Morning Links: Study shows bike helmets work, every lane is a car lane, and possible knifepoint bike jacking

The good news is, we’ve figured out what caused the problem with email notifications for new posts. Now the problem is figuring out how to fix it. Hopefully we’ll have it working again soon.

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Yet another shot has been fired in the contentious helmet wars.

An Australian meta-analysis study finds that bike helmets reduce the risk of suffering a head injury by 50%, a serious head injury 69%, and the risk of a fatal head injury by 65%, without increasing the risk of neck injuries.

However, it seems like quite a stretch to suggest that other studies, which have not found helmets as effective, or that suggest they could cause neck or diffuse axonal brain injuries, are “crazy” junk science.

Or that there is some undefined “silent majority” that wants helmet laws, and only a “small and vocal minority group” oppose them.

And lets not forget that, effective or not, bike helmets should be considered a last resort when all else fails. It’s far better to avoid crashes than to count on your helmet to save you.

Meanwhile, Bike Radar looks at how to identify a concussion and what to do about it.

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CiclaValley posts a bike cam video proving, contrary to Metro’s message, that every lane is a car lane.

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I’ve received an unconfirmed report that a mountain biker had his bike stolen at knifepoint on the popular Fullerton Loop in the City of Fullerton on Monday evening, on the bridge where the train tracks and the trail cross under Harbor Boulevard.

Whether or not that turns out to be accurate, it’s a reminder to always be aware of your surroundings, and to take extra caution when riding through dark areas or when out of public view.

Thanks to Lois for the heads-up.

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Marvin Davis sends word of the upcoming 2016 Revolution Bike Fest at Orange County’s Irvine Lake November 4th through 6th.

The event is being held at Irvine Lake in the OC. There are several excellent rail accessible bicycle routes that lead to the bike fest. The Serrano Creek trail provides a dirt path through Lake Forest to MTB trails in Whiting Ranch, the Aliso trail provides both paved and dirt trails and there is also a mostly dirt route from San Juan Capistrano. The AMTRAK/MetroLink stations in both Irvine and San Juan Capistrano and also the MetroLink station in Laguna Niguel provide pretty good access to these routes. AMTRAK Pacific Surfliner requires advance reservation (impossible to get on weekends) for bicycles and allows only 6 bikes per train. No reservation required for MetroLink and no specified limit to number of bikes. Or for the more vigorous, just roll from home.

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Local

LADOT released their 2015-16 annual report, including discussions of bikeshare and Vision Zero; the report cites 1,190 miles of bikeways on the city’s 7,500 miles of streets. However, that includes nearly 300 miles of sharrows and bike routes that are of little benefit. And those totals reflect lane miles, which count each direction separately, rather than both directions on a single street as one mile.

LA councilmembers blame distracted drivers — and pedestrians — for traffic fatalities in a debate over whether to accept a half-million dollar grant to promote Vision Zero. CD1 CM Gil Cedillo points the finger at pedestrians wearing headphones and texting in crosswalks, even though those weren’t factors in any of the recent deaths in his district.

A nutritionist writing for the Daily News recommends commuting by bicycling, walking or taking transit, or at least getting out to ride or walk if you have to drive to work.

Kurt Russell used to be one of us; he tells GQ he went into acting as a child star so he could buy bicycles for his sister and himself.

 

State

Sad news from Forestville, as a cyclist was killed after he allegedly clipped a tractor-trailer while splitting lanes and weaving through traffic. He was the second bike rider killed in the Bay Area in 14 hours; another man was killed while riding in Fairfield Tuesday night.

The Department of DIY strikes again in San Francisco, as a group called SFMTrA is marking their own protected bike lanes with orange cones.

A writer for the Sacramento Bee calls a route out of Foresthill one of the best cycling rides in the country, and the best you’ve never done.

 

National

The long legal battle over New York’s Prospect Park West bike lanes is finally over, as wealthy opponents finally drop their legal battle after five needlessly long years.

Both people were seriously injured when New Jersey bicyclist crashed into a 16-year old boy as he was crossing the road. One more reminder to always ride carefully around pedestrians, who can be every bit as unpredictable as motorists accuse cyclists of being.

A Pittsburg area cyclist is back on his bike, despite being prohibited from riding as he awaits trial on eight criminal charges for riding in the middle of the traffic lane and harassing drivers who try to pass.

Moving piece from a woman in North Carolina, who finished the bike tour her partner had registered for before passing away unexpectedly, and credits training for the ride with saving her life.

A 28-year old Florida woman broke the 78-year old women’s mile record in just four months, averaging over 200 miles a day; a former U-23 racer, she got back on her bike after overcoming both a hole in her heart and a collision that left her with a broken back and a brain injury.

 

International

London cyclists get the blame for putting deer at risk by discarding their empty gel packs while racing in the city’s Richmond Park.

A British bike advocate calls for stronger laws against scofflaw cyclists after she was knocked out in a collision with a sidewalk rider. Seriously, pedestrians should always be given the right-of way on any sidewalk, where it may or may not be legal to ride. And you’re usually safer on the street, anyway.

Sweden slashes taxes on repairs of bicycles and other products in an attempt to encourage re-use and bring an end to today’s throw-away society.

A writer for an Aussie paper gets it, saying driving is a privilege and not a right, and that many older drivers are a danger to themselves and others, and shouldn’t be behind the wheel.

 

Finally…

When you’re carrying heroin in your wallet and have outstanding warrants for drug possession, don’t ride salmon. We may have to deal with LA drivers, but at least we don’t have to worry about pythons on the side of the road.

And don’t be like this Austin TX councilmember’s alter ego and use bike lanes to get to work.

No, really.

Richard Mason notes that the councilman is a member of the local Tea Party, and once lectured a group of Hispanic Boy Scouts visiting the council about getting jobs and not relying on government handouts.

 

3 comments

  1. Jay Williams says:

    The helmet study is interesting. I wear one every day and I know that you (Ted Rogers) do too but it’s hard to get past our own anecdotal experience with them. I still am not totally convinced that they are that effective even though they have helped me directly in very specific instances.

    Only twice over the last decade have I actually needed one and they definitely helped when my head hit the curb, splitting my helmet in half.

    Yet I fully agree with your opinion that helmets are merely a distraction from the real safety issues.

  2. I’d be curious about a study as to how effective helmets would be if pedestrians and drivers/passengers had to wear them as well. Seems as though there are far more of those injuries and deaths, so it seems sensible for them to wear helmets as well.

    I wear a helmet for workout rides, but seldom for the short ride to work, the bar, or the store here in Venice (trips are generally about 2-4 miles),

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