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baltimoresun.com

Helmet laws will reduce number of bikers

7:30 AM EST, February 19, 2013

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Baltimore has made a great deal of progress in making itself more bike friendly ("Cycling advocates fight proposed helmet law, preferring 'safety in numbers'" Feb 13). As a homeowner in Baltimore City, I enjoy the convenience of jumping on my bike to make short trips to run errands rather than driving. This newly proposed bike helmet law promises not only to make this more inconvenient for me and many of my fellow neighbors who also ride bikes, but also to ironically make it more dangerous to ride.

The argument against the bike helmet law is that there is safety in numbers for bikers, and helmets discourage people from riding their bikes because they then perceive it as an unsafe activity. After all, if you need a helmet, how safe can it be? I don't do anything else that requires a helmet — I would never play full contact football, for example. I have a hard enough time trying to convince people that biking in the city is safe, and now they are passing a law stating that the opposite. This will clearly reduce the number of bike riders in the city.

Fewer bikers mean that drivers will be less used to seeing bikers, which further means that they may miss one that is in the road or not react properly when they do see one. Studies have shown that the more bikers there are in a city, the safer it is for bikers.

This does not even begin to get into the issue of personal liberty. As adults, we should be free to make my own decisions regarding this matter.

Kevin D. Strickler, Baltimore

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