Bike Fatalities Up, Composer’s Tribute To Wisconsin Poet, New Concussion Research

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Football season is right around the corner, and every year we learn more about the danger of concussions. Our guests explore new research into different kinds of helmets and the importance of the age when someone receives their first head injury. We also get the story behind a composer’s tribute to a Wisconsin poet, and look at the latest research on bicycle fatalities in Wisconsin.

Featured in this Show

  • Wisconsin Bicycle Fatalities Rise In 2015

    A cyclist in Germantown was struck and killed by a motor vehicle last weekend, bringing the total number of bicycle fatalities in Wisconsin this year to nine — more than double the number of deaths in all of 2014 and just one less than the state’s total yearly average, according to numbers from the Department of Transportation.

    University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee professor Robert Schneider has studied serious and fatal crashes between motor vehicles and cyclists for more than five years. He said there’s no single factor behind the 2015 uptick in cyclist deaths, but said that it matches trends in other states in recent years and is likely related to an overall increase in pedestrian and bike traffic.

    According to Schneider’s research with the urban planning department at UWM, rural roads with high speed limits and little shoulder space are typically the deadliest locations for Wisconsin bicyclists.

    “One of the striking patterns was that the more severe crashes, including a lot of the fatalities, occurred on higher speed roadways. Often the fatalities involved motorists striking bicyclists from behind,” said Schneider.

    That type of crash is relatively rare overall, he said, but when it does happen, it is often more serious.

    Schneider also studies who’s at fault in the crashes by reading police reports. Of the 33 bike fatalities between 2011 and 2013, 58 percent were the fault of motorists, 24 percent were due to bicyclists, 15 percent were attributed to both operators, and 3 percent were unclear.

    Schneider said drivers need to change their mentality and come to expect to see pedestrians and bicyclists on the roadways. He added that drivers need to minimize their distractions and stay away from cell phones and other devices while driving.

    As for bicyclists, Schneider said they need to obey traffic signs and the general rules of the road or risk being hit.

    “Any more than zero bicycle fatalities is too many,” Schneider said.

  • Wisconsin Bicycle Fatalities Up In 2015

    A Wisconsin cyclist was struck and killed by a motor vehicle last weekend, bringing the total of bicycle fatalities in the state this year to 9, which is more than double the number of deaths in all of 2014. A professor of urban planning looks at the latest statistics and discusses his latest research on car-bike crashes…and how it could be used to influence transportation policy going forward.

  • Wisconsin Premiere Of Songs By John Harbison Set To Poetry By Lorine Niedecker

    Composer John Harbison joins us talk about his setting of “Seven Poems of Lorine Niedecker” which is poised to make its Wisconsin premiere.

  • Safety Concerns For Youth Football Players

    New research indicates that more expensive football helmets don’t necessarily provide more protection. A recent study has also found that the earlier children start playing tackle football, the higher their risk of brain-altering injuries.

Episode Credits

  • Rob Ferrett Host
  • Veronica Rueckert Host
  • Chris Malina Producer
  • Veronica Rueckert Producer
  • Judith Siers-Poisson Producer
  • Robert Schneider Guest
  • John Harbison Guest
  • Tim McGuine Guest
  • Dr. Robert Stern Guest
  • Julie Stamm Guest

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