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  1. #1
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    BTA policy change

    Dave Moulton blogged about a BTA shift in policy this morning.

    Portland BTA’s shift on helmet use

    Portland’s BTA calls its shift in policy is a "Slight Modification," but by standing on the sidelines and saying “We no longer oppose mandatory helmet laws,” is not doing any favors for its membership or the cause of cycling. Just because most of its membership wears a helmet anyway is not a reason to no longer oppose.
    Seems to me a policy of non-opposition is tacit support of a helmet law.

    Is there something in the works? A couple of summers ago there was a proposal for a helmet law in Oregon and the senator that was pushing for it is still in power.

    84% of respondents don't want a law, but the leadership isn't going to argue against one.

    What do Oregonians think of this?
    "My two favourite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything" -Peter Golkin
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  2. #2
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    I've been wearing magic hats since 1977. We used to call them head ovens in CA. So, I don't exactly qualify as an anti-helmet cyclist. However, I believe that this is one of the few issues in which my views align with the majority. I strongly oppose mandatory helmet laws. Actually, I'm not entirely opposed; I do think we should require all occupants of motor vehicles to wear full helmets (other than the driver).

    As has been pointed out, there is no compelling evidence that helmets save the lives of cyclists. In fact, it is possible that they increase a cyclist's risk of horrific outcome when a cyclist is attacked by a motorist. There is a case to be made for safety in numbers. It's not solid yet, but it is certainly hard to argue that we would all be better off if more cyclists rode less and drove more. If we accept the SIN hypothesis, then we should all be opposing anything that lowers the number of cyclists. MHL lower the number of cyclists, so we should oppose them.

    As a personal anecdote, my nephew in Davis hated wearing a bike helmet when he was under the age of eighteen. He got several tickets for refusing to wear a magic hat. Finally, he just gave up cycling all together, got a car and now drives everywhere he goes. This is in spite of the fact that he grew up in a car-free household and many of his extended-family are also car-free or car-light. I wonder if we'll ever get him back on a bike.

  3. #3
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    The province I live in had a cycling "advocacy" group (really just a governing body of cycling sport) that held a non-opposition stance and most of the membership was all right with that. Fastforward 18 years and people have changed their minds. After living with a MHL for 16 years a real cycling advocacy group that grew from the cycling sport group have set a policy of being against MHLs. Too late.
    "My two favourite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything" -Peter Golkin
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  4. #4
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    Was the state senator who introduced the MHL a couple of years ago Floyd Prozanski? He tries to pass himself off as pro-cycling because he sometimes rides a bike between his office and where he stays in Salem, but the two conversations I have had with him were uninspiring, to say the least. I certainly hope it wasn't him, but it would be nice to know.

  5. #5
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    "My two favourite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything" -Peter Golkin
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  6. #6
    Sore saddle cyclist Shifty's Avatar
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    I ride with Floyd Prozanski, he is much more than an occasional rider, and he IS the cycling community's best friend in the Oregon legislature. If we are going to take shots at politicians, there are MANY less inspiring than this tireless advocate for cyclist and bike riders.
    Those voices in your head aren't real, but they have some great ideas

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    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    I don't think anyone is taking a shot at Prozanski, in fact I'd give him a bit of credit in listening to what people said to him after he first proposed extending the helmet law to include adults.

    I'm just wondering why the BTA changed it's policy and if it may have any implication for a future attempt at extending Oregons helmet law to adults.

    It's a fair concern if Prozanski has shown he's still interested in expanding the law but no one knows if he has anything to do with the BTA change.

    Just why, after providing so many reason to fight helmet laws, has the BTA changed policy against the wishes of it's members (and what about the cyclists of Oregon who will be affected by a helmet law? Doesn't the BTA have some responsibility towards them as well?)
    "My two favourite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything" -Peter Golkin
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  8. #8
    Sore saddle cyclist Shifty's Avatar
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    BTA is losing credibility at a rapid pace these days for many reasons. It's very near the point that it really doesn't matter much what they think about any issue.
    Those voices in your head aren't real, but they have some great ideas

  9. #9
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    If not the BTA, someone or some group better put up an opposition to a proposed helmet law, or Oregon will get one.
    "My two favourite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything" -Peter Golkin
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  10. #10
    Senior Member Simon Cowbell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shifty View Post
    BTA is losing credibility at a rapid pace these days for many reasons. It's very near the point that it really doesn't matter much what they think about any issue.
    This isn't helping.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Seattle Forrest's Avatar
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    Dead horse beating seems more suited to A&S than a regional forum, especially when the issue is about what accessories people should or shouldn't dress up in, and not about riding a bike.

    http://www.bikeforums.net/forumdispl...acy-amp-Safety
    Don't believe everything you think.

  12. #12
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    Well, the BTA does describe itself as an advocacy organization and it's influence does affect the regional population.
    "My two favourite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything" -Peter Golkin
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  13. #13
    Senior Member Simon Cowbell's Avatar
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    Speaking as a Portland local, I appreciated the heads-up.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shifty View Post
    BTA is losing credibility at a rapid pace these days for many reasons. It's very near the point that it really doesn't matter much what they think about any issue.
    Not that BTA ever had any credibility with me, but what has caused any erosion of whatever credibility they had with others recently (aside from backing off on MHLs)?

  15. #15
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    One issue I find odd is that the BTA will oppose a helmet law for publicly shared bicycles but they won't do the same for privately owned bicycles.

    What's the difference? It seems to me it's the same issue, one of reduced riding because of a helmet law.

    The BTA says the heart of the issue is that bicycle helmets save lives, but I say bicycles save more lives than helmets ever can.
    "My two favourite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything" -Peter Golkin
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  16. #16
    Senior Member kc0yef's Avatar
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    Helmets are designed for a certain spped a certain weight and a certain distance of fall unless your an autobot helmets are NOT as reasonable as you might think. Consider a rider riding 15mph that weighs 140 pounds falling 4 feet off his bike then consider a rider riding 28mph weighing 260 pounds falling 6 feet the same helmet will not do the same job.
    Its the same as a motorcycle helmet D.O.T. Approved means nothing I assure you this is a heady subject with the blood of thousands of woodpeckers at stake. Helmets don't save everyone neither do Doctors.
    Last edited by kc0yef; 11-10-11 at 12:26 PM. Reason: spelling

  17. #17
    Kilt wearing cyclist PomPilot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by closetbiker View Post
    Well, the BTA does describe itself as an advocacy organization and it's influence does affect the regional population.
    As someone who lives in the southern portion of the state, where the voters get overlooked by the Willamette Valley, I have a question. Does the BTA even give a rip about cyclists outside of the metro area? No one in these parts know who I talk about when mentioning the BTA. So my guess is they have no desire to cultivate membership and input outside of their own backyards. Otherwise, they would be more well known.
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