“If there’s one group of road users virtually immune to being cowed by a lowly act of terrorism involving a motor vehicle, it’s cyclists. We’re reminded every day—through rolled-down car windows, on too-narrow roads, via social media—that we “share” the roads with people who actively hate us and that our interests (including safety) come behind theirs. Every one of us knows what it’s like to stare death in the grille. Daily riders have all had drivers aim their cars at us as if they were about to plow us down, whether because of run-of-the-mill inattention or out-and-out road rage. This reality is priced into our decision to ride.” Eben Weiss alias Bike Snob NYC offers the urban cyclist’s perspective on the latest terrorist threat.
“The Tories last year voted against a housing bill, right, this bill, it wasn’t asking much, it wasn’t attempting to turn Buckingham Palace into temporary housing for sex offenders. It was suggesting that private landlords have a legal obligation to ensure their properties are fit for human habitation. What sort of fucker votes against that? I wonder how many of the seventy Tory MPs, who are also private landlords, voted against that, including David Cameron? I’ll give you a clue: it was all of them!” Jonathan Pie, played by British actor Tom Walker, suggests that a healthy UK economy would need to do more than to create an environment in which only the wealthy do well.
“Worse, those reaction times are for an undistracted driver. Consider that it takes about four seconds to unlock an iPhone, which at just 30mph equates to almost the entire length of that football field.” Joe Lindsey suggests that you grab as much attention as early as you can.
“The episode should have been a non-event, and one that would not last long. The airplane was in the control of the pilots, and if they had done nothing, they would have done all they needed to do.” William Langewiesche examines the reasons behind the crash of Air France Flight 447, one of the “most perplexing and significant airline accidents of modern times”.
“Gäbe es keine Panzertür, dann hätte es diesen Absturz nicht gegeben … Dieses nachgerüstete 9/11-Geschwür ist Materialisierung eines vergifteten Zeitgeistes, dieses paranoiden Misstrauens.” Sascha Lobo und ein annonymer Pilot betrachten den Absturz von Flug 4U9525 als Flugzeugentführung infolge unzulänglicher Sicherheitskonzepte.
“Security theatre is the practice of investing in countermeasures intended to provide the feeling of improved security while doing little or nothing to actually achieve it.”
“And so, paradoxically, after everything you have read above, with the outrage fresh in your mind, on the day when it feels harder than any other, I hope you will join me in saying: Bravo, Roche. Now let’s do better.” Ben Goldacre highlights the deficiencies of a regulatory system which governs the approval of pharmaceutical drugs.
“Paradoxically, it was God who created Hell as a place to store evil. He didn’t do a good job of keeping it there, though.”
“It needs to be a finite number, for to set an infinite value on the life of an astronaut is to set both the goals of the space exploration effort and the needs of the rest of humanity at naught.” Robert Zubrin explains how NASA’s approach to risk undermines its mission and costs thousands of lives.
“Clearly, somebody in this room murdered Lord Smythe.”
This is a picture I took of today’s newspaper. You can usually pick me out from a group of cyclists because I am the one wearing the full-face helmet. Comments I get from other cyclists are mostly positive. But somebody, somewhere is always telling me that I must be really scared to be wearing that helmet—before proceeding to tell me everything about injuries and treatments that they had to endure as a consequence of having had a serious crash.
In other news this week, current World Downhill Champion Rachel Atherton was involved in a head-on collision with a car.
“It would be unfortunate if the proliferation of ghost bikes frightened off nervous waverers, because there is quite a lot of evidence that the more cyclists there are, the safer cycling becomes. But if white bikes grab the attention of motorists, give them pause and remind them to take care, they will mark the past and help safeguard the future.” Geraldine Bedell reports on the phenomenon of the white bike reaching the UK.
“The only things that will keep you alive in traffic are your skills, your awareness of your environment, and always having a tremendous respect for the danger involved.” Richard Katz outlines his approach to riding in traffic.
“Understand the principles and then apply them to develop a style that suits your needs and personality.” Read Patrick Field’s excellent guide to riding in traffic.
“Just a quick piece of advice for you fellow bikers. Be careful when your messing with disc brakes, even if you have done it 100’s of times like me. I now have 9.8 digits!”
“Contrary to intuition, cyclists riding on bicycle paths have a higher crash rate than cyclists riding on roads, although not as high a crash rate as cyclists riding on sidewalks.” The Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition looks at crash data for cyclists and reaches valuable and often surprising conclusions.
“Many cyclists make the mistake of riding too close to parked cars. This is extremely dangerous. Many cyclists have been seriously injured or even killed because they were riding in the door zone.” On her bike, Riin Gill never gets closer than 1.5 m.
“Cyclists are being told that road positioning is a critical part of riding safely—but are there any rules, or does it require some kind of two-wheeled sixth sense that you can only gain from experience?” Richard Peace answers some of the most commonly asked questions.
“But what I hear all the time from people is that they would ride a bike but don’t because they feel it’s too dangerous. I completely sympathise, but, of course, I disagree.” Matt Seaton compares cycling in traffic to a peculiar kind of ballet on wheels.
“Wearing a helmet will do absolutely nothing to prevent you from getting hit by a car.” Only a small proportion of accidents involve the collison with a motor vehicle, yet they account for the vast majority of fatalities among cyclists. Michael Bluejay explains how to avoid getting hit.