Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Catching Up

I've already said my piece about this New York article.

It's hardly a perfect article—hell, it's hardly an article. But New York is a willfully superficial magazine, every paragraph it prints squeezed through the sieve of branding that's both very particular to our historical moment and an integral part of the magazine business since the get go. So if they (and author, schmauthor—articles at glossies are group productions) can do better than an actually worthwhile and important organization like Transportation Alternatives, then I think that deserves to be recognized.

I'll just add this. In the comments there's a back and forth about helmets, with some people insisting on wearing them and other people insisting they don't really do much to protect you, etc.

By all accounts, no statistics related to bicycling can be considered especially reliable. We just don't have the same mechanisms or incentives for record keeping with bikes that we do for cars. So I don't have any comment on the various arguments, except to say if it's even close to true that 97 percent of the people who died in biking accidents between 1995 and 2005 weren't wearing helmets, then people really should wear helmets.

But here's my anecdotal argument for helmet use, posted at the New York site but not linked to . . . since they don't allow you to link to individual comments.

A couple of years ago a coworker and I were in very similar biking accidents about two weeks apart.

Of the two, mine was worse: going over my handlebars on the downward slope of a steep hill to avoid hitting a girl who had jaywalked in front of a bus and into the bike lane. My coworker brought her bike over while riding about 5 miles an hour on a level (private) road.

Both of us ended up with broken lips and tooth problems. But she had a concussion and I didn't even have a headache.

Guess which of us had a helmet.

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