Bikes are not cars, and infrastructure is better than helmets
CC BY 2.0 Lloyd Alter/ Vancouver bike infrastructure
We do go on about bike safety, primarily the question of whether the emphasis should be on building better infrastructure for cyclists so they don’t get squished or mandating helmets for their head to try and protect them when they do. On the Alternative Department for Transport, a UK website, the author notes that in the UK people do wear helmets and hi-vis vests- because they are afraid not to.
If we genuinely want to make cycling safer, more helmets aren’t the solution. They are really a good indicator that the streets aren’t safe. When people don’t feel safe when cycling, they will wear a helmet – and hi-vis vest – with or without advertising.
Higher helmet use shouldn’t be a goal, it should be seen as a failure of policy, an embarrassing statistic. An increase in helmets is a sign that the government has failed miserably in their duty to provide safe streets.
The Minister of the ADFT (he doesn’t give his name) goes on to suggest that the real solution is better infrastructure, with good bike lanes optimized for safety. He suggests that helmet laws and promotion campaigns are just a way for governments to shift responsibility, as if they are saying saying “if you get hurt, you’ve only yourself to blame”...
In July of 2006 a few of my friends joined me on an inaugural bike tour of West Virginia. I spent that winter planning a variety of routes through the Monongahela National Forest, and this would be our first of many weekend tours in the Mid-Atlantic Region. An early morning departure from the Pittsburgh area had us loading up the trailers high atop Spruce Knob . The starting point for this 60-mile mixed-touring loop was the Big Run/Allegheny trailhead off Route 112. Heading clockwise, we utilized forest roads, rail-trails, and paved roads. The reality of pulling our belongings behind us set in as we headed down the dusty and rolling forest road, quickly understanding why West Virginia is known as "The Mountain State." Soon we were treated to one of many mountain vistas. After rolling onto pavement (Route 28), we climbed over Allegheny Mountain and coasted into our campsite for the evening -- Island Campground , situated on the banks of the East Fork of the Greenbrier
have had some very fun excursions on rail trails , disused railways turned into pedestrian/bike paths. The trails typically go through very beautiful areas and rarely do you have to concern yourself with motorized traffic of any kind. Reader Will appears to be interested in rails as well, but he wants to ride on them - literally. Check it out - Will included the following text - A rail-bike is a bicycle that has been modified to be able to ride on the rails of a railroad. The front wheel has a device attached to it so that the bike won’t steer off the rail while an outrigger is used to support the bike using the other rail. I used conduit, cut up “razor” scooters parts, one bike fork two bits of steel and numerous nuts, bolts, washers and retaining pins. Nothing is welded. The hardest part is getting the spacing right so that friction and play are minimized. A lot of person hours certainly went in to this working model and the details are pretty amazing. [Keep re