Fishnets and cycling

There was a reasonable positive article about cycling in the Guardian supplement today. However it did have one very scary point:

People who cycle a lot tell you to expect one nasty accident a year. That's quite a lot, if you think about it ...

Hell that terrifies me. That either means that I don't cycle a lot, which means there are lots of people who I have not met that are cycling more then 6,000 miles a year and therefore I don't cycle a lot or I am in line for about 30 nasty accidents.

There may of course be another answer. People perceive cycling as much more dangerous than it actually is. It is in fact safer than walking, strange but true and that does not take in the health benefits due to improved fitness of cycling.

If you are one of those cyclists who has “one nasty accident a year” I would strongly suggest you read Cyclecraft, actually even if you are not it's a good read.

Anyway apart from that scare the article was quite refreshing as it gave a positive view of cycling in a national paper. I'm not so sure about the fishnets though (for money I will cycle to work in them though, but it has to be a lot of money, for Oxfam).



Chris, I almost became a 'bumper' ornament a S70 VOLVO today, the woman later apologized to me at our local Post Office. LUCKY ME! People in the U.S. are, 1) Talking on a Mobile phone while driving. LAW! 2) Have 'tinted' windows WAY TOO DARK! LAW! 3) Attempt to 'one up' that SUV. 4) Expect DMV to view them as 'right' while they flaunt the 'rules of the road'. LAW! In forty (40) years of cycling no accidents, plenty of near misses. Remember, You can be right, DEAD RIGHT! Bicycling keeps you aware, fit and youthful! (I am currently engineering a 'global' bicycle for poor surfaces and that 'forgotten' local dealer.)

Posted by William R. Walling on May 21, 2005 at 05:36 PM BST #


Good job she missed you. Part of the problem is that a small propotion of drivers just don't drive carefully enough.

However that does not change the point that cycling is safe, but there are many people who perceive it to be dangerous and others who then perpetuate this misconception. This then frightens many from cycling on the road. Either the bikes stop being used altogether or they become pavement (sidewalk) cyclist, which is actually much more dangerous than being on the road, and marks the cyclists as the problem.

Posted by Chris Gerhard on May 22, 2005 at 06:15 AM BST #

Chris, I agree with your thoughts. Cycling is safe on road surfaces when DMV 'rules of the road' are practiced by all involved. I observe 'visitors' bicycling to work daily, no helmet, poor clothing, inappropriate bike, sidewalk riding, cycling against traffic and riding late at night (after closing) with no lighting. SADLY, THEY DO GET INJURED OR KILLED along with too many others! Have you ever viewed a parent, with no helmet, instructing their helmet worn offspring? ODD! In my state, Helmet use is LAW for ALL children 14 years of age and younger. An new 'inner shell' product from IMPACT Racing was recently debuted, unfortunately, they refuse to make a premium line of bicycle helmets. I did ask Bill Simpson about this market. New PSF ads on TV recommending BELL helmet use for ALL cyclists young and old is GREAT NEWS! Starting my daily ride right now, Cheers,

Posted by William R. Walling on May 22, 2005 at 10:42 AM BST #

Ah, such faith in cycle helmets. It's a real shame the realitiy of cycle helmets does not match the hype.

I suggest you read and the Risk link on the side of this page. It may make you rethink your faith in cycle helmets.

I find it very sad that the lawmakers where you hare have fallen for making helmets compulsorary since the only effect will be to decrease cycling. I suppose where you are there may not be a problem with sedantary children in which case you are bucking a trend. Here in the UK we were lucky (well some worked hard to keep us lucky) and a recent attempt to make cycling illigal with out a lid for under 16 was thankfully stopped.

The point is cycling is safe, wearing a helmet does not make it safer.

Hope you had a good ride.

Posted by Chris Gerhard on May 22, 2005 at 01:11 PM BST #

Chris, I reviewed the information provided. Here in the U.S., danger from large motor vehicles is very common for ALL cyclists, hence the 'lid'. Safety Innovation - I was one of the first motorcyclists wearing a BELL 'STAR' model helmet in 1969. The medical, insurance and vendor community (lobby) drive helmet legislation within this country. 'Grey Matter' really does count as I survived a mini-stroke in late 2003. I saw your concern about I.D. cards, they will be signed into U.S. law shortly. WHO HAS REALLY WON THIS CONTINUING 'WAR ON TERRIORISM'?

Posted by William R. Walling on May 22, 2005 at 03:10 PM BST #

Strange. Since "lids" are only effective (if at all) in accidents that do not involve motor vehicles it is very odd to use that as a reason to use them. The snell foundation test for a helmet is a equivlinet to a fall from a cycle that is stationary onto a flat surface not quite the same as being hit by a motor vehicle (also not that none of the cycle helmets currently made by Bell to my knowledge pass the Snell 90 standard). Even the manufacturers don't claim they will help in a crash involving another vehicle.

The best protection from other vehicles is training and awareness, not a small quantity of polystyrene, but unfortunately the quick fix is the one chosen by so many to their cost.

Posted by Chris Gerhard on May 23, 2005 at 01:01 AM BST #

Chris, SNELL certification mandates 'repeated' impact to the same area of a test helmet. Tech Note - Peter Snell died due to repeated impacts to an approved helmet, SMF is his legacy. SPECIALIZED ware is SNELL/CPSC approved. I agree training and awareness supplimented with suitable 'body' protection is always advised. One can never be 'too safe' while cycling within a changing, fast moving and danger filled world. Motor Vehicles are LARGER, MORE PLENTIFUL and feature POORLY TRAINED DRIVERS in the U.S.! :)

Posted by William R. Walling on May 23, 2005 at 08:04 AM BST #


The point is that helmets and their advocacy is a distraction from the real safety points.

The helmet lobby first tries to make cycling appear more dangerous than it really is, and then tries to present a solution, a bit of polysyrene, to that danger.

The truth is that cycling is very safe and what danger there is is overwhelmingly posed by motor vehicle for which the polystyrene hat offers no protection at all.

If helmets are a good thing then why is it that there is not a single case I can find where increase helmet wareing results in less deaths and injuries? Why is is that the safest places to cycle (Holland) has the lowest number of helmeted riders?

Posted by Chris Gerhard on May 23, 2005 at 09:16 AM BST #

Chris, I agree HOLLAND is safe! During my daily bicycle ride I am passed by 100+ motor vehicles and multiple traffic intersections within twelve (12) miles. The 'burbs', LUCKY ME! ANY protection, however disputed, is better than none. My consul advises 'lid' wearing as I am a small business owner, the CC&BW. :) What are your thoughts about the following cycling related matters, 1) A 'maximum' of forward 20 speeds, 2 FD x 10 RD featuring electric activation? 2) ABS disc braking? 3) Composite chassis construction with suspension (4"-100mm travel) forward and aft? 4) A computer 'status' module? Recall, I am designing a 'global' JAT bicycle!

Posted by William R. Walling on May 23, 2005 at 11:28 AM BST #

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