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Thursday, May 3, 2012

Cyclists Without Helmets Deserve to Die [Boston Magazine]


bike breakHelmet, check. (Photo by Simply Bike on Flickr.)
Read about a bike wreck, especially a bloody one, and the first thing you want to know is whether the cyclist was wearing a helmet. Call it curiosity, call it a tool to reassure ourselves that the same thing won’t happen to us, but we should really call it what it is: victim blaming.
Take the latest study about helmet usage in Boston. According to the findings, which were published yesterday in the Annals of Emergency Medicine, one in five users of bike sharing programs — like our vastly popular Hubway — don’t wear helmets! Add then there’s the commentary:
“Head injury accounts for about a third of all bicycle injuries and about three-quarters of bicycle related deaths, so these are some pretty shocking numbers,” says lead author and emergency medicine physician Christopher Fischer, MD.
Yes, doc, that is shocking. But what are we supposed to take away from this? Either 1) bicycling is so dangerous that we all ought to avoid it — health and societal benefits be damned — or 2) all those Hubway cyclists are asking for it — they’re bike-fatality statistics waiting to be compiled.

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