Safety. It is a touchy subject for bicycle advocacy folks. Everyone wants it. But it is a powerful political tool to cry about lack of safety for cyclists on our city streets to get governments to create more bicycle infrastructure. This has the unfortunate side effect of reinforcing the general impression that cycling in traffic is dangerous. This impression keeps people that don’t ride from starting. Of course one of the primary goals of cycling advocates is to .. get more people cycling. A catch-22 within a catch-22.
Helmets are the classic example of this. A lot of folks won’t ride bikes because of bicycle helmets. They mess up hair, etc etc. So what is better? Would we (as advocates) rather see a bunch more people out riding, sans helmets? Or is it better to trump up the pro-helmet campaign, which again underscores the danger or riding bicycles to the general public. As most of us are probably aware some of the locations that are most cycling friendly have the least amount of helmet use – and the least amount of cycling related deaths – or even head injuries.
There are a whole slew of technological solutions coming out that are trying to help address this by adding safety to cycling in a stylish, culturally easy to digest way. We at VeloReviews are going to start looking at some of these solutions in depth. As we do that, let us know what you think is the right balance here. Comment on this article, or join the forums and share your voice there. As always your thoughts help drive the discussion here at VeloReviews.