Posts by Bart Janssen

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  • Hard News: Fear of Cycling, in reply to Kevin McCready,

    In my experience the anti-helmet brigade (not necessarily you) are like climate change deniers

    Funny you should say that because I find the opposition to getting rid of the law is exactly like CC deniers. It really doesn't matter what data we show you. It really doesn't matter how many scientists who are expert in risk analysis do studies that show helmet laws are bad. Someone will always come back with some anecdote or better yet some irrelevant mechanistic argument about why their view is right.

    Quite simply the data is in. Helmet laws result is less safe cycling and poorer health outcomes.

    It doesn't matter whether helmets protect your head or not. It doesn't matter if accidents occur at intersections. It doesn't matter if cyclists wear reflective clothing or whether infrastructure is better in one place or another. It doesn't matter if cycling deaths are caused by head injuries or massive whole body trauma - as horrific as those statements might be. None of those things are relevant to the question of the helmet law.

    That's like arguing about whether tree rings are an accurate measure of climate when the discussion is actually about climate change.

    I'm sorry if this causes offense it really isn't meant that way. I'm NOT a risk analysis scientist - but I'm a good enough scientist to accept when an expert in that field says the helmet law is counterproductive to sit back and listen.

    Quite simply our helmet law is causing harm, that's what the experts in risk analysis say, defending that law is wrong.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4277 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Fear of Cycling, in reply to Carol Stewart,

    Does this account for the nature of the cycling infrastructure?

    As Linger said this is kind of moot since infrastructure changes as the number of cyclists increases. There really is no reasonable reason to have laws in place that deter people from cycling and every restriction makes it more dangerous for the cyclists that do persist.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4277 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Fear of Cycling, in reply to Mikaere Curtis,

    I am still not sure how you prove that re the helmet law " it’s trivial to show that it raises the likelyhood of having a car v bike accident."

    There are multiple analyses that show this effect based on the data from NZ and Australia. With the helmet law the number of cyclists reduced as did the number of car v cycle accidents. But the rate of accidents per hour of cycling increased.

    In countries without a helmet law as the number of cyclists increases the rate of accidents per hour of cycling decreases.

    This really isn't complicated. As Ben says causation is always difficult however the correlation is clear
    helmet law decreases the number of cyclists
    number of cyclists is inversely proportional to the accident rate
    => helmet law increases accident rate

    That correlation is too compelling to ignore, essentially by retaining a helmet law we are causing cyclists to have accidents - even if we don't understand the mechanism*.

    However as Linger and multiple articles have pointed out there are so many other benefits from increasing the number of cyclists that any law change that does that is pretty much a slam dunk good thing.


    *There are of course several very plausible explanations for the mechanism most of them centered around driver expectations and behaviour, but also the fear tactics used to induce people to wear helmets were extremely successful at discouraging people from cycling at all.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4277 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Fear of Cycling, in reply to Mikaere Curtis,

    Have you got a link handy ?

    Sorry took a while to find the refs again, had lost that old folder in one of the various moves. The journal article I was think of is this one de jong 2012. A discussion of lots of the pros and cons can be found here.

    As always needs to be stated in this discussion it is the law that is the problem, helmets are not being questioned.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4277 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Fear of Cycling,

    Another use for the bell is to let the pedestrian in front of us know that meandering randomly from side to side of the path is causing us a huge amount of stress as we try to guess which side it's safe to pass you on.

    How hard is it to walk in a straight line?

    This is pretty much a parallel to a comment I made a few years back, if you are using a shared path as a cyclist on the road is - try and be predictable it really helps the other faster users avoid you.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4277 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Fear of Cycling,

    One thing I have noticed is that it seems less scary with both of us riding. I'm not sure why, but having someone else as a riding buddy seems to both reduce the number of incidents and reduce the fear involved.

    Maybe it's as simple as being more visible, maybe it's about being able to share the swearing (shown to reduce stress), maybe it's something more complex about driver behaviour - seeing both of us riding seems to make drivers behave better.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4277 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Fear of Cycling, in reply to sandra,

    Sheesh, how many cyclists have a bell to give a little ping? When I’m out walking (on a shared track) and cyclists are approaching from behind the answer would appear to be … none. (I have one on my own bike and use it.)

    I use my bell regularly.

    We do a fair bit of cycling on shared paths and we're very conscious that bike vs pedestrian is not fun for either party. A bell helps a lot but doesn't get past the music some pedestrians are obviously listening to which can be a problem.

    If we're commuting and riding faster we don't use shared paths instead we use the road and share with the large metal objects.

    What we'd love is if there were separate spaces for each group.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4277 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Fear of Cycling, in reply to william blake,

    Pedestrians do wander around on shared cycleways its written on the box.

    Which is true and fair, although not all bike paths are shared.

    The issue is that just like a car or truck, a bike has a limit on how quickly it can stop or swerve.

    Pedestrians (myself included) need to be aware that if they step into a bike path without looking it just may not be possible for the bike to stop or dodge.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4277 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Fear of Cycling, in reply to Mikaere Curtis,

    Have you got a link handy ? The wiki page doesn’t seem to mention this phenomenon.

    This thread has lots of links to reviews and primary source and is based on David's RNZ science spot.

    I have a folder at work somewhere on my computer that also has a bunch of source links.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4277 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Fear of Cycling,

    Regarding good drivers. I tweeted the other day about a police car that modeled perfect driving around cyclists through what can be a confusing intersection on Mt Albert Rd.

    Hopefully as people see good drivers give cyclists appropriate space and consideration more drivers will learn how to do it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4277 posts Report Reply

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