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Friday, June 22, 2012

Bike helmet clash: To wear one or not—that is the biker's question [RedEye Chicago]


Aaron Szumny has been cut off by reckless drivers and scraped up by a car door flung in his path. He has seen fellow bikers be just as careless as other drivers, and inexperienced riders create hazards on Chicago roads.
Despite the dangers, the lifelong rider, who currently is on a break from cycling, doesn't wear a helmet when he rides.

"I feel like it restricts my vision," said Szumny, 30, of Wicker Park. And in a city with no law requiring helmets for cyclists, he certainly isn't the only one to skip out on headgear.
In fact, the debate over whether to wear a helmet while riding is constant in the city. Advocates point to recent research that suggests helmets can be a line of defense against serious head injuries, but others question those claims. Opponents say riders might be worse off with the headgear because it can give a person a false sense of security.
In Chicago—recently ranked the fifth-most bike-friendly city in the country by Bicycling Magazine—the helmet wars are as feisty as ever.
"In general, every year with more bike advocacy going on out there, people are getting more in tune with how important it is to wear a helmet," said Dino Rizzo, who has worked at Village Cycle Center in Old Town for 10 years. "People are starting to realize they are starting to save lives."

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