29 April 2009

Danish Helmet Propaganda


A number of readers spotted this on the internet today. It's a fake viral film from our Danish Cyclists Federation. Slowing chipping away at Danish bike culture without worrying about facts and science. It's also funded by Aalborg County - who should be spending their money on better infrastructure an education instead of fearmongering - and the police, who should be spending their strained resources on clamping down on speeding motorists.
[our source 'Deep Throast' suggested that it was our car-centric Road Safety Council who was behind the viral film, but we've corrected that. Same family of fear-centrics, though]

It's funny and well-made. But imagine what good they could do if they used their energy to promote cycling instead of making cycling appear dangerous here in the world's safest bicycle nation. Instead, they are quite keen on selling cars.

As many readers pointed out, there is no fitting of the helmet, no instructions on how to wear it properly, no size evaluation. Looking around Copenhagen, 3/4 of the cyclists who wear helmets don't even wear them properly. It's kind of like tying a water wing around people's ankles and pushing them into the pool.

The Road Safety Council is also adept at producing viral films. This fake tv news piece, below, was popular a while back. Using humour and viral films on IMPORTANT issues.


How I yearn for the Dutch approach to selling cycling to be reimported into this Danish Culture of Fear.

67 comments:

KMA6 said...

Even more annoying, is that it's a skateboard helmet.
I agree that most people who wear helmets, don't wear them properly.

Kris said...

Here's a thought. Get two hot looking women, have them do the same thing, but only taking helmets OFF people instead :). Or have them choose between two guys, one with helmet hair and the other without...

Donna said...

If you can understand swedish, read this:

http://gwendolenthegood.blogspot.com/2009/04/lag-pa-cykelhjalm.html

Why has helmetewearing bikers become så hatefull and fanatic?

Anonymous said...

"Why has helmetewearing bikers become så hatefull and fanatic?"

The anti-helmet people are pretty good at being hateful fanatics too.

Just a cyclist said...

What really hurt when I saw this was seeing how the helmet brand was clearly displayed. Not going to mention it by name, but the brand is a fully own subsidiary to the largest manufacturer that totally dominates its market worldwide.

Anonymous said...

So now any helmet advocacy is propaganda? "Oh no! My sensibilities are being violated by people suggesting that I wear a helmet, which some studies show might save me from a head injury. It's so hurtful and offensive. Help! Help!"

Wear a helmet or don't wear a helmet, but please don't whine.

David Streever said...

It's actually a really well-done, clever spot. I don't always wear my helmet, and I don't think anyone should force me, but what's the big deal?

People who are worried about our safety spent time & money to reach us & encourage us to wear helmets. Don't get mad about it :)!

portlandize.com said...

"How I yearn for the Dutch approach to selling cycling..."

No kidding. This video just got posted on BikePortland yesterday as a great way of giving out helmets, and a great example of Copenhagen's great cycling culture.

Needless to say, I would love to see more of the Dutch attitude here as well.

Adam C said...

As the recipient of over 80 stitches from not wearing my helmet one fateful day, I think they are doing the right thing.

Wear a helmet. It looks stupid, a Frankenstein head looks stupider... AND IT HURTS.

Jonathan Maus/BikePortland said...

Portlandize,

Just for the record, I was actually more keen on the hugging part and I didn't really think much about the helmet aspect of it.

In Portland, our cops have relationship issues with many in the community so I though the hugging image was powerful and potentially impactful.

cheers.

Cian said...

"helmet or don't wear a helmet, but please don't whine"

Let's get this straight, you are "whining" about somebody else "whining" and at the same time you ask people not to "whine"?... well done.

Mikael said...

whining is reserved for people who dont' have an alternative. we do, here at copenhagenize.com. it's called promoting cycling positively.

johnathon: a man of your influence should really be thinking about all aspects of the issues. you can promote helmets or cycling, you cannot do both.

david: a nice thought. unfortunately there is too much science out there that shows helmet promotion and legislation reduces the number of cyclists. so they're 'reaching out' with fear and they're selling cars in the process.

Anonymous said...

Let's get this straight, you are "whining" about somebody else "whining" and at the same time you ask people not to "whine"?Not at. I'm *ranting*. There's a difference.

portlandize.com said...

@Jonathan:

I would love to see our police out giving hugs and handing out donuts (though that might creep some people out a bit) :) Maybe we should talk to them about doing something like the Shift coffee on the bridges type thing... position themselves around town and hand out coffee to people walking/biking past, and just chat with them.

Certainly, I think the image of police being friendly and having positive interaction with people is a very good one, and something that would be fantastic to see in Portland more. Sorry if I misunderstood your emphasis on BikePortland.

Matt Boulanger said...

"You can promote helmets or cycling, you cannot do both."

I don't agree. Not everybody thinks of wearing a helmet as a negative aspect of or a barrier to cycling. Plenty of people riding without helmets all the time is testament to that.

I too was more interested in the police/hugging aspect of the video than the helmet part.

Anonymous said...

Mikael,

Brilliant. The Stalinist wing of the cycling movement has found a way of silencing their opponents: arguing that the mere *promotion* of helmet wearing (as opposed to legislation) is harmful to the cause. The evidence for this that I have seen for this claim (http://www.cyclehelmets.org/1020.html) is pretty weak, usually pretty close to the margin of error.

In "Copenhaganizing" means making cycling an integral part of the everyday life of a city, I'm on board. If it means enforcing some kind of ideological purity, count me out.

Adrienne Johnson said...

The whole idea of this video is insidious and nasty. Big Brother loves you and wants nothing but the best for you and yours. BB wants you to be warm and safe and fat and happy and dumb. BB wants to make sure that even when expressing your God given freedom of movement that you remember that nasty old Grimm Reaper that is always riding behind you on you rack, bony hands lovingly wrapped around your waist. Big Brother wants to give you a hug, and make you feel so good. He'll even give you a shiny new helmet to make you feel better. He knows it is just a lovey to keep your dreams peaceful, but you don't know, it is also his way of keeping you under control. As long as you wear it, you can see that reaper riding with you, and that will keep you from being too free. Because there is no helmet that keeps BB warm and happy. Nope. He just pores out all this love, all these hugs and gets nothing back. But your loyalty. And the power to decide your life.

Think about it.

Cian said...

Anonymous @ 19:18 -- ranting/whining/whatever.

Anonymous @ 19:34 -- Yes, if you are of the view helmets are disproportional measure, then the "mere" promotion of helmet wearing is harmful to promoting of normal city cycling.

It's basic logic: Perceived danger has been recorded as a reasons why people in countries such as the UK and US do not cycle, and if the use of cycle helmets are disproportional then such use could easily make cycling appear more dangerous.

Erik Sandblom said...

Anonymous 19:34, I think you'll agree that you can't always have your cake and eat it. Either cycling is safe, or you need a helmet. And if you do need one, it must be unsafe. So in that sense, promotion and legislation both establish that cycling is unsafe.

Cian said...

Just to add to that if helmets for normal city cycling are a disproportional measure, then the promotion of helmet wearing by state-funded bodies (such as road safety agencies) is a misuse of public funds.

And at the moment, with governments having less to spent, that could be an even more serious issue than normal.

Finnigan said...

Adrienne,

Just curious: would you interpret a UNICEF commercial ("look at all those grateful dark children, saved by our white benevolence!") or an anti-smoking campaign ("hey dude! smoking ain't hop! if you want hang with the popular kids, put down that butt") in the same manner? In other words: are you against manipulative advertising and the power of the state, or are you just annoyed that someone suggests that you might wear a helmet?

Mikael said...

Gee, I'd say "against manipulative advertising and the power of the state"

you had to ask? adrienne's comment was exquisitely composed and with little room for a misinterpretation of her point.

Adrienne Johnson said...

Finnigan- I have no issue with anyone wearing a helmet. I think they are useless, but if it gets you on your bike, do it. I HATE, let me say that again, HATE, fear based propaganda. If one needs to stoop to fear to get something done, then what they are doing is inherently flawed. Equating this crap to UNICEF is silly. UNICEF is about saving children from war and starvation. This stupid film about cops hugging us, is just pure fantastical BS.

Has anyone ever tried to touch a police officer when they are on duty? Try. See what it gets you. It will not be a hug, or a bike helmet.

Anonymous said...

You can promote helmets or cycling, you cannot do both.I think you'll agree that you can't always have your cake and eat it. Either cycling is safe, or you need a helmet.From a "logical" point of view, how is this different from "Either cycling is safe, or you need brakes" or "Either cycling is safe, or you need to tighten your quick release as described in the user's manual"?

You may disagree with those who promote helmets, but they can cite research too, and it is no more illogical to promote "cycling with helmets" than to promote "sex with condoms" or "open-heart surgery with anesthesia." Misguided or uniformed, perhaps, but not illogical.

Anonymous said...

Man, I wish that we could complain about the subtle differences of state sanctioned helmet wearing as an agenda to frame bike riding as unsafe.

Instead, here in the US we have officers punching and arresting bike riders for not wearing a helmet:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KrESXfoNv2k&feature=related

Or officers condoning hit and run behavior:

http://www.westsidebikeside.com/hummer-hits-cyclist-officer-cho-sympathizes-with-the-driver-adding-and-i-carry-a-gun-in-my-car/

Finnigan said...

Adrienne,

Your point would be well-taken... if there in fact was a grim reaper in the commercial, but alas that image is a figment of your imagination. Nor are there any images of injured cyclists in wheel chairs. Rather than focus on fear, the commercial focuses primarily on benevolence. Now you may find the idea of benevolent cops promoting helmets to be obnoxious, but it isn't very different from other public service campaigns, propaganda-wise.

Cian said...

Anonymous @ 20:59 -- "Misguided or uniformed, perhaps, but not illogical"

What?... Are you sure you know what illogical means? The Cambridge dictionary says its is "not reasonable, wise or practical, usually because directed by the emotions rather than by careful thought."

So, if something is disproportional it is most likely also illogical.

Anonymous @ "agenda to frame bike riding as unsafe" ... for the most party is it a misguided and uniformed safety agenda, but the results are the same.

Adrienne Johnson said...

Finnigan- Your rose tinted glasses do you a disservice. If the police are interested in my safety, then why not ticket the guy that right hooked me 2 days ago? If they are so interested in my well being, then why do they allow cars to drive 20 miles an hour over the speed limit in front of my home, which is a recognized bicycle corridor? If they care to see me reach my destination in one piece, why do they not write tickets for drivers that speed through red lights but stop me for rolling, slowly, through a stop sign where there are no cars?

Because bicycles are an easy target. Because, when in their cars, they break the rules just like every other diver out there. Because car companies give money and money and money to governments to keep them happy (even in this bailout, you think the government pays full price for cars?)

This debate is about a band aid covering up a gangrenous limb. Until the fact that there is not enough physical space on this planet to give every car on it enough room to not crash into anything is faced up to, then we will have this completely ridiculous conversation, and fictitious cops will give out helmets and hugs on you tube to people who think it will help.

Off I go for coffee and a book.

Peter said...

I am wearing a helmet (in the proper way) during cycling, because I usually commute among cars and we don't have those beautiful protected bike lanes as you Coppenhageners do, but I never tell people to do so, because I can fully understand those, who are against helmets. If you cycle as the majority of people in CPH (15-20 km/h, protected lanes, etc.), you really do not need a helmet. It is not like the seat belt in a car - if you are the only one not using it, you can kill the others during a crash. But if you don't use a helmet in a risky environment (not thinking about CPH, but the majority places I ride here in Budapest), you risk your life only, so you have to decide if your pace and environment really needs a helmet or not. But forcing people to wear a helmet is nonsense. And I really don't want a hug from a police officer :D It's strange, that they are stopping only guys :D

Anonymous said...

Cian,

Ok fine. *Prove* that helmets are a disproportional measure. Otherwise, your opinions and mine are simply that: opinions, informed by equivocal data and, yes, emotion.

Erik Sandblom said...

Anonymous 20:59, safety is more a behavioural issue then a technical one. Brakes are only a safety issue if they do something you didn't expect. So it's your expectations, your behaviour, which govern your safety. If you have bad brakes, just slow down earlier!

Anyway, where's the "take care of your bike" campaign?

Anonymous 21:34, this graph shows that helmet-wearing didn't reduce head injuries in New Zealand.
Adult cyclist head injuries versus helmet usein New Zealand

Anonymous said...

Erik, Cian, etc.

Well, these studies show that helmets *do* reduce injuries:

http://depts.washington.edu/hiprc/practices/topic/bicycles/helmeteffect.html

Your turn.

Anonymous said...

I personally don't see why this is offensive. Regardless of the motives of who ever produced this video, I find it quite touching. I could only dream of such a thing happening in the USA. Cops stopping you on a bike and giving you a helmet and a hug. I am very much against helmet laws, but I am all for promoting them. And all of you anti helmet activists, who say helmets don't do anything to help or make injuries worse are simply insane. if people don't want to wear helmets fine, there not going to harm anyone but themselves, and if that's they only way they get enjoyment out of ridding bikes then go for it. But again to say helmets don't help protect you, thats just madness. I was recently hit by a car while ridding my bike on my way to work. And guess what, my head hit the car pretty damn hard. and guess what ells I was wearing a helmet. Judgeing from the damage to the helmet my head would have been pretty damn fucked up, if it hadn't been on. So ya I'm all for wearing helmets, and if it means looking like an asshat and being slightly less comfortable than so be it, because you know what I would rather live to ride another day. I generally enjoy your web sites but when you get into your anti zealot helmet ranting you definitely start to loose me. Let not let the fight against stupid and overbearing legislation get in the way of common sense.

Anonymous said...

erik.. just slow down earlier are you fucking kidding me. ya that work really well when a car pulled out in front of me unexpectedly to make a left hand turn going in the opposite direction. I guess I could have slowed down earlier if I had a fucking crystal ball on my bike telling me a car was about to clock me

Erik Sandblom said...

Anonymous 23:18, those are case-control studies, where groups of cyclists, with and without helmets, have been compared. Predictions from these studies have not been borne out when helmet laws have been introduced. Helmet laws have not affected the rate of head injuries. See halfway down the page:

The effect of enforced helmet laws: less cycling and no effect on the proportion of head injuries

Erik Sandblom said...

Anonymous 00:24, ya that work really well when a car pulled out in front of me unexpectedly to make a left hand turn going in the opposite direction.But if you had been going slow enough, you would have had time to stop. (That's not saying the other guy wasn't at fault)

Per L Johansen said...

I accept the argument, that some people would prefer cars, if they were forced to use a helmet. Ofcourse it is better to roll your bike, even without at helmet, than use a car.In that greater view you have a point.

But please dont argument, that a naked head on the tarmac is just as good (bad) as a protected one. My belowed wife crased with less than 5 kmh, and hit the ground with the helmet. The helmet broke, but she didnt have one scratch.

Wear a helmet or not, its your own business. But dont think that it might not help!

Rogério Leite said...

dear... translated, adapted and copied to portuguese in my own blog http://pedalandoeolhando.blogspot.com Wonderful!!

Adrienne Johnson said...

OK. I am back and I have had some more time to think about this.

The whole 'my helmet saved my life' discussion does not belong in this thread, because that is so not the issue.

The issue is fear.

If this video were truly meant to be just a fun piece of helmet promotion, there would have been local celebrities or girls in bikinis or something of that nature out there hugging people and giving them helmets.

By nature of the fact that police officers, in uniform,were put out on the street makes this a piece of government backed propaganda. We are all taught at a young age to not argue with police officers, that they are out to protect us (not necessarily bad info). If a cop waves you over and gives you a helmet, the underlying message is "you better wear it".

So... this film becomes more than 'helmet promotion'. It becomes a, not so subtle, reminder that, for now, it is your choice to wear a helmet or not, but we can change that if you do not say yes.

They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety- Benjamin Franklin

anon 00:24 said...

yes for the record the other guy was at fault, and the police report rulled totally in my favor. so just go slower that's your answer, seed is one thing I will never give up. It seems odd to me that you would make such a big deal about wearing helmets and hot it takes the joy out of cycling. When I can't think of anything less fun than only ridding 5 miles an hour with or without a helmet

Anonymous said...

Erik,

I never advocated for helmet laws (nor did anyone in this thread). As for studies, we can trade competing results all day. The point is that this is an area where intelligent people disagree. Helmet-advocating cyclists aren't the enemy.

If a definitive study resolves this question once and for all and I turn out to wrong (in thinking that helmets protect riders from head injuries), I'll admit it. I hope you will do the same.

- Anonymous 19:34, 20:59, 23:18 (I know: I need a handle)

Erik Sandblom said...

Anonymous 19:34, 20:59, 23:18, 01:11:

Ok! :-)

Erik Sandblom said...

so just go slower that's your answer, seed is one thing I will never give up.Well to be precise, safety is more a behavioural issue then a technical one, like I said. In this case the brakes are not so much a safety feature as a way to let you go faster!

Kevin Love said...

Anonymous 01:11 wrote:
"Helmet-advocating cyclists aren't the enemy."

Kevin's comment:
I disagree. They give the false impression that cycling is dangerous. That is an untrue slander that deters people from taking up cycling, and incites parents to discourage their children from cycling.

If these people really believed in safety, they would encourage all car drivers and passengers to wear helmets. That would save a lot more lives than cycle helmets. Better yet, encourage all private cars to be legally banned from within city limits. That would really save lives.

But, of course, it is not about saving lives.

My friends believe that cycling is a normal everyday activity for ordinary people to get around Toronto wearing ordinary clothes safely and with zero hassle.

My friends believe that cycling is the fastest way of getting around central Toronto. No fuss, no muss, no bother. Just get on the bike and go.

Those people are not my friends who believe that cycling is some sort of bizarre, exotic, dangerous activity that requires all kinds of special clothing and kit that needs to be fussed with all the time.

Anonymous 19:34, 20:59, 23:18, 01:11 said...

Kevin,

"Those people"? Gimme a break. So the legions of North American commuters and recreational cyclists who wear helmets are your enemies? And I'd love to hear your theory on why they wear and promote helmets, if not for safety. Are they auto-industry stooges, perhaps? Bike-helmet company executives? Aliens?

I like the comment about clothing, by the way. If you judge your friends on their clothing and spend your time worrying about what is "normal," then I feel sorry for your friends.

Cycling is not a f*&%ing club, with an ideological purity test and a dress code (whether "bizarre," padded cycling clothing or "Kevin casual").

Anonymous said...

Cyclist, who are not wearing a helmet are not the problem and they are not to blame for the aggressive debate who has arised lately. The helmet debate comes from somewhere else. If you want to wear a helmet- please do so. No one has never advocated for a law that says that it should be forbidden to wear one. It is your choise. It is also your choise to not wear one so why do so many advocate a law that should force people into helmetwearing?
If we could accept each others choises, we should not have this helmet war.

marius said...

We have been biking for more than a hundred years in Denmark - suddenly it is necessary to wear protective equipment. Why is that?

The thing that has changed is a massive increase in car ownership and motorized traffic. In addition traffic solutions are being made predominantly in favor of motorized traffic.

The result is less space for soft traffic and increased stress. Traffic planning is being constructed not from the number of trafficants, but based on tonnage. The answer to the situation seems to be: Don't like it? Wear a helmet! I wonder when pedestrians will be offered helmets.

The Netherlands have solved the problem of motorized traffic by giving cyclists a safe environment in generally isolating motorized traffic from pedestrians and bicycles.

The city shouldn't be a dangerous place, but a place where people live. I feel the offer of protective equipment is a step away from safety and an embrace of danger.

Anonymous 19:34, 20:59, 23:18, 01:11, 03:43 said...

Cyclist, who are not wearing a helmet are not the problem and they are not to blame for the aggressive debate who has arised lately. The helmet debate comes from somewhere else. If you want to wear a helmet- please do so. No one has never advocated for a law that says that it should be forbidden to wear one. It is your choise. It is also your choise to not wear one so why do so many advocate a law that should force people into helmetwearing?
If we could accept each others choises, we should not have this helmet war.
I agree that we should all be tolerant, but it's the anti-helmet contingent on this blog which has been intolerant:

Exhibit 1: Mikael "you can promote helmets or cycling, you cannot do both."

Exhibit 2: Kevin (in response to "Helmet-advocating cyclists aren't the enemy."): "I disagree."

I used to see "Copenhagenize," like the city that gives it its name, as a tolerant, enlightened community, open to cycling in all of its forms. Not any more.

Cyclo said...

Oh no, helmet wars again! In a recent UK court case the judge said cyclists could receive less compensation following a crash if they weren't wearing a helmet. (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/road-and-rail-transport/4996230/Cyclists-will-receive-less-accident-compensation-if-not-wearing-a-helmet.html) But what about pedestrians - or drivers? Surely helmets would help them if they help cyclists so much? Or would helmet-wearing make walkers and drivers look daft ... or make the activities look more dangerous than they are?
The jury is still out on whether helmets, per se, are effective or counter-effective, but the effect of pressure for helmet-wearing on bicycle use is beyond doubt: it puts people off cycling. By all means wear a helmet if you feel safer doing so, but please don't let that blind you into supporting insiduous pro-helmet advertising the aim of which is to generate profit for the helmet maker regardless of how it affects cycling overall.
I would ask ** everyone ** reading this column to look at http://cyclehelmets.org/1139.html which provides counter arguments to those who say "a helmet saved my life", or "I wear a helmet because I cycle in traffic".

Kevin Love said...

I am not totally against helmet use. For example, it is reasonable for a helmet to be worn by the highly skilled trick jumper at:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z19zFlPah-o&eurl=http%3A%2F%2Fspacing%2Eca%2Fwire%2F&feature=player_embedded

His flip off a tree at 3:10 is, in my opinion, the best trick.

But for me going to work or the grocery store is neither dangerous nor exotic. To say that it is and that I should use a bicycle helmet is a grossly false slander against bicycle use.

Unfortunately, these falsehoods have serious consequences. Consequences that include people not riding their bicycle. Consequences that include inciting parents to discourage their children from riding.

Consequences that include the great USA obseity epidemic and its resulting diabetes, heart diseases and other lethal consequences.

The results are in. From Australia: helmet laws discourage bicycle use. From Denmark: public helmet promotion discourages bicycle use. From The Netherlands: bicycle use leads to a multitude of health benefits. From the USA: An obesity epidemic is lethal.

Conclusion: bicycle helmets are bad news. They kill and injure far more people than they have ever helped. On the grounds of freedom I do not advocate that bicycle helmets be banned by law, but I do strongly discourage their use. Except for stunt jumpers like Danny MacAskill.

Anonymous said...

Ms Johnson's analogy needs to be repeated:

"If they are so interested in my well being, then why do they allow cars to drive 20 miles an hour over the speed limit in front of my home,...This debate is about a band aid covering up a gangrenous limb."

Exactly. Until we address the real problems of how our safety and civility are sacrificed to the conveniences of auto-centrism, the wounds will only get worse as the "remedies" are just band aids.
Jack

Anonymous said...

No one is advocating for a law that forbid bikers to wear helmets. The opposite way, many pro-helmet bikers advocate a compusling law to force the anti-helmet bikers to wear one.
A big difference. Freedom of choice..to whom?

Anonymous Anonymous 19:34, 20:59, 23:18, 01:11, 03:43, 15:41 said...

No one is advocating for a law that forbid bikers to wear helmets. The opposite way, many pro-helmet bikers advocate a compusling law to force the anti-helmet bikers to wear one.
A big difference. Freedom of choice..to whom?


Well, no one *on this blog* has proposed a law against bike helmets, and yet there have been plenty of nasty comments to the effect that "those who wear helmet are not my friends" and "those who promote helmets cannot be cycling advocates."

I'm actually against helmet laws. Happy now? Can we move on?

Please address the comments actually made on the blog (in good faith, I might add).

Anonymous said...

Adrienne, I think you're over analyzing the message behind the video just a little too much.

A little perspective said...

Everyone should read this useful perspective from a Richard Layman:

http://urbanplacesandspaces.blogspot.com/2009/03/bike-helmets.html

Basically the argument is that it is rational for Americans to wear helmets and for Europeans to pass on them, due to differences in infrastructure and urban environment.

Obviously, we Americans would be better off if our cities looked like Copenhagen, but in the meantime, please bear with us while we try to avoid serious injury.

Anonymous said...

Layman: "In the U.S., what bicyclists don't realize is that the issue isn't about us, it's about 2,000 to 4,000 pound cars, how fast they move on the city's streets, and if they hit us, not if we ride and obey all the traffic rules."

MOST cyclists (and especially those who won't cycle) do realize this. Our over-dependence on over-expanded roads, leads to higher speed limits, less safety for cyclists and thus the cry for more helmets. But those screaming for helmets are not addressing the real problems (ie. auto-centrism).

No our cities don't have to look like Copenhagen, we by lowering our speed limits, use road space more equitably and have Complete Streets.
Jack

Lloyd Alter said...

Thanks for the tipoff, I have corrected the post on TreeHugger where I took it for granted that it was real. Silly me to think that helmets were a good thing in certain environments less sophisticated about bikes than Denmark.

Adrienne Johnson said...

Anonymous 20:18- I could be over thinking this, but as this little film is just a part of an over all campaign that is sweeping many countries around the world, I am not. It isn't just this issue, either. This is no different than the hysteria over "Swine Flu". If you use the word 'pandemic' enough, lots of people will watch the news and get fearful and lock themselves in their homes. If you use the words 'brain injury' enough, people will start thinking that the only logical conclusion to a bike ride is becoming a vegetable.

The only way to live fully is to address fear and to conquer it head on. If we do not recognize fear mongering for what it is, we will become victims of it. Otherwise we become the suburban Mom who buys a Land Rover because it is 'safer' instead of working to get people to be more responsible drivers, and we all know where that is leading us.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Anonymous said,

Who's screaming? There's no cyclist-initiated helmet crusade in North America. All people are doing is encouraging people to protect themselves. But apparently this is heresy.

How is this good for cycling?

lifestraveller said...

Ahg....that last video, was, was, disturbing to say the least (a little bit chauvinist too, but as we say in spain, tiran más dos tetas que dos carretas, which translated would be something like, 2 tits pull more than two carts---more or less)...

Anyway, let's go to the importan thing here. I was here last year for 3 months and I've just been here, this time, for 2 weeks and I have already noticed the ENORMOUS increase of cyclists with helmets. I mean, one day in a red traffic light of all the ppl rushing home, i guess, i could only count 2 cyclist without a helmet, me and some other girl. WTF!!!! I don't even use a helmet in my city, Sevilla, and I can assure you that there is infinately more dangerous to cycle than here, because the bike lanes are quite lame, becaause drivers are maniacs and aren't cyclists, etc, etc. But not even there ppl use a helmet on a regular basis.

I mean, what's the use of having a whole infrastucture to cycle safe in a city, if then you have to wear helmets??? If you had to struggle with horrid traffic like in Sevilla many years ago, I would say, ok, that seems fair enough (in fact, my brother had a nasty accident many years ago, and doctors said that thanks to his helmet and good glasses he didn't get more injured than he did)...but then, for me, one of the reasons to start cycling everywhere is that it got safer, and that we got our own bike lane.

So, what are you doing in Copenhagen??? I don't understand really!!! The other day at work they were talking about that, and eventhough it was in danish, i could understand that many of the professors there said that they couldn't dare cycling without a helmet now! Unvelievable!


What it's sure that this doesn't help ppl going on bikes...for me, to take an example, if i had to buy a helmet because it's mandatory to wear one, I would have to consider it. Not nice to bring a helmet everywhere...i'm not a motorbike, for god's sake!

Just a cyclist said...

Really, all this helmet hysteria leads slovly and surely but inevitably to the notion that not wearing it - and thus "not protecting oneself" - becoming the heresy and voilá, enter the legislation.

Donna said...

To Lifestraveller

I just don´t know either what happened to Denmark. I live in the nanny state of Sweden and before we could go to Copenhagen to find relaxing and some sense of personal freedoom. We don´t do that anymore. It is sad that Denmark has been taken this direction, far from other european bike countries. No wrong with wanting to wear a helemt, but this dramatically change of life style is scaring.What happened to Denmark? Free old good denmark?

Anonymous said...

hi
this is roop.
i stikkered my name on my bike's head light with whitecolor. its not disturbing the focus of the light.
is it okay according to police rules in india?

Anonymous said...

Maybe you should be a politician. Instead of babbling here. Idiot.

Mikael said...

ah, such a civilised comment. thanks so much for sharing. no, really.

Jacqui said...

I haven't had time to read all the comments, but as an Australian who is forced to wear a helmet (and has been fined for not wearing one) I have some strong opinions on the matter. I am not going to go into great detail here, but apart from the fact that in Australia you cannot think of promoting cycling without promoting "cycling safety" (or letting everyone know that cycling is an UNSAFE activity that only irresponsible members of society can possibly undertake unless they have done a full risk assessment before hopping on their bike) - and the compulsory helemts just cap this off, I think helmets do change the way we identify ourselfs when we are cycling.

When we put on our magic hard cased hats, we become .... cyclists. No, we cannot just be ordinary people riding a bike to get around - we are identified - spotted a mile away. I was struck by a phrase I heard in a copenhagen cycling film "You don't think about the fact you are a cyclist - You just cycle" How I wish Australians could feel that way.

Anonymous said...

It's all about the perspective. If you wish to stay as safe as possible, personally, wear a helmet. It may help in a few marginal cases, after all. If, on the other hand, society at large wishes for citizens to be as healthy, and safe, as possible, it will have to promote cycling positively. And forget everything about helmets.