Urban Velo

Bicycling – A Ride of Death!

I know I probably shouldn’t find this COMPLETELY HILARIOUS, but come on…. IT’S COMPLETELY HILARIOUS! This book of images is a morbid public service announcement from the 50′s (obviously) warning of the perils of riding a bike carelessly. So much could be said about these, but I want to point out two specific oddities. 1. The kids riding the bikes are NEVER wearing helmets and yet this glaringly obvious oversight is never mentioned as a factor in the deaths. Sure, some of the deaths are attributed to “skull fracture – then death”, but you know, that was due more to careless riding than physical protection. 2. Check out who dies in these chic-tract depictions….the boys. Always the boys. The girls get off easy with “severe injuries” and no hope of ever walking again, but the boys….they’re toast. Oh, and that baby. That baby gets it too. Probably was a boy. Methinks 40′s brand sexism is to account for this little disparity in consequences.

Remember kids, Bicycling will probably throw you under an oil tanker and crush your legs. Now let’s get back to arguing the merits of wearing helmets. Oh, and enjoy your weekend.

See the rest here at Retronaut

About Scott Spitz

Commuting, touring, kid hauling, couriering, mechanic work, sales, advocacy, fixed, free—Scott has had his hands in it all over the years.

View all posts by Scott Spitz →


  1. antbikemikeMarch 2, 2012 at 9:16 am

    I have this book ;)

  2. jorgeMarch 2, 2012 at 9:46 am

    Hilarous! Here’s an idea for a future blog post: why don’t you go into your local hospital’s ER and ask the ER docs there whether or not they feel helmets could’ve helped prevent injury in all the cases of serious head truama they’ve tended to over the years from cyclists who weren’t wearing helmets?

  3. Billy O'March 2, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    Were there bicycle helmets for the general public at that time?

  4. peteMarch 3, 2012 at 11:16 pm

    Racers had the “hair net” style of helmets before 1970. These were discovered to be ineffective. Various improvements were tried, none really worked until Bell and Mountain Safety Research came out with the crushable foam approach about 1975.

    There were definitely NO consumer bicycle helmets in the 1940s.

  5. vegancommuterMarch 5, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    I stopped wearing a helmet after years of doing so, just wear a beanie on the way to work and nothing on the way home, feels great.

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