Polystyrene: the wonder material that can deflect speeding juggernauts

Bicycle helmet manufacturers are careful not to over-state the protective abilities of their wares. But politicians, newspaper headline writers and, it seems, police officers, appear to believe polystyrene lids are effective in the sort of smashes nothing less than Volvo-type steel roll-cages would be of use. According to the Hull Daily Mail, a cycling lollipop lady in Hull died not only because she was ran down by a cement mixer but because she wasn't wearing a bicycle helmet...
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Hull Daily Mail reporter Alistair Houghton wrote a piece in yesterday's paper that was headlined 'A helmet could have saved her', referring to an inquest into the death of Irene Dorley who was killed when she was hit by a cement mixer last September.

Houghton based his report on a comment from PC Anthony Wilson who is alleged to have said "If a cycle helmet had been worn, her injuries may not have been as severe."

David Bayliss, the driver of the cement mixer, told police:

"I don't understand how I didn't see her."

The inquest coroner recorded a verdict of accidental death.

In the recent helmet compulsion debate in the House of Commons, many MPs reported that children who died from chest injuries, could have been saved had they been wearing cycle helmets.

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