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Carry a rabbit’s foot, too.

September 24, 2012

Via WBUR, Boston’s public radio station, here’s the intro to a story by “science and automotive journalist” David Holzman titled “Don’t be a Bicycling Statistic.

Tanya Connolly, 37, crushed under a tractor-trailer in South Boston last Monday. Doan Bui, 63, killed by a speeding pickup truck on a busy Dorchester thoroughfare the Friday before. Alexander Motsenigos, 41, victim of a hit-and-run in surburban Wellesley late last month.

In major metropolitan areas like Boston, it often seems as if every week brings news of another bicycling death — or, as in this past week, more than one — usually in an unequal clash between vehicle and rider. Biking experts say that as more people take to two-wheel travel — surely a good thing — more accidents are also likely. Below, writer David C. Holzman describes his own bike crash, and shares a key safety technique that many riders ignore: Helmets save lives, but they have to be worn right.

“Helmets save lives, but they have to be worn right.”  Sure.  Because everyone knows that styrofoam helmets are the perfect defense against tractor-trailers, speeding pick-up trucks, and hit-and-run drivers.


  1. September 24, 2012 10:54 am

    What does the admonition not to “be a statistic” even mean? Are
    these people unfamiliar with “cancer survival” statistics?
    “Lottery winning” statistics? Being in a category represented by
    a statistic can be a good thing, which should be fairly obvious
    to anyone who graduated 5th grade. It’s no surprise that the
    arguments that accompany this weird cliche usually abuse the
    science to fit the victim-blaming they want to perform, instead
    of looking at statistics as a guide to making better policy.

    If you just look at the overall, worldwide statistics on traffic
    risk you come away with the impression that the US approach, and
    all the billions sunk in it, is a total failure for pedestrians
    and cyclists. We’re effectively discouraged from using our bodies
    to move ourselves, and those that defy the social cues telling
    them to “drive everywhere” are killed at a higher rate than in
    many other countries. The statistics are telling us to reduce
    danger from automobiles, as other countries have done with great
    success. The statistics, objectively and on the whole, are not
    telling us to prosthelytize the use of bicycle helmets.

    The articles references the ridiculous outlier produced by our
    own city and DOT, that “nearly all bicyclists who died — 97% —
    were not wearing a helmet”. Even if the number is accurate, which
    is hard to believe, the message it delivers is just wrong. It is
    simply not true that wearing a goddamn styrofoam helmet is going
    to prevent you from being killed by an automobile in New York,
    and we all know it. If it were true, we REALLY SHOULD be telling
    pedestrians, and motorists, to wear these magical things. But
    everyone knows it’s not true, so they only insist that weirdo
    cyclists wear them.

    I can not believe that number, as reported, is correct. Thanks to
    Streetsblog’s diligence we read about every single cycling death,
    and it is simply not the case that only 3 out of 100 are killed
    cyclists are wearing helmets. It’s an embarrassment to the New
    York cycling community to have this lie originate here, and now
    become a regular pro-helmet talking point. We need to get to the
    bottom of it.


  1. RT @BrooklynSpoke: ‘Carry a rabbit’s foot, too.’ the commenter is also spot on. #bikenyc | - Exercising for fun and fitness in the New York City area by Anthony Olszewski
  2. RT +1 “@amsterdamized @BrooklynSpoke: ‘Carry a rabbit’s foot, too.’ the commenter is also spot on. #bikenyc” | - Exercising for fun and fitness in the New York City area by Anthony Olszewski

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