August 11, 2008

Your Ode to Biking had one Flaw

Responses to a recent Washington Post article about summer cycling

I'd like to offer an addendum to the fine Aug. 2 Style article "Cycling Back Around," which promoted the joys and benefits of commuting and doing errands by bike: Wear a helmet! I cannot emphasize it enough. This should have been repeated throughout the article, not just mentioned toward the end of it. I'm in the midst of a month-long recuperation from a serious accident that happened while I was running errands on a bicycle. I don't even remember the ambulance ride that landed me in an intensive-care unit for 36 hours. Without my helmet I would probably be dead, not recovering from a brain bleed, a concussion and broken ribs.
-- Mary D. Gorman, Chevy Chase

I was surprised and disappointed to see you glamorizing riding without a helmet. Not only did the text describe women with their "hair flowing helmet-free," but a photo illustrated this very risk. Even my 9-year-old had no trouble pointing out the stupidity of depicting a helmet-less woman riding a bike in traffic.
-- Melinda Kelley, Potomac

Because I love cycling, I was appalled by your positive references to pedaling without a helmet. Helmeted cycling is still joyful, and even if it's a little less so than riding without a helmet -- well, so what? All sorts of ill-advised things feel good, but we learn not to do them because the risks to ourselves and others aren't worth it.
-- Lennie Magida, Potomac

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