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Alta pitches helmet vending machines for Vancouver BC bike share

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

Much has been debated about the how the use of helmets impacts bicycling rates (or doesn't). Now the debate is finding a new battlegrounds among the burgeoning crop of bike-share systems throughout North America.

Vancouver B.C. is an interesting case. The city is lauded as a leader in bicycling (they're even hosting the major international cycling conference Velo-City this week), yet they are saddled by an all-ages, mandatory helmet law. Like Portland, Vancouver is working on their roll-out of a bike-sharing system and many people are watching how the helmet equation plays out. After all, if helmets are mandatory, that means every person who checks out a bike-share bike must have one on.
(more...)

Responding to feedback, BTA clarifies and modifies helmet policy

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011
Rabbit on his tall bike-1
BTA says they'll oppose
mandatory helmet laws "if
a bill does not advance cycling
in Oregon."
(Photo © J. Maus)

In an email to members this morning, Bicycle Transportation Alliance Board President Stephen Gomez wrote a letter offering, "Clarity on the BTA's helmet stance."

The letter comes in response to a new helmet policy released by the BTA back in October. That policy, which came after tallying results from a member survey on the issue, rubbed many in the community the wrong way.

The key part of the policy some people expressed disappoint in was this: "If confronted with a proposed mandatory helmet law, the BTA will not stand in opposition to the law. Neither will we devote resources to passing such a law." While subtle, the new policy marked a shift toward a more pro-helmet stance than they'd had in the past. The BTA had previously been opposed — both philosophically and in practice — to laws that would make helmets mandatory for adults. (more...)

BTA releases helmet policy, survey results

Friday, October 28th, 2011
Helmets
Helmets on the Hawthorne Bridge
(Photo by Will Vanlue)

Using feedback gleaned from a recent survey, the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) board of directors has formally adopted a policy on helmets. Here is the position statement as published on their blog this morning:

The Bicycle Transportation Alliance supports state law that requires those under 16 to wear helmets while on a bicycle. Helmets are safety devices that make bicycling safer by mitigating injury in the event of a fall or crash. Our role as an advocacy organization is to push for safer cycling environments and making our roads more bike-friendly. Therefore, The Bicycle Transportation Alliance encourages the use of helmets by all cyclists.

(more...)

When it comes to helmet laws, language matters

Monday, October 24th, 2011
Bike camping at Champoeg St. Park-134
Mandatory helmet laws say
the little guy should wear one.
(Photos © J. Maus)

After reading about the helmet survey launched by the Bicycle Transportation Alliance last week, I wanted to share a cautionary tale about helmet laws. I live in Vancouver, Washington where we've been living with a mandatory, all-ages helmet law since 2008.

If you're of the persuasion that mandatory helmet laws are a good thing, keep in mind that not all mandatory helmet laws are created equal and — as Vancouver is finding out with its 2008 ordinance — subtle wording can have a profound effect on the scope of the law.

Sidestepping the seemingly non-existent impact Vancouver’s law has had on helmet use, bike ridership and injury rates, it contains a few real-world complications that highlight why it’s important to pay attention to subtle wording. (more...)

Seeking clarity on helmet debate, BTA launches survey

Friday, October 21st, 2011
People on Bikes - Waterfront-4-3
BTA wants to have a clear
answer when it comes to the
inevitable helmet debate.
(Photos © J. Maus)

The Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) has launched a survey of their members to get feedback on one of bicycling's biggest debates: helmet use.

Here's a blurb from an email sent to members about the survey:

"The board of directors of the Bicycle Transportation Alliance will be discussing the role of helmets and the organization’s policy in the broader context of our work to make bicycling safe and accessible. To help inform the board’s discussion, we are asking our members to respond.."

Curious about why the BTA is wading in these waters, I contacted executive director Rob Sadowsky to learn more. (more...)

Heading to the 'Couve? Don't forget your helmet

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011
Aloha Todd and Low Bar Tour - Pedalpalooza-4
Heading to the 'Couve? Remember your helmet.
(Photos © J. Maus)

Back in 2008, Vancouver (WA) passed an all-ages, mandatory helmet law. While enforcement has been nearly nonexistent since then, the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) says that's about to change.

Hoping to increase compliance with the law, VPD spokesperson Kim Kapp tells us new police patrols, will "focus increasingly on making sure all bicyclists are complying with a city ordinance requiring helmets be worn at all times."

That's something to keep in mind if you're from Portland, where the law only requires helmets on children under 16 years of age. (more...)

Do all-ages helmet laws work? An update from Vancouver, WA

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

What happens in places that have a mandatory, all-ages helmet law on the books? Do injury rates decline? Does bike ridership go down? That's the conventional wisdom; but is it true? Nearly three years after passing such an ordinance, the effect of Vancouver’s helmet law is difficult to ascertain. Our Vancouver correspondent Marcus Griffith took a closer look and found some surprising results. (more...)

Event: Bike Beaverton (8/1/10)

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

Event Name: Bike Beaverton
Event Start Date: 1 August 2010
Start Time: 1:00:00 PM
Web Site: http://www.beavertonoregon.gov/bike
Event Description: At 1 p.m., Bike Beaverton kicks off with a performance from Northern Alliance Drum Line. The Beaverton Police Department will hold a safety rodeo where children can have fun maneuvering through an obstacle course while learning new skills and safety practices. Bicycle mechanics from The Bike Gallery and Bike n Hike will perform safety inspections and Northwest Bicycle Council will fit and inspect helmets. The Northwest Bicycle Council will also be replacing damaged adult, youth and toddler helmets during Bike Beaverton while supplies last. Last year they were able to replace 70 helmets and expect to exceed that number this year.

A community ride will begin at 2 p.m. with three rides of varying difficulty to choose from: around the block, a six mile family-friendly ride and a 13-mile fitness ride. During the event, participants can enjoy the musical stylings of Amish Love Child and enjoy an ice cream social.

For more information, please contact Margaret Middleton at (503) 526-2424 or visit www.beavertonoregon.gov/bike.

Esplanade rider seeks clues about serious crash

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008

A man who ended up in the emergency room after a serious crash while riding on the Eastbank Esplanade last Friday (9/19) is looking for witnesses to help him piece together what happened.

Richard B. (he didn't want to share his last name) says it was about 3:45 pm and he was riding south on the Esplanade just past the Fire Station near the Hawthorne Bridge. Here's how he describes what happened next:

"It was one of my regular rides. I remember going by the fire station, then except for one brief blurry memory of an EMT lifting me into the ambulance, the next memory is being in the emergency room at OHSU after CT scan and evaluation."

(more...)

“Freedom Ride” will protest Vancouver helmet law

Friday, March 7th, 2008
Roll On Columbia! ride
Vancouver Mayor Royce Pollard
modeling proper helmet behavior.
(Photo © J. Maus)

A twelve year-old Vancouver boy has organized a ride to protest the all-ages helmet law that was recently passed by the Vancouver City Council.

The ordinance, which makes helmets mandatory for everyone on a variety of human powered vehicles, was passed by a 5-1 vote. But that wide margin doesn't seem to reflect how many Vancouverites feel about the law, as evidenced by several of the 155 comments that have been posted so far on my story about the Council's decision.

One of those comments, by "Dread Pirate Roberts," caught my eye. It took things one step further and suggested that a protest ride was in order: (more...)

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