Annals of Cycling – 60
An occasional update on items from the Velo-city.
LET THE KIDS BIKE
From The Dish:
It’s not just an American problem:
One British study found that over the course of four generations, the distance that eight-year-old children in one family (the Thomases of Sheffield, England) were allowed to roam from home had shrunk from 6 miles (for great-grandfather George in 1926) to one mile (for grandfather Jack in 1950) to half a mile (for mother Vicky in 1979) to 300 yards (for son Ed in 2007).
Another study reported that, on average, today’s children are two years older than their parents were when first allowed to do things like use public transportation, sleep over at a friend’s house, or babysit for a younger sibling.
IS CYCLING SAFE?
And healthy too! In an interview for the European Cyclists’ Federation, John Pucher cites his new books, City Cycling:
“All scientific studies find that, even using conservative, understated estimates of the health benefits of cycling, they far exceed any traffic risk,” explains Pucher.
All evidence cited in “City Cycling” shows that helmet laws discourage cycling so much that the reduced health benefits from less cycling are much greater than any alleged safety benefits of helmet laws. But above all, the book is suggesting it’s time to push the helmet debate to one side and focus on the real dangers affecting cyclists.
“In short, the focus on cycling safety should be on restricting car use and improving motorist behaviour,” says Pucher.
WHAT WON’T THEY THINK OF NEXT?
Washington, D.C., circa 1918. “Woman on motorized bicycle.” From Shorpy.
HAVE HELMET LAW’S PUT THE SKIDS ON MELBOURNE’S BIKE SHARE?
While figures on usage of the Brisbane and Melbourne schemes are hard to come by, the available information suggests the usage rate is very low, at about 10% of comparable programs in London or Dublin.
The poor uptake is likely due to a combination of poor cycling infrastructure and the requirement for users to wear helmets.
I’ve heard of potential users seeing the bikes lined up and going to have a look, only to turn away when they realise they needed a helmet and didn’t have one (and despite them being available in a nearby store in Melbourne for minimal cost).
Conclusion: exempt bike-share from the helmet law.