Maryland Lawmaker Defends Mandatory Helmet Bill

The Post has an article on the cold reception that the mandatory helmet bill in Maryland has received from cyclists.

“It is really an awkward position and one that is difficult to explain because we are fully supportive of the use of helmets and encourage everyone who rides a bike to use one,” said Shane Farthing, executive director of the Washington Area Bicyclist Association. “We’re just not convinced that a mandatory helmet law is going to improve safety. In fact, we fear that it will undermine overall ridership by limiting the safety-in-numbers effect, [that it will] actually have the opposite impact.”

Ashley Halsey III wrote the article and I know that he’s a much stronger proponent of helmets than most, and a little of his bias is coming through.

This was not a happy decision for cycling groups deeply entrenched in the karma of safety first, because they all agree that strapping your head into a plastic foam cocoon is the single best protection against going kerplunk.

I’m not sure it they agree that it is the single best protection, but then I’d have to know what he means by “going kerplunk.” There are certainly more important things to do if safety is your goal and I suspect most bike advocacy groups agree. He also pulls out controversial numbers such as

Of [the cyclists killed in 2010], 70 percent were not wearing helmets, federal data show.