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Old 01-29-08, 01:42 PM   #1
randya
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Vancouver WA Poised to Enact All-Ages Helmet Law

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Originally Posted by BikePortland.org
Last night, Vancouver City Council decided to postpone their vote on a new helmet ordinance. The ordinance, which initially sought to only apply to kids under 18 years old, is now likely to apply to everyone.

Jan Bader at the City Manager’s office told me that the Council did not pass the ordinance last night and instead, “sent it back to staff for revisions to make it all ages.”

“We’re going to rework it,” she said, “and look at suggestions from testimony received last night from local bike clubs.”

One of those clubs is the Vancouver Bicycle Club. I spoke to club President Corey Rose yesterday. He said “I just think everyone on a bike should have a helmet,” and he confirmed that the club sent a letter recommending the all-ages provision to Council.

City Manager Bader added that she thinks the Council is unanimous in its support for an all-ages provision and that the issue will likely be back in front of council for a vote by the end of February.

http://bikeportland.org/2008/01/29/v...es-helmet-law/
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Old 01-29-08, 01:48 PM   #2
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What a disaster.

They should be repealing the mandatory helmet laws up there, not adding new ones.

Robert

The Industrialized Cyclist
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Old 01-29-08, 03:19 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Vancouver Bicycle Club President Corey Rose
I just think everyone on a bike should have a helmet
And I think everyone should walk up or down one flight of stairs rather than taking the elevator.

Maybe I should try to make it a law.
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Old 01-29-08, 04:40 PM   #4
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Exactly. Helmet laws increase gross head injury rates and reduce bicycling, hardly things we should be supporting.
Forcing bike helmets=more injuries, and less bicyclists. Also, bike helmets=kiss your bikeshare program goodbye, as has happened in a couple cities. 'Hey, we want to increase livability with rental bikes like we see in bike-friendly European cities! Um... but we can't rent hygenic helmets at the same time. Damn all!'
I don't wear a helmet; helmets screw up my layering strategies, and they're no more helpful on a bicycle than they are driving a car. car drivers should be forced to wear helmets before bikes should; they get all sorts of head injuries.

The correlation is demonstrated all the time, but people still want to make it a law to stick a piece of plastic on your head like it will make you safe. Why don't they mandate something like effective lights or reflective clothing? Those would save a hell of a lot more lives than helmets would, no matter how you slice the numbers. I'd support an ANSI vest law long before a helmet law. Why doesn't anyone try to push an ANSI reflective clothing law somewhere? How about legal standards for head and tail lights? We all see some stupidly huge correlations in that regard.
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Old 01-29-08, 05:09 PM   #5
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Three questions:

Aren't head and tail lights from dusk to dawn mandatory already?

What's the source for the claim about increases to gross head injury rates?

What's a "layering strategy"?
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Old 01-29-08, 05:24 PM   #6
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That sucks, definitely anti-bike, and will be used selectively. And how can a locality such as a city make such a law anyhow, what about riders coming from other places, are they supposed to get a helmet when they enter the town.

If they want to make cycling safe, just slow down the motor traffic, hold drivers strictly liable for any injury to cyclist or ped. Permanent revocation of driving privileges for DUI's.

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Old 01-29-08, 06:06 PM   #7
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Why just the opnions of bicycle clubs ?
Bicycle clubs hardly represent the interests of
any majority.
Lets get the NRA to write up some gun laws or developers
to design infrastructure while we're at it
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Old 01-29-08, 06:15 PM   #8
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Lets get the NRA to write up some gun laws or developers
to design infrastructure while we're at it
oh wait, we do these things already

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Old 01-29-08, 06:20 PM   #9
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'zackily !
See how well its working out ?
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Old 01-29-08, 07:17 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by rwp View Post
Aren't head and tail lights from dusk to dawn mandatory already?
What's the source for the claim about increases to gross head injury rates?
What's a "layering strategy"?
1: Yes, in many places, but there is no standard as to how bright they should be or how they should be made. I have a spare tail-light which apparently fulfills the law; it is about the size of a small key chain and runs off of a watch battery. Does it give me the visibility I need to be safe on the road which I typically share with cars traveling 60-65 MPH? I'd say no. I wouldn't mind paying a bit extra for lights and reflectors approved by the US DOT, especially if the bikes were designed around the need to install them.

2: New York Times article. I saw it in a different form before, I currently see it at http://bicycleuniverse.info/eqp/helmets-nyt.html They reduce the severity of head injuries, but they increase the rate of all injuries, so they mitigate better against head injuries that statistical evidence indicates would not have happened otherwise. This is, I might add, the same thing that I saw in studying motorcycle helmets in college in a statistics course.

3: I live in Alaska. I commute. I have to adjust my clothes based on the weather. Helmets make it really damned hard to keep my ears warm unless I wear balaclavas that are far too uncomfortably warm for the weather that day; I often wear a fleece ear covering that does NOT work with a helmet (i've tried) in order to keep my head uncovered so that I will be losing heat more controllably, given the difficulty of adding and removing layers under a reflective vest and windshell compared to pausing briefly to switch hats.

I consider helmet law afficionadoes to be "The Enemy". I'm doing my damnedest to get people out of their cars and onto bikes, and the helmet law people are doing their damnedest to get people off of their bikes and into cars. It really is that simple; there are a lot of things that can be done to increase bike safety that would be more effective and less damaging to bike ridership than helmets, but I don't see people pushing hard for them, I mostly see the car lobby pushing harder for bike helmets and drowning anyone else out. Where are my mandatory bike safety courses in driver ed and schools? Where are my standards for head and tail light visibility? A TOY safety standard? What a joke. Where is my requirement for ANSI reflective materials on the outer layer of bike clothes? Where are my police flashing lights at people biking against traffic? All those things would save a hell of a lot of lives. Helmets? If those were HALF as effective as any of the things I just listed would be at saving lives, there WOULDN'T BE ANY CONTROVERSY.
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Old 01-29-08, 09:34 PM   #11
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Cars kill more people than bikes, why not mandory helmets for car drivers?
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Old 01-30-08, 02:21 AM   #12
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Bet they could prevent more head injuries by passing a mandatory pedestrian helmet law.
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Old 01-30-08, 02:28 AM   #13
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Everyone should watch the video of the council meeting to see how foolish these people are (including the cycling club members). Only one person even knew the ANSI standard included in the law has been outdated for several years.
http://www.cityofvancouver.us/cvtv/c..._Ordinance.wmv
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Old 01-30-08, 03:18 AM   #14
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wow, this is incredible, something most of us can agree on!

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Old 01-30-08, 03:18 AM   #15
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Bet they could prevent more head injuries by passing a mandatory pedestrian helmet law.
I say motorists have the most head injuries.
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Old 01-30-08, 08:36 AM   #16
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wow, this is incredible, something most of us can agree on!

that's one thing I've learned through all my helmet postings. Even if a person is very pro-helmet, it's most likely that he/she is pro-choice. I've found very few pro adult helmet law types..

These days, after the examples of all the various places where they have enacted a MHL law, you've got to wonder where this MHL lobby comes from? I think there are various interests involved that don't include promoting cycling as a safe, viable means of transportation.

In Canada, there hasn't been a MHL for adults enacted in years and we were the first ones (outside of NZ and Australia) to go with them. After the first 4 provinces passed the laws, 6 have turned them down. The helmet lobby switched directions are trying to get cities to pass by laws, but after a couple passed them, now they are being turned down now too. The latest city to turn one down was Saskatoon and the city council there turned it down because of input from the public. Councilors said in media after the defeat of the by law that they were amazed at how much opposition there was to the proposed by law. They had no idea the public felt that way. They just knew what the lobbyists told them.

Funny to see one of the main sponsors of the helmet lobby group was Bell Sports.
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Old 01-30-08, 09:18 AM   #17
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To me, the larger issue is whether any city should have the authority to make its own traffic rules, including mandatory helmet laws. I thought that was, with good reason, the purview of the states, with some federal guidance.

Consider the plight of an unhelmeted nonresident adult bicyclist approaching Vancouver to pass through town -- shall we help the Sheriff assemble a posse to head him off at the pass, arrest him at the city limits, or perhaps run him out of town on a rail?

___
Disclosure: I strongly advocate helmet use for those who do not practice risk compensation, and I always practice what I preach. I equally strongly oppose mandatory helmet laws.
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Old 01-30-08, 09:28 AM   #18
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This idea is a bunch of horse feces--a helmet law without much tougher control over the behavior of motor vehicle operators is like asking women to wear chastity belts to reduce ****. Break the behavior of drivers first, then worry about what safety equipment is used by bicyclists.
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Old 01-30-08, 09:43 AM   #19
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This idea is a bunch of horse feces--a helmet law without much tougher control over the behavior of motor vehicle operators is like asking women to wear chastity belts to reduce ****. Break the behavior of drivers first, then worry about what safety equipment is used by bicyclists.
I don't recall any mandatory helmet laws in European cities that have focused on cycling as a primary means of transport.

When in Oulu Finland, I asked about helmets, and was told that they are recommended, but not mandatory, and few few people wore them.

But here in AutoAmerica, helmets are practically mandatory.
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Old 01-30-08, 10:23 AM   #20
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3: I live in Alaska. I commute. I have to adjust my clothes based on the weather. Helmets make it really damned hard to keep my ears warm unless I wear balaclavas that are far too uncomfortably warm for the weather that day; I often wear a fleece ear covering that does NOT work with a helmet (i've tried) in order to keep my head uncovered so that I will be losing heat more controllably, given the difficulty of adding and removing layers under a reflective vest and windshell compared to pausing briefly to switch hats.
I saw Palmer, Ak and thought for a second that you lived in Arkansas! Not paying attention.
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Old 01-30-08, 10:58 AM   #21
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that's one thing I've learned through all my helmet postings. Even if a person is very pro-helmet, it's most likely that he/she is pro-choice. I've found very few pro adult helmet law types..
Add me to that list.

I'm sure that many cyclists that have studied this issue for any time would come to the same conclusion: Making criminals out of anyone not wearing a helmet benefits only the municipal courts by the fines it generates (and it's questionable whether that will even cover the costs of enforcement), manufacturers of helmets and the insurance companies that will no longer have to pay out on claims because the injured party was breaking the law. Like many "good ideas" that are made into law by those that do not engage in the activity subject to the law, all this will accomplish is marginalizing the cycling populace even further.

If Corey Rose feels that every cyclist should have a helmet, he should buy them one out of his own pocket, educate them on proper usage and pay for any claims should it fail to protect them as promised.
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Old 01-30-08, 11:03 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by JusticeZero View Post
3: I live in Alaska. I commute. I have to adjust my clothes based on the weather. Helmets make it really damned hard to keep my ears warm unless I wear balaclavas that are far too uncomfortably warm for the weather that day; I often wear a fleece ear covering that does NOT work with a helmet (i've tried) in order to keep my head uncovered so that I will be losing heat more controllably, given the difficulty of adding and removing layers under a reflective vest and windshell compared to pausing briefly to switch hats.
I wear a snowsports helmet in cold weather, which works far better than any combination of regular bicycle helmets and insulation pieces I've attempted.

My snowsports helmet says it is okay for bicycle use, however it is more than a few years old. Most of the newer snowsports helmets I see are explicitly stated "NOT for bicycle use".

I've also seen a few bicycle helmet manufacturers give a temperature range for bike helmets, and the range rarely runs down to the freezing mark.

It seems unlikely that a mandatory bicycle helmet law would take any of this into account.
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Old 01-30-08, 11:29 AM   #23
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...the insurance companies that will no longer have to pay out on claims because the injured party was breaking the law...
that's a significant point.

Here, in BC where it is law to wear a helmet, if you are not wearing one and are involved in a collision and receive a head injury, insurance will not cover the injury to the head no matter what the circumstances or where the blame lies in the collision.

Head injuries can cost a lot to treat and despite the makers of helmets stating clearly and legally (read the disclaimers in the box and on the stickers in the helmet) that a bicycle helmet is not made to withstand these types of impacts, insurance will not compensate the cyclist.

It's all about money.
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Old 01-30-08, 11:43 AM   #24
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that's a significant point.

Here, in BC where it is law to wear a helmet, if you are not wearing one and are involved in a collision and receive a head injury, insurance will not cover the injury to the head no matter what the circumstances or where the blame lies in the collision.

Head injuries can cost a lot to treat and despite the makers of helmets stating clearly and legally (read the disclaimers in the box and on the stickers in the helmet) that a bicycle helmet is not made to withstand these types of impacts, insurance will not compensate the cyclist.

It's all about money.
In the US the insurance companies would still have to pay just like they do for people who aren't wearing seatbelts, or who have some part in contributory negligence.
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Old 01-30-08, 12:24 PM   #25
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did I also mention that a cyclist not only faces a fine for going helmetless, the police can seize the bicycle too (to protect the cyclist from himself).

Break other laws (wrong side of the road, no lights, going through a red light, etc, etc,) and they can't. But they can without a lid. The local cycling advocacy reviewed the legislation and decided to keep that part in. Some "advocates", eh?
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