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Old 09-29-06, 10:27 AM   #1
LittleBigMan
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Helmet...and?

Wearing a helmet, no lights, pitch dark--I passed this cyclist this morning at 6:30 a.m.

Why rant about someone else's cycling?

Somehow, people are hearing, "Wear a helmet," but not hearing, "Use lights." How are we failing them?

Nobody would drive their car without lights. We take that for granted. How is it the message never gets to some cyclists? How is it they get a partial safety message? (By the way, I've seen a police officer on a bike in the dark without lights, too. I asked him why, he said he didn't need them.)
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Old 09-29-06, 10:31 AM   #2
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i mention and 'educate' fellow bicyclists i see with helpful, humorous comments about thier lack of safety equipment.

i kid the fixie riders about their 'nice 'helmets' i.e. cycling caps, or just hair, and comment to darklighters how i can hardly see them and how blinkies make a bike much safer to operate at night....
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Old 09-29-06, 10:51 AM   #3
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I've seen quite a few wrong way riders wearing helmets. A lot of good all those helmet advocates are doing
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Old 09-29-06, 11:53 AM   #4
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When a cycling advocate advocates for things regarding cycling, they should advocate for everything. Not just helmets use or proper visability techniques or just for VC, etc.

You either advocate for everything or nothing at all, IMO.
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Old 09-29-06, 12:05 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LittleBigMan
Nobody would drive their car without lights. We take that for granted.
Ummm.. what? Unfortunately, this is simply not true on my route.

Which of course only strengthens the rest of your argument, as it is MORE reason to have lights on the bike.

All the reflective gear in the world is useless if cars do not have working headlights.

And needless to say, cars without working lights, (although I usually only see two or three per evening) tend to be overrepresented in other forms of erratic driving as well.
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Old 09-29-06, 12:48 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by N_C
When a cycling advocate advocates for things regarding cycling, they should advocate for everything. Not just helmets use or proper visability techniques or just for VC, etc.

You either advocate for everything or nothing at all, IMO.
Unfortunately all this stuff costs money. Us advocates must really get on some of their nerves when we "advocate" that all cyclists should spend money on lights, helmets, "proper" bicycles, "VC" training, etc. Just a thought...

There are people who are enough on the edge that a $16 blinker tail light is simply not part of the balance sheet, much less a $30 helmet or a $200 class or a $550 "proper" bicycle. At least here, in Portland, we have campaigns which give away free helmets, and many times, when a cyclist is pulled over for not having lights, they are given some lighting by the police officer. If you want to "advocate for everything," many times that means providing everything as well.

So, when can I find a simple utility bike with built in lights, fenders and rack of solid construction which costs under $200? I think that this is the end game of cycling advocacy. But first the roads and drivers on those roads need to become more bike friendly. Otherwise, transportational cycling will forever be in the relm of the rich and upper middle class. But take heart, fine cycling advocates. There is no such thing as the "chicken and egg" problem. Evolution, which our roads and drivers are undergoing, very nicely takes care of this as long as there are still people playing the game and pushing society towards the reacceptance of bicycling for transportation.
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Old 09-29-06, 01:00 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LittleBigMan
Somehow, people are hearing, "Wear a helmet," but not hearing, "Use lights." How are we failing them?

Nobody would drive their car without lights. We take that for granted. How is it the message never gets to some cyclists? How is it they get a partial safety message? (By the way, I've seen a police officer on a bike in the dark without lights, too. I asked him why, he said he didn't need them.)
From the people I've talked to...Many bikers feel that they're just peds/joggers with wheels. So lighting is not needed just reflectors thank you!
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Old 09-29-06, 01:05 PM   #8
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From the people I've talked to...Many bikers feel that they're just peds/joggers with wheels. So lighting is not needed just reflectors thank you!
In a way they have a point. I've seen enough idiot pedestrians crossing or walking in the street in dark clothes after dark. And Darwin will treat cyclists just like Peds.
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Old 09-29-06, 01:19 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Ratliff
Unfortunately all this stuff costs money. Us advocates must really get on some of their nerves when we "advocate" that all cyclists should spend money on lights, helmets, "proper" bicycles, "VC" training, etc. Just a thought...

There are people who are enough on the edge that a $16 blinker tail light is simply not part of the balance sheet, much less a $30 helmet or a $200 class or a $550 "proper" bicycle. At least here, in Portland, we have campaigns which give away free helmets, and many times, when a cyclist is pulled over for not having lights, they are given some lighting by the police officer. If you want to "advocate for everything," many times that means providing everything as well.
How muich does a stay in ICU or the morgue cost?
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Old 09-29-06, 01:22 PM   #10
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I was wondering about this earlier today. I've heard people say that they think lights on bikes is dorky and uncool. I wonder how many of them would dream of driving their car around in full darkness without lights.

ghettocruiser: are those who drive without lights driving in town where there are street lights? Because I can understand that. Several times I've driven a few miles in town before realizing (usually when I leave town) that my lights are not on.
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Old 09-29-06, 01:40 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by nelson249
How muich does a stay in ICU or the morgue cost?
I agree, but Brian is right. Sometimes people-- me for example-- don't have the funds to buy needed safety equipment. It's easy to ask how much a stay in the ICU or morgue costs when you have the means to buy safety equipment. When you don't have the means, you have to decide whether to ride or walk.
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Old 09-29-06, 01:43 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Keith99
In a way they have a point. I've seen enough idiot pedestrians crossing or walking in the street in dark clothes after dark. And Darwin will treat cyclists just like Peds.
Agreed. I just re-read my post. Thankfully nobody misunderstood it to read that I don't do lights. Cuz like LittleBigMan, I have a my own geek light setup for front, and back (that gives good side viz).
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Old 09-29-06, 02:20 PM   #13
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Yes, this is in urban areas with street lights... to drive rural roads with the lights off would require a very full moon, night vision equipment, or both.

But IMO even under the streetlights, unlit cars are a bigger hazard than unlit bikes. The reason is that darkened cars can be assumed at quick glance to be parked cars.... whereas there usually are not a lot of parked bikes with riders in the right-hand lane.

The reflective properties of car lights, when turned off, are also usually worse than even the worse bike reflectors.

The always-on running lights in some cars address that problem, but they are not enough to light up the reflective gear on a bike and rider
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Old 09-29-06, 02:33 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Keith99
In a way they have a point. I've seen enough idiot pedestrians crossing or walking in the street in dark clothes after dark. And Darwin will treat cyclists just like Peds.
Well, apparently you saw them, what's the big deal? Obviously lack of blinking devices and highly reflective clothing doesn't make you invisible, after all, I'm still alive. Should people have to start wearing reflective vests to roam around after dark? Maybe I should buy a walking helmet while I'm at it, but I like walking on the edge...
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Old 09-29-06, 03:03 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by nelson249
How muich does a stay in ICU or the morgue cost?
An unfair question (though, for a person in poverty - neither costs anything; hospitals have to treat, and the dead must be taken care of, regardless of ability to pay).

But not having safety equipment, like lacking insurance, is a risk that people will take when it trades off of other things, ...like eating. It is one thing to be like the guy I saw yesterday; a roadie who obviously got caught out after dark with no lights and was slowly riding the sidewalks. It is quite another to be living in the migrant workers camp I drive past with the one guy who rides around on an unlit department store mountain bike, unhelmeted, on an unlit rural highway.

Society already has a two tiered structure. Woe be it to us to perpetuate that into cycling advocacy.

One problem is that our car society has cut the bottom out of the affordability index of bicycle stuff. The poor drive old, third or fourth hand beater cars and find ways of getting around polution regulations and don't deal with cycling, which in this country has gotten to be extremely technical on one hand, or absolute plastic-gimmicky junk on the other. When some do happen into transportation cycling, the advocates are all over them to get them to buy more stuff "for their safety." So they are back to a beater car, which, mile to mile, is probably cheaper than trying to get all the stuff that cyclists like us "need."

I'm not saying that things like lights and helmets aren't important to cyclists; after all, I can afford them. I'm just saying that it is wrong for cycling advocates to essentially say "screw you" to a person who is a victim of our free market system which, in favor of the car, has render unavailable the solid, low cost bicycle and basically opened a transportation void to one who cannot afford said car. Sometimes in life, choices aren't between good and bad, but between bad and worse. We shouldn't be so insular as to come to resent those who cannot afford "proper" cycling equipment.
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Old 09-29-06, 06:15 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Brian Ratliff
An unfair question (though, for a person in poverty - neither costs anything; hospitals have to treat, and the dead must be taken care of, regardless of ability to pay).

But not having safety equipment, like lacking insurance, is a risk that people will take when it trades off of other things, ...like eating. .

Actually it is quite reasonable to take it a bit farther. Even if you decide these are more important than food (absurd) if you don't have $550 you can't buy a $550 bike. No matter how much you want to and no matter what else you are willing to give up you can't spend funds you don't have.
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Old 09-29-06, 06:43 PM   #17
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Wearing a helmet, no lights, pitch dark, wrong side of the road, through stop signs, on the side walk, I see it every day here in my all ages mandatory helmet law province.

Good thing most feel "safe" because they have a helmet on.

Just yesterday I saw a kid hit by a right turning SUV because the kid came off the side walk into a cross walk from the right side of a right turning truck. His bike ended up pinned under the trucks left front wheel. The driver was looking to the left, in the direction of traffic, waiting for a break to go and went just as the kid rode in front of him. The kid had a helmet on, so he must have been "safe".

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Old 09-29-06, 07:58 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Keith99
Actually it is quite reasonable to take it a bit farther. Even if you decide these are more important than food (absurd) if you don't have $550 you can't buy a $550 bike. No matter how much you want to and no matter what else you are willing to give up you can't spend funds you don't have.
Whether you can afford a $500 bike or only a $75 Walmart special, there are cheap lights, MEC in Canada has a set for $16.75, Nashbar has a similar deal in the US for $14.99. These are not the best lights, but certainly are better then nothing.

A decent set of lights, sufficiently bright to be visible within 200m runs about $50. I don't know about other places, but around here operating a bicycle on the road at night, without lights, runs the risk of a $100 fine. Most bike shops know this, and my LBS has a sign on the counter that states that you need lights and a bell by law, and that missing either can cost you a $100 fine. Of course near the counter is a nice display of lights.
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Old 09-29-06, 09:23 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Wogsterca
Whether you can afford a $500 bike or only a $75 Walmart special, there are cheap lights, MEC in Canada has a set for $16.75, Nashbar has a similar deal in the US for $14.99. These are not the best lights, but certainly are better then nothing.

A decent set of lights, sufficiently bright to be visible within 200m runs about $50. I don't know about other places, but around here operating a bicycle on the road at night, without lights, runs the risk of a $100 fine. Most bike shops know this, and my LBS has a sign on the counter that states that you need lights and a bell by law, and that missing either can cost you a $100 fine. Of course near the counter is a nice display of lights.
For most of the poor cyclist clients who receive services where I work, $14.99 might as well be $1499.00. Even if they manage to afford a cheap light, when the battery dies, they may not have the money right away to replace the battery. The kinds of financial decisions that they make are deciding to pay the electricity bill vs. the phone, or buy a blinkie for a bike vs. buy cough syrup or lice treatment for the child. If it means staying employed, they'll keep riding without what they see as frivolous extras.
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Old 09-29-06, 09:41 PM   #20
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Let Darwanism takes its effect. Even if we were to yell out use blinkies, and lights people won't use them. Same way they weave in and out of traffic going the wrong direction.
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Old 09-29-06, 10:32 PM   #21
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It surprised me when I got here, in China. None of the bicycles have lights on them (and no one wears helmets). To maks matters worse, othere road users do not always use lights. About half of the scooters are electric, so they do not use thier lights in order to make the batteries last longer. The motorcycles do not always use thier lights, even at night, and the muni-buses never use their lights. Yes, the buses drive around with the lights off, at night.

I agree with the other statements, in The States we tend, as enthusasts, to forget the needs of people that are riding for transportation. Consider the run life os a set of batteries and the speed of the prople riding for transportation. The cost/mile of batteries would quickly get out of hand. I have a nice recharagable system (back in the US). However, the person who is riding a bicycle because they can not afford a car is not likely to shell out $200 for a light. As someone said, the cheap ones will only work about a week and then need another hours worth, or more, of labor to replace the batteries.
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Old 09-30-06, 05:43 AM   #22
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Let Darwanism takes its effect. Even if we were to yell out use blinkies, and lights people won't use them. Same way they weave in and out of traffic going the wrong direction.
I agree. "Darwinism" will eventually weed out (probably through violent beatings) the obnoxious loudmouth nannies who yell out safety reprimands to strangers.
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Old 09-30-06, 07:17 AM   #23
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I was tired I mistyped
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Old 09-30-06, 07:54 AM   #24
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I got my son a light on sale for $10. We run AA rechargeables in it. Cost is extremely low. Much cheaper than a hospital visit. Total outlay $20.

I understand that some people don't have $20. I feel sorry for them, but $20 is not alot of money in North America. That's four or five people eating fast food. Maybe $20 is alot in China, but the same system probably costs less in China (though the batt charger will likely burn your house down, due to no consumer safety standard... hmm, that's expensive!)




Quote:
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Consider the run life os a set of batteries and the speed of the prople riding for transportation. The cost/mile of batteries would quickly get out of hand. I have a nice recharagable system (back in the US). However, the person who is riding a bicycle because they can not afford a car is not likely to shell out $200 for a light. As someone said, the cheap ones will only work about a week and then need another hours worth, or more, of labor to replace the batteries.
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Old 09-30-06, 07:58 AM   #25
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Back to the original post... when I teach bike education classes, I come right out of the box with this statement:

The reflectors that you got on your bike when you bought it are completely inadequate. For dusk, dawn, or night riding you need bright front & rear lights in addition to the reflectors!

You should see some of the jaws drop. They feel betrayed by their government (CPSC).
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