Carleton College's student newspaper since 1877

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Great Plastic Cap

<ommuting is the bomb, don’t get me wrong. It’s cheap, environmentally friendly, good for the body, and good for the soul. That said, we riders should buckle up (helmets), too, because there are a lot of folks out there who care about us.

In high school, I bike commuted with a friend of mine to and from summer cross country practices. It was our senior year and he and I were promising to lead our team to top of our admittedly small division. I lived downtown and he out in the suburbs, so after biking over the Severn River bridge so slow we almost needed training wheels, we would part ways at the Naval Academy light. One day at practice, he didn’t show up, and my coach pulled me aside to say that my friend was in the hospital. He got hit by a car biking across a US 50 entry ramp, messing his leg up pretty badly. He missed the first several weeks of school and the entire XC season, but that seemed like nothing compared to what could have happened. He told me later that, at the scene of the accident, his helmet was virtually atomized. His dad, an engineer to the core, later bought the same helmet model. He went at it with a sledge hammer, trying to see what kind of damage such protection could take. He couldn’t even dent it.

I don’t see many helmets around campus- I think I’ve seen the former CSA president wear one a couple times. I know campus seems a lot safer than the road, and carrying a hunk of plastic around seems like a hassle, but let’s try to wear them more often in the future. I haven’t heard of any nasty accidents on campus, but I’ve seen way too many close calls. And though cruising around campus may really be pretty safe, I’m afraid campus riders may carry that sense of security out onto the roads.

I don’t think the issue is coolness- our generation has redefined that concept pretty thoroughly, and Carleton has been doing that for way longer. It comes down, in my eyes, to convenience. I’m just glad my buddy wasn’t too lazy to wear a helmet.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Carletonian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *