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by Brad Aaron
L-R: DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, Transportation Alternatives Director Paul Steely White and Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe at this morning's Bike Month NYC event on 9th Avenue.
Benepe with White and Streetsblog Publisher Mark Gorton.
Photos: Will Sherman/Transportation Alternatives
What good looking commissioners we have in the city…and advocates.
Overall, it was a terrific event and exciting to hear about the DOT’s plans to make NYC more bicycle-friendly. The only jarring note was that the speakers were often drowned out (and I was standing very close to them) by the traffic noise. The pedestrian island at 14th St is a nice step, but more traffic calming is needed there.
It wasn’t only the commissioners and advocates who were hot; you can’t really see it in the photos, but Paul was riding a most becoming Dutch city bicycle.
I’ve seen it Urbanis! It’s very nice looing but heavy. I wouldn’t want to ride that over the Queensboro bridge.
nice pics Will
Adrian Benepe’s Parks Dept jersey looks very cool
Even though I where a helmet for nearly every mile I ride, the damned things make even the best looking people look like total geeks and nerds.
NEWS FLASH!! – Riding a bike casually to get around town is not dangerous!
Its those damed cars that have turned our favorite benign pastime into Russian Roulette, forcing the need for the helmet as a last ditch form of defense.
Agreed. Everyone looks like a cycling nerd or an uncomfortably perched bureaucrat. This doesn’t make biking look efortless or stylish. It makes biking look like it’s for a sub culture of bike and transportation nerds. I’m so torn about this because I wouldn’t want to not wear a helmet because if I have an accident it would be awful, but on the other hand I know that the helmet signifies that biking is dangerous and not for the faint of heart.
Are people dissuaded from driving because there are seatbelts and airbags that make it look like a dangerous activity?
I think we need to get over the “helmets look geeky/uncool” mentality and just accept them as a good idea, like seat belts. Our goal should be to get more cyclists on the road and keep them safe. If a cyclist chooses to wear a helmet, she should not be castigated for being unfashionable or sending the “wrong message” about the safety of bicycling. There’s a lot of sports and workout gear that I don’t find particularly attractive, but I don’t leap to the conclusion that the sport in question is necessarily geeky, uncool, or dangerous.
Dan, wear what you need to wear to feel safe on a bicycle and stop worrying about what other people think!
I remind you that chic parisians don’t connect helmets with safety.
This isn’t a question of safety or self consciousness. I think that the overarching goal of having more people on bikes is trying to explain that biking is natural, it’s like walking , only more fun, and with wheels. And you know what’s not fun, stupid cycling gear and tight jerseys. Seriously. We meed to get more people thinking about biking as a means of getting around and not as a subculture of athletes and nerds. I was talking to someone the other day about riding my bike and they said “I walk, you know, like a normal person.” That’s the attitude.
I rode in the netherlands without a helmet and it’s great. People look like they belong on their bikes, like bikes just work, no effort, no clique to join, no gear to buy. We want people to just get up and start doing it then we need to lower the barriers to entry and part of that is psychological.
Before I leave today and ride my bike to go home I will put on my “Head Shackle.”
You know, the “Scarlet Letter” or “Crown of Thorns” forced upon the transportation outcast we cyclist have become in this country. The fact that I must where a helmet to do a otherwise safe activity (riding at modest casual speeds) is in my opinion another form of subjugation force upon us by our homicidal automobile culture.
And as Dan and many studies on mandatory helmet laws have pointed out, the need to wear a helmet pushes people away from cycling.
All that said, I’ll still wear mine because besides my decades of cycling skills, it is the only pathetic form of protection I have from killer drivers and their cars.
Also, when I was in Davis CA for a conference on bicycle planning and infrastructure design this past September, there wasn’t a stigma against those who chose NOT to wear helmets. The bicycle planners in town and at UC Davis know that it’s more important for safety to have more people cycling than to force people to wear helmets. Davis is also so well planned for cyclists that I really didn’t feel the need to wear mine by the end of my stay. Thats where we all should be someday.
Finally, it also helps that in the Netherlands one can buy a bicycle that doesn’t force a rider to hunch over like a caveman. Another big reason why people don’t ride is because the American Bicycle Industry doesn’t sell bicycles for non-cyclists (They are however just starting to finally understand the virtues of the “Dutch Bicycle”). Every time I put someone who is not a cyclist on either my classic Raleigh English 3-speed or one of my other old-school 3-speeds that allow them to sit up they have an absolute blast.
Look at Paul on his Dutch bike in the second picture. He is sitting upright with his shoulders back and is a relaxed position. Everybody else is slumped over with their shoulders hunched forward. To a non-cyclists this hunched over position just doesn’t look comfortable and reality it really isn’t.
Trust me I love my sexy Italian road bike to go really fast (which is the only time when I should need my helmet BTW) but vast majority of people who are not cyclists don’t want that!
“Maybe not. But a host of cars driving into Manhattan for 18 months might very well solve the problem of auto commuters being willing to support better subway service for other people.”
– Larry Littlefield
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