As generally a helmet wearing lady, it offends me doubly when I get chastised by strangers when I happen to not be wearing one. Especially when the context for my riding is so benign that the likelihood I'll fall on my head is reduced to .000001%. This happened a little over a week ago on a bicycle tour of the East Bay with some nice city planners. I'd forgotten my helmet by accident! and caught some flack about it from a bossy rider, not on our tour as a matter of fact, old man commuter type. He looked me right in the eye as he said it, as though I were tossing back shots of tequila in my third trimester or something. It made me mad enough to mention the experience in my previous post, subtly. And apparently I still haven't gotten it out of my system.

So consider this an addendum to the last post, this time armed with a timely quote from a fellow blogger. He writes more eloquently than I:

Of course, I'm not surprised people were upset about the helmet...We live in a time when having a brake on your bike is seen as a matter of personal preference, but not wearing a helmet is considered suicidal and an affront to human decency. Which is not to say that you shouldn't wear a helmet. Obviously it's always better to wear one than not to wear one, and you really can't go wrong putting one on. But I will say that in some sense a helmet is kind of like a yarmulke (or, if you prefer, a kippah) in that it tells the world you are a member of the Congregation of Safety. And just because you don't wear one all the time doesn't mean you don't believe in safety and should be scorned. Some of us simply choose to worship in our own way when and where we choose, as godless and wrong as it may be.

Thanks to the elusive snob for his perfect words on this. I wish I'd had the snob in my pocket back there with that old man. Next time...

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