Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Another "Road Safety" myth down / One Happy (and Free) Island

I already mentioned that scientific studies have found that seat belts are less safe as a whole because they make drivers more confident, killing more pedestrians.

Now a new study puts the nail into another "road safety" statist myth- the myth that helmets help bicyclists.

Researcher Ian Walker from the Department of Psychology of Britain's University of Bath found drivers were up to two times more likely to get close when passing cyclists wearing helmets than when overtaking bare-headed pedalers.

Ken Bank went to Aruba and really appreciated all the freedom they have over there. He wrote about it in an inspiring article called "One Happy (and Free) Island":

At home, I can't drive more than a few blocks without seeing a cop car; it's nice to see how my tax dollars are being wasted. In Aruba, I did not see one government thug (aside from the two smiling customs inspectors who waved us through the airport). However, there were plenty of uniforms which belong to private guards, usually designated "Loss Prevention" or "Security." With so much dependent on the tourist trade, businesses in Aruba make sure to provide a reasonable amount of protection to persons and property without becoming intrusive.
As we went through US customs and immigration pre-clearance while still in Aruba, I began to feel uneasy, as if I was entering a prison. That feeling remained when we landed at Newark Airport, even though we had already been "cleared." After spending one week in Aruba, I appreciate the advantages of being in a country that is not at war with anybody, that minds its own business, and whose government does not promote an environment of mistrust and fear of other people. I also enjoy being in a place where I can pretty much do what I want (like smoking Cuban cigars), where I want so long as I don't interfere with someone else's enjoyment.


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