Leaked Report: Obama CIA Operatives Pushing Bike Helmet Use

Background Reading


Kids’ enthusiasm for cycling easily outpaces their ability to understand traffic. Parents need to limit their children’s destinations and routes based on their cognitive ability and maturity.

Kids’ enthusiasm for cycling easily outpaces their ability to understand traffic. Parents need to limit their children’s destinations and routes based on their cognitive ability and maturity.

The first time I ever heard anyone put down the use of helmets for bicycle riding was while listening to a TED Talk by Mikael Colville-Andersen. His primary thesis was that few accidents involving head trauma occur among the millions of rides done each year in Amsterdam and Copenhagen. And so from a statistical standpoint wearing a helmet has little value. Who then continues to push helmet use? According to Colville-Andersen it is helmet makers and their lobbyists. This makes perfect sense.

Now on the ChainLink Forum a self-professed medical expert has come forward to explain her views on the subject during a conversation about the upcoming Bike The Drive fundraising ride:

Reply by Hilary Thorne yesterday
I have a question –
where does it say you have to wear a helmet?
I’ve cycled for more years and in more countries than I care to remember without a helmet, and have no intention of starting now!
Does that mean I am banned?

Reply by Zoetrope yesterday
Did you check the Bike the Drive website? Should make it clear there.
Assuming you haven’t paid for BTD and don’t intend to, I’m pretty sure you can easily bypass the entry fee by jumping on at an on-ramp somewhere if you are dead set on riding without head protection. Or maybe you can wear one at the beginning and then throw it out once you’re out of the site of BTD volunteers. And now that we’ve established you haven’t paid and don’t intend to, that’s all the better. American USD has more blood on it’s hands than all the styrofoam helmets ever assembled. Don’t tread on me! After all, this is a free country where you don’t have to wear a helmet if you don’t wanna, you don’t have to pay for services that you use if you don’t wanna, and you don’t have to wear no stinking Talisman on your head if you don’t wanna.
Freedom Lover

Reply by Anne Alt yesterday
To you “freedom lovers” out there- please understand that it costs a lot of money and hard work to put on Bike the Drive. This is a major fundraiser for the Active Transportation Alliance, and it helps fund many programs and events.

Do you want to cheat a non-profit that does a lot of good work to benefit you and many others? If you advocate being a ride bandit, that’s what you’re doing.
I’m not a fan of thieves.

Reply by Active Transportation Alliance yesterday
Regarding helmets, it’s in our waiver and we believe that wearing a helmet is one of the safest choices you can make while biking.
It would be incredibly challenging for us to enforce 20,000 people to wear helmets but we do our best to encourage helmet use when we see people w/o helmets.
Paid participants wearing rider numbers may start at the north and south rest stops (Bryn Mawr, Museum of Science and Industry).
We ask that participants start at these locations so they can be ensured a safe start at 5:30 a.m. when the police give us the official “all clear.” Even though LSD may look clear that early in the morning, we have to wait until the police have cleared all car traffic…that’s how we keep it safe.
We do find that after the event has started (e.g. you’ll see tons of people on bikes on LSD (the street)), that registered participants will roll on or off at many locations. That’s not something we can truly enforce and are less worried about it because the event has safely started.
As Anne said, we do care if unregistered participants are riding. You’ll be cheating a nonprofit and disrespecting the many thousands of other people who paid. We hope you don’t do this.
If you’re planning on signing up, we’d recommend doing it by this Sunday at 11:59 p.m. before the $3 late fee kicks in at midnight.
Also, please feel free to save $3 with discount code 3chainlink
Thanks much,
Ethan, Active Trans

Reply by Craig S. yesterday
I love this ride but I have an extremely difficult time with it as a paid event, fund raiser or not. As a citizen/resident, I pay for that infrastructure. As a car owner, I pay for that infrastructure. As an organization, I hold the ATA in less than high regard. When this first started, I gladly paid the entry fee for the many and various reasons listed above. Since the ATA started funneling riders through checkpoints to check their rider bracelets, I find I don’t want to give them any money for anything anymore. In fact, after that first time, I let my membership drop and you folks in the ATA could save yourself some postage and stop sending me mailers.
In years past, you’d see families dive onto the route for a mile or two, riding out of the way far to the right of course. How awesome is that? I haven’t seen much of that in awhile, not like it used to be.
I won’t pay for this event anymore although I might ride it again, depends upon the weather. I am curious though, just how much does it cost? Where would I find where all the dollars are allocated? Is the ATA covering the cost of police time or does that fall on me, the taxpayer, again? Are the refreshments donated?
All this being said, that ride is by far away, my favorite of all local organized rides. There is something about the POV on LSD on a bike saddle that is completely amazing. I’ll also say the expo at the end is lame. Personally, I want a bloody mary or a Guinness when I’m done riding, but I may be in the minority.

Reply by Active Transportation Alliance yesterday
Hey all, please see my earlier post (we probably we’re posting at the same time) but we can confirm that there are starts at the north and south again this year. It’s not on the website but we do email participants in nearby zip codes, so please feel free to start at the north or south.
Craig, please send me your address, I’ll take you off the list, of course. Apologies you’re receiving info. Please email me at ethan @ activetrans .org and I’ll take care of it.
We do pay for the police, traffic control aides, porta-potties, rest stop food, city permits, park district permits and everything else to produce the event. We do get some sponsorship support but it’s a fundraising event so whatever we have left in profit, we put that back into advocacy efforts.
Our 990’s are here: https://activetrans.org/donate (I’m not sure why the more recent ones aren’t up, but I will get that taken care of) and Annual Reports are here: http://activetrans.org/mission-vision.
Ethan, Active Trans

Reply by Craig S. yesterday
That’s all good to know, Ethan, thank you for providing that information.
As I mentioned, I had no issue paying to ride this event in years past as it’s one of my favorites. What killed it for me is when you all had to check every rider for bracelets. Not cool in my mind and that makes me want to ride pirate without a helmet.

Having read about the infamous bracelet challenge being used a few years ago (to keep people from “pirating” the ride) I decided to check with my CIA operative friend to get to the bottom of all of this. After a few Guinness Stouts in support of Craig S. we got down to “brass tacks“. This is as much additional information as I can divulge at the moment:

  • Yes helmets are being pushed by large pro-cycling organizations and advocates by means of a lobbyist kickback system that has been in place for about 40 years. The average organizational contribution is nearly $3 million and has been known to reach $750K per individual willing to publicly profess the quality of respect they have for helmet users.
  • But the real funding for these lobbying efforts comes from a slush fund at the CIA where several billion dollars per annum are deposited in Swiss bank accounts for use in propping up helmet sales. Why?
  • It turns out that there is a secret trail being run on helmet users brains. In a select few helmets you will find an RFID chip that is transmitting valuable information back to Langley where a cadre of young recruits is sifting through the information looking for clues that can help the Obama Administration anticipate the next conspiracy threat from Right-Wing NRA and Tea Party types.
  • Thus far we know that more than half of the riders who have been tested show signs of swerving to the right when braking and this is an alarming trend for the Obama Administration.
  • Attempts are being made to determine whether it will be possible to get bicycle riders to swerve left when braking hard. There are some in the CIA who are attempting to confuse the issue by citing the fact that the crown of the roadway makes the bike move right, but many have noticed that in the UK the evidence is just the opposite. Stay tuned.

Let us return to this value discussion from the ChainLink Forum cognoscenti:

Reply by Julie Hochstadter yesterday
I think its one of the most amazing events we have here in Chicago and I thank ATA for putting on such a huge endeavor. I don’t know what it costs, what it brings in, etc. but I’m sure it costs a whole lot of money and is ATA’s largest fundraiser of the year. And it’s a WHOLE lot of people who do it, many from the burbs, some who rarely ride. I enjoy and appreciate events that bring people in the city and get people on bikes.
Yes, it’s a lot of money… I’m pretty sure if you volunteer before or after the event you get to ride for free. It used to be that way and that’s how I was able to do it. Not sure if that’s the case anymore.
Yeah I see the frustration with cars being able to use LSD for free all year and the one day we get it we have to pay for it. If you want to get involved with changing that I think there are groups out there trying to change that. Depave Lake Shore Drive maybe?

Reply by Craig S. yesterday
Get real, Julie.
For free? Tell my checkbook that I get to drive on LSD for free, all year round. I think you’ll be in for a great debate.

Reply by Duppie 13.5185km yesterday
The entry fee does not pay for the infrastructure, but for the cost of organizing the event itself (and serves as a fundraiser). You are comparing apples to oranges.

Note the Tea Party tones being insinuated into this discussion. Let us listen further:

Reply by Hilary Thorne yesterday
I have no problem with paying for this event, I was concerned that i could end up paying and then
not being allowed to attend.
My issue is with helmets, as i do not believe they are safe, and rather than offer genuine protection they offer only a false sense of security.
I work in ER and have seen many bike injuries, and since helmets appeared (mid 1980s I would say), i am sure I have seen an increase i neck injuries, often leading to paralysis.
my belief is that because helmets stick out further than your forehead, your head gets pushed back further if you have a front impact while wearing a helmet. I am certain that some of the paralysis injuries I have seen would NOT have occurred if they had not been wearing a helmet.
Your neck bones / vertebrae are far more vulnerable than your skull and need protecting, not being made more vulnerable.
Helmets are also designed for low speed impact, but unfortunately are relied on at speed, as they give a false sense of security and in my opinion lead to more careless and dangerous riding.

It is my personal choice to NOT wear a helmet, and i will continue until such time that convincing evidence appears to change my mind.
I will happily pay to attend the ride, but will not attend (and therefore not pay) if I am required to wear a helmet.
Does that make my opinion clearer?

Clearly we are going to have a problem if this sort of thinking gains traction. First this Colville-Andersen fellow sticks us with poorly designed bicycling infrastructure and now his dangerous ideas are beginning to permeate the consciousness of even the ChainLink Faithful. What is very interesting here is not just that Hilary (that first name cannot be a coincidence) simply does not want to enrich the coffers of the helmet industry, but she has made the absurd claim that helmets are “unsafe“. See what I mean?

This is clearly the ravings of a GOP operative who is attempting to undo all the good work being done by Liberals who support bike safety by means of pretty green bike lanes. The one significant problem however is that the guy flying all over the globe to serve as huckster for the pretty green lanes lobby

  1. has a controlling interest in the largest non-skid green paint factory in Europe
  2. and at the same time is hawking this “contradictory idea” that helmet serve no real purpose other than to do what his green paint firm is doing regarding pretty green lanes

It is all quite confusing at the moment and Langley operatives are trying to get to the bottom of it all. But meanwhile our conversation continues:

Reply by Duppie 13.5185km 23 hours ago
An astute observation. But you have been around for a while now, no? So you should know that if you don’t like to be called out on your opinions, you shouldn’t post them to begin with.
That is one reason why I rarely post my opinions anymore, and keep my postings generally to questions, information, thank you’s, and the like.

Reply by Craig S. 22 hours ago
I have no problem “being called out on my opinion” but the way it’s done is really what makes the forum such an unpleasant place to visit. It’s okay to attack an opinion, but is it okay to attack an individual whom one has never met? That is what is rampant on this forum.
I had some free time this morning so I was “trolling.” (This was just to make some folks happy that they can point fingers at me and now yell “TROLL, you’re a TROLL!)
Cheers. By the way, I’m currently enjoying a Victory Golden Monkey. It’s nice.

Something tells me that Papa Hemingway would find most of the ChainLink Forum types have livers as large as their egos. But the conversation goes on:

Reply by Craig S. 22 hours ago
Hilary, I completely agree with you about helmets. However, you’re about to pounced on en masse by the CLink forum police for expressing a different opinion than what is prevalent. Happens all the time with the topic of helmets.
I’ll ride with you, helmet-less, I may even pay the entry fee.

How sweet! Perhaps they can get Gabe and his Security Team to join them on the ride and they can doff more than just their helmets? And so it continues:

Reply by Tony Adams 6.6 mi 22 hours ago
saintly? huh… I’ve lamented my disappointment with the ATA here on numerous occasions. I’ll keep doing so when it is appropriate. I’m still holding out hope for example that they’ll return to focusing exclusively on bicycle issues and let others advocate for transit and pedestrian issues.

Reply by Kevin C 22 hours ago
I share your disappointment. A more cynical observer might suggest that ATA killed the CBF and got into the pedestrian and transit business because it opens up the possibility of securing more grant funds.

How utterly crass of him to have said this! Wait my phone is ringing. Okay that was Ron Burke of the ATA. He called to say that he thinks his helmet is one of those with the RFID chip and wants know if his suspicions are correct. I asked if he felt himself swerving right when coming to a stop. He said he did not know since he has not stopped at a traffic signal since reading that seminal work by Randy Cohen on Emmanuel Kant and Cycling.

But wait there’s more:

Reply by Dragonborn 16 hours ago
I’m with Hilary. I believe the event would gain more paying riders if the helmet requirement is permanently repealed. One of the main reasons why I have never signed up for this event is due to the helmet requirement.
Hilary, to address your concern about paying and then not being allowed to ride, the FAQ clearly states there are no refunds.

Reply by S 14 hours ago
Regardless of how you feel about helmets, the helmet requirement is probably a requirement in order to get liability insurance that’s reasonably priced. Given the size of the event, insurance is pretty much mandatory and insurers probably require helmets if the ATA wants coverage at an affordable rate.

So are you saying that even the insurance industry believes that helmets offer protection against head injury while cycling? This is all so confusing. But it is gratifying to know that those lobbyist dollars are trickling down to the insurance industry where we are certain to be able to maintain the pressure to ride with helmet long enough for the CIA to finish its research.

And yet more:

Reply by notoriousDUG 5 hours ago
How many of those neck injuries would not have mattered because of the damage done by the blow to the head that the helmet did not help to soften?
I hate helmets and I hate wearing them but I do because I would probably not be here to post this if it were not for wearing one; I ‘walked’ away from a crash on the ice this winter that cracked a Bern helmet and knocked me out for an unspecified amount of time. Did I have a sore neck? Yep, and I still do but considering how hard my head it I’m happy with the neck pain over a cracked skull.
I have a couple of friends who walked away from what could have been much worse accidents thanks to a helmet. This is why I encourage helmet use, I think it is a legitimate way to mitigate some of the risk involved in riding bike. That said I don’t really preach about it or bitch at my friends who do not; it’s there choice.
I will, however, say something when people are speaking out against helmets with nothing but poorly backed up opinions. Sorry but I really have no faith in your opinion on injuries if you think that my vertebrae are more vunerable to damage than my head when my head bounces off concrete…
It’s also pretty childish to not support an event you would otherwise go to just because you don’t want to wear a silly hat for a couple of hours.
No event with bikes is going to get insurance if they do not require helmets, why not just accept that fact and support the event you claim to want to?

This is the sort of anecdotal response we need to see continue. And there is more:

Reply by Hilary Thorne 2 hours ago
I prefer not to risk my neck, I kinda like having a functioning spinal cord.
Helmets have never become a legal requirement for either cyclists or motorbikes because of a lack of evidence that they work.
All they seem to do is create a false sense of security, leading to more arrogant and dangerous cycling.
People boast about surviving spectacular accidents, that likely never would have happened if they hadn’t been riding too fast, convinced that their helmet made them indestructible.
Try visiting country where cycling is the normal mode of transport, I have never seen anyone wearing a helmet in the Netherlands, and yet their safety record is second to none.
You just don’t see arrogant or reckless riding there. People are safe and courteous. Go figure.

Now see this is the problem we are sending out mixed signals. On the one hand we are touting the Netherlands and presumably their bicycle infrastructure (a version of which we are trying to adopt as fast as the legs of our CDOT operatives can move) while at the same time decrying the use of helmets when riding bicycles (a bedrock notion on this side of the Pond). It’s all so confusing!

Yet more:

Reply by Duppie 13.5185km 2 hours ago
But the Netherlands does have mandatory helmet laws for motorcyclists and moped cyclists, something you say never happened because of a lack of evidence that they work. or does the lack of evidence only apply to the state of Illinois? I am confused now.
EDIT: I just checked and 19 states have mandatory helmet laws. In fact Illinois and Iowa are the only two states that have no helmet laws at all. (The other 29 have age based restrictions). What do Illinois and Iowa know that the rest of the states do not?

Why muck up a perfectly good argument with facts? Let me go get more popcorn. Okay, let’s continue:

Reply by Hilary Thorne 2 hours ago
There is no helmet law for cyclists. In fact I can’t think of any country I’ve been to that requires cyclists to wear helmets. Perhaps there are some, but my point is that evidence is needed for laws to be changed.
Netherlands now has helmets for motorbikes, I believe it was not their choice, but a consequent of being under the law of the European Union, to bring them into line with the rest of Europe?
Europe requires motorbike helmets in all countries now, but each American states has its own laws, they are allowed to make their own decisions based on available evidence. Presumably there is insufficenct evidence to require it to be a national law?

Reply by Duppie 13.5185km 2 hours ago
You are so adamant that helmets do not work, there surely must be some publicized medical research that corroborates your statement. I am looking forward to you posting some links.
(I understand that cyclists would make up a very small sample, so I research focused on motorcyclists is acceptable.)

Now see that is totally underhanded, asking for proof when a perfectly good anecdotal statement was provided at the outset:

Reply by Hilary Thorne 2 hours ago
I don’t have any links.
Like I say my belief is based on my experience of 20 plus years working in ER.
A group of us (ER docs and nurses) looked at this issue about twelve years ago, as we shared the same beliefs, but never actually got round to formally collating evidence, (as the Gulf War got in the way and we all went our separate ways due to half the team being deployed!)
Very few hospitals keep records of safety gear in use in road accidents, so its to difficult to find evidence.
It would be helpful if ERs across the country could use a standard reporting system to enable this data to be collected.
But how could you collect data on “non -events”, meaning the accidents that did not happen because the cyclists did not have helmets and were therefore riding more sensibly?

Whoa there sister! You suddenly bring up problems with testing your hypothesis after nearly 12 years? Shame on you!

I’m beginning to see why the CIA wanted to do their study in the first instance:

Reply by Cameron 7.5 mi 2 hours ago
Australia and parts of Canada require helmets for all riders, lots of other countries have some requirements (usually only impacting children). Wikipedia has a list.

If you think that the presence or lack of a national law has anything to do with scientific evidence, then you must hold Congress in much higher regard than I do.

Oops! Hilary just got “owned”. This is really fun. Gotta stay focused:

Reply by Duppie 13.5185km 1 hour ago
My bad. I missed the part where you had previous stated that your opinion was based on anecdotal evidence (that is really what you described). I’ll choose to ignore your opinion from here on.
I do not care whether you choose to wear a helmet or not. That is your personal choice. But what I do care about is you presenting your personal experience as medical facts. That is a dangerous thing to do, and one of the main pitfalls of public forums in general, since a lot of readers might see your comments and think it is a fact, based on how your frame it.
I am not aware of any organized ride that does not require participants to wear a helmet. Instead, you may want to look at some the more informal rides listed in the events at the bottom of the front page (the various Critical Masses, Midnight Marauders, First Friday ride, beer rides, other social rides, etc.) They generally have no helmet requirements.
Happy Riding!

Now that is just rude! Her opinion is “golden”. Heck, she works in an ER and has spoken (probably over beers) with other drunken colleagues who agreed with her point of view. Why the hostility?

Anything else guys?:

Reply by Lisa Curcio 4.0 mi 1 hour ago
The reason there is no motorcycle helmet law in Illinois is because of lobbies, pure and simple. The reason there is no national law is because driving is regulated by the states, not by the federal government. Ms. Thorne, you have no evidence either. If you choose not to wear a helmet, the rest of us will not care or worry. If you choose not to Bike the Drive because you do not want to wear a helmet, the rest of us will not care or worry. But there–so far–is no justification for your position and it does not make sense to continue to try to justify it with unsubstantiated opinion.

Reply by Anne Alt 1 hour ago
The answer on helmet effectiveness is: it depends. If you have a crash where your head doesn’t hit a hard object, then whether or not you are wearing a helmet may be irrelevant. I’ve heard a lot of different opinions on effectiveness – from medical professionals, cyclists, safe cycling instructors, friends who have had crashes, etc.

In all my years of wearing a helmet when I ride, I’ve had exactly one crash when my head hit the pavement. My head was the first point of impact. The helmet cracked. My head didn’t. That’s enough evidence for me. Your mileage may vary…

My opinion is better than yours. Nah, nah, nah!

Reply by Craig S. 1 hour ago
You’re banging your head against the brick wall of popular group-think that is the CLink Forum and woe to those who express an opinion that is outside the norm.
Better put your helmet on if you’re going to continue on this thread.
Aside from that, Bike the Drive is damn fun, as I’ve already stated. It’s one of my favorite organized rides, however, I have issues with ATA hence my reluctance to pay for it. If you’ve never ridden this ride, you really should and just deal with a helmet for a few hours. I won’t tell anyone.

Reply by Zoetrope 4 minutes ago
Craig, I’d like to see you start a separate thread wherein you make your issues with ATA crystal clear. I’m sure there are others here who’d love to take part in such a “discussion”, too. Granted there are a lot of bad apples here, but there are also many intelligent and understanding folks, too. Point being, we’re all adults here; let’s act like it. So instead of using your helmet paranoia as a disguised outlet for your ATA hatred in a thread about BTD, just do us a favor and make something constructive out of this instead of being petty and taking every opportunity to slam ATA without giving up some good reasons. You just come across as a guy whose ego has been severely bruised.
I don’t belong to ATA and don’t care if anyone voices whatever opinion they have about them, but your act is really tired, even for a “troll”.

As usual the best defense to logical argument is to trash the character of your opponent. So my good readers the sum of all this blather is that the ChainLink Forum faithful who are “dead certain” the the Colville-Andersen “pretty green lane strategy” will save lives are divided over whether his even more strongly asserted notion that helmets are a waste of time and money and only insure that cycling will be perceived as dangerous.

Of course Hilary who has seen countless cycling injuries in her 20+ years in the ER can of course attest to just how “un-dangerous” cycling really is.

Do you ever get the feeling that nobody and I mean nobody (including the insurance industry, Active Transportation Alliance, Mikael Colville-Andersen, Gabe Klein or God Himself) has a freaking notion about anything we are attempting to foist onto the wallets of the general public? Can anybody, anybody at all tell us whether pretty green lanes are actually safe? And can they also toss in whether helmets are as unsafe as Hilary says. And if you have any ideas at all about the involvement of Obama and the CIA could you spill the beans on them too?

Understanding Where You Are — This Definitely Isn’t Kansas

There are a few more responses of note to this thread:

Reply by Duane Waller 1 hour ago
I found BTD to be rather enjoyable (it was a few years ago); slogged along looking at the fancy buildings along the north section as the sun rose (the sun’s reflections off the exteriors were beautiful), got to the turnaround and grabbed the wheel of some dudes out on some sort of training ride. That was fun, too, speeding along in the left lane. After that, I just paced along and took in the scenery. A nice way to spend 30 miles.
I wear a helmet and I never had a real reason as to why, until this January. Got doored, and the helmet has a lovely dent and crack right where my left eyebrow is. I hit the very edge of the opening door. HARD (hard enough to push the hinge pillar forward 2 inches). Don’t think I’d be writing this if I hadn’t been wearing it, as my head would have split into two, possibly 15 pieces. But I don’t insist others wear one. Do what you like.

Reply by Hilary Thorne 1 hour ago
Craig, I see what you mean : )
I’ve lived in many cities in several countries and I don’t think I have ever met with such hostility from the cycling community as I have in Chicago.
I guess that if they all ride as aggressively as they write, they need helmets.
I prefer to just live a peaceful life.
I’m so glad this is a free country where everyone can have their own opinion and not be judged.

You are quite right about the ChainLink Forum. Assholes like Gabe keep talking about “shitholes” on the South and West Sides of Chicago. But there is one place that exceeds them all in terms of its nastiness and that is right here on the good ole ChainLink Forum. A cesspool of the first order.

To understand the place you have to think a Traditional Black Baptist Church. You get to come in and listen to the minister rail against sinful behavior only to tell you that the four boys who have brought charges against him for sexual impropriety are lying. But then a few months later he gets the church to pay over more than a million dollars to keep them quiet. And of course the Church Mothers mutter “amens” under their breath as they fan themselves and smile at the pastor who has been so wrongfully charged. Afterwards in the basement where dinner is being served they speak in hushed tones about the Devil and how he is assailing their pastor. And everyone nods agreement.

But there is at least one additional boy who has come out of the shadows to again bring charges against the pastor. But no one is will to hear anything from him. After all they cannot fiscally afford another $1 million dollars and more importantly this is beginning to have serious consequences for their church and its teachings.

They contact the local Catholic Church to find out how they have dealt with such things. And of course they get the party line about defending the Name of Christ first. And then they are offered strategies for undermining the character and consequently the veracity of the young boy. Everyone nods knowingly  and they feel strengthen in their resolve to Preach the Gospel despite being hypocrites and to extract a pound of flesh from those who point this out.

I am more certain each day that there is indeed a Church of Urban Cycling with priests and deacons who march around being sanctimonious about their role in bringing salvation to the traffic scene by painting the pavement pretty shades of green while offering up burnt carcasses of ChainLink Forum members who dare to question what the High Priest has passed down.

There are visiting High Priests who fly in from foreign countries and accept very large “goodwill offerings” in exchange for the chance to appear on a list of the 20 most Holy Cycling Sites in the Kingdom of God. And while they have a distinct problem with the teachings of this roving High Priest when it comes to the headgear he despises they nevertheless nurse at his breast on every word that he hands down regarding those pretty green lanes. It is an odd situation.

It would be like claiming the Authority of the Old Testament on homosexuality but denying that eating certain forbidden foods mentioned there was still a sin. Evidently in most churches there are secret memos that God Himself hands out to the select few who are allowed to read them and they tell the story of what is true and what is not.

I happen to disagree with Hilary’s assessment of the value of helmets. But I have no doubt that this place is the worst she has encountered to date when it comes to its barbarity and vileness.

More Rumblings Late Friday Evening

Reply by Cameron 7.5 mi 4 hours ago
While I personally wear a helmet, like most of the other posters here I believe in personal choice and don’t really care if you wear one or not. However, opinions presented as facts and anecdotes presented as research are two pet peeves of mine.

Reply by Michael A 4 hours ago
It would also be impossible to know how many hospital visits were not needed due to the protection a helmet provided… I wear a helmet 99% of the time, as a competitive cyclist it is almost like putting on my cycling shoes….

Reply by Hilary Thorne 4 hours ago
I don’t recall describing anything as “facts” or “research”.
what exactly are you basing your pet peeves on?
What I have stated several times now is that my opinions and beliefs are based on my 20 plus years experience of working in ER and seeing the cycling injuries there.
As I also stated, its my belief that cyclists in helmets ride more recklessly, and therefore research cannot record the ‘non-events’ of cyclists without helmets who travel safely.
Incidentally, I can only recall maybe half a dozen cyclists without helmets attending ER. The last one was in 2011 and he had been hit by – you guessed it – a lycra-and-helmet clad reckless cyclist.
No, I can’t recall his name and address.
Have a great evening.

Reply by Jennifer on the lake 3 hours ago
You cite your own experience as the reason you choose not to wear a helmet. Others cite their own experiences as the reasons that they choose to wear helmets. A few have pointed out that you seem to have different standards of evidence for different sides of an argument, which is poor form, but as long as it’s all anecdotal anyway, what’s the harm? Everyone is doing his or her own thing and acknowledging everyone’s freedom (barring certain institutional requirements) to do the same. Where is the hostility and aggression?

Reply by Dragonborn 3 hours ago
Wow, I’m deemed “childish” just for merely expressing my personal opinion. Too bad that some of you can’t seem to submit to the simple fact that not everyone automatically agrees with each other. Someone was certainly right, you can get ganged up on and ridiculed by the membership here if you present a conflicting opinion even in a respectful manner.
I will gladly “stay home” or go somewhere and stay away from this event “and sulk.” When I first joined here a while back, I tried to participate frequently until I started seeing how elitist a bulk of this community is. Good riddance, Chainlink.

OK, per usual someone on this forum gets ticked off enough to leave. A week or so ago Douglas Iverson did as well. Not sure what really makes this place so toxic, but it definitely is all of that.

Jennifer did bring up one really important point, much of what was discussed here was either anecdotal or belief-driven. And as with a religion you either take the “teachings” of this or that sect on “faith” or you get “excommunicated” or “expelled“. I find much of the blathering about supposed “safety” features related to pretty green lanes essentially articles of “faith“. When those lanes in New York City produced a worse result than before their installation this past fall, the Sadik-Kahn supporters scurried for cover until she offered up that it was the fault of “distracted drivers” which accounted for the increase in “collisions“.

That seems reasonable excepting the fact that all of the cycling advocates like Ron Burke preach from their pulpits that the presence of pretty green lanes creates an environment which brings safety to all segments of the roadway using population, simultaneously. That is in fact an article of faith. It is also evidently not the truth. Or as we like to say in the non-religious circles “a lie“.

Reply by Hilary Thorne 3 hours ago
To Jennifer on the lake . . .
I guess that Dragonborn just answered that for me.
I made NO claims about medical evidence, but said several times that my opinions and beliefs were based on my experience working in ER.
Why is that so difficult to accept?
I explained my point of view and my reasoning.
i did not expect such rudeness in return, and apparently neither did Dragonborn.
Have a pleasant evening.

Reply by Jennifer on the lake 1 hour ago
What is difficult for me to accept is your (and a few others’) hostile reaction. I don’t recall any hostility on this thread until the non-helmet-wearing population started railing against the helmet requirement. You asked why it was in place, an answer was given, and instead of saying OK then, good day, you launched into a tale about all the broken necks you saw in the ER and implied that you were perfectly willing to boycott a charity event for the sake of your personal beliefs. I doubt you intended to start a fight, but come now, surely you didn’t expect to keep the soapbox all to yourself?
If you change your mind about Bike the Drive, I have a spare silly hat that I could loan you for the morning. (I’m afraid it’s rather sillier for the Game of Thrones sticker on the back, but I might be able to peel that off.) It’s a fantastic event, and I personally feel the experience is worth the temporary inconvenience of wristbands, silly hats, adhesive numerals, strangers photographing you, and everything else that might be slightly to severely annoying depending on one’s personal preferences.
Now, if this is NOT a matter of principle and/or inconvenience but instead a matter of risk (ie, you choose not to risk breaking your neck), then I apologize for misinterpreting both your position and your reaction. I wish I could tell you that it’s 100% unlikely that you will break your neck at Bike the Drive, but, well, you might be surprised how many people manage to get injured in the complete absence of motor vehicles. (Another reason not to risk a broken neck, I guess.)

Reply by Hilary Thorne 1 hour ago
I asked if anyone could find info on the ride site whether a helmet was compulsory, as i could not find this information.
Why do you think that was hostile?
I said that I did not want to risk paying the fee and then be banned from riding for not having a helmet.
Why do you think that was hostile?
I stated my opinions about helmets, and the reasons behind them.
Why do you think that was hostile?
I did not take the stance of boycotting a charity event.
I was simply affirming my own beliefs, and my understanding that as this is a free country i am allowed to not only have my own opinions but also live by them. That includes the freedom to NOT wear a helmet.
Why do you think that was hostile?

I Can See Why Motorists Think We Are A Bit Crazy

I Ride a Bike and Drive A Car

I Ride a Bike and Drive A Car

When small business people find that a group of “cycling advocates” have descended upon them with some sure fire plan to make bus traffic move at the speed of light, while ensuring that though 50% of their customer parking has been removed, we are guaranteeing that their business will not suffer and that the cycling crowd will even find them more inviting, they often shake their collective heads and say “no thanks“. I know I would were I privy to conversations like this one.

Clearly we are not certain of a single point regarding what makes for safety on the roadways. People like Colville-Andersen provide arguments that wearing helmets promotes a sense of fear in people that cycling is dangerous, while people like Hilary talk about the 20 plus years of injuries that she has seen in the ER to cyclists who are either wearing or not wearing helmets. My first response would be how can anyone claim that cycling is “safe” when all of this mayhem and its cause are so readily apparent. No one is arguing that the accidents to cyclists did not happen, just debating the cause. So on balance the one thing we know from all of this conversation is that cycling is not safe.

The jury remains out on which talisman provides true safety. It is a bit like trying to decide which of the major religions and their sects is the one which will bring you closest to God. My vote is for none of the above.

When did cycling get so contentious? Did we forget to just hop on our bikes and ride around in the summer breezes? No wonder we fall upon each other of such stupid things as whether we should or should not be wearing Lycra or Spandex. Is there any reason for us to request that cars pass us with 3-feet of distance but we pass them with only inches? And into the bargain we do it on busy streets sometimes between a bus and a truck. We rail at car drivers and use terms like “cagers” to describe them and then try and have a campaign where we make kissy-face with cars and their drivers. And is there any good reason to believe that once we gain control of the political system we will not attempt to ban all cars from the planet or helmets from the same? I can almost hear the sound of knitting needles around the gallows in Paris when I listen to ChainLinkers discussing their “opinions“. Clearly these notions are more “articles of faith” than mere opinions.

I’m all for dropping the pretense that cycling is something we do because it is good for the planet. What we really are aiming at is imposing our will upon the rest of the world because we like the Politburo know what is best for the masses. I really want no part of that kind of cycling future. I much prefer to ride my bike than have to keep my finger on the pulse of a group that is practicing a routine bout of cannibalism every week or two. What is the matter with us? Have we gone mad?

Do we really need to have people leave the discussion after having been “internet mobbed“? I’ll put this thread to bed. I think that should there be other comments I will leave them unrecorded. Eventually the ugliness of this forum gets to be a bit overwhelming.