Paul Steely White again

Yeah, I feel like I’m becoming Paul’s repost bitch here but this one is too good not to add. Check out the director of New York’s Transportation Alternatives riding his WorkCycles Opafiets around my beautiful hometown explaining how the conversion of New York from car-centric to human-centric will simply benefit everyone… or at least the vast majority of people. Against all odds they’re making great progress there. Beautifully filmed, eloquently spoken and plain old positive. Paul even manages to wear a helmet without looking like a dork. Thanks for the hard work TA!

ps: What happened to your bike’s chaincase Paul?

4 Responses to “Paul Steely White again”

  1. Dottie Says:

    Cool video!

  2. Todd Edelman Says:

    This is really well put together and very positive, I must agree, though I disagree about the helmet and think he looks incredibly dorky (perhaps that is the point?) I also don’t imagine a black helmet like that would be so comfortable on hot days (I cycled through several hot summers in NYC).

    I am very impressed with improvements to cycling infrastructure in NYC and thankTransportation Alternatives for help making this happen.

    At the very end of the video, he hands out a copy of “Biking Rules” http://bikingrules.org/

    A cute pun for the title, sure. You can see my detailed thoughts at this link: http://www.streetsblog.org/2009/11/20/psas-rock-watch-the-winners-of-tas-biking-rules-video-contest/#comment-160671

  3. henry Says:

    Todd, I think it was a wise decision for Paul to wear a helmet in the film. I agree that in a perfect world his hair would have been flowing in the breeze. But by wearing a helmet they avoid the inevitable barrage of stupid criticism about helmetless cycling. Better a subtle helmet and keep the discussion positive than the distraction of helmet debates. It sucks that this is true but it is.

  4. Todd Edelman Says:

    Hi Henry,

    First of all, I thought maybe Paul might respond in the past couple of days…

    Yes, it is likely that there would have been a barrage of stupid criticism, but aside from being a cryin’ shame I think it’s a moot point because I wouldn’t call TA “pro-choice” on helmets. It seems that Paul would simply not be able to go helmetless, or he would be hypocritical. From the Biking Rules Street Code:

    “Helmet Head Rules – Bike brains are beautiful, and NYC needs them if we are ever going to convince more people to ride a bike! Learn to love that helmet hair.”

    True, it is not “you’re a f-ckin’ irresponsible douchebag if you don’t wear a helmet”. It’s virtually identical to what SF Bike Coalition says “HELMET! You can redo your hair when you get to the office. You can’t redo your skull if you crash”

    But it’s clearly different from ECF (“Ask me why I don’t wear a helmet”). It is also important to keep in mind that the cycling modal share and/or promotion in many parts of Europe where ECF has members is lower than in NYC. (Regarding the “safety in numbers” concept).

    I am clearly in the camp of ECF and the more prominent (on this issue) Mikael from Copenhagenize. But I am pro-choice. I do think some of the new urban – not BMX, skateboarding – type helmets which have those nice covers are quite attractive and don’t scream out “cycling is dangerous”. If you’re going to promote helmets, show some links to facts, data, balanced and informed opinions. This is especially important when – like in Biking Rules and I said in my first point – laws are mixed with recommendations:

    http://bikingrules.org/rules/rulesoftheroad – makes clear all the actual laws. Fair enough.
    http://bikingrules.org/rules/streetcode – is focused on pedestrian and cycling interaction and mixes laws with recommendations. I see the point about pointing out these specific pedestrian-cyclist-relationship things in a separate category but I think it makes things too much of a misch-masch when combined with the other page which deals with laws alone. The helmet thing seems to be added on here because there was nowhere else to put it! All the different code ideas (which are good) have a law to refer to, but not the one for helmets. The “Pedestrians Rule” is more of a foundation for everything else, and should be part of the introduction, rather than a code. It’s sloppy, also because the whole thing is called “Biking Rules” but then the sub-directory or whatever is called “Rules” then there is “Rules of the Road” and “Street Code”. I would not be surprised if people who read this book would say that “pedestrian priority” is a law, but it’s not (and sure I think it should be, like in Oude Amsterdam.).

    But at some point it might be good to even further. Salmoning, for example, is natural and things need to be changed on all those one-way streets in Manhattan which it seems do not – on balance – facilitate cycling. As I understand it, the possibility for contraflow cycling is the default on small streets in Belgium, and it seems it will also now be allowed in many places in Hungary. Are there other “Rules” which are bad or not optimal?

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