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02-01-2009, 11:49 AM   #1
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Safety Meeting

About six months ago, my wife and I - after decades - took up bicycling. She rides an old Huffy that weighs about as much as my Miata and I bought a Specialized "Comfort Bike" (I call 'em geezer bikes). We've now begun shoping for bikes that are lighter and more "sporty" than our present ones, but haven't settled on which models we want yet.

Yesterday, just as we started a ride, I pointed out that we really ought to wear helmets when we get our new bikes, since they'll be faster and more nimble. Well . . . . you guessed it . . . . . . I flipped my geezer bike and landed on my head - luckily in the grass. My head is hardly sore, but my neck feels like hell. Even though helmets can't protect necks, I'm not getting back on a bicycle without one.

Just shows that wisdom does not always come with age.

Jer

02-01-2009, 12:24 PM   #2
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Smart move. I personally HATE helmets, I really do... I refuse to wear one on my quad in the woods (though by law I have to wear one here) but while on my bicycle I wear mine, specially if I pedal on the main roads around here.

There are just too many crazy drivers who pay no attention to the bikes on the road. We regularely respond to car VS bike or bike driven off the road by car calls, and often a helmet did make a difference between a being shook up with few scrapes and a nasty concussion.

Pat
02-01-2009, 01:23 PM   #3
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I save this image for special occasions... like this. Where people question the value of helmets.

This is a self portrait from exactly 12 months ago.

02-01-2009, 01:31 PM   #4
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i had a family acquaintance who died because he didn't wear a helmet, it looks terribly dorky to wear a helmet but really everyone should be wearing one

although in amsterdam which is truly a "bike city" when i was riding a bike there, not one person wore a helmet.

02-01-2009, 01:39 PM   #5
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Glad you're ok Jer - (and Kunik wow that looks serious glad you survived that !) last new noke I bought (Trek 700 mountain Bike stolen arrrrrrg) when I first had it I took her out for a spin and forget which handel was the back brake so I guessed and I guessed poorly - stopped on a dime , bike fliped with me over the top .... and then there was my rollerblading days .. haha

Yes indeed protect the noggin !
02-01-2009, 02:12 PM   #6
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Yeah Helmets...

Sometimes I wear a helmet for 8 hours while sitting at my "desk"...



Seriously, I always wear a helmet while cycling, skiing, whitewater kayaking, mountaineering, (and flying). I've avoided major concussions skiing and kayaking through helmet use (probalby saved my life on the river one day). What's funny is that in each discipline, helmets have a different levels of acceptability, so for instance in kayaking and mountain biking, they're considered mandatory, whereas with skiing, when I started wearing 'em, it was stil pretty uncool. Since I was putting people like kunic (wow that looks bad - glad you're all right) on backboards at the ski resort for a living at the time, I learned the value of a good helmet.
02-01-2009, 02:13 PM   #7
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K100d ... I would guess Amsterdam is probably the safest place on earth to ride without a helmet exactly because it's a bike city... car drivers are probably a LOT more aware of cyclists than here.

Kunik ... That looks like a pretty nasty crash you were in! Unfortunately I see that too often at work and it's usually kids...

Pat

02-01-2009, 03:41 PM   #8
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Australia isn't the best place of cyclists... its sort of the anti-cyclist place. Hear news every now and then of cyclists being run down. Just a couple weeks ago, two cyclists were struck down by a car on the motorway - one of them died.

It's mainly cause people keep bitching about things. A few years ago a law was introduced about cyclists not being allowed on footpaths unless otherwise noted or if you're a kid. So all older cyclists are forced onto the road. Then the car drivers are all "Get off mah road you damn cyclist".... there was even a case recently of OLYMPIC cyclists training then they were struck - driver-bys honked and yelled obscenities at them as they lay on the side of the road.... absolutely pathetic

http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,24976651-5006784,00.html

Last edited by Vylen; 02-01-2009 at 03:48 PM. Reason: related link
02-01-2009, 04:14 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Vylen Quote
Australia isn't the best place of cyclists... its sort of the anti-cyclist place. Hear news every now and then of cyclists being run down. Just a couple weeks ago, two cyclists were struck down by a car on the motorway - one of them died.

It's mainly cause people keep bitching about things. A few years ago a law was introduced about cyclists not being allowed on footpaths unless otherwise noted or if you're a kid. So all older cyclists are forced onto the road. Then the car drivers are all "Get off mah road you damn cyclist".... there was even a case recently of OLYMPIC cyclists training then they were struck - driver-bys honked and yelled obscenities at them as they lay on the side of the road.... absolutely pathetic

Driver found guilty over cycle smash | The Australian
I'm suddenly glad I'm not living in your country. Come "snow free" weather, I use my bike all the time when doing local outings. Mind you, I always wear a good helmet.
02-01-2009, 05:10 PM   #10
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The law here requires all cyclists to wear helmets. The result is that the "dorkiness" factor has reduced a lot as everyone wears them! All motorcyclists must also wear a helmet.
02-02-2009, 03:57 PM   #11
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I hope we can keep our heads on one piece. While shopping for the next bike, I'll also be picking a cool looking helmet.

Jer
02-02-2009, 04:15 PM   #12
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Hi Jer, hope you pull up ok. Looks like you may be getting on a first name basis with your local chiro.

Helmets are of some use (depending on speed & the type of collision) and the laws around them are pretty quirky. While compulsory here, it is not enforced and is common to see cyclists without helmets riding past police who take no action.

Cyclists dont help themselves though, I have only just returned from having an MRI on my troublesome knee and was driving past a group of cyclists when a few of them decided to change lanes in front of me....no warning, no indication, nope we'll just hop over here with a speed difference of some 40km/h and hope that the drivers skills are up to it.

I missed them, but they are alive only due to my skill and that of the truck driver on my right who was quick enough to read the situation and give me room to move.

So it cuts both ways.

Cheers.
02-02-2009, 06:03 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mallee Boy Quote
Hi Jer, hope you pull up ok. Looks like you may be getting on a first name basis with your local chiro.

Helmets are of some use (depending on speed & the type of collision) and the laws around them are pretty quirky. While compulsory here, it is not enforced and is common to see cyclists without helmets riding past police who take no action.

Cyclists dont help themselves though, I have only just returned from having an MRI on my troublesome knee and was driving past a group of cyclists when a few of them decided to change lanes in front of me....no warning, no indication, nope we'll just hop over here with a speed difference of some 40km/h and hope that the drivers skills are up to it.

I missed them, but they are alive only due to my skill and that of the truck driver on my right who was quick enough to read the situation and give me room to move.

So it cuts both ways.

Cheers.

1st - when there is a close encounter between a car and a cyclist it is almost always the car's fault. This is an easy generalization to make because when there is a close encounter between a car and a cyclist only the cyclist risks serious injury or death. And generally speaking people do not ride around looking for ways to kill themselves. Its the most important difference between the mentality of car driver and cyclist - SELF PRESERVATION. You may not recognize it from the front seat of your car but trust me - we are trying hard not to die. I have been hit by cars on more than one occasion (20 years of serious cycling provides lots of opportunities for lots of bad drivers) and it has always clearly been the drivers fault - not that I'm thinking about it as I roll across the hood. I should add to this that most drivers remain oblivious to most "close calls" between themselves and cyclists.

2nd - in the rare instance where a cyclist DOES put their life in danger by doing something stupid in traffic people like you come out and say things like "cyclists don't help themselves". What exactly do people like you mean by this? Does this mean that in the future you will drive more aggressively around cyclists because you feel that this one group did something wrong? And even though it was "your skill" that saved them are you sure you were not at fault? If they were in front of you and you almost hit them chances are that you were the one at fault here and you should re-evaluate your own driving. Cyclists are forced onto the shoulder and there are all sorts of small hazards there that you don't see. In your mind, those cyclists moved into traffic for no good reason, but they did not do it without reason.

3rd - the world seems evenly split between those who think cyclists have no business being on the road and those who think that a cyclist must abide strictly to the motor vehicle code. While you sit there and ponder this funny dilemma allow me to explain what this means. When I ride my bike on the road I get yelled at, honked at and cut off by those who think I have no business being on the road. When I jump onto a sidewalk to avoid a particularly dangerous intersection I get yelled at and honked at by those who are pissed that I'm not following the motor vehicle code. By the time I get home I seem to have managed to piss off just about everybody in a car because of my actions and they all get to say "CYCLISTS DON'T HELP THEMSELVES"

4th - I doubt you are in any way qualified to talk about the types of situations where helmets may be "of some use". I'm a little embarrassed to say that as a professional mountain bike racer a broke a few helmets at a variety of speeds and in a variety of types of collisions. The helmet may not have completely prevented the minor-to-major concussions I incurred but to question their value is ignorant. Like heliphoto, I have a variety of helmets for DH cycling, XC cycling, hockey, skiing, mountaineering and kayaking. They are all purpose built for their intended use and they are all valuable. The picture above would be from the last time I skied without a helmet - I was a late convert. The result was a fractured skull (through the orbital) and a 7mm epideral bleed. A helmet would have almost certainly prevented the fracture (which nearly killed me) - though probably not the concussion.

So it does not cut both ways you see as because only your actions put my life in danger. I'm already trying not to get smeared across the road - maybe you could help me out here, instead of promoting the idea that cyclists are a suicidal group of idiots out to cause trouble on your commute. It does not cut both ways because your life is not in danger and you are short on facts.

Having been the victim of aggressive drivers while on my bike I will ALWAYS comment when I hear people promoting dangerous attitudes towards cyclists. Those attitudes can manifest in disastrous ways:
~~~~~~~~~~

Christopher Thompson to be tried in confrontations with cyclists - Los Angeles Times

The 59-year-old physician said he stopped his red Infiniti sedan in front of the cyclists to "teach them a lesson," a police officer testified Thursday at Thompson's preliminary hearing. Thompson complained that cyclists frequently traveled down the residential street in Brentwood and that he was "tired of them," Los Angeles Police Officer Robert Rodriguez said.
02-02-2009, 06:50 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mallee Boy Quote
Hi Jer, hope you pull up ok. Looks like you may be getting on a first name basis with your local chiro.

Helmets are of some use (depending on speed & the type of collision) and the laws around them are pretty quirky. While compulsory here, it is not enforced and is common to see cyclists without helmets riding past police who take no action.

Cyclists dont help themselves though, I have only just returned from having an MRI on my troublesome knee and was driving past a group of cyclists when a few of them decided to change lanes in front of me....no warning, no indication, nope we'll just hop over here with a speed difference of some 40km/h and hope that the drivers skills are up to it.

I missed them, but they are alive only due to my skill and that of the truck driver on my right who was quick enough to read the situation and give me room to move.

So it cuts both ways.

Cheers.

I agree, my friend. I see cyclists doing boneheaded stuff all of the time; one guy owes his life to the fact that I drive a BMW with real brakes. Now that I think about it, a couple of stray dogs should also be giving their thanks.

In my "close encounter" with the ground, I was on a bike trail - but hot rodding a bit too much. You'd think at '62, I'd gather some wisdom, but . . . . . my first car (in '64) was a brand new, 289, 4-speed Mustang, so what can I say?

Still, it's time for me to take bike safety seriously, and buy a helmet!

Jer
02-02-2009, 07:08 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by kunik Quote
1st - when there is a close encounter between a car and a cyclist it is almost always the car's fault. This is an easy generalization to make because when there is a close encounter between a car and a cyclist only the cyclist risks serious injury or death. And generally speaking people do not ride around looking for ways to kill themselves. Its the most important difference between the mentality of car driver and cyclist - SELF PRESERVATION. You may not recognize it from the front seat of your car but trust me - we are trying hard not to die. I have been hit by cars on more than one occasion (20 years of serious cycling provides lots of opportunities for lots of bad drivers) and it has always clearly been the drivers fault - not that I'm thinking about it as I roll across the hood. I should add to this that most drivers remain oblivious to most "close calls" between themselves and cyclists.

2nd - in the rare instance where a cyclist DOES put their life in danger by doing something stupid in traffic people like you come out and say things like "cyclists don't help themselves". What exactly do people like you mean by this? Does this mean that in the future you will drive more aggressively around cyclists because you feel that this one group did something wrong? And even though it was "your skill" that saved them are you sure you were not at fault? If they were in front of you and you almost hit them chances are that you were the one at fault here and you should re-evaluate your own driving. Cyclists are forced onto the shoulder and there are all sorts of small hazards there that you don't see. In your mind, those cyclists moved into traffic for no good reason, but they did not do it without reason.

3rd - the world seems evenly split between those who think cyclists have no business being on the road and those who think that a cyclist must abide strictly to the motor vehicle code. While you sit there and ponder this funny dilemma allow me to explain what this means. When I ride my bike on the road I get yelled at, honked at and cut off by those who think I have no business being on the road. When I jump onto a sidewalk to avoid a particularly dangerous intersection I get yelled at and honked at by those who are pissed that I'm not following the motor vehicle code. By the time I get home I seem to have managed to piss off just about everybody in a car because of my actions and they all get to say "CYCLISTS DON'T HELP THEMSELVES"

4th - I doubt you are in any way qualified to talk about the types of situations where helmets may be "of some use". I'm a little embarrassed to say that as a professional mountain bike racer a broke a few helmets at a variety of speeds and in a variety of types of collisions. The helmet may not have completely prevented the minor-to-major concussions I incurred but to question their value is ignorant. Like heliphoto, I have a variety of helmets for DH cycling, XC cycling, hockey, skiing, mountaineering and kayaking. They are all purpose built for their intended use and they are all valuable. The picture above would be from the last time I skied without a helmet - I was a late convert. The result was a fractured skull (through the orbital) and a 7mm epideral bleed. A helmet would have almost certainly prevented the fracture (which nearly killed me) - though probably not the concussion.

So it does not cut both ways you see as because only your actions put my life in danger. I'm already trying not to get smeared across the road - maybe you could help me out here, instead of promoting the idea that cyclists are a suicidal group of idiots out to cause trouble on your commute. It does not cut both ways because your life is not in danger and you are short on facts.

Having been the victim of aggressive drivers while on my bike I will ALWAYS comment when I hear people promoting dangerous attitudes towards cyclists. Those attitudes can manifest in disastrous ways:
~~~~~~~~~~

Christopher Thompson to be tried in confrontations with cyclists - Los Angeles Times

The 59-year-old physician said he stopped his red Infiniti sedan in front of the cyclists to "teach them a lesson," a police officer testified Thursday at Thompson's preliminary hearing. Thompson complained that cyclists frequently traveled down the residential street in Brentwood and that he was "tired of them," Los Angeles Police Officer Robert Rodriguez said.
Oh . . . . easy, my friend.

For one thing, let's not translate the auto-bike relationship in the US (CA and TX) to that of Australia. For all we know, the riding-driving mores may be quite different there (drive a car in Italy or Spain, for example).

Also, I don't think Mallee is saying that helmets have no value, he's pointing out that helmets can't protect against everything . . . . say, a broken leg.

Anyway, my experience and those of others clearly say we ought to be wearing helmets and be watching our butts when riding a bike - even on a bike path. I think we can all agree with that.

Jer
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