"Bicycle" means a human-powered vehicle with wheels designed to transport, by pedaling, one or more persons seated on one or more saddle seats on its frame. "Bicycle" also includes a human-powered vehicle, and any attachment to the vehicle designed to transport by pedaling when the vehicle is used on a public roadway, public bicycle path or other public right-of-way. The term "Bicycle" also includes a "tricycle," which is a 3-wheeled human-powered vehicle designed for use as a toy by a single child under 6 years of age, the seat of which is no more than 2 feet from ground level.
Jesus. But basically, the bottomline of this 1,600-plus-word manifesto is that kids 16 and under must wear a helmet by law. Sounds good to me. Kids are already really dumb and letting them get beaned on their helmetless heads certainly doesn't sound like it would help matters...
But what about old people? (And yes, if you're over 16 in America, you're kind of old -- Justin Bieber has exactly one year left before he's a washed up loser.) You can do whatever you want! Helmet or helmetless! The options are
I bring this up because of a WashCycle article that TBD.com's @abeaujon tweeted about yesterday. It questions whether the statistics floating around regarding the safety benefits of helmets are actually true:
Claim 1: Bicycle helmets have been shown to reduce the risk of head injuries by up to 88 percent
This is based on a 1989 study (repeated in the early 90's) of hospital admissions. The 88% figure comes from the first study and the second study put it at 69% to 74%. Still the "up to 88%" number prevails. But 69% to 74% is pretty good, right? Maybe. There are several problems with the studies.
What are the problems? Well, basically, WashCycle's argument is that the control group was not properly controlled so the comparison might be totally off. Not to mention, questions abound about what counts as a "head injury." But most interestingly, the article points out: "There is also a self-selection bias. Cyclists who choose to wear helmets are not the same as those who do not."
What that implies is that cyclists who seem to care about their safety by choosing to wear a helmet are less likely to put themselves in high-risk head situations, like this:
Holy sh*t, that is stupid. But getting back to words, I'm not sure I understood the purpose of this article. It's not like the WashCycle writer, who disclosed that he wears a helmet, is advocating that helmets should NOT be worn or, really, anything even slightly salacious. In fact, if my third-grade reading level is to be trusted (and that really is questionable), all this article says is that the benefits of bike helmets may be a bit exaggerated, but bike helmets are still beneficial.
Well, all right then. That was kind of a waste of all of our time. Or maybe not. I'm not aware of DC trying to establish a helmet law, but perhaps this critique of bike helmet statistics would come in handy for helmet haters if such a rule was up for debate. But then again, I think the larger question there would be why do helmet haters hate helmets so much? I purport, if they're good enough for dumb kids, then they're good enough for me.
If WashCycle really wants a scoop, I think they should talk about the travesty of the hipster half-moon. Now, that's some salacious sh*t...
[Shudder-worthy photo credit to http://bikesnobnyc.blogspot.com]
Seriously, who cares about covering your head! Cover your crack, instead! If I ever get elected to my dream non-job of shadow senator, I vow to amend the Constitution to ban THAT, and yes, using that lovely rhyming slogan.