewalk). The street was slightly banked, so when I hit the slick stuff my wheel just slid right out from under me and I had no time to even bail off the bike. My helmet probably saved my life that day.
Dutch (and Danish) infrastructure is pretty decent.
Also, we have bike light laws in California, but there are plenty of cyclists that don't use them. Personally, if I had to choose between riding without a helmet, or riding without lights; I'll take the lights. Lights prevent accidents whereas a helmet is only needed after an accident has occurred.
(It's getting dark sooner; if you don't have lights on your bikes, please buy some. Planet Bike has a nice two light set. Get some, and get some for your friends. Stay seen, stay safe.)
This is wrong. There's some research done on that over here (Finland).
First of all, about two thirds of severe bicycle injuries happen without any third parties involved, cars or not. Head injuries are the worst also in this group.
Second, a large part of the injuries happen at low speeds, and landing on your head doesn't require fast speeds at all. In fact many of the injuries to head happen at low speeds.
And then my personal anecdotes: I've hurt myself three times on bike so much that I needed hospital to check me up.
First time, I was 6 years old, fell on my own, broke a clavicle bone.
Second time, I was 27 years old on my way to work, a child sprang in front of me, I went OTB and broke a radix bone. My head just chipped the ground a little bit. I started to wear helmet after that.
Third time, I was 48 years old on my way from work to home, I fell on my own when I was surprised by some ice. Fairly low speed. No bones broken, but I definitely would have cracked my skull if I had not been wearing the helmet, the bang inside the helmet is something I remember. Just had to skip riding for 6 weeks due to bruises but I still have my skull.
I'll probably skip riding the year I'm 69.
And you need to believe that you may crack your head even in low speeds and you really should wear that helmet, it may save your life, or it may save your family from having to visit a vegetable.
I did live in China some years back, and the beliefs that people had e.g. about safety belts were astonishing. Particularly the reluctance to use them for your own safety. People would even buckle up when they see the police and then take it off right away. There's probably still some way to go there:
Finally, I totally agree with what you say about lights. In the dark, they are more important than helmet. But that's not a choice you have to make. Have both.
Around the time I read about this research I also read that Switzerland and UK had been reluctant to regulate it in part due to conflicting research. Are you sure it's as clear as you make out?
One thing about bicycle helmets is that they really need to have that shiny surface. Without it, i.e. with just a polystyrene surface, the friction of helmet vs. road surface will be so high as to cause a risk of neck injury when the head stops faster than the rest of the body, even if the helmet protects the head per se.
Without the helmet, the head will just crack, of course.
Mostly the negative impacts of bike helmets involve human stupidity, i.e. that if helmet is required, people will ride less.
Yup, didn't mean to make them mutually exclusive, but I wanted to emphasize the fact that helmets are like safety belts, as you and eridius alluded to. They're great, they can prevent further brain injury, but as riders, we should take further preventative steps such as being visible and assuming drivers can't see us.
Yes, this is the analogy I've always made. Thanks for emphasizing it.
An uncontrolled fall from a standing height is potentially fatal. The impact tests for motorcycle helmets are typically an ~2 meter drop.
Again, I'm not saying helmets are useless, but we should view them as seat belts, or even lap belts as best.
And if you go down to the Mediterranean countries even on motorbikes, not everyone wears on at least on city traffic.
Regarding bike helmets, they usually only protect if you fall vertically on your head, making their protection capability highly questionable.
They offer zero protection over getting hit by a car or falling off the bike.
From both personal experience and research I've seen about this, the head is rarely the first part to hit the ground.
My brother did have a rare accident as a kid where his head hit the ground first and he had a concussion, but that's an exception.
And it's generally not hitting the ground that is the dangerous part in traffic accidents. Helmets don't do anything useful is the vast majority of accidents.
>It's generally not hitting the ground that is the dangerous part in traffic accidents. Helmets don't do anything useful is the vast majority of accidents.
Citation needed. Just like in the original comment. It would be great if there was a comprehensive study, but it seems for now people will have to make their own estimates of the risks and benefits. I always wear a helmet, and encourage others to do the same. Others don't and that's their own choice.
Hitting the ground head first is something that happens when you hit a deep pothole at high speed (which happened to my brother as a kid, but is generally rare, and I've never heard of it killing anyone), or you drive downhill on a steep slope and lose control, or something like that (which is why mountain bikers do tend to wear helmets, but it's not something that happens in city traffic).
I tend to trust Dutch bike and traffic safety-related organizations, and they say that a helmet's effect is unproven in real life situations. Some recommend helmets for kids between 10 and 14. I know parents who give their younger kids helmets. I don't, because I want my son to pay attention and not trust the helmet to keep him safe.
So on most accidents a helmet is not going to make a difference.
Another major reason imo is that in an accident between a cyclist and a car the car is more or less automatically liable.
I'm sure it's better in the Netherlands, but just making cars liable isn't a solution itself.
>It is a myth that is really only believed outside the Netherlands: “Because there is strict liability in the Netherlands, drivers are more cautious around cyclists, and that leads to more cycling”
>There are a number of (false) assumptions that lead to such an assertion. The first being that drivers are always at fault when they are in a collision with a cyclist, regardless of how the cyclist behaved.
When art. 185 WVW is applicable, it means the motor vehicle user is liable for financial damage, unless that driver can prove the incident was caused by circumstances beyond his/her control.
Besides ‘circumstances beyond control’ the driver can also argue the non-motorised road user was at fault. This is only possible for road users from the age of 14. If that road user was indeed at fault, the driver is still liable for 50% of the damage. Dutch law makers considered this to be reasonable, because the non-motorised road user usually suffers more and more severe damage.
That the actual law is more complex is obvious from the 'more or less' bit in the sentence above, it's not black and white but in the vast majority of accidents between cars and cyclists the driver of the car will be held responsible and this is one of the bigger items in keeping the number of such accidents down, Dutch motorists are quite aware of this reality.
And it makes good sense too: assuming a 'minor' accident between say a cyclist that forgot to indicate left and a motorist coming up from behind the motorist will likely do what he or she can do to avoid an accident even if technically the cyclist is at fault because the cyclist will likely suffer extensive damage to themselves and their property whereas the car will probably not suffer any damage at all and the occupant of the car is perfectly safe.
Let me translate the first bit of:
which gives a much less hard to interpret view of the legal situation in nl.
"Aanrijding met voetganger of fietser
Wie is er aansprakelijk bij een aanrijding met een voetganger of fietser
Fietsers of voetgangers worden gezien als zwakkere verkeersdeelnemers. Omdat zij kwetsbaar zijn in het verkeer, kent de wet een speciale regeling bij een aanrijding met een motorvoertuig. De automobilist is aansprakelijk voor de schade van de fietser zonder dat zijn schuld bewezen hoeft te worden. Andersom kan de automobilist de schade die hij oploopt door een fout van een fietser of voetganger, claimen bij de fietser of voetganger (of diens AVP-verzekering). Dan gelden de normale wettelijke regels.
Bescherming door de wet (artikel 185 Wegenverkeerswet)
Normaal gesproken moet je na een ongeluk bewijzen dat de tegenpartij aansprakelijk is. Dit geldt niet wanneer je als fietser of voetganger wordt aangereden door een motorvoertuig (auto, motor, bromfiets, snorfiets etc.). De wet bepaalt dat de bestuurder van het motorvoertuig aansprakelijk is, tenzij hij overmacht kan bewijzen. Dit is een vorm van 'risicoaansprakelijkheid'. Daarbij hoeft men geen schuld te hebben aan het ongeluk, maar is men wel aansprakelijk. Dit lijkt onrechtvaardig maar de fietser of voetganger loopt meer risico op zwaarder letsel vanwege de massa van het motorvoertuig."
"Accident with pedestrian or cyclist
Who is responsible for an accident with a pedestrian or cyclist?
Cyclists or pedestrians are seen as 'weaker' traffic participants. Because they are vulnerable in traffic, the law has a special arrangement when there is an accident with motorized traffic. The driver is responsible for the damage of the cyclist without having to prove they were in the wrong. If the cyclist or pedestrian is at fault the driver can claim his damage with them (or their insurance). In that case the normal rules and laws apply.
Protection in law (article 185 of the relevant law book)
Normally after an accident you have to prove that the other party is liable. This is not the case when as a cyclist or pedestrian you are hit by motorized traffic (car, motorbike, moped, etc). The law dictates that the driver of the motorized vehicle is liable unless he can prove 'overmacht' (a situation exceeding his/her control). This is a case of 'risk liability'. The driver does not have to be at fault for the accident but still is liable. This may seem unjust but a cyclist or pedestrian runs more risk of serious injury because of the mass of the motorvehicle"
That page has a whole pile of example situations and outcomes illustrating what the effect is on the liability of the driver for those cases.
The ANWB website (where I took these paragraphs from) is the Dutch official provider of traffic signs and many other traffic related services, they're a powerful lobby entity as well and deal with all kinds of road traffic related affairs. Originally started as a cyclist movement they included cars and are now the main go-to point for information about traffic and traffic related issues outside of the government.
I'm both an avid cyclist and I drive a lot so I'm pretty aware as a driver of what my responsibilities towards more vulnerable traffic are. The same goes for interactions between cars and motorcyclists.
They used to be, but it's all tendered now; they lost the national contract, but still provide to most provinces and municipalities.
and more here:
Bicyclists are considered at least equal participants in traffic. And culturally, depending on the particular spot and the "what are you doing trying to get around here by car in the first place"-factor, bikes nearly almost but not quite have a de facto right of way, because they're way more numerous and more agile, cars need to be on their toes anyway.
Oh and don't forget that most cars in the US are about 1.5x the size of cars here? I'm having a bit of a chuckle imagining if you'd scale up bikes by the same factor haha :-) But maybe it'd help with getting doored? :) Oh, oh! and don't forget to scale up yr bikehelmets too :) :)
Amsterdam is also pushing very hard to get an exception to be able to force them onto the street though.
("Herinnering: <scooter icon> op rijbaan", example here: http://www.rotterdam.nl/Clusters/Stadsontwikkeling/Document%...)
Although I think that it's illegal for them to ride in the bike lanes (or over 25km/h? or both?), they still do it
Ultimately, it's a matter of awareness of other traffic, both for cyclists and for motorists. And pedestrians. You always need to watch what you're doing in traffic, and what others are doing.
That's very interesting!
As for being taught: it was taught by both my driving instructors, in the sense that I was consistently told off for opening my door using the wrong hand, even if I was very careful to check my mirrors and side. I wasn't asked to perform this feat on my driving test, but they don't need to be explicit: it's fairly challenging to exit the vehicle without opening the door.
When you open the door you grab the door handle -- the thing that opens the door -- with your right and plastic black handle -- the thing that gives you more 'grip' -- with your left. By doing this you have a lot more control on closing the door as well if you still happen to accidentally open it when you shouldn't have.
I had to retract once, because it appeared I had a blindspot where I couldn't see a cyclist.
As for the whole helmet thing, they do not make you more safe. Proper infrastructure makes you more safe. Unless you're riding downhill, racing or performing stunts. You don't wear kneepads when you walk down the street do you?
Like in the Netherlands, bike lanes in Denmark are mostly placed between the road and the side walk, so by not looking out for trafic you risk getting your door torn of by an SUV, rather than hitting a bike.
In rural areas where bikers ride on the sidewalk and are not super common, sure, but I can't remember a time driving in a city where I was NOT super paranoid about hitting a car or a cyclist or a pedestrian with my door.
I really like my door not to have dents, scratches and blood all over it (especially mine) so I look in the already-optimally-positioned mirror on the outside of the door where my hand goes to check if there is some other vehicle coming first before I open the door.
And I am not even Dutch.