Greater Greater Washington

Breakfast links: Goodbye, Ray


Photo by thisisbossi on Flickr.
LaHood leaving: US Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood is stepping down. LaHood defied early fears to be a strong advocate for high-speed rail, curbing distracted driving, and more. (Streetsblog)

Surplus salted away: The DC surplus came to $417 million; $50 million of that was in estate taxes from one single deceased person. Mayor Gray wants to put all of the money into the rainy-day fund. (DCist)

Chevy Chase sidewalk contentious: A proposed Wisconsin Avenue sidewalk in Chevy Chase will affect fewer trees than originally feared, but many residents still can't imagine why anyone would want to use a sidewalk. (Bethesda Now)

No mandatory helmets in Maryland: The Maryland House is considering a bill to make helmets mandatory. It's a good idea to wear one, but mandates just deter people from cycling, and more cyclists make cycling safer. (WABA, TheWashCycle)

Superhuman cyclists aren't most of us: Many profiles of cyclists in the press talk about those that ride super long distances every day, but that's not most cyclists' experience; does attention on extreme commuting deter others? (Atlantic Cities)

MoCo bag fee 1 year old: Montgomery County's bag fee raised double the expected revenue, which goes to water quality programs. Anecdotally, it seems to be reducing waste, officials say, but don't yet have hard numbers. (Gazette)

Lower benefit hurts bus ridership: Ridership on PRTC commuter buses dropped 2% in 2012; the agency blames the federal transit benefit, which declined just as the parking benefit increased. More people also started slugging. (Potomac Local)

And...: Tommy Wells is forming an exploratory committee to run for mayor. (City Paper) ... Valerie Ervin will run for county executive in Montgomery. (Examiner) ... A taxi driver tried to cheat a passenger, then punched him when he refused to pay. (City Paper)

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David Alpert is the founder and editor-in-chief of Greater Greater Washington. He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He now lives with his wife and daughter in Dupont Circle. 

Comments

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The Chevy Chase sidewalk article is incredible. Putting a sidewalk in seems like a no brainer. Who are these people who are objecting? Is it people who use the golf course?

by aaa on Jan 30, 2013 8:46 am • linkreport

The argument against requiring helmets is fairly short sighted.

by Tom M on Jan 30, 2013 8:52 am • linkreport

Some how the entirety of the Netherlands seems to manage just fine without helmets...

by jtown on Jan 30, 2013 8:54 am • linkreport

Years ago when I was in college I accidentally got off at Friendship Heights instead of Bethesda station and just figured I could walk. I could not believe how pedestrian unfriendly that is.

Saying "who would want to walk there?" is like looking at an unpaved pasture and saying who would want to drive there. Well duh no one wants to in its current state but some people probably have to.

by Alan B. on Jan 30, 2013 9:02 am • linkreport

I read somewhere that technically (at least in some legal jurisdictions) anytime two roads come together it's a crossing even if not marked. So crosswalk or not pedestrians should have the right to cross there already. But I'm not really up on Maryland law so maybe I'm wrong.

by Alan B. on Jan 30, 2013 9:09 am • linkreport

The argument against requiring helmets is fairly short sighted.

It's quite simple. Mandatory helmets means fewer people will bicycle. The research shows that the #1 factor in cyclist safety is MORE people cycling. And further research shows that the safety benefit from the increased number of people cycling outweighs the safety benefit of requiring all people to wear helmets.

by MLD on Jan 30, 2013 9:10 am • linkreport

Ok then, I have a perfect plan to save the trees. Take away one of the three lanes on each side. You should have enough room for a sidewalk and a plenty wide bike lane.

Surely, anything to increase pedestrian/cyclist safety and protect the trees right?

by drumz on Jan 30, 2013 9:17 am • linkreport

Re: Sidewalk in Chevy Chase

What is crazy is that one of the prime opponents for the sidewalk is Little Falls Watershed Alliance:

"A number of years ago, communities in Chevy Chase fought to keep this stretch of Wisconsin Avenue as a residential area. They called it the Green Mile and successfully fought to keep the tree canopy intact and the type of impervious surfaces businesses require out. Almost 3/4 of an acre would be paved over by the proposed sidewalk. 53 trees would be removed along with dozens of bushes and small shrubs. Not one bit of vegetation would be replanted, not one tree. The Green Mile needs our help again."

What I can't understand for the life of me is that between a sidewalk, a golf course, and Wisconsin Ave., it is the sidewalk that is the least damaging. What aren't they protesting the golf course or Wisc Ave. Imagine how many trees had to get cut down to develop those?

by dc denizen on Jan 30, 2013 9:29 am • linkreport

the woman at the very end of the Chevy Chase sidewalk article.....wow. Cyclists on sidewalks are so dangerous she would move somewhere else? Say what? Somehow, even if there was a sidewalk, I have a hard time imagining her and others with her attitude using a sidewalk in the first place.

by Birdie on Jan 30, 2013 9:39 am • linkreport

the woman at the very end of the Chevy Chase sidewalk article.....wow. Cyclists on sidewalks are so dangerous she would move somewhere else? Say what? Somehow, even if there was a sidewalk, I have a hard time imagining her and others with her attitude using a sidewalk in the first place.

Well...bye.

by drumz on Jan 30, 2013 9:39 am • linkreport

I live right near the "Green Mile." It is comprised by a handful of trees [one of which hangs over Wisc. Ave perilously] on a birm that borders the forested boundary of the Chevy Chase Club. In other words, there will STILL be a tree-lined edge to the sidewalk. This part of the CCClub is not much maintained as the trees are enveloped in vines. But it's still green.

by Capt. Hilts on Jan 30, 2013 9:46 am • linkreport

No one should be surprised by the knee-jerk reaction to the appt of Republican Ray Lahood. That's the nature of political discourse nowadays. Attack first and find out you were wrong later.

Forgive me but I can't sympathize w/the idea that "helmets" discourage cycling. If the states want to mandate it, they should. Just like they do w/seatbelts. Both are designed to protect you in the event of an accident.

by HogWash on Jan 30, 2013 10:34 am • linkreport

@Hogwash, I am calling hogwash on you. Sorry.

The issue isn't whether people should have been afraid of LaHood when appointed. It is that the Republican hate machine is now attacking him for serving as a Obama appointee. The most priceless I saw yesterday was attacking him for not spending more money on roads -- which would take that crazy gas tax going up.

And the pain of dealing with a helmet -- carrying it with you -- is far worse than a seatbelt. Granted, I think those new mandatory seat-belt reminders should be outlawed, since they are annoying, but seat belt itself isn't so bad.

(probably more like mandatory airbags and missing fingers than seat belts.)

by charlie on Jan 30, 2013 10:43 am • linkreport

When I saw the phrase "Surplus salted away" I honestly thought it was going to be a story about how the city wasted all the surplus on spraying salt on the roads before a light drizzle.

by TM on Jan 30, 2013 10:43 am • linkreport

The sidewalk debate does sound ridiculous. But I don't know why anyone is surprised that people have knee-jerk reactions to things and groups they perceive as intrusive...like cyclists. Maybe we need to get out more and find out how the other side lives once in a while. That should help us better understand each other.

I'm hoping that the person punched by the stupid cab driver was female who likely wasn't able to fight back.

by HogWash on Jan 30, 2013 10:44 am • linkreport

"Forgive me but I can't sympathize w/the idea that "helmets" discourage cycling."

I don't understand what sympathy has to do with it. Studies have shown it to the case. Thats not ipso facto good or bad, its a causal relation.

What policy you adopt based on that, is another thing.

You can of course require helmets anyway. Evidence shows that will lead to a net INCREASE in cyclist harm. Not to mention the impact on health outcomes due to less cycling.

There may of course be other benefits to requiring helmets. Im not sure what they are, but I am open to hearing it.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jan 30, 2013 10:54 am • linkreport

LaHood's appointment was seen by those of us in the transportation industry as less of a threat, the reaction was more like "???????" He wasn't considered to be a transportation expert but had served on Transportation (years before) and Approps. Some were disappointed that Obama didn't pick someone who was more clearly a transit advocate but most of us didn't quite know what to think other than that it appeared Obama viewed the post as a throwaway position.

But in hindsight it looks like Obama clearly wanted to pick someone who was outside the box, fulfilled the (R) requirement but someone whose vision, as with the rest of his cabinet, jived with his own. And on that measure LaHood was a great success and exceeded the expectations of the vast majoirty of us.

by MLD on Jan 30, 2013 10:55 am • linkreport

"And the pain of dealing with a helmet -- carrying it with you -- is far worse than a seatbelt."

Pain of carrying a helmet? Because they weigh at most five ounces and you can strap it to any backpack, messenger bag, or purse?

by Ben on Jan 30, 2013 10:58 am • linkreport

'm hoping that the person punched by the stupid cab driver was female who likely wasn't able to fight back.

Please explain.

by Miriam on Jan 30, 2013 10:58 am • linkreport

The issue isn't whether people should have been afraid of LaHood when appointed.

I'm commenting on this current article about Lahood discussing how the "fears" of an ideological republican were unfounded. The linked article did talk about the appointment and how it wasn't a good idea. What exactly are you talking about?

And the pain of dealing with a helmet -- carrying it with you -- is far worse than a seatbelt.

Are there more viable options such as lighter or smaller? Either way, just can't sympathize w/the complaints about wearing something designed to protect your life.

by HogWash on Jan 30, 2013 11:01 am • linkreport

@ jtown:Some how the entirety of the Netherlands seems to manage just fine without helmets...

The Dutch have just demanded safe biking conditions. Also, there are no school buses, and Dutch kids bike to school as soon as they can bike (6-7 years). The puts pressure on safe conditions. Traffic design is required to include pedestrians, bikers, cars and heavy vehicles (trucks, buses) when designing new roads. Road design is very different than in the US.

Cars are at fault by default in car-bike crashes. Drivers are supposed to realize that they are moving in a deadly weapon and behave with appropriate care. Drivers can try to proof their lack of fault, but the burden of proof is on them, and rarely accepted anyway. A biker being drunk is not an valid argument, for instance. The driver should have noticed that the biker was drunk and adapted his behavior. Kids darting around are also no argument, especially near schools and in suburban neighborhoods. You should have been aware of the potential presence of kids and adapted your speed.

Larger cities, where the Green Party is popular and gets to be part of the administration, are openly hostile to (large) cars. Amsterdam has some of the most expensive parking in the world. €5/h downtown. Annual parking permit is €221/year, €337 for companies. There is a waiting list that goes up to 4 years in some areas. Utrecht keeps trying to ban SUVs and similarly large cars. Many small towns ban trucks from passing through.

@ HogWash:If the states want to mandate it, they should. Just like they do w/seatbelts.

There is a major difference between the two. Every car comes with seatbelts. Bikes do not come with helmets.

by Jasper on Jan 30, 2013 11:06 am • linkreport

Evidence shows that will lead to a net INCREASE in cyclist harm. Not to mention the impact on health outcomes due to less cycling.

Who drafted the study?

There may of course be other benefits to requiring helmets. Im not sure what they are, but I am open to hearing it.

Don't think we need to think much further than they protect you in the event of an accident. Not sure what more you need to hear.

Please explain.

Sorry, thought I made it clear. A woman is less likely able to fend off her attacker than a man. If a man allowed a cab driver to go ham and just punch him in the face, then...well...ok...I don't know what to say about that one.

by HogWash on Jan 30, 2013 11:06 am • linkreport

There is a major difference between the two. Every car comes with seatbelts. Bikes do not come with helmets.

A distinction w/o a difference since both are designed to protect your life.

by HogWash on Jan 30, 2013 11:09 am • linkreport

"Either way, just can't sympathize w/the complaints about wearing something designed to protect your life."

I wear a helmet when riding. The complaints are not about wearing one, its about a law requiring them to be worn. Which, as we know, does result in less biking, and thus almost certainly costs lives.

And yes, carrying a helmet around can be an annoyance. I don't always have bag when Im biking, and they are bulky (and need to be, since they need to cover the head).

I am not yet a CaBi member, but can imagine it would especially discourage spontaneous trips.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jan 30, 2013 11:10 am • linkreport

"Don't think we need to think much further than they protect you in the event of an accident. Not sure what more you need to hear."

Wearing a helmet while you drive, while you walk, when you take a shower would protect you in the event of an accident. Thats not sufficient for requiring them.

To require them I would need to see proof that such laws result in net savings of life.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jan 30, 2013 11:12 am • linkreport

"A distinction w/o a difference since both are designed to protect your life."

It means that you don't need to carry seat belts around with you, and that the requirement for them does not make it inconvenient to drive spontaneously, in say, a rental car or zip car.

I do not understand why you do not understand the difference.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jan 30, 2013 11:15 am • linkreport

@Hogwash, that's fine, but outside of GGWorld, what the R crazies are muttering about is how Lahood is a traitor. Much like Hagel, or Gates, or anyone else that would deal with this treacherous, Eisenhower-level-moderate president.

by charlie on Jan 30, 2013 11:21 am • linkreport

As MLD and AWITC already pointed out.

It's not the presence of a helmet per se but rather that the requirement of one discourages cycling overall and the safest thing for cyclists is to have a lot more cyclists on the road at any given moment.

So yes, since a helmet law makes it more dangerous to cyclists overall then its a bad idea.

by drumz on Jan 30, 2013 11:22 am • linkreport

Sorry, thought I made it clear. A woman is less likely able to fend off her attacker than a man. If a man allowed a cab driver to go ham and just punch him in the face, then...well...ok...I don't know what to say about that one.

This is blaming the victim. And it's sexist.

by Miriam on Jan 30, 2013 11:28 am • linkreport

Well, if you get punched you call the police and have the person arrested for Assault and Battery. If you fight back and the police find you scrapping then you can get arrested as well.

Or if you're a pacifist. Or if you don't get in fights in general. Or if you want to set a good example for your kids.

So literally, any reason is a good reason not to punch back.

by drumz on Jan 30, 2013 11:34 am • linkreport

And yes, carrying a helmet around can be an annoyance. I don't always have bag when Im biking, and they are bulky (and need to be, since they need to cover the head).

Again, I feel nothing. How do people on bikes carry those pesky bags I often see? I just don't think the requirement is a lot to ask. Buy a bike..buy a helmet. I see people w/helmets riding around all day so the mandate doesn't seem too inconveniencing. How much does a good one weigh?

To require them I would need to see proof that such laws result in net savings of life.

Nothing to see here folks since we're now at the point where it must be "proven" that helmets save lives. Ok, now that you've ended this part of the discussion. I imagine the same was said about seat belts though..and even high fructose corn syrup.

Hogwash, that's fine, but outside of GGWorld, what the R crazies are muttering about is how Lahood is a traitor.

Well sure. But the D crazies were muttering about Obama's choice to appoint LaHood. This stuff does happen.

It's not the presence of a helmet per se but rather that the requirement of one discourages cycling overall

Sounds almost like the gun debate in reverse.

This is blaming the victim. And it's sexist.

Assuming that you are female, I can understand how and why you would see someone pointing out the factual differences between men/women, as blaming the victim and sexist. Gender often clouds your worldview.

So literally, any reason is a good reason not to punch (a taxi driver) back.

I haven't seen any yet.

by HogWash on Jan 30, 2013 11:41 am • linkreport

Well yeah, if you ignore any of the things I said and make meaningless comparisons.

by drumz on Jan 30, 2013 11:43 am • linkreport

So anyway,

If the government is committed to increasing the number of cyclists then it shouldn't require mandatory helmet usage. Regardless of the individual safety benefits of a helmet.

Also,
If you don't want to punch someone you shouldn't have to. Why does someone need to obligate themselves to fight? Especially over a taxi fare?

by drumz on Jan 30, 2013 11:49 am • linkreport

"Again, I feel nothing. How do people on bikes carry those pesky bags I often see? I just don't think the requirement is a lot to ask. Buy a bike..buy a helmet. I see people w/helmets riding around all day so the mandate doesn't seem too inconveniencing. How much does a good one weigh?"

Im talking about carrying one around after one gets off the bike. Did you miss that?

"To require them I would need to see proof that such laws result in net savings of life.

Nothing to see here folks since we're now at the point where it must be "proven" that helmets save lives."

No, that it must be proven that REQUIRING them saves lives, which is not the same thing.

BTW, you might want to take some time and read this

http://www.bath.ac.uk/news/articles/releases/overtaking110906.html

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jan 30, 2013 12:01 pm • linkreport

"I imagine the same was said about seat belts though..and even high fructose corn syrup."

The evidence for seat belts saving lives is stronger than for helmets, and there is no "critial mass" effect in driving. The more people bike, the safer biking becomes (probably because drivers get more used to seeing bikes, and are more careful). Plus theres no health benefit from driving equivalent to the health benefits of biking.

Requiring bike helmets will mean less cycling, which will mean more people will die. Its as simple as that.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jan 30, 2013 12:03 pm • linkreport

Either way, just can't sympathize w/the complaints about wearing something designed to protect your life.

While it's designed to protect your life, it's not particularly effective at doing that. Bike helmets reduce the chance you'll get a moderate injury like a concussion but increase the chance you'll get a severe injury like a spinal injury that leads to paralysis. On balance, they probably provide some net level of protection since the paralysis injuries are pretty rare but it's not anything like the safety impact of wearing seat belts or a motorcycle helmet. The net benefit of reduced risk is probably closer to holding the handrail while going up or down steps (i.e., one should certainly hold the handrail but it's not such an imperative that we should have laws mandating, say metro riders, always hold the handrail while using an escalator).

by Falls Church on Jan 30, 2013 12:04 pm • linkreport

@HogWash
Nothing to see here folks since we're now at the point where it must be "proven" that helmets save lives.

That's not what anyone asked at all.

The question asked is, does the "more safety" of making everyone wear helmets outweigh the "less safety" that comes from the fact that fewer people will bike with a helmet law in place.

ALL THE RESEARCH shows that the safety LOSS from fewer people biking as a result of the policy is greater than the safety gain from the helmets worn.

by MLD on Jan 30, 2013 12:05 pm • linkreport

I imagine the same was said about seat belts though..and even high fructose corn syrup.

Not eating high fructose corn syrup definitely reduces your chance of premature death. Should we ban corn syrup, smoking, and alcohol just as you propose banning biking without a helmet?

by Falls Church on Jan 30, 2013 12:07 pm • linkreport

I'd also point out that wearing a helmet is pretty far down the list of most important things you can do to decrease your risk while riding a bike. Probably the most and second most important things you can do is using a front headlight and a rear reflector/light when riding in the dark. That's why there's a law on the books regarding those two things. Of course, enforcement is another matter...

I'd say #3 on the list is learning how to avoid a "right hook" from a car. I don't think wearing a helmet makes the top 10.

by Falls Church on Jan 30, 2013 12:34 pm • linkreport

Well yeah, if you ignore any of the things I said and make meaningless comparisons.

I didn't ignore them nor (unlike you) suggest that they were meaningless. I stated that they were not compelling reasons to ME...as in HogWash..not drumz.

Im talking about carrying one around after one gets off the bike. Did you miss that?

Considering the things I see people carry everyday, this doesn't seem too cumbersome.

No, that it must be proven that REQUIRING them saves lives, which is not the same thing.

I agree. I don't believe I've insinuated that the requirement saves lives. But of course we could make that argument.

BTW, you might want to take some time and read this

Oh great! A 2006 study from the University of Bath. How interesting.

Requiring bike helmets will mean less cycling, which will mean more people will die. Its as simple as that.

Well sure. I guess as simple as it is to conclude that more people using more people wearing helmets will inevitably prevent severe head injury.

The question asked is, does the "more safety" of making everyone wear helmets outweigh the "less safety" that comes from the fact that fewer people will bike with a helmet law in place.

I guess it makes it hard to get around a cyclists petulant attitude since they'll essentially refuse to do what they love to do because of a requirement to protect themselves.

Should we ban corn syrup, smoking, and alcohol just as you propose banning biking without a helmet?

They all are heavily regulated and I don't know who here has proposed banning biking w/a helmet. Stop projecting.

by HogWash on Jan 30, 2013 12:39 pm • linkreport

If you don't want to punch someone you shouldn't have to. Why does someone need to obligate themselves to fight? Especially over a taxi fare?

Who suggested otherwise?

by HogWash on Jan 30, 2013 12:42 pm • linkreport

@Hogwash, when you say "I don't know who here has proposed banning biking w/a helmet", it leads me to believe you haven't read the original article. That's exactly what some Maryland House members are proposing.

by Tim Krepp on Jan 30, 2013 12:44 pm • linkreport

Who suggested otherwise?

"If a man allowed a cab driver to go ham and just punch him in the face, then...well...ok...I don't know what to say about that one."

You. If not, what were you implying here?

Unrelated: yay to the bag fee in MoCo. I really like simple, good policy solutions being proven effective.

by worthing on Jan 30, 2013 12:59 pm • linkreport

"Requiring bike helmets will mean less cycling, which will mean more people will die. Its as simple as that.

Well sure. I guess as simple as it is to conclude that more people using more people wearing helmets will inevitably prevent severe head injury."

So the best approach is to wear one, whenever possible, and to oppose the law (now proposed in Md) requiring one. thats exactly what I do.

"I guess it makes it hard to get around a cyclists petulant attitude "

So you are not interested in discussing the policy question, but instead discussing petulant attitudes? I see.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jan 30, 2013 1:07 pm • linkreport

"They all are heavily regulated "

I am all for banning biking without helmet inside workplaces, including bars and restaurants.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jan 30, 2013 1:09 pm • linkreport

when you say "I don't know who here has proposed banning biking w/a helmet", it leads me to believe you haven't read the original article.

Well you're being led by blindness other than that caused by me. Notice the emphasis on, "I don't know who HERE has proposed." What did you think "here" meant? Here as in GGW's Maryland legislative body?

If not, what were you implying here?

That I wouldn't have allowed it to happen and can't much see why anybody would.

So you are not interested in discussing the policy question, but instead discussing petulant attitudes? I see.

I thought we were discussing the policy. The petulant behavior of cyclists has been discussed as Exhibit A for why helmets shouldn't be required. I didn't suggest it...most of you have.

by HogWash on Jan 30, 2013 1:13 pm • linkreport

@HogwashThis is blaming the victim. And it's sexist.

Assuming that you are female, I can understand how and why you would see someone pointing out the factual differences between men/women, as blaming the victim and sexist. Gender often clouds your worldview.

And this is misogynist.

by Miriam on Jan 30, 2013 1:13 pm • linkreport

I don't believe I've insinuated that the requirement saves lives. But of course we could make that argument.

What is the reason to require helmets while biking other than to save lives?!

If that's not the reason, then this legislation seems unnecessary/unreasonable, right?

You said
If the states want to mandate it, they should.

That might lead someone to believe you think this is a good/reasonable idea!

by MLD on Jan 30, 2013 1:14 pm • linkreport

@Falls Church Bike helmets reduce the chance you'll get a moderate injury like a concussion but increase the chance you'll get a severe injury like a spinal injury that leads to paralysis.

Can you say anything more or link to a good article expanding on that point? Comments on the Washcycle (second article cited on topic above) are collecting citations, and a few state officials who prepare recommendations for Department heads promissed to at least read the comments on that blog and any peer-reviewed studies cited therein. Thanks

by JimT on Jan 30, 2013 1:40 pm • linkreport

"I thought we were discussing the policy. The petulant behavior of cyclists has been discussed as Exhibit A for why helmets shouldn't be required. I didn't suggest it...most of you have"

No, we suggested that faced with a helmet requirement some people would bike less. Whether thats due to them having different beliefs about the safety benefits of helmets, making a reasoned tradeoff between safety on the one hand, and convenience or comfort on the other, or for some other reason, is not something anyone but you has speculated on or cared to charecterize.

I believe its due to a combination of reasons, some more justified than others - but that the reasons are not relevant - rather the fact that requiring helmets will lead to more deaths is relevant.

You seem (I can never be sure what you mean, of course) to think that cyclists who refrain from using helmets are doing so to be petulant and that, therefore, their decisions are unworthy to be considered when making policy. I disagree on both points.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jan 30, 2013 1:42 pm • linkreport

So motorcycle helmets don't protect riders from injuries either. Because there aren't as many people riding motorcycles as there were before. Or something like that.

The WashCycle article linked to didn't make an actual argument.

by Bob See on Jan 30, 2013 1:59 pm • linkreport

What Montgomery County bag fee? I have been to three different Giants in the county (Gaithersburg, Colesville, and Silver Spring) and none of them have ever charged me a bag fee at any time last year. Regular checkout nor self checkout. Safeway will charge though.

by Cider on Jan 30, 2013 2:06 pm • linkreport

I'm ok with people riding without helmets and not requiring helmets IF AND ONLY IF cyclists who don't wear helmets face all the consequences and don't spread them to the rest of us. By that i mean, the cost of medical care in such instances should be born either through the cyclists insurance and/or personal resources. Like student debts, such debts should never be discharged due to inability to pay or personal bankruptcy. The costs should never become "uncompensated care" that others pay through either public programs or higher charges to those who do pay/have insurance. In that case, let those who ride decide (and face the consequences).

by Tom M on Jan 30, 2013 2:09 pm • linkreport

bob

this is about human powered bicycles, not motor cycles.

And yes, there is evidence that there is safety in numbers for bicyclists, that when more people cycle, accident rates go DOWN. I do not know if the same thing has been observed for motorcycles.

Additionally, cycling improves health by reducing obesity, cardio-vascular disease, etc. I am not aware that riding motorcycles does that.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jan 30, 2013 2:11 pm • linkreport

@HogWash:
Assuming that you are female, I can understand how and why you would see someone pointing out the factual differences between men/women, as blaming the victim and sexist. Gender often clouds your worldview.
You seriously thought this was a good thing to type out and post? Miriam is right: you've gone beyond oddly sexist to all-out misogynist here. All for no apparent reason . . . since why did this story need a gender angle imposed on it in the first place?

by Gray's in the Fields on Jan 30, 2013 2:11 pm • linkreport

"I'm ok with people riding without helmets and not requiring helmets IF AND ONLY IF cyclists who don't wear helmets face all the consequences and don't spread them to the rest of us. "

I'm okay with that if all the people who do NOT cycle at all, and get cardio vascular disease, pay for their care through personal resources.

Also the people who drive and walk and take showers without wearing helmets.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jan 30, 2013 2:13 pm • linkreport

and oh yeah, all the people who eat fried foods. And are obese. and .....

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jan 30, 2013 2:14 pm • linkreport

And this is misogynist.

And this is misandrist.

What is the reason to require helmets while biking other than to save lives?! If that's not the reason, then this legislation seems unnecessary/unreasonable, right?

I assume they're doing it out of safety concerns. I thought that part was clear.

That might lead someone to believe you think this is a good/reasonable idea!

That would be a correct assumption.

Whether thats due to them having different beliefs about the safety benefits of helmets or for some other reason, it is not something anyone but you has speculated on or cared to charecterize.

Sure, I'll be the lone one here. I never heard the argument that requiring helmets makes people bike less...until today
But the decision to "not" bike if helmets were required does seem "my way or no way at all'ish"...at least to me.

Rather the fact that requiring helmets will lead to more deaths is relevant.

Ahh, yes. I forgot about that Study from the Univ. of Bath. Are there any US studies studying US behavior?

You seem (I can never be sure what you mean, of course) to think that cyclists who refrain from using helmets are doing so to be petulant and that, therefore, their decisions are unworthy to be considered when making policy.

Yes! The latter part was your paraphrase of absent evidence.

by HogWash on Jan 30, 2013 2:16 pm • linkreport

Tom M,

What if I'm riding my bike sans helmet, get hit, and break my arms and legs but my head is fine?

by drumz on Jan 30, 2013 2:18 pm • linkreport

You seriously thought this was a good thing to type out and post? Miriam is right: you've gone beyond oddly sexist to all-out misogynist here

Calling me a sexist is the easy part. Pointing out the sexism/misogyny is harder. What's sexist about what I said? It's sexist to point out that women are physically inferior to men? No, it's not and it's silly and ridiculous to think or say otherwise.

by HogWash on Jan 30, 2013 2:19 pm • linkreport

"But the decision to "not" bike if helmets were required does seem "my way or no way at all'ish"...at least to me."

perhaps you are misunderstanding

its not "Oh my, they have passed a helmet law, I shall never bike again"

its more like

"On sunday I take a 20 mile ride with my helmet. On tuesday, i may take a spontaneous 20 minute spin on a CaBi bike - oh wait, tuesday roles around, and when Im near a CaBi station, and I do not have a helmet with me. Like most cyclists, I follow the law, so today I will not ride"

the net result, less riding, less safety, and less health benefits - no petulance needed.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jan 30, 2013 2:23 pm • linkreport

"Ahh, yes. I forgot about that Study from the Univ. of Bath. Are there any US studies studying US behavior?"

theres some very strong evidence from Australia.

I dont think there are studies in the US, because no states in the US have mandated bike helmets for adults.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jan 30, 2013 2:26 pm • linkreport

It's sexist to point out that women are physically inferior to men?

Yes. It's stereotyping, puts women as in "need" of the protection of man rather than a society that aims to protect everyone equally, assumes there is intrinsic value in physical prowess over other qualities, among other reasons I'm sure others will point out.

by drumz on Jan 30, 2013 2:30 pm • linkreport

I assume they're doing it out of safety concerns. I thought that part was clear.

And yet the research all shows that a world/country/state WITH a mandatory helmet law is actually a less safe one than the world/country/state without!

Doesn't that mean that the legislation isn't a good idea? Why would you be in favor of something that isn't a good idea?

by MLD on Jan 30, 2013 2:31 pm • linkreport

Wait, it's sexist to be sexist now? What IS this world coming to?

by Tim Krepp on Jan 30, 2013 2:38 pm • linkreport

@HogWash, the real comparison isn't between bike helmets and seatbelts, but between bike helmets and child seats.

We require car seats for children in automobiles. (Coincidentally, Montgomery Counrt also requires bike helmets for children.) But there is no legal requirement to use a child seat on a bus or taxi, because it would be impractical to carry around a child seat everywhere you go just in case you wind up needing to take a bus or a taxi.

Now replace "child seat" in that previous sentence with "bike helmet" and "a bus or taxi" with "Capital Bikeshare", and see if it doesn't make sense.

by cminus on Jan 30, 2013 2:52 pm • linkreport

It's stereotyping, puts women as in "need" of the protection of man rather than a society that aims to protect everyone equally, assumes there is intrinsic value in physical prowess over other qualities, among other reasons I'm sure others will point out.

So stereotyping is the same as sexism? In that case, then I'm going to start calling everyone here who stereotypes anything "black" as racist. Sounds silly hunh? Or I assume that people here don't believe a man should be severly punished/otracized/critized/ridiculed for beating up a woman. Since believing so suggest a level of physical prowess more dominant in men?

And yet the research all shows that a world/country/state WITH a mandatory helmet law is actually a less safe one than the world/country/state without!

Ok. Do you have any other research other than that one study or should we just believe you when you speak this as fact?

HogWash, the real comparison isn't between bike helmets and seatbelts, but between bike helmets and child seats.

Thanks! But even that comparison has faults because of the sheer size of car seats vs. a helmet smaller than most large hats.

by HogWash on Jan 30, 2013 3:21 pm • linkreport

"Ok. Do you have any other research other than that one study "

yes

http://ipa.org.au/publications/2019/australia's-helmet-law-disaster

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jan 30, 2013 3:25 pm • linkreport

I don't know how to help you if you think stereotypes don't contribute to discrimination. Or the fact that your constant assertions of "women are weaker" wouldn't piss people off.

by drumz on Jan 30, 2013 3:38 pm • linkreport

http://ipa.org.au/publications/2019/australia's-helmet-law-disaster

Super! When in doubt, follow our foreign friends. Hard to believe there isn't a reputable US Study confirming the beliefs held here. But ok.

I don't know how to help you if you think stereotypes don't contribute to discrimination.

Sure they can. But what does that have to do w/me calling called a sexist and misogynist? Refuting facts that women ARE weaker than men w/a "sexist" accusation doesn't address anything I said. It's simply a personal attack designed to discourage different points of view and in this case, everyone else not wedded to the "sexist" card know that women are inferior to men. This isn't even subject to debate.

Or the fact that your constant assertions of "women are weaker" wouldn't piss people off.

Well sure it would. But that fact doesn't discredit what I said.

by HogWash on Jan 30, 2013 3:45 pm • linkreport

me being called

by HogWash on Jan 30, 2013 3:46 pm • linkreport

"Super! When in doubt, follow our foreign friends. Hard to believe there isn't a reputable US Study confirming the beliefs held here. But ok."

As I have pointed out above, there are no states in the US that mandate helmets for adult bicyclists. So there is no way to do a similar study here.

I'm not exactly sure why results from overseas are to be discounted. International research results are routinely used in transportation research. Do you have any reason to think that US results would be different?

Indeed, do YOU have any studies showing the opposite?

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jan 30, 2013 3:56 pm • linkreport

Sexist idea: Manly men don't "allow" themselves to get punched.
Misogynist idea: Women don't think clearly.
Dumb idea: Women are "physically inferior" to men.

by Miriam on Jan 30, 2013 3:57 pm • linkreport

@HogWash: The fact that women have, on average, less physical strength than men does not mean that it's okay to use "woman" as a stand-in for "weak person." Similarly, the fact that African American households, on average, have lower income than white households does not mean that it's okay to use "black" as a stand-in for "poor person." It is certainly not the case that black=poor, just like it's not the case that female=weak.

If you want to describe a type of person, describe a type of person. Falling back on gender or race instead of describing the characteristics you mean to reference is stereotyping, and yes, it's sexist/racist.

by Gray's in the Fields on Jan 30, 2013 3:59 pm • linkreport

The thing that discredits what you say is the fact that saying "women are weaker" is a stereotype, A. because its not true (especially in the context of being assaulted, we're not talking about sports here) B. because it reinforces negative ideas about how we treat women differently from men and C. it's not really for you to decide. That stereotype is sexist. Which means you said a sexist thing. Whether you consider yourself a sexist or not doesn't matter. You still said the sexist thing.

by drumz on Jan 30, 2013 4:04 pm • linkreport

And I should add that in addition to the fact that a statistical relationship does not make a stereotype "true," there's also an entire suite of historical, institutional, and cultural reasons for why these relationships exist--and why perpetuating the stereotype is harmful and offensive.

by Gray's in the Fields on Jan 30, 2013 4:08 pm • linkreport

@Miriam, yeah ok. Believe what you want. Utterly ridiculous if you ask me but...believe what you want.

Similarly, the fact that African American households, on average, have lower income than white households does not mean that it's okay to use "black" as a stand-in for "poor person."

Of course it doesn't and suggesting such wouldn't be a statement of fact. OTOH, suggesting that women are physically inferior/weaker than men is a fact. Whites making more than blacks doesn't mean that whites are rich and blacks are poor.

If you want to describe a type of person, describe a type of person. Falling back on gender or race instead of describing the characteristics you mean to reference is stereotyping, and yes, it's sexist/racist.

Sure, sounds reasonable and I agree that is is stereotyping (to a degree) but reject the sexist/racist accusations just as I would reject someone calling you a racist because you pointed out that blacks make less than whites. I'm inclined to believe you would equally reject the characterization.

The thing that discredits what you say is the fact that saying "women are weaker" is a stereotype, A. because its not true (because its not true

Actually it is true and everyone knows it.

because it reinforces negative ideas about how we treat women differently from men and C. it's not really for you to decide.

But we do treat women differently from men. Engage in any discussion domestic violence where a woman "provokes" a man to strike her and you'll clearly see my point.

That stereotype is sexist. No more sexist than Gray's "stereotype" about white/black income is racist.

and why perpetuating the stereotype is harmful and offensive.

WRT THIS discussion, suggesting such is ridiculous beyond belief.

by HogWash on Jan 30, 2013 4:33 pm • linkreport

@JimT

When I get back to my computer. I'll find the link and post it herr.

by Falls Church on Jan 30, 2013 5:23 pm • linkreport

@JimT

Actually, this was easier to find than I thought:

http://www.cyclehelmets.org/1039.html

by Falls Church on Jan 30, 2013 5:41 pm • linkreport

Ok, you can not buy my argument. But if you want to avoid this type of thing in the future then make sure to avoid unnecessary stereotypes.

by Drumz on Jan 30, 2013 6:15 pm • linkreport

@Drumz It should be quite obvious that he has absolutely no desire to avoid this kind of thing.

by Tim Krepp on Jan 30, 2013 6:59 pm • linkreport

More readers would comment on this site if more posters were as critical of the content of articles as they are of the semantics of fellow posters.

Instead, much of this comment section is essentially arguing traditional value systems are sexist for being protective of and valuing the safety of women.

by selxic on Jan 30, 2013 7:33 pm • linkreport

If you have to resort to stereotypes to defend said traditional value system then, yeah.

Which articles woul you like to discuss. I don't have opinions on all of them an some I've expressed already.

by Drumz on Jan 30, 2013 8:34 pm • linkreport

@selxic

some commenters write hundreds of comments mostly focusing on the tone of the comments here, occasionally criticizing DA for having opinions, and rarely discussing the topics of the blog (and then doing so without insight)

I find that does not help the quality of the comments section.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jan 30, 2013 9:24 pm • linkreport

DAl is welcome to delete this comment. I didn't address any specific commenters in the last comment in keeping with Alpert's requests in the past. Perhaps you lost track, Drumz, but many comments in this thread were about a couple of the articles: cycling with helmets and the cab driver assaulting a passenger. Instead of debating the merits of helmets locally and in the US or discussing the driver's assault of a passenger, many comments chose to focus on a commenter. My intention was to hopefully get the comments back on topic (the articles linked to in the main post). The article and even the short description here say the cab driver punched a man.

I've reported the last AWalkerInTheCity comment.

by selxic on Jan 31, 2013 1:51 am • linkreport

I am sure most people criticizing sexist comments value the safety of women. They just don't think that a particular woman should be assumed to be incapable of fighting back because of a certain set of average differences. It doesn't help.

If traditionalists truly believed that women needed protection, then we would have the same system that Jasper describes about bike-car collisions in the Netherlands, where any time a woman was involved in an altercation with a man, the man was assumed to be at fault. Or even when a man made a woman uncomfortable. That's the logical end of the traditional stance - but we don't see anyone arguing for that.

But to your point, I am sure more women would comment on the substance of the posts if they didn't feel like they would be called "inferior" by a commenter in the course of a topic that has nothing to do with gender.

by Neil Flanagan on Jan 31, 2013 3:59 am • linkreport

That wasn't my point, but it doesn't matter.

by selxic on Jan 31, 2013 7:17 am • linkreport

Then just make a comment about whatever you think is worth discussing. If people agree or disagree or care at all they'll respond.

As to the actual story I don't have much to add. I'm glad that a cheater who can't control his actions lost his job. Amazing though is the fact that it apparently literally takes an assault to get the taxi commission to crack down on a bad driver.

by Drumz on Jan 31, 2013 7:49 am • linkreport

@Falls Church: Thanks. Jim

by JimT on Jan 31, 2013 9:16 am • linkreport

But if you want to avoid this type of thing in the future then make sure to avoid unnecessary stereotypes.

I don't know what "thing" I should try to avoid. I certainly hope you aren't referring to "disagreement" as something I should want to avoid.

It should be quite obvious that he has absolutely no desire to avoid this kind of thing.

Now that we're clear on that....Next.

I find that does not help the quality of the comments section.

Neither do those who attack people based on things they never say or use over the top exaggerations. But it happens all the time.

They just don't think that a particular woman should be assumed to be incapable of fighting back because of a certain set of average differences.

And they're fine to think and feel however they chose about a topic just as others are able to disagree.

I am sure more women would comment on the substance of the posts if they didn't feel like they would be called "inferior" by a commenter in the course of a topic that has nothing to do with gender.

Yeah right. As if women don't already know they're physically inferior to men. How does one comment about one topic discourage women from discussing topics in general? This is an example of the over the top exaggerations specifically designed to silence dissenting opinion.

by HogWash on Jan 31, 2013 10:17 am • linkreport

I'm positive that you can count on few fingers the number of times where I've disagreed w/someone's characterization of an issue and called it racist, sexist, misogynist etc. Whether it's; those people who vote for Barry, those people in W8, those people EOTR, the largely uneducated population EOTR etc. I might challenge the idea itself but I don't make the racist connection with these "stereotypes" because I don't believe it.

OTOH, whether it was Courtland Milloy's "Tiger Mom" statement being considered racist, his talking about projects aimed at the affluent that affects the poor being described as "SWPL" or me talking about the fact that women are physically inferior to men being described as sexist, the history here is what it is. In the case of Milloy, absent any evidence, it only took how people "felt" about what he said to make the racist charge stick. It only took people hearing him talk about the disparity for them to look into his mind and decide that he's "really" playing the race card.

Yet, these sob sad "if people would only...then others would.." songs of woe persist in the face of what I just said. I already conceded the stereotype point. But oh no, that wasn't enough. I had to also concede that what I said was sexist because...well..just because. And it is THAT characterization which I wholeheartedly reject.

You won't find people here talking about how branding someone else's point as sexist/racist/misoynist discourages others from commenting. Instead, there is consensus among those who do comment on subjects like this that their accusations are not just well-founded but appropriate for discourse.

Spare me the crying...seriously.

by HogWash on Jan 31, 2013 10:50 am • linkreport

"I'm positive that you can count on few fingers the number of times where I've disagreed w/someone's characterization of an issue and called it racist, sexist, misogynist etc. "

I wouldnt have brought this up, but since YOU are bringing up your posting style - its true you hever call people those things - you INSINUATE them. Thats your style here, you insinuate something, then when called on it you rush back to deny. You are a perfect metro Washington type, a master of rhetoric, whose focus is on deniability, rather than subtance. 90% of your comments are on the discourse here, not the substance of the issues discussed, and almost all of them are disruptive.

I am not sure what you think you are accomplishing. If your goal is to stir up bad feeling among different groups within DC, you could hardly do a better job.

by WashedUp on Jan 31, 2013 11:10 am • linkreport

@HogWash:
WRT THIS discussion, suggesting such is ridiculous beyond belief.
If you were actually interested in encouraging discussion and not bomb throwing, it would be advisable to structure your language so that you avoid remarks that make some groups (like women) less comfortable commenting.

If you see no problem with injecting gender into unrelated issues in a way that many can find demeaning or hurtful, then I really don't know what to tell you. But I can definitely conclude that you aren't really interesting in discussing the issue at all.

by Gray's in the Fields on Jan 31, 2013 11:30 am • linkreport

You INSINUATE them. Thats your style here, you insinuate something, then when called on it you rush back to deny

Clearly you haven't been following me as closely as you suggest. I don't have to "insinuate" anything. Either I ask a clarifying question or make the accusation. What I don't do is say or insinuate, "yes, you're a racist" unlike the attacks here. Ironically, you're here complaining about how I don't focus on the topic @hand while at the same time missing that the topic, SEXISM came about because of my focus on (brace yourself) the topic @hand.

You are a perfect metro Washington type, a master of rhetoric,

No, I'm the perfect child of my parents who taught me how to read, write and hold a conversation w/in a hostile environment. DC has had no such effect.

I am not sure what you think you are accomplishing. If your goal is to stir up bad feeling among different groups within DC, you could hardly do a better job.

I've never given my time posting here enough thought to even consider "accomplishing" anything. In fact, I do not care whether people feel emotionally stirred by what I post here. I do not care if different groups in DC become bitter by what I post here. I do not, w/a shadow of doubt..CARE. Even under a barrage of what I consider insults and personal attacks, I don't have "bad feelings" about a group of which I am clearly on the outside. For those who do have these bruised feelings I say, "Life ain't no crystal stair."

I suggest that those who are affected take a page out of my book - take the punches and keep it moving. Because as Lady Sweet Brown said,

ain't nobody got time for that

by HogWash on Jan 31, 2013 12:48 pm • linkreport

If you were actually interested in encouraging discussion and not bomb throwing, it would be advisable to structure your language so that you avoid remarks that make some groups (like women) less comfortable commenting.

Or else someone in opposition will carpet-bomb me with accusations of sexism, misogyny and racism? Correct? Since that it what happened here. If women felt uncomfortable commenting about something as inconsequential as the fact that they are physically inferior to men, I suggest they grow a pair - an elephant's at that.

But I can definitely conclude that you aren't really interesting in discussing the issue at all.

About as much as those who accused me of sexism asmd misogyny. Oh Wait, they were interested, they just felt it necessary to discuss it w/in the confines of an accusation of sexism.

by HogWash on Jan 31, 2013 12:54 pm • linkreport

Can someone be banned from a blog because they just argue for the sake of arguing, cheapening the discourse for everyone else who might like to participate? Asking for a friend...

by Tim Krepp on Jan 31, 2013 12:54 pm • linkreport

Clearly the editors and contributors need to talk about what to do about threads like this which have come up a few times recently. For now, I am locking this thread.

by David Alpert on Jan 31, 2013 12:58 pm • linkreport

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