22 September 2007

Threesome


Threesome, originally uploaded by [Zakkaliciousness].

A random intersection in Copenhagen. The cyclist in the foreground is one of the 6% of Danes who wear helmets. Statistics show that increased bike usage in cities decreases risk of accident. Which is why, in Copenhagen, with our developed bike infrastructure, very few wear helmets. We're not in contact with the traffic and the car drivers are cyclists, too.

There are no laws regarding helmet usage in this country. Which is, I believe, a good thing. The people who advocate it, here and elsewhere, seem to be one step from advocating inflatable suits for every people in the traffic and on the sidewalks. This "bubble wrap" mentality doesn't appeal.


With that said, I would definately consider a helmet if I had to commute in cities elsewhere in the world that do not have any real bicycle culture. Here in Copenhagen I can trust the cars and the other bikes, not to mention the pedestrians. I wouldn't trust them in London, New York or anywhere else like that.

It's personal choice. And I prefer to leave it at that.

Someone sent me an interesting link about helmet laws: www.magma.ca/~ocbc/

With regards to the shot above it was so irritating that the girl in the middle had a dog in her basket but I couldn't get a clear shot.

By the way, the signs in the background are signposts for one of the many national bike routes. Apart from the bike lanes in the cities there are national and regional routes.

Over 10,000 km of these bike routes in all in Denmark.

13 comments:

the mostly reverend said...

you mention that 6% of danes wear helmets; what percentage of danes regularly ride bike?
i fear that, in the states, the percentage of riders is , at best, 6%, but i fear less.

Eunice said...

speaking of helmets and cycle chic...here's an article about cycling fashionistas in nyc.

http://www.observer.com/2007/spokes-models?page=0,0

as you can tell, the reactions aren't great. there's some truth in them (bike awareness is not a big thing in the states. in my town, there are people who bike in the wrong direction, even with arrows on the ground. and lots of them run through the red light.) but at the same time i agree that many people need to see that biking doesn't have to be an expensive sport involving lots of lycra.

new girl in town said...

I have arrived to Copenhagen 3 weeks ago and from second day have been provided with the bike because every Copenhagen citizen I asked about bus prices and getting tickets wasn't really aware of that. All they knew is that it is expensive and all of them are on bike their whole life. And my first impression of the city was that there is not so many cars. So, really big percentage bike regulary... no matter if it is raining or not.

Anonymous said...

I know plenty of people who've crashed their bikes by themselves...traffic had nothing to do with it. If they'd not been wearing a helmet, well, there would have been a few serious injuries.

A girl I know went down last Wednesday when her satchel slipped off her shoulder and into her front wheel. She went over the handlebars and is still suffering the effects of a concussion.

Traffic is not a solitary reason to wear a helmet. However, I'm not going to force anyone to do so...not my business. The name I give to helmetless riders is "future organ donor". Seems to fit.

16:9 said...

Thanks for all the comments.
Mostly Reverend: Firstly, most Danes have a bike. 35% of Copenhageners ride every day - that's 550,000 people. Which is a lot. Each Dane rides on average 1000 km a year - compared to 67 km for Americans and something like 78 km for Brits.
Eunice: Thanks for the link! I agree with your post.
Anonymous: I live on the fourth floor. I could, technically, fall out of the window. Or down the stairs. It happens. Or out of bed. Should I wear a helmet 24 hours a day? Please advise.
New Girl in Town: Welcome to Copenhagen!!!

Francois said...

The only bad accident I ever had on a bike was due to my own fault and I ended unconscious at hospital.

I was a daily rider across Paris (35 km each day) and was confident on my riding skills... too much maybe because that day I fell head first on the ground (and believe me, at 20 - 25 km per hour, the ground comes fast :) a helmet would have been handy...

Francois said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Francois said...

btw : nice blog too :)

Anonymous said...

Why are people so opposed to using helmets? Just because they are seperated from cars doesn't mean they won't collide with another bike or another obstacle and still fall on their exposed head....

I don't get it.....

Aaron78 said...

@anonymous: it's an interesting debate... I wouldn't say there is opposition to wearing helmets, but just a resistance to being told you have to wear one. It is safer to ride here than anywhere else in the world and so the need is not that acute. It's up to the individuals. Plenty of people do wear helmets, plenty don't.

Anonymous said...

In the United States, bicyclists often must ride in car traffic and face a high risk of being hit and seriously injured. Helmets reduce the risk of head injuries by 85%. It makes a lot of sense to wear a helmet if you expect to be hit by a car at some point.

16:9 said...

Statistically speaking, when bicycle usage increases in a city, the number of bike-related injuries fall.

For cities in North America, for example, I would recommend wearing a helmet until you have established a working bike culture. Here in Copenhagen or in Amsterdam, it really isn't that necessary.

What's interesting is that helmets laws may not even work:
As you can read here.

Karl said...

As you say it is horses for courses and I agree about London, I live here and cycle 12 miles to work in heavy traffic - full of people that have never been on a bike, which I believe is what you are saying... they don't understand about the bike, like many cyclists don't understand car drivers - because they have never done it.

We are all people.. any division is purely artificial.