Diane Rehm Show:Sharing The Road: Adapting To A New Culture Of Cycling
Thursday, Oct 30 2014
Sharing The Road: Adapting To A New Culture Of Cycling
A new study says bike traffic deaths have spiked after years of decline. As cities adapt to growing numbers of cyclists, some say traffic laws should be more strictly enforced. A look at the debate over sharing the road with bikes.
This is really annoying, because as I pointed out in another thread, the reason for the increase in bike traffic deaths is an increase in cycling. Computing the actual death rate instead of the absolute number shows cycling becoming safer.
The study press release was designed to get this kind of attention. But I wish people who presumably are competent to read and understand these reports would read and think about them before simply repeating them.
Not that these researchers are the last word on these topics:
A few quotes:
Taking into account the increased level of cycling, the cyclist fatality rate fell by a dramatic 79%. In short, cycling has become roughly four times safer per bike trip over the past three decades.
Moreover, the report falsely claims that more widespread helmet use is the key to increasing cycling safety. Almost no one in the Netherlands and Denmark wears a safety helmet when cycling, not even children; yet, the cyclist fatality rate per bike trip is only about a tenth as high in the Netherlands and Denmark as in the USA
We agree with the Governors report that more should be done to reduce drunk driving by both motorists and bicyclists, and also with the suggestion to provide more separate cycling infrastructure for cyclists while reducing car speeds. But it is highly misleading for the report to suggest that cycling safety has gotten worse, on the basis of only two years worth of data. Likewise, we disagree that helmet laws are the key to improving cyclist safety. By far the most effective way to increase cycling safety is by improving motorist behavior, reducing car speeds, and providing more physical separation between cyclists and motorists by installed buffered bike lanes or fully separated cycle tracks, which have physical barriers between cyclists and motorists
I’d listen… if I didn’t have to listen to Diane Rehm’s voice. I realize she has a medical condition, but it’s time to take a back seat on her program. I know others disagree, and I know many feel the same way.
None the less, thanks for posting!
Drewbaby–you can always read the transcript–the link is right there:
Listen… Poll: Tell us about your biking and driving habits…. Transcript…. Related Links
No excuse, unless you are blind or illiterate….And there WILL be attest on this later…
Looking forward to your pithy commentary…
I was looking for a transcript, but didn’t see it at the time. I’ll have to check again if there is going to be attest. I might even just suck it up and listen. LOL
I like DR’s voice. what condition does she have? (seriously)
spasmodic dysphonia, a neurological condition in which the vocal cords constrict when they’re not supposed to.
Listening to this right now. They did talk about how european countries have been driving alongside cyclists for decades and have a culture of sharing the road that we don’t have. So helmets in Denmark and helmets in the US really is comparing apples and oranges.
Her voice used to bother me, but apparently I got used to it. She’s a decent interviewer and gets good guests.
In my pic, the helmet performs the same sort of function as the necktie: it’s cosmetic.
Please, don’t do anything while wearing a bicycle helmet that you would feel unsafe about doing without the helmet. Those helmets don’t provide that level of protection.
As a scientist I understand the dangers of anecdotal evidence, but I am firmly convinced that my helmet saved me from severe injury this summer. I hit the ground at 30 mph on a descent, high-siding rather than laying out the bike (ie, I pivoted down to the road). I was unconscious for a few minutes, concussed, but had almost no residual neurological symptoms (not even a headache). Various other parts of my left side have taken a bit longer to get back to form, most notably my left hip because of a truly impressive hematoma.
I get that helmets don’t prevent grave injury associated with being struck by a vehicle, but they just do help reduce the severity of head injuries when the head hits the road. This does not matter (much) in Amsterdam because you can’t go 35 mph downhill in Amsterdam. There collisions with vehicles are the major concern, and thus the association with cycling rates and spurious negative association with helmet use.
oh poo — no luck with the dropbox image share. Trust me, the helmet was smashed up.
This topic comes up every so often and I always want to avoid starting a helmet war. But, honestly, there’s lots of evidence helmets save lives. It’s not that hard to find. I understand the arguments against them and they really don’t stand up to serious investigation. And, things being as they are, debating the merits of helmet use here really isn’t a good idea.
OTOH I don’t think requiring helmets is a good idea since it would lead to less bike use. The trade-off between the health (and other) benefits of bike use and the health benefits of requiring helmet use all the time are heavily in favor of bike use.
As an example, I’ve been riding my bike for over fifty years. I’ve had say four serious falls from my bike in that time — “serious” meaning I couldn’t just get up and ride away again. In one of those falls I hit my head hard enough that, had I not been wearing a helmet, I would have suffered serious brain injury. As it was, I had a moderate concussion. So, one time in 50+ years, my helmet saved me from brain damage. That’s good enough for me.
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