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Old 01-25-14, 10:12 AM
  #6809  
wphamilton
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
Yes, the issue isn't necessarily whether bicycle advocates are in favor of mandatory helmet laws, but what they would say if public hearings were held on the subject. When laws like this are proposed there's usually a period of public hearings (show trials). Often these are poorly publicized with insiders such as perceived "spokespeople" or "leaders" within the affected class getting advance notice or invitations to speak on behalf of their "constituency". So the question is, would a bicycle who's a dedicated helmet wearer, and believes they saves lives (assumption based on the fact that they wear one) speak for or against a mandatory use law?

When Westchester Co. NY proposed a mandatory use law, most of the bicycle community"spokespeople" offered support speaking of possible lives saved. It was the outsiders who tended to speak in opposition, and ultimately is was the police who killed it because they saw an enforcement nightmare.

If we look at places where there are mandatory use laws in the USA, we see many cities with active bicycle advocacy and often salaried bicycle advocates. Coincidence?

Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
This is interesting (though, more detail is needed).

But it also is putting words in people's mouths by suggesting that all/every "bicycle advocates" has the same opinion (which is incorrect).

There is lots of "bicycle advocacy" in NYC but no (adult) helmet law.
If it's true that mandatory helmet use is more prevalent where there is more active cycling advocacy, and I have no particular reason to doubt it, there is one reason which strikes me as likely. Advocating for helmet use is low-hanging fruit. It's a highly visible issue, emotionally charged, and contentious yet easily understood by most people. Passionately taking up the cause, representing themselves as understanding an issue where a good portion of people are uninformed or reckless in a particular detail, seems to be a prefered tactic for people wishing to present themselves as experts. I can see how that would be attractive for those wanting to advance themselves in advocacy, primarily a political endeavor.
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