You may also know the media tendency — mostly in non-cycling countries — to report about cyclists killed or injured in collisions with motorised traffic. “Hit by a truck/fast moving vehicle…. wasn’t wearing a helmet.” Written by journalists who are hopelessly uninformed (and perhaps uninterested) about a helmet’s limited industrial design capability in collisions with vehicle. They never seem to write “Man fell from 3rd floor. Wasn’t wearing a helmet.” You get the point.
What we’re seeing lately is how the everpresent Culture of Fear is encroaching on our lives in a new(ish) way. The safety nannies and their lackies are now desperately trying to dictate what you, the citizen, wears. They are trying to make fashion choices for you in the name of their holy, car-centric “safety”.
Even here in Denmark.
Last night a young woman was killed in central Copenhagen. Run down by a taxi. By all accounts, she was crossing against the light. A young life snuffed out.
The death of the young woman comes a day after one of the police departments in Denmark —Vestegns Politi — tweeted: “Do you and your child light up in the dark? Reflectors = 70% fewer accidents for pedestrians.” Seriously.
The Culture of Fear is a nasty bitch. Destructive to our societies. It is, however, rather easy to trace where messages come from. In this case, it’s the darling of the automobiile industry…
Basically, if you feel the need to advertise reflective clothing for pedestrians and cyclists, you are advertising your complete ineptitude about building safe and liveable cities. You are shouting to the world that you believe cars are king and everyone else is at their mercy.
read more: copenhagenize, 21.10.13.
i totally agree that all the crap the media blows up and simultaneously neglects (ie. the victim wasn’t wearing reflective clothing and/or a helmet, but no mention of bad street designs while making the driver/killer look innocent) is very harmful, perpetuating the culture of fear in our society.
but just because you promote reflective clothing doesn’t mean you don’t know shit about building safe and livable cities. that only applies mostly to politicians tweeting blindly.
like, my leggings have a couple reflective strips on the back of my calves, which makes me feel safer as i’m more visible in cars’ headlights, since my pedals don’t have reflectors. (i do use a rear red light, too)
timbuk2 and chrome make bags and backpacks with reflective features. the people running those companies probably care about safe streets, but don’t have the time to advocate for them.
really, it’s a sign of the poor infrastructure (inadequate street lighting) in many places. and the basic real life fact that if you are not visible, someone may crash into you. be a little more aware if you’re crossing a street late at night wearing black and no streetlight nearby—don’t cross if you see a car coming. drive and bike slower at night, especially (or at least) as you enter intersections. common sense?
TriMet (Portland transit) started a night safety campaign when daylight savings time struck.
I’m pretty sure TriMet in its role as the transit agency to improve transit connectivity in the area has livability as one of its goals… but bottom line in their reflective gear campaign is probably that they simply don’t want any of their bus drivers accidentally running over anyone.
wearing reflective gear is a placeholder until cities come up with enough money to install more streetlights, build safe bikeways and redesign intersections.