So I have talked a little about this before and I read some things recently that prompted me to mention this again.
As a cyclist I often hear “oh… you must be brave (crazy) cycling on these streets” or “you have to wear a helmet!” or “What? you cycled here?!… on the road?” and it all boils down to the poor press that cycling has particularly with regard to safety and helmets.
Don’t get me wrong I wear a helmet most of the time but not always and that is my choice. Not all the time because I am capable of assessing the risks and determining whether it is warranted.
“But” I hear you say. “Why wouldn’t you wear a helmet? It could save your life!” and this is true, it could. But so could many other things, like; not getting out of bed, or wearing a titanium suit of armour; a helmet only protects the head from a specific type of fall and there is no actual proof that they are effective…. but anyway that argument can go on forever. My point today is this, cycling is no more dangerous than walking or driving a car and we need to stop scaring people away from an enjoyable and healthy way to explore and get around.
Today I read some statistics; in California there were 5,350 pedestrian deaths in 2015 which rose by 11% in 2016 to over 6,000. In 2015 there were 815 cyclists killed. Yes, you read that correctly. That is six times more pedestrians killed on roads in California than cyclists and everyone is concerned about cyclists wearing helmets. Perhaps helmets should be mandatory for all people going outside, the reduction in fatalities would be significant, no? Hang on, I’m sure there are many deaths in the home too so perhaps we should wear safety gear 24/7 wherever we are and help reduce injury and death?
No, that isn’t going to happen so rather than exaggerating the risks and increasing fear we should educate ourselves and our children on risk and let everyone enjoy whatever they do even if sometimes that means getting a minor injury or something which is all good learning. Also make the safety and comfort of all other road users your priority when driving, cycling or walking; we all deserve to be there and need courtesy and the expectation of not being killed.