Letters to the editor

Boston Globe Magazine readers respond to an article about bicycling without a helmet.


I found it somewhat irresponsible of the Globe Magazine to run Nick Olender’s piece without printing a companion essay about why one should wear a helmet (Perspective, October 21). The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety states that in 2008 and 2009, 91 percent of those who died in cycling accidents weren’t wearing helmets. I urge Olender and all riders to wear a helmet. Olender states he “often meets friends after work, when a helmet would be an unwelcome tagalong.” Would crutches or a wheelchair be a better “tagalong”?

Pamela Haran / West Roxbury

Not wearing a helmet is not like failing to wear sunscreen, because other people would immediately be involved in an accident. What about the person driving the car, who would have to deal with a lifetime of trauma because he or she had unintentionally killed a young man? What about his parents, who would have to live with the guilt that they had not done enough to instill habits of safety in their son? And what about the rest of us who would have to pay for his care through increased insurance premiums? They say it takes a village to raise a child. But once raised, that child is still part of that village and still has responsibility toward it.


Susan Hall / Cambridge

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I, too, hated bike helmets. I managed to go 53 years without one and never had a crash. I finally gave in to the pressure two years ago, when I started training to ride the Pan-Mass Challenge. I was on one of my long training rides this July, cycling along a trail in Ayer, when a child walked into the path. I went around and never saw the large bump. I hit it with my front wheel and went headfirst into the pavement. My helmet cracked, but I was no worse for wear. Now, my damaged helmet hangs on my garage wall, enjoying its retirement and reminding me never to get on a bike without one. I hope you never hit that bump, Nick. If you do, it’s going to leave a mark.

Peter Christmas / Stow

COMMENTS? Write to or The Boston Globe Magazine/Letters, PO Box 55819, Boston, MA 02205-5819. Letters are subject to editing.