Thursday, September 3, 2009

Obama Drama

Much has been made of the President's decision skip the helmet while riding on vacation at Martha's Vineyard. In June, he was criticized for his "nerdy" helmet. What's a guy to do?
So what do you think?
Is this much ado about nothing?
Do you always wear a lid?
top photo: (photo by Alex Brandon - Associated Press)
bottom photo: LA Times (photo by Alex Brandon - Associated Press)
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Jen said...

I usually wear a lid because I ride on the roads. Don't think it's such a big deal for the Prez to ride on a secluded beach w/out one. He obviously had the good judgement to wear on to ride in traffic. Just my opinion. What's yours?

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

I agree, it's one thing in traffic or when riding in unfamiliar turf. But on a trail with your family you're probably NOT going to end up in an accident.

Filigree said...

This is such a difficult topic, because more often than not expressing one's opinion only leads to arguments. So I will try to stick to facts:

1. Wearing a helmet is not a legal requirement for an American adult. Whether Obama wears one or not is a private matter.

2. A helmet is designed to protect against falls at very low speeds only. (So on a quiet path is where it might actually make sense to wear one. Going over 10mph on a roadbike, it will make no difference.)

3. There is no conclusive evidence that a helmet helps against head injury in an accident. There are three types of evidence: that it might help, that it makes no difference, and that it might actually cause injury. It is inconclusive under what circumstances it does which.

4. There is some evidence that wearing a helmet may increase one's chances of getting into an accident in the first place. The causes of this are threefold: it has been shown that drivers tend to be less careful around cyclists who wear a helmet; it has been shown that cyclists tend to be less careful when wearing a helmet; and it has been shown that for some, a helmet can decrease audio-visuo-spatial awareness while cycling.

Personally, I do not wear a helmet. It makes no difference to me whether others do or not, as people have a right to wear whatever they wish. It does bother me when people use their assumptions about the perceived safety of helmets to judge and advise others' choices.

That basically sums up my stance.

miss sarah said...

I find that most people who are insistent on the helmet thing are much of the time, people who don't bike a lot. To me, whatever gets people riding (whether that's the "freedom" not not wearing one, or the feeling of safety wearing one) - go nuts. Measure the risks, make up your mind and just go with it! I think the more people that start riding, the safer traffic becomes.

But, to each their own. I don't think the prez was in much danger of getting run over...

Jen said...

Thanks for all of your comments. One thought is this. In my state of Ohio (and my former state, Florida) allow motorcyclists to ride helmet-free. Wouldn't that be more dangerous based on speed alone?

sara said...

So many people get worked out about the helmet thing on BOTH sides. I try not to preach to others about their choices about this topic and like it when others do the same with me. I will say that despite whatever research may be out there about a helmet making one *less* safe-- I always wear one. My brother-in-law survived a horrific accident after being hit by a van when out cycling. He sustained a head injury which could have been far worse had he NOT been wearing a helmet (we're talking he would have likely been dead, no exaggeration). He still has quite a scar on his head (the helmet cracked upon impact but still took the initial blow) and he spent months & months in a hospital. Until I live in a town or city where cycling becomes a far more used form of transportation and that those driving cars become far more accustomed to truly sharing the road, I will wear a helmet.

I also would have a hard time telling my kids they have to wear their bike helmets if I were not wearing mine. Yes, I think there are separations between what adults can do & what kids can do but still, to me it would feel a bit like saying, "No smoking" while puffing away...

But that's just me. And President Obama can make his own choices.

Jen said...

When I told my husband about this post, he reminded me of a friend of ours whose life was saved because of his helmet. I didn't know the person at the time of his accident so I had forgotten about the story. I do know there is some debate about helmets causing injury because of the pointy shape. (can cause neck or back injury) I wonder about wearing a rounder helmet like a skateboarder.

I will point out that I am so used to wearing my helmet that when I did a little test ride down the street, I felt weird without it.