Today’s Headlines

  • Cuomo’s Abusive Approach to Transit Policy Reaches a New Low (Politico, AMNY, News)
  • Daily News to de Blasio: Stop Grandstanding and Get Behind Congestion Pricing
  • How Long Until Cubic and MTA Deliver Faster Fare Payment for Bus Riders? (NewsNYTAMNY, DNA)
  • MTA Spending $150 Million to “Upgrade” Two Astoria Stations Without Making Them Accessible (DNA)
  • Take a Victory Lap, Car-Free Prospect Park Advocates (Bklyn Paper, GothamistAMNY, DNA)
  • GM Will Pay $93-$132/Hour Plus a Per-Mile Charge to Test Robocars in Manhattan (Post)
  • Information About MTA’s Weekend Service Disruptions Isn’t Reaching Subway Riders (Voice)
  • Subway Delays Rose Nearly 20% in August Compared to Last Year (NY1)
  • Queens Reps Call for Restoration of Q75 Linking Bayside and Jamaica (TL)
  • Ride Safe, NYC, and Always Wear Gloves When You Get on a Citi Bike (Post)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • Vooch

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/305b259101ced8de04de24d5fc7e0f7b0aebd7cefb031800cc30f6a28c84a977.jpg Instead of upgrading 4 Subway stations for $150mm; NYC could create THREE HUNDRED MILES of PBLs.

    300 miles of new PBLs

    NYC could quadruple its PBL network for same expenditure. This would transform mobility options for all 8 million NYers.

    300+100 existing PBL miles = 400 miles. New Yorkers would finally have a PBL network.

    “My Bike left on time this morning”

  • qrt145

    Not NYC-specific, but published in the NYT’s personal health column, Jane Brody says that “Riding a bicycle without wearing a properly fitted helmet is simply stupid.” https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/23/well/buckle-up-a-helmet-to-save-a-life.html

  • kevd

    i don’t think the loop roads in CP or PP should count as part of a protected bike lane network if they are off limits 1-6 am every day.
    please photoshop and repost!

  • Vooch

    agreed – of the ~100 miles of PBLs listed by DOT about 1/2 the mileage are useless for daily trips.

    So 50 miles of useful PBLs is more realistic existing.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Perhaps, but unless you have a job that allows you to get exercise while working or you can walk to work, not riding a bicycle for transportation is even more stupid from a health perspective.

  • van_vlissingen

    Metal surfaces can cause oligodynamic inhibition of microbial growth. Comparing the plastic handle on a Citibike to the hold bar in the subway isn’t really a valid comparison.

  • Joe R.

    Well, I guess everyone in places like the Netherlands are stupid by her reasoning. It’s the usual, ignorant, one-sided article on the subject. She even cites the long-discredited statistic of “97 percent of cycling deaths and 87 percent of serious injuries occurred to people who were not wearing helmets”. Statistics like that are meaningless without also mentioning the rate of helmet use. The latest studies actually show helmets neutral to slightly negative with regards to injury prevention. It’s hardly the slam dank she and a lot of the commentators seem to think it is.

    The comments aren’t much better. Someone mentions that Germany requires helmets. They don’t, even for children. And of course, you have the usual people raving about “how a helmet saved their lives”. Unless you duplicate their incident down to every detail in a controlled setting with and without a helmet, impossible to know something like that. A damaged helmet doesn’t prove or disprove that it saved your life.

    Curious why she doesn’t mention that pedestrians and car passengers should wear helmets given their higher risk of head injury.

    In the final analysis you’ll live longer on average just by riding a bike, whether or not you choose to wear a helmet.

  • Vooch

    Yeah – these Munich ( Germany ) cyclists coming home from work in the dark ! are all supremely stupid

    you might want to post this video for those misinformed people

  • Joe R.

    Well under 1 in 10 are wearing helmets! I guess these people are all stupid according to the author of the NYT article.

  • reasonableexplanation

    Showing plenty of people doing something a certain way is independent as to whether or not said thing is stupid.

    Seatbelt use in 1984 was at 14% (It’s 87% now). We can probably agree that those who refused to wear seatbelts back then were stupid, despite the fact that they were in the overwhelming majority.

    Regardless of specific arguments about the pros and cons of helmet use, saying lots of people ride without them and are fine, just like saying lots of people didn’t wear seatbelts and were fine, is not a good argument.

  • Joe R.

    The problem is most of the pro-helmet crowd actually uses the kind of reasoning you describe, citing stuff like a “helmet saved my life” or “I’m fine only because I was wearing a helmet”. Saying lots of people ride with them and are fine is no better an argument than saying lots of people ride without them and are fine.

    The statistics show seatbelt use actually saves lives (that’s one big reason why fatalities per billion VMT are down), whereas the studies on bicycle helmets are mixed. In fact, in Australia where they passed a mandatory helmet law for adults the number of cyclists killed actually increased, despite fewer people riding. In places without widespread helmet use, like the Netherlands, the cycling fatality rate is actually far lower. This tells me the key to cyclist safety has little or nothing to do with getting cyclists to wear helmets. Rather, cycling infrastructure is key. If you have good cycling infrastructure, then cycling is very safe, and helmets won’t make it any safer. If you don’t have good cycling infrastructure, helmets still won’t help because the primary cause of cyclist deaths, namely motor vehicles, is something helmets just weren’t designed for. Either way, advocating helmet use seems rather pointless.

    Note that I feel this debate might actually be more honest if helmet advocates were at least advocating motorcycle-type helmets. Here at least the statistics show such a helmet to be useful in car-bicycle collisions.

  • AstoriaBlowin

    If a dump truck runs over my legs, of course whether or not I wear a helmet makes no difference. I personally wear one not really because of vehicle collisions but because I don’t want to come off my bike, hit my head, and have a skull fracture. The road quality is so bad that I’ve had some really close calls with potholes and other defects. But if someone else doesn’t care to wear one, then bully for them.

  • Joe R.

    Note that you can trip in those same potholes while walking, and your upright stance makes a head injury more likely than if you fall off your bike. In fact, I haven’t fallen off my bike for any reason since 1996, but I’ve tripped while walking numerous times. Fortunately, I haven’t yet hit my head. My point is if head injuries are something you worry about, you’re more likely to get them while walking than cycling, and therefore should wear a helmet while walking if you consider cycling too risky without one.

    I agree totally about the poor road quality. However, in the scheme of things when I go for a ride motor vehicles are the biggest danger to me by a huge margin. I can avoid potholes by riding slowly on roads I haven’t been over in a while, and knowing their locations on roads I ride frequently. I actually used to hit potholes somewhat regularly until I developed a system for avoiding them. Now I might still hit them, but not at any speed which will cause me to fall.

  • reasonableexplanation

    Exactly. Cops wear bullet resistant vests, which only cover their torso. They know they can be shot in the head, arm, or leg, but they still wear them.

    Construction workers wear helmets too, even though they can be crushed at any time by heavy machinery.

    I kind of feel the same about bike helmets: they doesn’t protect against everything, but they’ll protect my head if I hit it on a thing, which is good.

  • AstoriaBlowin

    Right, it’s not that you can’t make a rational argument against wearing one, but the burden of wearing a helmet is so small to me that I do it out of an abundance of caution. Drivers are the biggest threat (especially in Queens where all drivers are a public menace it seems) and helmets don’t help much there but it’s just not a big deal to me to wear one, so I do.

  • Joe R.

    You could make the same argument for wearing a conductive metal body suit to protect you against lightning. Yes, it might help but if the likelihood of an event is statistically very low then it usually makes no sense to worry about protecting yourself from it. The likelihood of severe head injury while cycling is extremely low. Also, why not walking helmets? That’s the part that annoys me most when people advocate cycling helmets. If you think cycling is risky enough that a helmet is needed, then you certainly should wear one when walking as it’s statistically more risky.

  • Joe R.

    The burden is having to carry it around, having it block both vision and hearing, dealing with the discomfort of a chin strap, and dealing with overheating. If none of these things are a problem for you, great, but they are enough of an issue that many choose not to wear helmets. Also, given the statistically very low risk of head injury while cycling, plus the general ineffectiveness of helmets in all but very low speed falls, to me at least wearing a helmet is not a good trade off.

    I for one will be happy when the concept of bike helmets ends up in history’s dust bin of really awful ideas.

  • AstoriaBlowin

    Well with the weather we are having today I do happen to be wearing my conductive metal body suit. If you or millions of others find it annoying or burdensome to wear a helmet that’s totally fine. I don’t think they should be mandated, and doing so does a lot of harm to increasing the numbers of people cycling. But on an individual level, to each his/her own.

  • Joe R.

    To each his own is exactly what I want. My opinion is neither governments nor cycling advocacy groups should be advocating for or against helmet use. Nor should helmets be mandated, even for children. Let the individual decide.

  • Joe R.

    Besides that humans have an immune system to cope with germs. To me this article is just more sensationalist FUD.

  • I can only say again that the idea of a helmet blocking vision or hearing is utterly absurd. A helmet covers neither your eyes nor your ears.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/cedebd13d56b93a749f9141cbc6adfe0a745af734eadd76f9242a97d0c2d5dea.jpg

    And if the chin strap bothers you, then clearly you are wearing it too tight.

    The helmet is so unobtrusive that I can report a couple of occasions when I left home without it on, and had to go back for it!

    The only reason that people sometimes don’t wear helmets is that they don’t want to mess up their hair. And that is a profoundly stupid reason. In the world of reality, helmets cost absolutely nothing. While a helmet won’t stop you from getting killed if a truck crushes you, it will prevent serious head injury in many types of falls.

  • van_vlissingen

    That PBL map is getting really out of date for Qns.

  • reasonableexplanation

    You know, maybe not the best analogy regarding lightning, because we do take plenty of precautions against it, when you’re in a place without tall buildings, anyway.

    You go indoors or in a vehicle, parks and beaches close during thunderstorms in many places, etc. Given that you spend most of the time in the city, you might be insulated (heh) from that, but lighting is taken seriously, despite the small risk when the tallest thing around are trees.

  • If you ride your bike a lot, the likelihood of eventually falling off of it due to uneven pavement (as happened to me in July), gravel, ice, or some other reason approaches a certainty. And once you fall off, hitting your head on the street is a distinct possibility. You cannot compare this to getting hit by lightning, unless you spend every day in thunderstorms out in open fields.

  • djx

    “the burden of wearing a helmet is so small to me that I do it out of an abundance of caution. ”

    If this is true, I assume you wear one in a car, and when walking on near streets with cars. And especially heading down subway stairs. You already own it, there is no downside, right?

  • reasonableexplanation

    No no, don’t you remember, helmets project a spooky force field that alters peripheral vision to those constantly in an aerodynamic tuck among city traffic, and blocks wind in such a matter that you go mad missing the noise, and forget to hear cars and ambulances.

  • Joe R.

    Hitting your head is only a possibility if you don’t train yourself to fall properly. I used to fall a few times a year when I first started riding. It was mostly my own stupidity and/or brazenness which caused it. Either I didn’t see things like potholes, or I was going too fast to avoid them. Regardless, I had already learned to fall properly from my gym classes in school. Outstretch your arms as you’re going down, don’t fight the fall, relax. My chin always ended up on my arms, and my head never hit the ground. The physics of a bike fall means you always have time to do this.

    Of course, a better policy is to avoid falls altogether, which is what I eventually taught myself. As I said, most of my falls were my own fault. Now my motto is “when in doubt, don’t”.

  • Joe R.

    Try riding in an aerodynamic tuck with one and get back to me. The top of the helmet above your forehead definitely blocks forward vision (and alters the pitch of sounds). Besides that, typical bicycle helmets offer little protection at anything beyond a walking pace. A motorcycle helmet would be much more useful in the real world, but it would have even more downsides than a regular bike helmet.

  • reasonableexplanation

    That’s all well and good, but then you get suddenly doored by an Escalade. And instead of smashing your head on the door frame, you break your helmet on it instead.

  • reasonableexplanation

    See comment below; called it!

  • Joe R.

    If I get doored by a Escalade, it’s 100% on me for riding too close and not watching. I haven’t gotten doored in decades. It’s a relatively easy skill to master on a bike. Keep 5 or 6 feet away from parked vehicles in any area with high commercial activity. The rest of the time, keep aware of what’s going on. If a car parks, it’s highly likely the door will open, so swing wide when going by. Also check for interior lights. If they’re on, assume the door will open on that vehicle. And always be very careful when filtering forwards, particularly in commercial areas where people might exit cars which are in the travel lane. None of this will ensure 100% you’ll never get doored again, but it makes it highly unlikely. It also means if you do get doored, you’ll have already reduced your speed enough out of caution that maybe you’ll hit that door at a few mph, not 20 mph.

    BTW, I hit the door of a subcompact in the 1980s at 25+ mph. Knocked it right off the hinges. I was fine. The car owner was really pissed. I told him maybe it’s a good idea to check for traffic if you want to keep the doors on your car.

  • There is too much wrong stuff in this to even itemise.

  • Joe R.

    I think the larger point is more people die by lightning strikes, despite all the precautions you mentions, than by TBIs which might have been prevented by helmets. Each year in the US about 50 people die by lightning strike. Each year about 700 or 800 cyclists die, but over 90% are caused by motor vehicle collisions where we can pretty safely assume a helmet wouldn’t have changed the outcome. That leaves perhaps 60 or 70 cyclist only deaths, which puts a cap on the numbers a helmet may have saved. In reality, some fraction of these cyclists were already wearing helmets. And of those who weren’t, less than 100% would have been saved with a helmet. In the final analysis, despite all the grandstanding of pro-helmet advocates, best case helmets might save a few tens of lives per year if everyone wore one. That’s assuming of course nobody chose to stop riding over wearing a helmet. Undoubtably that would happen. End result is way more than some tens of people will die from lack of activity after they no longer cycle. Net effect then of universal helmet use is more deaths, not fewer.

    That’s why the best course is not advocate either for or against bike helmets. In the absence of helmet advocacy, the data suggests far fewer people will choose to wear helmets but many more people will choose to cycle. That’s a good thing. To me it’s always seemed helmet advocacy is a backdoor way to discourage cycling. Note that often the most vocal helmet advocates are drivers who never ride a bike. Getting cyclists off the roads by any means necessary is obviously in their self-interest.

  • Joe R.

    Funny but lots of people list the same issues I do. It can’t be that all these people are the victims of a collective illusion.

  • reasonableexplanation

    “Each year about 700 or 800 cyclists die, but over 90% are caused by motor vehicle collisions…That leaves perhaps 60 or 70 cyclist only deaths, which puts a cap on the numbers a helmet may have saved.”

    The last sentence does not follow.

    Without knowing the total number of falls/crashes/accidents, how many of those involved head injuries, and how many of those involved helmets, we have no useful data.

    If a helmeted cyclist falls tomorrow, hits their head but the helmet works, they’ll walk away and it won’t be reported.

    If a helmet-less cyclist cyclist falls tomorrow, hits their head and needs a few stitches, will it be reported?

    If a helmet-less cyclist cyclist falls tomorrow, hits their head and gets a concussion, will it be reported?

    If a helmet-less cyclist cyclist falls tomorrow, hits their head and dies, it will be reported. This last bit is the only data you’re looking at.

    We need a lot more data.

  • Joe R.

    Well if it’s wrong then head injury while cycling should be much more common. Here are the numbers of head injuries per million hours:

    Cyclist – 0.41
    Pedestrian – 0.80
    Motor vehicle occupant – 0.46
    Motorcyclist – 7.66

    So why aren’t you advocating walking helmets?

    Or better yet look at this:

    https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-AS5P0G3JNRY/WI8rUf4Z5AI/AAAAAAAALeM/oY06yx5DLOgfvtG9tADt8RtcXlRDqAajwCLcB/s640/whats%2Blikely%2Bto%2Bgive%2Ba%2Bhead%2Binjury003.png

    Wear a helmet if it makes you feel better but stop acting like it’s necessary for everyone to wear one. All you’re doing is scaring people from riding, just like the asshole who wrote the NYT article.

  • reasonableexplanation

    That second image is useless: does not adjust per capita (just look at the motorbike being safer than car…). your first set of numbers are better.

    Curiously: https://helmets.org/stats.htm
    “Helmets In EMS incidents where helmet usage was recorded, cyclists wore helmets in less than 50% of incidents. Men wore helmets in 43% of incidents, women 60%. This is substantially lower than the citywide helmet usage rate of 72%, which includes variation by neighborhood. The difference between helmet usage citywide versus in EMS incidents may imply that those who wear helmets are less likely to require EMS attention.”

  • reasonableexplanation

    Plenty of people also believe that they can ‘brace themselves’ before a crash, and don’t need to wear a seatbelt. These people are the victims of a collective illusion. Your people are no different.

  • Joe R.

    Here’s data for you:

    head injuries per million hours:

    Cyclist – 0.41
    Pedestrian – 0.80
    Motor vehicle occupant – 0.46
    Motorcyclist – 7.66

    Again, the risk of head injury while cycling is about the same as riding in a motor vehicle and one half that of walking.

    Without knowing the total number of falls/crashes/accidents, how many of those involved head injuries, and how many of those involved helmets, we have no useful data.

    Guess what? As a scientist/engineer I can tell you even if we had such data it would be virtually useless because the data still doesn’t tell you anything about the forces involved in the crash, or how the person fell. All we really have is data on deaths, and injuries which require medical treatment. The fact cyclists don’t have injuries requiring medical treatment beyond that of any other group tells me it’s not a particularly dangerous activity.

    Putting all that aside, let’s assume for a moment cycling is dangerous and it results in high rates of TBI. Fine, then before advocating a solution it’s incumbent to see if that solution is effective. The only scientifically valid way to do that is to repeat crashes exactly, with the same person, wearing a helmet and not wearing one. Do this for large numbers of people to get a statistical distribution. Only then can you draw valid conclusions. Unfortunately, this type of testing would be highly unethical as you would almost certainly kill or severely incapacitate the test subjects. All we have then in the absence of such testing is after the fact data about the severity of injuries and the presence or absence of a helmet. We’re often not even 100% sure of the latter given that helmets often come loose in severe crashes.

    Bottom line, when you advocate protection you have to satisfy two criteria. One, the protection must be effective. At best, the data on bike helmets is inconclusive there. Two, and more importantly, whatever you’re protecting against must occur with enough frequency to warrant protection. Here the test fails big time because head injury is no more frequent while cycling than it is for other common activities. In fact, that 0.41 per million hours number is here in the US with our poor bike infrastructure. With good infrastructure it would probably be 0.1 or 0.2, making cycling much safer than many other activities. Therefore, we shouldn’t be advocating for bike helmets (or against them, for that matter). Just let the individual decide.

  • Joe R.

    The forces involved in a car collision are beyond what you can brace yourself against. Anyone who has been in at least one car collision (I’ve been in three) already knows this. There’s plenty of data for those who are doubtful. Just watch Mythbusters. You see figures like 30g or 50g. Last I checked, a person can’t exert a few tons of force with their arms.

    The only collective illusion here is the idea that you NEED a bike helmet to be safe. The data suggests otherwise. That’s all I care about. If people coming up with reasons not to wear one bothers you, it’s only because they do so in the face of incessant bullying by the pro-helmet crowd who just can’t accept their decision to not wear a helmet as valid.

  • reasonableexplanation

    Again, without delving into the second part of your argument, please refrain from appealing to ‘everyone can’t be wrong’ when supporting your position. ‘Everyone’ is wrong a lot of the time.

    Whether you want to call it a collective illusion or whatever else, the mob can be wrong. You’re arguing for it yourself now, as you’re saying the vast majority of experts (who agree on the effectiveness of helmets) are wrong.

    Now whether you’re right or wrong about that is a separate issue, just please stop using the flawed argument that if most people believe a thing, it’s right!

  • Joe R.

    Note here “EMS attention” is often to treat cuts and bruises. Some of the pros who wear helmets actually say they know the helmets probably won’t prevent life-changing injuries but they do help prevent abrasions to the head when the head hits the ground or equipment. This lets them get back on the bike with less medical attention. Note that minor head abrasions are a common and unavoidable fact of life for pro cyclists riding fast in a peloton, so here you’re at least making a semi-reasonable case to wear a helmet. For regular solo street riding, these types of injuries are pretty rare. I don’t doubt helmets can prevent some injuries requiring medical attention but such injuries are pretty uncommon. Most cyclists can go their entire lives without such an incident. That said, you would still need to do a larger analysis on the data to see if it’s even statistically valid.

    Finally, saying helmets can be marginally useful in limited circumstances hardly implies they should be universally used. Cycling gloves are similarly useful. Knee/elbow pads are definitely more useful preventing common cycling injuries than helmets, yet nobody is suggesting you’re crazy to ride without them.

  • Joe R.

    Which studies would those be? Most of the early studies were highly flawed. This is worth a read:

    http://sciencenordic.com/bike-helmets-are-less-effective-we-think

    If we look only at the studies published after 2000 and take into account the apparent fact that academic journals are less likely to publish studies that point towards a limited effect of the helmets, the overall effect of the helmets disappears altogether, argues the researcher.

    Now whether you’re right or wrong about that is a separate issue, just please stop using the flawed argument that if most people believe a thing, it’s right!

    What about all those pro-helmet people who “believe” a helmet saved their life because it cracked? Aren’t they just as wrong here? I’ll believe them when they repeat their accident to the last detail without a helmet and come out dead. Until then, they should just stick to saying the helmet may have prevented far worse injury.

    My argument in general isn’t that if most people believe something then it’s right. No, I looked at lots of studies. I also looked at the general rates of head injury while cycling. Nothing I’ve read suggests that you’re crazy to ride without a helmet. Despite that, we’ve used the fact a fair number of people believe otherwise to goad and bully people into wearing them.

  • Joe R.

    That second image is useless: does not adjust per capita (just look at the motorbike being safer than car…).

    I wanted to address this part separately. If you’re looking solely at rates, then this data is obviously useless. However, from a societal perspective we often take action based on total numbers, not rates. For example, skydiving is a pretty dangerous activity going by rates. However, it isn’t something which largely concerns us because it’s an activity few people engage in.

    On the other hand, once an activity becomes very common, like car use, we’re likely to see very large numbers of deaths/injuries even with relatively low rates. This at least makes the problem worthy of closer examination to see if those rates can be reduced. In the case of cars, there aren’t any politically viable solutions. Stricter licensing is a non-starter. So are attempts to reduce the numbers using cars. Self-driving cars are really the only viable solution. They’re also ideal in that they don’t require people to change anything. They’ll just be a passenger instead of a driver.

    Cycling seems to be a third category. It’s fairly popular, but not popular enough to have thousands killed annually at current rates. Moreover, as more people cycle it seems the total number of deaths often remains the same (the oft-cited “safety in numbers”). So overall I’m not seeing cycling as worthy of attention to increase safety from an equipment perspective. We already know infrastructure and more people riding works great at increasing safety. That should be our focus moving forward. Helmets are just a distraction which prevents us from doing the important stuff.

  • JarekFA

    Not saying you should always have a helmet on you at all times. But if you’re going on a ride longer than a mile then it’s probably wise to try to wear one if you can. This is my friend during the Tour de Staten Island in 2015. She’s not a hard core every day bicyclist like me. But she had definitely ridden around NYC before so she wasn’t a complete novice. Her head did a pretty hard bounce on the pavement. She was able to finish the ride with just minor scrapes because of the helmet. I agree that most of the “helmet nazis” don’t really care about bicycle safety but until we have 8-80 infrastructure like the NL, it’s still in our best interest to wear them when we can. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e84a5b1d2d53902a56cb987e7176eea0c103900750fcbe3b0de4e469313b891d.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8b4b767068216d727ac19b396da2c248e027f60f676e33735bf33c5ce22e2ea9.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a969d819cdea5e99fd6586117f5b0e9de125a81c25449e16f17d524d5bde833b.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/279f66758da0b2284889e4988cb2a0e38ffa9ca0e15be2889f68e3e64deefadf.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/33a9c59a2c79628ef28fb929019049ac0aed762bce9f5cf9bf04d3d45c73852c.jpg

  • Joe R.

    Probably worth repeating what I wrote elsewhere:

    Helmets do what they’re designed to do, namely mitigate impacts. They’re much better at mitigating low-speed impacts than high-speed ones. Therefore, people who walked away from an incident with few or no head injuries who say “a helmet saved their lives” are most likely wrong. The helmet probably saved them from minor head abrasions. In cases where a helmet truly saved someone from death, they wouldn’t come out unscathed. Most likely being saved from death by a helmet would mean being a vegetable for life. The helmet did its job by mitigating the injury, but by design helmets can’t mitigate what would be a fatal injury into a minor one. Of course, you have everything in between these two extremes. A helmet may prevent a skull fracture, but you’ll probably still have a very severe concussion.

    Here I’d say worst case your friend would have gotten minor head abrasions without the helmet. Hard to tell by those pictures but it looks like her head may not even have hit the pavement without the helmet, given that the helmet made it larger and heavier. Anyway, it looks like her crash was caused by trying to cross from the grass to the pavement at a very oblique angle, which is something I would never do.

    In my case, I already tried a helmet. It was horrible. It deadened the cycling experience. The chin strap was beyond annoying even loosely adjusted. Since I have an aromatic hydrocarbon allergy I would have eventually broke out in a rash on my scalp and wherever the chin strap touched. And most importantly it caused me to overheat when the temperature was only around 38°F. I couldn’t imagine wearing the damned thing in summer. I’d pass out from heat stroke. It just made the cycling experience so awful if helmets were ever legally required I’d just never ride again as there would be absolutely no joy in it. All the discomfort and other issues were such a distraction I could barely focus on safely piloting the bike. It’s also something I could never get used to, as some people might say. I don’t get used to things I find highly uncomfortable. I could never get used to wearing a suit and tie, for example, despite people saying things to the contrary, and therefore never worked a job where I needed to wear one. Bad enough when I had to endure the discomfort for a wedding or funeral.

    I agree proper 8 to 80 infrastructure will hopefully make all this moot but remember you even have helmet Nazis in the Netherlands. Thankfully nobody listens to them there.

    In the meantime as I’ve already said I think it’s much more important to increase our advocacy base by getting more people riding, with or without helmets. In fact, a good case can even be made for riding without a helmet:

    http://www.howiechong.com/journal/2014/2/bike-helmets

    The idea is to show people cycling isn’t a dangerous activity, even here in the US.

  • Vooch

    true – the map is about 18 months old. but the takeaway is still valid, we do not have a network of PBLs

  • Vooch

    another horrifying rush hour scene