Bike helmets don’t protect against cars, self-driving radar finally sees cyclists, and anti-racism in outdoor industry

An executive for Giro confesses what we’ve been saying for years — bike helmets were never intended to protect against crashes with cars.

“There are many misconceptions about helmets, unfortunately,” says Giro’s Richter. “We do not design helmets specifically to reduce chances or severity of injury when impacts involve a car. As mentioned earlier, the number of variables is too great to calculate – the speed of the car, the mass, the angle of impact, the rider, the surface, the speed of the rider, did the driver or rider swerve a little or hit the brakes before impact. All of these variables and more are unique in every instance, and there is no way to accurately predict what is going to happen or the forces involved.

“What we do is work to make riders more visible, create helmets that provide relevant coverage so that riders wear them whenever they ride, and advocate for better infrastructure to help reduce the chances that you’d encounter an impact with a car.”

In other words, ride defensively and fight for safer streets.

And wear a helmet to protect against falls.

But don’t count on it to protect against distracted or careless drivers, because that’s not what it’s designed for.

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The big problem with self-driving cars has been their inability to recognize bike riders and respond correctly.

Now a new doppler radar system developed by Princeton University claims to be able to spot bicyclists, even around corners.

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Today’s must read comes from pro cyclist Ayesha McGowan, who looks at how we can build an anti-racist outdoor industry. And says the work must continue long after the protests stop.

Before a few weeks ago, it didn’t seem like the outdoor industry was very concerned with Black lives, but now that the calls for action are extending beyond BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, people of color) consumers, there’s a sudden interest. I will admit I still can’t believe that we’ve made it to a place where it’s frowned upon to be anything other than loud and emphatic about what your company is going to do to help protect Black lives. But here we are. This is a moment for action. White tears, white guilt, and empty words are a waste of everyone’s time and energy. The blinders are finally off, so what are you going to do now? What does action look like?…

Don’t just focus on Black grief and Black death. Include Black joy. We are more than our struggle, we aren’t just fighting to stop being murdered, we are fighting for the right and the ability to live full lives. We want to ride bikes, climb mountains, traverse slot canyons, and surf waves. Black folks deserve to enjoy the outdoors in every way. We all have to work together in order to make that experience feel truly free so that Black people don’t have to risk our lives to enjoy it. “

Meanwhile, a writer for the Eno Center for Transportation calls out the problem of unequal enforcement when it comes to Black and brown pedestrians and bike riders.

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Up to 10,00 New York bike riders turned out for the city’s fifth mass bike protest ride, calling out what they call the “pernicious history of America’s tainted Fourth of July holiday.”

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If you’re going to use your ebike to tow a plane, try turning off the plane’s automatic safety shutdown system first.

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The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes just keeps on going.

Three British men face charges after chasing down a man on a bike and attacking him with a samurai sword when he stopped to defend himself.

The Daily Mail says dog walkers have thrown logs at bike riders, and people have booby trapped bike trails with nails, as tensions boil over due to bike riders and pedestrians competing for the same limited space during the UK’s pandemic lockdown.

But sometimes, it’s the people on two wheels behaving badly.

Police in Virginia are on the lookout for a serial butt slapper who has been assaulting women on a local bike path. And no, that’s not funny.

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Local

A new study ranks Pasadena as the ninth healthiest city in the US, in part thanks to a “vast network of bicycle lanes and parks.” Which may come as a surprise to many people who ride there.

Santa Monica has charged three people with allegedly looting the REI and Patagonia stores, among others, during the first weekend of Black Lives Matter protest, as they took advantage of the peaceful protests to make off with at least one bicycle.

 

State

Caltrans has adopted a new high-priority action plan to reduce car use and improve walking, bicycling and transit throughout state, including an additional $100 million to spend on bike and pedestrian projects.

North American mountain bike resorts are slowly reopening after the pandemic lockdown, including California’s Mammoth Mountain, but with new restrictions in place.

 

National

They get it. Popular Science says cities are failing bike riders, despite a 28% increase in ridership in the US thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. And bike lanes are just the beginning of what needs to be done.

A writer for Jalopnik discovers the feeling that comes when you sell a couple of old Schwinn, and spend the money to buy another one.

Bicycling offers advice on when to replace your chain, and how.

Bike shoes you can wear whether you do your cycling inside or out. Or both.

Some jerk drove through the door of a Portland bike shop and stole a prototype ebike the owners developed in conjunction with Phil Wood & Company.

Oregon is removing new highway guardrails that improved safety for drivers while increasing the risk for people on bikes.

Life is cheap in Boise, Idaho, where a driver walked without a single day behind bars despite killing an elderly couple in their 80s as they walked in a crosswalk.

A Denver outdoors site says bike theft is on the rise in the city, and offers advice on what to do about it. Then again, the same story could be written about virtually any major city in North America, including Los Angeles.

Talk about not getting it. A Denver TV station offers a warning to new bike commuters about the dangers on the roads. But illustrates it with an amateur racer who fractured his skull after hitting a rock while descending at 40 mph.

A Change.org petition calls for Yeti Cycles to stop calling their owners a tribe; so far, fewer than 400 people have signed.

A Fargo ND bike shop owner explains why it’s so hard to buy a bike these days.

After someone stole the bike a North Dakota boy saved up $400 to buy, the community came together to replace it.

As if Texas drivers weren’t enough to deal with, someone hacked a Forth Worth bikeshare and likely stole customers’ credit card information.

Bike riders in Tulsa, Oklahoma turned out for a two hour ride in honor of a police sergeant who was fatally shot during a traffic stop.

A kindhearted cop talked a Walmart manager into giving a nine-year old Ohio girl a new bike after hers was stolen for the second time.

Yes, that’s J.Lo and A-Rod under those masks and on their bikes in the Hamptons.

According to the local paper, a 15-year old New Jersey boy was killed when he was run down by a Chevy SUV, followed by a Ford SUV — neither of which had drivers, apparently.

 

International

Bosch offers a first look at the ebike of the future, complete with an onboard computer and ABS brakes.

Bike Radar writers offer tips on things they wish they’d known as beginning riders.

An excerpt from a new book tells the story of a Canadian mountain biker who disappeared without a trace in 2014.

A London-based Vogue editor explains how she overcame her reluctance to ride a bike in the city.

No bias here. A British member of parliament forced the removal of a popup bike lane due to the “predicted traffic chaos” that might be caused by what he called a “nonsensical cycle scheme.”

The 15-year old Indian girl who carried her injured father 700 miles back home on the back of her bike now has a movie deal to make a Bollywood film based on her life.

 

Competitive Cycling

A writer for Bicycling pens an open letter to Lance, and says yes, it was about the bike. It was always about the bike.

Meanwhile, Cyclingnews recounts the difficulty of covering the press averse, yet publicity hungry, ex-Tour de France champ.

 

Finally…

Who needs an expensive ebike when you’ve got an old washing machine motor? This is about what you’d get if you crossed an ebike with your kid’s Hot Wheels.

And nothing like swapping parts while popping wheelies.

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Be safe, and stay healthy. And wear a mask, already. 

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