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The Boston Globe



Why I bike without a helmet

As the Hubway bicycle-sharing system expands in Boston and beyond, an enthusiastic user explains his bare head.

GETTING TO WORK ON TIME is a struggle with my 40-minute T commute from Back Bay to Dorchester. There are disabled trains and other delays, not to mention the rush-hour lack of personal space. But in late summer, a Hubway bike-sharing station opened up at the JFK/UMass T stop near my destination. There has been a Hubway conveniently placed just outside my Mass. Ave. apartment since last year. So now I can hop on a bike and be at work in 20 minutes, and this is the option I take most days. Biking is convenient, fun, and gets me outside and moving. And I do it without a helmet.

When I was younger, I wore one all the time. Even before I could mount a bicycle seat, my parents would put helmets on my sister’s and my heads while they ran our double stroller down the bike path in Northampton. I remember the two of us banging our indestructible heads together, laughing at how it didn’t hurt. Since I first learned to pedal, the house rule was that I always wear a helmet. I stopped only when I moved to Boston for college. Twenty-one now, I don’t even own a helmet anymore. (I also don’t have my own bike.) I acknowledge that a helmet can protect your head, but I’ve weighed the risks and the inconvenience of lugging one around and decided I can do without.

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