Saturday, September 29, 2012

Improperly Worn Bike Helmet On Bike Share Ad

Mandatory helmet laws are terrible for bike share programs*, and it's easy to see why. What are you going to do, buy a $40 helmet and carry it around in case you want to rent a bike?

Thankfully Ottawa has a great bike share program and no helmet laws (for adults). However the city wants to give the impression that they think you should wear a helmet, so how do they advertise bike shares with photographs? Most I've seen find the clever but still kind of silly solution of showing the person standing next to the bicycle without a helmet-- shopping at an outdoor market, for instance.

I guess they finally decided they needed an ad with someone actually riding the bike. Here is what we get.

Yup. A helmet. So silly. I love the bike share, partially because it gets people on bikes again, and when they see how fun it is they end up buying one. But with all the bike share riders I've seen over the past few years, only one was wearing a helmet. This is great-- helmets increase head injury because of risk compensation.

But here's the kicker-- she's not even wearing her helmet correctly. Look closely...

The helmet should be tightly buckled around your chin. Why? To keep it from coming off of your head when you go flying through the air. Did I need to say that? Apparently I did, because I see people riding around all the time with their helmets either loosely buckled or not buckled at all.


* I can't find any empirical evidence for or against this. There is only reason and anecdotes, unfortunately.