[*BCM*] grim scenes saturday... any news?

Hiroyuki Yamada hyamada at MIT.EDU
Sun Aug 2 22:33:47 EDT 2009

Sorry to get to the party late, but I just wanted to drop in my $0.02 -- 
all this talk of Amsterdam and Boston's cycling culture, I thought it 
necessary to bring this up. An interesting article in Transportation 
Quarterly from 1998, about bicycle use and safety in Paris, Boston, and 
Amsterdam. Not my favorite scholarly piece, and it doesn't really come 
to any particularly striking conclusions, but it does present some 
interesting data -- including the fact that there are almost 3 times as 
many bicycle deaths / million people in Amsterdam as in Boston and 
almost six times as many as in Paris (page 18).

Anyway, take a look. If anything, it'll give you all some more accurate 
ammunition the next time the internet explodes and you feel like arguing 

75KB pdf


ps - For the record, I agree with both sides; personally, I wear my 
helmet religiously, but I also agree that it's not the only ticket -- if 
even a ticket at all -- to avoiding injury, and as such maybe shouldn't 
be focused on to the degree it usually is.  Better off to do your best 
to ride safely, responsibly, intelligently, and more importantly VERY 
aware of how vulnerable you can be and are, faced with -- as you've all 
mentioned -- completely random chance, drunk drivers, Boston's 
spectacular roads, et cetera. And, it *IS* everyone's choice whether to 
wear or not to wear, but it's not particularly anyone's choice whether 
or not Boston is friendly to cyclists (which it's not, really), so best 
to make what we all can of it, and do our best to stay whole.

On 08/02/2009 03:36 PM, Anne Wolfe wrote:
> In the Netherlands, there are set bike lanes, many of those bike lanes 
> are off road, even in major cities like Amsterdam, lights are 
> mandatory (and generated automatically through a little spin wheel 
> against the front tyre, so not the battery issues), and it is flatter 
> than a flat pancake, giving great visibility.  That's a big reason why 
> the Dutch don't wear helmets - collisions between cars and bikes are 
> far rarer than in the US and particularly in Boston as they're not 
> sharing the road in the same way.  But when there are the collisions, 
> the Dutch without helmets die at the same rate as those without 
> helmets anywhere else. 

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