Saturday, February 03, 2018

The Wall is already there


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"Some people fall and don't get up again"

Streetsblog and the Bicycle Coalition like to cite Amsterdam as the ideal bike city. There's evidence from that city showing that riding a bike has intrinsic dangers there like it does everywhere else.

...You fall, you learn. Unfortunately some people fall and don’t get up again. Statistics in 2012 showed that more than 150 cyclists are involved in deadly accidents every year in the Netherlands. About 10,000 cyclists have serious injuries. 

Between 2006 and 2010 around 14,000 children up until 12 years old were admitted to the emergency room on average per year. Around 2000 stayed in the hospital. Accidents on the bike are the main reason for the average of 20 kids per year that die in traffic accidents. Beginning of this year research showed that 28 percent of the 274 traffic deaths in Amsterdam were cyclists (emphasis added).

It is said that the use of a helmet can reduce the chances of serious head injuries by 42 percent and the percentage of brain injuries by 53 percent. Protecting your head and brain seems to be a very convicting argument for the use of a helmet. Funny enough you can find more arguments against wearing one and even the Dutch cyclists federation is against making it mandatory to wear one.

They fear it might discourage people from using their bikes. Also it would give cycling an unsafe image, since the message would be: “you need to wear a helmet because cycling is not safe!” 

In countries where it became mandatory to wear a helmet, such as in Australia and some states in the USA, the number of head injuries decreased. However the number of cyclists also decreased. Less cyclists on the streets also mean that motorists are also less used to notice them, making cycling more dangerous for the few cyclists out there. That’s the so-called “safety in numbers” principle: more cyclists equal fewer dangers for a single cyclist...

American cyclist Robert Hurst makes the same point:

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 non-cyclists 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).

So why is City Hall encouraging children to ride bikes to school? See also Children, bikes, and traumatic brain injury and More people on bikes means more people injured.

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Outdoors is also a "hostile environment" for women


From Outside magazine:

The first time Bridget Crocker was sexually harassed while on the job was in July of 1991. It happened on a typical summer day in the mountains of Wyoming—the sky a brilliant blue, towering cumulus clouds gathering on the horizon, tourists posing for pictures in front of local landmarks. The weather was unusually hot, and the rafting company where Crocker worked was doing brisk business. 

Crocker, then 20, was the only female guide in that day’s group of five, and after a busy morning leading clients down a stretch of Class III whitewater, she had to pee. There was no time to find a bathroom, so she dashed over to some bushes behind the guide van.

Crocker had just squatted to relieve herself when she realized that someone was standing over her. It was a male guide. From her position—slightly off-balance, vulnerable, shorts around her ankles—the man loomed large. She had been raped as a teenager less than three miles upstream from this same spot. Now alarm bells went off.

“It’s been puzzling me,” the guy said, looking down at her. “Are your nipples pink or brown? I know you’re a B cup, but what color are your nipples?”

“You’ve got some nerve,” Crocker hissed. She pulled up her shorts and stormed away. The guide was fired, but others were aware that Crocker had lodged a complaint, and that soon caused problems for her.

In the weeks that followed, she was bullied for ratting out a peer. Male coworkers taped up porn in the guide van and flung insults—one called her a “dirty, hairy feminist.” One evening, on the way back from the river at the end of a long day, the guide driving the van swerved onto a dirt road and pulled over. “Kiss me,” he said, tapping his mouth. “Show me you’re not a bitch feminist dyke.”

But Crocker had learned an important lesson: never tell. The river community is small and tightly knit, and she knew that if she wanted to fulfill her dream of working as an international guide, she couldn’t develop a reputation for being difficult. 

Even as she became one of the best guides in the business, progressing from running the Snake to the Colorado to Class V rivers like Africa’s Zambezi and Chile’s Biobío, sexual harassment tainted nearly every trip she worked. “Like my PFD and ability to read maps,” she later wrote, “harassment-coping skills were necessary for my survival.”

As one of a relatively small number of female Class V river guides, Crocker sometimes felt alone. She wasn’t. Over the past year, I corresponded with two dozen current and former river guides, both female and male, who acknowledged that sexual harassment, discrimination, and even assault are all too common on commercial river trips...


The Republican---and the Russian---victory with "the memo"

Bill Clark/Congressional Quarterly/Newscom via ZUMA

Today's NY Times:

The release of the memo mattered less than #releasethememo.

After weeks of buildup, the three-and-a-half-page document about alleged F.B.I. abuses during the 2016 presidential campaign made public on Friday was broadly greeted with criticism, including by some Republicans...

It didn’t live up to the hype.

But the campaign, captured in the hashtag #releasethememo, which was trending on Twitter for days, may have a far more significant impact than the memo’s contents. It was a choreographed effort by House Republicans and top White House officials to push a highly contentious theme — that the F.B.I. and the Justice Department abused their powers to spy on the Trump campaign, and relied on dodgy information from a former British spy paid by Democratic operatives...

Rob's comment:
May have had more impact? Of course keeping that idea the focus of media attention for weeks was the idea, not that the memo---which few people will ever read---actually contained any evidence of Justice Department bias against Trump. Hence, the Repugs essentially won with the memo kerfuffle.

And, as Senator McCain points out, his Republican Party is doing what Vladimir Putin has been trying to do: discredit and undermine American institutions and democracy.

The Republican Party, the party of treason.

See also The media couldn't get enough of the Nunes memo.

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