I choose to wear a helmet when I ride, but I’m pro-choice on this one. All adult cyclists should be able to make their own decision about whether they want to wear a helmet. And my eyes generally glaze over when I read another debate about helmet laws for cyclists.
Now, I’m no extremist, and I don’t even own a soapbox, but as I was browsing through the local rag over lunch, I noticed a few disturbing items about this particular debate. The first was that the mayor has a committe – the Mayor’s Bicycle Advisory Committee (MBAC), and their research suggests that helmet laws reduce injuries mostly by discouraging would-be cyclists. Perhaps a full ban on cycling would be a better way to curb cycling-related injuries? Seriously though, this provides a perfect example of manipulating numbers to suit your needs. It’s easy to show that injuries declined a certain percent, but if that decline is due to reduced participation, then it’s hardly a win for either side, is it?
Then it got worse. It was suggested that this was being done to help protect cyclists from motorists! I have driven all over the US, and even internationally, but the worst drivers I have ever seen are right here in Utah. This is the state with an open book test for license renewals. If the mayor really wants to make SLC safer for cyclists, why not educate motorists? Why not ban drivers from using their mobile phones without a handsfree device? Yes, phones are a distraction, but meet us half way, and keep both hands on the wheel.
The passing of this law would be nothing more than a tattered band-aid on an already infected wound that could have easily been prevented. Shame on Rocky Anderson for being so misguided. Cyclists don’t need helmets to protect us in the event we get struck by a car. We need for drivers to respect our right to the road, and we need them to be educated on the fact that they are legally bound to share it .