Curtis Green, photo
After a couple of months of prodding, I (and others) got the Dallas Morning News to report...
Dallas police again enforcing law requiring bicycle helmets on all riders[snip]
11:26 PM CDT on Friday, October 9, 2009
By DIANE JENNINGS / The Dallas Morning News
After suspending enforcement for several months, the Dallas Police Department is again ticketing people for violations of the city's bicycle helmet law.
City Attorney Tom Perkins said enforcement was halted in June after a state district judge issued a ruling on the local ordinance that rendered it unconstitutional.
Sgt. Warren Mitchell, public information officer for the Dallas Police Department, said officers do not use the law inappropriately.
"This is more of a safety issue than anything," he said. "Bicycle accidents occur all the time and hospitals are filled with patients from those injuries who were not wearing helmets."
The cycling community is divided over the issue of requiring helmets, said Jason Roberts, co-founder of a biking advocacy group, Bike Friendly Oak Cliff. He's fairly ambivalent on the issue, he said, but, "I'm more of an advocate for wearing helmets due to the fact that we're being forced to ride in lanes with cars.
"Once we can get dedicated pathways built, I will feel more comfortable," Roberts said.
Lies and ignorance highlighted in red.
The (no doubt unintended) lie is the comment about hospitals being filled with brain-injured cyclists. Total fabrication, with no statistical basis or evidence. Pure propaganda from the helmet manufacturers who paid for the lobbying efforts to pass mandatory helmet laws (increased sales). A DPD lieutenant told me when the law was first passed that the police liked it because it gave them "probable cause" to stop a "suspicious looking" cyclist.
The ignorance comes from comments about a helmet protecting a cyclist from cars. The design speed of a bike helmet is about 15 mph... about the velocity your head attains when you simply fall off a bike while standing still. The protection a helmet affords is more suitable to the conditions found on a segregated facility (which have a three times higher rate of serious injury per miles traveled). That's why bike helmets have a warning sticker in them about not being used with motorized vehicles. More myth and propaganda.
I like bike helmets, and was an early adopter. They provide some protection, and some is better than none, but there are many unanswered safety questions about their usage, including increased head/brain temperatures and rotational neck damage. But one of my favorite benefits of wearing a bike helmet is the increased visibility they bring to cyclists.
It is interesting to note that the police were not enforcing the law on Wednesday when they escorted a parade of primarily Anglo segregationist-cycling advocates to City Hall. Wouldn't want to embarrass any politicians by ticketing their supporters... or perhaps they just didn't look "suspicious".