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I've found Copenhaganize's anti-helmet campaign to be a little shrill of late. It's probably true that motorist helmets would save lives, but the fact of the matter is that motor vehicles already have a large number of protective measures: crush zones, airbags, seatbelts, etc, none of which are feasible on a bike. Until someone shows me convincing evidence that helmets on bikes *don't* work, I'm going to error on the side of caution. Others can make their own decisions.

(BTW, what is with Copenhagenize's swipes at North Americans? The latest: "Are Europeans better at protesting/demonstrating because it's more of a tradtion over here and the authorities respect it more than in North America?" WTF?)

Sure, cars may have protective measures, but I think the fatality statistics in the USA speak for themselves. We have the #1 automobile fatality per-capita in the world. Driving is a leading cause of death for young people.
Riding a bicycle is not.

Hence, erring on the side of caution would follow that we respond to actual fatality statistics with regard to where most deaths actually occur - in cars and while walking across the street.

So I say go ahead and where a helmet on the bike - but get your priorities straight - you can't tell me you need it less in the car or the crosswalk, that just wouldn't be true.

And as for Europeans being better at demonstrating. Well, they are! They do it like it's part of their lifestyle and herritage. It's a birthright. And do the police respect it more. Yes they do. That's just the way it is.

"Others can make their own decisions."

Thank you guez, your benevolence knows no bounds.

Lee Watkins,

I don't even know where to start... I suppose I will begin with your implication that demonstrating is *not* part of American's birthright. What about civil rights, the Vietnam War, the Boston Tea Party, etc.?

As for police respecting demonstrators in Europe, that's an awfully broad generalization. French riot police are pretty a pretty nasty bunch, and in fact have a long record of killing protestors. In October 1961, the Parisian police massacred over 200 (yes 200) Algerian protestors. (Though I suppose that they weren't "really" French and thus the logic of the "birthright" didn't apply.) And there have been more recent deaths in France as recently as the 90's. And it's not just France, either. Ever heard of Francisco Franco, or (more recently) the G8 summit in Genoa?

I have enormous respect for European culture and for their recent record in talking environmental initiatives. But I don't fawn over everything European. Like everything else, it's a mixed bag. Amsterdam, that great bike Mecca, recently tried to ban Muslim women from wearing burqas. But you can smoke hash, so I guess that's cool...

Tom,

How could you conceivably be offended by my acknowledgment that helmet-wearing is a personal decision?

I'm going to agree with guez on his first post (more on this to come - I'm in the last two weeks of school and so things here at Washcycle HQ are moving slowly) and that there was nothing offensive about his "you can make your own decision" comment. I took it as him contrasting his position to those who would say "if you don't wear a helmet, you're an idiot" or others who might try to mandate helmet use.

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