Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Helmet debate: A reality check


In the wake of the death of SF cyclist Nancy Ho last week---she died from head injuries and wasn't wearing a helmet---the Examiner does a piece on the helmet debate---yes or no? As if on cue, a young cyclist in Pacifica who wasn't wearing a helmet dies in an accident

The Examiner talked to Leah Shahum:

Leah Shahum, executive director of the San Francisco Bike Coalition, said her organization promotes helmets through its bike education classes. On the organization’s website, the coalition recommends helmets for “that extra measure of confidence.” While she wears a helmet, Shahum said some members of the bike coalition’s executive team do not.

That's a reference to Andy Thornley, long-time SFBC officer, who doesn't wear a helmet:

I'm not interested in capitulating to public policy failures and conducting myself as if selfish careless violence was inevitable. I'm interested in helping you visualize what civilization looks like, and shaping our city to realize that vision, and I encourage you to join those of us working to establish a civilized society right here in our own neighborhoods.

Visualize world peace while you're at it, pal.

"Shahum...said that streetscape improvements---such as slowing traffic speeds and adding dedicated spaces for biking---are the most effective safety measure for cyclists."

But all the "streetscape improvements" in the world can't protect cyclists from drunk and/or negligent drivers---or from their own recklessness, which caused the two deaths mentioned above. Accidents will happen, especially when you consider that so many cycling accidents are "solo falls" that have nothing to do with other vehicles.

And fatalities? According to a New York City study (Bicycle Fatalities and Serious Injuries in New York City, 1996-2005) "Nearly all bicyclists who died (97%) were not wearing a helmet," and "Most fatal crashes (74%) involved a head injury."

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11 Comments:

At 9:22 AM, Anonymous bike-nut said...

Dipshit, the kid who died in Pacifica was 15 and, by law, should of been wearing a helmet. Do you fucking homework.

 
At 9:46 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

The point is he died because he wasn't wearing a helmet. Kids will be kids, and adults will be kids sometimes, regardless of the law, which is why cyclists of all ages should wear helmets.

It's particularly irresponsible for the SFBC and City Hall to encourage the city's children to ride bikes to school.

 
At 10:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If we want to protect people from Drunk Drivers, 3 year DL suspension for first offense, no exceptions, get caught driving on a suspended license go to jail. That will be a lot more effective than 1 inch of styrofoam padding.

 
At 10:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"This tragedy may have been avoided if the cyclist had been wearing a helmet."

Does not translate to...

"The point is he died because he wasn't wearing a helmet."

 
At 10:14 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Why not do both?

 
At 10:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why not do both?

Deal. Looking forward to your first blog post about dealing with drunk drivers.

 
At 12:33 PM, Anonymous bike-nut said...

Drunk drivers are just the nature of the beast. But cyclists with no helmets, that we can punish!

 
At 12:36 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Okay, I'll write about drunk driving, and you'll write something critical of the bike movement on your blog. Oh, wait: you're too chickenshit to even put your name on your comment, so you don't have a blog...

 
At 12:40 PM, Anonymous bike-nut said...

Blog = validated opinion.

 
At 12:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

so the "bike-movement" is as bad as drunk driving?

 
At 1:01 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Here's a subject for your investigation: the relationship between reading disorders and cycling.

 

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