Apparently Melbourne requires helmets, but their ridership is quite low; they've implemented a trial free-helmet programme. Philadelphia rents helmets to go with the bikes, but not many people use them, and they're not required. If riding a bike without a helmet is against the law, you're going to have problems making a go of it as the costs for vendor and user would be high. And anyone who owns their own helmet probably owns a bike, as well. I just can't see Vancouver making it work unless the helmet laws change, and that won't happen.
Funnily enough, I bought a helmet when the Paris system first started, because the idea of riding on wet streets in the rain terrified me. I think I used it a grand total of one time. (It is still somewhere in my apartment but I don't know where.)
I even ride the Vélibs in the snow and ice now, without a helmet.
People are welcome to wear helmets if they prefer; the problem is how much making them mandatory discourages not only cycle-share,but people who want to putter to the shops or whatever. I'd certainly wear a helmet now if I were to do touring in very hilly areas, for example. My cycling is basically fast walking, and we've won several more bicycle lanes, so if I fall off my bicycle there, it is no worse than tripping.
And for some strange reason, I am FAR more clumsy walking than cycling.
Melbourne bike share is a major fail. Pity.
lizzy, it may happen someday when they realize that is not a major factor in everyday cycling safety, and that discouraging cycling is detrimental to public health. But it is far easier to enact such a law than to take the steps needed to prevent most serious accidents in the first place.
Remember, I'm NOT talking here about sport cycling.
Ironically, NOLA has a helmet law, but few adhere to it and there is no enforcement of it that I have ever seen. I would not cycle in the city here save what Lagatta refers to as puttering.(local library etc.) To the best of my knowledge NYC has no enforced helmet law.
Post by patricklondon on Sept 11, 2013 6:28:44 GMT
and they can't find a way to get around that little technicality.
The city can hardly be legally responsible for what people do or don't do on the bike once it's hired, surely? You just plaster the hire station with notices saying what people are legally required to do, and what the penalties are if they don't - and see what happens.
I know Velib in Paris makes (or originally did) a point of saying that if people wanted to wear a helmet, they had to bring their own Our own stations in London have plenty of information about it being illegal to ride a bike on the pavement (sidewalk), but one of the minor irritations of the scheme is people whose mental mindset seems to be that bikes are toys precisely for pootling with on the pavement, rather than a vehicle for getting from A to B.
I haven't managed to take a picture of them yet, but we finally have some cycling signs in Paris authorising us to ride (with caution) through certain red lights or to turn right on red. The red lights that you can ride through appear to all be 3-way intersections with no street on the right.
patrick, couldn't the police simply clamp down on adults riding on the pavements?
There is a problem in London though, as there are some glaring unsafe spots that are hard to avoid.
I've seen some tourists riding their Bixis on the sidewalk here although there was a dedicated cycle lane beside it. It was sort of a joyride for them - and there were a lot of pedestrians. I guess arseholes come in all flavours of road users.
Post by patricklondon on Sept 11, 2013 18:39:11 GMT
patrick, couldn't the police simply clamp down on adults riding on the pavements?
Well, they could, if they never did anything else....! In practice, if enough people complained about it happening at a particular location, there might be an occasional intervention, but AFAIK there are no fixed penalty/spot fines for cycling offences, because no-one's thought them important enough to overhaul existing laws.
But there could be a case for "blitzing" on all sorts of offences (cyclists and motorists alike) at known trouble-spot junctions; and sometimes I wonder if there shouldn't be a generic spot penalty offence of "using the road without due care and attention" for everyone - pedestrians included (the number of those who drift sideways into the street without looking..!)
Patrick, I find texting on phones a major element in that trend. So many people, mostly pedestrians but also sometimes motorists and cyclists, are in their own world doing that. I have to be really careful of pedestrians stepping out in front of me. If they also have headphones on, they can't hear the faint whirr a bicycle makes.
Now there are electric scooters, which are utterly silent.
i almost always use a helmet. never used to, until a few years ago, then i got one and got so used to it, i feel unsafe without one. of course, i don't rent bikes though.
however, i did read that there were studies showing that in a way, using a helmet is more dangerous than not using one (at least here, not sure about elsewhere) - because if you use one, car drivers assume you are a better cyclist, and they don't spend as much attention to you. apparently in berlin they did tests, how car drivers behave towards cyclists with and without helmets, and really found the cars were less considerate towards cyclists with helmets.
as for pedestrian lanes - there were times i preferred cycling on the pedestrian lane, especially if there was no cycling lane or if it was completely parked full or part of the road with cars often going on it ... i do know on those occasions that i have to watch out for the pedestrians, not the other way around, though ...
ah, also when cycling with a kid (like my little brother) - here, children under eight or ten (not sure) are allowed to cycle on pedestrian lanes, if there is no cycling lane that is separate from the road, but their parents aren't allowed to join them. most parents do that anyway though, and it makes sense. if you are cut off from view from your child by a line of parking cars, it is much more dangerous to the pedestrians than if you cycle right behind them, telling them to stop looking to the side, to spend attention, to cycle straight instead of in curves, to keep an even tempo, to please spend more attention ... etc.
Here too, small children can ride their bicycles on the pavement/sidewalk, and parents can't accompany them there, but the police don't seem to ticket the parents if they are obviously cycling very slowly and watching out for pedestrians.
But on my street, there are now cycling lanes both way, so there has been a real uptake in parents cycling with children.
It is a stupid article, too. The initial roll-out would be in central Vancouver, which has a very high population density - lots of tall condo buildings there. The photo in the article shows a peripheral stretch.
It also slams a useful initiative on the basis of Vancouver having a serious problem with itinerants; strikes me as a kind of fake populism. Vancouver also has the mildest weather of any major Canadian city; it is logical that the homeless will drift there, where they are far less likely to die of exposure than in any Prairie city. It is a serious problem, but there are no easy solutions. Yes, it requires more adapted housing and mental health and social services (actually Vancouver already has significant ones), but there are no miracles. I liked one arrondissement initiative here, that hired homeless people on to ensure cleanliness (this did not cut municipal workers' jobs). It isn't full-time work, just a hand up.
A city can't put all other urbanistic initiatives on hold because of such problems.
The main problem in Vancouver, as in Sydney and Melbourne, is the mandatory helmet law.
What is strange to me is that reading that Vancouver's system seems aimed almost entirely towards tourists rather than residents. Do tourists even make much use of the Paris Vélib'? It's almost as if the people behind the Vancouver system started from the assumption that Vancouverites were unlikely to buy in by becoming users.
Hmm. The article lizzy posts doesn't really back up its negative statements. How is Vancouver's system aimed at tourists? It costs $5/day but only $95/year, which would make it attractive alternative to storing and maintaining your own bike if you lived there. The lotus-eater slams seem random, too.
Minneapolis' density is ~ 7,019/sq mi, around halfway between that of Vancouver and Paris. It's a great bike city, with bike paths around their lakes, quiet residential streets for commutes, and a bike share that's adding more stations. (Called Nice Ride, as in "Minnesota Nice.") I rode all over for a couple of days this summer, as a tourist, and will do it again when I have the chance.
The Mayor and Boroughs to spend at least the same per person on cycling provision as The Netherlands (the UK spends about £1.25 per person – The Netherlands spends about £33 per person); A ban on vehicles whose drivers cannot see adjacent road-users; and, A full London-wide segregated network to be built urgently."
I doubt they can bump London's budget up to that of The Netherlands, but they at least aim at raising consciousness. Our local BikeFed puts wrecked Ghost Bikes, spraypainted white, near where people have been killed riding.
14 bike riders have been killed this year in London compared to 1 in Paris, so it is making the British news more and more. All of them have apparently been killed by trucks or buses turning who don't see the bikes in their blind spot.
The main problem is that London has almost no bike lanes completely separated from the traffic lanes.
In the meantime, ghost bikes are appearing around the city.
There are virtually no bike lanes here in NOLA either. The ones we do have are brief distance wise and are usually blocked by double parked delivery trucks, UPS, FedEx etc. There is chat about putting in one bike lane that would run the whole length of Esplanade Ave which begins right near city park in MidCity and runs right down into the French Quar ter. Time will tell...
That is funnny!!!!! (Although, if you saw how the cabbies in NYC drive, nothing would be safe enough). My neice offered me her BMW to use while in NYC, and, I told her if she still wanted to have a nice car, she should think twice. NO WAY I could drive there, and don't want to. Needless to say, I hoofed it or rode the subway. And, rode the Staten Island Ferry.
I took advantage of the light traffic today to ride around the city on a Vélib for more than an hour (I have 330 bonus minutes saved up that I rarely get a chance to use). It was sunny and not cold so I rode down the Canal Saint Martin, though the Marais, around the Place de Vosges, up rue des Rosiers and over to Les Halles to go to a movie. Paris is a delightful city when all of the residents are sleeping off their excesses of the night before.
Aren't you lucky - it is frigid here and we have a big dump of snow (most has been cleared off the streets and pavements, but the latter are icy). I also love cycling on Christmas and New Year's Day, if it is clement, when everyone is sleeping. I did drink some wine and have a nice supper with duck, salad and buckwheat noodles (soba), but nobody overdid it and I was up bright and early.