Quit giving them ideas

Admiring a Paris bike-sharing program that positively encourages people to ride around without a trace of helmet protection, on the theory that more lives will be endangered by sedentary obesity than by head trauma, New York Times correspondent Elisabeth Rosenthal quotes/muses:
[I]f we wear helmets for cycling, maybe we should wear helmets when we climb ladders or get into a bath, because there are lots more injuries during those activities.”  The European Cyclists’ Federation says that bicyclists in its domain have the same risk of serious injury as pedestrians per mile traveled.
Or we could adopt the California approach:
In the United States, cities are struggling to overcome the significant practical problems of melding helmet use with bike-sharing programs — such as providing sanitized helmet dispensers at bike docking stations, says Susan Shaheen, director of the Transportation Sustainability Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley.
Right next to the condom dispensers. Helmets are health care too, you know!   We ought to think about mandating them for pedestrians, ladder-climbers, and bathers.  But that bomb-throwing anarchist Rosenthal, she probably ate non-pasteurized cheese while she was in Paris.

H/t Maggie's Farm.


james said...

With a couple of family members still walking and talking because they wore helmets during bike crashes, our family insists on them.

Texan99 said...

I know what you mean; when you see a wreck that could have resulted in a terrible injury but didn't, because of a protected device, it's a powerful incentive. But it's easy to over-interpret. Why don't we make kids in schoolbuses wear helmets, for instance -- or even seatbelts? We hear stories all the time about terrible injuries from schoolbus wrecks. And then we require seatbelts in aircraft event though in a huge percentage of cases they're going to make no difference at all. Our minds don't seem to do a very good job balancing costs against risks and risk-avoidance.

I think it's a great idea for people who want to wear helmets to wear them. Who would dream of interfering? The question is whether they should require everyone else to do so (other than children under their care, of course).

douglas said...

" And then we require seatbelts in aircraft..."

They're not for crashes, really. Turbulence.

I think Helmets if you're riding a bicycle in traffic are a good idea. Riding on a bike path or in your yard- a bit silly, though I've been known to make the kids wear them anyway- more of a desensitization I suppose. They don't really need to be mandated. If you're interested in self-preservation, you'll use them. I mentioned elsewhere that my Dad got seatbelts put into the family car in 1965- no mandate required. He simply thought them a good idea.