Thursday, June 30, 2005

More on Helmet Use

Woah…my four readers came out of the woodwork for the MinusHelmet post! Some thoughts…

After taking a critical look at my original post I realize that it’s likely to offend the non-helmet-wearing-serious-cyclist crowd, by implying that all serious cyclists wear helmets. Oops, I didn’t mean to do that. I was proposing a possible typical response from a non-helmet-wearing-non-serious-cyclist perspective. I offer apologies to the non-helmet-wearing-serious-cyclist crowd.

Not Responding offered some statements comparing the likelihood of head injury by walking vs biking. Mmmmm…statistics! Here is an indisputable fact: I have never suffered a head injury or any other type of injury requiring professional assistance because of a walking mishap. I have suffered two head injuries (one was exceptionally nasty) due to bicycling accidents.

Woody (good to see you found me woody!) offered this "I don't believe it is your right to tell me what I should and should not wear when I'm biking” as reasoning for not wearing one. This seems profoundly illogical to me and I hope that they are able to articulate less reactionary reasons like the weight, heat, vision, the wind in the hair or even tradition.

My positions:

I’d vote against legislating helmet use, for the same reasons I’d vote against legislating morality.

Toward people that I don’t know that I see riding without helmets I have no ill thoughts or feelings.

Toward my friends and people I have relationships with and people who ask me about cycling, helmets are the first accessory they need.

Toward people I ride with…I don’t normally ride with people that don’t wear helmets.

Toward John Thune…he’s a public figure, he’s fair game. There’s plenty more I wish he’d do differently. I’ve previously posted my political leanings so there shouldn’t be any surprises there. Besides, it gives me an opportunity to suggest that I see him riding around the neighborhood, which is strange because he's on the short list for next POTUS.

9 comments:

nimbleboy said...

Reader #5 here, just piping up to say that I wear my helmet when I ride my scooter. I realize it's a different beast, and you should probably read the rest of this comment with that in mind, but really, it's not that different.

Mandatory helmet laws are not completely a bad idea, despite the protests from the "I wanna do what I wanna do" crowd. After all, We the People end up footing the bill in many ways for fatal accidents. (cleanup, insurance rates, time sitting in traffic, etc.)

CJ

the Super Dude said...

So...you are saying that you love them enough to suggest that they wear a helmet. My point exactly.

Anonymous said...

Goodness willing , the next president will be neither Thune nor a Republican.
Unless it's the reincarnate of Abe Lincoln.

Not Responding said...

Fortunately for us in the UK, cyclist's opinions are rather different on this side of the Atlantic.

Read this ongoing usenet thread for a flavour:

http://groups-beta.google.com/group/uk.rec.cycling/browse_frm/thread/b320d99ad87efdbb/c07ee777a8131e3a#c07ee777a8131e3a

or visit this site for some facts:

http://www.cyclehelmets.org

In my last comment I mentioned that cycling is safer than walking and your response was somehing along the lines of "statistics, eh!". If you want to see the raw data, visit the Department for Transport site. In the UK you are more likely to get killed or injured on the highway if you walk rather than cycle.

Yet I doubt anyone, even Americans, are advocating walking helmets.

Jim said...

I have contemplated not wearing a helmet on account of the fact that it makes bicycling seem dangerous to non-cyclers. I like to promote bicycling as a safe activity, but the helmet kind of confuses the message.

When I ride to the store on my grocery bike, I don't wear a helmet. Not sure why.

I often feel like the helmet makes me seem like a "serious" cycler, while the helmetless are generally slow moving old and/or fat people on bike paths who are not as "serious". I'm convinced the helmet gives motorists some reason to give me a bit more respect on the road.

There is a trend recently for serious road cyclers to leave the helmet off. I've seen it quite frequently lately. They'll dress up in the full regalia, but skip the helmet.

Personally, I am not bothered by my helmet. It fits right and isn't confining or cumbersome. I often forget I have it on.

Anonymous said...

I don't agree with legislating common sense, helmets, seatbelts etc. But if you have a social safety net whereby I have to pay for your health care after you refuse to protect yourself, then you have to legislate common sense because all personal responsibility is gone.

If you're willing to take the risk and pay your own way after the accident that turns you into a a turnip then thats fine. But the minute you take my tax money to pay for your recovery then you better damned well wear a helmet.

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