My post, Cycling Safety Feedback Loop is up at streets.mn…
“Assuming cyclists have “safety in numbers,” the real question I posed in my last post is how can St. Paul or Minneapolis (or Anyplace, Minnesota) get more people on bikes?
My post: Would you spur swimmers to the beaches of Amity Island? is up at streets.mn…
“Jaws, the blockbuster thriller film from the mid 1970’s was the highest grossing film ever until Star Wars was released two years later. The mechanical shark, the beach scenes on Amity Island, and the music score brought it all together. The dynamic between the obdurate mayor (Richard Vaughn) and the police chief (Martin Brody) largely revolved around a tension about how to address an activity that, in the public’s eye, has safety risks. Thirty years later, it’s a tension we wrestle with in bicycle planning.”
At streets.mn, I have the following post: Eyeing two unintended outcomes of the bicycle facilities arms race.
“In less than a decade, the Minneapolis Midtown Greenway (Minnesota) has quickly risen to one of America’s most beloved darlings of a bike path. Similarly, the short stretch of the Cedar Lake Trail to the Twins Stadium provides much needed closure over an important stretch for cyclists in downtown Minneapolis. Both are critical assets for […]“
Rodney King’s quote might continue to live on. I am sensing a common new theme this spring centered around education and other efforts to encourage bicycles and cars to “get along.” This theme certainly comports with my developing theory of the importance of autos and cars being able to better “co-mingle” in downtown (and other environments). See: (1) the New York bike sharing folks are holding classes to help educate cyclists about riding with cars around and (2) the creative Bikes Belong video of the month, encouraging the modes to “roll together.”
-Gathering data from 1,400 people who have been injured is impressive.
-That pedestrians are most vulnerable in crosswalks is not surprising; it is where the pedestrians are–the whole “exposure” aspect.
-But now, we finally have a partial silver lining to the obesity epidemic in the US: excessive weight may prove a boon for pedestrians in a collision. Victims with an above-normal body mass index were found to have less severe injuries than their counterparts. “It is not implausible that a greater proportion of torso and extremity fat may protect against injury”
Minneapolis recently released a new report examining bicycle crashes. It is based off of 10+ years of DPS crash data which is pretty limited to begin with. I am pretty sure there is not much new in this report that we did not uncover back in 2006 or 2007 with our analysis of the same data; but, that was not commissioned in-house by Public Works and it was not done by Public Works. So, it is more important for them to be able to listen to themselves.
The Atlantic Cities article covers some popular press elements of the descriptive stats. They claim to see, again, an attribution of or mention of safety in numbers, directionality, and causality. But, as has been pointed out by others, there little to suggest we have anything here other than more people riding and crash rates staying level.
What really is needed is to figure out how to use the count data to uncover more reliable and geographic measures of exposure.
The helmetless debate ensues, this time in the NYTimes.
Where should we come down on this matter? Here is what I want to know:
(1) Where helmetless behavior reigns strong, what is the average speed of the cyclist?
(2) Where helmetless behavior reigns strong, what is the average speed of the auto?
Nothing ever talks about these matters. I imagine both are substantially slower than in most US settings. Here’s a proposition: bring down the speeds of both and helmetless behavior might not be such a big deal.
The whole issue of cycling, safety, and helmet use is pretty vast–too vast to go into all the various dimensions here and now. But, a pretty thorough report on bicycle helmet research recently came across my desk. It covers a lot of ground, albeit with a Queensland Australia focus, and is pretty detailed in the later chapters. It was commissioned by the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads to review the national and international
literature regarding the health outcomes of cycling and bicycle helmets and examine crash and hospital data. It is the closest one-stop shopping for helmet research that is of high quality I have come across.