Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Robert Hurst: "Is cycling dangerous? Yes, it is"

Dave Snyder has a featured soundbite in a front page story in yesterday's Chronicle (Some bicyclists hardheaded over bill that would require helmets):

Some cyclists — mostly those who wear a helmet anyway — said it was a fine idea. Others, including the head of a statewide cycling advocacy group, said it was a thorn in the side of their tires. “It’s the wrong way to go,” said Dave Snyder, head of the California Bicycle Coalition. “California needs to do everything it can to increase bicycling. A helmet law puts up a barrier. We think the main way to make the streets safer for everyone is to get more people on bicycles, not fewer. A mandatory helmet law would reduce the number of cyclists and the number of trips.” Over the past decade, Snyder said, biking has gotten safer. The number of bicycle trips has nearly doubled, but the number of accidents has increased about 10 percent.

How could a mandatory helmet law "reduce the number of cyclists"? Because it would accurately convey to would-be cyclists the reality that riding a bike can be dangerous. That's why even discussing helmets makes the bike lobby uncomfortable.

Robert Hurst, bike messenger and author, cuts through the special interest group crap to the "reality":

Is cycling dangerous? Yes. Yes, it is. Deadly, no, but definitely dangerous. This is actually a controversial thing to say. There are those who bristle at any suggestion that cycling is dangerous, because they fear it will scare noncyclists away from ever ditching their cars and trying a more healthy form of transport. This is a good point, but it doesn’t change the fact that cycling is dangerous. This is not some urban legend that needs to be debunked. It is reality, and we need to embrace it (The Art of Cycling, page 69).

Dave Snyder has made a career as a bike lobbyist, beginning as head of the SF Bicycle Coalition for 11 years before Leah Shahum's regime. Snyder on cars: "the most pernicious form of urban pressure: the automobile."

Snyder thinks we should make city streets safe enough for 8-year-olds to ride their bikes. Leah Shahum flanks him on the left, since she thinks we should make them safe enough for 6-year-olds

The bike zealots hate it when I point out that in fact riding a bike is one of the most dangerous things children can do. A post on the children-and-bikes issue back in 2010 got the most comments ever.

Snyder is also the Big Thinker who formulated the city's unsuccessful strategy to illegally push the Bicycle Plan through the process before our litigation.

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