Thursday, September 6, 2018

New Outside Column!

Helmet giveaways have always creeped me out, and in this column I do my best to articulate why:



The start of the school year has also brought into sharp relief for me the utter clusterfuck to which we subject our children on a daily basis, and the fact that it's so difficult for kids to walk or ride to school should be adequate reason to declare a state of emergency.

Ah, who am I kidding...MORE MINIVANS!


Hope it comes with a free helmet.

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

Podi!

Anonymous said...

#1

Anonymous said...

2? or 3?

huskerdont said...

Regarding helmets vs. cars, only one thing comes to mind at the moment:

"My eyes! The goggles do nothing."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=juFZh92MUOY

Drock said...

Grand van can get a lot of mtbs inside.

Phildefer said...

This is probably the best Outside column (in my opinion) you've written so far. In an ideal world, every helmet-shamer and people telling you that biking with your kids is putting them at risk would be forced to read it along with all the links to the supporting data. Well done.

Adrian Grant said...

This column is what the kids refer to as a "mic drop". Well done

pbateman just terminated some donuts and a proposal said...

Good work Snooberdoodle. Definitely good article.

I guess its easy to sleep through the sermon sometimes when you are part of the choir, but thanks for your many years of fighting the good fight against all those who would suggest that we'd all be safe and everything would be fine if we just had a bit more foam.

and more parking for the cars.

and maybe warning systems to alert us when the cars become self aware and mow down people/kids on sidewalks in these "freak accidents"

speaking of self aware machines:

The T-1000 is the DA Di2 of human hunting technology. The T-800 is the Suntour Cyclone II.

I wonder if either could get past the tricky "i'm not a robot" gate for the comments?

Kevin Love said...

Here is a video of the world's safest children. Yes, it is a perfectly; normal Dutch suburb. Two-thirds of children ride their bikes to school, and approximately zero of them wear helmets.

The concrete and steel infrastructure that enables them to do so safely is not exactly rocket science, and can be installed in any suburb in the USA also. See:

http://www.aviewfromthecyclepath.com/2013/09/the-school-run-in-assen.html

Olle Nilsson said...

huskerdont - you made me think of my favourite YouTube video of all time:

https://youtu.be/YGGTcYfrEZU

"THE EYES DON'T WORK!"


Okay, no free helmets, but maybe they could give away free t-shirts. Even lactose intolerant kids love a free t-shirt. Wait, never mind, they'd be hi-viz shirts.

Chazu said...

Does anyone here know Samuel L. Jackson?

The only way to improve upon this article, is for Mr. Jackson to read it aloud, and for the reading to be recorded.

Unknown said...

I'm so with you on this one snobby. I run the bike to school program at my kid's elementary school. It consist of getting rewards for biking at least once a week and ends with a big party for the winning class of kids who bikes the most.

To my disdain and frustration, there is a non profit org here that "advocates" for walking and biking to school. Literally, they are the safe routes to school advocates for this community. All they basically do is hand out helmets once a year to kids. But boy do they take it seriously. It's a freggin sad, sad, joke and i'm glad to hear that i'm not the only one who gets the ridiculousness of it all.

Thanks man, seriously

Cyberdyne Corporation said...

PBateman, Skynet would like to have a word with you.

DE said...

Ollie Nilsson, I had never seen that video. Started w/WTF, ended w/WTF+hyperventilation.

So frustrated said...

In 1975 48% of kids between 5 and 14 either walked or road bikes to school. Now it is a paltry, what? 14% or so?

This all directly relates to (1) obesity of kids and the general population, and (2) the growth of the super-sized SUVs/trucks. These inane vehicles take up tons of space and are dangerous to boot- they are up high, they have incredible momentum and force, and they are always going "to win."

F it - as soon as I can I am out of here.

Anonymous said...

Another well written and cogently argued polemic, hurled at 200 mph through the strike zone of the motorocracy!

DaveD said...

The other joke being foisted upon us is the "bicycle rodeo." Right up there and usually concurrent with the free helment giveaway.
Also, the helment manufacturers and bicycling retailers "lobby" heavily to get these mandatory helment laws adopted.

HDEB said...

Crash -- not accident! A thoughtful column about people's tendency to address easy "solutions" that don't do much as opposed to even acknowledging the real problems. Sadly, generally I'm too scared of motor vehicles (I've been hit multiple times) to allow my children to cycle on roads : (

Wesley Bellairs said...

You should come to my town. Our cops haven't written a defect ticket for no muffler or one for texting in years. So, we have the Indy 500 noise on every street and crashes at my intersection daily. To top it off, it's a six-way and the bike path runs through it and at 5pm the cyclists, heads down, go 22mph through it knowing the green light is their savior. Lots of them get hit.

Wesley Bellairs said...

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Sr6PU3MrEZ4

Anonymous said...

A neighbor had the pleasure of finding the tree in her front yard knocked into her house by a car whose driver apparently made a last-second directional change aimed at passing through her living room.

She called the tree-in-house thing an accident. I suggested it’s not right to call it that. It’s excusing the driver (and I would have credited you as the source of that opinion but I first encountered it in something Steve Ilg wrote).

She wasn’t accepting any of that not-an-accident stuff, though. Says something about how ingrained the idea of driver immunity is.

Anonymous said...

"New York State Senator Simcha Felder has also done the ice-cream-for-helmets thing, though when it comes to actual policy, he's attempted to raise speed limits and kill school zone speed cameras."

This also is irony. (Though I'm speaking ironically.)

old guy said...

This column was spot on. I could dream that this makes a difference but that would probably just be a dream. I ride two wheels every day to and from work everyday it doesn't pour rain (then I am fortunate enough to be able to work from home)

Coworkers tell me it's dangerous out there with the cars but I have to tell them the cars (for now) aren't the problem, it's the id10ts steering the cars that are the problem. I know, preaching to the choir...

huskerdont said...

I ride in to work every day, rain or shine, and I get the "it's too dangerous out there to ride a bike" comments too. They're not wrong, but they are apparently unaware that 40,000+ people die in automobile accidents on the nation's roads every year. (Statistically there are so many ways to hash that out compared to cyclist deaths that it's not worth trying, imho. The number itself is the main thing.)

Beth said...

One of the best illustrations I've seen of the ridiculously illogical attitude towards bike helmets was a two-page spread in a Toys-R-Us mailer a few years ago.

On one page were toddlers on balance bikes and small bikes with training wheels. On the opposite page were small children in motorized toy cars.

Which toy do you think is faster, higher off the ground, and more dangerous? Which kids do you think were wearing helmets, and which were not?

Great Outside article as usual.

Steve Barner said...

Another cyclist has left this orb as a result of a UPS truck parked in a bike lane, this time in Concord, NH. The driver of the vehicle directly behind the van that hit the cyclist said that the van almost sideswiped the UPS truck before running over the cyclist. This makes it sound like distracted driving may have also been a contributing factor. https://www.concordmonitor.com/Concord-NH-man-identified-father-of-two-19986743

Bob Cox said...

Excellent Outside column. Particularly well written and researched and definitely worthy of reaching a wider audience if possible. Here in the UK I feel generally things aren't as bad as with you, but we still have a long way to go to catch up with so many European cities

Anonymous said...

Hi. I'm a regular reader (just catching up), but this is my first comment.

I'm unclear about the anti-helmet attitude out there, and I would like to understand. Is it because of the governmental tendency to use them as a placebo in place of actually doing something about cyclist safety? Is it a belief that helmets don't actually do what they're supposed to do, i.e. save your brain from injury? Do we know what percentage of bicycle crashes involve motor vehicles versus other cyclists or the landscape? (I vividly remember as a kid crashing into a curb on a bike that was much too large for me.)

I remember a woman telling of the time she lost control of her bike and crashed into a tree at 18 mph. She was wearing a helmet and doesn't remember the crash. Her aunt had a similar crash with no helmet and dosen't remember the entire day. That's what I wear my helmet for; if I'm creamed by a semi on my highway commute, a helmet will be irrelevant. If I slip on one of those blasted eucalyptus seed pods at my blistering 14 mph, a helmet could save me some brain damage.

Thanks for your time, and thanks for writing!

Korina

HC said...

Hey...I read this a few days ago and have been digesting the info. Then, suddenly...it mirrored my life. I live in a high rise building in North Bronx and work at a small, artsy botanical garden a few minutes' pedal away. (So eco you could barf, haha. ) 90% of the time I am almost-late for work, just because.

My building just instituted a new bike room rule. The bike room (which charges rent) is now, not only behind 4 locked doors....but we are only allowed to have keys to 3 out of the 4. The last one, you need to find a security worker to oblige.

This morning as a test, I tried to access the room, and there was not one staff member who knew where the key was. Luckily, I was just testing, but in my normal "almost late for work mode" where biking has saved my ass repeatedly...there is suddenly a huge allen wrench in my plans.

Sigh....vent over, I think we both know how annoying this is. But to concur with the helmet concept. Moves like this are the exact opposite of "normalizing" biking. It's now officially easier just to get in the damn car and trundle around to my job and local errands, than to play Indiana Jones trying to find his whip. How messed up is that!! (I knew you'd understand) .