Cyclists safer in numbers?
by Dave R. on Oct 20, 2007 at 9:45 AM
The New York Times Freakonomics folks had an interesting run down of studies on cycling safety a couple of days ago, under the title Will Bicycling to Work Get You Killed?. Timely considering another recent fatality here on the West Coast.
The intuitive answer is that the more riders there are, the higher the chances of a fatality. The article sites a counter-intuitive result from the Safety in Numbers study (Full text): “An individual’s risk while [cycling] in a community with twice as much [cycling] will reduce to 66%”.
Weirdly, the Freakonomics article morphs this study (and a few other links) into a discussion of cyclists obeying traffic laws and helmets. The cited study actually draws a very different conclusion: more pedestrians or cyclists cause motorists to behave differently.
It seems unlikely that people walking or bicycling obey traffic laws more or defer to motorists more in societies or time periods with greater walking and bicycling. Indeed it seems less likely, and hence unable to explain the observed results. Adaptation in motorist behavior seems more plausible and other discussions support that view.
The Pucher study noted in the Freakonomics article looks into the methods used in the Netherlands and Germany to improve cycling safety. Almost all of the methods noted improve infrastructure or law enforcement:
- Better Facilities for Walking and Cycling
- Traffic Calming of Residential Neighborhoods
- Urban Design Oriented to People and Not Cars
- Restrictions on Motor Vehicle Use
- Traffic Education
- Traffic Regulations and Enforcement
Maybe I missed it, but I really didn’t see much information in the cited articles about how helmets or cyclist behavior was involved in improving safety. I’m all for education and safety equipment, but I’m always amazed at how the media discussion tends towards pushing responsibility for safety away from infrastructure and motorists.
The only mention of modifying cyclist behavior in the studies is Pucher’s note about traffic education for motorists and non-motorists. In addition to encouraging motorists to be aware of non-motorists, children overseas are routinely educated in defensive behavior when dealing with traffic. Genius, I say.
The Jacobsen and Pucher studies were published about the same time, so it’s easy to see how they failed to influence each other. From my point of view, Pucher et al could have added another item to their list: More cyclists in the Netherlands and Germany made all those cyclists safer.
The other cool thing here? Getting your spouse, friend, or evil arch enemy to ride makes you both safer. All the more reason to get everybody out riding. Bring on the bike busses!
Hugga Comfort on Amazon.com
by Byron on Oct 19, 2007 at 7:06 AM
Hugga comfort, our retail line, is now fully stocked and being fulfilled by Amazon. That includes:
and those items all are eligible for Free super saver shipping.
Various Lubrication Techniques
by Byron on Oct 18, 2007 at 11:57 AM
For those of us that ride in the rain, the pouring rain, we’ve all got our lube techniques. Some clean and lube after every ride or wait until the chain squeaks. There are wet or dry lubes, paraffin-based, and new miracle lubes that may last about 1/2 a ride. There’s no better test case than a wet, grimy ride.
As I wrote about earlier this year, I use Lubriplate Chain and Cable Fluid. Cleaning up the rain bike for this weekend, I didn’t bother relubing from last year. It’s still gooey and smelly. I just wiped it down.
So what are your lubrication techniques? What works and doesn’t work?
Wired on Bikes
by Byron on Oct 18, 2007 at 10:04 AM
With an articled titled, Bike Hackers, Wired shows some “whimsical” bikes including a cart bike. No mention of Bike Mowers.
Dahon Meets Bike Hugger
by Jason Swihart on Oct 17, 2007 at 1:41 PM
The dudes from Dahon (duh-hawn, not DAY-hawn) just before our ride.
from the Bike Hugger Photostream.
Does Your Messenger Bag Ever get the “Not so Fresh” feeling?
by Byron on Oct 17, 2007 at 1:40 PM
A package of Stride will freshen your bag for an entire trip overseas. Not only is the flavor long lasting, but so is the wintergreen scent.
from the Bike Hugger Photostream.
Critical Man-nerds ride report
by Dave R. on Oct 16, 2007 at 4:16 PM
As promised four intrepid BikeHuggers rode last Friday evening. Objectives: Ride for fun, Promote urban cycling awareness for all vehicles – cars and cyclists, demonstrate automobile/bicycle co-existence, and engage in the consumption of nutritious fermented beverages.
Good news: Objectives MET. Even more amazing, it was more than just two dudes who showed up! This is positively stunning given the 8 hour notice. Check the Bike Hugger Urban Bikes group on Flickr for more photos.
We’ll keep the experiment up, check back for scheduling of future rides. But before we go too far, we’ll need a better name. Hugger input requested!
I rolled into Westlake Center about 5:20 and was happily surprised to see the number of cyclists waiting for me: one, which was one more than I expected. Nate saw our post earlier in the day and decided to drop in on our ride. Another hugger (Matt, who initiated the idea) showed up at 6:00 with a friend in tow (Jamie). We 4 cyclemen headed off for some runs through down town shortly after that.
We managed to make a reasonable number of loops through down town, briefly swelling our ranks to 6 on two occasions. At one point we hooked up with a couple of friendly and supportive Seattle bike cops who helped demonstrate bike boxing technique. Several commuters joined us briefly (and one pulled us up and over Dexter – what a power house!), and most asked if we were riding Critical mass. Not today, see you in a couple of weeks!
Along the way we discussed our various experiences with Critical Mass, Seattle cycling cliques, and how best to create an open, inclusive and broadly appealing ride together. The folding bike probably helped on the Nerds part. Critical Man-Nerds fit our ride well (the folding bike helped, I’m sure), but if we’re going to be more inclusive it won’t fit the bill
At last we came to rest at a pub on Phinney Ridge, where our discussions turned more serious. So now what do we call it? Huggers, your votes and suggestions are needed. Here’s what we came up with:
- Critical Mini (props to Mr. Boxer)
- Minimal Mass (Yo Jamie)
- Critical MAN-ners (and derivative, Critical manNerds)
- Reformed Mass
- Just Ride (+she said?) (Nate)
- WRT (We Are Traffic – Nate)
- 2FB (2nd Friday Bikeride – Matt)
- Bike n’ Beer (Jamie)
More suggestions and votes, please!
This is not Starbucks
by Byron on Oct 16, 2007 at 4:14 PM
From 15 feet away and more this looked like Starbucks, but no, it wasn’t. Not even close. I travel with my own coffee, and Senor Muggy, but when needed I’ve found that Starbucks works. Zeldman told me that once. He said Starbucks was a trusted, known source, of mediocre coffee – consistently mediocre. I was like whatever, but that’s totally true in Taiwan. While the Taiwanese do buffets right, corporate coffee is bad just like everywhere else.
In Taipei, they also have a thing for outlets with funny names.
A comment and revised sentence above clarifying that Taipei’s corporate-chain coffee was bad, just like anywhere else (v. Starbucks that’s mediocre everywhere).
We did have good coffee in a stand during our ride.
Bikes for Africa
by Andrew Martin on Oct 16, 2007 at 1:30 PM
One of the focused stories at Interbike was bikes for Africa. There were a number of groups represented including SRAM and their World Bicycle Relief, and Tom Ritchey and his Project Rwanda<a/>. There is plenty of good literature on the sites, but if you can help - you can donate here or here.
I heard that there’s a Project Rwanda<a/> bike at a local coffee roaster. I’m going to check it out and see what else I can dig up on this great initiative.
[UPDATE - Another local group is sending bikes as well:]
Village Bicycle Project provides sustainable and affordable transportation for Africans. Owning a bike promotes poverty reduction, rural development and personal empowerment. Millions of Africans do not have basic, reliable transportation. 99% of Africans cannot afford cars. Public transportation is expensive and unreliable. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you can help.
Keiko Bike: Strong Femininity
by Byron on Oct 15, 2007 at 11:09 PM
During our visit to Dahon’s offices, the Keiko Bike stood out: we admired, discussed, photographed, and after much deliberation described it as having a strong femininity. Matthew Davis, Manager – Global Sales and Marketing, gave us the backstory of the bike
Keiko Itakura approached us, and we decided to collaborate on this bike. It has been in the works for a little over a year, but the results were well worth it. They exceeded everyone’s expectations and we are now trying to figure out what kind of limited production run makes sense. If demand is strong we’ll definitely take that into account. It definitely gives off the “Strong Femininity” vibe, much in the way filigree does with the extremely delicate details taking form from intricately worked metals.We’re working with Keiko now to figure out how to execute the launch and final announcement properly, but we’re happy to have given Bike Hugger reader’s a sneak peak at this special bike.
Whatever the final version of the bike is, it’s going to further establish the connection between artists, designers, urban mobility, and bikes.
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