The Observer got an alarmed email from a reader, whose thoughtful daughter sent her our article on the proposed bike helmet legislation, which the reader does not like one bit. Her email, cleverly titled “Will mom opt for civil disobedience?,” expresses some serious concerns about the possibilities of being forced to wear a helmet, and the reason such legislation does not make sense.
I am a life long liberal who has been riding bikes, without a helmet, since before you were born. I have been riding my bike in NYC for years and now ride more than ever, thanks to the wonderful new bike lanes.
A helmet law would interfere with my riding and is just one more intrusion of unnecessary government regulation into personal life. Don’t give me free emergency room care if I have an accident but don’t make me wear a helmet. 99% of bike accidents do not involve head injuries and most bike helmets fit so badly they would not help anyway. Wearing a bike helmet is uncomfortable, hot, irksome, cuts off hearing, and discourages biking, which is what should be encouraged.
You young fogies are such wimps, and it is this type of unnecessary regulation that drives people to Ron Paul, god forbid.
It is true that all on-the-record bike riders at The Observer wear bike helmets 99 percent of the time, namby pambies that we are, but we also respect the freedom of
others to do as they choose with their safety and well being.
Meanwhile, the folks at Streetsblog dug up an interesting study showing that cities that require bike helmets also tend to be less safe for bikers. That does not mean that bike laws make things less safe, though. It could be the counter, in fact, where these laws are implemented to try and make already more dangerous streets safer.
Still, the fact remains, bike helmets may save lives, but they do not prevent accidents, which are the real problem, and which have been in decline, even as bike ridership has quintupled.
As for Ron Paul, we doubt cyclists would run into his arms considering the city’s growing bike network was overwhelmingly financed (roughly 80 percent) through federal funds. Try and find a private contractor who would pony up for that.