Now read this

Zakkalicious posts about Fear Mongering among some American cyclists. I think it was Bike Lane Hottie who wrote that cycling advocates continually gripe about how dangerous cycling is, and then wonder why nobody wants to ride a bike. Cycle Dog and I occasionally discuss this topic of ineffective advocacy over email.

Enjoy the ride and quick worrying so much about the traffic. They’re not gonna hit you, and if they do it only hurts a little.

22 Comments

  • UltraRob
    April 9, 2008 - 6:23 pm | Permalink

    I've done the local Ride of Silence and plan to again this year. Ours is pretty small and there's no fear mongering just respect for those killed. Just on Sunday, 2004 RAAM finisher Randy Van Zee was hit from behind and killed. It does happen. I've had close calls on the bike but I may get killed in a car accident. You never know. You just can't take for granted you'll be here tomorrow. Until then I intend to keep riding.

  • UltraRob
    April 10, 2008 - 1:23 am | Permalink

    I've done the local Ride of Silence and plan to again this year. Ours is pretty small and there's no fear mongering just respect for those killed. Just on Sunday, 2004 RAAM finisher Randy Van Zee was hit from behind and killed. It does happen. I've had close calls on the bike but I may get killed in a car accident. You never know. You just can't take for granted you'll be here tomorrow. Until then I intend to keep riding.

  • Jared
    April 9, 2008 - 6:55 pm | Permalink

    I used to be the type that only occasionally wore my helmet…that changed on Monday. I will always be wearing a helmet from now on…others can still do as they see fit but I can guarantee that I wouldn't be here, in the same capacity I am now, if I hadn't been wearing my helmet.

    I'm sure helmets get pushed plenty hard…but one saved me…so I guess it was worth it.

  • Jared
    April 10, 2008 - 1:55 am | Permalink

    I used to be the type that only occasionally wore my helmet…that changed on Monday. I will always be wearing a helmet from now on…others can still do as they see fit but I can guarantee that I wouldn't be here, in the same capacity I am now, if I hadn't been wearing my helmet.I'm sure helmets get pushed plenty hard…but one saved me…so I guess it was worth it.

  • Jennifer
    April 9, 2008 - 7:13 pm | Permalink

    Keeps my hair out of my face.

  • Jennifer
    April 10, 2008 - 2:13 am | Permalink

    Keeps my hair out of my face.

  • Mikael
    April 10, 2008 - 12:29 am | Permalink

    On the "My Helmet Saved My Life" rhetoric… This link is of interest.

    In short, regarding people who claim, rather unscientifically, that a helmet 'saved their life' it is said:
    "As there is no evidence that helmets save lives or serious injury at all across cyclists as a whole, most of these perceptions of helmet benefit must be mistaken."

    A helmet is not designed to help you in collisions with other vechicles. Not even the most fervently religious helmet advocate will claim that. Belief is one thing, knowing the scientific facts is quite another.

    Bike helmets are a voluntary issue and should remain so.

  • Mikael
    April 10, 2008 - 7:29 am | Permalink

    On the "My Helmet Saved My Life" rhetoric… This link is of interest.In short, regarding people who claim, rather unscientifically, that a helmet 'saved their life' it is said:"As there is no evidence that helmets save lives or serious injury at all across cyclists as a whole, most of these perceptions of helmet benefit must be mistaken."A helmet is not designed to help you in collisions with other vechicles. Not even the most fervently religious helmet advocate will claim that. Belief is one thing, knowing the scientific facts is quite another.Bike helmets are a voluntary issue and should remain so.

  • gttim
    April 10, 2008 - 6:38 am | Permalink

    Well the difference between my head hitting pavement from a 6 foot drop and my head in a helmet hitting pavement from a 6 foot drop is dramatic. I have demolished a helmet and walked away without even a headache. Sure, the helmet did not protect my knee, but I never expected it to. Without a helmet, it would have been a very different outcome.

    Sure, people can choose not to wear a helmet, but if I am on a group ride and somebody busts their head open without a helmet? I just do not have time. If you do not care about your head enough to wear a helmet, I do not have time to stop and sit with you while waiting for an ambulance. The helmet-less rider can spend his waiting time thinking, if he still can, about links explaining that helmets may not save his life in a bike accident.

    I caught a buddy riding one day without his helmet. I just rode up next to him and asked him to picture his ex-wife explaining to his two girls why daddy was now a drooling moron. He has not ridden without one since.

  • gttim
    April 10, 2008 - 1:38 pm | Permalink

    Well the difference between my head hitting pavement from a 6 foot drop and my head in a helmet hitting pavement from a 6 foot drop is dramatic. I have demolished a helmet and walked away without even a headache. Sure, the helmet did not protect my knee, but I never expected it to. Without a helmet, it would have been a very different outcome.Sure, people can choose not to wear a helmet, but if I am on a group ride and somebody busts their head open without a helmet? I just do not have time. If you do not care about your head enough to wear a helmet, I do not have time to stop and sit with you while waiting for an ambulance. The helmet-less rider can spend his waiting time thinking, if he still can, about links explaining that helmets may not save his life in a bike accident.I caught a buddy riding one day without his helmet. I just rode up next to him and asked him to picture his ex-wife explaining to his two girls why daddy was now a drooling moron. He has not ridden without one since.

  • Yokota Fritz
    April 10, 2008 - 9:21 am | Permalink

    Tim, do you and your friend also wear helmets while driving? If not, why not? Your chance of serious head injury is higher while driving, after all. Of the three drooling morons that I know well, all of them were transformed from reasonably bright, happy people into drooling morons while they were unsafely within the confines of automobiles. If you play basketball with your buddies, you better wear a helmet on the court — per hour of activity, your chance of head injury is *much* higher than that from bicycling.

    Yeah, that's what I thought. After all, what kind of idiot wears helmets while driving or playing ball? They'd all look like retards.

    I'll also point out once again that I draw a distinction between a slow speed ride to the store and your group rides. Helmets can be justified by the increased risk of higher speed rides on rural roads.

  • Yokota Fritz
    April 10, 2008 - 4:21 pm | Permalink

    Tim, do you and your friend also wear helmets while driving? If not, why not? Your chance of serious head injury is higher while driving, after all. Of the three drooling morons that I know well, all of them were transformed from reasonably bright, happy people into drooling morons while they were unsafely within the confines of automobiles. If you play basketball with your buddies, you better wear a helmet on the court — per hour of activity, your chance of head injury is *much* higher than that from bicycling.Yeah, that's what I thought. After all, what kind of idiot wears helmets while driving or playing ball? They'd all look like retards.I'll also point out once again that I draw a distinction between a slow speed ride to the store and your group rides. Helmets can be justified by the increased risk of higher speed rides on rural roads.

  • Anonymous
    April 10, 2008 - 9:32 am | Permalink

    Ride of Silence effective advocacy…that's the debate? Well if preaching to the choir expands the flock, then it is. Cyclists find great comfort in having their beliefs reaffirmed… who doesn't?

    Memorials are important in recognizing the empathy cyclists have for each other. What determines effective advocacy requires more space and time.
    Jack

  • Anonymous
    April 10, 2008 - 4:32 pm | Permalink

    Ride of Silence effective advocacy…that's the debate? Well if preaching to the choir expands the flock, then it is. Cyclists find great comfort in having their beliefs reaffirmed… who doesn't?Memorials are important in recognizing the empathy cyclists have for each other. What determines effective advocacy requires more space and time. Jack

  • SiouxGeonz
    April 10, 2008 - 10:55 am | Permalink

    Welp, there is that social element. Frankly, if it were part of the culture to wear a helmet in the car, I probably would. Since I'm in a car so rarely, putting on a helmet's pretty automatic when I'm walking out the door.

    While it is of course possible that all those real, living riders are mistaken, it is also possible that evidence has simply not been properly interpreted. To assume they *must* be wrong is simply fallacious logic. So is assuming that I think the helmet will protect me from being made into a grease spot by a car. I don't. Whenever someboyd has to apply selective logic, they've lost their credibility with me. (Yes, this applies to the "everyone should wear a helmet" crowd, too.)

    Odd as it may seem, there are other kinds of accidents on bicycles. I've smacked my little helmeted head enough times to be glad there's this silly cultural expectation that I wear one. It's just not that big a deal! I also have to partake in other utterly illogical social rituals that have no evidence that they really make sense.

    I think people cna choose their risks. So I don't say "where's your helmet?" at strangers, tho' I consider it… the same way I consider but then decide against saying "why are you in that horrible death machine?" to drivers and "have you ever *heard* what dying of lung cancer sounds like?" to smokers.

  • SiouxGeonz
    April 10, 2008 - 5:55 pm | Permalink

    Welp, there is that social element. Frankly, if it were part of the culture to wear a helmet in the car, I probably would. Since I'm in a car so rarely, putting on a helmet's pretty automatic when I'm walking out the door. While it is of course possible that all those real, living riders are mistaken, it is also possible that evidence has simply not been properly interpreted. To assume they *must* be wrong is simply fallacious logic. So is assuming that I think the helmet will protect me from being made into a grease spot by a car. I don't. Whenever someboyd has to apply selective logic, they've lost their credibility with me. (Yes, this applies to the "everyone should wear a helmet" crowd, too.) Odd as it may seem, there are other kinds of accidents on bicycles. I've smacked my little helmeted head enough times to be glad there's this silly cultural expectation that I wear one. It's just not that big a deal! I also have to partake in other utterly illogical social rituals that have no evidence that they really make sense. I think people cna choose their risks. So I don't say "where's your helmet?" at strangers, tho' I consider it… the same way I consider but then decide against saying "why are you in that horrible death machine?" to drivers and "have you ever *heard* what dying of lung cancer sounds like?" to smokers.

  • Jennifer
    April 10, 2008 - 11:18 am | Permalink

    Hmm, suddenly I want to get one of those old-timey motoring helmets, some leather gloves, and a white silk scarf, and go take a drive through the countryside at 40 mph. :-)

  • Jennifer
    April 10, 2008 - 6:18 pm | Permalink

    Hmm, suddenly I want to get one of those old-timey motoring helmets, some leather gloves, and a white silk scarf, and go take a drive through the countryside at 40 mph. :-)

  • James T.
    April 10, 2008 - 2:58 pm | Permalink

    I don't want to make cycling seem dangerous. I am as big a cycling booster as anyone and I do see the point, but frankly riding in Demark and riding in the US are just not caomparable. Like Ultrarob, I will be participating in our local Ride of Silence next month. A guy I used to race with was killed on a training ride by an inattentive driver, and I will be thinking about him, as well as the wife and kids he left behind, as I do the ride. I don't know if it "only hurt a little" when he was hit, but he is no longer around for me to ask. I could say the same about one of our club members who was killed last year on her commute. On my commute, I ride on some roads that others would consider unsafe. I don’t have an irrational fear of riding in traffic, but I certainly think there is room for improvement in the way motorists interact with cyclists

    On the flip side, I also know people, including a relative, who have died in auto accidents and I don't go around griping about how dangerous it is to drive. Oh wait, I DO go around griping about that… every chance I get in fact. 40,000 traffic fatalities a year in this country is a horrific statistic that we should not settle for. While it is true that riding a bike is not as unsafe as some people think it is, the fact remains that, in the U.S., driving or riding a bike are both more dangerous activities than they are in other industrialized countries. Those high traffic fatality statistics are not something that we should ignore in the name of not scaring anyone; I just can’t buy into that. Everyone in this country should be a little “scared” when they venture onto the roads. Maybe then some of the motorists would actually hang up the phone, put down the burger, and pay attention to the damn road.

  • James T.
    April 10, 2008 - 9:58 pm | Permalink

    I don't want to make cycling seem dangerous. I am as big a cycling booster as anyone and I do see the point, but frankly riding in Demark and riding in the US are just not caomparable. Like Ultrarob, I will be participating in our local Ride of Silence next month. A guy I used to race with was killed on a training ride by an inattentive driver, and I will be thinking about him, as well as the wife and kids he left behind, as I do the ride. I don't know if it "only hurt a little" when he was hit, but he is no longer around for me to ask. I could say the same about one of our club members who was killed last year on her commute. On my commute, I ride on some roads that others would consider unsafe. I don’t have an irrational fear of riding in traffic, but I certainly think there is room for improvement in the way motorists interact with cyclistsOn the flip side, I also know people, including a relative, who have died in auto accidents and I don't go around griping about how dangerous it is to drive. Oh wait, I DO go around griping about that… every chance I get in fact. 40,000 traffic fatalities a year in this country is a horrific statistic that we should not settle for. While it is true that riding a bike is not as unsafe as some people think it is, the fact remains that, in the U.S., driving or riding a bike are both more dangerous activities than they are in other industrialized countries. Those high traffic fatality statistics are not something that we should ignore in the name of not scaring anyone; I just can’t buy into that. Everyone in this country should be a little “scared” when they venture onto the roads. Maybe then some of the motorists would actually hang up the phone, put down the burger, and pay attention to the damn road.

  • gttim
    April 12, 2008 - 6:17 am | Permalink

    "Tim, do you and your friend also wear helmets while driving? If not, why not?"

    Because I am in a car? Are you a drooling moron? That is the stupidest argument I have ever heard. I thought bikesgonewild was stupid! My head is contained in a car.

    I don't think I need to read your blog anymore if you do not understand the difference between riding in a car and on a bike, and the exposure of your head.

    Also, please cease publishing any of my photos.

  • gttim
    April 12, 2008 - 1:17 pm | Permalink

    "Tim, do you and your friend also wear helmets while driving? If not, why not?"Because I am in a car? Are you a drooling moron? That is the stupidest argument I have ever heard. I thought bikesgonewild was stupid! My head is contained in a car.I don't think I need to read your blog anymore if you do not understand the difference between riding in a car and on a bike, and the exposure of your head.Also, please cease publishing any of my photos.

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