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The police got the helmet wrong, the helmet law wrong, and the existence of a crosswalk wrong. Why is my confidence low about the quality of the investigation?

i just got back in town, so i missed the immediate new coverage, but it seems like the car/van crash involving a teenager in G'burg is getting a LOT more coverage than the bike/car crash involving a teenager in G'burg

Its very sad, and they wonder why bicyclists have a bit of an attitude.

I just found out that a colleague of mine got backed over by a car on K St while she was standing at a stop light, damaging her relatively expensive commuter bike (she was OK). The kicker: the driver's insurance wants to sue HER for damage to his car.

The original Gazette story also said that there was no cross walk where the crah occured. Assuming that the intersection shown on this blog is the right one, the crosswalk is marked and signed.

Did the Gazette make the corrections regarding helmet use to the story? A 16 year old girl was killed for christ's sake, get it right.

|Why is my confidence low about the quality of the investigation?

I was recently involved in the missing persons case of an adult family member. Based on my experience with that, both with police and with newspapers, I am sadly not surprised about the quality of the police investigation or of the paper's failure to correct stories. The police in that case were slow to respond and seemed more than clueless. The newspaper and local TV where it happened also butchered the story MULTIPLE times, despite requests for correction, etc. (FYI, the person whose case I was involved with was found and is fine... case of transient global amnesia [yes, that's real even though it sounds like something from a soap opera]).

Unfortunately, lots of people read the story and come away with the wrong impressions, as in this case, all b/c of bad reporting and poor police work.

Thankfully the young lady will get credit for wearing a helmet. I do think it is rather small consolation for the fact that she is dead.

Why is there such a fixation on the helmet?

The Gazette did correct the story (in the text, I'll note) and included the following.

Codi Alexander was wearing a helmet when she was struck by a vehicle and there is a crosswalk at the intersection she was attempting to cross. Police spokeswoman Lucille Baur also clarified that police are still investigating where Alexander was when she was hit. Alexander was in the early stages of crossing and at least a portion of the bicycle was in the street, she said, and the striking vehicle did not leave the roadway.

@Tom

I recently lost a good friend. At first there was concern that it was a suicide, but it turned out it was not. This was comforting to us all, despite the fact that the outcome was the same.

I think in this situation there might be some comfort in knowing that she did everything right. That she was obeying the law and being careful - despite the fact that the outcome was the same. If one were a parent they wouldn't feel as though they failed to give their child the tools needed to be safe.

I was at the hopsital when Codi was brought in. I SAW the helmet and it looked like a large piece of it had been torn out. She was definitely wearing it, but helmets can only do so much. It was a Bell, by the way.

Chas--this leads to an interesting question. Was it a Bell helmet that doesn't look like the standard bike helmet, the kind for skateboarding etc?

Not that it may have made a difference in this case or that she did anything wrong, but I was told that the standard bike helmets are designed the way they are (and therefore look the way they do) because they are designed as a one-time-impact type deal--to break apart upon impact, and this apparently is better protection. The not-as-dorky looking ones (for skateboarding, snowboarding etc) are for sports in which one expects head-to-ground contact (we don't expect it in cycling, but we protect against the eventuality) so are designed for multiple impacts, and are less protective. Skateboarders and snowboarders don't have as high speeds to contend with (or 2 tons of steel) so that's all the protection they need.

So, I just repeated what I've heard, but could never find anything to substantiate it. Anyone know about this? I hate helmets and really wish I could either not wear one or get a not as dorky looking one (I tend to ride in street clothes--dresses, heels the works so a helmet doesn't look so great), but I don't want to wear something that's not going to protect me as it should AND still looks ridiculous, just not AS ridiculous.

Catherine,

love your comment about looking ridiculous with a helmet. Somehow that reminded me of the poster that said "Smoking is sexy. But can be deadly".

http://fotos.fotouristen.de/foto/medium/130802.jpg

I gave up trying to undersatnd why people fight protecting their well-being. I know it's not the law and that's fine. If you bike on the sidewalk from your house to the restaurant you work at, you might not need a helmet. But outside of that, I cannot see how you benefit from not wearing one.

Have a good weekend.

Eric, oh, I definitely know that I don't benefit by not wearing one. I have never ridden my bike without one (not even on the sidewalk).

The question (rounaboutly stated) was: there are two types of helmets: the traditional bike helmets with the vents and the ones that look like scooter/skateboarding etc helmets. The second ones look decidedly less stupid but I have heard that they are not intended for use on bicycles because they do not break on impact. Still, I see lots of people wearing them, and see them sold in the bike part of REI and places like that.

I don't even remember where/when I heard about the difference between these styles of helmet, so I have no way to verify the safety merits of one style over the other. If there has never been a safety difference, or if something has changed recently, I'd like to switch to the scooter style, because it looks moderately less ridiculous than the traditional kind (but won't compromise safety by wearing one only to look moderately less silly, and certainly won't compromise safety by going without a helmet). Was wondering if anyone on here knows anything about this.

All that being said, I do wish that city cycling was safer here--just generally, and because helmets wouldn't be necessary. But for now, I'm keeping mine on even if it is a hassle and looks silly.

Catherine, the answer is - as always - it depends. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has different standards for each activity. Most activities have their own standard, but The Snell N-94 Standard is a standard developed specifically for multisport use. So if a skateboarding helmet meets that standard it is suitable for cycling (according to the government).

Codi was such a good person and really made a lasting impact on everyone she met, people she was friends with and even just strangers lucky enough to know her. It was such a tragedy that a kind, generous, and amazing person was taken from this world..RIP Codi <3

you people know nothing! i went to school with codi and have known her for years. she was a beautiful girl inside and out and was joy and pleasure to know, anyone who has anything negative to say about her needs to get a life. the halls of rm seem a lot emptier without her. codi we love and miss you at rm

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