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Breakfast Links: The value of helmets


Photo by Clover_1 on Flickr.
Black women talk about biking: Veronica Davis talks about the numbers of black women bicycling and the "Mary Poppins effect," where she encounters more driver courtesy when biking in a dress and her bright pink helmet. (Kate Ryan Reports)

CaBi users to get helmets: DDOT is providing 500 helmets to frequent Capital Bikeshare users, because most riders don't wear them and you can't rent one. The agency hopes to buy more in the future. (NBC Washington)

Bus alerts coming: A new communications team at Metro will send out alerts about bus service disruptions. Riders will be able to sign up for alerts by bus line. It would be helpful to incorporate them with Nextbus, too. (Examiner)

Accessible but inconvenient: Metro is encouraging disabled riders to use buses and trains as MetroAccess fares increase. But riders often struggle to navigate stations with broken elevators and large crowds. (Post)

From warehouse to office: Two District developers are planning to redevelop a warehouse in Anacostia into a four story office building. The building is close to the Anacostia Metro station and along one of the proposed streetcar routes. (Post)

Bad news for Hyattsville development: University Town Center in Hyattsville may fall into foreclosure because of high debt and the weak housing market. The development also lost a major federal tenant when GSA decided not to move there. (Post)

Can voters trust Michael A. Brown?: Besides pushing internet gambling with a possible conflict of interest, Michael Brown violated election law years ago, and has made claims about his accomplishments which are hard to verify.

And...: A non-profit is planting and caring for trees along Embassy Row. (WAMU) ... Virginia Beach is zoning to permit homeless encampments. (Virginian-Pilot) ... England opened the longest guided busway in the world. (Human Transit) ... Police are giving jaywalking tickets in Dupont Circle. (14th and You)

Have a tip for the links? Submit it here.
Jamie Scott is a resident of Ward 3 in DC and a regular Metrobus commuter. He believes in good government, livable communities and quality public transit. Jamie holds a B.A. in Government from Georgetown University and is currently pursuing a Masters in Public Policy at Georgetown. 

Comments

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yep. cutest picture ever for GGW.

by Geoffrey Hatchard on Aug 8, 2011 9:23 am • linkreport

I have nothing against helmets, but is the CaBi problem the lack of ownership of helmets or the fact that people don't want to carry them around all day, every day, when they may or may not use a CaBi bike?

by ah on Aug 8, 2011 10:12 am • linkreport

The busway should have been the mass transit solution for Tysons Corner and Dulles Airport. The costs would be much less, and we would most likely have transit operating in at least part of the corridor. Also, Fairfax County would not have been able to grant the Tysons landowners as much density as is in the Comp Plan, which, in turn, could have reduced the need to spend at least $1.5 billion in road construction.

by tmtfairfax on Aug 8, 2011 10:17 am • linkreport

After a weekend of biking out in Fairfax, I have a new perspetive on helmets. When you're on a sidewalk, which is a pretty bad place to be, they are useful. Far more likely to wipe out on a sidewalk than a paved road.

How much of the fear of helmets related to being unstable on a bike?

by charlie on Aug 8, 2011 10:20 am • linkreport

@ helmets: I am happy that a mere 13 accidents (crashes?) cause the city to be so careful about bike riders...

by Jasper on Aug 8, 2011 10:28 am • linkreport

Wrong thinking tmtfairfax. It would help the whole metropolitan if busaways were built. It would make people's commute more difficult. I would rather stay on the metro than to get off the metro and then take my bags and get on a bus to complete the trip. Going the cheap route isn't always the best.

by Steve85 on Aug 8, 2011 10:34 am • linkreport

Wasn't built I mean

by Steve85 on Aug 8, 2011 10:36 am • linkreport

re: helmet thing:

Pretty useless initiative, though one could argue it's a decent use of money from a PR perspective. Either way, if someone is critically injured on a CaBi, look for the forces of "regression" to come after the system hard.

Passing out helmets ain't going to deflect that shitstorm.

by oboe on Aug 8, 2011 10:49 am • linkreport

@Geoff Hatchard: I think this gives the picture a run for its money:

http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post/6278/how-could-metro-share-regional-bus-pass-revenue/

by Michael Perkins on Aug 8, 2011 11:00 am • linkreport

@ah: Bingo. I'm normally a religious helmet wearer but I'll ride CaBi without one if I have to.

by Michael Perkins on Aug 8, 2011 11:00 am • linkreport

The key is to provide a fig-leaf for CaBi itself, so that it can argue that it does everything it can to encourage helmet use.

by oboe on Aug 8, 2011 11:02 am • linkreport

It's a relatively small amount of money to help calm the fear mongering about helmet usage. And helmets are pretty inexpensive... I doubt people are choosing not to wear them because they cost too much.

by Scoot on Aug 8, 2011 11:18 am • linkreport

@Michael Perkins:

Kid = cuter than rodents. A lot.

by dcd on Aug 8, 2011 11:30 am • linkreport

Regarding the Anacostia office development, it sounds like now is the time to invest in property there. The other week, there was another developer that purchased several acres of land from WMATA to develop offices. This development sounds like it is going to benefit the area. Work on Saint Elizabeth's is continuing, and Anacostia is one stop away from the SE Waterfront/Navy Yard, which is rapidly developing and becoming an extension of downtown.

by Ben on Aug 8, 2011 11:44 am • linkreport

@dcd - how speciesist

by the guinea pig on Aug 8, 2011 11:44 am • linkreport

Exactly. It's as though well-intentioned but clueless folks pointed out that a lot of CaBi users smoked cigarettes, so CaBi agreed to start putting smoking cessation pamphlets at all racks.

Except smoking has negative public health effects, whereas the studies that have been done actually show that *not* requiring helmet use has *positive* public health effects.

Oh, well.

by oboe on Aug 8, 2011 11:54 am • linkreport

Steve85
I am a bit confused by your comment with respect to bags. I guess you are referring to use of transit to get to Dulles Airport. If so, that is a minor use of transit. The biggest use of Dulles Rail will be to get to and from Tysons Corner. IMO, focusing on Airport users lets the tail wag the dog.

A less expensive transit system would help reduce the costs that are threatening the viability of transit in the Dulles Corridor. Heavy rail is simply too expensive to build and operate effectively in this location. Moreover, since the new rail line will not be anywhere successful in terms of numbers and percentages of people using it to reach or leave from Tysons, it is unlikely local taxpayers will readily accept higher taxes or cuts in existing programs to help fund construction of Phase II of the Silver Line. The Silver Line will create political problems for years to come.

Use of Bus Rapid Transit with a fixed busway would have been the most-cost effective solution for mass transit in the Dulles Corridor, especially for Tysons Corner.

by tmtfairfax on Aug 8, 2011 12:06 pm • linkreport

It would be interesting to know who or what is pressuring DDOT to rethink its safety strategy for CaBi. 13 accidents out of 800,000 trips is so minuscule that there must be some external force lobbying for helmets.

by Scoot on Aug 8, 2011 12:17 pm • linkreport

@Steve85 @tmtfairfax

A hypothetical guided BRT alternative to the silver line could have gone where the silver line is slated to go - potentially even providing in-system transfers. The notion that it would require a seat change is a false assumption about the hypothetical retroactive transit dream thought experiment game I somehow can't help arguing about.

by Lucre on Aug 8, 2011 12:28 pm • linkreport

Ugh, that office building looks lame. Granted, it looks a heck of a lot better than what's at 2235 Shannon now, but an empty lot would accomplish that.

by Lucre on Aug 8, 2011 12:34 pm • linkreport

The point of the Silver Line isn't just to get to Tysons Corner, it's to transform it into an urban place. It is highly suspect that a busway would be anywhere close to as effective as a Metro line, even if it were along the same right of way.

And of course, no matter how much it might be *possible* for a busway to have been put in the same right of way, in the real world it never would have because of the problem of BRT creep. It would have been almost impossible to keep the busway out of the airport access road, where it would cost oh so much less.

I do think a busway would actually be better for Dulles, but we had to get Metro to Tysons. I'd have been fine with only doing Silver Line Phase 1 and then doing a busway to Dulles (as long as the busway went all the way into DC).

by BeyondDC on Aug 8, 2011 12:42 pm • linkreport

Scoot,

I know that DDOT wanted to sell CaBi branded helmets - and only to members. The hope was that by making them look good and have a bit of exclusivity to them members would want to wear them, and non-members would want to join. Frankly, I'm not sure DDOT will be giving these helmets away. We'll see I suppose, but DDOT has had a longtime program of giving away helmets (mostly to kids) so this isn't that crazy. They also pitch in on WABA's light giveaway (I think).

The do get asked by the media about "all the people riding without helmets" and I guess they don't have it in them to say some combination of: biking is safe, helmets are a choice and helmet efficacy is still in debate.

by David C on Aug 8, 2011 12:53 pm • linkreport

I think Tom Sherwood has been one of the big external forces pushing for helmets, as he has done at least 3 or so segments on bikeshare, in each one talking about the danger that non-helmet-wearing riders present.

by Jacques on Aug 8, 2011 1:05 pm • linkreport

re: CaBi helmet use,

This just in. As part of a coordinated safety effort with DDOT, MPD will offer burqas. 'Cause you know they are just asking for it.

--

Fixating on helmet use is just a passive way of blaming the victim for our unsafe streets.

by JeffB on Aug 8, 2011 1:28 pm • linkreport

If adults do not want to wear helmets, they should not have to. Giving helmets for free to adults is ridiculous waste of money.

Bus Alerts... how about WMATA get all buses on real-time location reporting, so next bus isn't just a next guess. That would be more beneficial to the smartphone using crowd (who can then tell me when I ask them politely when it will be coming).

by greent on Aug 8, 2011 1:52 pm • linkreport

re: Helmets

I think CaBi's helmet initiative makes sense on a few fronts. If they're giving these out to the 500 most frequent CaBi riders, then a significant portion of that group are going to be people who commute both ways every day, which is a riding pattern that lends itself to helmet wearing. They're going to be people who are invested in the system, and so also willing to wear branded safety equipment. And they're on the bikes a lot, so even a small percentage of adoption should translate into some visibility for the helmets.

All that together should equal a not so small visual safety statement on the part of the CaBi ridership. I don't personally advocate for mandatory helmets, but I think a pro-helmet message is a good thing.

by CJ on Aug 8, 2011 1:54 pm • linkreport

"The point of the Silver Line isn't just to get to Tysons Corner, it's to transform it into an urban place." Yes and no. The presence of the Silver Line has enabled Fairfax County to allow urban development at Tysons. That was true under the 1994 Comp Plan and the 2010 Comp Plan. But rail transit will be only a minor part of transportation in, out and around Tysons. Urban development at Tysons will require major road improvements to handle the increased motor vehicle traffic. See Table 7 to the 2010 Comp Plan. An urban Tysons Corner will have much, much worse traffic than today. Even after at least $1.5 billion in road improvements, once Tysons reaches 84 million square feet from today's 46 million, the road network (the Beltway, the Dulles Toll Road, Route 7 and Route 123) reach failure.
Thus, would residents of Fairfax County be better off had Bus Rapid Transit been used and Tysons prevented from growing as large as it is permitted to do today? Probably. We would not have the huge bill for the Silver Line. Road improvements would be less than $1.5 billion and traffic would not be as bad as it will be.

BTW, rail must be built to Dulles or the Tysons landowners cannot build to the new Comp Plan, according to that plan.

by tmtfairfax on Aug 8, 2011 2:09 pm • linkreport

@ CJ - CaBi has always put forward a pro-helmet message and has even partnered with local businesses to offer helmet discounts at some bike shops. But now its pro-helmet message is coming at a tangible cost to the government. It begs the question if giving away free helmets is the best use of DDOT funds, and/or whether it is even appropriate to do so. I'm not at all convinced that promoting helmet usage is the best way to make cycling safer, and so I have a bit of an issue with my tax dollars going toward free helmets for people who 1) don't want to wear helmets in the first place, and 2) can more than likely afford to buy a helmet if they wanted one.

by Scoot on Aug 8, 2011 2:10 pm • linkreport

Use of Bus Rapid Transit with a fixed busway would have been the most-cost effective solution for mass transit in the Dulles Corridor, especially for Tysons Corner

This is theoretically true but I don't know that people would use a busway as much as heavy rail. It's kind of like the argument about streetcar vs. bus. Undoubtedly, buses are more cost effective than streetcars but for some reason, they don't attract the kind of high income earners that streetcars do (and attracting those high income earners is what makes the economics of transit work).

An urban Tysons Corner will have much, much worse traffic than today.

Exactly one of the reasons why we need good transit. At least this way people have a choice as to whether they want to deal with bad traffic.

Even after at least $1.5 billion in road improvements, once Tysons reaches 84 million square feet from today's 46 million, the road network (the Beltway, the Dulles Toll Road, Route 7 and Route 123) reach failure.

I'd like to point out that the extra 40 million square feet will add at least an extra $250M a year in real estate taxes alone. Not to mention all the revenue from more resident income and property, retail sales, and construction jobs.

by Falls Church on Aug 8, 2011 2:44 pm • linkreport

@Scoot I would guess it's only about $10 or $15 for a helmet when you are buying that many. After all they are just chunks of Styrofoam. So we are only talking like $5000 to $7500.

by Doug on Aug 8, 2011 2:58 pm • linkreport

@ Scoot,

My point was that this initiative isn't about outfitting 500 cyclists so that they will be safer on the road. This is not about outfitting cyclists who can afford their own helmets.

It's a communication campaign to raise awareness. As a campaign, it's pretty well designed. Your tax dollars are going to be spent by DDOT on a certain number of educational campaigns, and this one will probably cost less than a beltway ad campaign to promote helmet wearing.

I'm not wading in to the pro- or con- helmet debate. I'm just stating that this looks like a well designed and innovative, cost effective initiative.

by CJ on Aug 8, 2011 3:24 pm • linkreport

The situation would have been better of it was build underground. I believe this is a good reason why the busaway would work and this is my personal belief. With our area being a huge metropolitan area and people from maryland coming to work in Tysons and along the DTR it would take longer for someone coming in from i.e. Bethesda would prefer taking the metro into Tysons rather than finding wherever the busaway is located at to reach Tysons which would probably make the trip longer if the buses is not there and you have to wait for it. Building new highways isn't the key to solving transportation problems. Look at what the far east is doing. We need to learn from them and use what is the best way for moving people in our area which is of course......Metro

by Steve85 on Aug 8, 2011 3:56 pm • linkreport

Would not work again.... sorry thinking faster than typing....

by Steve85 on Aug 8, 2011 3:58 pm • linkreport

@ CJ - If DDOT designed a $7500 communication campaign that hinged on the assumption that widening roads reduces congestion, it would probably be heavily criticized, even if it were an innovative or cost-effective way to send that message. Would you want your tax dollars contributing to this campaign? Personally, I wouldn't. So I think the pro-con issue of helmet safety is pretty important in this discussion.

$5000-$7500+ can be used to buy flimsy helmets for a small segment of the population that clearly does not want them, but it could also be put toward providing new bikes and funding the installation of more stations that people actually do want. It's clearly not the worst way to spend a few thousand dollars, but not being the clear worst option doesn't make it the best option.

by Scoot on Aug 8, 2011 3:59 pm • linkreport

@CJ

I agree that this is an effective communication campaign but unfortunately the campaign is communicating disinformation. Thr campaign is communicating the incorrect info that biking without a helmet is unacceptably dangerous. This has little factual basis and discourages bike riding in general.

by Falls Church on Aug 8, 2011 5:09 pm • linkreport

I have avoided getting into this debate all day but the research proving the effectiveness of bike helmets to reduce injuries is extensive: http://depts.washington.edu/hiprc/practices/topic/bicycles/helmeteduc.html .

If you haven't noticed, concrete is awfully hard, especially from five feet up and going 10-20 miles per hour. I've been in two crashes requiring stitches and these would have been much worse if not for a helmet. There are all sorts of risks, even for very experienced cyclists, of riding and commuting on a bike. You can have equipment malfunctions, careless drivers, people or animals run in front of you, pot holes, etc. It is unexplanable why someone would willingly increase these risks, especially to something as absolutely essential to a normal, functioning life, like a brain, by riding without a helmet.

by Ben on Aug 8, 2011 5:40 pm • linkreport

@ Ben; your link is not persuasive.

"Linear regression models indicated a 12% drop (95% CI 10%-15%) in serious head injuries as a percent of all bicycle injuries. From 40% in 1991-92 to 28% in 1994-95, while total bicycle trauma did not changes."

Look, nobody argues that if you hit your head a helmet is going to help. The question is whether such head strikes are large number of injuries suffered by cyclists.

From what i've seen, the most serious injuries are spinal and back. A few stitches -- a common anecdote -- is not a bad outcome. And if you believe that link, even with 2% helmet usage head strikes are 40% of injuries.

And the bottom line: Increase helmet usage did not help reduce "total bicycle trauma"

by charlie on Aug 8, 2011 5:49 pm • linkreport

Ben, see my thoughts here

While you are correct that there are risks and hitting your head can cause harm, you fail to prove that a helmet will help with that any more than strapping a piece of peanut brittle to your forehead will.

It is unexplanable why someone would willingly increase these risks, especially to something as absolutely essential to a normal, functioning life, like a brain, by riding without a helmet.

Well then, I'm sure you wear a helmet when riding in a car or when walking the streets of DC. Because there is a risk of head trauma there as well. And it is unexplanable why someone would willingly increase these risks, right? [Though technically, not wearing a helmet doesn't increase risk. Helmet wearers do so hoping the helmet will mitigate risk].

by David C on Aug 8, 2011 5:56 pm • linkreport

@charlie-- I agree with you that the most common cycling injuries are cuts, abrasions, and broken collar bones. If you're going fast enough to break a collar bone, you're certainly going fast enough to crack a skull. Why would you want to voluntarily do anything that increases this risk.

@David C.-- the comparison to walking is spurious at best and, more accurately, pure BS. When you're walking you're usually only going 1-2 miles per hour, can stop far more easily and don't have nearly as many of the potential or likely hazards cited above.

by Ben on Aug 8, 2011 6:04 pm • linkreport

@David C-- a car also has a safety device that protects your head and helps prevent it from going through the windshield or hitting the dashboard in an accident-- a seatbelt. Yes, I use it when driving, although the vast majority of injuries from auto accidents aren't head injuries.

by Ben on Aug 8, 2011 6:10 pm • linkreport

If DDOT's helmet campaign prevents or mitigates the severity of even one head injury that requires any kind of hospitalization, this minimal amount of investment will have paid for itself severalfold.

by Ben on Aug 8, 2011 6:19 pm • linkreport

@ben; "If you're going fast enough to break a collar bone, you're certainly going fast enough to crack a skull. Why would you want to voluntarily do anything that increases this risk."

Perhaps the problem is going too fast....

by charlie on Aug 8, 2011 6:44 pm • linkreport

@charlie: Isn't this one of the purposes of cycling, to get somewhere reasonably efficiently?

by Ben on Aug 8, 2011 6:54 pm • linkreport

If DDOT's helmet campaign prevents or mitigates the severity of even one head injury that requires any kind of hospitalization, this minimal amount of investment will have paid for itself severalfold.

What is the basis for this? Are you saying that the cost for this campaign is a fraction of what the city carries to hospitalize one person for a head injury from a cycling accident? I'd be interested to see data on that.

CaBi is a system that is used mostly by above-average income residents who can afford helmets but voluntarily choose not to wear them. DDOT has already acknowledged that it is targeting these specific users for its helmet campaign. I'm pretty liberal, but I question why the government is spending tax dollars giving free helmets to a tiny percentage of these people, even when there is no evidence they will wear them.

In my opinion, DDOT could do better. How about offering an option at sign-up where people can buy discounted helmets or receive promotions and discount coupons for helmets sold by local bike shops? Why not engage in a more aggressive campaign in local media (blogs, Express, City Paper, etc) to educate people (drivers and riders alike) on safe riding practices and how to share the road? Is sending out free helmets the best DDOT can do?

by Scoot on Aug 8, 2011 7:14 pm • linkreport

Isn't this one of the purposes of cycling, to get somewhere reasonably efficiently?

Exactly -- people weigh the efficiency of the system against its risks and inconveniences. People are going to voluntarily increase their risk of an injury because the benefit of doing so (getting where you need to go quickly, cheaply and efficiently) outweighs those risks for those people. They choose not to wear a helmet because the inconvenience of having to carry one around all the time is not outweighed by the perceived safety benefits of wearing one. Unfortunately, under this particular campaign, the city operates according to what is perceived as safe and not according to how people actually behave. And for that reason alone, it's a bit short-sighted.

by Scoot on Aug 8, 2011 7:20 pm • linkreport

@Scoot:

"Exactly -- people weigh the efficiency of the system against its risks and inconveniences. "

Nobody is suggesting to make the helmet use mandatory. They'd be available for people to voluntarily choose to use if they decide to do so.

We can trade studies back and forth all evening but here is a simple experiment that you can try at home for those of you who doubt the protection provided by a helmet. Go outside, kneel down, and smack your head against the sidewalk or road. Try this again wearing a helmet. Which one do you think will result in a lot less pain and fewer injuries.

This is at ground-level at a complete stop. Now, you're welcome to try this again going 10-20 mph five feet above the ground. Admittedly, wearing a bike helmet won't prevent all head injuries but you're lying to yourself and you're deluding yourself if you don't think it will result in many fewer injuries.

by Ben on Aug 8, 2011 8:39 pm • linkreport

Haven't we had this discussion before? No one has disputed that having a layer of styrofoam and plastic between your cranium and the ground has a protective effect -- but we're talking about government initiatives that promote safe cycling, particularly among bike share systems.... not the physical properties of styrofoam and plastic.

There is little or no evidence of campaigns or initiatives for bikeshares that have resulted in a safer cycling environment by mandating or subsidizing helmet usage On the other hand, there is a lot of evidence that these initiatives either do not affect the climate of safe cycling, or make cycling less safe for a variety of reasons.

There are over 225 bikeshare programs in the world and there is almost no system where people wear helmets most of the time (the exception is the one system, Melbourne, which requires them). Data has shown that people riding shared bicycles are involved in fewer accidents than people who ride their owned bicycles -- in DC, the rate of injury for bikeshare users is about half that for bike owners (although to be fair, the data only compared by number of collisions reported, not per mile traveled). In London, 4.5 million trips were taken and not one bikeshare rider was killed in a traffic crash. In Mexico City, of 1.6 million trips taken, 3 injuries required hospitalization. In Minneapolis, 0 injuries were reported for 37,000 trips.

So you tell me why the government should be spending thousands of dollars giving away free helmets to bikeshare who don't want to wear them?

by Scoot on Aug 8, 2011 9:59 pm • linkreport

- the comparison to walking is spurious at best and, more accurately, pure BS.

a car also has a safety device that protects your head and helps prevent it from going through the windshield or hitting the dashboard in an accident

Ben, do you agree with the following three statements.

1. When you walk or ride in a car you can be a crash or a fall that causes you to hit your head.

Consider this and this. "Head injuries due to road traffic accidents represented 60.9% [of head injury cases]...Most of victims in road traffic accidents were pedestrians."

2. If you were wearing a helmet during a crash or fall while walking or motoring, you'd be better off wearing a helmet.

Consider this.

3. It is unexplanable why someone would willingly increase these risks, especially to something as absolutely essential to a normal, functioning life, like a brain.

If so, then you must wear a helmet when walking or motoring lest you participate in explicable behavior. Or which statement do you disagree with?

by David C on Aug 8, 2011 10:16 pm • linkreport

@Scoot:

"No one has disputed that having a layer of styrofoam and plastic between your cranium and the ground has a protective effect "

Look at charlie and David C's comments. This is exactly what they're suggesting-- that helmets are ineffective and do not reduce injury. This is patently false and ridiculous and borderline reckless for them to be advocating against a completely voluntary program that allows people to wear helmets.

by Ben on Aug 8, 2011 10:38 pm • linkreport

the helmet comments are funny. I see people with helmets on briefcases, etc or (horrors) in their hand, all the time. I'm sure my health insurance costs benefit from people who cultivate this exotic habit. Daypacks increasingly include "daisy chains" partly to accommodate bike helmets. The people too lazy to buy/carry a helmet are much like the ones who want signs on the Metro for where to stand on escalators, because they're too lazy to say "excuse me" and pass someone.

by Rich on Aug 8, 2011 10:44 pm • linkreport

@David C:

As I mentioned above, the comparisons to walking and driving are spurious at best, and more truthfully, complete BS.

When you're walking, you're traveling at 1-2 miles per hour, not 10 - 20 miles per hour. You're on the sidewalk, not mixed in with vehicles. You have no equipment (tires, spokes, cranks, pedals, seatposts) that can fail. It is far easier to stop when walking at the 1-2 mph pace than it is on a bike. Standing on two feet are more stable than being on a bike.

When you're in a car (at least when I'm in a car, I can't be sure with you, since you probably disagree about the effectiveness of seatbelts), there are already two protections for my head in case of a collision-- seatbelts and air bags.

This is just an observation and it proves nothing but I rode 25 miles out on MacAurther Blvd today. Every serious cyclist (competent, strong, etc...) was wearing a helmet. It was only the 2-3 novice bikers who were not wearing a helmet. This is a pretty telling vote of confidence in the protection offered by a helmet. Perhaps you're too macho, or you don't want to be inconvenienced, or you don't want it to mess up your hair. I don't know the reason, but as I said, you're deluding yourself if you don't think a helmet provide greater protection in preventing head injuries when traveling more than two miles per hour on a bike.

by Ben on Aug 8, 2011 10:46 pm • linkreport

Ben, you didn't answer my question. You repeated yourself. Do you or do you not agree with all three of those statements?

Every thing you said in your response sounds like an attempt at an explanation. But you yourself called it "unexplainable" so I'm confused. Is it sometimes explainable?

by David C on Aug 8, 2011 10:54 pm • linkreport

@David C:

When I'm in a car, I have antilock breaks, a seatbelt, side and front air bags. If I didn't have these other protections, yes, I would consider wearing a helmet. When you're biking, a helmet is the only device protecting your head.

by Ben on Aug 8, 2011 11:04 pm • linkreport

I really don't want to pick on Ben, as anybody who picks a righteous fight with David C has a place in my heart.

But....

Look at his language:

" Standing on two feet are more stable than being on a bike"
"I rode 25 miles out on MacAurther Blvd today"
"It was only the 2-3 novice bikers who were not wearing a helmet."
" Perhaps you're too macho, or you don't want to be inconvenienced, or you don't want it to mess up your hair."

Ouch. So a helmet is a sign of a PROFESSIONAL bicyclist? Or at least a serious one? Let me guess, you wear Lycra as well. Is this about safety or credentials?

David C's basic point that cycling is safe, and a helmet is more about scaring people than about safety. Ben missed my point. Clearly a helmet can help if you hit your head. But the majority of cycle injuries aren't head injuries, the serious ones are even less likely, and if you're really that concerned don't ride a bike. Or ride it so fast.

Again, I just did about 20 miles out in Fairfax. yes, it is very different than being in Arlington or DC, and next time I do that, the GF and I will be wearing helmets. If we do it -- horrible conditions.

But city riding: no. Bike share in particular, no.

And ben, again, next time you want to beat up David C, just call beforehand? We'll coordinate something....

by charlie on Aug 8, 2011 11:16 pm • linkreport

Ben, why can't you answer the question? Do you or do you not agree with those three statements? I'm looking for a simple yes or no answer.

by David C on Aug 8, 2011 11:31 pm • linkreport

This is patently false and ridiculous and borderline reckless for them to be advocating against a completely voluntary program that allows people to wear helmets.

Borderline reckless? Your hyperbole is amusing. Anyway, CaBi is, in its current state, a completely voluntary program that allows people to wear helmets. Is there a cogent argument for the government spending more money to provide free helmets to people who have demonstrated that they do not want them?

by Scoot on Aug 8, 2011 11:32 pm • linkreport

It might seem superficial, but one of the biggest impediments to getting helmets on people is the design. Most helmets, with some fairly expensive (designer, BMX pro) exceptions, are ugly and bulky.

I guarantee that if the market for non-athletic helmets for adults were more diverse, you'd see more people with helmets.

Otherwise, the hotel tie-in is a great idea.

by Neil Flanagan on Aug 9, 2011 12:23 am • linkreport

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