Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Fairfax Police bike safety video

The latest bike safety video from Fairfax County police is entitled Bike Safety Equipment and Traffic Rules. The 2 1/2 minute video covers basic equipment used for safe bicycling. Helmet fit is stressed, taking up over a minute of the video. The helmet worn by the officer seems a bit loose to me.

Rather than spend so much time on helmets and helmet fit I would prefer they stressed the importance of proper bike handling skills to avoid crashes in the first place. Under the 5 layers of bicycle safety, use of a helmet is listed last (Passive safety): "This is actually the least effective layer. Helmets and gloves protect your most vulnerable body parts as a last resort in case of the very rare failure of Layers 1 through 4, but they do nothing to help you avoid crashes."

The basics of the ABC Quick Check are briefly discussed. Following the rules of the road is the last segment. According to the officer, "If you're on a bicycle on the street you're a motor vehicle" which is incorrect. The definition of a bicycle in Virginia code states that "a bicycle shall be a vehicle while operated on the highway" not a motor vehicle. I know, picky, picky.

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I don't think you're being picky. A bicycle is not a "motor vehicle"... unless it has a motor. Making mistakes in public safety videos often undermines the message.

Totally agree that the helmet is what you need when all else fails and you are having an accident - and more emphasis needs to be made on being a polite and defensive cyclist who avoids accidents.
Thanks for the comment Anne. It sometimes takes me a while to publish comments. I moderate them to eliminate spam but the downside is that it can take several hours before the comment is published. I was off riding the Western Maryland Rail Trail today. I hope to write a blog post about it soon.

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