Tuesday, April 28, 2015

All Or Nothing: The Rapidly Eroding Middle Ground Between Caution and Throwing It to the Wind.

Are you planning your next vacation?  Do you like death?  How about roads?  Well, why not visit Bolivia's "Death Road?"



YOLOSA, Bolivia—Nearly two dozen cyclists have been killed on Bolivia’s so-called Death Road, which descends 11,000 feet from the snow-capped Andes to the rainforest. That peril is part of its allure.

Sure, there are stunning vistas and sparkling waterfalls along the winding 40-mile ribbon of dirt and gravel that clings precariously to vertical mountain faces. But it’s the occasional tragedy, like when a rider overshoots a hairpin turn and Death Road lives up to its name, that’s made it one of Bolivia’s biggest tourist attractions.

The accompanying video was rather tepid, so I wasn't sure why people kept dying, but it turns out it's because many of the people who visit Death Road are both lazy and stupid:

In addition, the fact that it’s all downhill and requires minimal pedaling attracts people of all shapes and abilities. Some commit rookie mistakes, like squeezing only the front-wheel brake which can send them flying over their handlebars. Mr. Symons says that cut-rate tour agencies provide beat-up mountain bikes with faulty brake-pads. Still, he chalks up many of the mishaps to dunderheaded behavior.

Some tourists, he says, show up for the ride after a night of partying and are hung-over—or still drunk. Others are speed demons. Then there was the guy who taped a Handycam to his bike frame and, while adjusting his viewfinder, pedaled off a ledge.

Does it make me a bad person that I kinda wanna see that Handycam footage?

Speaking of flying off cliffs, let's talk about helme(n)ts:



As you'll recall because you hang on my every word, yesterday I mentioned I'd been flitting about the West Village this past weekend, and in addition to seeing cargo bikes I saw children wearing helments in situations in which helments simply aren't warranted.

I know what you're thinking.  You're thinking, "Who are you to say when my child should and should not wear a helment?"

Well, I'll tell you who I am.  I'm the voice of common sense, goddamn it!  Because there's no reason whatsoever that a child should be wearing one of these:


On one of these:


Yet that's one of the many instances of gratuitous child-helmenting I've witnessed since the weather turned in our favor--and it was exactly that helment, too, lest you think I'm exaggerating for effect.

Now, it's important to remember that kids live in a world of fantasy, and oftentimes they like to wear helmets while playing because it makes them feel like they're race car drivers or Iron Man or Genghis Khan.  (Are you kidding?  Kids love Genghis Khan!)  In fact, sometimes kids will even insist on wearing helments when they don't need them, because children are demanding little shits.  However, this was definitely not the case here.  As it happens, I personally witnessed this adorable little girl scootering about, bare of head and happy as you please, and then the nanny called her over urgently and cowled her with that hideous plastic abomination.  Instantly she went from delightful vernal sprite to Darth Fucking Vader.  It was depressing.

(And please note that I am not blaming the nanny.  I'm sure she was under strict orders to make certain the poor kid wore that stupid thing at all times while scooting.  I'm also sure she'd have been fired if the parents caught her allowing the kid to ride a scooter on a lovely April afternoon without a head encased in packing materials.)

And that's not all. Not too long ago I also witnessed a child wearing a helment as he rode one of these...on the freaking grass:


"Rode," by the way, is putting it charitably as the kid could hardly get the thing moving.  (You know, because of the grass.)  So why make your kid wear a helment in order to sit on what is essentially just a stool?  Because it has wheels?  Please.  Look how low it is!  His head is already closer to the ground while sitting on this than it would be if he were standing up!  Letting the kid simply walk around the living room is far more likely to result in head injury than somehow falling off this thing and onto the grass--and even a child would have a hard time dumping this contraption, because it has three wheels and it looks like it weighs as much as an Ikea entertainment console.

"But that's not the point!," I can hear some of you crying.  "Wearing helments while using three-wheeled toys instils good safety habits in children!"

Bullshit.

Making kids wear helments anytime they get near anything with wheels just makes them think riding things with wheels is a dangerous pain in the ass, and instead of associating bikes with freedom and fun they'll associate them with hot sweaty plastic and shrill, panicked admonitions of "Put your helmet on!!!" as mommy and daddy chase them down in the playground.  On the other hand, piling into the family Range Rover entails no such concomitant neuroses or safety apparel, save for the seatbelt and perhaps a booster seat.  So which form of transport do you think the child is going to associate with convenience and safety and normalcy?


(Hint: it's the one I don't own.)

And they'll become good little victim-blamers when they grow up and get Land Rovers of their own.  "Look at that irresponsible cyclist with no helmet on, he must have a death wish.  I think I'll teach him a lesson."  BEEEEEEP!!!

Look, we all want to protect our kids, but no matter what you do they manage to hit their heads somehow.  This is because they're clumsy and stupid.  Deal with it.  They get big, purple contusions on their foreheads trying to retrieve toys from under the coffee table.  They run after the pretty butterfly then go sliding face first down the asphalt.  They bait the cat, with predictable results.  This is why they can wear a helment all day on their crappy scooter and then eat shit that evening attempting to climb over the couch.

I'm not saying kids shouldn't learn there's a time and a place for helments, I'm just saying people need to realize there's a difference between safety and brainwashing:


("The magic symbol on your helment tells the drivers not to hit you.")

And we've been so thoroughly brainwashed by this point it may be too late.

Speaking of punishing you in the name of protection, it's springtime here in New York City, and that means it's time for the annual bicycle crackdown!


And what would a good old fashioned New York City-style bike crackdown be if it didn't involve ticketing riders for stuff that's not even against the law?

It turns out that Park Slope's police lead the city in tickets for texting while cycling, having written 151 tickets for cellphone use in 2014. There is an argument to be made about how such a crackdown would further road safety, but there is a much more glaring problem: texting while cycling is not illegal.

Although an NYPD spokesperson has previously claimed that it technically is:

State law currently bans texting or making phone calls while driving a car, and NYPD Legal Affairs Bureau spokeswoman Susan Petito confirmed this morning at the hearing that traffic laws applying to motor vehicles also technically apply to the operation of bicycles. However, she said summonses for texting bikers are currently "very rare": only six were handed out last year.

While I full acknowledge that using your smartphone while cycling isn't a good idea, I vigorously oppose any new law that would ban it, for the simple reason that it would put an end to my career as New York City's premier Cat 6 adventure photographer:


Sure, I could just duct tape tape a selfie stick to my head instead like that guy who plummeted off Death Road, but as the Lucas Brunelle of Citi Bike I live for the thrill of barreling down the Manhattan Bridge bike path at relatively conservative speeds while taking lousy pictures.  After all, every saddle I have is a razor, and I play to roll.  (After inserting my blue Citi Bike membership key and patiently waiting for the green light, of course.)  Plus, I don't dare go faster--at least without dick breaks.  To wit, consider this, the greatest "Spurious Anecdote" to date about why you NEED dick breaks on your rhode biek--or else!


Saved by These Discs
A section of Ballard Canyon turns downhill, and when you look at it on Google Maps, the road looks like the outline of a soft-serve ice-cream cone. I was coming around the last, sharp turn here with lots of speed, and passed another rider going the other direction. I looked over because I thought it might be Mike or Matt, and when I looked down the road again, I was practically on the shoulder. I thought, this is really bad. But here I am, recounting the misadventure without a scratch on me, which is real-life proof that disc brakes work. The Specialized Tarmac Disc is a crazy-fast, thoroughly fun bike that corners so well it makes you think of curves not as potentially dangerous challenges, but as yummy—and oh-so-tantalizing—treats.—Louis Mazzante

See that?  If you move your head even slightly while descending on a bicycle YOU WILL DIE...

...unless you upgrade to dick breaks immediately.

There's no way he could have slowed that bicycle with primitive rim brakes.

Best of all, this life-saving bicycle can be yours today for a mere $9,500:


"What You Need to Know" indeed.

That's not nearly enough information, they really should add a second box:


And if all else fails, just lay a massive drunken guilt trip on the whole family by insisting that you need a safer bicycle, and that if they don't support you in this they clearly they want you to die.

Lastly, in other speed-related news, the Red Hook Crit happened this past weekend:


And the winner of the men's race appears to be a former pro who rode for Saunier Duval--you know, this guy's team:


Meanwhile, scanning the results sheet, the erstwhile hipster alleycat heroes of old placed down in the double digits.

It's the end of an era.

Or maybe the beginning of one.

115 comments:

Anonymous said...

podiating yo

Anonymous said...

Early doors - 2nd?
FS

Anonymous said...

scrodium

Anonymous said...

Morning Coffee, early post, all is right!
FS

Anonymous said...

Blame us Orstrayans. Back in about 1969, more than 50% of School kids rode their bikes to school. One morning a boy in my grade 8 class called Wayne Ivers, was hit and killed by a car.

His father then started a relentless campaign for compulsory helmets while riding bicycles.

McFly said...

Who farted?

ce said...

Downunda bed time, good night all. Sweet dreams of Cat 6 victory to follow.

Craig Richards said...

Now that you've shared the "death road" article I bet the offices of Red Bull are a-buzzin trying to get the "gravel-carbon brakeless downhill fixed gear death plummet race for Nepal" ready in a timely manner.

Anonymous said...

Preach!

JLRB said...

Pre10cious

McFly said...

If Genghis Khan would've kept a helmet on he would not have squired 17 million kids.

Zodiac said...

What, no screed from the Unabomber yet?
Have to check back later.

le Correcteur said...

And to think I came to read Monday's post, and still missed the top 10!

Ted K. said...

"What, no screed from the Unabomber yet?"

Missed the top 5 today (guards don't turn the electricity on util 6 MT.) Screeds are to displace "Podium!" posts, one of the symptoms people have from the consistent damage caused by being forced to live in the Industrial Society.

Spokey said...

15 podium

just irritating the wanker from yesterday

Anonymous said...

Morning all!

cycle

Anonymous said...

bright & early scranus!

JLRB said...

Does it make me a bad person that I kinda wanna see that Handycam footage?

No - It is out of respect for the dead that it must be watched - else he died in vain (or maybe it was vane if there was a good breeze).

BUT we need to know: Was he wearing a helment? Was he swapping off at the time of his departure from terra firma? Did he see Mat or Mike riding up the hill?

JLRB said...

Speaking of death road, anyone want to go for a spirited, epic, stretchy clothed ride through Baltimore?

JB said...

Do you have a google alert set for new occurrences of "helment"?

Dave said...

When I become Emperor I will require everybody, upon attaining their 21st birthday, to ride the Death Road. This will tone up the gene pool no end.

I myself passed the survival of the fittest test at age 7 - I was given my first bike, and immediately my parents realized that they no longer had to schlep me to school, a mile away on a two-lane country road. Off you go, kid! Best of luck! Helments had no yet been invented - so there's an archaeological clue to my ridiculous age.

Adam 12 said...

"Speaking of death road, anyone want to go for a spirited, epic, stretchy clothed ride through Baltimore?"

OK but only if everyone wears one of these.

babble on said...

WOOOOOT!! Yeowza, thanks for the L.O.L.ZZZZZ Snobbydoobydoo. THAT was hilarious.

It's the nature of the beast. We're lazy and stupid, the lot of us, y'know, and bad to boot. Best to just accept it and get on with it. That's my secret to inner happiness. So where IS that damned handicam footage, anyway?

And I'm sorry, but dem dere full frontal healments are too fucking heavy for little kidlet necks. They are already strained to the max, trying to support heads that are out of proportion to the rest of their tiny litte, not so well muscled bodies. Whiplash causes dain bramage, too, so that helmet is probably causing more head injuries than it is preventing.

Yep. Stoooopid is the name of the game, and you prolly can't see him, but Mr Goodwin is here in the room.

Name said...

What? 23 comments at this time of day?

I'm not a robot, but maybe you all are!

Anonymous said...

If it takes a dick break to get a two-cross pattern on the front wheel of a $10,000 bike I'm all for it, in theory anyway and not in actual outlay of monies. Love my 2X wheels. Strong.Like.Steel.

Anonymous said...

Why do motor vehicle laws also apply to bicycles?
To operate a motor vehicle you must be licensed and insured. To obtain a license you must take a written exam plus a driving test. It presupposes that a bicyclist has the same knowledge of the road that a licensed driver has - one who has completed the driving exams. My five year old is still having trouble with "Yield" but can do a wheelie for the length of the block.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous 10:18pm,

The Automotive Industrial Complex will tell you that's why we need bine registration and licensing on top of helment laws.

--Wildcat Etc.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Sorry, bike

Ruthie said...

Looking forward to the Herzog retrospective on Death Road's dead cyclists. "You must never show zis Handycam footage to anyone."

Also, unsure how the advertising campaign came together for a road bike with specialty feature: disc brakes, hashtag unstoppable.

BamaPhred said...

Holy %^&* Batman, 9500 freaking Merican fun tickets for a mass produced biek with no peddels. Also, that's before the Fredly upgrades of Zipps, power meter, computer, Go-Pro, Rapha kit, etc, etc, etc. That's a lot of money to go ride the GFNY. Really, does anyone buy these things, or are they just marketing promotions?

Clancy Anderson said...

LMGTFY.....handicam http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/weird-news/helmet-camera-bolivia-death-jump-3041430

Schisthead said...

Did you ever figure out why that guy was licking his tire?

It did look like fun.

Anonymous said...

It seems the real challenge would be riding up the hill.

benDE said...

Here in Poland's inverted ape taint the cops freely hand out tickets for riding while texting. The only difference is that they bust many more care drivers for the same. That's cool with me.

I was in Chicago (Milwaukee's spent yeast depository) last week and on the L downtown there was stop and go on the Kennedy. HALF the drivers where looking down at phones. Guess what? Yup, accordion 'accident'.

Nanny state? As far as I can tell, you all need it!!

Freddy Mercury said...

Depends - what does the nanny look like? ...such a naughty nanny

Anonymous said...

Naught Nanny looks like Pilgrim Shoes Jenny, but with a whip.

Craig Richards said...

Now that you've shared the "death road" article I bet the offices of Red Bull are a-buzzin trying to get the "gravel-carbon brakeless downhill fixed gear death plummet race for Nepal" ready in a timely manner.

Anonymous said...

I'm so happy that we have Specialized™ to tell us "What We Need to Know" in life.

Really backs up everything that Will at Toga Bines says to be true.

streepo said...

I did.

Dop said...

Werner Herzog eats his Sidis?

bieks said...

Silly Ariana, just like the beginning and end of your name, there's an "a" in HEALMENT

leroy said...

Oh great.

Now my dog is going on Kickstarter to fund his thrill seeking business leading bike tours on Queens Boulevard and Atlantic Avenue.

balls™ said...

I'll never understand why anyone would think that texting and driving was a good idea. It's as obviously stupid as riding a brakeless bike on the street (around SUV's and texting while driving drivers).


Scranus razor.

crosspalms said...

Not exactly Death Road, but on my street last night, about a half-block from my house, a bird flew into my chest, bounced off my right arm and kept flying. It happened so fast I have no idea what kind of bird (it was about the size of a robin). I was glad it kept going. If it had flown into my helment it would probably be dead

NHcycler said...

"Getting to the bottom in one piece 'makes people feel that they have somehow cheated death,' says the Australian."

Good! I don't have to go to La Paz after all. My commute makes me feel that way at least some of the time.

dop said...

Oh boy...a commuting contest at work!!

Join your XYZ colleagues as we Bike To Work May 1 to 22. Snap photo of yourself and your team and post it to OneXYZ using #XYZBikestoWork. We will gather all your photos and create a slideshow of all our participants to highlight this unique and fun experience.


The XYZ employee with the highest logged mileage will win a Bell Air Attack High Volume Floor Pump!


I'm in...I'd walk over fi

dop said...

fiery coals for a new pump

Anonymous said...

Now that Spring has spring, the 'beautiful Godzillas' have been out in force again in NYC.
Nothing like a helmentless beauty, unrestrained locks flowing in the wind.
What happened to the original Observer article you once linked to?
'Page not found', unfortunately.

María de la Paz Elizabeth Sofía Adriana de la Huerta, known by her stage name Paz de la Huerta said...

"I WANT TO GO ON THE SUPER-SECRET EARLY MORNING RIDE!!!"

Spokey said...

the xyz man was played alternately by charleton heston & will smith based on a richard matheson novel.

i'm already in the worst state to survive a zombie attack. not going near this biek to werk tooday. jest out of curiosity do u have to then do some work?

Anonymous said...

Now that Spring has spring, the 'beautiful Godzillas' have been out in force again in NYC.
Nothing like a helmentless beauty, unrestrained locks flowing in the wind.
What happened to the original Observer article you once linked to?
'Page not found', unfortunately.

Cipo International LLC said...

The scent! Pure Cipo* with a hint of crabon fibre and the essence of masculine manliness. Cipo's Supreme Scranus Scent. The Seat of Sensuality has been conquered.


*all scent essence scientifically DNA certified and verified Cipollini pure man essence.

Matt said...

Anon 10:18

That's so cute that you think you need a license and insurance to drive. Nationwide, around 17% of motorists are uninsured; in God-fearin' Oklahoma, it's 25%. People routinely drive without a license or with expired licenses. It's not like drivers have to run them through a slot to check that they're valid. And when's the last time you had to pass a driving test? For me, it was 41 years ago.

Matt said...

The past winner returns with discs, and now it might just be #unstoppable

Is that really a feature? You figure $9,500 would get functioning breaks.

Ted K. Prisonizational Industries said...

Ted K UniBikeLock. Leave your ride safe in the knowledge that anyone who touches it without the safe code is exposed to a dose of radiation that will immediately render them vaporized as in past tense. Employing Ted K's use of US Pentagramagon neutron bomb technology the UniBikeLock leaves the bicycle unharmed while vaporizing the perp. UniBikeLock the future is here, now!

PS - Me bro is a commie dudes.

shining trapezoid said...

My kid doesn't wear her helmet. I'm probably not paying for her college either. I like Death. The band. Both of them.

A tool postng on yelp said...

In any case, I recently purchased a new bike this summer - I had read all the reviews and wanted the S-Works Venge. Louis used his connections to get me the 2015 model when every other bike shop was out of stock in 2014 from here to Boston.

The entire staff is passionate about cycling and most of them were heavy into racing at some point or another.

If you simply hang out at the shop and talk to Chris, Jesse or Will you will get an education in the history of cycling. As well as the details that go into a perfect fitting and bike maintenance. A modern bike is like a modern car. You can adjust some things, but most parts now require specific torque settings, greases, lubes, carbon lock, etc.

bad boy of the north said...

If i remember correctly,the first time i wore a plastic helment was when i was in kindiegarten....the school had fire prevention day and all the kiddies received a thin plastic toy fireman's helment.i don't know if the schools still do that.but people of a certain age will remember.
i wore it whenever i rode my red tricycle.

Anonymous said...

Are helmets optional on the ride this Saturday?

Recumbabe said...

Since my man started using 'Cipo Scranus Scent' I haven't been able to keep my naso* out of his scranus.


*naso in the medical sense not the hebrew.

bieks said...

Matt @ 1:16 - to top it off, you don't even need to practice. I haven't ridden a motor bike in 23 years, but I'm still licensed to ride one and could legally hop on one at any time. Maybe that's why I fear car share vehicles.

bieks said...

Er, should be Matt @ 1:12

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous 1:36pm,

Each rider must wear two (2) helments.

--Wildcat Etc.

Anonymous said...

should i get a purpose-built bike and new helment to ride the death road?

Anonymous said...

" Recumbabe said...
Since my man started using 'Cipo Scranus Scent' I haven't been able to keep my naso* out of his scranus.


*naso in the medical sense not the hebrew."

well,cumbabe, you might want to rethimk your scream name not in the medicinal sense, but common sense.

Anonymous said...

"the outline of a soft-serve ice cream cone" tends to also look like the outline of a steaming pile of soft-serve.

also, speaking of creating a generation of good, fearful little robots incapable of independent thought:

http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2014/03/hey-parents-leave-those-kids-alone/358631/

bieks said...

Anon 2:05, it's fairly obvious from the photo that the Death Road is gravel, so the only reasonable explanation is that the people who died weren't riding gravel specific bikes. As for a helment, the only one that will help you there is one with a built in parachute (although you'll wish you only had Shermer's neck after deploying it).

Anonymous said...

vsk said ...

I would love to do the Super Secret preFonDon't this weekend. However my super public commute is making me aware of my limitations!

Maybe I'll see you at the ExpoShow.

What's next Frein a Tambour??

vsk

P. Bateman said...

thank goodness there is nothing but a LAUGH RIOT going on here.

though from what i've seen a helmutt does seem to help in riots - laugh based or not.

Anonymous said...

69 comments before mine and 69 wasn't by Babble.

Boy, You Gotta Carry That Weight said...

BABBLE 928. dem dere full frontal healments are too fucking heavy for little kidlet necks.

Did you ever see the size of the backpacks these kids shlep to school? The slaves who built the pyramids humped less weight. Nothing like having to see a chiropractor while still in grade school.

Anonymous said...

The biggest brainwashing is all this hybrid, electric car eco-boost boollshite. It's an automobile, it pollutes whether it comes out of your tailpipe or out of the coal fired power plant. And that's where most electricity is still made. All cars are polluting pieces of crap.

Filler Her Up said...

"Mr. Symons says that cut-rate tour agencies provide beat-up mountain bikes with faulty brake-pads."

Same outfit supplies BP with deep water well head blowout protectors.

Spokey said...

bieks @ 1:42 PM

same here. actually gotcha by a year or two. Sold my last biek with motors (not in the seat tube) in 90, maybe 91. But getting the license was such a PITA that i don't dare give it up.

had to get the biek at that time (a '65 Honda CB160) in the trunk of spousy's (wasn't spousy yet though) car (didn't own 4 wheels meself).

but hey, i hear it's like riding a biek. you nevers ferget.

Dooth said...

Oh, I definitely wanna see that Bolivian death plunge Handycam footage. Am I pure evil?

Anonymous said...

Yo will there be somewhere to park my gravel specific bike near the start of the off road section? I am too young to die

Dorothy said...

"Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore."

Arizona Hillbilly said...

You gringos have wigged!
You cannot be free unless you are brave...

Grim Reaper said...

Speaking about the Bolivian death plunge, did you know that two small tools with a small blade for cutting grass or wheat, strapped together, would be called a bi-sickle? Even better one scythe fits all.

English Poo Lass said...

Prairie Doggin'!

over protected said...

For example, parents now routinely tell their children never to talk to strangers, even though all available evidence suggests that children have about the same (very slim) chance of being abducted by a stranger as they did a generation ago. Maybe the real question is, how did these fears come to have such a hold over us?

Not just parenting. Broad unfounded fears about public life in Canada's scranus are widespread.

Steven Hill said...

I understand that drivers would in general not have to deal with sharing the lane with cyclists(I don't like it either) but what is it that makes them forget that they can still kill me with their shitty Taurus even if I am wearing a helmet? It can only be some strange dogma that they teach somewhere that would cause a motorists to get behind me, honk, and then pass me while yelling, "wear a helmet!"

James said...

Who needs to go to Bolivia to cheat death on a road? Just commute to work. I cheated death three times today.

Carl said...

I can't say I've been following your crusade against helmet wearing (or just laws?) closely, but I think there are good reasons to encourage a child to wear a helmet from an early age, and not to make lots of exceptions based on circumstances. First of all, kids do not do well with inconsistency, and they have little ability to make rational judgements about when it is appropriate to wear or not wear one. as an adult, and as an older child, it is important to wear a helmet on a bike. I realize that's just my opinion, but as an 8 year old before the helmet was invented I took a spill on a flat street in our neighborhood while doing something stupid, and ended up out cold for 20 minutes with a potentially life changing concussion. I also know about adults who have been in accidents where the helmet made the difference between a bad outcome and no outcome. Helmets are like seat belts. If the rules don't always apply, then kids won't wear them when the situation warrants it. Granted, your objection to laws probably has nothing to do with whether or not it is common sense to wear them, but I do believe that it is common sense, and responsible to encourage their use.

Dop said...

Grim Reaper:

Yeth.

SCIENCE! said...

Carl at 9:19 AM

Three people took a train trip to Canada from the US. It was the first time any of them had been to Canada. As they crossed the border they looked out the window and saw a cow. The first said "All the cows in Canada are brown." The second said "No, SOME of the cows in Canada." The third said "There is at least one cow in Canada and at least the left side appears to be brown."

The first person also said things like "I also know about adults who have been in accidents where the helmet made the difference between a bad outcome and no outcome."

Carl said...

SCIENCE: um, what? Trolling?

BikeSnobNYC said...

Carl,

Thank you for the thoughtful comment.

I disagree with the idea that wearing helmets is an important lesson in consistency for kids, for the simple reason that I don't think it's nearly as important for kids to wear helmets as people think, and more often than not they're being made to wear them "inappropriately." (By which I mean anytime they touch anything with wheels, which is basically the point we've reached.)

Furthermore, as far as "doing something stupid," that's just what kids do, so insisting they wear one for the relatively small amount of time they spend on a bicycle seems mostly like a psychological balm as it doesn't take into account most of the dumb shit they do is done off the bike--and that's assuming you believe bicycle helmets are as effective as people claim they are, which is increasingly being debunked.

The lessons about consistency come when you experience the consequences of doing something stupid, so it seems like a far better use of energy to focus on behavior than on some largely symbolic piece of headgear.

I certainly don't think it's absurd for a kid to wear a helmet while riding a bicycle (though I personally don't enforce such a policy in my family), but we've gone well past that to the realm of absurdity. (Helmets on scooters, helmets on bikes with training wheels, helmets on wheeled toys.)

--Wildcat Rock Machine


Spokey said...

I required all my kids to wear helments. So their little noggins were protected at least until they were out of view 100 yards down the road.

Fortunately none were ever in an accident. Particularly given that no one ever does the 45 mph max on our no shoulder road. But having now shepherded them in to where they are on their own and making their own choices I do notice that at least princess requires helments on her kids. but at least they are not bubble wrapped.

Spokey said...

snob

you're right about doing stupid stuff.

we were babysitting on sunday. when data came home, the younger urchin decided he had a new trick. sit on the stairs with his legs folded back (that is his feet/ankles could touch his butt). Then slide down to the bottom.

When he did it from the top, both of us stood there ready to catch as it seemed ripe for snagging something on a carpeted step and face planting. But near the bottom on the 2nd or 3rd step? Well not too much damage should occur so he's was on his own.

Spokey said...

make that "when dad came home".

no my son-in-law is not an android

dop said...

just wait until you wake up one sunday morning to laughter from the laundry room.... and find your 4 & 6 year old daughters helping one another take rides in the dryer (the door pops open after ~ one revolution)

BamaPhred said...

I thought you were talking about little "downloads". Thanks for clearing that up.

Not to Be a Downer on a Wednesday Morning said...

"... take rides in the dryer (the door pops open after ~ one revolution)"

Just so everyone knows, if it is a gas dryer and it the door does not pop open the child in side suffocates to death in a short period of time.

BamaPhred said...

I almost gave my cat a ride in the dryer once. He thought it made a nice cave to sleep in. He's lucky he jumped out when I walked into the laundry room, cause I would have for sure not checked.

dop said...

I certainly did not advocate this...the little stinkers were smirking & denied all....I said it was good they weren't in the (electric) drier, because they could have been killed, (they got very quiet)...the story came out days later when they started asking me things like, "Could you really get killed, even after one turn?"

The drier didn't have enough torque to really spin them. I'm not sure how the cat would have fared, or if anyone would have believed you or trusted you after fluffy got fluffed.

babble on said...

Over protected: Right?! The greatest harm comes to today's children from out of their utter lack of independence, from having their every moment planned and supervised, and from being shepherded from event to event in the family SUV. Children have the right to PLAY.

And Carl - See above. Free play, and two or so hours of solid, hard sweating every single day is actually essential to a child's optimal health and welfare, and something like one percent of today's children get anywhere near that kind of exercise. Will they hit their heads sometimes? Probably. Is it better to insist on a healment every time they go near a wheel, or to get them out and active? No question. As a crash test dummy, I model a foam brain bucket, and my boys have picked up the habit, but the most important thing we can do for them is give them the freedom to play hard.

BamaPhred said...

The hardest I have ever hit my head was on a basketball court. You get your legs cut out from under you and down you go on your head, on the court. No healments anywhere in sight. What will really freak you out is when you go to the baseball field and there is some kid in the batters box wearing not just a batting healment, always a good idea, but also a flack jacket.

Jimi Olsen said...

Louie Louie ...

It's in the WaPo so it has to be true ...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2015/04/29/louie-louie-singer-jack-ely-dead-at-71/

WaPo home of Velo Haters International and seat of the AntiSpandex Coalition.

babble on said...

Cars. That's the place where the greatest number and most serious head injuries occur, and so logically that's where we really need to mandate healment use.

Bend the fuck over and take that, whydontcha?

Anonymous said...

Louie Louie, I said we gotta go, I said we gotta go now ...

Let's get on outta here, LET'S GO!

RIP Jack Ely

Spokey said...

the stair slider is playing t-ball at this point.

at the first practice, there was a couple discussing equipment. in addition to the usual glove, bat, etc was the need for something to put over the kid's heart in case he got hit by a ball. given that these kids are 5 and can hit the ball off the t about 3 feet i question the necessity for a chest/heart protector.

is it impolite to laugh when listening to this sort of stuff?

Spokey said...

bama @ 11:17

the worst i ever got was having my legs go out while ice skating a couple years ago. headache for the rest of the day. probably similar to your basketball court.

given that your brain shrinks as you get older, OFs probably need to be more careful to not rattle their brains inside their skulls. of course we are short timers anyway so let's have fun while we can.

Anonymous said...

OK

SO WHERE IS THE WEDNESDAY GRAVEL POST OF DEATH ? ? ? ?

BamaPhred, non deathwish edition said...

Helments and Old Folks. Maybe it does some good if you just fall off your bike and hit your head. But if I get clobbered by a car around here, it's not going to make any difference. I can read the news headline. Cyclist hit by car at 2:00PM on HWY XXX, suffered massive internal injuries and broke every bone in his body and died, despite wearing his healment and having blinky lights.

SCIENCE! said...

"Maybe it does some good if you just fall off your bike and hit your head. But if I get clobbered by a car around here, it's not going to make any difference."

We have a winner.

Spokey said...

depends

my brother get clobbered by a car a few years ago. went over the handlebars, over the hood and onto his head.

cracked the helment. and i think he's only a little dumber now.

Carl said...

babble on:

I never said my kids weren't free to do what they wanted just because I insist on a helmet when riding a bike. In fact my son does all sorts of shit without one, including using a slackline. I would prefer that my youngest daughter would do the same (climb trees, walk slacklines, bike around the neigh borhood), but overprotection/requiring a helmet for a bike ride is not the limiting factor w/r/t those activities, but rather her temperament.

JLRB said...

longest 2sday eva

babble on said...

Fair enough, and good on you. But the point argued here is that mandatory helmet laws are more harmful than beneficial. The thing I have noticed about encouraging reluctant children to participate in physically engaging activities is the modelling of such behaviour. Because I have never once belted my sons into a car to get them to school they both prefer self propulsion to get themselves where they want to go. The eldest has just graduated from a medicine-track program from our venerable institution on the hill, and he doesn't even want a driving license, much less a car. He cooses two wheels. The younger boy regularly refuses a lift from well intentioned neighbours to get around town, preferring his board. Both of them started behind me on a bike from day one. If you want your girl to be active, try including her in your active lifestyle.

Though since we're here on a bike blog, surely you already do.

Vernal Magina said...

Yeah, totally. I even took a nap just now, and still no Wodensdaze postz upon awaking. wtf

Carl said...

Babble On:

I'm not the only one modeling in my family. If I were, then they would all be running marathons and biking everywhere. On a positive note though, I just got my wife her first road bike since high school, so we are on the right track.

Anonymous said...

I dig the white man's overbite on the Saunier Duval rider...

Anonymous said...

Snobbie, if my kids are going to be going faster than they can "full-speed run" then they wear a helmet. All of your examples cited are, indeed, slower-than-running transports - no helment required.

Saint Paul said...

For travel in world's beautiest place contact us:-
The New York city jet ski rental character has be situated to make certain that it rounds new york city water tour identical impeccably as well as well in compeers to what ought to jet ski tour new york city. In attendance is everything which will be serving in period so value then that is the home New York city tours will type it typically in the achievement. The playwrights are actual clean as well as prospective around the effort it be necessary made New York city tours.