Another study shows that few CaBi users wear helmets.
The researchers concluded that out of the total 2,297 cyclists observed in the 30-day period (1,140 commuters and 887 casual riders), 10.1 percent of commuters and 12.4 percent of casual riders were Bikeshare users. Of those using Bikeshare, helmet use was significantly less compared to private cyclists. For example, 70.8 percent of commuters on private bicycles wore helmets, compared to only 33.1 percent of Bikeshare commuters.
The divide was even bigger for casual riders: casual bikesharers wore helmets only 15.7 percent of the time, compared to over 68 percent for casual riders on other bikes. Altogether, bikesharers accounted for roughly 11 percent of all bikers observed
But this is followed by some dubious statements.
Helmet use is the most important safety intervention for cyclists, Kraemer notes. "Bikers can't always control the environment around them, but they can control whether they wear a helmet. Helmets greatly reduce the risk of injury to both the brain and the face—even if a cyclist is hit by a car."
"While Capital Bikeshare bicycles are designed to lower the risk of a crash occurring, with a lower center of gravity, heavier frame, lights, and reflective paint, helmets are essential for preventing serious injury in the event of a crash."
THE most important? More important than working brakes, a bike in good working order or a sober, knowledgeable cyclist? I think essential is overstating the benefits. Maybe, "helmets are the best option available for preventing serious injury in the event of a crash." would be more accurate - mainly because there are so few options at that point.
Still, if they can come up with ways to get more CaBi users to wear helmets without discouraging riders, that is probably a good thing
"We're looking at the study closely and we're going to find out what will get more people to wear helmets more often," Jim Sebastian at District Department of Transportation said.
But usnews is way off the mark
Bikeshare proponents often argue that one of the benefits of the systems is helping people exercise. But those healthy effects could easily be negated by severe head trauma.
Almost surely not. The health benefits of cycling far outweigh the safety risk of a crash - and that is for all crashes, not just the subset of crashes for which a helmet would be useful. The above statement isn't even a conclusion of the study.
so while they may be a smaller population than the private-bike riders, the individual bikeshare users could be at a far greater risk of injury.
Or probably not, because of the reduced risk of a crash as noted above. But perhaps this could open up a path to determining the efficacy of helmets. By comparing the frequency of head injuries for those on CaBi who are in crashes and those not on CaBi who are on crashes, we could use these wide differences to make some sort of comparison. Of course, I can already think of some flaws with this methodolgy, but maybe someone else could overcome them.
It does drive me a little crazy that no one pushes back on the claim that "the risk of injury is elevated for unhelmeted cyclists, should a crash occur," Oh yeah? How do you know? By how much?
"It's not going to be a really high speed trip, whereas if you're really on a racing bike, then the likelihood of a serious injury, a head injury, is going to be even greater."
Ding Ding Ding! We have a winner. An explanation for why fewer CaBi riders wear helmets. "We're really confused why one group involved in a more risky behavior than another would choose to wear more safety gear. It's truly perplexing. Like why do cops wear bulletproof vests at work and no one else does? The risk of injury is elevated for unvested workers, should a shooting occur."
And while I know someone pointed out that Pucher was misquoted earlier this week, here he goes again.
"All of a sudden, you've got these 7,000 bikes, which anyone with a credit card can use. ... My guess is the people using those bikes are far less likely to be experienced cyclists," he says of New York's new system. "What I fear is you're going to have indeed a spiking--and it could be a doubling or a tripling--of injuries and fatalities, both of cyclists and pedestrians."
I think someone looked at this already in Paris and determined that the rate of bike injuries and fatalities actually went down.
“The accident rate is lower on a Vélib’ than on ‘normal’ bikes,” a spokesperson for the office of Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoë told Streetsblog. In 2009, the most recent year for which data is available, Vélib’ riders were responsible for one-third of all bike trips in Paris but were involved in only one-fourth of all traffic crashes involving a bicycle.