"taking a header"
Let's "take a header" into the nerdy topic of bike safety.
For 130 years the most popular bicycle design has been the safety bicycle.
The "safety" model introduced even wheel size and chain-drive gearing.
all ages can safely ride "safety-bikes" or "city-bikes"
Some of the many factors that create safe cycling for the Dutch include-
- riding a safety bike
- teaching and practicing basic bike skills from a young age
- designing streets that accommodate and promote cycling
- designing streets and laws that protect cyclists from drivers
- a shared sense of understanding (most Dutch drivers also bike)
Riding a bike is amazingly safe. In the US there is 1 bike death per 5 million bike trips, or 85 lifetimes of riding twice a day.
If biking is so safe, why are we terrified of it?
I believe part of the problem is the bikes we choose to ride (or not ride).
mountain, hybrid, touring bikes
safety bikes (city bikes, utility bikes)
For novice or weak cyclists an upright posture bike is the best. It has a number of benefits including line of sight (easier to look behind, check axis of the head) and that these bikes require less skill to operate.
Signs that you need a more upright bike-
Riding without hands or stretching for the handlebars.
The easiest and safest bike to ride is still the safety-bike.
Upright posture, normal clothes, happy bike rider.
Consider a pair of cruiser handlebars and street tires for an old mountain bike.
The Dutch and Danes have proved that even with vehicular traffic, cycling can be extremely safe. These nations lead the world in traffic safety and have been refining the craft for over 40 years.
Why are our roads so much more dangerous?
US road design needs to be improved for the safety of all road users.
Why is biking so much more dangerous? It's not!
Biking is nearly as safe as driving in the US for injuries.
Biking is safer than driving by far for overall health
77:1 health to risk ratio.
77:1 health to risk ratio.
Anyone near a car driver is at risk for severe injury or death. Moving thousands of pounds in public is never "safe", especially at speeds over 20 mph.
But the car is much safer when used in northern Europe. High levels of traffic safety are obtained by building safe streets, enforcing laws to protect the vulnerable, minimizing the need for cars, and educating the public. Traffic safety is mandatory for youth in the Netherlands and includes the rules for walking, biking, and driving. Most important for safety is the fact that many people ride.
Get people riding, get safer streets.
Accident rate declines as more people ride, Minneapolis.
Accident rate declines as more people ride, Portland.
Marin County saw 34% decrease in accidents with 66% biking growth.
To get more people riding, bicyclists must feel safe when they are riding.