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Safety First

Wed, 04/29/2020 - 18:14

Conceding that nothing is going to keep people inside as the weather warms and that many here will take to bicycles to enjoy the fresh air, an urgent plea for universal helmet use has become necessary.

Ever since the Covid-19 crisis hit and new faces popped up in off-season East Hampton, we have been struck by the sheer number of what might be called casual cyclists — far too many of whom are not wearing helmets. This is not the case with hardcore riders; the seriously committed who crank out early-morning rides of 20 miles or more almost always wear headgear.

Meanwhile, we see helmetless children without supervision on the sidewalks, as well as wobbly families taking out children without helmets and blithe strangers riding the wrong way on Main Street, helmetless. And so on and on.

In the view of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, all bike rides should begin with putting on a helmet. Consumer Reports says a helmet is essential and reduces the chance of a head injury by half. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention agrees and suggests that more cities and towns adopt bicycle helmet laws. So why are so many people riding without them?

It is a strange irony that so many urbanites who fled to the East End for safety from a virus ignore the obvious risk of biking without proper protective equipment. When the state announced its list of businesses that could stay open and those that could not, bike shops were deemed essential. There are several here on the South Fork, and we bet every one of them would appreciate the business.

Friends, don’t be stupid — support these shops and buy helmets before you take your next ride.

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