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Thread: I wonder why...

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    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    I wonder why...

    Saw this story on CBC.ca about kids failing to pass the fitness grade.

    Young Canadians get failing fitness grade

    I think the accompanying photo gives a big clue as to why this is.



    I think so many "safety advocates" seek out risks in so many things that are beneficial in spite of it's "risks" that they are throwing the baby out with the bath water.

    I've linked this before (in another thread) but it bears repeating here.

    Cycling may not be a panacea for the ills of modern society but it addresses a huge number of them; health, obesity, pollution, congestion, global warming, noise, danger and social exclusion to name only the most obvious, and many of these are the subject of Government policy...

    In health terms, one researcher has said that, if the benefits of cycling could be bottled, it would be the most popular drug in the world.


    Sadly, some of cyclings "safety advocates" promote cycling as to be so dangerous and harmful that to ride without a helmet is to risk ones well being.

    Perhaps if the risks of being afraid of what may happen while cycling were placed in context, our kids would not receive such a failing grade in fitness. A state that will no doubt have to be compensated for by those who choose to look at risks in context, deal with them in a responsible fashion, and to ride a bicycle in order to be fit.
    Last edited by closetbiker; 04-27-10 at 03:06 PM.
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    blah blah blah milkbaby's Avatar
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    Kids are not fit because they are spending the majority of their time sitting indoors watching TV, playing video games, and text messaging one another. It has nothing to do with helmets. Kids have to wear helmets to play American football and that doesn't deter participation one bit. Mandatory seatbelt laws have not lowered the amount of drivers on the road either. The simple fact is that parents in general are not pushing their kids to participate in physical activities, nor are the kids showing much interest in pursuing them! Most of modern western society has turned into sedentary zombies shuffling around waiting to be entertained by others.

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    Fred J.G. dwilbur3's Avatar
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    I have a daughter, 8 years old. She has 1-2 hours of homework every night. When I was a kid that was play time.

    Our kids are fat because our priorities are warped.

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    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by milkbaby View Post
    ... It has nothing to do with helmets...
    I think it is the way in which cycling is promoted.

    Copenhaganize shows a number of examples in which cycling is promoted better than it is elsewhere.

    Hungarian Bike to work campaign

    If there were a World Championship for Promoting Cycling Positively, the Hungarians would be the bookmakers favourites to win every time...

    Showing cycling as normal and accepted. Highlighting community.
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    Senior Member Seattle Forrest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by milkbaby View Post
    Kids are not fit because they are spending the majority of their time sitting indoors watching TV, playing video games, and text messaging one another.
    And eating 1,800 calorie snacks, mostly fast food.

    Quote Originally Posted by milkbaby View Post
    It has nothing to do with helmets. Kids have to wear helmets to play American football and that doesn't deter participation one bit.
    Being tackled isn't part of cycling. I don't think that's a fair analogy. From the little I've read on the subject, bike ridership does go down when mandatory helmet laws are introduced. I could be wrong, though, or reading poor sources. Still, if every person in America had a bike and no helmet, I don't think that would do much for the obesity problem in children or adults. It'd help a little, but I think it would be a drop in the bucket if it were the only change.

    Quote Originally Posted by milkbaby View Post
    Mandatory seatbelt laws have not lowered the amount of drivers on the road either.
    To be fair, the question isn't the sheer number of motorists, but their percentage of the pie. Your point probably still stands ... I get pedantic over semantics.

    Quote Originally Posted by milkbaby View Post
    The simple fact is that parents in general are not pushing their kids to participate in physical activities, nor are the kids showing much interest in pursuing them! Most of modern western society has turned into sedentary zombies shuffling around waiting to be entertained by others.
    Now I think this is the real problem. We learn to spend our time on pleasurable activities that are sedentary, and so we don't burn all the added calories we've become accustomed to. A century ago people didn't have iPhones with text plans to worry about, but they also didn't have high fructose corn syrup, fries-with-that, and cheap iced cream. In combination, all these goodies we have to make life easier, add up to some kind of monster running out of our control.

    And like the problem has many heads, the answer will, too. Bikes are one prong of how to fix all this.

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    Bicikli Huszár sudo bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by closetbiker View Post
    I think it is the way in which cycling is promoted.

    Copenhaganize shows a number of examples in which cycling is promoted better than it is elsewhere.

    Hungarian Bike to work campaign
    I wish I had the money to either buy a bike there or get a folder before I left to live there...

    Some areas looked like they'd be really neat to bike around...

    (And yes, there are a freaking ton of cyclists there)
    "The bicycle is the noblest invention of mankind. I love the bicycle. I always have. I can think of no sincere, decent human being, male or female, young or old, saint or sinner, who can resist the bicycle."

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    wow. what a stretch. helmets are now responsible for obesity. glad that's solved.

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    normalize cycling. Throwing Canadian schoolchildren onto autocentric streets is no way to care for the kids!

    change the way north america designs transportation infrastructure. TEMPO 30 zones, "greenwave" arterials, ample road space for bikes, preferably separated or at least huge. better enforcement and prosecution of dangerous road users, and much better vulnerable road user laws and liability would do a lot to drive cyclist participation and safety.

    people could even still buy helmets if they wanted to wear them, heck!

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    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by buzzman View Post
    wow. what a stretch. helmets are now responsible for obesity. glad that's solved.
    It's not just that. It's creating an unjustified fear of something that's good for us. Not looking at the big picture and making things worse.
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    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    normalize cycling.
    There you go. Treat cyclists with the respect due to them (just like you would any other - you know - the golden rule)
    "My two favourite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything" -Peter Golkin
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    Quote Originally Posted by milkbaby View Post
    Kids are not fit because they are spending the majority of their time sitting indoors watching TV, playing video games, and text messaging one another. It has nothing to do with helmets. Kids have to wear helmets to play American football and that doesn't deter participation one bit.
    It's certainly not the only factor, but I do think it is a contributor. Looking at the school bike parking areas there was a substantial drop in usage right after helmets became mandatory in this state. And talking to a few area bike shop owners indicates that they saw a big decline in sales of kid's bikes right at the time that helmet legislation came in and there was lots of media coverage on the dangers of cycling.

    As to football, I don't see that much participation in the tackle form of the game where helmets are required. Half the population doesn't participate to a significant extent at all, and even among boys it tends to be only those on organized sports teams. Most pick-up football is touch or flag where helmets aren't usually used. I know that my parents would have been opposed to my participation in tackle football and I never did - but I did sometimes play the flag version without a helmet.

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    blah blah blah milkbaby's Avatar
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    If we consider helmets, it's not the helmets per se that scare kids away from bicycling, but it's the "helicopter parents" who think letting their kids walk 2 blocks to and from school is child abuse. I live right next to a school, and I know my neighborhood is relatively safe, but that doesn't stop parents from driving their cars 2 blocks over to pick their kids up. It is ridiculous.

    That said, I do agree there is a subtext to helmet laws that may suggest to some people that there is risk in riding a bicycle. However, like mentioned above "normalizing cycling" would be the best way to advocate for bicycling... In all reality, it is probably just as dangerous if not more dangerous to ride in a car than it is to ride a bicycle, especially considering the amount of miles most people spend in a car -- just guessing they'd be much more likely to get seriously injured in a car wreck than seriously injured riding their bike (but that's just a guess on my part).

    I do think that thinking too much about helmets is missing the big picture as it is probably a minor obstacle to getting more people out there. It's more likely that people are not biking simply because it doesn't fit into their worldview of happily being sedated by the opiates of modern "entertainment" and dreaming of the lottery dropping a million bucks in their laps...

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    Quote Originally Posted by closetbiker View Post
    It's not just that. It's creating an unjustified fear of something that's good for us. Not looking at the big picture and making things worse.

    I'm struggling to take you seriously on this one.

    It's amazing what a leap of logic you're making to draw this conclusion and expecting others to go with you. Back it up with one valid study that the use of safety equipment dissuades children from participation in sports. Has football been discouraged by requiring helmets and protective gear? Baseball due to hard shelled hats? Hockey due to helmets and kneepads? And maybe, maybe, I'd give this ridiculous notion a bit more consideration.

    When my friends and I played football, baseball or hockey we never wore a helmet but school sponsored participation required protective gear. I never once heard a kid say that was the reason they wouldn't continue with the sport.

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    Banned. Bekologist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by closetbiker View Post
    There you go. Treat cyclists with the respect due to them (just like you would any other - you know - the golden rule)
    thats' not how communities normalize cycling ,brad. There's a host of societal interventions like vast improvements in transportation infrastructure and vulnerable user laws that are necessary elements in normalizing cycling.


    Simplistically asking cyclists to be treated with 'respect' an the golden rule is really an incredibly paltry assessment of what its' going to take to normalize cycling in north american cities.

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    Fred J.G. dwilbur3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by milkbaby View Post
    ... but it's the "helicopter parents" who think letting their kids walk 2 blocks to and from school is child abuse. I live right next to a school, and I know my neighborhood is relatively safe, but that doesn't stop parents from driving their cars 2 blocks over to pick their kids up. It is ridiculous...
    Last year my 7 year old and I decided she was old enough to walk home from the bus stop all by herself (2 very quiet suburban blocks). Mommy freaked out! She's just sure there's a kidnapper behind every bush.

    I told her "if you don't think it's safe for her to walk 2 blocks in our own neighborhood, then we need to move." She agreed with the logic, but now Grandma meets her at the bus every day. Oh well. Next year there's no bus service and her school is 6 miles away with no safe route (none) for her to ride her bike. Looks like we'll be "helicopter parents" soon.

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    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    thats' not how communities normalize cycling ,brad. There's a host of societal interventions like vast improvements in transportation infrastructure and vulnerable user laws that are necessary elements in normalizing cycling.


    Simplistically asking cyclists to be treated with 'respect' an the golden rule is really an incredibly paltry assessment of what its' going to take to normalize cycling in north american cities.
    Yeah. American cities. Sheesh. And here I thought we were all people and that, do unto others as you would expect they should do unto you" was universal.

    I'm sooo naive.
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    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by buzzman View Post
    I'm struggling to take you seriously on this one.

    It's amazing what a leap of logic you're making to draw this conclusion and expecting others to go with you. Back it up with one valid study that the use of safety equipment dissuades children from participation in sports. Has football been discouraged by requiring helmets and protective gear? Baseball due to hard shelled hats? Hockey due to helmets and kneepads? And maybe, maybe, I'd give this ridiculous notion a bit more consideration.

    When my friends and I played football, baseball or hockey we never wore a helmet but school sponsored participation required protective gear. I never once heard a kid say that was the reason they wouldn't continue with the sport.
    Hard not to laugh at this, but I'll try and take it that you just don't get it.
    "My two favourite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything" -Peter Golkin
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    Quote Originally Posted by closetbiker View Post
    Yeah. American cities. Sheesh. And here I thought we were all people and that, do unto others as you would expect they should do unto you" was universal.

    I'm sooo naive.
    hey, a little introspection will do you good! what's with calling america out, you posted the picture of the mountie scaring a child.

    please, is a little integrity amidst all the whatever point you are trying to make too much to ask?

  19. #19
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    hey, a little introspection will do you good! what's with calling america out, you posted the picture of the mountie scaring a child.
    What I see is a mountie, as afraid as a child.
    Last edited by closetbiker; 04-28-10 at 11:21 AM.
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  21. #21
    zac
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    Quote Originally Posted by closetbiker View Post
    Back to different approaches to cycling promotion.

    The Hungarian Cyclists Federation:

    the LA DOT:

    Hands up... who's in?
    Mine,

    the Hungarian one is spot on, love it!

    But I have to say that the LA DOT one serves a purpose too. Would be nice if it was balanced with one that you scripted, or alternatively something about driver awareness.

    I am just putting two and two together....are you the quoted individual in the article in the other thread?

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    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zac View Post
    ... I am just putting two and two together....are you the quoted individual in the article in the other thread?
    yup.
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    zac
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    Keep fighting, good luck.

    Might not agree with all your positions and opinions, but this one I do.

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    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zac View Post
    Keep fighting, good luck.

    Might not agree with all your positions and opinions, but this one I do.
    Thanks. I'm just trying to keep things in perspective.

    "We are the safest and healthiest human beings who ever lived, and yet irrational fear is growing, with deadly consequences — such as the 1,595 Americans killed when they made the mistake of switching from planes to cars after September 11. In part, this irrationality is caused by those — politicians, activists, and the media — who promote fear for their own gain."

    Dan Gardner, Canadian author of "Risk"
    Last edited by closetbiker; 04-28-10 at 03:23 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwilbur3 View Post
    I have a daughter, 8 years old. She has 1-2 hours of homework every night. When I was a kid that was play time.

    Our kids are fat because our priorities are warped.
    Education is a 'warped priority'? Don't you want your daughter to get into a good college, or to get a good job?

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