Monday, July 07, 2008

Bike Helmets

YLE reports that two thirds of Finns don't support fining cyclists who don't wear helmets. There is currently a law saying you must wear one, but there is no penalty for breaking that law - a bit like MPs must say who funded their election campaigns but don't get into trouble if they don't!

I always wear a helmet, but don't believe you should have to. It's gesture politics - it's not that helmets aren't important - they can be, and I can think of one occasion since I started cycle commuting (out of maybe 12 000 kms ridden) where I'm pretty certain the helmet saved me from serious injury when I landed directly on my head in a fall. It's rather that pushing a helmet law is ridiculous when the Finnish police seem to care very little about cyclists' safety in policing issues such as cars refusing to stop for cyclist who have the rights of way at crossings, cars parking on cycle paths, and an increasing problem of motorcyclists and moped riders riding at excessive speeds on cycle paths. They could probably add far more to cyclists' safety by making sure riders have brakes that actually function - something that many non-serious cyclists don't seem to worry about at all.

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