Tag Archive for mandatory helmet laws

Morning Links: Annual Holiday Fund Drive under way, Brits go bike helmet mad, and Mike Bonin recall debate

This is day four of the 3rd Annual BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive. Your support helps keep SoCal’s best source for bike news and advocacy coming your way every day.

You can donate with just a few clicks by using PayPal. Or by using the Zelle app that is probably already in the banking app on your smartphone; send your contribution to ted @ bikinginla dot com (remove the spaces and format as a standard email address).

Any donation, in any amount, is truly and deeply appreciated.

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Today’s common theme is uproar that arose when the Times of London apparently decided to create a controversy, by asking Britain’s transportation minister if the government would consider requiring all bike riders to wear helmets.

Then bizarrely took his non-answer as confirmation that a helmet law was in the offing, when he said nothing of the sort.

Unfortunately, the original story is hidden behind a paywall. Although they did at least change the headline to say the policy was under review.

But even that isn’t true.

It’s a sad decline on the subject for the paper that led the campaign to improve safety for bicyclists just five years earlier.

And it didn’t take long for the rest of the Fleet Street newspapers to jump into the fray.

The Telegraph said bike safety advocates — or campaigners in Brit parlance — warn against mandating helmets, while hiding a column behind a paywall that said helmets and hi-viz would shackle the freedom of bicycling.

The Guardian cites safety campaigners as saying there was no justification in making helmets compulsory, while columnist Peter Walker writes that you don’t make bicycling safe by forcing everyone to dress like urban warriors.

Britain’s Chris Boardman says a mandatory helmet law won’t make bicycling any safer.

A columnist for the Daily Mail says requiring everyone to wear a helmet will put more lives at risk by discouraging people from riding.

Meanwhile, official stats show that bicycling is about to surpass driving in London. But forcing everyone to wear a helmet could drive them back into their cars.

And an Aussie columnist jumps in, saying nanny state or not, bike helmets save us all. Even though the decline in head injuries after Australia instituted mandatory helmet laws can largely be attributed to a decline in ridership.

Which is not to say you shouldn’t wear a helmet. I never ride without mine.

But it should always be your choice.

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Local

This week’s Bike Talk features longtime advocate Don Ward debating Mike Bonin recall leader Alexis Edelstein.

Membership in UCLA’s bikeshare program exceeded projections for the first year in just the first two months.

Mark your calendar for LA’s most challenging hill climb race, Feel My Legs, I’m a Racer, on December 17th.

South Pasadena asks Metro for funding for bike lanes after parents say it’s too scary to ride a bike with their kids in the city.

Long Beach restaurant owners are already worried about losing business due to the start of the Amgen Tour of California returning to the city for the first time in 11 years.

 

State

A San Diego bike rider suffered a broken shoulder in a crash with another rider on a steep hill; no word on how the crash occurred.

Cyclists call on Moorpark to encourage more bike-friendly businesses, which are currently lacking in the city.

Palo Alto is set to approve construction of a $16 million bike bridge, settling for a simple design after a previous attempt at an iconic crossing turned out to be too expensive.

 

National

Earlier this year, we mentioned the woman who was riding over 4,000 miles across the US to photograph people she met along the way; the Daily Beast shares some of her best photos.

It takes some serious chutzpa — or maybe just stupidity — to steal a police bike from a Cheyenne WY squad car.

I want to be like him when I grow up. A Wisconsin man rides 80 miles to celebrate his 80th birthday.

A New Hampshire town tears up a multi-use path and tells bicyclists to ride in the street after 91-year old woman was killed in a crash with a bike rider last month.

A Pittsburgh bike rider plans to once again tackle the city’s steepest hills on a 37-pound bikeshare bike after failing to finish the 12-hill competition last year.

Conservative Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch is one of us, riding 17-miles along a DC canal every morning.

In a truly sickening case, a Louisiana man faces multiple charges for the hit-and-run death of a bike rider; he had to pull the victim’s body out of his windshield before dumping him on the side of the road and driving away.

 

International

A woman writes about riding a bicycle to overcome an eating disorder. And yes, it is possible to live too cleanly.

Caught on video: A Vancouver driver confronts an “aggressive” bike rider who swerves around a pedestrian in a crosswalk. Yes, the rider was a jerk; he should have stopped to wait for the woman to cross the street. But I’m just as concerned about the vigilante driver who felt a need to confront the cyclist himself, then followed the rider for several blocks.

Speaking of Vancouver, the city set an ambitious goal of making 50% of all trips by bike, walking or transit by 2020 — and met it five years early. Thanks to Ralph Durham for the heads-up.

Toronto bicyclists push to make drivers at least partially responsible for dooring bike riders, and teach the Dutch Reach on driver’s exams. Meanwhile, a Toronto columnist says it’s time to realize that the killing and maiming on our streets isn’t normal, and the law needs to change when driving in your sleep isn’t considered dangerous.

Caught on video: A rugby coach chases down a London thief riding off with a stolen bike slung over his shoulder.

The war on bikes continues, as a road raging English driver deliberately knocked a man off his bike. And will apparently get away with it unless more witnesses come forward.

Britain considers a national code of conduct for dockless bikeshares. Which wouldn’t be a bad idea here, at least on a statewide level.

The UK’s bike-riding Labour Party leader says bike safety is a social justice issue.

Over 1,100 people from 57 countries took part in Qatar’s largest cycling event.

A New Zealand man plans to finish the last 23 miles of a 108-mile bike trip home from boarding school that he abandoned 50 years ago as a teenager.

A Malaysian paper talks with the Swedish ambassador to provide a primer on Vision Zero.

Where Chinese bikeshare bikes go to die.

Now that’s a fat bike ride. British track cycling legend Sir Chris Hoy will attempt to ride his bicycle 400 miles across Antarctica in record time.

 

Competitive Cycling

A British woman gave up her career as a veterinarian to train for the country’s cycling team.

 

Finally…

No, delivering food by bike does not mean you get to ignore traffic laws. Seriously, don’t run red lights — and if you do, don’t do it in front of a cop.

And now you can own your very own cycling team bus.

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Thanks to David R, Calla W, Gil S, Terrence H, Theodore F, Penny S and Felicia G for getting the BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive off to a roaring start.

 

Morning Links: Biking the Oscars, challenging helmet stats and a big jump in Santa Monica bike commuting

Even the threat of rain couldn’t keep a handful of Angelenos from biking to the Oscars on Sunday.

Actor Ed Begley, Jr. lived up to his promise to bike into the Academy Awards over the Cahuenga pass, donning rain gear on the ride before switching to his tux for the ceremony.

Laemmle Theater president and LACBC board member Greg Laemmle also rode in, wearing his tux on his folding bike despite the threatening weather.

And even the LAPD biked the Oscars as part of the massive security presence protecting the event.

LAPD bike cops at the Oscars

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Somehow I missed this one earlier this month.

The Examined Spoke examined that highly flawed stat behind SB 192, Glendale state Senator Carol Liu’s proposal to require bike helmets for all riders, as well as reflective hi-viz after dark.

Liu cites a statistic from the National Conference of State Legislatures that says 91% of bicyclists killed in 2009 weren’t wearing helmets. Never mind that it fails to addresse how many bike riders actually suffered head injuries, or whether their injuries would have been survivable with one.

ES looks at it another way, revealing that the 91% figure may questionable, since it appears the authors may have combined the figures for victims who weren’t wearing a helmet with those where it’s unknown whether or not a helmet was used.

As he points out, that’s a big no-no, statistically speaking.

And it’s definitely not true in California.

Separating out the unknowns from the cases where it’s known if the victim was wearing a helmet, the figure drops to just 63% of bike riders killed in California in 2009 were without helmets.

And it drops even further in recent years, as just 53% — barely over half — of cyclists killed in the state in 2012 weren’t wearing one.

Hardly the overwhelming statistic that would justify forcing every rider to wear a helmet under every circumstance.

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Local

Built it and they will come. Afternoon rush hour biking in Santa Monica is up 67% between 2011 and 2013, while overall bike commuting rose from 2.3% to 3.7% from 2010 to 2013. That corresponds with the city’s efforts to improve conditions for cyclists, with 45 miles of new bike lanes and sharrows since 2011.

Writing for HuPo, Joel Epstein reports on a panel discussion questioning whether LA has embarked on a bicycling revolution that will bring about post-car dominated city embracing transit, biking and walking. We can only hope.

Bicyclists get new bike racks in Echo Park. Which should come in handy since bikes are forbidden from the pathways around it.

Two UCLA alums will ride from San Francisco to New York to promote science education, especially for girls.

Don’t miss tonight’s Town Hall Meeting of the Westwood Village Improvement Association to discuss the Remove Nothing Plan for much-needed bike lanes on Westwood Blvd.

CICLE’s Tweed, Moxie and Mustaches Ride rolls on Sunday.

 

State

The editor of the Stockton paper says yes, helmets are important, but mandating them is the wrong answer. The Woodland newspaper disagrees, though they could do without the tasteless and highly offensive cartoon that accompanies the editorial — which also appeared down here in the Daily Breeze, though they don’t seem to have posted it online.

The Times looks at the route for this year’s Tour of California.

A San Diego woman suffers major head injuries despite wearing a helmet after touching wheels with her husband’s bike.

Signs warning drivers about the state’s new three-foot passing law go up outside of Napa.

 

National

Salon looks at why it’s so hard to punish killer drivers.

A Seattle rider travels all of the city’s protected bike lanes in a single day. That would be a lot easier here in LA.

A Wyoming paper calls for a statewide bike path, calling it a visionary proposal. Depending on the route, it could pas through some breathtaking scenery and be a huge draw for bike tourism, as well as long-distance recreational riding.

When life gives you snow, build a 40-foot long bike tunnel to get through it like they did in Boston. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the link.

 

International

A Dutch bike team has to go home after thieves steal all their bikes and equipment from the team truck.

Rising American rider Teejay van Garderen misses a chance to win the Tour of Oman after the fifth stage was cancelled due to sandstorms and extreme temperatures.

Another attempt to ride around the world has ended in tragedy in Thailand, as a Chilean cyclist attempting to set a record by riding 155,350 miles across five continents in five years is killed in a collision, less than two years after a British couple on a similar quest lost their lives in the country. Tragically, the wreck happened right in front of the victim’s wife, who was riding separately with their two-year old son.

 

Finally…

San Francisco police recover a stolen bike, but release the suspect because the bike hadn’t been reported stolen yet, except it had. Let’s get one thing straight: It’s not a bicycle if it has more than two wheels, electric or not. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

And Bicycling says if you want to lose weight and improve your performance, put butter in your coffee. No, seriously.

You first.

 

Morning Links: The Tour of California comes back to LA; Calbike petition opposes mandatory bike helmet law

The Amgen Tour of California announces the stages for this year’s race.

The courses include another ride up Mt. Baldy, along with a final stage from LA Live through NELA to the Rose Bowl. Maybe they can make the argument for bike lanes on North Figueroa while they’re passing through.

But former Tour of California winner Chris Horner’s team is snubbed this year.

Meanwhile, a North Carolina writer calls for an American Tour de France-style stage race, evidently never having heard of the Tour of California or Colorado’s USA Pro Challenge.

Then again, wouldn’t it be great if they combined the two into a single two week race running from the Rockies to the coast?

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HuffPo offers a pretty balanced look at SB 192, which would require all bike riders, including adults, to wear helmets and reflective hi-viz. Bakersfield cyclists are split on the issue.

Calbike has an online petition to oppose it. And yes, I’ve signed it.

Then again, more riders might voluntarily wear helmets if it would improve their Strava times.

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Local

A good job for a great organization. CICLE is looking for a Web Developer/SEO Engineer. And yes, I know CICLE is an acronym, but I got tired of typing all those periods all the time.

An LA cyclist lists the top 20 questions he gets asked as a bike commuter. I’ve gotten every one of those myself in one form or another.

LADOT wants your input on redesigning their website, which will include a new version of the agency’s bike blog.

KCET looks at the LA River bike path, and how it could be affected by plans to expand the I-710 Corridor.

The Hispanic-owned EGP newspaper chain becomes the latest to endorse Jose Huizar for re-election in CD14.

 

State

Red Kite Prayer’s Padraig makes a call for brighter colored bikewear to keep from getting run over.

A Santa Ana bike rider suffers non-life-threatening injuries when he’s hit by a car.

San Luis Obispo residents rise up against a utility box adorned with a brightly colored painting of a bike rider; I’m not sure if it’s the bright colors or the bike they find most offensive.

Turlock cyclists want safe, connected routes; then again, don’t we all?

More tragedy from the Bay Area, as a 14-year old bike rider is killed in Concord. As usual, the teenage victim gets the blame. Thanks to Anthony Ryan for the heads-up.

A hearing is set for next week for the San Francisco 49ers player charged with hit-and-run after striking a cyclist with his car, as well as possessing brass knuckles; he was driving on a suspended license at the time.

Two thousand Berkley bike riders have been hit by cars in the last 14 years, not counting the collisions that haven’t been reported.

 

National

Bike lawyer Bob Mionske moves back to VeloNews after writing for Bicycling magazine for the past several years.

Bike riders fear for their safety on Vegas roads.

People for Bikes says the lesson from Denver’s crowdfunded bikeway isn’t about raising money, it’s about raising a movement.

Even Wyoming is considering how to build a network of protected bikeways.

Montana considers scrapping the requirement for cyclists to ride to the right, replacing it with a standard allowing them to ride where they feel safest. The bill would also allow drivers to cross the center line to pass a bike when safe to do so, something our misguided governor vetoed a few years back.

Auto-centric Houston will get its first new bike master plan in 20 years.

One of the architects of New York’s Citibike bike share program says splitting a bike share network up into separate nodes — like how LA is planning to roll out its plan — is a recipe for failure.

 

International

The British Columbia woman charged with booby trapping a popular mountain bike trail now faces trial on a single count, after two other charges were dropped.

The Department of DIY is hard at work in Canada, where Halifax bicyclists designed their own network of protected bike lanes.

London advocates say cyclists are an afterthought when it comes to road safety standards.

A London cyclist suffers a broken pelvis when he’s shoved off his bike by another rider. Seriously, the last thing we need is road raging bike riding jerks; violently pissed off drivers are bad enough.

A UK van driver tells bike riders to stay awesome.

An Irish model is a bundle of nerves when she rides through Dublin; she may have reason for concern.

An Amsterdam designer builds a wood and aluminum bike using 3D printing, but that’s not nearly as cool as building a Louisville Slugger bike.

An Aussie writer questions whether parking adjacent bike lanes are havens or door zones of death.

Bangkok builds a new bike path under an expressway.

 

Finally…

Okay, so it’s not bike related. But Curbed has created a pretty good bingo card for when the New York Times — or pretty much any out of town newspaper — writes about LA. Win an Oscar, and get a statue of a little naked guy; lose, and you’ll get a new bike from Martone Cycling so you can #biketheOscars next year.

And a Brit cow evidently decides if it can’t ride a bike, it might as well wear one.

 

Morning Links: Glendale legislator wants to mandate helmets and hi-viz; help Finish the Ride fight hit-and-run

Forget riding in regular clothes. Or going out for a quick ride without your helmet.

Or even building a successful bike share program.

All those are likely to be tossed out the window if Glendale State Senator Carol Liu has her way.

Not that she’s anti-bike. In fact, I’m told that she’s a regular supporter of bike initiatives.

But on Wednesday, Liu surprised everyone by introducing a proposed law that would require all bike riders, even those over 18, to wear a bike helmet every time they ride. Along with reflectorized hi-visibility clothing anytime they — that is, you — ride after dark.

And by surprised, I mean blindsided. Even people who regularly work with the senator on bike issues had no idea this bill was in the works.

The reaction was almost instantaneous. And universally negative.

Cyclelicious calls it the “Remove Cyclists From California Roads Law of 2015″ or, alternatively, the “Harass Minorities On Bikes Law of 2015,” both of which have been the result of misguided attempts to impose and enforce helmet laws elsewhere.

Longbeachize cites stats and studies to support the argument that the choice to wear a helmet should remain just that.

And Streetsblog points out it doesn’t address the actual dangers on our streets, like distracted driving and speeding.

Let’s ignore the fact that while requiring bike helmets has been shown to reduce the level of head injuries in other countries, it’s done so by reducing the level of bike riding. Fewer cyclists on the road mean fewer riders getting hurt.

And that helmet laws for riders under 18 in this country have been blamed in part for the dramatic drop-off in bike ridership by America’s youth.

Never mind that Australia’s restrictive helmet law has been blamed for the failure of bike share programs in that country, since no one can legally rent one without donning a helmet.

The simple fact is, bike helmets are not the magic safety devices many people wish they were.

Bike helmets are only designed to provide protection in impacts up to 12.5 mph. In other words, a relatively slow fall off your bike, not a collision with a speeding car.

Yes, they can offer some degree of protection in a wreck. But thinking of them as the bicycle equivalent of a seat belt or air bag is dramatically off base.

And while they can help prevent head trauma, they aren’t designed to prevent concussions. Or to protect against injury to any other part of the body.

Which is something Senator Liu should understand, since her own nephew was wearing a helmet when he was killed, and his girlfriend paralyzed, in a collision with a drunk driver in 2004.

Yes, I always wear a helmet when I ride. But I never count on it to save my life.

A bike helmet should always be seen as a last line of defense if all else fails, not the first. It’s far better to avoid collisions and falls in the first place.

And like the requirement to wear hi-viz after dark, it puts the responsibility for safety on cyclists, rather than on government officials, road planners and yes, drivers to ensure our roads are safe.

Just like those ridiculous flags pedestrians are expected to wave as they cross the street. And in a marked crosswalk, no less.

It leaves it up to us not to get hit, rather than up to drivers not to hit us.

A far better alternative would be to encourage, rather than attempt to force, helmet use allowing bike riders to discount the cost of a helmet on their taxes. And encouraging federal officials to raise the safety standards for bike helmets to do more good in real world situations.

Along with taking steps to educate both cyclists and drivers, and improve out streets to prevent collisions in the first place.

Let’s hope this wannabe law dies a quick and quiet death in the legislature. Before it ends up killing the bike boom we’re currently experiencing.

Thanks to Bill Davidson for the heads-up.

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Davidson also points out that other ridiculous proposed bike law, which would have required bikes to have a blinking white tail light after dark has been amended to require a blinking red light instead.

Probably because as originally written, it would have gone against traffic safety regulations for virtually every country around the world, which require white lights in the front and red lights on the rear of virtually every vehicle.

On the other hand, many cyclists are currently breaking the law by using a red tail light, rather than the red reflector our outdated laws currently require.

Bike riders should have the option to use a red light, blinking or steady, in place of a reflector. And to use lights, ankle straps or other means of signaling their presence in place of the wheel and pedal reflectors currently required.

The point should be to maximize visibility and safety.

Not adhere to obsolete regulations that do neither.

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Damian Kevitt’s Finish the Ride foundation is preparing to post their first billboards to fight the epidemic of hit-and-run.

But they need your help to raise the funds needed to put them up.

He’s also looking for input on which of the two alternative concepts you prefer. If you have any suggestions, leave them in the comments below and I’ll make sure he sees them.

H&R Billboard 1

H&R Billboard 2

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Must read piece by Stephen Corwin on LA’s disastrous addiction to cars, which he compares to cancer. And says driving less won’t fix it.

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Good advice from CABO on how to fight a bad bike traffic ticket.

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A webinar will be held on Friday, February 27th to discuss how stress level analysis can result in more effective bike network planning.

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Local

Flying Pigeon says South Pasadena officials deserve to be sued for blocking LA bike lanes from connecting with their equivalent on the other side of a dangerous bridge.

The LA County Sheriff’s Department recommends registering your bike to keep it from being a target for thieves.

CICLE is looking for Web Developer/SEO Engineer.

Santa Monica’s upcoming bike share program is officially named Breeze. Which will inevitably lead to comments like “Breeze blows” the any time a problem develops.

The monthly Spoke(n) Art Ride rolls this Saturday.

The authors of Where to Bike Los Angeles will host a ride with the LACBC this Sunday to the Pointe Vincente Lighthouse.

Malibu is hosting a public meeting on Thursday to discuss the PCH Public Safety Study. If you ride the notoriously dangerous highway, make plans to be there.

 

State

A Laguna Beach writer says the city has done a lot in response to recent bicycling fatalities, but there’s more to be done. However, sharing a bike lane with pedestrians is never a good idea.

A Riverside cyclist is severely injured in yet another hit-and-run.

Safety is the top priority for this weekend’s Tour de Palm Springs after Lavonne Koester was killed during last year’s ride.

Bike advocates say San Francisco isn’t doing enough to fulfill its commitment to Vision Zero. On the other hand, they’re doing more than LA is.

Bike racks sprout in downtown Merced.

 

National

CityLab takes an in-depth look at road rage, and says the solution may lie in better street design and road planning. Meanwhile a Seattle writer says middle fingers won’t solve anything.

An Arizona hit-and-run driver admits to smoking dope on a daily basis, but blames his eight-year old victim anyway.

My hometown newspaper concludes their devastating look at a local hit-and-run by asking if justice was done. Also a must read.

A Pennsylvania man rides his bike every day. And has for 32 years.

Now that’s more like it. A severely drunk Louisiana driver faces up to 30 year in prison for killing one cyclist and severely injuring another; the driver’s BAC was nearly four times the legal limit.

 

International

Today is International Winter Bike to Work Day. Which should be very easy to do here in LA.

Just in time for Valentines Day, Vancouver gets heart-shaped bike racks. Then again, so does London.

After a Canadian bike rider is seriously injured in a collision, he gets a $6,000 bill from the driver’s insurance company for damage to the SUV that laid him up for three months.

Twitter helps a London cyclist get his bike back four months after it was stolen and taken to Spain, while another Brit can’t seem to get rid of one.

Plans for that London bike superhighway hits a snag when British officials decide they don’t want bike lanes besmirching Buckingham Palace. But all those traffic lanes in front of the palace are perfectly okay.

Evidently, it’s a universal problem. After Egypt installs bike lanes, they turn into parking lots.

An Aussie website compares underground bike racing to the Fast & Furious, and uses LA’s bike scene as the prime example.

 

Finally…

You’re not a MAMIL, you’re a grown man on bike. A Montana lawmaker’s proposed legislation would ban yoga pants, among other “provocative” garments, in response to Missoula’s equivalent of the World Naked Bike Ride is appropriately laughed out of committee.

And when you buy this $52,000 bike basket they’ll throw in the bike for free.

 

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