Your recent article ("Helmet bill gets objections from bike advocates" Feb. 13) left me quite astounded and literally shaking my head.

People have opinions, and opinions do indeed vary. As a lifelong road-bicycling participant (35 years) and helmet wearer, I have cycled the roads and streets in many states, raced at the intercollegiate level and as a licensed amateur, commuted to school and work, participated in local group rides (both fast paced and leisurely) and just rode (and currently ride) for the sheer joy of being on a bike.

"Biking is only dangerous when people drive recklessly around cyclists," opponents of a helmet law say. Seriously? To the contrary, many times in the 1980s when some of us were learning how to adapt to the new clipless pedals, I fell from a complete stop, not being able to unclip fast enough (and totally embarrassing myself). I lost count of how many times dogs on the loose crashed into our group, sending us sprawling on the pavement. Potholes and bad roads added to numerous spills, as did unsuccessful navigation of some downhill turns. Who needs drivers to crash? And I have never been hit by a motor vehicle. Acquiring good bike handling skills and practicing defensive cycling have worked for me.

Mandatory use of a helmet could cause some to stop riding? Seriously? Never heard of that one. What I have heard, on many occasions (and unfortunately equally fallacious) was that "if I wear a helmet, I can do things on the bike that I wouldn't normally do because I feel safer."

Interesting comments and opinions do vary. Personally, I am ambivalent about having a "helmet bill." But I don't need a bill to convince me that wearing a helmet makes sense.

John B. Foulkes, Annapolis

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