Material for thought
Michael Colville Anderson at a TEDx,
This should be fun.
If promoting helmet use makes people less likely to ride bikes (because it is perceived as more dangerous), why is it that this kind of stuff doesn’t deter people from driving cars?
Because driving a car is seen by many as a necessity, not a choice. If something is perceived as a recreational activity, it’s a whole lot easier to say “eh, too dangerous. I just won’t do it.”
dwillen, I have no idea.
Did you happen to watch much news over the Thxgiving weekend? A couple teenagers dead here, a dead family there. I don’t get how it just doesn’t get through to people. Perhaps a winning combination of “it can’t happen to me” and “there’s no other way”.
Oh, yeah, and cars are shiny pretty status symbols.
Sounds crazy, but I choose to bike rather than drive all the time.
Totally agree with him about “the culture of fear”. It’s so much broader than bicycle helmet campaigns. Love the idea of health warnings on cars.
But “Rationality as the new black?” Never gonna happen.
@edmonds59: I believe the reason that people aren’t entirely concerned about the motoring deaths is that notion we discussed on another thread about control.
A few months ago, I looked at the scientific literature on helmets. At that point, I concluded that they were a fashion accessory.
I still wear my helmet, though.
This talk makes it appear that bike helmet promotion is an effort by insurance companies to keep people in cars. I know insurance companies to be no-fooling-around evil. Maybe they are not quite like Stalin or Hitler, but maybe they are, it’s hard to tell.
In any case, the insurance companies are not your friends.
So now it looks like it might be time for me to can the fashion accessory and adopt rationality instead.
Traffic deaths are presented by the media as inevitable, but regrettable. Almost all media is supported by car ads. If you look at the TV, you see them promoting SUVs as secure and sensible. They even convincing people to ignore their eyes and imagine SUVs as aesthetically pleasing.
If one of the TV stations opr newpapers started reporting seriously on the car-related tragedies that happen every day in country and several times a week here in the city? They would lose a lot of their revenues quite quickly. Enough revenue that they would not be able to compete with other stations and other newspapers, for sure.
This is done not only in “commercials” but also in product placement. The real commercial messages are not the 15- and 30- second spots between the “programs.” Really.
“I’ll bet you $20k lump sum on death against your $40/month during life that you’ll die appropriately, deal?” not friendly.
While getting insurance on the car I currently own, I had to explain (and fax them a letter saying as much) that not only did I NOT get into an accident in 2003, I was out of the country and didn’t own a car in 2003. This happens every time insurance comes up. Either someone stole / typoed my drivers license number or someone’s looking for an excuse to charge me ridiculous prices.
Mick – the saddest thing is it doesn’t have to be an us-vs-them: we can have roads that are safer AND they can have their SUVs. So they could keep their revenue. They just couldn’t keep their status quoa.
Mick, the argument is not that helmets are bad for you, it’s that people would just rather not wear them, and being forced to wear them is enough of a turn-off that they just won’t ride. Or, they need to go somewhere and don’t have the helmet handy, so they drive instead.
I dunno, those people aren’t really committed to cycling. But that aside, I think the insurance companies and auto industry have been supporting bike helmets because they really, genuinely, do want to minimize expensive long-term traumatic brain injuries when one of their customers hits a cyclist. Helmets for cyclists is about the only thing they can come up with that doesn’t potentially cut into their business.
So, perhaps not Stalin or Hitler evil, just maybe, hm, Vidkun Quisling evil.
if more people start making helmets like these the whole fashion thing might actually work to get people IN helmets.
The argmument that is new in this talk is that helmet promotion is fostered by insurance companies to discourage people from giving uop cars.
I aid in helmet promotion by wearing such a fashion accessory.
I think the insurance are a LOT worse than Quisling.
oh my god, cburch, I want that. I hate spending money, I hate buying things, I hate consuming. But I am consumed with consuming exactly that helmet… No US distributors, but there’s one in Toronto, which has US retailers *frantically tracking down sources now*
coolest part? the covers are swapable. you can stripey fedora OR white faux fur it.
ugh. not at these prices:
So, I wear a helmet 90% of the time. And I don’t poop my pants in fear the other 10%. Like on Tweed rides. No helmet? meh.
Regarding helmetless hipsters with no lights? Behaviour is more dangerous than safety gear, or lack of.
What I think about helmets is complicated by what I know about motorcycling. The VAST majority of motorcycle accidents happen to people in their first year of riding. For people with 5+ years of riding experience, the statistical accident rate falls to about equal with riding in a car, especially when you remove alcohol as a factor. So when the old coots say it should be an individual decision whether or not to wear a helmet, they’re right. HOWEVER it is the newbies inexperienced people who are most impressionable, and are most likely not to wear a helmet because they don’t look cool or something, who realistically have not experiance and have no RATIONAL basis to make the decision for themselves. So I guess I partly wear one (bike) out of example, too. But I’m not going to rabidly chase someone who’s toodling around town if they are not wearing a helmet, that I think is a sure way to make sure less people ride.
And Lyle, I guess the argument is that to get levels of cycling up to the point where it becomes safer overall, you need to draw in a lot of people who have no desire to be “committed”.
I want to play around with making some crazy funky helmet covers that go over regular helmets, maybe I’ll start one of those etsy stores or something.
This thread is so close to becoming a helmet flame war. Also, someone already mentioned Hitler. Awesome.
Nah, just chatting intelligenly.
Some WWII propaganda. Note that the driver *is* wearing a Yakkay helmet.
It’s probably in the public domain. More info here: http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/powers_of_persuasion/use_it_up/use_it_up.html
One of the posters on that page was done by Henry Koerner – who lived in Pittsburgh and died (not in Pittsburgh) on his bike.
I like the poster titled “Save Waste Fats for Explosives”. I just can’t figure out how to explain why without rudely (and I believe unfairly) stereotyping a certain demographic of motor vehicle operator. Now I feel bad for the thoughts, but I’ll share them anyway.
Also, someone already mentioned Hitler. Awesome.
HA ha! I call Godwin’s Law.
Fiesty thread checklist:
Hitler reference – check.
airbags and seat belts are marketed as “safety features” which makes us feel more secure while in a car.
bicycling is marketed as a dangerous activity which requires helmets. for example, whenever i encounter a helmet-evangelists usually they say something like “omg, that is so dangerous, you could get killed or a serious brain injury.” also i’ve heard the “i wear a helmet because i love my brain” line as well. for most people, the response to the dangers helmet promoters telegraph around the country is either: wear a helmet or avoid all risk and not ride a bicycle.
also: i really liked the billboard idea in the video, can bikepgh rent a billboard? please??
I wear my helmet for the security blanket feature. That, and of the two serious accidents I’ve had, the helmet didn’t help in one (teeth) and probably saved my life in the other (middle of literally nowhere sheep collision, head smacked the ground, helmet probably kept me conscious where there was no doc for at least 4 hour drive in a car that didn’t exist).
Besides, I’d hate to keep answering the “where’s your helmet” question from everybody. And it’s easy to attach lights to. Dude, christmas lights in a hair barrette. That would be awesome.
I would expect a sheep to be fluffy.
But, how the heck do you run into one?
sheep, n. A solid, 200-pound wall of an animal, covered with fluff. Known to jump out in front of bicyclists unexpectedly.
I’d hate to keep answering the “where’s your helmet” question from everybody.
A major reason why I wear a helmet.
<i>I’d hate to keep answering the “where’s your helmet” question from everybody.</i>
i tell people it messes up my hair.
yeah, what Stu said.
Never ride your bike between animals that are the same species. Chances are one or the other will decide at the last moment to join the ones on the other side, frantically and through your bicycle.
It ends in an angry, scared animal and an upside down cyclist.
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