A largely intelligent article from the Sydney Morning Herald the other day on the positive effects of European-style sit-up-and-beg bikes and slower riding.
Scrapping (Australia and NZ’s) two decade-old laws requiring all cyclists to wear helmets would encourage a lot more people on to bikes and provide an overall improvement in community health levels. “I would be in favour of doing away with the helmet use law for adults.”‘ – John Pucher (Rutgers University, New Jersey)
Compulsory wearing of helmets was ”a Band-Aid strategy” adopted by governments shying away from more difficult initiatives of building separated cycle ways, calming neighbourhoods and educating drivers and riders.
Introducing the upright bikes used in Europe is the best way of creating a new cycling culture that would encourage slow cycling and a friendly ”come ride with me” attitude. “If we can get more people on this type of bike we will get rid of the monoculture of those people, bent down over the bars with sunglasses … who are happy on roads and don’t want to share bikeways with slower riders.” – Mike Rubbo (cycling blogger)
And descends into…
an exaggerated faith in helmets (“an incredibly cheap approach to improving safety”),
a lack of understanding of gears (“Sydney: hills everywhere”),
and a beknighted ‘not invented here’ attitude to those safe old Dutch bikes (“They are designed, without sounding sexist, for women”).