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Physicists Determine That Being Rescued by The Flash Is Worse Than Being Hit by a Car

(Image: The CW)

In an early scene from the TV show The Flash, Barry Allen rescues a bicyclist from being hit by a taxi. That was really helpful of him, right? Well, no. According to an article published in Physics Special Topics, a student journal at the University of Leicester (UK), the bicyclist would have a better chance of surviving if The Flash had left him alone. The force of hitting The Flash would exceed that of hitting the car:

It has been shown that in the scenario depicted in the trailer that The Flash’s intended heroic act results in more villainous consequences by injuring the cyclist more than the taxi would have. The Flash’s efforts will be serving the greater good if he lowers the speed at which he makes contact. Alternatively, increasing the area over which he makes contact with the cyclist would also lower the pressure and likelihood of injury.

This isn't the first time that Physics Special Topics has addressed the physical realities presented in pop culture. They've also determined that Batman woud die if he attempted to glide and Miley Cyrus would be crushed if she came in like a wrecking ball.

-via Blastr

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I recall seeing a few frames of The Flash comic book, in which his 'catching a bullet' trick was explained. The Flash would run parallel to the bullet and place his hand against it repeatedly, and the small amount of resistance from the friction between his hand and the bullet would dissipate its momentum. He would have to 'touch' the bullet repeatedly in order to prevent damage to his hand, but this was done with such speed that, to a bystander, it appears as if he ran up and 'caught' the bullet.

Similarly, then, catching a flying cyclist would probably involve more than just the Flash catching some poor guy with his arm at high speed. Such an action would cut the cyclist in half, but the Flash probably used some high-speed trick to safely bleed off the energy of the collision, perhaps through repeated cycles of engagement and disengagement.

It wouldn't be easy on the cyclist's clothing, though.
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