Re: [messengers] Cycling Without a Helmet

Date: Fri Jan 15 05:04:57 2010
From: Austin Bauman <austin@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>

helmet saved me yesterday.  Frame broke while I was riding.  I went
over the front and dug into the ground head first.  If it weren't for
the helmet, it would have been a lot worse ... (or if I had been


On Thu, Jan 14, 2010 at 9:39 PM, Michael Dodd <mikeydodds@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> *I* think the sydney morning herald are turning into the good guys....
> *"Cathy Duder, the New Zealand police officer who stopped two naked cyclists
> at the flashy beach resort of Whangamata just before Christmas, let them off
> with a warning - not about the nudity but about the lack of protective
> clothing on their heads.*
> *On the nudity front she was blase. "They were more shocked than I," she
> mused, though that's a little hard to swallow. The chaps were sober, after
> all, and must have known they were laying bare their privates for scrutiny.
> Yet the senior constable dismissed the nakedness as an innocent bid for
> ''total freedom''. The absence of headwear, though, that was serious.*
> *The incident shows how eccentric NZ really is. I mean yes, it adds piquancy
> to the field of bike-seat erotica, from Alexander Waugh's observation that
> his great-grandfather Alfred was obsessed by "pretty girls on bicycles" to
> Paul Keating's preferred pejorative for investigative journalists as
> "bicycle-seat sniffers". Globally, though, it must principally be seen as a
> good fashion opportunity squandered, since cycling, you may have noticed, is
> suddenly chic.*
> *This isn't just about the purist fixies (those uber-primitive bikes without
> gears or brakes derived from New York's West Indian courier tribes) versus
> sedate '60s ladies' bikes that now, renovated, outsell new ones. Suddenly
> there is a whole new world of cycle fashionistas - clothes, bags,
> accessories for self and bike including handlebar cup holders.*
> *Helmets, however, are decidedly uncool. Many argue helmets save lives. But
> the opposing arguments are equally numerous and, actually, pretty plausible.
> Not only are proper randomised studies hard to come by - like, where are the
> volunteers? There are also unanswered questions about how helmets modify
> cyclists' behaviour, making them less likely (some say more) to take risks.
> Or how helmet-wearing relates to personality type and gender (the causality
> here being reversed).*
> *But the point really is this. Countries with highest bike use and no helmet
> laws also have fewest bike fatalities - Denmark and the Netherlands being
> the most obvious. Copenhagen initiated the Slow Bicycle Movement, the
> non-lycra approach to cycling. There, 37 per cent of commutes and a
> staggering 55 per cent of all trips are by bike. In Sydney, where cyclists
> are routinely spat on and abused, it's more like 1 per cent, but rising.*
> *In London I used to cycle everywhere, not at first from choice - though it
> did prove addictive - but because driving was like pushing slugs through
> mud, and the alternatives even more disgusting. I'm saddened to report I
> never cycled nude, or for that matter helmeted, but I did do it in peach
> suede stilettos, long diamante earrings, houndstooth miniskirt, fur-lined
> mittens and ankle-deep snow, sometimes all at once. Only for the snow was I
> stopped by police.*
> *No such nonsense in Sydney. Arriving here we were advised to quit cycling,
> much as they tell you to move to the burbs to procreate. (Why children have
> this special claim to mind-numbing boredom I've never understood although
> perhaps, again, the causality is inverted; it's the tedium that aids
> conception.)*
> *"Nup," they shook their heads sagely. "No one cycles here. London, sure,
> people have manners. Not here. Much too dangerous." And for a while - OK, a
> decade - I caved in. Sold the bike, played safe. As a mother you feel
> obliged to stay more or less alive.*
> *Now I've thought again. Not about survival, about cycling. And not just as
> exercise - twice round the park with the lycra legions then fossil-fuel-it
> home for breakfast - but as transport. I like streets, real world, feeling
> purposeful. I also like those little bike-logos, strewn round the streets
> like welcome mats. They change nothing, legally, except how it feels on that
> fragile, whizzy machine. And, it finally dawned, only if people do it, will
> people do it.*
> *Plus - and this is key - it's fun. Exhilarating, even, to arrive at the
> opera or the formal meeting with raised pulse, no parking worries and zero
> emissions. It has a rakish, adventurous quality - not nude, but close.*
> *Imagine my surprise then to be recently stopped by police. Not for being
> nude (which I wasn't) or even for riding on a footpath without appropriate
> signage (which I was). "We're cracking down on cyclists without helmets,"
> said the coppers, writing my details into their notebooks.*
> *A true road warrior would have checked their credentials. How did I know
> they even were cops, not petrol-head thugs on a road-rage revenge binge? But
> I was fully occupied not coming back with some kind of kamikaze quip.
> "Cracking down, officer? On cycling without helmets? You kidding me? What
> about cracking down on our third-generation neighbourhood smack dealers over
> there? Or the local housebreaking fraternity?"*
> *The best way to encourage cycling is enhancing safety, but the best way to
> do that is to increase numbers. Circular argument. Fining cyclists won't
> help. Cycle lanes will (instead of promises); stopping the gas-and-telco
> guys leaving long, tyre-grabbing road scars; smoothing kerb crossings that
> are routinely the size of the Tamarama escarpment; giving priority at
> lights. Then maybe your standard cyclists will behave more like homo sapiens
> and less like, well, Tony Abbott. But next time you're tempted to nude
> highway cycling, remember, the roads are to share. Like the sign says. Cover
> your load. Fines apply. Mine eyes dazzle"*
> _______________________________________________
> Messengers mailing list
> Messengers@xxxxxxxxx

Austin Bauman
Owner / Messenger
Green Fleet Messengers

work: (615) 463-0602
cell: (615) 870-8848

"When you send a bicycle, you replace a car."