Dear Street Smarts,
Q: Not sure who to contact but perhaps you can help. I witnessed a pick-up truck driving up Winkle Avenue from Soquel Drive and run the stop sign at the intersection of Winkle and Howe Street. The street is painted with the word ‘STOP,’ but there is no ‘STOP’ sign. I am pretty sure there use to be one but it’s not there any more. Can you inform the appropriate authorities of this situation?
J.D., via email
A: A crew with Santa Cruz County Public Works replaced the sign Wednesday, said Jack Sohriakoff, senior civil engineer with the agency.
Reader advocates for helmet use among adult cyclists
You’ve had a few articles in 2012 promoting the wearing of bicycle helmets. I read yet another article, published in the journal of the Canadian Medical Association, which provides further evidence that even adults should wear a properly fitting helmet when riding a bicycle, Nonuse of bicycle helmets and risk of fatal head injury.
This study looked at 129 fatal accidents involving bicycle riders in Ontario, Canada. The statistical analysis found that non-use of a bicycle helmet increases the risk of dying if involved in a bicycle accident. The odds of fatality are three to four times higher, even in adults. In a different study of non-fatal accidents, the risk of brain injury was found to be reduced 65 percent by wearing a bicycle helmet.
California law requires that bicycle riders under age 18 wear helmets, and that motorcycle riders of any age wear helmets, but there’s no California law requiring adults to wear bicycle helmets. Bicycle helmets are mandatory in some other areas, even for adults. The article says “…in Victoria, Australia, helmet use increased from 31 percent to 75 percent, and cycling fatalities decreased by 48 percent, after the introduction of mandatory helmet laws, despite an increase in cycling among adults.”
Even though the California legislature hasn’t forced adults to do the right thing, all adults should wear a properly fitted helmet when riding a bicycle. It’s good for the rider, for his or her family, and for keeping our medical and disability burden lower in the entire country. Kids think they’re invulnerable. Adults should know better and always wear a bicycle helmet when riding.
Stanley Sokolow, via email