Letters to the Editor correspondence in The Star while I was at Targa went over the pros and cons of mandatory helmets for bike riders.
Bike helmets have been one of the more dramatic (and, I believe, successful) public health campaigns over my lifetime. When I was a kid nobody wore a bike helmet. I don't even think bike racers did, although who knew back then?
No wait - I had a fabulous dinner at "Coppi" Thursday night, named (apparently) after a famous Italian bike racer from the 1950s. Photos of him at the time show him sans headgear, so I guess even they did not.
Today, almost every biker I see - child or adult - wears a helmet, despite the fact that if you're a two-wheeled commuter you arrive at the office with a terrible case of 'helmet hair'.
"You don't play the game; you don't make the rules", so I won't weigh in on this particular debate, other than to say that it seems to make perfect sense to me to wear one.
What intrigued me about the letters exchange was that generally, you probably wouldn't think you'd find me siding with a member of the biking 'community' (and how I hate the use of that word to lump together all people who happen to do one particular thing).
A regular rider who has lived in both Vancouver and Toronto mentioned that one of the reasons that bikes have become popular for commuting in Vancouver (in addition to the facts that Vancouver has neither hills nor winter) is that unlike the MO of Toronto's "Lack-Of-Urban-Planning" department, Vancouver's dedicated bike lanes are not along major arterial roads which are the most congested routes where drivers are most likely to be most frustrated, but on parallel side streets which are also typically fitted with roundabouts which bikers can negotiate with less fear of being tee-boned.
Fewer exhaust fumes, less chance of being 'door-jambed' as he put it, a better interaction between bikers and drivers when they do meet.
As he says, win-win.
Not to mention, more roundabouts.
Again, seems to make perfect sense to me.
In other words, bike lanes on Jarvis Street?
You gotta be kidding me.