From the penny-farthing to the pedicab, bicycles are some of humanity’s most versatile vehicles. In honor of their pedal-powered practicality — not to mention their health and environmental benefits — here’s a pop science guide to the wild world of cycling.
“This new ordinance in Berkeley allows bicyclists who are harassed or assaulted to take a driver to civil court. A bicyclist may bring suit against a driver who:
Assaults, or attempts to assault, a bicyclist;
Threatens to physically injure a bicyclist;
Injures, or attempts to injure, a bicyclist;
Intentionally distracts a bicyclist with the intent to cause injury; or,
Intentionally forces a bicyclist off the roadway.
Everything listed above is already illegal. This ordinance doesn’t create new crimes, but rather addresses the difficulty of seeking recourse.”
“The ordinance adopted by Berkeley and Los Angeles is groundbreaking because it makes harassment and assault of a bicyclist a civil offense as well as a criminal offence. There is a lower burden of proof for civil cases as the penalties are financial and remedial. Making this harassment a civil offense also puts legal tools directly in the hands of bicyclists, letting them bring suit rather than having to go through the City Attorney’s office in a criminal case.”
… it’s not clear that the lack of a helmet should completely deter somebody from biking. “We want to increase people’s ability to get exercise and do things that are environmentally sound,” Fischer [an emergency room doctor at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston] says.
That dilemma is one reason mandatory-helmet laws are so rare. No state requires adults to wear them, and only 21 states require them for younger riders. In Washington, D.C., they’re required for anyone under 16. The argument goes that requiring a helmet doesn’t increase helmet usage so much as decrease bike riding. And studies have shown that the more bikers a city has, the safer biking in that city becomes.