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We miss key bike-safety factors when we focus only on helmets

It’s great that the Globe is calling attention to transportation safety (“Pedaling bike safety,” G section, Nov. 10). However, it is disappointing to see victims of roadway violence being portrayed as reckless or scofflaws who somehow bear all the responsibility for protecting themselves from motor vehicles.

While helmet promotion is a key element of the Boston Cyclists Union’s work, the largest threat to cyclists in Boston is not a reluctance to wear helmets. Rather, it is the poor, outdated roadway designs we have inherited and drivers who do not feel responsibility for protecting pedestrians or cyclists. Head injuries account for only 2.2 percent of all bike-related injuries in Boston emergency rooms, according to a recent study. By focusing on examples of cavalier bike messengers and headphone-wearing hipsters, Linda Matchan downplayed the fact that riding a bicycle has become a mainstream mode of transportation and a way to promote public health.

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