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Old April 8th 21, 04:17 PM posted to
Frank Krygowski[_4_]
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Posts: 10,538
Default Safety inflation

On 4/7/2021 11:23 PM, jbeattie wrote:
On Wednesday, April 7, 2021 at 7:27:58 PM UTC-7, Frank Krygowski wrote:
On 4/7/2021 1:16 PM, jbeattie wrote:
On Wednesday, April 7, 2021 at 8:06:31 AM UTC-7, Frank Krygowski wrote:
On 4/6/2021 11:38 PM, jbeattie wrote:
On Tuesday, April 6, 2021 at 7:47:20 PM UTC-7, Frank Krygowski wrote:
Safety inflation is a fact. Again, I don't know why pointing
this out offends you.

It doesn't offend me, except its tedious. You claim that bicycle facilities are "safety inflation." Basically any convenience from STI to discs is safety inflation. I'm sure padded bar-tape is safety inflation.
Do you find Scharf's claims tedious, that we should all be using DRL
headlights with "breathe" mode whenever we ride? How about Joerg's
claims that he'd be dead on the trail if not for disc brakes? When Bike
Portland says you need to ride through a cattle chute running between
bus stops and pedestrians on sidewalks so you can be safe?

And as someone who peeled people out of the insides of '50s and '60s cars, they were dangerous...

You're using a simplistic and binary definition of "dangerous." There's
a full spectrum between "dangerous" and "safe" but you're making a
personal judgment that treats the spectrum as black vs. white. My point
is, there's been a overwhelming tendency to shift those personal
judgments and to label more and more things as "dangerous" or at least
"not safe enough."

And I doubt you were consistent in your evaluation. Did you not ride in
cars like the ones you just labeled "dangerous"? What driver protection
was built into the ambulance you drove? Did you at least drive while
wearing a helmet?
and all that car safety inflation stuff you mention -- who cares. Be safe.
The car safety stuff was my attempt to demonstrate the existence of the
trend, or meme, or attitude by using examples that wouldn't raise your
bicycling hackles.

Yes, I rode in old cars and didn't wear seatbelts, etc., and I was in a unique position starting at an early age to see the benefits of modern -- gasp -- safety improvements. The metal dashes and non-collapsing steering columns, and absence of passenger restraints in old vehicles tended to mangle the occupant and allowed them to be ejected from the car. Anyone with a brain would chose the safer option. Why not? Why is that a bad thing?

You've avoided addressing the issue. Expectations regarding safety have
been inflating for many, many years. What was once acceptably safe is
now often demonized as dangerous. You seem to be OK with that continuing
forever. I'm not. I believe that at a certain point there are downsides.

But as to "Anyone with a brain would choose the safer option" in cars:
For a wedding in our family, I was able to borrow from a friend (and
fellow cyclist) a classy looking 1950s or 1960s Buick from his
collection. It was used by the couple to drive from the church to the
reception, then toward the honeymoon. It was a tremendous hit with the
couple and with the attendees. It might amaze you that nobody said "BUT

Another example: One of my best friends owns a 1930 Model A. We've
driven to music gigs in it, and he's taken it on trips of a thousand
miles or more. I assure you, he has plenty of brain power.

Would you mock those people to their faces for their choices, telling
them they must not have a brain? Really?

Yes, really. Wait until you encounter a person who has been in an accident in one of those cars, which, BTW, had more conventional glass. They were more dangerous for me working ambulance. Accident victims looked like they were put through a blender, assuming the car didn't burst into flames and bake them -- burning flesh is one of the worst imaginable smells. I think those cars are fine for parades, but I wouldn't want one for daily driving -- for a lot of reasons. People can collect and drive whatever they want, but I think it is a poor choice for actual, every day driving in traffic -- but my perspective may be unique.

The problem I have is that there certainly ARE people who would mock
them, and mock others who make "safety" choices of which they
disapprove. Here, we've had Scharf saying that the tech geniuses riding
bikes in Silicon Valley all use DRLs, and implying that "people with
brains" all do likewise. Bicyclists who choose to ride with normal hats,
or none at all, absolutely get mocked ("no brain to protect") and
shouted at ("Where's your helmet???"). And that's for devices with
questionable, if any, safety benefit.
"Safety first!" Safety safety safety! You can't be too safe! If only
_one_ life can be saved!" That's being applied to hundreds of
situations, and it's tedious and borderline neurotic. I'm far from the
only one saying so - I have books and articles on the subject. I'm just
pointing out it also applies to bicycling. Sorry that offends you.

It's certainly neurotic for you. You're like Cassandra on a bike. I don't particularly care what personal choices people make so long as they do not make riding more dangerous for me.

Sorry, the evidence you've given here is that you DO care. If you
didn't, your postings on the topic would have been far, far briefer. You
wouldn't have made the "anyone with a brain" remark.

BTW, there are books about everything, and your arguments simply beg the question of what is safe enough. 1952 safe? 1992 safe? Should we go back to smoking and getting our feet X-rayed in shoe stores? Where do you draw the line...

That is precisely the question. My general answer would be that we
should at least acknowledge that Safety Inflation has negative

One negative is the "dangerization" of bicycling. Given its
benefit-to-risk ratio, for which I can give many citations, dissuading
people produces public health detriments - and claiming absolute
necessity of helmets, DRLs, bike lanes, day-glo clothing etc. does
dissuade people. Why would you need those for a safe activity?

Another negative is the restriction of childhood experiences. It's a
proven fact that kids have far less freedom than in decades past because
of inflated parental fears, and it's widely thought that this bodes ill
for society. Look up the Free Range Children movement for details. Or
ask me for citations.

Another negative is the fleecing of customers. "Of _course_ you'll want
this extra-cost safety feature! Just think if, God forbid, something bad
happened..." or worse, "It shall be illegal to do what has always been
done, and mandatory to buy what was never before needed." (Our local
news told people they should NEVER buy a used child seat for a car. Why?
Because it may have been damaged in a crash. What the heck??)

But I admit, I am dismayed by the mousification of society. I'm
irritated at the ridiculous "Safety First!" labels applied to everything
from screwdrivers ("Always wear eye protection!") to soup cans
("Caution: After microwaving, contents will be hot!") If many of those
don't look ludicrous to you, something's wrong - but then, you are a

What is that supposed to mean? If you have an issue, then go sponsor legislation. I don't know what it would be: "The Frank Krygowski the world is too safe law." We can call it "Frank's law." I have no idea what it would do other than complain about safety inflation.

Alternately, if you don't like me discussing our society's ever
increasing paranoia, sponsor legislation. You're probably better at that
than I am.

- Frank Krygowski

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