Thursday, June 28, 2012

hit me one more time

I got this email about two years back that really ticked me off. 

The email went to a very large group of people and in it the writer described driving past the aftermath of an accident involving a car and a bicyclist.  The accident was serious enough that there was an ambulance pulled up and as she drove by the scene of the crime she saw the bicyclist lying in the road be readied for transport to the hospital and she was quite upset. 

The action item of her resulting email was "so please please always wear your bicycle helmet" and it was signed "your friendly mother hen" or some similar nonsense.  That's right.  A crime had been committed and the name of this crime was "a bicyclist went out without his helmet and startled a poor innocent car into hitting him."

Well fuck you and the horse you rode in on, I thought to myself, where unprofessional thoughts are safe and secretive.  Here is the email I would prefer to see:

To [redacted]

Which one of you worthless muppets knocked down a bicyclist on the way in to the office?  You better change your name and update your LinkedIn profile because I am going to hunt you down and tear you a new tail pipe.

-your hostile mother bear

....but we will never see that email, at least not in my lifetime.  Possibly because people who write emails like that (namely me) get fired early and often and end up inhabiting cardboard boxes and do not live to reproduce.

Since we (I'm looking at you NYC) are considering having laws requiring bicyclists to wear helmets for the purpose of providing (possibly, if they are lucky) some protection from the SUVs that want to run them over....I think it's time that we consider similar protections for women generally and not just bicyclists specifically.  As a female bicyclist I think I am extra well qualified to pronounce on the matter.

It is a well known fact that some men batter their wives/girlfriends/random strangers.  If women were required to wear motorcycle helmets (so much less wimpy than the bicycle helmet) and bullet-proof vests they would be far less likely to be injured.  In fact, you can make a case that women not wearing motorcycle helmets and bullet-proof vests are responsible for any damage they incur on their un-armored bodies.  If women aren't wise enough to wear helmets and vests every waking hour of their partnered life, it is the responsibility of the non-women to get some legislation on the matter stat so that we can enforce proper protection of female Americans because you love female Americans don't you?  Of course you do.

I'll take Q&A now.

Q:  Hi, I'm a happily married man who does not beat up his wife.  I like the way she dresses and I like her hair and I do not want a law that forces her to dress up like the Michelin man.  Can we please be exempt?

A:  Thanks for playing but no, insufficient.  A change in job or a brain tumor or a momentary lapse in judgment perhaps brought on by alcohol could result in your becoming someone who beats up women, and so we will need to install protection on all women in your vicinity.  Think of the children if you are unwilling to think of the women.

Q:  I'm a lesbian who does not plan to ever be partnered to a man.  I do not want to wear a helmet.  Can I be exempt?

A:  No, you cannot.  Just because you do not partner with men does not mean you might not get beat up by a man.  We want you to be safe.

Q:  I am an African-American living in Mississippi.  There are quite a few racists living here as well.  Should I go out with white shoe polish covering my skin?

A:  Absolutely.

In summary, I am grateful to the fine politicians of NYC for raising the important issue of automobile safety.  Hitting a bicyclist can have a negative impact on one's overall commute time, a result that can only be improved by hitting a bicyclist who is wearing a helmet.


  1. Such an awesome post! How did you get inside my head like that?!? I am SOOoo sharing this! (By the way, what made you revisit an admittedly annoying but still two year old email?)

    Paul J

    1. It turns out that very similar material is going through the collective bicyclist head when dumb stuff comes up. Then we get together and commiserate.

      As for the two years, apparently I can really hold a grudge :/ One reason I have this blog is writing my annoyance down seems to make it possible for me to move on.

      Stay awesome ;-)

  2. Whenever there is a cyclist/motorist accident over here in the UK it brings out the idiot discussions of mandatory helmet wearing.

    In all the blogs, newspaper reports and so called safety experts opinions, I have read, it's always those that have never sat their backside on a bike that are in favour of mandatory helmet wearing.

    Who are they wanting to protect? Themselves as motorists or the cyclist. Somehow I don't think it's the cyclist, or they wouldn't be running the cyclist off the road in the first place.

    Very few cyclists have died through hitting their head. Mostly they die crushed under the wheels of a motorised vehicle or of being shot up in the air and having their upper body bashed to pieces.

    But most importantly, the more safety gear a cyclist wears the more motorists are given the impression that the cyclists is invulnerable and drive like lunatics around them. A non-helmeted cyclist is far safer as they are more likely to make a motorist more wary of them.

    Our government has said categorically that they will not introduce mandatory helmets, thank God!

    1. I see photos of Dutch bicyclists mildly pedaling along looking absolutely normal unlike me with my idiotic plastic top and I kindof die a little.

      I just wish a helmet actually was a magical force-field. I'd worry less.

  3. This basic principle (the potential victim has the responsibility (and cost) to protect themselves while the perps are unrestricted) extends into all facets of our lives, not just bicycling and our personal relationships. Not sure what's in your water? Buy a filter. E. Coli in your meat? Better cook it real well. Credit card charges getting out of hand? Didn't you read the 22 pages of tiny print? Being a source of danger means not having to deal with consequences.

    I wear a helmet when I ride, but I agree that making them mandatory is not really the solution to the problem.

    1. Obviously it pisses me off a lot. I can wear a helmet that might or might not help and definitely makes me look like an idiot (and I do wear the helmet and make my children wear a helmet) or maybe, you know, the cars could stop runing us over! Fuck! Now I'm mad all over again!