Although, Even though I don't agree with Geoff's environmental views,
I'd have to agree with the bike helmet thing.
I grew up in the first county in America to have a bike helmet law. I
could see from my house the place where someone had cut a hole in the
fence beside Route 29-a 6 lane limited access highway. Everyone knew
that it was a stupid idea to cross 29, and it was rare that anyone did
it, but some idiot kid crossed it at dusk and got hit by a car. So his
sixth grade friends started lobbying to have a helmet law introduced.
The rest of us thought it was silly. He was stupid enough to be out
there playing in traffic, and getting hit by a car dong 60 would
probably mess up someone badly enough regardless of protective gear.
However, the county coudln't say no to a group of little kids asking
for a law to save little kids. So, they passed a law that anyone under
16 had to have a helmet on to ride a bike.
Fortunately it wasn't actually enforced. I refused to wear one, and
saw cops several times. Never anything mentioned about it. But this
was just a few short years after seatbelt fines popped up. I'm sure
the cops thought it was silly too. But the damn law spread like
Now don't get me wrong. I think that seatbelt laws are necessary, and
I wear mine religiously.(Especially since I definitely wouldn't be
here without one.) I think that motorcycle helmet laws might be going
a little far as far as encroaching on freedom, but I don't really have
a problem with them since I think it is stupid to ride without one.
Especially given that laying down a motorcycle is more a matter of
when than if. However, I think that the risk of serious head injury on
a bike is low as long as you are defensive and alert. I've rode
literally thousands of miles as a kid, a college student, and an
adult. I've rode in traffic on all sorts of roads, and have never been
hit or been in an accident where I said, whoa that was close, maybe I
should wear a helmet. I make my intentions clear to cars by where I
place my bike on the road and how I move. The only time I wear one is
when I go mountain biking, just because there can be some pretty bad
obstacles to hit, and with funky terrain the odds of falling are much
higher. I'd liken the paranoia behind major head trauma while biking
to that of an extremely obsessive compulsive person who won't touch
anything for fear of contracting an illness, and resultingly stinks up
their workplace with continuous applications of purell and lysol.(Not
that I've ever experienced such a neurotic screwball.)
I think that kids need to have an exposure to danger. It helps them
develop a sense of cause and effect, and a sense of responsibility.
The person who grows up in a society where accidents are almost
impossible because someone has legislated out all possible causes is
not going to do very well outside of that society. But more
importantly, they don't learn to take responsibility for their
actions. If they do get hurt, they are quick to assume that it was
because someone else didn't do their job correctly, or somehow wrongly
put them in harm's way, or that an owner should have predicted that it
was possible for a freak accident to happen, and invested loads of
money to prevent it. It's absurd. Nowadays, people are sooner to point
the finger at someone else than to reflect on their own actions.
And as for today's world being a more dangerous place, I don't think
that that really is the case. There are child abductions. But there
were child abductions in the 30s. People do drive like maniacs now,
but if my fathers stories of how he and his friends used to drive are
any indication, I'd think that there used to be maniacs on the roads
in the 60s also. In fact, I'd say that the number of cars that I see
weaving in and out of traffic at thirty miles over what the flow of
traffic is significantly lower today than 10 or 15 years ago. But then
again, maybe I just have the wrong sample. Different areas of the
country have different driving habits.
I love the allusion to the Christmas Story made by Geoff. Very nice.
Have a good day,