Monday, January 22, 2007

Bicycle safety

Paul Dorn notes a couple of importance pieces of bicycle safety news.

Sharrows approved

The National Committee on Uniform Traffic Control Devices finally voted to endorse "sharrow" shared-lane markings and sent their endorsement to the Federal Highway Administration for inclusion (hopefully) in the next edition of the federal MUTCD.

I realize many cyclists don't like sharrows, but, like Paul, I really like them. They help to communicate that cyclists are as much a user of our roads as motorists are. They were pioneered in Denver, Colorado, and have now been adopted by several cities where cycling is popular. Adoption as a federal highway standard will only help.

Of course, sharrows must be in the right spot to be effective; an actual standard will improve positioning on the street.

Salt Lake City helmet law

Non-cyclists try yet again to improve our 'safety' by pushing mandatory helmet legislation, this time in Salt Lake City. SLC cyclists -- even those who are pro-helmet -- are against the legislation. The cyclists "say it would ... give the impression that cycling is unsafe and could deter bikers from commuting. They would rather the city spend time preventing collisions instead of blaming the victim.

'Wouldn't it make more sense to reduce the rate of accidents than to mitigate their damage through helmets?' wonders Rob MacLeod, a member of the Mayor's Bicycle Advisory Board (MBAC) who wears a helmet as a regular cycle commuter. "

As everyone knows, though, helmets are effective in accident prevention.

Photo info: Market Street cyclist getting the squeeze by richardmasoner.

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