New York isn’t mandating helmets due to the practicalities of enforcement, and there haven’t been any serious injuries. Still, the article takes pains to point out that, of all cycling fatalities in the US between 1996 and 2005, 97% coincided with the rider not wearing a helmet – a meaningless statistic on its own 🙂
A large part of the discussion now appears to revolve around the hypothesis that a greater number of cyclists on the roads means that drivers are more aware of them, more used to interacting with them, and less likely to hit them. That seems fairly obvious to me 🙂
As has also been pointed out in a few places, if you treat cyclists legally as full road users, and punish at-fault drivers properly, as I believe is the case in Holland, there is a good incentive for drivers to take proper care on the roads.
However, in high-risk situations like racing, helmet use has to be mandated. I was watching stage one of the Giro Rosa where Sungeun Gu crashed head first into a wall… she’s out of the race but with only minor injuries since the helmet broke under the full force of the impact and saved her head.
It was one of those crashes where you have a physical reaction to the on-screen impact and I’m very glad that the race organisers and teams take better care of riders than I see happening at the Tour de France. A rider loses consciousness twice after he’s scraped off the road and they let him ride the next day, praising him as a “hard man”?? I hope he doesn’t suffer permanent brain damage from that crash and its aftermath.
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