21 December 2010

Snow with the Flow

Evening Flow 7
Twilight snowstorm traffic in Copenhagen.
Evening Flow 6


Anonymous said...

some is up early this morning posting photos at 6 am. Oy!

joehebden said...

Challenging weather for cycling.

R. Jacob said...

A hat and boots, a very good idea!

david...no the other one! said...

a hat, boots, and mittens, is even better!

marijka said...

I've asked in the past but couldn't find an answer: are Americans the only ones who wear helmets? I've not seen any helmets being worn on your site, but I wouldn't dare ride without one! Maybe our auto drivers are more reckless here...

kfg said...

"are Americans the only ones who wear helmets?"

No, but the phrase "English speaking world" often comes up when the issue of helmets does. Even this is a bit of a shift, as it wasn't too long ago that an American cyclist in England could be recognized by the lack of mud guards and the presence of a helmet; so the phenomenon is largely American in origin.

Come to that it wasn't much before that that Americans didn't wear helmets either and anyone who did would be openly ridiculed as a "******* dork!" Trust me on this one, I was an early adopter, before cycle specific helmets were even available.

And yet, contrary to popular belief, the streets did not run with the blood and brains of cyclists.

Even in a car crazy America total cyclist deaths per annum have always been counted in the hundreds and the number of them that might have been saved by a helmet is often in the single digits (they afford little protection when struck by a motor vehicle that crushes your chest cavity); while motorist deaths are counted in the tens of thousands and tens of thousands of those might have been saved by better seat belts and a decent motorist's helmet (cars do not prevent a driver's head from hitting things - the car is the thing that the head hits).

And it's the cyclists who need helmets?

"Maybe our auto drivers are more reckless here..."

And maybe the Danish cyclists are a bit more reckless. In any case they ride in more dense patterns and you can get your head knocked in just as easily being pushed over by a cyclist as by a car.

I suggest that something else is going on. I suggest that most cycling accidents only result in no or only minor injuries and that the least likely result is to land on the top of your head.

Simple cycling simply isn't dangerous.

marijka said...

Thanks for your perspective, kfg. Bicycle helmets didn't exist when I was growing up, but I did wear one on motorcycles, even when zooming around our farm on a dirt bike at age 10. Because of this, I've always believed in protecting my brain, since head injuries can't just be popped into a splint or cast. (Besides, I'm just as likely to keel over on a curb all by myself!) Obviously, there can be many more serious injuries if hit by a car and the helmet might not make a difference, but it makes me feel better. Regardless, I've just found it curious that there seem to be so few helmets outside the U.S. And whether or not we're worse drivers, I guarantee our drivers are much less used to seeing bicyclists on the road, except near universities or in larger cities. Therefore, I wear a yellow helmet and often a yellow jacket -- obnoxious, but bright! :-)

marijka said...

P.S. I don't think the helmet is for the top of your head, but definitely for your forehead -- that's why there are so many PSAs showing kids how to wear them properly. In fact, my neighbor's grandaughter hit a bad pothole this summer and was thrown over the handlebars, broke an arm, but didn't hurt her head even though the helmet got a good crack. Turned out good for her, thank goodness! Like I said, it's just as likely I'd do this to myself, so I choose to wear one. :-)

kfg said...

"I've just found it curious that there seem to be so few helmets outside the U.S."

Perhaps they have a better understanding that you use safety gear in those situations where you actually see a large number of injuries occurring, and not simply as a general phobic response to anything that might occur. That road leads to being unwilling to leave the house without wearing a meteor shield ( a bit counter-intuitive, but you're more likely to die from being hit by a meteor than any cycling accident).

As they know they don't have piles of dead bodies they know they don't need to do anything to prevent the non-event.

Whereas the Culture of Fear tends to go to the symptom for the "cure," perhaps they are also more likely to go to the cause where they do see a few bodies.

For example, when I hurt myself slipping in the shower I did not start showering in a helmet; I applied some friction tape and now do not fall in the first place.

"whether or not we're worse drivers"

You should see the Italians drive - from a safe distance.

kfg said...

P.S. Bicycle helmet standards are not anything like the motorist ones. Helmets are only tested against crown impacts, which comprise less than one half a percent of actual helmet impacts out in the real world.

Blows to the lower back of the head are the most likely to cause a fatal injury; and most bicycle helmets do not protect here. Blows to the forehead are the next most likely and at least bicycle helmets do protect here, but who knows how effectively? They aren't tested for that, therefore there is little design effort put into it either.

A helmet that has cracked is one that has failed to protect the brain. That can only be done by compression of the liner. Replace the cracked one with hard shell, bonded liner model.

The most common injury to normal cyclists (i.e. not racers) that actually requires medical attention is broken wrists (from sticking an arm out to break the fall). Why is no one concerned about this? Where is the media hoopla? Why are doctors less concerned about it than whether my saddle means I won't be able to get it up?

I just don't understand people sometimes.

Anonymous said...

@KFG, no helmets aren't just an American thing, maybe non-european, they are mandatory in Australia and the police fine you $50 if you don't wear one.

kfg said...

Right, that's why my first sentence in answer to the question was:

"No, but the phrase "English speaking world" often comes up when the issue of helmets does."

The first bicycle specific helmet was American made to meet American demand (American cyclists were already wearing hockey and mountaineering helmets; and even motorcycle helmets), but the idea has spread to the Union Jack and Koala states, as well as the Kiwi territory.

Being being late to the party they seem to be trying harder, just as American governments have started backing off helmet laws. Go figure.