In the same week that the chief coroner of Ontario called for mandatory bike helmet laws in that province, a group of cycling advocates on this coast has called for our own helmet regulations to be relaxed or scrapped. The mind boggles.
The group argues that if people have to wear a helmet, Vancouver's proposed bike-share program will be in jeopardy, and our overall health will suffer. They say helmets aren't strictly necessary for "short, slow rides." What a bad, regressive idea.
There are always trade-offs between personal freedom and safety. But in this case, the inconvenience of toting a helmet in your backpack, the risk of "helmet hair" and the hassle of including helmets with the bike-share program are vastly outweighed by a helmet's ability to prevent death and traumatic brain injury.
Most cyclists know that cycling can be dangerous and they wear the protective coverings voluntarily. It may be that short, infrequent bike trips are less likely to result in disaster - just like short, infrequent car trips - but who's the arbiter of that? And what happens when that first helmetless bike-share rider gets creamed?
The Ontario coroner's report noted the majority of cyclists who died from traumatic brain injuries weren't wearing a helmet, and that all of the deaths were preventable.
If car drivers have to wear seatbelts and motorcyclists have to wear helmets - even on short, slow trips - the bicyclists who share the road with them should have to wear helmets too.
It's really a no brainer.
© Copyright 2013