Darn. My outrage over a front page story in today's Oregonian about a proposal to require every bicycle rider to wear a helmet has been cut short.
There's no better blog subject than my righteous indignation (RI).
So it was sort of disappointing to learn that state Sen. Floyd Prozanski has backed off his notion of an Oregon adult bike helmet mandate (those under 17 already are required to wear one).
Sounds like other bloggers beat me to the RI.
The Eugene Democrat says he's still all in favor of helmets. In fact, he says he survived a bike crash in June with nothing worse than a sore shoulder and cracked helmet.
But Prozanski also got a pounding this week from bloggers responding to news reports that he intended to introduce a mandatory helmet law in the 2009 Legislature.
Ordinarily, as a proud progressive who recognizes many opportunities for appropriate government action to make our lives better (like passing Measure 49, a welcome Prozanski proposal), I'd be in favor of a vehicle safety regulation.
But my wife and I frequently ride our mountain bikes in central Oregon's Camp Sherman area – carefully avoiding any hint of a mountain by sticking to paths that are as level as possible.
The closest thing to a highway that I ride on is the dirt road from our cabin to the Camp Sherman store. Sometimes I'll pass a car or two on my 2-mile ride to get a newspaper in the morning. No big deal.
I feel perfectly comfortable, and safe, in my cap. Even more so, when we venture out onto the forest paths and the graveled Camp Sherman bike trail. (We've named our own favorite route the "Creeks and Coffee Trail"; check it out if you're in the area.)
Yes, many mountain bikers wear helmets. But our sedate off-road style doesn't require them. No jumps. No daredevil downhill descents. No blasting at full speed in between tall timber.
So we'd hugely resist a law that said "thou shalt wear a helmet." We have helmets. We wore them the first few times we went mountain biking. Soon we put them aside, not seeing any reason for them.
I took the Oregonian poll on the subject. Surprisingly, the No's were only at 52%, with 48% supporting a universal helmet law.
Well, there's some science on my side. A Scientific American article says that it's "Strange but True: Helmets Attract Cars to Cyclists."
At any rate, I doubt that Oregon will see an attempt to mandate helmets for adult bicyclists. Sen. Prozanski seems to have gotten the message from riders who prefer to choose for themselves what to put on their heads.