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Richard Layman, over at Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space, is capping on our recent cover story about bike helmets. After laying out his own biography vis-a-vis helmets, Layman goes prescriptive on what Washington City Paper could have done to produce a better cover story. Here goes:
The City Paper article would have been better had it been motivated to go beyond snarky, and discussed the difference between riding in the U.S. and Europe, and had they interviewed bicycling experts beyond head injury types, such as Rutgers University professor John Pucher (see “John Pucher – the Bicycle Scholar” from Momentum Magazine and the full paper, “Making Cycling Irresistible: Lessons from the Netherlands, Denmark, and Germany”) or Anne Lusk, a researcher at Harvard’s School of Public Health (see this column by Neal Peirce, “A New Two-Wheeled Course?” about cycle tracks and Anne’s work).
Shit! Man, I knew we were missing something! I should have sent an advance copy over to Layman, and this disaster would have been averted. I mean, how do you write a comprehensive story about cycling in D.C. without drawing comparisons with Europe? That section would have worked perfectly right between the story about D.C. bike messenger Rico and the local guy who died from a bike accident in Colorado. My apologies.
As for failing to consult with Pucher and Lusk—-again, a huge belly flop.
We’ll let Layman have the last word on this: “Sadly, the City Paper is most happy being snarky in its articles, rather than taking a step beyond conventional wisdom.”