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(Washington Post)   Maryland bicyclists oppose mandatory helmet law, saying it would reduce rider safety   (washingtonpost.com) divider line 107
    More: Stupid, House of Delegates, bicycle accident, docking station, Arlington County, Silver Spring, Prince George's County  
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3510 clicks; posted to Main » on 09 Feb 2013 at 7:35 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-02-09 03:59:41 AM  
I don't know what the law is, but you want to know how to improve bike safety in the DC area? Require bikes to use lights at night. And be willing to enforce it. I have very nearly hit bikers on quite a few occasions around here when for some reason, idiots decide that it's a really bright idea to bike around, on occasion even without reflectors, but definitely without lights, usually without helmets, at dusk, or even in the dead of night. If you're that much of an idiot, you honestly deserve to get hit by a car.
 
2013-02-09 04:03:25 AM  
How about this: get rid of all bicycle & motorcycle helmet laws, then let Darwin do his thing.
It will sort itself out.
 
2013-02-09 07:39:12 AM  
Nanny state.
 
2013-02-09 07:40:02 AM  
Wasn't there some study in the Netherlands that found that, counter-intuitively, requiring helmets actually increased fatalities? Something about wearing them made bicyclists less cautious. It was a few years ago, and I'm too lazy to google it on a Saturday morning.
 
2013-02-09 07:44:32 AM  

Bob Falfa: How about this: get rid of all bicycle & motorcycle helmet laws, then let Darwin do his thing.
It will sort itself out.


Fine with me. Add in seat belt laws too.

/cyclist
//wears a helmet
 
2013-02-09 07:49:19 AM  
Ah a bicycle thread. I'm sure this won't devolve into a flame war between cagers and spandex wearers.


//I'll be in the back making popcorn.
//Who wants kettlecorn?
 
2013-02-09 07:50:13 AM  
Bob Falfa [TotalFark]


How about this: get rid of all bicycle & motorcycle helmet laws, then let Darwin do his thing.
It will sort itself out.


Problem is, government just won't let Darwin do his job. At this point he'll probably never catch up.
 
2013-02-09 07:54:33 AM  
Most of the non-helemeted cyclists I see are college kids riding while texting, and people weaving back and forth at a glacial pace on the wrong side of the road. I say let them forego their helmets, and with any luck we'll reduce the percentage of cyclists who act like jerks and give the rest of us a bad name.

/cyclist
 
2013-02-09 07:54:50 AM  

numbone: Bob Falfa [TotalFark]


How about this: get rid of all bicycle & motorcycle helmet laws, then let Darwin do his thing.
It will sort itself out.

Problem is, government just won't let Darwin do his job. At this point he'll probably never catch up.


Keep electing Republicans. It will happen.
 
2013-02-09 07:55:26 AM  
Never wore a helmet as a child.
Never needed one as an adult (on city streets anyway).

/biatches.
 
2013-02-09 08:01:37 AM  
Bike helmet laws are a conspiracy by the petroleum to sell more plastic.
The speed most casual cyclists ride at is not dangerous enough to warrant a helmet.

I've ridden bikes extensively in urban areas for 40+ years without a helmet, and have never come close to having an accident involving head trauma.

I just recently started wearing helmets on hill rides, but even then I don't really feel vulnerable without one.
I'd never ride my motorbike w/o a helmet, though. But I'd prefer the rest of the country allow lane-splitting than worry about helmet laws.
 
zez
2013-02-09 08:03:20 AM  
I wear my helmet all the time, but on one ride I forgot to pack it and did the ride helmetless and it felt so weird, like driving my car without wearing a seatbelt. It was a city ride too with lots of traffic, not really the best time to leave it at home.

Now when I was a kid I don't even think they had helmets and during my college years they were very big, ugly, and uncomfortable. So when we would ride out for a Mt. bike ride, we would strap the helmet onto the rear rack until we rode to the trailhead then stop and put them on.  BRILLIANT!

Helmets today are inexpensive, light, have a bit of style and offer lots of ventilation. There really isn't any reason not to wear one.
 
2013-02-09 08:09:19 AM  
The best guess I could make of this: The cyclists like wearing helmets, but don't want the law because they want to surround themselves with idiots who don't wear helmets, for added safety.  They have figured out some cars target cyclists and do not prefer the taste of helmet.  I kind of wonder if a t-shirt reading "I don't have to ride faster than that car, I only have to ride faster than you" would sell well.
 
2013-02-09 08:09:35 AM  

cptjeff: I don't know what the law is, but you want to know how to improve bike safety in the DC area? Require bikes to use lights at night. And be willing to enforce it. I have very nearly hit bikers on quite a few occasions around here when for some reason, idiots decide that it's a really bright idea to bike around, on occasion even without reflectors, but definitely without lights, usually without helmets, at dusk, or even in the dead of night. If you're that much of an idiot, you honestly deserve to get hit by a car.


the helmet is a great place to affix lights so there's nothing to get stolen when parking
 
2013-02-09 08:09:58 AM  
Should helmets be mandatory for anyone out for a walk too? There are studies that find the risk of injury is comparable or greater than for cycling. http://cyclehelmets.org/1199.html

My big objection to mandatory helmet laws is that it discourages cycling - it adds expense and gear to deal with on every trip. It sends the message that cycling is 'dangerous'. Of course injury is possible, but it's simply not true that it's significantly more dangerous than any other means of travel. I think the roads would be better for everyone, safer too, if more people cycled when practical, so unnecessarily discouraging that has a real cost.

Here's another site with a lot of discussion and reference about the issue. Many popularly held assumptions, "facts", and statistics don't seem to be valid: http://bicyclesafe.com/helmets.html

I think mandatory helmets for children are a much more sensible case - they're generally much less experienced both on a bike and getting along in any kind of traffic, and more likely to have the kind of low-speed, single vehicle accidents where helmets are usually very effective. But for adults it seems easy to make the case that they're unnecessary and inarguable that it's counterproductive to the goals of promoting physical activity and discouraging automobile use.
 
2013-02-09 08:10:06 AM  
Let's just get it over with and require everyone to stay indoors wearing a helmet, kevlar vest, floatation device and eye protection.
 
2013-02-09 08:11:57 AM  

Bob Falfa: How about this: get rid of all bicycle & motorcycle helmet laws, then let Darwin do his thing.
It will sort itself out.


Agreed.

Used to blow my mind to see people in FL ride motorcycles with nothing but shorts and sandels. I would at least wear helmet, gloves, boots, and a long sleeve shirt (for local low-speed rides) and leather jacket if I was gonna get on a main road.

As these people will only be hurting themselves, I say go for it. The government can only protect you from yourself for so long.
 
zez
2013-02-09 08:13:57 AM  
American Decency Association:

the helmet is a great place to affix lights so there's nothing to get stolen when parking

My 4 year old picked out a helmet that has built in flashing LEDs where the strap meets the back of the helmet. It's an amazing idea and I wish I could find that in a helmet for me.
 
2013-02-09 08:16:01 AM  
commuter cyclist.  urban/suburban riding.  Wear a helmet, have front, rear, and wheel lights (Monkeyeletric FTW) and have a reflective vest.  And when I say commuter, I mean a 7 speed, fat tire comfort bike I take to work, the store, etc.

/ don't like the spandex douches either.
//  prefer to remain alive
/// I like kettle corn
 
2013-02-09 08:19:20 AM  

zez: There really isn't any reason not to wear one.


I just find them uncomfortable and don't like them.  That's my reason, and it's good enough for me.
 
2013-02-09 08:20:41 AM  

sirrerun: Bike helmet laws are a conspiracy by the petroleum to sell more plastic.
The speed most casual cyclists ride at is not dangerous enough to warrant a helmet.

I've ridden bikes extensively in urban areas for 40+ years without a helmet, and have never come close to having an accident involving head trauma.

I just recently started wearing helmets on hill rides, but even then I don't really feel vulnerable without one.
I'd never ride my motorbike w/o a helmet, though. But I'd prefer the rest of the country allow lane-splitting than worry about helmet laws.


My grandmother smoked for 60 years and never died of cancer. I guess that's just a conspiracy too.
 
2013-02-09 08:21:44 AM  

eiger: Wasn't there some study in the Netherlands that found that, counter-intuitively, requiring helmets actually increased fatalities? Something about wearing them made bicyclists less cautious. It was a few years ago, and I'm too lazy to google it on a Saturday morning.


Yeah, I'm wondering where exactly the "stupid" tag is supposed to go?  To subby for reading comprehension failure?
 
2013-02-09 08:21:53 AM  

MythDragon: Bob Falfa: How about this: get rid of all bicycle & motorcycle helmet laws, then let Darwin do his thing.
It will sort itself out.

Agreed.

Used to blow my mind to see people in FL ride motorcycles with nothing but shorts and sandels. I would at least wear helmet, gloves, boots, and a long sleeve shirt (for local low-speed rides) and leather jacket if I was gonna get on a main road.

As these people will only be hurting themselves, I say go for it. The government can only protect you from yourself for so long.


Yeah, degloving is a biatch.
 
2013-02-09 08:22:24 AM  
You can google this, so I won't bother, but the counter-intuitive studies in question usually find increases in serious injuries when cyclists where helmets, specifically suggesting that it increases accidents between cyclists and cars.

That is, if you wear a helmet, you're more likely to get hit by a car. Which sucks -- I've been hit by an SUV while cycling, and it was minor but still unpleasant. There are two mechanisms seemingly at work, one of which is sensible and one is awful.

First, cyclists wearing helmets tend to be much less aware of their surroundings. Not necessarily oblivious, but on average less aware. The theory is that the helmet makes it harder to look around, even if it doesn't seem like it does. Second, studies show pretty conclusively that drivers are less careful around cyclists who have helmets on. On average, alarmingly less careful.

My personal philosophy is that you should never assume a driver will not hit you. Don't give them the opportunity. It's great that they should be forced to share the road, but don't trust them, and don't try to make them do it.

Beyond all of that, most casual cyclists I know absolutely HATE mainstream bicycle helmets. So do I; I usually wear an equal-rating skateboard-type helmet, in warm weather, and a DOT motorcycle helmet, in cold weather. I know better, but I would still rather wear no helmet than a typical bicycle helmet. Like most cyclists, I don't need to worry about aerodynamics. Ventilation is a good idea, but most bike helmets are so ugly that I wouldn't diaper my dog with one, much less put it on my head.
 
2013-02-09 08:25:55 AM  
 
2013-02-09 08:34:18 AM  

OccamsWhiskers: My big objection to mandatory helmet laws is that it discourages cycling


You know, you are welcome to cycle all you want without having to feel validated by everyone else thinking they need to be a hip as you.
 
2013-02-09 08:34:50 AM  
I don't wear a helmet, and cyclehelmets.org pretty much covers all of my reasoning. Unfortunately most of the public will flat out refuse to embrace results that run counter to common-sense, which explains the ubiquitous bans on texting while driving. (People still do it but they don't look at the road anymore they look at their lap).

I DO wear my motorcycle helmet, but I've had 3 relatively high-speed low side crashes, the last was approx 50mph, and my head has never come close to hitting the ground.
 
2013-02-09 08:38:11 AM  
Someone in the UK did a test with helmet on and off and used sensors and found that cars drive closer when wearing a cycle helmet than not. He also found that putting on a woman's wig made cars give him more room.http://www.bath.ac.uk/news/articles/archive/overtaking110906.ht ml

If you want to improve bike safety, make yourself farking visible, ffs. Had a near miss when a guy rode past my junction wearing a black jacket, dark trousers and no lights at night. Lights and if possible, a hi-viz (or at least, wear a brighter jacket than farking black).
 
2013-02-09 08:46:12 AM  

BiffDangler: OccamsWhiskers: My big objection to mandatory helmet laws is that it discourages cycling

You know, you are welcome to cycle all you want without having to feel validated by everyone else thinking they need to be a hip as you.


I'm not looking for validation, I'm looking for reduced traffic, pollution, and oil dependency.

But impressing you probably would be a thrill, now you've given me something to strive for.
 
2013-02-09 08:52:24 AM  
So what do you no-helmet bicycle geniuses say about preventing a car from not stopping at stop signs or pulling out of driveways before driving over the intersecting bike path?  I rode my bike for my 4 mile trip to work with a bike path along the entire way less than a dozen times and have been inches from being T boned three times or slamming into the side of a car once because they don't stop and look.  I stopped riding and sticking to parks.
 
2013-02-09 08:55:58 AM  

oukewldave: So what do you no-helmet bicycle geniuses say about preventing a car from not stopping at stop signs or pulling out of driveways before driving over the intersecting bike path?  I rode my bike for my 4 mile trip to work with a bike path along the entire way less than a dozen times and have been inches from being T boned three times or slamming into the side of a car once because they don't stop and look.  I stopped riding and sticking to parks.


I'm not sure I understand the question, how does a helmet help in those situations? Besides preventing minor cuts and scrapes when your old, fat, and uncoordinated ass hits the pavement.
 
2013-02-09 09:10:31 AM  
If there's one thing that isn't tolerated in Maryland, it is giving up freedom for a little safety.
 
2013-02-09 09:11:48 AM  
I think this is a great idea. We need more control brains for Alzheimer's research.
 
2013-02-09 09:12:22 AM  
It doesn't sound like the issue is with the "helmet" part, the issue is with the "mandatory" part.
 
2013-02-09 09:14:47 AM  

zez: There really isn't any reason not to wear one.


A couple years ago in the last miles of a long ride, looking down resulted in sweat that built up between the foam and lid washing across my eyes and completely blinding me. The front tire caught a rock just as my hand went up to wipe my eyes and I went down hard on concrete, torso out in Saturday shopper traffic. Fortunately I pulled in before a car hit me but I was still technicolor for months.

 Hipsters out in summer heat with the latest, unventilated skate-board style models make me wonder. I still wear a helmet but they're not guardian angels.
 
2013-02-09 09:16:25 AM  
Step 1: Wear a bicycle helmet.
Step 2: Get hit by a car.
Step 3: Die anyway.
 
2013-02-09 09:17:26 AM  

Bob Falfa: How about this: get rid of all bicycle & motorcycle helmet laws, then let Darwin do his thing.
It will sort itself out.


One caveat... mandatory donor cards for the helmet-less.
 
2013-02-09 09:24:13 AM  

farkeruk: Someone in the UK did a test with helmet on and off and used sensors and found that cars drive closer when wearing a cycle helmet than not. He also found that putting on a woman's wig made cars give him more room.http://www.bath.ac.uk/news/articles/archive/overtaking110906.ht ml

If you want to improve bike safety, make yourself farking visible, ffs. Had a near miss when a guy rode past my junction wearing a black jacket, dark trousers and no lights at night. Lights and if possible, a hi-viz (or at least, wear a brighter jacket than farking black).


s4.postimage.org
Visibilty.
 
2013-02-09 09:26:35 AM  

farkeruk: Someone in the UK did a test with helmet on and off and used sensors and found that cars drive closer when wearing a cycle helmet than not. He also found that putting on a woman's wig made cars give him more room.http://www.bath.ac.uk/news/articles/archive/overtaking110906.ht ml

If you want to improve bike safety, make yourself farking visible, ffs. Had a near miss when a guy rode past my junction wearing a black jacket, dark trousers and no lights at night. Lights and if possible, a hi-viz (or at least, wear a brighter jacket than farking black).


Maybe because the car-drivers are assuming that the helmet-wearer is less of a farking idiot, and so could be better trusted.
 
2013-02-09 09:28:09 AM  

Archie Goodwin: Step 1: Wear a bicycle helmetseat belt.
Step 2: Get hit by a carDrive into lake.
Step 3: Die anyway.


FTFYour logic.
 
2013-02-09 09:50:14 AM  
Cyclist here. I ride mainly for fitness/exercise, not commuting, and yes, I wear a helmet and the Lycra. But there's a huge difference between me speeding down a country road at 20+ mph, and casual riders derping along at 8 mph. I wear a helmet because a fall at that speed could be serious. Someone poking along on the park trail is much less likely to be seriously hurt at those low speeds.

Unfortunately, most accidents come from a lack of education on the part of both cyclists and motorists. I can't tell you how often I see idiots on bikes with no lights, or riding on the wrong side of the road, or wearing dark hoodies at night. I'm not talking about 12 year olds, but adults. That's just stupid. But I also see motorists cut off cyclists on turns, or pass dangerously close, or yell at them in traffic in town.

Instead of mandatory helmet laws, I'd love to see a couple of hours of bicycling education inserted into the mandatory classes that we have for motor vehicle licensing. Drivers need to know that cyclists are allowed to take the road at certain points. Adult cyclists need to know when and where those times are appropriate - and to be aware that they need to make themselves visible with lights and reflectors (already required by law for night riding in most states).
 
2013-02-09 10:12:46 AM  

Archie Goodwin: Step 1: Wear a bicycle helmet.
Step 2: Get hit by a car.
Step 3: Die anyway.


Step 1: Wear a Motorcycle helmet
Step 2: Get hit by car.
Step 3: Die of a broken neck.

What's your point?

Helmets are to prevent specific types of low speed injuries. You know, the ones where your brain starts swelling and then your mom has to unplug you from life support.
 
2013-02-09 10:15:51 AM  
Jeez, Maryland is going full California. Never go full California.
 
2013-02-09 10:16:48 AM  
Day_Old_Dutchie:
s4.postimage.org
Visibilty.

I'll play.
NSFW
NSFW

i.imgur.com
i.imgur.com
 
2013-02-09 10:20:50 AM  

Bob Falfa: How about this: get rid of all bicycle & motorcycle helmet laws, then let Darwin do his thing.
It will sort itself out.


Unfortunately on the way out the door the non helmet riders will be in a coma for several weeks to months before dying costing a couple thousand dollars a day while in the hospital.

/Yes I wear my helmet when biking. To many accidents.
 
2013-02-09 10:26:06 AM  
If you are going out for a 100 mile ride on your Bianchi, wear a helmet. If you're going into the woods for some fun with rocks and logs, wear a helmet. If your riding to the neighborhood pool for a swim, helmet un-necessary.

Judgement. Some people don't have any, so let's kill fun for everyone in the name of fairness.
 
2013-02-09 10:27:12 AM  

Elfich: Bob Falfa: How about this: get rid of all bicycle & motorcycle helmet laws, then let Darwin do his thing.
It will sort itself out.

Unfortunately on the way out the door the non helmet riders will be in a coma for several weeks to months before dying costing a couple thousand dollars a day while in the hospital.
/Yes I wear my helmet when biking. To many accidents.


And the idiot that didn't wear a helmet isn't going to be the one paying for it. We'll pay for it when our insurance rates go up.
 
2013-02-09 10:27:15 AM  
 
2013-02-09 10:27:35 AM  
Preface: I am a major bike advocate in my area.
Statement: The problem is within both the advocacy and manufacturing industry. The advocacy side says that bikes are super cheap in comparison to cars and don't like talking about all the additional costs of beginning to bike (helmet, locks, lights, patch kit, bike pump, multi-tool, tire levers). Thus, new or low-income riders see those items as "unnecessary".

The manufacturing industry perpetuates this issue by referring to these "additional" expenses as "accessories" when in fact they're *necessities*. They price gouge on helmets (all helmet sold in the USA pass the same standards but the prettier ones that people actually want to wear cost at least $60.). They sell patch kits with 3 patches and a tiny bit of rubber cement (instead of 10 patches and more sealant). They would prefer for you to take your bike back to the shop to have any adjustments done when most new-bike adjusts can be done completely without tools. Bikes shops still sell tiny cable locks and never focus on selling u-locks... and they never know how to assist the buyer in submitting the bike lock insurance forms.

IF bikes are to be seen as competitive with cars, the minimum standards of similarity must be met. Cars come with locks, headlamps, airbags, and a tire-changing kit. Those analogs must be sold with bikes as a package deal and THEN we will see BETTER cyclists on the road. Spread the word.
 
2013-02-09 10:30:21 AM  
i.imgur.com

NSFW

/this is Liz Hatch
 
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