Today’s Headlines

  • MTA Board to Vote On Fare Hike Today (Post)
  • …And E-Z-Pass Users Likely to Evade a Toll-Hike (NYT)
  • ARC Still Hanging By A Thread as LaHood Tries to Meet With Christie (NYT)
  • Ah, Those Were the Days: Transpo Nation Has Tape From ARC’s Groundbreaking
  • NYU Medical Center Teams Up With the Post to Blame Cyclists for Getting Injured By Cars
  • Straphangers: 7 Train Takes Home Gold For Second Year Running, C Is City’s Worst Ride (Post, WSJ)
  • Months After 12-Year-Old Freddie Endres Killed on Bike, Maspeth Still Demanding Safety (QChron)
  • Stubborn Building Managers Obstructing Bikes in Buildings Law for Some Commuters (AMNY)
  • MTA Wants To Store Energy Created By Braking Subway Cars (Post)
  • Staten Island to Ray LaHood: We Want a Megaproject, Too (NY1)
  • Albany (the City) Might Find Out Just How Much a Curbside Parking Spot Is Worth (Times-Union)

More headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • Larry Littlefield

    “Being sloshed while cycling is the second-highest reason bikers are getting hurt in accidents with automobiles, according to a new study by NYU Medical Center. The first was neglecting to wear a helmet.”

    Good thing I wasn’t injured when I was knocked off my bike while wearing a helmet. The funny thing is, it hurt. Perhaps my mistake was breaking my fall rather than allowing my protected head to hit the pavement.

  • Mechanism of injury is “struck by vehicle,” and Dr. Fortin still thinks the cyclist is to blame? Are victims of domestic violence at fault for being too pushy or demanding, as well?

  • Larry Littlefield

    The Wall Street Journal is outraged that after 40 years when nothing was done to reduce U.S. dependence on fossil fuels, with environmental, economic and national security implications, Congress dared to do something other than change the date of Daylight Savings Time that might inconvenience someone.

    “In retrospect, it was a premonition of the Obama era: Late in 2007, Congress banned incandescent lightbulbs, by a vote of 86 to eight in the Senate and 314 to 100 in the House. President Bush signed the bill in his late, get-me-back-to-Texas phase.

    “Let’s hope it’s a better premonition that Congress may now be having second thoughts. Last month, Republicans Joe Barton, Michael Burgess and Marsha Blackburn introduced a two-page bill that would repeal the efficiency standards that were included in the 2007 energy bill.”

    So which policial party are you in favor of.

    The one that is funded by the rich executives who are raping the private sector, and panders to selfish people who don’t want to meet social responsibilities?

    Or the one funded by the public employee unions and contractors that are destroying (or have destroyed with an irrevocable delayed effect) public services, and panders to selfish people who don’t want to meet personal responsibilties?

    If your principal goal is to sell out the future, either will do.

  • So transit riders are stuck with a fare hike and no service cut restorations while drivers with an E-Z Pass can continue to drive for the same price? Sigh

  • “Are victims of domestic violence at fault for being too pushy or demanding, as well?”

    Both of which can be exacerbated by alcohol. What are the BAC levels of domestic violence victims? And isn’t it a little irresponsible to be in an abusive relationship without wearing a helmet?

    You have to wonder, though, about an injury study that doesn’t even bother to examine correlation. How do the rates among the injured compare to the rates among the general NYC cycling population? You only have to look back to the last university-sponsored anti-cycling study for a sampled rate:

    “Only 36 percent of cyclists wore helmets”
    http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/11/19/study-finds-cyclists-disobey-traffic-laws/

    That was Hunder College 2 years ago. And now NYU’s Dr. Fortin is scandalized that only 24% of injured cyclists were wearing helmets, which is less of a difference than I would have expected if helmet wearers are more safety conscious riders.

    I don’t have a PhD, but it seems like these esteemed researchers might be studying the wrong factors, and not even bothering to put results in context in their rush to predetermined conclusions. Maybe, to get themselves into the news with an evergreen story that appears to confirm a mainstream prejudice? Surely not!

  • Oh and one more thing:

    “Ten percent (10%) of all people who receive injuries in traffic accidents do so in alcohol-related crashes, according to NHTSA estimates”
    http://www2.potsdam.edu/hansondj/DrivingIssues/1101913925.html

    That’s a national rate, so the extent to which “sloshed” pedestrians and cyclists are implicated is minuscule if counted at all.

    Drunken Motorists Out of Control
    They’re driving high in those SUVs.

    And so on, AMBER SUTHERLAND and TOM NAMAKO?

  • Nathan, excellent point. I expect that alcohol intoxication also correlates strongly with deaths from falls from heights, deaths from assaults, and deaths from burns, to name a few.

  • This year’s Tour de Bronx is being dedicated to the memory of cycling activist and community health advocate Megan Charlop. http://www.bronxnewsnetwork.org/2010/10/megan-charlop-to-be-honored-at-this.html

  • JamesR
  • J:Lai

    From the Post story: “76 percent had not been wearing helmets, 13 percent had consumed alcohol and 5 percent had been listening to music. ”

    This is meaningless without knowing the rates of those activities in the general population of bike riders.

    If 76% of all riders do not wear helmets, it means nothing that 76% of injured riders were not wearing helmets. If only 25% of all riders do not wear helmets, then it MIGHT mean something.
    Likewise for alcohol, etc.

    What you really need is either randomized control groups, or barring that at least some adjustment for demographic factors, to test the significance of these risk factors.

    I’m sure they could have reported that 35% percent of injured riders were from Brooklyn, which would in no way indicate anything about the risks of riding a bicycle when you are from Brooklyn.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “Transportation advocates and officials in Washington said that the federal money would probably be spent on transit projects in other states. They said they expected Mr. Christie to suggest spending the Port Authority’s money on other projects in New Jersey.”

    Forget it. Time for New Jersey to pay New York back for the 1990s. Past time.

  • I would like to see the study published by these researchers at NYU. I find it hard to believe that they were conflating findings on interview (e.g. % wearing a helmet) with a causative relationship between those factors and the injuries sustained. It seems that the Post decided to reach their own conclusion regarding the study, one that the investigators would not support, but that would serve their own agenda nicely.

    Because to take the Post’s statement one step further, we can conclude that not wearing a helmet not only resulted in injury for the cyclist but also *caused* the accident. Nice journalistic integrity, Post.

  • Driver

    Nanterking, careful using the ‘Post’ and ‘journalistic integrity’ in the same sentence. You might get sued for libel.

  • NattyB

    1. NYU Medical Study — Is that the same NYU medical center which is ALWAYS blocking the new 2nd ave bike lane between 23rd and 14th street, especially around 19th street?

    2. That ARC decision by Christie is one of the WORST public policy decisions ever. J f’in C. Just like that. This guy comes in and drops one of the most necessary public works for the NY/NJ area. Freaking crazy. Does he realize that it will cost NJ way more in the long run by doing this? Is this just naked teaparty pandering? Like, spend that money on roads and operations instead. ABSURD.

  • hayestre1

    I dont think people respect people who ride bikes any more. I try to encourage people to ride their bikes to places they dont have to drive too.

    I tell all my friends that http://www.2wheelbikes.com has the best select and prices.

  • Joe R.

    Regarding helmet efficacy, this site is really the best place I’ve come across for unbiased information: http://www.cyclehelmets.org/index.html

    The NYU study found that 76% of the time an injured cyclist wasn’t wearing a helmet. This is correlation, not causation. They have no way of knowing how many in that 76% might have been spared injury by a helmet. Also, we have no idea of the percentage of helmet use among the demographic in question. If only 24% use helmets, then this shows no appreciable difference in injury rates between helmeted and non-helmeted cyclists. Remember that the primary way cyclists get injured is in collisions with motor vehicles. Generally, motor vehicles are traveling at speeds far above the 10 mph or so where a helmet might mitigate injury. Also, perhaps non-helmet wearing cyclists in general ride more recklessly, and so end up with more injuries. Here again, you really can’t draw any meaningful conclusions one way or the other from the data. More rigorous studies I’ve read tend to show very limited or no benefit from helmet use except for young children.

    And Larry Littlefield, the proper way to fall on a bike once you realize going down is inevitable is to go limp, outstretch your arms, and land flat on the ground. This protects your head. The problem is far too many cyclists refuse to accept the inevitable, and will continue to fight the fall. The end result of this is they not only break bones, but often hit their head on the pavement in the process. And by the way, I’ve had my share of spills, including one resulting from hitting a pothole at 37 mph. The worst that happened, except in one case, was road rash, and I didn’t/don’t wear a helmet. The exception was when I tried to fight the fall. I was actually able to avoid hitting the pavement in this case. I kind of stumbled off my bike from around 20 mph into a fast run. The problem was I pulled a ligament on my left leg in the process. It took a good 6 months before it felt normal. Road rash might have been preferable in this case.

    The best strategy though is defensive riding and good bicycle control. The safest accident is one which never occurs. Most of my falls occurred the first few years I was riding. I haven’t fallen off the bike for any reason since before 9/11. I don’t remember the exact date, but I remember it was prior to 9/11. Yes, I’ve had a few close calls since then, but I’ve become great at anticipating people’s mistakes, and also great at recovering from situations which would have sent me to the pavement 20 years ago. Just last week I hit a big dip in the road at 27 mph, for example. Bad lighting, I really didn’t see it until I was on top of it. My fault for riding too far right instead of taking the lane as I should have. Anyway, I didn’t panic, just rode it out. Nowadays though even close calls like that are very rare.

    I tend to think a lot of our safety problems regarding cycling in this country is caused precisely by an overreliance on both infrastructure and equipment. The sole answers to bicycle safety are often just “ride in bike lanes and wear a helmet”. Instead, we should focus on defensive cycling techniques, proper bike handling ( just knowing what to do in a situation is meaningless if you lack the skills to execute it ), and also how to fall properly.