By the way …

Of the dozens of comments that yesterday’s post elicited none make the point better than this one from Roy …

Yes, you must wear a helmet. In a recent bike accident when I hit the back of a 4WD I received a nasty gash around my left eye. My helmeted head put a significant dent in the metal above the tail light. The Emergency Dept staff put it simply. No helmet no Roy!!

The outside world is no place for your brain.

Readers outside Australia may also be wondering why we are attacked by Magpies when they never have that privilege. The answer to that is simple. Our Magpie isn’t really a Magpie at all.

The Australian Magpie (Gymnorhina tibicen) must have reminded the early settlers of their own Magpie which is not a close relative. It does seem a stretch but bear in mind they had been at sea for a long time.

This one is the original. It’s formal name in English is the Eurasian Magpie, scientifically Pica pica.

There are many other examples of birds that migrants have misnamed for similar looking species back home.

Wear That Helmet …

Personal protective equipment is big news presently.

Cyclists in Melbourne are presently restricted to an hour’s ride a day and no further than 5km from home. Traffic volumes are down but it seems that some drivers see this as an opportunity to drive faster than usual. Where I live cyclists are not quite so restricted but the  roads I ride are open highway – all the traffic is going fast.

It’s worth remembering that Kreisfeld & Harrison 2019 examined the injuries sustained by cyclists and found that about half of those that died did so because of head injuries. So wear that helmet.

Hang on, is that an endorsement? The figures are for Australia. Helmets are compulsory in Australia and compliance is high. Helmets didn’t do a lot for those that died but hey …

there are other good reasons.

Helmets provide excellent protection from Magpie attack. The bird in the video staunchly defends its stretch of road. Where most Magpies are content to swoop without making contact this one routinely hits you in the back of the head. They always attack from behind. I have seen a fox running flat out to escape the attention of a pair of these feisty birds.

 

AIHW: R Kreisfeld & JE Harrison 2019. Pedal cyclist deaths and hospitalisations, 1999–00 to 2015–16. Injury research and statistics series no. 123. Cat. no. INJCAT 203. Canberra: AIHW.