Divvy, city should push helmets — head injuries a serious risk

SHARE Divvy, city should push helmets — head injuries a serious risk

The city recently marked the first anniversary of its Divvy bike-share program with characteristic self-congratulation: “I encourage everyone to celebrate this milestone by getting on a Divvy bike and going for a ride,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel, trotting out the statistics — 1.6 million trips taken, 250,000 day passes sold, 23,000 annual members signed up, including yours truly. I’ve taken over 100 jaunts on the Divvy this past year. It’s a fun, convenient, healthful way to get around town.

But …

In one regard the city has failed in its rollout of the Divvy program, by downplaying the importance of wearing a helmet. Perhaps because bothering with helmets cuts down on usage. Perhaps because they spoil the carefree, hip mellow Divvy is driving for. Perhaps — my theory — that Divvy doesn’t make money from renting helmets, yet.

Go on Divvy’s website and find barely a whisper about the need for helmets, a bit tucked at the end of “Riding Tips.” Divvy is acting too much like a private business and too little like a responsible part of civic life.

Not that I’m the Welcome Wagon for bike helmets. I didn’t own a helmet for the first 35 years of my life, having grown up in the era when we drank from garden hoses, rode in the beds of pickup trucks and played with lawn darts.

But after having kids, I realized that if I wanted them to be wearing their helmets when some careless motorist came blasting out of a side street, I’d better wear one too.

It’s a big honking Bell helmet, the kind with the vaguely insectoid shape that makes it bigger and harder to haul around. But I do wear it, mostly. I wore the helmet when I met the mayor for a Divvy ride and was surprised that Rahm, usually attuned to optics, had no helmet. Maybe helmets poll poorly.

My policy: Try to wear one. Usually. Shoot for 90 percent. OK, 75 percent. But sometimes I’ll go for a ride helmetless.

I’m beginning to wonder if even those occasional breezy-haired trips are unwise.

CONTINUE READING AT SUNTIMES.COM

The Latest
As an occasional treat, your favorite frozen indulgence can definitely be part of a healthy diet.
Fallen R&B star’s trial in federal court in his hometown to mirror his 2008 state child pornography trial, with some key differences: this time, his alleged victims are set testify against him.
“This was not an active shooter incident inside the theme park,” a Gurnee police spokesperson said.
While he’s still physically able, he’d like to go to music festivals on his own or with friends, but she considers that selfish.
Coming on the heels of his sentencing in New York, the trial marks a new low for Kelly, whose popularity had remained undiminished even after he was indicted in 2002. That shifted sharply after the 2019 airing of the docuseries “Surviving R. Kelly.”