StarTribune columnist Jon Tevlin on bike helmets

Jon Tevlin visits the GBM in Northfield Jon Tevlin

StarTribune columnist Jon Tevlin (crappy 2007 photo with Tracy and Ross at the GBM above) covers the bike helmet issue in his column today, Bike helmet debate hits evocative fork in road:

In a Star Tribune story earlier this week, Minneapolis Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator Shaun Murphy was photographed on his bike, without a helmet. He told the reporter that he doesn’t always wear a helmet because he doesn’t want the activity to appear dangerous or scary. "I just want it to be seen as something that a normal person can do," said Murphy.

As you might imagine, comments posted online and letters to the editor took Murphy to task. After the story ran, Murphy was told by supervisors that he now has to wear a helmet on the job. But at least one Minnesota bike advocate is on Murphy’s side, presenting some counter-intuitive data that is stirring up controversy on two wheels.

That advocate would be me.

"The studies out there are irrefutable that wearing a helmet is safer than not wearing a helmet," said Bufton. "The cost is low and the return is high. We’re not militant on it and we’re not at the Legislature asking for mandatory helmet laws."

Bufton misses my point.  The cost is low for an individual person but from an overall public health impact, we’re inadvertently paying a high price by such over-zealous promotion of helmet-wearing for casual biking.

Wigley is happy about that. Meanwhile, he will continue to ride his bike and wear a helmet, but he sure won’t tell you what to do.

Not quite. I no longer wear a helmet for around-town/casual biking.  I do wear a helmet at all other times.  And if you’re a public official, I will tell you what to do: for the sake of public health, set an example like me.

4 thoughts on “StarTribune columnist Jon Tevlin on bike helmets”

  1. Griff,
    You keep writing things like this:

    “The cost is low for an individual person but from an overall public health impact, we’re inadvertently paying a high price by such over-zealous promotion of helmet-wearing for casual biking.”

    (Above.)

    However, I’ve yet to see you put up a coherent, data-driven argument that supports your point. On that other thread, several commenters reviewed the scientific research on the subject, and found your thesis… unsupported by the actual published research.

    Thus far, your response to these critiques has been:

    “I’m following the comments here but behind on responding. I’ll catch up soon.”

    http://locallygrownnorthfield.org/post/26133/comment-page-1/#comment-289536

    That was back on July 3rd. Is now soon enough to ask for some elaboration on the evidence supporting your unusual position on helmet safety, and why you reject the findings of the published scientific research on the topic?

  2. I just posted it here because when I did a site search for “helmets,” this was the first result (out of many). But I will head over to the designated no-helmet zone to say…

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