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  #191  
Old April 8th 21, 07:51 PM posted to rec.bicycles.tech
Frank Krygowski[_4_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 10,538
Default Safety inflation

On 4/8/2021 12:16 PM, jbeattie wrote:
On Thursday, April 8, 2021 at 8:24:12 AM UTC-7, Frank Krygowski wrote:
On 4/8/2021 10:21 AM, sms wrote:

Ohio is obviously a very different place than Oregon or California.

Out on the left coast no one is scared of riding a bicycle if they lack
a fluorescent jersey.

But I'm betting the "safety" people are telling them they should be
wearing fluorescent clothing. And if things progress as they did with
helmets, states will begin considering, then passing Mandatory
Fluorescent Laws. Please note, that happened in France. Cyclists are
legally required to wear safety vests on rural roads at least under
certain conditions.
As to DRLs, it is true that the vast majority of transportational
cyclists do have DRLs on their bicycles, by default. It's not because
some mystery group told them to go out and buy one, the DRL came with
whatever bicycle light that they bought, whether at a bicycle shop or
online.

AFAIK, most of that paragraph is still false. But we know one of your
objectives is to make it true. Because one can never be too safe, right?


Were you beaten by a school crossing guard or something? What is the genesis of this recent anti-safety jihad?


The genesis of my complaints is rationality. As you've just
demonstrated, if someone questions the value of any purported "safety"
measure, they are likely to be taunted as "anti-safety."

I ride most every day, and nobody bugs me about not having a DRL or wearing a fluorescent jersey or really anything. I haven't seen a bicycle safety message in years, although I'm not looking and don't go to shops. Who are these "safety" people? Is this about helmets? Did somebody criticize you for not wearing a helmet?

When I go skiing, the liftys are neurotic about masks -- and I was mask shamed while out on a walk early in the pandemic, but that's about it for safety scolding. My neighbor panics and scolds me when I climb my 22' extension ladder because I'm an old dude and in the demographic for falls.


And your response? By arguing with me, you seem to be defending your
local nannies.

Ah, I have fallen prey to the walking safety thing, but not because of warnings or messages from regulators. My wife and I got reflective vests for walking at night because the Ninja walkers scare the snot out of us when we're driving at night -- and we have a ton of walkers in our neighborhood. Their are nights when it feels like a street fair with everyone standing in the street yaking or walking their dogs. I really like the lighted dog vests. I don't like the 30 foot reel

leashes. No French Nazi collaborators making us wear vests.

I'll submit that the proper response is for you to slow way, way down
when driving at night. There should be no expectation that pedestrians,
especially in a residential neighborhood, should kowtow to the
convenience of motorists. If pedestrians are likely to be around, cars
should be below 20 mph, and probably much below.

About DRLs, I'd say less than half the commuters pre-pandemic were using DRLs in real daylight. There were lots of them in drear or dusk, including me. I see club riders and even racers using them when I'm weekend riding -- again, probably 50% or less. I'll try to keep an accurate count next time. I don't think they're helpful in full sunlight, although a rear flasher is helpful in dappled sun-through-trees, at least according to the one panicked motorist who said he couldn't see me under the trees on Larch Mountain. He was a nice guy, and he was right because I was losing other cyclists in the hard shadows.


I'm convinced DRLs are a scam. As I've said before, there are a very few
times I've seen a bicyclist's DRL at a greater distance than I would
have seen the cyclist without the DRL. But there's _never_ been an
instance when that difference mattered. A cyclist riding properly on an
ordinary road is almost always visible enough, and the rare exception
(for example, the setting sun at equinox aligned with a west-facing
road) no DRL is bright enough to be effective.


I still don't take a flasher up there, however -- and one of the typical
dying Tinkerbell flashers wouldn't work in any event, and a lot of DRLs
do fall into that category. You ride up on someone and look down at the
fender or seat post and see this light once you get there. I do wonder
why people bother with those.

About your questions: First, nobody has yet bugged me in person about
not having a DRL, although both Scharf and Joerg have gone on about them
in this discussion group, portraying them as either absolutely necessary
or used by "all the riders with brains." But there have been ads pushing
DRLs for all riders, and I won't be surprised to see efforts to make
them mandatory, perhaps first on invitational rides. If those rules
catch on, there will be efforts to mandate them for other riding.

I'm sure you'll say Scharf and Joerg don't count. But please understand,
my main point is that paranoia tends to elevate the requirements for
"safe enough." You've just mentioned that (a bit?) less than half the
commuters are using DRLs. How long has that been true? Why was it not
true ten years ago? Think, Jay! It's because back then bicyclists felt
safe enough riding without a DRL. Now they don't. That's a very specific
example of the "inflation" trend I'm describing.

Is it also about helmets? Yes, those form another example. in 1970 no
recreational or transportational cyclists wore helmets; they were worn
only by a very few racers, and non-competitive cyclists felt safe enough
without them. But after a long-lived and massive promotion campaign,
"everybody knows" that you're not safe if you ride without a helmet. In
many states it's illegal for kids to ride without one, and Australian
fines for alternate hat choices approach $400. Do you not recognize that
this is an inflation in "safety" expectations? Do you seriously think
it's sensible? And if you do, would the next step - perhaps full-face
helmets - also be sensible?

And yes, I have been criticized for not wearing a helmet. I'm astonished
you have to ask, given the history of this group's discussions. I've
also been criticized quite harshly to my face, literally shouted at by
other cyclists in profanity-filled harangues. I've had motorists blare
horns at me yelling "Get off the road," and follow up with "Wear your
damned helmet."

But to repeat: This phenomena of "safety inflation" is NOT limited to
bicycling issues by any means. It's pervasive and it applies to probably
hundreds of activities.

My objection stems from what should be a bleedingly obvious fact: If we
pile on more and more and more restrictions or requirements or devices
or other measures in the name of "safety," we are bound to cross a line
where the measures do more harm than good. In many situations, we've
probably crossed that line. I believe bicycling is one victim.

And understand, I'm hardly alone in noting this. There have been serious
articles in major magazines discussing the silliness and the
consequences of the mindset. I have books on the topic. It's not
imaginary, and much of it is not reasonable.


--
- Frank Krygowski
Ads
  #192  
Old April 8th 21, 08:46 PM posted to rec.bicycles.tech
Sir Ridesalot
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 5,270
Default Safety inflation

On Thursday, April 8, 2021 at 2:51:49 p.m. UTC-4, Frank Krygowski wrote:
Really big snip
--
- Frank Krygowski


Did you ever figure out the problem with your light?

Cheers
  #193  
Old April 8th 21, 09:16 PM posted to rec.bicycles.tech
Frank Krygowski[_4_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 10,538
Default Safety inflation

On 4/8/2021 3:46 PM, Sir Ridesalot wrote:
On Thursday, April 8, 2021 at 2:51:49 p.m. UTC-4, Frank Krygowski wrote:
Really big snip
--
- Frank Krygowski


Did you ever figure out the problem with your light?


I still haven't dug into it. I've got several other bikes to choose
from, and because of an Easter family gathering here, I had a lot of
cleaning and other house projects.

I'm sad to say I've gotten no response from Peter White. I'll try him
again.

OT, about house projects: One was to replace a broken glass pane in a
storm window. I decided to patronize the new Ace Hardware store in a
nearby small town plaza, instead of wait a long time at the big suburban
Lowes.

I found to my dismay that the pleasant and helpful young guys working
there did not know how to read fractional inches on a tape measure!
Seriously! At one point I was telling each of them "Look, this mark is
one half. So this mark must be a quarter and that one is an eighth..."

--
- Frank Krygowski
  #194  
Old April 8th 21, 09:32 PM posted to rec.bicycles.tech
Sir Ridesalot
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 5,270
Default Safety inflation

On Thursday, April 8, 2021 at 2:51:49 p.m. UTC-4, Frank Krygowski wrote:
On 4/8/2021 12:16 PM, jbeattie wrote:
On Thursday, April 8, 2021 at 8:24:12 AM UTC-7, Frank Krygowski wrote:
On 4/8/2021 10:21 AM, sms wrote:

Ohio is obviously a very different place than Oregon or California.

Out on the left coast no one is scared of riding a bicycle if they lack
a fluorescent jersey.
But I'm betting the "safety" people are telling them they should be
wearing fluorescent clothing. And if things progress as they did with
helmets, states will begin considering, then passing Mandatory
Fluorescent Laws. Please note, that happened in France. Cyclists are
legally required to wear safety vests on rural roads at least under
certain conditions.
As to DRLs, it is true that the vast majority of transportational
cyclists do have DRLs on their bicycles, by default. It's not because
some mystery group told them to go out and buy one, the DRL came with
whatever bicycle light that they bought, whether at a bicycle shop or
online.
AFAIK, most of that paragraph is still false. But we know one of your
objectives is to make it true. Because one can never be too safe, right?


Were you beaten by a school crossing guard or something? What is the genesis of this recent anti-safety jihad?

The genesis of my complaints is rationality. As you've just
demonstrated, if someone questions the value of any purported "safety"
measure, they are likely to be taunted as "anti-safety."
I ride most every day, and nobody bugs me about not having a DRL or wearing a fluorescent jersey or really anything. I haven't seen a bicycle safety message in years, although I'm not looking and don't go to shops. Who are these "safety" people? Is this about helmets? Did somebody criticize you for not wearing a helmet?

When I go skiing, the liftys are neurotic about masks -- and I was mask shamed while out on a walk early in the pandemic, but that's about it for safety scolding. My neighbor panics and scolds me when I climb my 22' extension ladder because I'm an old dude and in the demographic for falls.

And your response? By arguing with me, you seem to be defending your
local nannies.
Ah, I have fallen prey to the walking safety thing, but not because of warnings or messages from regulators. My wife and I got reflective vests for walking at night because the Ninja walkers scare the snot out of us when we're driving at night -- and we have a ton of walkers in our neighborhood. Their are nights when it feels like a street fair with everyone standing in the street yaking or walking their dogs. I really like the lighted dog vests. I don't like the 30 foot reel

leashes. No French Nazi collaborators making us wear vests.
I'll submit that the proper response is for you to slow way, way down
when driving at night. There should be no expectation that pedestrians,
especially in a residential neighborhood, should kowtow to the
convenience of motorists. If pedestrians are likely to be around, cars
should be below 20 mph, and probably much below.
About DRLs, I'd say less than half the commuters pre-pandemic were using DRLs in real daylight. There were lots of them in drear or dusk, including me. I see club riders and even racers using them when I'm weekend riding -- again, probably 50% or less. I'll try to keep an accurate count next time. I don't think they're helpful in full sunlight, although a rear flasher is helpful in dappled sun-through-trees, at least according to the one panicked motorist who said he couldn't see me under the trees on Larch Mountain.. He was a nice guy, and he was right because I was losing other cyclists in the hard shadows.

I'm convinced DRLs are a scam. As I've said before, there are a very few
times I've seen a bicyclist's DRL at a greater distance than I would
have seen the cyclist without the DRL. But there's _never_ been an
instance when that difference mattered. A cyclist riding properly on an
ordinary road is almost always visible enough, and the rare exception
(for example, the setting sun at equinox aligned with a west-facing
road) no DRL is bright enough to be effective.
I still don't take a flasher up there, however -- and one of the typical
dying Tinkerbell flashers wouldn't work in any event, and a lot of DRLs
do fall into that category. You ride up on someone and look down at the
fender or seat post and see this light once you get there. I do wonder
why people bother with those.
About your questions: First, nobody has yet bugged me in person about
not having a DRL, although both Scharf and Joerg have gone on about them
in this discussion group, portraying them as either absolutely necessary
or used by "all the riders with brains." But there have been ads pushing
DRLs for all riders, and I won't be surprised to see efforts to make
them mandatory, perhaps first on invitational rides. If those rules
catch on, there will be efforts to mandate them for other riding.

I'm sure you'll say Scharf and Joerg don't count. But please understand,
my main point is that paranoia tends to elevate the requirements for
"safe enough." You've just mentioned that (a bit?) less than half the
commuters are using DRLs. How long has that been true? Why was it not
true ten years ago? Think, Jay! It's because back then bicyclists felt
safe enough riding without a DRL. Now they don't. That's a very specific
example of the "inflation" trend I'm describing.

Is it also about helmets? Yes, those form another example. in 1970 no
recreational or transportational cyclists wore helmets; they were worn
only by a very few racers, and non-competitive cyclists felt safe enough
without them. But after a long-lived and massive promotion campaign,
"everybody knows" that you're not safe if you ride without a helmet. In
many states it's illegal for kids to ride without one, and Australian
fines for alternate hat choices approach $400. Do you not recognize that
this is an inflation in "safety" expectations? Do you seriously think
it's sensible? And if you do, would the next step - perhaps full-face
helmets - also be sensible?

And yes, I have been criticized for not wearing a helmet. I'm astonished
you have to ask, given the history of this group's discussions. I've
also been criticized quite harshly to my face, literally shouted at by
other cyclists in profanity-filled harangues. I've had motorists blare
horns at me yelling "Get off the road," and follow up with "Wear your
damned helmet."

But to repeat: This phenomena of "safety inflation" is NOT limited to
bicycling issues by any means. It's pervasive and it applies to probably
hundreds of activities.

My objection stems from what should be a bleedingly obvious fact: If we
pile on more and more and more restrictions or requirements or devices
or other measures in the name of "safety," we are bound to cross a line
where the measures do more harm than good. In many situations, we've
probably crossed that line. I believe bicycling is one victim.

And understand, I'm hardly alone in noting this. There have been serious
articles in major magazines discussing the silliness and the
consequences of the mindset. I have books on the topic. It's not
imaginary, and much of it is not reasonable.


--
- Frank Krygowski


Safety inflation?

Do any of your bicycles have other than steel rims? Do you use brakes other than coaster brakes? If you do isn't that also falling into the trap of Safety Inflation? After all, both were quite adequate for many decades. LOL VBEG

Cheers
  #195  
Old April 8th 21, 09:45 PM posted to rec.bicycles.tech
SMS
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 9,477
Default Safety inflation

On 4/8/2021 9:16 AM, jbeattie wrote:

snip

Were you beaten by a school crossing guard or something? What is the genesis of this recent anti-safety jihad? I ride most every day, and nobody bugs me about not having a DRL or wearing a fluorescent jersey or really anything. I haven't seen a bicycle safety message in years, although I'm not looking and don't go to shops. Who are these "safety" people? Is this about helmets? Did somebody criticize you for not wearing a helmet?


I'd also love to know who these mythical safety people are, but as we
all know, they really don't exist. They are a necessary boogeyman, like
Trump was fond of creating. “When Oregon and California send their
safety people, they’re not sending their best. They’re sending people
that promote florescent jerseys and battery-powered bicycle bicycle
lights. They’re bringing DRLs. They’re helmet promoters. They are
advocating for bicycle infrastructure. And some, I assume, are good people."

snip

Ah, I have fallen prey to the walking safety thing, but not because of warnings or messages from regulators. My wife and I got reflective vests for walking at night because the Ninja walkers scare the snot out of us when we're driving at night -- and we have a ton of walkers in our neighborhood. Their are nights when it feels like a street fair with everyone standing in the street yaking or walking their dogs. I really like the lighted dog vests. I don't like the 30 foot reel leashes. No French Nazi collaborators making us wear vests.


So it's not just around here! Those night-walkers in dark clothes come
out at about 7 p.m.. Pre-DST it was really bad. And many walk in the
street, not on sidewalks. A few years ago a couple was killed in San
Jose because a driver could not see them walking in the
street.

About DRLs, I'd say less than half the commuters pre-pandemic were using DRLs in real daylight. There were lots of them in drear or dusk, including me. I see club riders and even racers using them when I'm weekend riding -- again, probably 50% or less. I'll try to keep an accurate count next time. I don't think they're helpful in full sunlight, although a rear flasher is helpful in dappled sun-through-trees, at least according to the one panicked motorist who said he couldn't see me under the trees on Larch Mountain. He was a nice guy, and he was right because I was losing other cyclists in the hard shadows. I still don't take a flasher up there, however -- and one of the typical dying Tinkerbell flashers wouldn't work in any event, and a lot of DRLs do fall into that category. You ride up on someone and look down at the fender or seat post and see this light once you get there. I do wonder why people bother with those.


Close to 100% of the transportational cyclists around here _own_ one.
I'd say that around 50% of them turn it on in the daytime.

I plead guilty to encouraging cyclists in my city to at least use "being
seen" lights and gave away several hundred sets of them. If even 10% end
up being used before being lost or broken that's fine. Pre-pandemic, the
biggest issue I saw was when kids were riding to school in the dark
between March and May, and in October. Because of DST it was dark in the
morning when the high school started at 7:30 a.m.. Now the schools are
moving to later start times (so the students can get more sleep), so it
should be less of an issue.

I think that Jay and I need to do a fact-finding trip to Ohio to locate
these dastardly safety inflaters. I've been fully vaccinated and have
had Bill Gates's tracking chip injected into me so I'm ready to go.


  #196  
Old April 8th 21, 09:59 PM posted to rec.bicycles.tech
SMS
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 9,477
Default Safety inflation

On 4/8/2021 11:00 AM, Joy Beeson wrote:

snip

Other safety inflation: our local politicians are sure that if a
yield sign is required, a stop sign is even safer. As a result yield
signs are found only in roundabouts, where the politicians had enough
sense to let road designers choose the signs. So every stop sign is
presumed to be a yield sign if the driver can't see evidence to the
contrary, and we are left on our own to evaluate each intersection
with no help from the signs.


Where I grew up Yield signs were common at Tee intersections. I looked
at Google Maps and indeed they have been changed to Stop Signs. But in
the Bay Area many Tee intersections have no sign at all; the cars going
across the top of the Tee don't stop even though technically everyone
should stop at an uncontrolled intersection.
  #197  
Old April 8th 21, 11:05 PM posted to rec.bicycles.tech
JBeattie
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 5,870
Default Safety inflation

On Thursday, April 8, 2021 at 1:59:23 PM UTC-7, sms wrote:
On 4/8/2021 11:00 AM, Joy Beeson wrote:

snip
Other safety inflation: our local politicians are sure that if a
yield sign is required, a stop sign is even safer. As a result yield
signs are found only in roundabouts, where the politicians had enough
sense to let road designers choose the signs. So every stop sign is
presumed to be a yield sign if the driver can't see evidence to the
contrary, and we are left on our own to evaluate each intersection
with no help from the signs.

Where I grew up Yield signs were common at Tee intersections. I looked
at Google Maps and indeed they have been changed to Stop Signs. But in
the Bay Area many Tee intersections have no sign at all; the cars going
across the top of the Tee don't stop even though technically everyone
should stop at an uncontrolled intersection.


O.K., note safety de-inflation -- our stop signs are yield signs for bicycles. https://tinyurl.com/74zhejxc And when I do stop, cars don't know what to do. It's like an episode of Portlandia. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0rpd...ab_channel=IFC

-- Jay Beattie.


  #198  
Old April 8th 21, 11:59 PM posted to rec.bicycles.tech
Frank Krygowski[_4_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 10,538
Default Safety inflation

On 4/8/2021 6:05 PM, jbeattie wrote:
On Thursday, April 8, 2021 at 1:59:23 PM UTC-7, sms wrote:
On 4/8/2021 11:00 AM, Joy Beeson wrote:

snip
Other safety inflation: our local politicians are sure that if a
yield sign is required, a stop sign is even safer. As a result yield
signs are found only in roundabouts, where the politicians had enough
sense to let road designers choose the signs. So every stop sign is
presumed to be a yield sign if the driver can't see evidence to the
contrary, and we are left on our own to evaluate each intersection
with no help from the signs.

Where I grew up Yield signs were common at Tee intersections. I looked
at Google Maps and indeed they have been changed to Stop Signs. But in
the Bay Area many Tee intersections have no sign at all; the cars going
across the top of the Tee don't stop even though technically everyone
should stop at an uncontrolled intersection.


O.K., note safety de-inflation -- our stop signs are yield signs for bicycles. https://tinyurl.com/74zhejxc


That's a rare and welcome correction.


--
- Frank Krygowski
  #199  
Old April 9th 21, 08:42 AM posted to rec.bicycles.tech
John B.[_3_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 5,697
Default Safety inflation

On Thu, 8 Apr 2021 16:16:19 -0400, Frank Krygowski
wrote:

On 4/8/2021 3:46 PM, Sir Ridesalot wrote:
On Thursday, April 8, 2021 at 2:51:49 p.m. UTC-4, Frank Krygowski wrote:
Really big snip
--
- Frank Krygowski


Did you ever figure out the problem with your light?


I still haven't dug into it. I've got several other bikes to choose
from, and because of an Easter family gathering here, I had a lot of
cleaning and other house projects.

I'm sad to say I've gotten no response from Peter White. I'll try him
again.

OT, about house projects: One was to replace a broken glass pane in a
storm window. I decided to patronize the new Ace Hardware store in a
nearby small town plaza, instead of wait a long time at the big suburban
Lowes.

I found to my dismay that the pleasant and helpful young guys working
there did not know how to read fractional inches on a tape measure!
Seriously! At one point I was telling each of them "Look, this mark is
one half. So this mark must be a quarter and that one is an eighth..."


But Frank... it is so complicated with all them there marks, big ones
and little ones... all over :-)
--
Cheers,

John B.

  #200  
Old April 9th 21, 09:17 AM posted to rec.bicycles.tech
John B.[_3_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 5,697
Default Safety inflation

On Thu, 8 Apr 2021 14:51:43 -0400, Frank Krygowski
wrote:

On 4/8/2021 12:16 PM, jbeattie wrote:
On Thursday, April 8, 2021 at 8:24:12 AM UTC-7, Frank Krygowski wrote:
On 4/8/2021 10:21 AM, sms wrote:

Ohio is obviously a very different place than Oregon or California.

Out on the left coast no one is scared of riding a bicycle if they lack
a fluorescent jersey.
But I'm betting the "safety" people are telling them they should be
wearing fluorescent clothing. And if things progress as they did with
helmets, states will begin considering, then passing Mandatory
Fluorescent Laws. Please note, that happened in France. Cyclists are
legally required to wear safety vests on rural roads at least under
certain conditions.
As to DRLs, it is true that the vast majority of transportational
cyclists do have DRLs on their bicycles, by default. It's not because
some mystery group told them to go out and buy one, the DRL came with
whatever bicycle light that they bought, whether at a bicycle shop or
online.
AFAIK, most of that paragraph is still false. But we know one of your
objectives is to make it true. Because one can never be too safe, right?


Were you beaten by a school crossing guard or something? What is the genesis of this recent anti-safety jihad?


The genesis of my complaints is rationality. As you've just
demonstrated, if someone questions the value of any purported "safety"
measure, they are likely to be taunted as "anti-safety."

I ride most every day, and nobody bugs me about not having a DRL or wearing a fluorescent jersey or really anything. I haven't seen a bicycle safety message in years, although I'm not looking and don't go to shops. Who are these "safety" people? Is this about helmets? Did somebody criticize you for not wearing a helmet?

When I go skiing, the liftys are neurotic about masks -- and I was mask shamed while out on a walk early in the pandemic, but that's about it for safety scolding. My neighbor panics and scolds me when I climb my 22' extension ladder because I'm an old dude and in the demographic for falls.


And your response? By arguing with me, you seem to be defending your
local nannies.

Ah, I have fallen prey to the walking safety thing, but not because of warnings or messages from regulators. My wife and I got reflective vests for walking at night because the Ninja walkers scare the snot out of us when we're driving at night -- and we have a ton of walkers in our neighborhood. Their are nights when it feels like a street fair with everyone standing in the street yaking or walking their dogs. I really like the lighted dog vests. I don't like the 30 foot reel

leashes. No French Nazi collaborators making us wear vests.

I'll submit that the proper response is for you to slow way, way down
when driving at night. There should be no expectation that pedestrians,
especially in a residential neighborhood, should kowtow to the
convenience of motorists. If pedestrians are likely to be around, cars
should be below 20 mph, and probably much below.

About DRLs, I'd say less than half the commuters pre-pandemic were using DRLs in real daylight. There were lots of them in drear or dusk, including me. I see club riders and even racers using them when I'm weekend riding -- again, probably 50% or less. I'll try to keep an accurate count next time. I don't think they're helpful in full sunlight, although a rear flasher is helpful in dappled sun-through-trees, at least according to the one panicked motorist who said he couldn't see me under the trees on Larch Mountain. He was a nice guy, and he was right because I was losing other cyclists in the hard shadows.


I'm convinced DRLs are a scam. As I've said before, there are a very few
times I've seen a bicyclist's DRL at a greater distance than I would
have seen the cyclist without the DRL. But there's _never_ been an
instance when that difference mattered. A cyclist riding properly on an
ordinary road is almost always visible enough, and the rare exception
(for example, the setting sun at equinox aligned with a west-facing
road) no DRL is bright enough to be effective.


I still don't take a flasher up there, however -- and one of the typical
dying Tinkerbell flashers wouldn't work in any event, and a lot of DRLs
do fall into that category. You ride up on someone and look down at the
fender or seat post and see this light once you get there. I do wonder
why people bother with those.

About your questions: First, nobody has yet bugged me in person about
not having a DRL, although both Scharf and Joerg have gone on about them
in this discussion group, portraying them as either absolutely necessary
or used by "all the riders with brains." But there have been ads pushing
DRLs for all riders, and I won't be surprised to see efforts to make
them mandatory, perhaps first on invitational rides. If those rules
catch on, there will be efforts to mandate them for other riding.

I'm sure you'll say Scharf and Joerg don't count. But please understand,
my main point is that paranoia tends to elevate the requirements for
"safe enough." You've just mentioned that (a bit?) less than half the
commuters are using DRLs. How long has that been true? Why was it not
true ten years ago? Think, Jay! It's because back then bicyclists felt
safe enough riding without a DRL. Now they don't. That's a very specific
example of the "inflation" trend I'm describing.

Is it also about helmets? Yes, those form another example. in 1970 no
recreational or transportational cyclists wore helmets; they were worn
only by a very few racers, and non-competitive cyclists felt safe enough
without them. But after a long-lived and massive promotion campaign,
"everybody knows" that you're not safe if you ride without a helmet. In
many states it's illegal for kids to ride without one, and Australian
fines for alternate hat choices approach $400. Do you not recognize that
this is an inflation in "safety" expectations? Do you seriously think
it's sensible? And if you do, would the next step - perhaps full-face
helmets - also be sensible?

And yes, I have been criticized for not wearing a helmet. I'm astonished
you have to ask, given the history of this group's discussions. I've
also been criticized quite harshly to my face, literally shouted at by
other cyclists in profanity-filled harangues. I've had motorists blare
horns at me yelling "Get off the road," and follow up with "Wear your
damned helmet."

But to repeat: This phenomena of "safety inflation" is NOT limited to
bicycling issues by any means. It's pervasive and it applies to probably
hundreds of activities.

My objection stems from what should be a bleedingly obvious fact: If we
pile on more and more and more restrictions or requirements or devices
or other measures in the name of "safety," we are bound to cross a line
where the measures do more harm than good. In many situations, we've
probably crossed that line. I believe bicycling is one victim.

And understand, I'm hardly alone in noting this. There have been serious
articles in major magazines discussing the silliness and the
consequences of the mindset. I have books on the topic. It's not
imaginary, and much of it is not reasonable.


But, as I previously told you, "Safety Sells". And to a great extent
it sell itself, all you need to do is say it is safer, never mind any
proof.
--
Cheers,

John B.

 




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