I’m going to be referring back to this later. I’m being compelled to wear a helmet in order to encourage my children to obey a draconian law which has serious financial ramifications for me. My wearing a helmet is going to draw fire given my previous statements on them. I do not support their use. I object to the fact that I’ve been compelled to wear them. I will still continue to argue against them.
The article notes that outside certain special pockets cycling remains stuck at 2.8 percent modal share in the UK.
The reasons readers gave for not riding were compiled into a list. Follow the link after the jump for the complete scoop.
Saw this on one of my feeds. The high cost of free parking indeed.
Keep Rollin’ Ladies. And Remember: this machine kills patriarchy.
And in case you doubt me: http://www.nwhm.org/blog/pedaling-the-path-to-freedom-american-women-on-bicycles/
I hate the road warrior mentality. I slip into it too often when dealing with the failings of infrastructure when on a bike. Here someone has taken the ideal literally. Fasion designer Grace DuVal made this suit of armour from inner tubes.
Over on cyclelicious blog there is a nice explanation for the rules used to estimate the damage done to road surfaces by vehicles. This is often the hard numbers appeal for making cyclists pay for the infrastructure they use.
It would be a fair argument providing that principle was applied to ALL road users.
The crowning achievement of the cyclicious article is its ability to translate the $4 bicycle tax in Colorado Springs into its automotive equivalent. If you apply the 4th power rule applied to the estimation of vehicle damage, and if you scale the tax up to the size of a vehicle like the Prius, you’ll be forced to ask drivers to pay $154,000 in tax.
I’m serious the gap between the damage a bicycle does and a small compact car is that significant. I highly recommend reading the article – it spells out the equations used by traffic planners more fully.
Nick Falbo presents a North American adaptation of the Dutch Method. In Toronto, we need these badly. Every time a road surface is redone this infrastructure needs to go in. Painted lines are insufficient. Bike boxes have no efficacy when drivers willfully ignore them.
I ride helmetless. I do so because I do not believe cycling is dangerous. But lately I’ve been concerned about other road users. Having engaged in endless helmet debates, two things occur to me:
1. Helmet use is contextural.
2. Moral suasion on the topic of helmet use is about as welcome as prosthelyzation or intrusive questions about lifestyle.
I don’t ask if you wear a condom everytime you have sex with your long term partner – something with low inherent risk. Point 1 is vital and the article in treehugger.com linked at the bottom spells that out. If you ride in the US (or Canada) there is a bull in the chinashop. And while advocates like Mikael Colville-Andersen talk about traffic planners “ignoring the bull” there is a real sense that he’s ignoring places where adequate infrastructure isn’t even possible at this moment. Toronto’s notoriously anti-cycling mayor is a case in point. But also anywhere that cars have 90 percent of the streetscape, the thought that helmets might provide a modicum of protection is an understandable one. I have no doubt that if I get crushed by a car, a helmet won’t help. But if nudged by a car? Well that happens far more frequently than statistics show – who reports an aggressive taxi? You don’t. You ring your bell, you yell, you flip the bird. But occasionally you’re knocked off the bike. That is the moment when a helmet may be appropriate. I don’t advocate for helmets, but I do see why they can make people feel safe when the places they live provide no other succor.
Others have said that cycle-tracks create the illusion of safety as well but lead to more dangerous intersections where road and track meet (see comments here.) This might have been true in the early days, but the Dutch model seems to have resolved much of these. But the other part of the equation is driver and cyclist education. Drivers in my part of the world see pedestrians and cyclists as road-lice. Vermin. Until that perception is ground out of them — and it must be forcibly imposed sadly — then every time I get on the road I have to accept that someone may satiate their psycopathic urge to crush me with no warning. But they might do this if I walk as well. Helmets won’t work there either. In the end I have to keep riding if only in the hope of changing the prevailing culture. Little by little it is changing. It is still infinitely easier to hop on my bike than it is to get on transit or drive. But it is not all roses that is the way of citizen cycling in my part of North America.
I was reading a piece over at gizmodo about Atlanta’s failure to cope with the winter storm which crushed its infrastructure. The article notes that the problem wasn’t emergency services – it was the utter dependence on the single-occupant car. The failure to provide alternatives makes for very dire situations when the one mode of getting about FAILS. It doesn’t matter what the alternatives are – Public Transit, Bicycle, whatever, but some alternative is necessary. The author – Alissa Walker – then made the most salient point I’ve seen in a while:
“We need to design our cities with our very worst days in mind.”
Which is what we used to do. I’m thinking of cities designed to withstand seiges. Cities with water and food stores. Cities intended to shutter themselves and fend off their worst days. I’m not advocating closing cities, but I think Walker’s point is spot on. We need to think about our vulnerable systems and create alternatives. I do however disagree with the article’s claim that politics are not to blame. No. POLITICS are precisely to blame. The political pressures of car makers, the pressures on planners to provide more space for the car. Cheaper homes, increasingly further from their city cores, serviced by increasingly broad and fast roads to the detriment of all other modes of transit. If that isn’t political, I don’t know what is.