Comment 65463

By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted June 30, 2011 at 23:14:27

A bike helmet might save your life. Or it might not - there's a hundred ways to die on a bike ride that a helmet won't protect you from. Similarly, riding without a helmet won't necessarily mean your death (I've seen it!). If you're riding safely and people around you driving/walking/cycling safely, it shouldn't be necessary. Unfortunately, sometimes it is.

Our streets are not safe. This has nothing to do with cyclists, and wouldn't change even if every single cyclist set out with a helmet tomorrow. This has, in part, to do with the behaviour of drivers, as well as the layout of our streets. Everyone is at risk, from people on skateboards to mobility scooters. Until this is addressed, we won't be safe, no matter how much armour we wear.

As far as my own judgement of driver failure goes, I like to apply the "stroller test". If an accident or near-accident happens when the other party (car, bike, skater, pedestrian, myself etc) is doing something totally unexpected or unwise, that's one thing. But what if it had been a parent with a stroller in a totally expected place/situation? Would they have been able to stop in time? If not, then they were not driving safely. Sadly, all too often, I see people fail this test.

As far as cycling goes - we have a responsibility too. I have no problem admitting that. Ride on the road, signal your turns, and be as predictable as you can. And just as the fact that you're on a bike doesn't make you "wrong" (as drivers so often scream), it doesn't make you automatically "right" either.

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