Thursday, May 17, 2012

Safety Last

For the most part, we at the Alpena Tweed and Bike Club have tried to stay out of some of the bigger debates within the bicycling world. Primarily because our goal is to promote riding for fun in general and more specifically our seasonal rides. Now we have actually taken a little flack from a few readers for not actively promoting bike helmets in either photos or print.  They are arguing that the helmet is the primary safety device for safe riding. We have maintained as adults operating within your legal rights, that the choice is up to the individual, and have felt that there are tons of blogs out there to talk about bicycle safety… until now…

So why am I bringing this up now you ask? Because I witnessed two incidents in the last week that illustrate, in my eyes at least, that without using that thing you rest the helmet on, you might as well leave the safety cap back at home.  

Case #1: I witnessed two bicyclists in full sports gear riding through town in single file at a good clip. At first I was just checking out their sweet rides (bicycle envy can strike at any time), when I noticed that the front rider was actually riding so that they were facing backwards so that they could talk to the rider behind them. Now this wasn’t a quick glance, or a fast word, this was a multiple block conversation where both riders were distracted, even if they were riding in a straight line. Now if they got in a wreck, they were wearing their helmets, but it’s not like we say it’s ok to drink and drive as long as you wear your seat belt. This bugged me, but I let it go, until today…

Case #2: This incident involved a sporty looking young lady riding a cruiser. Now she was also wearing a bicycle helmet… but she was also talking on her cell phone, with it crammed between her shoulder and ear. As if this wasn’t bad enough, she was also riding with a coffee cup in her one hand. Now where the riders in Case #1 were at least going in straight line, this girl was all over the road.

Distracted driving is distracted driving.  Where a bicycle helmet might help you in a crash, keeping your head in the game will most likely keep you out of the crash in the first place. Please use the safety device that you were born with.

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