Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Pedal edema from congestive thought failure

Question: What should New Yorkers fear most? Stumped? Too many possibilities? It's the bike, stupid. The final word from "public health expert" Elizabeth Whelan, President of the wingnuttery, American Council on Science and Health:
We New Yorkers are more obsessed, even more than other Americans, about hypothetical or phantom health risks. We are constantly anxious about trace-level exposure to the dry cleaning chemical "perc," PCBs in the Hudson River, dioxin traces in paper towels, pesticide residues in produce and whatever the other scares du jour happen to be. The city just passed laws requiring all of us to have carbon monoxide detectors, even in high-rise apartments, where the risk of injury or death is totally theoretical.

That is why it is particularly astounding that we are so tolerant of real risks, including this one: the risk of death and injury to pedestrians posed by out-of-control bicyclists.
Not convinced? Why not do an epidemiological study (Design by Whelan)?:
Ask 10 of your friends, work colleagues and relatives if they have recently been hit by a bike in New York - or, more likely, almost hit - and I predict that most will say yes.
Time to become an activist:
Let your political representatives know that it is time to make bike riders obey the law by prosecuting violators. But to protect ourselves, we must be cautious and constantly on the lookout for speeding bikes, whether it's when we're crossing the street or getting out of a cab.

As a society, we should not tolerate such real risks to life and health while our representatives and regulators constantly (and expensively) seek to protect us from parts per billion of some chemical they fear, primarily because they cannot pronounce its name.
Is this the first reported case of cerebral pedal edema?