Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Use Your Head

Topics related to cycling are covered almost daily in New York media as Mayor Bloomberg’s administration and the Department of Transportation continue to push their urban cycling agenda which includes a bike share program in 2012. This particular article contends that share bike participants will not be required to use a helmet. The article also says the DOT supports helmet use. However, in the case of bike share required use may dissuade participation for a myriad of reasons: "inconvenience," “costly” and “implies cycling is dangerous.”  And if helmets were provided with the bikes, it would be a "hygiene" issue. OK, that's understandable.  But the other reasons. No. 

Helmet laws vary from state to state and primarily apply to minors. For example, in New Jersey anyone under the age of 17 is required to wear a helmet.
Thankfully, everyone I ride with wears a helmet. Regardless of local laws, it’s generally a requirement for   cycling teams, clubs and shop rides.

It drives me crazy when I see a cyclist without a helmet. Oftentimes I will call-out someone who isn’t wearing one by either pointing to mine as I ride by or even yelling “HELMET.”

I’ve always been an advocate for helmets and a few months ago I was reminded why when I crashed into another cyclist while riding at a speed of about 29 mph. My head was the first thing to hit the road. I shudder to think what could have happened had I not been wearing a helmet. I was very fortunate to come out of this with nothing more than a headache and a cracked helmet. And of course road rash and bruises but I was most concerned with my head. I kept my cracked helmet as a reminder that it did its job.

I respect free will but there is also something to be said for common sense. What happened to me can happen to anyone, anywhere at any speed. 

The rest is up to you. 

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