You can now read 5 articles in a month for free on Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.


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 Rather, it is the poor, outdated roadway designs we have inherited and drivers who do not feel responsibility for protecting pedestrians or cyclists.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.

Continue reading below

Instead of concentrating on armoring people for impact, the Globe and the city would do best to help prevent the impact and clear the way for more people to get active. This could be done by collecting all the data we can from police, ambulance service, and emergency room records. This information could then be used to improve roadway design, guide legislation, and provide guidance for targeted education.

Pete Stidman

Executive director

Boston Cyclists Union

Jamaica Plain

Loading comments...
Want each day's news headlines delivered fresh to your
inbox every morning? Just connect with us
in one of the following ways:
Please enter a valid email will never post anything without asking.
Privacy Policy
Subscriber Log In

You have reached the limit of 5 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of
Marketing image of