Posts Tagged ‘Bicycle’

Wearing bicycle helmets increases injuries.

December 2, 2016
Helvi in Amsterdam

Helvi in Amsterdam

It seems a contradiction. But according to some reading, The Netherlands, where just about everyone rides a bicycle, those injured in bicycle accidents are most likely to be those wearing helmets. Surely, when a Dutch head hits the ground it is equally painful? Is the head of a Dutch non helmet-wearer harder? Of course not. However, what the investigators found is that the few that do wear helmets in Holland (less than -.5%) it is because they ride mountain bikes or racing bikes. In other words they engage in some form of competitive bicycle riding, which normal bicycle riders don’t. In Holland the danger to bicycle riders is the motor car not the cycling. This is why both are separated as much as possible.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-12-02/nsw-govt-backpedals-on-laws-to-force-cyclists-to-carry-id/8086514

I am sorry for giving you this link. (Just be happy I did not publish the full text!) Here in Australia, the issue of bicycling is truly and well in the hands of sport and fashion. The fact the Government is even thinking of imposing identity on bicycle riders seems to indicate that riding bicycles is seen as dangerous enough in case of accidents. And, they are right. It is dangerous because riding bicycles is much more seen as a sport instead as a way to getting from A-B. The way the rider dresses up. Hours are spent to get into artery-tight lycra. I bet the sperm counts count are drastically lower in male bicycle riders, and I am not even a doctor. The shoes alone costs hundreds and have to be multi ribbed for speed and brightly coloured. If the fashion is not expensive enough, has anyone looked at the cost of those bicycles? You can spend thousands.

Most bicycles in Australia are also highly dangerous. They fall mainly in racing bicycles genre.  They are supposed to be ridden with head lower than bum, facing the ground. How dangerous is that? They have very thin tyres. When those tyres are slightly underinflated it doesn’t take much for the steel rim to connect to the road and the inevitable tumble of the rider. Then, we have here, like in America a very aggressive car-riding population. They think nothing of tooting their horn making sure the bicycle rider understands it is the car drivers’ domain. There have been jailing of drivers who were shown to deliberately drive in to bicycle riders.

In Holland it is proven that the car driver is the one who ought to wear helmets. Far more people get head injuries driving cars than riding bicycles.

Here a copy from WWW. “Tree huggers.”

“It’s also Dutch policy not to encourage helmets because overall it is counterproductive; if you could somehow preserve the bicycle use we see today AND also wear helmets, yes, a few deaths would be avoided. But in practice you can’t promote helmets without discouraging cycling – where helmets have been made mandatory, cycling levels drop. That has a public health cost — lack of exercise is far more dangerous than biking without a helmet. The exact value of “far more dangerous” depends on the local risk of cycling – in England the estimate is that per cyclist the risk:reward ratio is about 1:10; here in the US (with our riskier roads) it is about 1:5, but in the Netherlands it is 1:25. That is, for each year of life lost to bicycle crashes in the Netherlands, 25 years are gained from better health because of the exercise.”

WWW.Treehuggers;

“You’re talking about the Netherlands, where helmet use is almost non-existent, bike use is very high, and yet it has the lowest cycling death and injury rate in the world.
If helmets really were effective, the USA would be the safest place to cycle, right?…

the Dutch don’t need bike helmets because cycling is not an intrinsically dangerous activity – it’s the road environment that is dangerous, and the Dutch have created a safe cycling environment.

The majority of head injuries are sustained by car occupants. Perhaps it is motor vehicle drivers and their passengers who should be wearing helmets?

Similarly, from dr2chase:

Because it doesn’t make sense — cycling there is 5 times safer than cycling here in the US. It would make more sense (that is, the risk is higher) to ask you why you don’t wear a helmet when you drive your car. To put it differently – your risk of head injury per trip or per hour is higher if you drive a car in the US, than if you ride a bike in the Netherlands.”

Advertisements

The commission for a mural and teaching adults.(Auto- biography).

August 11, 2015

With roughly more than seven decades between the beginning and now, one has to allow for some discrepancies on this heap of memories. The order and dates might not be exact but the events are true. One might also have to allow that the events are somewhat embellished to make them more readable  or perhaps even enjoyable. A French polished table doesn’t make it less or more of a table if presented in raw oak.  The specimen of my life is not any different from the multitudes of other lives. It is also not any more unique in its minutia than those other lives of this world.  I write what I feel was important. But the nature of writing an autobiography  implies a certain amount of egoism. I do it to continue with my life as I have in the past. Keep myself off the street. I enjoy the confessional  part of it, but also realize it is a race against time with the inevitability of those final last words that befalls all of us. The pole vaulting days are over but writing about it makes solid the past. A kind of coagulation of a mishmash of memories rusted onto the years gone by. The words as yet not said do remain ringing.

The school that our daughter went to was about a ten minutes bicycle ride along a sweet little country lane into the small town. She used to come home for lunch and go off again for afternoon lessons. At no stage did we even contemplate that there were dangers of traffic or bad people prowling about. Children getting to school on their own was the norm. At least in The Netherlands. It was idyllic. Even in the country, no distance seemed beyond a ride on a bicycle. No helmets were worn either. All was safe and there were bicycle path separating riders from cars. We had sheep, chickens and a pregnant Shetland pony. What could one ask for more?

One winter morning there was a furious tapping on our bedroom window. Our bedroom was at the front of the farm overlooking the meadow in which the sheep and pony grazed. It was our neighbour. He was a serious farmer unlike us. “You have a foal, Gerard.”   “Get up and hang the afterbirth” he said. Of course it wasn’t in those words. The dialect in the area we lived in was as unlike Dutch as Scottish is from English, or Welsh from Irish. Is there some unwritten law that men respond to tapping on bedroom windows and not the female? In any case, it had snowed outside and our bed was warm. Even so, I did admire and liked our neighbour’s care for our pony. He had already told us it looked she might un-pack at any moment. I got out of bed and went outside just wearing slippers and a morning coat. Indeed there was this lovely little foal barely able to stand up and take its first suckle.

Sorry for the B/W picture only. It was a triptych painted in acrylic..

I don’t know why an afterbirth had to be hung up from a tree away from ground hugging predators such a  canny fox or, indeed a wolf or bear. It was a tradition steeped in folklore and we apparently had chosen our farm in a village that were the harbingers and last owners of some very ancient habits which must not be disregarded.  We, after all were living here as strangers and really almost imposters more than traditional owners and had to tread carefully with respect to keeping their traditions. I stumbled about found the afterbirth and flung it over the large elm next to the farm house. Both mother and baby Shetland were doing fine. Our neighbours were happy too.

The Bicycle as a Mode for Transport and Romantic Interludes

January 26, 2012

The simple bicycle has been around for hundreds of years. It is surely one of the world’s most amazing inventions. Name just one invention, whereby with less effort and input, more output is produced. The bicycle seems to defy the Einstein theory whereby for every action there is an equally weighted opposite action. The Dutch seemed to have taken the ‘more for less’ with gusto. Every morning and afternoon millions jump on the bike, going to and fro work, going shopping or taking kids to school. There are more bicycles than people. Especially with romance, the bike in Holland has always been an essential extension for meeting mates. First dates are usually conducted on bikes. If the bike ride blossoms into romance, both bikes might be seen lying between the reeds along a dyke or canal with the couple hidden from sight, perhaps getting acquainted away from the harsh metal embrace with a more softer more tactile manner.   Not that riding bicycles in the Netherlands precludes having physical contact while cycling. Far from it, often the young and therefore more agile will be seen holding hands AND riding their bikes. I have often felt that the rhythmic moving up and down of thighs might well incur a hastening of passion, whereby the couple’s surging hormones might finally over rule and make for casting all cautions to the wind, hence those bikes hurriedly thrown amongst the reeds.

I was told by my mother that I was possibly conceived by this typical Dutch bicycle passion as well, not amongst the reeds but in the lee of a terrible storm. They had sought shelter from a really ferocious westerly behind a dyke and once out of the wind, one thing led to another, and nine months later… there, but for the grace of two Raleigh bikes, came I. Another very favorite form of couples getting together was the female getting a ride by boyfriend sitting akimbo on the metal brace between the handle bars and bike seat. A cunning and experienced male bike-rider would of course  not be too obviously rubbing his thighs against the girl’s on one side and her buttocks on the other side. He would just occasionally, perhaps while rounding a sharp corner, massage the girl’s thighs with his. It was called the ‘coffee grinding method’ of wooing while riding. I am not sure what coffee had to do with it. I would have thought ‘potato peeling’ would have been a better and much more suitable Dutch description.

It seems sad that bike riding here in Australia hasn’t taken a leaf out of the experienced and romantic Dutch bike riding phenomenon. The whole show has been hi-jacked by a kind of Tour De France obsession. I have yet to see couples lovingly and sensually riding bicycles. It is all far too serious, almost manically. Why on earth all this uniform wearing?   Who thought up wearing those sweaty Lycra tight fitting pants which according to medical experts kills sperms. Why on earth make wearing helmets law?  Could you imagine, the ultimate of femininity and elegance, a Parisian woman  on her way home from the Boulangerie with baguette in her basket, riding a bike with a helmet on? Non. Non.

Here bike riding is a sport not a mode of transport or encouragement for wild uninhibited sex. They, the riders, are hell- bent over their handle bars, hands gloved, heads sheathed, feet shod in expensive riding Nikes strapped into pedals… One hundred kilometers today-two hundred tomorrow! The wheels are so thin; there is hardly any surface area that touches the road. The slightest pebble or loose surface and arse over head it all becomes. This type of racing bike cycling becomes perilously close to being a very dangerous method of transport. Those bikes are lethal except on the velodromes. No wonder helmets are introduced. Still, it is encouraging more people are taken to the bike and many shires are now introducing bike lanes.

However, I am not sure that riding bicycles in Australia will ever reach the level of transport or romance (with wild abandonment of those racing bikes amongst the lemon scented Australian gum trees) that the Dutch seemed to have infused and combined in their culture.