Doesn't this narrow sliver of a bike lane look safe?

We’ve got some 8 here. I’ve still seen bicyclists on the sidewalk in those areas. I just don’t get it.

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it’s one of those things where some people feel the data is ambiguous. narwalt’s post is a good summary. my read has always been, kids should definitely wear them; adults for regular riding seems a toss up to me. ( racing or mountain biking is probably different )

some people feel they need all this gear to go riding, and that keeps them from getting on a bike. in my opinion, all you need is the bike; being active, riding rather than driving, is going to be the healthiest over all


there’s probably a good reason, if only because people tend to be somewhat rational. could be frequent glass or gravel on the path, could be there’s no convenient way to get in or out of the path, might not go where they need.

sometimes cities will build things with a “build it and they will come” idea, without actually observing people and talking to riders. sometimes that works and sometimes that doesn’t

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If I didn’t miscount it’s the one next to the road. The ones here the road, sidewalk and path all go the same direction. The path is actually straighter than the sidewalk, since the sidewalk goes around trees and the path was made by slicing some of the road off.

yeah, i don’t know the reason; only that if you’re seeing a pattern, there’s a common choice that those people are making and therefore a common cause. something that’s immediately obvious to all of them from where they are. ( and one that’s probably not: let’s annoy everyone )

you’d probably have to ask someone who rides there, or take a bike down and do the things they are doing to see why

It’s really contentious and complicated.
The ASTM standard isn’t intended to protect against concussions, though there exist designs that are.
No helmet companies make their helmets to specifically protect against vehicles, though it can reduce head injuries depending on the type of collision.
The types of automobiles on the road now with more weight, ground clearance, and higher noses (that’s probably not the technical term) appear to produce less survivable impacts though that doesn’t mean everyone struck goes under.
The data is clear that motorists pass helmeted cyclists closer though whether they pass them close enough to cause a danger is still hotly debated.

In countries with very safe cycle infrastructure like the Netherlands the injury rate is low because cyclists are protected from automobile traffic yet helmet use is incredibly low, at about half a percent in NL.

There’s been a few studies that I could find on whether people wearing helmets are more liable to behave more recklessly negating the protection provided by the helmets. And they seem to suggest that yes people wearing helmets do take more risks.

Latest fatality stats I could find is that 54% weren’t wearing helmets. And it’s hovered around 50% for the last few years. Which sounds bad when it comes to helmets preventing fatalities. But for 17% helmet use was unknown. So 29% of fatalities were cyclists who were confirmed to have been wearing helmets vs 54% who were confirmed to not be wearing them.

Now when mandatory helmet laws are looked into things get weird. They do reduce the overall amount of injuries, but not the rate, because the laws serve to significantly discourage people from using a bicycle.
Less people on bikes means less bike related injuries.
However the hospitalization rate per trip doesn’t decrease.

Mandatory helmet laws also create more excuses for the police to harass minorities. Here’s an article from someone opposing helmet laws that touches on a little bit of everything, including that.

And as mentioned a little in the article above, bike share users just aren’t going to be wearing helmets in any appreciable amount. It’s not gonna happen. Even if there’s a setup to allow for a helmet share along with the bike, people aren’t gonna be putting shared headgear on their head. It’s not happening. Yet widespread bike share usage, helmets or not, actually increases cyclist safety and reduces accidents per mile, by increasing the amount of cyclists on the road and acclimating motorists to their presence.

In my opinion helmets are indeed helpful and should be (voluntarily) worn but they’re currently treated like they’re far more helpful than they really are, as they’re, falsely, treated as a substitute for proper infrastructure.
Which both makes helmet wearers act less safe since they feel like they have a fictional forcefield around them, and also allows the onus of safety to be pushed entirely onto whether or not a killed or injured cyclist was wearing one and away from whether or not they were on a path sufficiently protected from automobiles.
The largest threat to someone riding a bicycle is far and away automobiles and cyclists getting hit at all should be rare.


While I already covered this in passing I feel like I need to really emphasize that due to light trucks now dominating the roadways in recent years, what happens when a cyclist gets hit is becoming very different than it used to be. And this will only get worse if more and more cars are traded in for light trucks. Which is the current trend.

All this data is still very new so this conclusion is purely my opinion as afaik a similar hypothesis has not yet been tested, but it appears as if despite new safer helmet technology (mainly MIPS), helmets just don’t work as well anymore in vehicular collisions because of what a vehicular collision actually entails now that SUVs and other light trucks are common on the road compared to what it used to when cars were.

In a collision with a car the cyclist gets launched over the hood and their head impacts the windshield or roof.
In a collision with a light truck the cyclist usually goes under the automobile instead and their head impacts the ground, bumper, and/or tire.
The cyclist is literally being run over.
Which is a lot harder for a helmet to provide protection for.


The current trend in bonnet height for wank panzers is horrifying. It’s particularly galling that this fashion trend is adopted in electric trucks where the front is largely empty.

They literally make them into more dangerous killing machines which you are more likely to drive into someone in because walkers think it looks badass.


This is a failure in regulation.


I cycle a lot and what I tend to do is ride further out from the curb so that I am more in the driver’s vision, away from opening cars doors and away from cars pulling into the traffic from side streets. In my experience this makes the driver slow down and think about overtaking. It helps that I can sustain 30km/hr which in London was the official speed limit for non major roads in my borough.

However I don’t live in the states so this might not be a good approach to take if you are in places where drivers are less considerate.

Where I am living at the moment, other cyclists are the major problem! Bikes, especially mamachari go where ever they like, footpaths, against the flow of traffic, pull out of side streets without looking… Being in the flow of traffic can be the safest place to be.


I’m saying that the ability of a helmet to reduce injury in crashes with motor vehicles is negligible, as evidenced by the failure of widespread or mandatory use of helmets to reduce the rate of cyclists killed or seriously injured.

The simple problem is that an F-150 doing even a moderate 40mph imparts far more energy to you than can be absorbed by an inch of styrofoam.

Studies based on emergency room observations (which is most of the studies in that Cochrane meta-study) tend to lump all crashes together, which makes helmets look far more effective than they really are because of course you don’t get the minor scalp wounds helmets are designed to prevent if you’re wearing one.

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Great overview, thank you!

Oh for sure- of that I have no doubt. I was thinking the statement was more broadly about helmet safety, but I don’t doubt for a minute that they do nothing in car collisions. I don’t think anything could help the cyclist there. It’s a sledgehammer hitting a butterfly.


Entirely anecdotal, of course, but a few years ago my front wheel slipped on some wet leaves and I went head-first into the kerb. There was a visible chunk taken out of the foam padding around my temple where it impacted, and the top of the helmet cracked because the force of the impact was so hard.

I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that had I not been wearing a good helmet, that fall would have been fatal.

Just as I won’t ride in a four-wheeled vehicle without a safety belt, I won’t ride a two-wheeled vehicle without armour.


Not to mention that cyclists will be forced to constantly ride over drain covers that jut out into the “bike lane”.


your helmet definitely prevented a traumatic brain injury. full stop.
thing is, statistics say you’re more likely to catch a TBI in an automobile than from bikes, if we assume bike accidents are just a fraction of the “unintentional falls” that the data is lumped together as in this CDC report. unfortunately, I couldn’t find any (heh heh) head-to-head bike and car data, and there doesn’t seem to be any analysis I could quickly find that says how many of the auto TBIs were because of no seatbelts, which is frustrating.

given the statistics but depending on your preference, you should definitely be wearing a helmet in a car assuming you wear one on a bike; or, viewed the other way, if you’re comfortable with not wearing a helmet in a car, you’re statistically safer on a bike, ergo may as well skip it then, too.

but I think that’s the point, do what you’re comfortable with. as a kid, me and my mom never wore helmets on our fairy extensive bike rides. but when I started commuting to highschool in Nashville traffic, I always wore one because I was a noob (to commuting) and scared. in my twenties, I started phasing it out but still wore one for MTB because that was intentionally risky riding. then in my late twenties, I was a bike messenger and I wore one on the job for the same reason, but not off the job since I was chillin and the big drive time was over.

shouts out to @narwalt for his additional in-depth helmet info so I didn’t have to look it all up and type it out : )

As a doctor said to me after a fall (taxi saw a fare and swiped me onto the ground) in which my helmet was trashed “if you weren’t wearing a helmet I’m not saying you’d have been killed, but I doubt we would be talking like this”.

When I got hit from behind in a wand “separated” bike lane I hit the ground hard but not at all on my helmet / head and was concussed. Concussion doesn’t just happen with head strikes as I believe American football studies show.


We bike on the shoulder of a 50+mph 2 lane highway if one of those texting drivers doesn’t look up in time to see they’re on the shoulder and headed right for me my helmet won’t do much for the broken back I’ll probablly get when I’m hit from behind at that speed.

But that’s not why I wear a helmet, I wear a helmet to protect me from me. If I hit a rock or swerve from hitting a muskrat or a goose or swan charge me I want to be protected when my head hits the pavement. We also wear helmets in the campground for the same reason. A rock or a stick can take us down at any time.

I should probably be wearing a helmet cutting the grass.


Rubble, broken glass, bits fallen off cars, the wands that cars have knocked down, crap thrown on the road which all end up there, bottles and cans, the aforementioned utterly deadly surface type interfaces, the camber, the way that the snow is pushed there by buses or clearance etc. etc. etc.

Professionals just avoid the side of the road and take a lane which they are entitled to do by law as the side of the road is not designed for traffic. It’s for car traffic effluent.


Any contact which makes your brain slam into the side of your skull is likely a concussion, that can definitely happen with a body blow.


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