Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Why I Don't Wear a Bicycle Helmet

Here's a fun and well done video by one of New York's most well-known cyclists. He covers the basics of the bike helmet concern, but in a personal way that I hope just about anyone will be able to relate to. 

Sunday, November 7, 2021

The Big Bike Helmet Debate

Today I found a refreshing article that shows the waste of energy spent on trying to force cyclists to wear helmets and why that energy should be focused instead on making streets safer for cycling.

Here’s a fun excerpt:

“That’s more or less what the infamous helmet debate has become,” Hussey lamented. “Shouty strangers shouting at other shouty strangers for choices that don’t affect the first shouty stranger’s life. It’s a bit weird, definitely a waste of energy, and not a fun place for cyclists to share space in.”

As Boardman noted, in the Netherlands, perhaps the least perilous country for cyclists in the world, helmets and hi-vis are almost unknown. You don’t make cycling safe by obliging every rider to dress up as if for urban warfare. You do it by creating a road system that insulates them from fast-moving and unpredictable road traffic.

Read the full article here:

The Guardian "The big bike helmet debate: 'You don’t make it safe by forcing cyclists to dress for urban warfare'"

Friday, March 5, 2021

Public Outcry Against Seattle’s Bike Helmet Law

Seattle’s bicycle helmet law has been an unyielding blemish on the U.S. bike advocacy effort for decades. No data comparisons, no results from other parts of the world showing the damage done by these laws, no pleas from local cyclists could budge lawmakers to even consider repealing it.

Finally, a new study showing outrageous disparities in who police target for bike tickets has brought the law up for potential repeal.

Here are a few good articles about this impressive change in attitude:

Crosscut - King County to reexamine decades-old bicyclist helmet law

Bicycle Retailer & Industry News - Cycling groups call for an end to helmet laws

Cascade Bicycle Club - Cascade and Washington Bikes Support Decriminalizing Helmet Use

Let’s keep an eye on this effort. If Seattle, and surrounding King County, repeal this of all bike helmet laws, some more dominos could fall. I’m cheering!


Friday, December 18, 2020

Please Help Bosnian Campaigns Succeed

As I posted on this blog in March 2017, Bosnian activists were some of the first in the world to successfully campaign to repeal a bicycle helmet law. Now, activists there need your help.

For the past four years, I have had the honor of working with activists in this war-battered country. Along with my colleagues at the Center for Environment (CfE), our partner in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), we have guided activists from all over BiH to improve their communities through bicycling and environmental campaigns.

Now the project needs many people to step up and help. Our funder for the project could only provide half of the funds we need for the next phase of the project. So we launched a GoFundMe Charity fundraiser to fill the gap – please donate and share the link.

The war ended 25 years ago and in its shadow, corruption, despair and poverty have thrived. People are still leaving, but not these activists. They are fighting back by causing positive change. These are the toughest and most committed activists I have ever worked with. Let’s show them we appreciate their commitment to creating a country they are proud of, where all Bosnians can choose to bicycle, where they would like to live and raise their families.

We need your help to make this happen. Even small donations add up toward our goal. Your donations are tax-deductible.

Please also invite others to donate by sharing and forwarding the GoFundMe Charity page. Thank you!


Saturday, September 12, 2020

Tacoma Repeals Bike Helmet Law

 As readers of this blog know all too well, once a bicycle helmet law has been passed, it is next to impossible to have it repealed. Law makers wipe their hands of the concern, blame is now on the bicyclists, so they simply will not discuss it. That is why any repeal of such a law is a reason for celebration. So sound the horns and lift a glass to Tacoma, Washington - well done! Read the story here.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Bicycle Helmets Increase Risk of Injury

Here's an interesting new study that shows a clear increase in injuries as bicycle helmet wearing increases. From the article:

New research suggests that wearing a helmet may put cyclists more at risk of being injured in a road traffic collision.

The findings are set out in a paper entitled Effects of bicycle helmet wearing on accident and injury rates presented at this week’s National Road Safety Conference in Telford(link is external).

Former Cycling UK councillor Colin Clarke and author and journalist Chris Gillham analysed overall changes in accident risk with increased helmet wearing.

They looked at data from Australia and New Zealand, both of which have nationwide mandatory helmet laws, the US and Canada, where compulsion is widespread particularly for children but laws vary in local jurisdictions, and the UK, where there is no legal requirement to wear one.

Summarising their findings, they said: “Bicycle helmet wearing globally has increased over the past 30 years via promotion and in some cases legislation.

Read the rest of the article here.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Images with Sport Clothing and Helmets Deter People from Cycling

A study presented at the Velo-city conference in Dublin last month reveals that people from varied backgrounds connect bike helmets and sport clothing to higher danger in cycling. Shown pictures of cyclists with and without helmets, the majority set the helmeted cyclist out as in greater danger than the cyclist riding without a helmet.

This finding is very important to programs aiming to increase bicycling because it shows the negative effect of using images of cyclists decked out in safety gear. If we expect to make cycling a normal means of moving around our communities, we must choose images of cyclists wearing regular clothing, without helmets.

Here is the abstract from the study:

“In Road Safety Authority Ireland print and video artefacts, cyclists are as a rule depicted in high visibility clothing also suitable for sport, and a helmet. Four studies relevant to the Irish context identify fear as a primary barrier to cycling uptake, including the conviction cycling is socially unacceptable. Cycling advocates argue the depiction of cyclists as described reinforces these fears. To investigate whether their concern is valid, I conducted interviews and a card sorting exercise. The results indicate that depicting cyclists as described reinforces the perception that cycling is dangerous and socially unacceptable. Responses were consistent across gender groups, and two age groups (under thirty and over thirty). Depiction of cyclists in clothing currently the norm in road safety multimedia reinforces barriers to cycling uptake. Alternative clothing, which still comply with safety recommendations, should be considered.”

Read the entire study here.

Watch a video of the presentation here.