It's like having built-in airbags

As glad as I am to hear that nobody was killed, I’m a little skeptical about this story out of Germany. Allegedly, a 440 lb man was out riding his bike when he was run over by a Volkswagen after falling off his bike at an intersection. Apart from a few scrapes* and a dislocated hip, doctors claim he was unharmed due to his “extra body mass”.

Frankly, I don’t buy it. First off, people who weigh 440 pounds don’t ride bikes – if they did they wouldn’t weigh 440 pounds to begin with. And when was the last time you saw someone weighing anywhere near that much on a bicycle? Motorcycles, sure**, but not a bike. Besides, that seems like a lot of weight to put on a bike frame – not to mention the tires. Could a regular bike even handle such a load?

But let’s say that this guy had just decided to get off the couch and start exercising***, so he bought a bike and hit the streets. The story still doesn’t hold up for the simple reason that the ground clearance of the car itself doesn’t look to be more than eight or nine inches. Given that the man weighed 440 pounds, one would assume that his diameter was significantly greater than the ground clearance of the car. So it seems it would be almost impossible for a small car to go up and over such a large object, thereby causing the scrapes and bloody nose cited in the article.

If you ask me, this seems like a made-up news story passed as news issued as a press release by the morbidly obese lobby, wherein they are trying to advance the notion that weighing 440 pounds can save your life if you’re ever run over. To me this makes about as much sense as the “I drive an SUV because I want to be safe in an accident” argument. One wonders if this guy weighed in at, say, 185 instead of 440 then perhaps he would have been able to keep his balance more easily to begin with. Idle speculation, sure, but it sure beats trying to lose all the weight by having it scraped off piecemeal by the undercarriage of a car.

* Allegedly “from the underside of the vehicle”
** After all, we all remember the McCrary Twins
***“Good for you!”


Sophist said…
I don't buy the story either... I can't imagine a small car being able to get over a person, even one that is not obese. I imagine for a small car, it would be more like someone getting caught in front of the car, and then being pushed along the pavement. ouch. Maybe what happened was that once the car drove into him, the car couldn't move at all because he was so big.

I have very little concept of weight, actually. What does 440 pounds look like?
Theo said…
There was a story just a little while ago (months?) about a study that had just been performed that showed that men of middle-weight had a much better chance of surviving a car wreck (when in the car, driving). Low and high weight did not have the same benefit.

Additionally, women had no such correlation. All women were equally as doomed in a car wreck.

What was the explanation? Men of medium weight had enough of a built-in airbag to cushion themselves in a collision. Those with too much of a cushion were at too much risk for a heart attack (plus there might be some other complications from being that much closer to the steering wheel). Women did not have this cushion because their fat goes to their hips and not their bellies.

I't not saying I believe the story you quote here, but I'm saying that there at least is some legitimate research out there on the advantages of having a little bit of a gut.