An occasional update on items from the Velo-city.
BIKE SHARE EVERYWHERE
New York has bike share; even Houston, for heaven’s sake, has bike share. Vancouver ?… well, we have a helmet law.
THE HELMET DEBATE
From Ken Ohrn:
Piet de Jong has written a useful companion piece to the wonderful cycling health meta-study published recently by Prof. Kay Teschke of UBC. Both papers find that the overall health benefit of cycling outweighs any increase in health risks.
Mr. de Jong’s paper argues more specifically that helmet laws discourage cycling, reduce the exercise benefits, and society as a whole bears higher health costs as a result.
My favourite quote from the paper: “DeMarco(9) opines ‘Ultimately, helmet laws save a few brains but destroy many hearts’ .”
Be warned, this is a nuanced academic paper, and it contains mathematics festooned with Greek alphabet symbols. Reading it is not for the faint of heart or the simplistic polemicist.
This article seeks to answer the question whether mandatory bicycle helmet laws deliver a net societal health benefit. The question is addressed using a simple model. The model recognizes a single health benefit — reduced head injuries, and a single health cost — increased morbidity due to foregone exercise from reduced cycling.
Using estimates suggested in the literature of the effectiveness of helmets, the health benefits of cycling, head injury rates, and reductions in cycling, leads to the following conclusions. In jurisdictions where cycling is safe, a helmet law is likely to have a large unintended negative health impact. In jurisdiction where cycling is relatively unsafe, helmets will do little to make it safer and a helmet law, under relatively extreme assumptions may make a small positive contribution to net societal health.
BEGINNER ROAD BIKE CLINIC
From Evolution Coaching:
Have you signed up for a cycling event, have a new road bike and want to feel confident on the road? The Beginner Road Bike Clinic is designed to help you feel safe and confident on your bike and on the road. We will practice what to do before, during and after each ride.
A National Public Radio interview, with transcript: David Darlington talks about his Bicycling article, “Why Johnny Can’t Ride.”
… we’re talking about a lot of big broad cultural changes that have taken place. That statistic that you mentioned – in 1969, 48 percent of kids walked to school. Today it’s 13 percent. And part of that is suburban sprawl.
Today’s schools are – they build schools bigger and further from the center of town with more kids, so it’s further away. I personally think that’s all the more reason for kids to ride bikes. It’s a good reason for them not to walk. It’s pretty far.
But a bicycle is a good solution to that. And then there’s all the other stuff that, you know, adults are prey to these days, mostly, as Andy Clarke, president of the League of American Bicyclists, puts it, things involving a small screen, namely computers and video games and things like that.
One more from Ken Ohrn:
While out on a meandering bike ride today in the glorious sunshine, I came across this sad example of how crude and nasty some of our fellow humans can be.
This mural is a treasure, and is located at 1249 Adanac. Called “Crossings”, it was painted in 2009. Further detail on it HERE, and HERE.
It’s a disheartening thing to see, and took some of the joy out of my day.
But some good news in response from the artist:
I will be reworking/cleaning and resealing the mural within a month…had to wait for weather. Same person(s) hit several others in town at the same time.