25 August 2009

Wham Ban

Uh oh. Oh dear. Oh my. The Helmetologists ain't gonna like this one.

This blogpost by one of our readers raises some interesting angles about how cycling is percieved in some [read: far too many] countries.

Be sure to read the whole post and be sure to understand the point. And be sure to comment over at Adrian's blog, since he's the one who wrote it. It all wraps up with this paragraph:

"Cycle helmets are the most visible and potent symbol of all that’s wrong with Britain’s (anti-)cycling culture. Cycle helmets say we cannot cycle without the right precautions, the right equipment, the right infrastructure, the right training. Cycle helmets say there must be more to cycling than a person, two wheels and the surface of the Earth. Cycle helmets say that cycling is more dangerous than not cycling. Let’s ban them now before it’s too late. Let’s lock up all the people who buy them, who sell them, who use them. Let’s drag them off to jail in handcuffs, in tears."


chrismealy said...

You're taking the antihelmet thing way too far. There are some places where people need helmets. Some people want to bike faster than 20 kmh/12 mph.

I don't think Copenhagen should have a helmet law. I also think you should stop ridiculing people who wear helmets. You're not helping. You're just being snobs.

Mikael said...

please be sure to add your comment over at the blog from whence it originates. the chap who wrote it isn't in Copenhagen, he's in the UK.

Kim said...

As someone who lives and regularly cycle in the UK (often at speeds in excess of 20 kmh), I can safely state that cycle helmets are totally unnecessary. Not only are they unnecessary, but they are a barrier to people cycling, there are many people who could cycle as part of their everyday lives but are put off cycling by the perceived need to wear a silly hat.

Keep up the good work Mikael...

Erik Sandblom said...

Here's a new helmet test from Germany. Perhaps they can shed some light on more efficient helmet designs?

ADFC: Helmtest

test diagram here

workbike said...

The merchandise bandwagon continues: now there is a bike helmet lock. The comments of the designer about why he made them (at the end of the post)are revealing. Essentially he admits helmets are a pain and put him off cycling sometimes:


Anonymous said...

"There are some places where people need helmets. Some people want to bike faster than 20 kmh/12 mph." - yes, which is the limit of a helmets capability, so your point is?

Also on your blog you say - "At 15-25 mph you're going headfirst over the handlebars." - ??? what are you talking about?

And that speed is over the design spec of a helmet. At 25mph that's almost 4 times the energy a helmet is designed to take. They don't perform linearly, so that doesn't mean it will manage even 25% of the designed protection.

kimharding said...

Thanks Erik, needed a good laugh!

Anonymous said...

"Cycling is cheap? Can’t have that... Sending your children out on bikes without helmets is tantamount to child abuse."

Ouch... nothing like getting right to the heart of the matter. Truth is often communicated more effectively when mixed with humor.

Laurie said...

Compulsion should be the issue, not helmets although I tend to agree with the semiotics of Adrian's blog.

If I'm on a training ride, playing with the traffic or riding during Magpie/Honeyeater nesting season then I wear a helmet. If I'm pootling around my suburb or commuting within my district, then I prefer to not wear one. The decision should be mine, not a beaurocrat's.

... but Melbourne, Australia is a very different place to cycle than Paris or London.

Just a cyclist said...

Laurie, could Melbourne perhaps have been safer for cyclists if, 18 years ago, their needs would have been taken seriously instead of being "solved" with helmets?