THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING
SHARING THE ROAD — AND THE RESPONSIBILITY

Motorists, not bike helmets, are what make the difference

August 16, 2010

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UNFORTUNATELY, THE article “Cyclist is killed by a car in Brighton’’ (Metro, Aug. 11) perpetuates a terrible mistake being made by bike advocates and bike opponents, politicians, EMS workers, and pretty much everyone else: that the helmet is the most important element in collisions between bike riders and cars. This is not true. The most important element is the driver.

On a recent visit to Amsterdam, a city with hundreds of thousands of daily bike riders, I saw few helmets. It is, by all accounts, one of the safest cities in the world to ride in. The reason is that in any accident between a bike and motor vehicle, the driver is presumed to have caused the collision. To avoid liability the motor vehicle operator must prove that the accident was not his or her fault.

Drivers must watch out for cyclists, give us space, and respect our place on the roads.

By the way, I am a cyclist, I ride 4,000 miles a year, and I do wear a helmet.

Joel A. Feingold
Brookline

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