Our neighbor to the west, Oregon (one of my favorite states) is debating whether to compel all bike riders to wear helmets.
For the last 15 years, they have required riders younger than 17 to wear brain buckets. And apparently Senator Floyd Prozanski (D-Eugene) feels the state should impose the same law on everybody. (Read more HERE.)
Would Oregon be a safer place for cyclists, if all were wearing helmets?
Statistics seem to indicate such. (Nationwide in 2006, 767 cyclists were killed in accidents. 730 of 'em were not wearing helmets.)
Do I wear a helmet? Never leave home without it!
Do I encourage others to wear a helmet? Every chance I get! My kids get an earful if I see 'em without that brain bucket.
Should helmet use be mandatory? Although it obviously wouldn't affect me personally, I'd be opposed. You see... for years and years, people were free to make their own decisions. And this was beneficial to the human race. Starting in childhood, the dumb kids were punished for their stupidity, for instance sliding down that hot metal slippery slide in the summertime. Ouch! Blisters on the behind! (In many cases, it made 'em smarter.) As they got older the stupid people were eliminated from the gene pool - bad for them, but good for humanity. Nowadays, government do-gooders protect the idiots from themselves! Replacing those hot metal slippery-slides and high (!) swings with Tupperware playground equipment, none of it more than 3 feet off the ground. (Don't want those little dumplings to get hurt!) Forcing adult morons to wear motorcycle helmets and seat belts. Rebuilding imbeciles' houses after they wash away in the flood (like happens 'most every year). Discouraging the half-wits from smoking cigarettes. Making sure we don't set ourselves up for heart attacks by using the wrong kind of cooking oil.
And what's happening? Every generation is stupider than the one before! Criminey! Kids nowadays can't even balance a checkbook! They zoom around in 4000-pound cars while simultaneously punching the buttons on their little handheld gizmos! Do we want them living to a ripe old age and reproducing? Mr. Prozanski, let nature take its course!
My advice on wearing a helmet (voluntarily!) remains, as always:
IF YOU USE YOUR BRAIN, WEAR A HELMET! IF YOU DON'T USE YOUR BRAIN, IT REALLY DOESN'T MATTER.