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To Encourage Biking, Cities Lose the Helmets

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by YankeeFan, Sep 30, 2012.

  1. YankeeFan

    YankeeFan Well-Known Member


  2. Starman

    Starman Well-Known Member

    Next up: Seatbelts and child safety seats in cars.
  3. YankeeFan

    YankeeFan Well-Known Member

    Read the article. There are benefits to bike riding. Helmets cut down on bike riding.

    The same argument can't be made for getting rid of seat belts or car seats.
  4. JakeandElwood

    JakeandElwood Well-Known Member

    I got in a bike accident on Chicago's lakefront path this summer. A rollerblader cut in front of the other biker who swerved into my lane, I came around the bend and, well, our faces collided.

    I had a helmet on, he didn't. I left the hospital quickly with only 7 stitches to fix up an awesome gash that cut through my right eyebrow. His shoulder was messed up, he was obviously concussed and he was just much worse for the wear than I was when I left the hospital.

    The story linked is an interesting one, but I'll just say this: wear a helmet folks, it's worth it. This was hardly some high speed hit either. I was going 10 mph tops, probably slower.
  5. JR

    JR Well-Known Member

    This notion that helmets cut down on bike riding is nonsensical. People choose either to wear them or not.

    Yes, there are studies that show that if you fall off a bicycle at a certain speed and hit your head, a helmet can reduce your risk of serious head injury. But such falls off bikes are rare — exceedingly so in mature urban cycling systems.

    Two things: bike falls are not rare and "mature urban cycling systems" in most North American cities don't exist.

    Bicycles as a form of public transport are recognized in many European countries like Holland where it's assumed that cyclists have the same rights as motorists.

    Riding a bike in a city like Toronto---which has a pretty good system but not great system of bike lanes---can be a constant war. Ask HC. She commutes by bike almost every day.

    The issue isn't helmets. It's whether cities have the political will to make cycling part of the urban infrastructure and not just set up paths and lanes for the weekend cyclist.

    Wearing a helmet doesn't imply cycling is dangerous. It's just common sense.
  6. YankeeFan

    YankeeFan Well-Known Member

    Well, the article focuses on bike sharing programs. Seems like it does cut down on the numbers if helmets are required.
  7. JR

    JR Well-Known Member

    The article is not specifically about bike sharing. The thrust of the article is that mandatory wearing of helmets discourages bike riding, an argument which I find odd.

    The majority of people who participate in bike sharing are from out of town so they wouldn't have brought a helmet.

    HC can chime in at some point. She and her brother cycled through Manhattan last Canadian Thanksgiving courtesy of a bike share program. Can't remember if she wore a helmet or not but she wouldn't normally go for a ride on her own bike without a helmet.

    I know there's a lot of so called hipsters in Toronto who believe that wearing helmets implies that bike riding without a helmet means you've given in to the evil automobile but some of those people are the ones who ride on sidewalks when the going gets tough.
  8. Elliotte Friedman

    Elliotte Friedman Moderator Staff Member


    While I'm glad you were not badly injured, we have to put to rest the fallacy that helmets prevent concussions. They do not. They can prevent skull fractures, but not concussions.
  9. Azrael

    Azrael Well-Known Member

    Casual riders - those most likely to bike share - may not want to incur the expense or inconvenience of buying and constantly carrying their own helmet. A bike share is often an impulse.

    Which explains the bike share numbers differential between Ireland and Australia as well as anything. Nothing to do with perceived 'dangers.'

    Also, the sentence ending "the benefits may outweigh the risks by 20 to 1." has no meaning.
  10. JR

    JR Well-Known Member

    Elliotte, most cyclists think that helmets don't necessarily prevent concussions but wearing one reduces the risk of a more serious head injury

    There was an incident a few weeks ago in TO where a cyclist caught his tire in a streetcar track. He was thrown from his bike and died from a head injury. He wasn't wearing a helmet. The doctors more or less said that a helmet would have saved his life.
  11. Azrael

    Azrael Well-Known Member

    Also agree that "mature urban cycling systems" are still a rarity in North America.
  12. Azrael

    Azrael Well-Known Member

    And I'd suggest that a 20-mph fall from a bicycle in traffic is no different than a 20-mph fall from a motorcycle in traffic.
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