Your chance to write for Biking in LA; more on the great helmet debate

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If you’ve ever had something you’ve wanted to say about bicycling in Los Angeles — or anywhere else, for that matter — this is your chance.

My wife and I will be moving in about a week. Actually, we’re only going a couple of blocks, trading our million dollar view for the opportunity to finally have that dog she’s always wanted. Which means I’ll be spending most of the next few weeks packing and unpacking, rather than writing about biking. Or anything else, for that matter.

So this is where you come in.

...for something like this.

If you’d like to write something for this blog, feel free. Just keep it on topic — that is, about bicycling in general, or more specifically as it applies to the greater Los Angeles area.

Maybe you have a complaint you want to get off your chest, or suggestions for how riding can be made safer. You could write about your own experiences, or tell a story you heard from a friend. Or share with L.A. riders what it’s like in your far flung corner of the world.

Maybe you have your own blog, and want to reach a wider — or just different — audience. I’ll even open it up to those PR people who email me from time to time to pitch their products or events if they have something interesting to share.

Just email me at bikinginla at hotmail dot com, and share your thoughts with the world. Or at least, that two-wheeled segment of it that stops by here every day.

And in the meantime, I’ll do my best to keep up with the latest happenings, and keep you informed until things get back to normal.

Whatever that is.


The great helmet debate just doesn’t seem to be going away.

Ross Del Duca, whose Just Another Cyclist blog is another stop on my daily reading list, thinks it’s time we had some real, verifiable data as part of the discussion. But while he’s ambivalent on using one, he comes down decidedly against making helmet use mandatory.

Statistics show that up to 98% of cyclists killed in traffic collisions weren’t wearing helmets. And it’s true that a plurality of cycling deaths result from head injuries, though estimates range from 40% to over 62%.

But the question remains whether those head injuries would have been survivable even if they had been wearing helmets.

What too many people fail to consider is that bike helmets are only designed to provide full protection up to 12.5 mph, and partial protection up to 20 mph. In impacts well above that — which aren’t unusual in car collisions — the rider may as well be wearing a tissue on his or her head.

Or using a magic talisman to ward off injury, as Bob Mionske noted.

And even the most effective helmet won’t do a damn thing to protect against injuries to any other part of your body.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a firm believer in wearing a helmet every time I ride. But only once in 30 years of riding, and four riding accidents serious enough to require medical care, was one necessary. In that case, it probably saved my life.

But that’s just once in somewhere north of 5,000 rides and 200,000 miles, give or take.

The simple fact is, a helmet is far from the magic safety device some people seem to think. Even if a mandatory helmet law resulted in 100% compliance — which is far from likely — it’s a hell of a lot better to avoid collisions than trust in a helmet to save your life.

We’d save more lives by teaching riders safe cycling skills, enforcing existing traffic laws and demanding that motorists drive safely and pay attention to the road, than we could possibly save by requiring everyone to wear a helmet.


Unbelievably, a judge upholds the blatantly illegal Blackhawk CO bike ban. Or perhaps, all too believable, considering it was a local municipal judge; real justice will only be found on the state level, assuming the case is appealed.


LACBC calls on cyclists to support the Wilshire Bus Rapid Transit lane at the December 9th Metro Board meeting. As they note, bikes would be allowed to share the lane with buses, and the road would be repaved — finally fixing the deadly pothole-riddled section local riders call The Gauntlet and making Wilshire a viable biking route during rush hour.


The next CicLAvia will take place on Sunday, April 10th. Writing for KPCC, Todd Munson offers a biking gift guide that doesn’t suck. Redondo cyclists will soon get wider bike lanes to put cyclists outside the door zone. Courtesy of my friends at Altadenablog comes word the annual Tour of Altadena bike ride will take place on Saturday the 4th, beginning at 9 am.

A change in the newly elected city council puts a planned Santa Rosa bike bridge in peril. Fresno commits to becoming bike-friendlier; evidently, they’re doing a damn good job of it. A Sacramento driver is arrested for hit-and-run after slightly injuring a cyclist, and found with narcotics hidden in her clothing — and her infant son in the car; link courtesy of Witch on a Bicycle. After a cyclist is killed, a Los Altos resident suggests a new state law banning parking or stopping in a bike lane within 250 feet of a school during rush hours; I have a better idea — how about just banning parking or stopping in a bike lane, period?

A Utah professor finally comes home two years after being paralyzed in a biking accident. City Fix examines the backlash against New York bike lanes. A commentator on Versus says it’s time to stop killing cyclists. Data shows cyclists ride faster on Wednesdays; can’t say I did that, though. Nova Scotia passes a 1 metre — 3.28 feet — passing law.

London’s bike share program faces its toughest test as it opens to tourists and casual users. Bike Revolution discusses the importance of registering your bike so you can prove it’s your if it is stolen; they offer a free, global registration service. The UK’s Merseyside region meets their goal of a 10% increase in cycling a year ahead of schedule. Ten months for killing a postie on his way to work. Yet another former world champion receives a two year ban for doping, this time after Igor Astarloa had already retired. Aussie authorities look for the idiot who strung electrical wire at waist level across a popular bikeway.

Finally, advice to cyclists — don’t get drunk before riding your bike to the police station. Seriously. And in a textbook example of a complete and total jerk, before fleeing the scene, a West Memphis motorist stops just long enough to tell the seven-year old child he hit not to call the police because he — the driver — doesn’t have insurance.


  1. Funny how a dog makes the family complete. With me first came the wife, then child, then a string of pets – fish, bird, hamster, cat, and finally dog to finish things off. Good luck with the move.

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