Slow News Day? Start a Helmet War!
“Nobody is looking to make any news.” Was the statement from the White House regarding the Obama family vacation. Famous last words.
Well, you’ve probably heard the news by now. President Obama went for a bike ride on a beach path on Martha’s Vineyard and didn’t wear a helmet! Predictably, the helmet nannies have their knickers in a twist over this presidential gaffe. Here’s my favorite quote (so far):
“Most bike accidents just happen. Bicycles up and turn over by themselves, and head injuries are a possible consequence of that. Head injures don’t heal well, and they can be very expensive and life-long. It would be great if the President set an example.”
—said David Mozer, director of the International Bicycle Fund
I hate it when my bike just up and turns over by itself.
LA Times Top of the Ticket has a wonderfully snarky post about all the hand-ringing:
The bold move, coming in late August when there’s little else to prattle about except homicides and deaths (also wildfires), is certain to create continental controversy among several people concerned about hats worn during recreation.
Such open defiance of proper head healthcare is actually not new for Obama, who began the helmet-less practice even as a child in Hawaii (see photo). Read the rest.
Tip of the helmet to cyclelicio.us for this one.
There are debates on the effectiveness of helmets, on the effect of helmet promotion/regulation on ridership, etc. I don’t get into those debates unless someone is trying to pass a law. And I wear a helmet when I ride (road or trail). The problem I have with helmet nannies isn’t their intensity in promoting helmets, it’s that most of them do it to the exclusion of teaching people how to avoid crashes in the first place. It’s just another case of our cultural fixation on passive safety over education and personal responsibility for mindfulness and good decision-making.
99% of safety comes from pro-active behavior, not equipment. If so-called safety advocates spent anywhere near the energy on raising awareness of safe BEHAVIOR as they have on helmet use, we might not have anywhere near the crash rate. Imagine if there was as much peer pressure to ride assertively and follow the rules of the road as there is to wear a helmet!