It may seem counterintuitive, but despite near unanimous support for the use of helmets, many cycling advocates disagree with the notion that helmet usage should be required by law. A recent measure in Maryland that would require helmets be worn by all cyclists has reignited the debate about whether this type of legislation actually impedes [...]
Posts Tagged ‘helmets’
Inspired by the woodpecker, a species that sustains severe impact to its head every time it pecks, Anirudha Surabhi set out to create a helmet capable of more efficiently absorbing the substantial force cyclists experience during a crash. The result of his efforts: the Kranium, a cardboard bike helmet. Although a material as seemingly flimsy [...]
Last month the New York Times ran an editorial written by someone who found it refreshing that she could rent a bike for $2 in Paris and spend the day bicycling around the city with a baguette sticking out of the front basket and a beret atop her head in lieu of a bike helmet. [...]
There are plenty of excuses people give for why they don’t wear a helmet. Reasons ranging from the understandable complaint that they’re bulky and hard to carry around to self-conscious concerns about helmets “looking silly” or messing up the rider’s hair. Now, a new invention from two Swedish entrepreneurs is targeting an even more vain [...]
On May 29th Nap Cantwell, the 18-year-old son of Elysian Brewing Co. cofounder Dick Cantwell, was commuting to work at the brewery on a bicycle when he ran a red light at the intersection of Pike Street and Boren Avenue and collided with a van. The teenager failed to regain consciousness after the accident and [...]
Nancy Ho was struck and killed by a delivery truck at the corner of Fremont and Mission streets last week. Since Ho was not wearing a helmet, the widely reported bike accident re-ignited a battle over helmet requirements at the center of a deep divide between safety advocates and many in the bicycle community. California does not yet mandate helmet use, and the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition and the California Bicycle Coalition have not announced their positions on bicycle helmet laws. But in light of Ho’s fatal bike accident last week, others are taking up the debate in full force.
The debate on mandatory motorcycle helmet laws is forever complicated by a familiar question: should individuals have the right to put themselves in grave danger? Many motorcycle advocacy organizations say yes, and have become outspoken opponents of motorcycle helmet laws that have passed in 20 states across the country, including California. At a protest involving more than 500 bikers in New York this week, the helmet debate hit a tragic point, when 55-year old Philip Contos, an opponent to the state’s helmet law, suffered a fatal head wound after flying over the handlebars of his motorcycle.
Last year, I wrote a post for this blog titled “California Lawmkers Get Serious About Bike Safety.” At the time, L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced his support for a California bike helmet law, and the city’s city council took steps toward endorsing a law requiring motorists to allow 3 feet while passing cyclists. This month, the California legislature has an opportunity to join 18 other states in implementing a 3-foot passing law, which would drastically reduce the number of passing accidents, the number one killer of adult cyclists in California and across the country.
On Monday, we posted the results of a bike helmet safety survey we ran through May is National Bike Month. According to the survey, although nearly 70 percent of cyclists in California say they wear bike helmets most of the time, few think that state law should require them to do so. This holds true for media anecdotes about bike helmets. Last year, for example, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was booed at a bike conference when he announced his support for a statewide law requiring helmets for all cyclists. California’s motorcycle community faces a similar helmet debate that pits safety advocates against riders who demand the right to ride without a helmet, regardless of the risks.
As the number of California cyclists continues to grow, the debate surrounding bike helmet laws is likely to come front and center. Last year, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced his support for a statewide law requiring helmet use for cyclists of all ages. Studies have shown that nine out of ten of the 130 yearly bike accident deaths in California (and 700 nationwide) are due at least partially to the decision not to wear a helmet. But California’s bicycle community has not been receptive to helmet laws, and even greeted Villaraigosa’s announcement with boo’s. So last month, we thought we’d see what you thought with our bike helmet safety survey. Take a look at the results.
Now that summer is here to stay, along with warmer weather and safer road conditions, you can expect to see more motorcyclists taking to the streets for long rides throughout California and across the country. Though a relatively small proportion of motorcyclists are under the age of 18, teens are often the most susceptible to motorcycle injuries and fatalities. If you’re a parent or a teen thinking of getting a motorcycle, it’s important to review the safety statistics related to teens on motorcycles. In addition to taking the safety courses required to get a motorcycle permit, all teens should obey all laws and wear the appropriate safety equipment. Most states, for example, have passed motorcycle helmet laws for all teen riders.
As we enter the second full week of Distracted Driving Awareness Month, most of the focus thus far has been on distracted driving for motorists. But while distracted driving led to 6,000 driver deaths and 500,000 driver injuries in 2009, it is a dangerous practice for all types of vehicles, including busses, bicycles, and motorcycles. So to cut down on distracted driving motorcycle accidents, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation has announced its full support for Distracted Driving Awareness Month with a list of “10 Things All Car and Truck Drivers Should Know About Motorcycles and Motorcyclists.”
In high school contact sports, parents are often comforted that despite whatever risks a sport entails, their child’s safety equipment will reduce the chance of serious injuries. Last October, a New York Times story reported that the manufacturers of football helmets have not lived up to their part of their bargain, as helmets that say “Meets NOCSAE Standard” should seldom be trusted. This week, New Mexico Senator Tom Udall urged the Federal Trade Commission to investigate helmet manufacturers for what he called “misleading safety claims and deceptive practices.”
The National Transportation Safety Board is taking on a tough crowd in its effort to implement a national law requiring motorcycle helmets for all ages. The Wall Street Journal reports that motorcycle deaths “more than doubled” in the decade before 2008, a troubling statistic the NTSB blames partially on insufficient helmet laws. The most recent data, from 2008, indicates that about 65 percent of people killed on motorcycles were not wearing helmets. The agency hopes the helmet law will reverse this deadly trend.