According to this 2011 report from the Portland Bureau of Transportation, "80 percent of people on bikes were counted wearing helmets citywide, 3 percent more than in 2010." To PBOT I would respond, TIME FOR A RECOUNT! And this time, be sure to count the IDIOTS.
For the past few days I've been counting bicyclists to see if they're wearing helmets or not. Day before yesterday, I counted 20 cyclists within 15 minutes—11 wearing helmets, while nine weren't. THAT DOESN'T SOUND LIKE 80 PERCENT TO ME.
Today in my brief lunchtime walk to the food carts and back, I spotted 25 cyclists downtown. Guess how many of these people weren't wearing helmets?
15 of 'em.
Again, not quite "80 percent!"
Now, I'm not faulting PBOT (love that name, btw) on their calculations—and I'm not saying my quick counts are all "scientifical"—but the difference that I've personally noticed between this year and last summer so far is pretty astounding. And I would like to note that in most cases, the helmetless riders I spotted seemed to be young and had the means to afford a helmet.
BUT! Before I leap into my final thoughts, I'll head off the first five commenters responding to this post by showing you a picture of me:
That being noted, WHAT THE FUCK IS UP?? Am I completely nuts, or are there a lot more people riding without helmets this year? And if you agree, why do you think that is? And if you don't wear a helmet, how come? (I'll restrain from further calling you an idiot, because we hold this truth to be self-evident.) Again... WHAT THE FUCK IS UP??
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