Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Monday, June 22, 2009

Helmet Laws

One of the great impediments to bringing in a public bike share/rental program here in sydney is our anti bicycle helmet laws. The Danish parliament has just overturned an attempt by some misguided politicians to bring in helmet laws in one of the World's safest cycling countries. This at a time when Danish people are getting fatter and cycling less! Bringing in helmet laws would make cycling seem dangerous and lots of people would stop riding. Luckily it got voted down.

The United Kingdom's National Cyclists Organisation, succeeded in lobbying against a similar law and published a brochure that they sent to politicians in which they wrote 7 reasons to oppose a child helmet law:

1. The principal threats to children's lives are obesity, heart disease and other illnesses resulting in large part from inactivity. Cycling has a key role to play in preventing these illnesses. Less cycling through a helmet law would aggravate the situation.
2. Cycling is a healthy activity, and the likelihood of serious head injury is widely exaggerated.
3. Cycling becomes safer the more people do it. Encouraging cycling is by far the most effective way of reducing risk of injury.
4. Helmet promotion deters cycling and leads to poorer health.
5. The benefits of helmets are greatly over-stated.
6. Many other everyday activities could benefit more from helmet-wearing than cycling.
7. A helmet law would make it a crime for children to take part in a health giving activity.

Via Copenhagen

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Driver sought after two cyclists knocked down

Police are seeking a motorist who knocked down two women cyclists in Sydney this morning.

Police say the women, both aged 42, were hit from behind while riding south on South Dowling Street near Todman Avenue at Kensington about 6am (AEST) on Sunday.

The male motorist stopped and told the injured pair he would get an ambulance, but didn't return.

Other motorists stopped to help the women, who were treated by paramedics and taken to St Vincent's Hospital.

One suffered soft tissue damage and the other a suspected fractured elbow.

Investigators are looking for a man aged in his mid-50s, possibly of Mediterranean/Middle Eastern appearance, with dark hair and wearing a dark-coloured jumper or vest.

"He was driving a small white car, possibly Corolla-style with four doors," police said.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Japanese Cycling Talent

From various photographers, if you'd like a link from a photo you took please let me know.

Submission from Our Reporter in Alice Springs

Here's the Alice Springs Unicyclist! No doubt he's some sort of regular identity-about-town. Here he was cycling East (where, I hear, may creative folk live). The previous day I saw him cycle across the Todd River Bridge, but the impressive thing was he was ON THE RAILING! The railing in question (between the road and the footpath) had a flat top which seemed about 8 inches wide at most. As an occasional unicyclist, the street riding I could handle (and I could take those important calls in transit), but I wouldn't be up for the railing stunt! No sirree!

Possum run down by painted bicycle

From Cazzbo's Mum

Best invention ever

Today I was helping daughter number two with her homework assignment. She had to write about her favourite machine and how it worked. Naturally we chose the bicycle!
Here is her finished assignment:

Then later I was checking my Facebook and saw this great link from my friend Gilbert.

Bicycle chosen as best invention
Prof Heinz Wolff on a bicycle, BBC
Prof Wolff's praise for the bike won over listeners
The humble bicycle has won a UK national survey of people's favourite inventions.

Listeners to BBC Radio 4's You and Yours programme were invited to vote in an online poll looking at the most significant innovations since 1800.

It was an easy victory for the bicycle which won more than half of the vote.

The transistor came second with 8% of the vote, and the electro-magnetic induction ring - the means to harness electricity - came third.

Interplanetary travel

Despite their ubiquity, computers gained just 6% of the vote and the internet trailed behind with only 4% of all votes cast. There were more than 4,500 votes cast in total.

People chose the bicycle for its simplicity of design, universal use, and because it is an ecologically sound means of transport.

Bicycle - 59%
Transistor - 8%
Electro-magnetic induction ring - 8%
Computer - 6%
Germ theory of infection - 5%
Radio - 5%
Internet - 4%
Internal combustion engine - 3%
Nuclear power - 1%
Communications satellite - 1%
The survey also asked participants which innovation they would most like to disinvent.

GM foods came top of this poll with 26% of the vote, followed by nuclear power with 19%.

By contrast, the technology most would like to see invented was an Aids vaccine.

Alas, plans to ship long-suffering commuters to distant planets may need to be put on hold with only 15% voting for an interplanetary commuting transport system.

Half voted water treatment and supply systems as the technology to bring most benefit to society.

Another 23% thought that vaccinations deserved the honour.

Each of the technologies were nominated by a different expert, including writer Sir Arthur C Clarke, cloning expert Professor Ian Wilmut, and Professor Heinz Wolff.

Prof Wolff's praise of the bicycle held the most sway with voters which will come as a disappointment to Lord Alec Broers, this year's Reith lecturer.

His series of lectures - Triumph of Technology - prompted the vote.

In the first of his talks, he expressed surprise at the results of a similar survey.

It too ranked the bicycle above scientific breakthroughs such as electricity generation, the jet engine, the discovery of DNA and the invention of vaccinations.

Here are three more reasons that bikes are better

Bicycles don't damage the road

Bicycles don't get stuck in traffic

And this one, well it speaks for itself I guess

Here's a relevant comic sent in by Christa

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

A taste of the toast

A Taste of The Toast from Michael on Vimeo.

Official: Cycling makes you 39% less likely to die

New research from the University of Sydney has indicated that more needs to be done to encourage safe cycling in Australia.

The results, published recently in the Medical Journal of Australia, show that despite the overwhelming health benefits associated with cycling, a dominant car culture and concerns about safety risks prevent many Australians from commuting by bicycle.

The findings come in response to a recent report into Victorian cycling injuries, which found that the number of cyclists treated for injuries has increased by 76 per cent over the past five years.

Conducted by Adrian Bauman and Chris Rissel of the School of Public Health at the University of Sydney, the study compared Australian cycling conditions with overseas examples to highlight the many areas in which local cycling infrastructure needs updating.

Previous international studies have observed a 39 percent reduction in the risk of all-cause mortality over 15 years in those that cycled to work each day. Commuting by bicycle also has mental health benefits and reduces cardiovascular risk, with lower rates of obesity occurring in regions with high cycling rates.

While there are currently more people cycling in Australia than five years ago, with an estimated one million new bicycles sold each year, many avoid commuting by bike as a result of the perceived risks involved.

The study advocates better cycling facilities, the provision of separated bike paths and cycle lanes, lower driver speeds, and integrating cycling into public transport systems to encourage more Australians to access the health and ecological benefits of commuting by bicycle.