Dylan Reid over at Spacing Wire is slowly fanning the flames sparked by a Kenneth Kidd article in the Star over why about half of Toronto cyclists don’t wear helmets. We enjoy a good comment thread so we’re going to try to help Mr. Reid out a bit.
First of all, Boy Reporter wears a helmet, always has and pretty much always will. Riding a bike in this city isn’t as safe as it should be and while anti-helmet advocates point to helmetless places like Amsterdam and Coppenhagen we’ll point out that these places have many many more cyclists and a driving culture that doesn’t see cyclists as a nuisance to be driven off the road.
So why not lobby for greater road safety those same anti-helmet advocates might chime in response. True, why don’t we. There’s no reason why these two campaigns are mutually exclusive. The media does tend to exaggerate the importance of helmets but they do serve a purpose. They prevent many head injuries and while broken arms and broken legs heal, permanent brain injuries are something else all together.
But those against helmets do have a point. Helmets won’t save you when you’ve been clipped by a passing sideview mirror, right-hooked by a yuppie busy with their latte and cellphone, or forced to deal with a sideguardless 18-wheeler.
The two camps are not mutually exclusive, in fact they’re complimentary. If anything a helmet should be a constant reminder to every cyclist that the streets aren’t safe enough for cyclists and that we should try to change this. Until then, I’ll keep my helmet on.