Equipment and On Road Behaviour, Laws and Rules. Cycling Promotion and Advocacy
Cycling in Berlin - reporter misses the point why it is so popular.
You weren't aware of the long-term decline in PT patronage through the 1960s-1990s? It pretty much mirrors the long-term rise in private motor vehicle use.
Long term. Nothing to do with the rapid decline in bicycle use between 1991 and 1996. Cycling to work was rising before 1991, and took a considerable time to recover after 1996. In several cities it still has not recovered to what it was in 1991.
With the government neglecting PT and spending oodles on roads for the last 50 years is it any wonder the public transport use has declined so much?
I think I'm missing your point. There are a host of reasons in that article on why cycling is popular in Berlin.
I'd hazard a guess, the times were favourable to car usage. Steady - and declining in real terms, petrol prices for most of the decade < .70cpl. Reducing tariffs on imported cars started under Button. Reasonable USD v AUD exchange to the mid 90s....before the aussie went into a steady decline later.
I'd agree, if I'm following! Maybe your choice of words has set people off, but in my small circle, it's was from riding suburb to suburb/beach/school as kids in the 60s/70s.....with the independence from mum/dad that entails, guess that could be taken as recreational. When I think of that word now, the polar opposite springs to mind - kids chauffeured to the park/path in the 4wd, with rack on the back, for a ride.
Despite the unfortunate image of helmeted Germans, they don't make an appearance for cycling.
Sounds like utility cycling to me Riding to go places, rather than cycle-sport or touring
It has little to do with helmets, it's about the mainly flat terrain, lots of cycle paths and the good behaviour of motorists.
How do you know that? You don't.
What we do know is:
-That in places where utility cycling is commonplace helmets aren't seen often. When surveyed the population of utility cyclists are generally against helmets.
-That in places where MHLs have been introduced the immediate impact on cycling rates is quite evident. Furthermore it is MUCH more difficult to encourage utility cycling.
This is no doubt very important. But when the roads are largely empty of cyclists where is the impetus for building cycle paths and promoting positive motorist behaviour?
As has been repeated thousands of times. Getting rid of MHLs are definitely not the only thing that needs to be done. However while they remain in place encouraging utility cycling is going to be MUCH more difficult. The evidence is clear.
Sooo, does anybody actually know if the NT situation is actually having any negative consequences?
...whatever the road rules, self-preservation is the absolute priority for a cyclist when mixing it with motorised traffic.
London Boy 29/12/2011
Revenue from bicycle helmet sales have dropped.
Notice too the preference people in Berlin seem to have for lycra.................................
You don't know that it IS to do with MHL.
Seriously, cyclists, or potential cyclists are generally going to be more put off from cycling because of having to ride up hills and therefore arriving at their destination all hot, sweaty and tired, lack of cycle paths and for those that do ride on the road they don't want to be killed or maimed by an ignorant or arrogant driver. Wearing a helmet is a minor inconvenience (if an inconvenience at all). Doesn't anyone know how to use a comb or a hairbrush? What happens to your hair when you aren't wearing a helmet, doesn't it get blown around as you ride?
Statistics can be skewed to prove or disprove any POV. For every 10 cites you find 'proving' MHL discourage cycling I'm sure I could find 10 'proving' the opposite.
No you cant. Clearly MHLs discourage cycling.. surely by now no one is remotely arguing otherwise. Its actually one of those few areas where anecdotal evidence means something.. cos if I say I quit cycling for 10 years because of MHLs then that proves it discouraged me. Or at least is a factor I perceive as discouraging me or am using as an excuse. (have not found any other excuses ever mind. So you can only be arguing it discourages few.. very few.. or just somewhat me. But you cannot possibly argue it had no effect. And no one has even tried to argue it encourages cycling before now.
So go ahead. 10 peer reviewed half credible studies saying MHLs encouraged cycling.
As an obvious enthusiast cyclist I can see you don't have an appreciation of the common man's view. Did you even cycle without a helmet ie. prior to the early 80s ?? Do you really know the difference that a helmet makes, in a whole host of ways that trouble many people, apart from messed up hair. I'd agree that for many their hair will messed up by any wind, and it really doesn't bother me, but for a lot of people (women especially) it's the extra styling effects of the helmet hair that they don't want.
Ross you continue to throw strawman arguments left right and centre. I wont continue to address things that have nothing to do with MHLs.
Can you? Can you even find ONE city which has MHLs with widespread cycling?
No you can't! Of course I shouldn't need to explain to you the logic of why the existence of cities without MHL and very poor cycling doesn't in anyway negate the premise the MHLs discourage cycling. (Inner Melbourne comes a little close to be honest but it still has a long way to go.)
Jeez, I'd be happy to see one that wasn't funded by legislators, hemlet makers or health promotion agencies.
...whatever the road rules, self-preservation is the absolute priority for a cyclist when mixing it with motorised traffic.
London Boy 29/12/2011
Hey he offered. Sheesh. OK I,ll be nice. One.. thats one.. half credible at a first glance study saying that MHL,s have increased cycling participation. Just one. Generous enough? One tenth of what he said he could supply. So Ross put up or shut up.
Of course this is the last we will see of him this year in this thread
Last edited by Percrime on Tue Nov 06, 2012 7:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
Ross, I have little hair and hate the Mandatory Helmet Laws. I wouldn't wear a helmet if it wasn't for the law unless I thought there was a specific reason to do so (racing or bunch riding might be reasonable reasons but I do neither). So, can we stop with the hairstyling strawman?
I'm a utility cyclist and I can see no reason why I shouldn't be able to ride sans foam lid. I regularly ride on busy roads and MHLs make cycling out to be far more dangerous than it really is. MHLs are a deterrent.
Riding: Cannondale Quick Speed 2
The only reason I can think of that justifies MHL is that there is an assumption that cyclists will get hit by cars and trucks. Is this reasonable?
It can't be because riders can hurt their heads just falling off like a toddler trying to ride. There must be some kind of negative external influence at all.
Have you ever had a 30+kph contact with a car, Ross? Jules21? Other people who aren't vehemently opposed?
Honestly, if it wasn't because I am essentially forced by my circumstances to ride because all alternatives are unacceptable to me, there is no way I could justify the pain, distress and misery of a bike accident at regular speeds. I got off very lightly, and still spent a day in hospital on morphine 3 months ago. Hitting trucks and cars is going to be incredibly bad for you, whether you have a helmet or not. Do you think many people would drive if they were going to jail for hitting another car?
The impact on the cyclist is so severe that any alternative way of dealing out that punishment would guarantee jailtime. Accidently hit them with a shovel as hard as they could. Dragged them across gravel for 10m. Broke bones shoving them into a parked car. Sent them to hospital after running into them. MHL is not the solution to this problem, because pedestrians and motorcyclists face the same risk and dangers. The car is the issue, not the bike. Cars are not going to be made of Nerf foam soon, so the penalties for their failures need to reflect the penalties they inflict on others.
This is the best reason I can come up with for MHL, but there are far bigger issues that need resolution. This will be an even bigger problem once the electric car is popularised because there is no nasty "OMFlyingspaghettimonster car!" engine noise to warn people that a car is coming. Psychology pretty much shows that people switch off... is it realistic to expect people to be hyperalert on the footpath? Cars drive everywhere... I don't think it is realistic. What do others think?
The reason for a helmet is very different to most people's conception of it. Helmets and the Australian Standard for Bicycle Helmets were designed to protect against a head falling 2 meters onto the ground, or an impact speed of ~20 kmh. Car collision impacts really don't enter into this scenario at all. Back in the 80s the concern was the kids falling off on bike paths and ending up 'on life support'. So the powers that be made it compulsory for everyone - great!! How common is this sort of injury really?
When I was up at Yulara in September we rode about the resort to get to the shops and didn't bother to wear the helmets, just a sun hat. It was very nice. Next year we are going to Europe to travel by bike. Last night I dreamt of riding overseas.... and we were not wearing our helmets
Sorry to hear of your crash Xplora. I'm very surprised that this incident hasn't changed your views on helmets. I agree totally that having a collision with a car or truck is very bad and can lead to broken bones or worse.
I've been lucky so far with my cycling and haven't had any physical clashes with vehicles. Actually I did have a relatively minor one in about 1982 where a car failed to see me at an intersection and just clipped me and knocked me off my bike. Pre-MHL as well! Didn't knock my head, just a couple of minor scrapes and bruises. The lady driver gave me a lift home which was good of her and I liked riding in her GT Falcon!
I have had a couple of low speed crashes (~walking pace), one where I went over the handlebars and came down hard on bitumen road and banged my helmeted head on the road. Luckily I was able to get up and walk away (couldn't ride, front wheel was stuffed). I beleve this was due to my helmet protecting my head. Of course I have no "scientific evidence" to prove this.
It is my belief, based on experience, that it is not just high speed crashes, or crashes involving motor vehicles where helmets can prevent or lessen head injuries. It is low speed crashes as well that can be serious.
il padrone - A quick comb or brush of the hair would fix the double mohawk. Presumably this was after a longer ride, rather than just a 5 minute "pop down the shop for a loaf of bread" ride? Hair would be the least of your worries after a longer ride, say a 1/2 hour commute to work. I usually get all hot and sweaty when I ride a longer time/distance such as this and if going to work I get straight in the shower as soon as I get to work and again when I get home.
My view still is that traffic is the biggest factor in discouraging cycling followed by lack of cycling infastructure. MHL may play a small part but it is my belief that a lot of people just use that as an excuse rather than a reason.
This is my belief based on experience. (hmmm, different views maybe that should mean choice!)
For most able bodied coordinated people low and medium speed bicycle crashes are not a big issue. It is not too much different from tripping over while running. Should we have MHL for running? Sure some people may feel they do not have the necessary skills to protect themselves in the event of a fall, so by all means wear a helmet. However why should it be compulsory when MOST people can adequately protect themselves? (The evidence that most people can protect themselves it pretty clear from the lack of problems sans helmets in places like Holland. Lets not kid ourselves, every Dutch child could tell us stories of their bike falls.)
As a kid I was riding my BMX everywhere. "Stacks" as we called them were not uncommon. I took big falls off my bike many dozens of times. Most of this would have been without a helmet. We took lots of risks off road too with dirt jumps etc. Knees, elbows and hand scrapes were common. Heads were fine. As an adult I've had about a half a dozen falls in a decade either for silly reasons away from traffic or mechanical failure. Again nothing bruises and scrapes.
If you are advocating that we need helmets for low speed non motor vehicle involved falls too then there goes the entire "but Australia" is different argument. Europe functions just fine without MHL.
Not me, and not my problem.
The fact that you and I continue to ride, over longer distances and in hot conditions is of no consequence. The people who do not cycle in Australian cities, but do in many overseas cities, are the average Joe and Jane. Hairstyle, appearance and dress does matter to them.
Look at how many Dutch cyclists ride. They wear normal street clothing, they ride slow and chat with friends, they are only riding shorter distances (of course, due to more compact cities).
In the objective of getting these people out riding their bikes, routinely, for transport as well as recreational exercise, the helmet is one of a number of barriers - but probably the first barrier after the cost of buying a bike.
I'm with xlpora. I've had 3 offs in the last 2 years. 2 my fault, the other was at the fault of a car. both that were my fault and single vehicle crashes resulting in me falling over and landing on my side.
a few months ago I changed my mind. I used to think you'd be mad not to wear a helmet. now, even though I'm thankful for the helmet, and continue to wear one (and would wear it no matter the law), don't think they should be compulsory. I will continue to wear one to protect myself, but I believe it should be your choice. no way in hell would I ride where/how I do without a helmet. But not everyone rides at breakneck speeds (well, i think I'm going fast) and they may perceive the risk as less. get the law changed/referendum/whatever. I'll support anti-mhl.
Your beliefs are not key in the discussion however - it is my belief that I'm safe enough on my bike to ride on the road. The beliefs you are talking about will lead some people to not ride at all. If you can't swim, you don't jump into the deep end of the pool, right? If you can't ride, you won't cycle commute.
Yes, accidents of all kinds CAN hurt you. But is it a reasonable belief? You've gone OTB 3 times, a couple times at low speeds... you pranged in 1982... you've been riding for 30 years! Most car drivers can reasonably expect to suffer a similarly dangerous impact once a decade as well. Why no helmets for car passengers? The airbags and the seatbelts are far from perfect, and physics is even more dangerous at 80kmh...
Your arguments are valid and reasonable, but they show there is an inherent discrimination in the helmet law. I am happy for you to claim there is danger... but I'm not happy if you will not demand tougher protections for other modes of transport. Everyone has their own level of "danger" they can tolerate. I managed to do 63kmh on a suburban street last week... that's NOT safe on a bike with multiple intersections. Make no mistake. I am almost at the limits of safe speeds on the bike and my skill level. But that is my choice. Most people can't even get a bike to 60kmh to decide if it's safe!!! But they'll gladly do 70 in a 60 zone when driving. The human isn't great at assessing risk... but why must a bike rider have their freedom taken away, when we don't do the same to the car driver - the consequences for car crashes are catastrophic compared to bikes, simple momentum physics proves it. Why are we discriminating against bikes?!
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