What this blog is about

Bicycle commuting, bicycle touring, bicycle racing; bicycle ADVENTURING.
To the grocery store, up a mountain, across the country or to the finish line--
it's all an adventure.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Interesting. Bike helmets & actual bike safety.

{Edit: Note that the percentages on the bottom are backwards left to right. 38% of trips in the Netherlands are by bicycle, whereas it is 0.1% in the US.}
My, now isn't this interesting? Some people (particularly Americans) are perplexed that there are people out there rallying against bicycle helmet laws. In a nutshell, bicycle helmet laws have a history of killing bicycle culture (decreasing numbers of bicyclists) and their effectiveness is apparently still debatable (though I believe mine works in certain situations). This argument also make a lot more sense if you're in Denmark or in the Netherlands. You see, there they have FANTASTIC bicycle infrastructure.. or perhaps I should say ADEQUATE. So isn't it funny that their cyclists deaths are a tiny fraction of ours in the US where we're obsessed with helmets? It looks like we're going after the wrong part of the equation to solve this problem.

Portland, OR has already taken a step in the right direction: installing appropriate bike lanes. In the photo below is one of Portland's new "bike boxes," an  area set aside for cyclists to pull in front and in view of cars waiting at an intersection to prevent the too-common "right hook" accident (a vehicle turns right into a bicyclist without seeing them). Unfortunately, Portland waited until 2 cyclists died to install this feature.

Will we wait for death?

Food for thought.
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