Could it perhaps be a slight over-reaction to describe two people riding on a bike at the same time as being "like suicide and murder" ?
I've just returned home and cycled past a couple of schools here around lunch time and saw any number of children being given lifts on the back of their friend's bikes. Lots of smiles from friends enjoying their lives together. No concerns about it being unsafe. Given that cyclists here have the lowest death rate in the world, it would seem that this isn't a great problem.
The image comes from a comic called "Danny and the Demoncycle" which was produced by the "Highway safety division of Virginia" back in 1972. This would seem to pre-date many of the current health and safety concerns over cycling, so unlike a modern day equivalent it doesn't also go on about helmets and fluorescent clothing.
It's one of many examples of where excessive concern about something which carries a very small risk is mis-directed. In this case, it's likely to stop children cycling at all, with all the negative effects that this implies for health, wealth, and society. Real safety doesn't come from scaring people off bicycles. It comes from efforts to improve the conditions on the streets.
I wonder if the same department also tried to stop people from driving cars. After all, they were responsible for roughly as many deaths in the last century as wars, yet the motor industry has always been keen to emphasize safety.
Thanks to the Old Bike Blog for drawing my attention to this. But remember... "Sorry Pal, No passengers ! Doubling on a single bike is like suicide and murder !"
Oh, and remember that carrying a passenger is actually illegal in many countries. Haven't the police got anything better to do ?
Not culture, not history – physical change
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