How much is to too much?

After following a link from Trust but Verify to a post about Floyd Landis at The Right Rant, I saw a post regarding a proposed ban on electronic devices in the State of New York.

I started thinking about when we should be protected from ourselves? Here’s my dilemma. I think helmet use should be mandatory. Period. This is my one soapbox. Otherwise, my kids have heard me say “Live and let live” about a thousand times when we see someone participating in a potentially dangerous activity.

Well, now a legislator in the Empire State wants to ban people, including runners and cyclists from listening to iPods during their workout. Too dangerous they say. I see quite a few cyclists wearing the all too familiar white earbuds while riding. I prefer to bask in the solitude riding affords and lose myself in my own thoughts. Who is more distracted, them or me?

When do we stop trying to save us from ourselves? I think we should pull back a bit and live and let live.

While wearing a helmet of course.


8 Responses to How much is to too much?

  1. Debby says:

    This issue was discussed on a recent Fredcast (podcast). It was interesting to hear the different points of view on why or why not helmet use should be mandatory. Fred’s argument against mandatory helmet use is the same as yours re: electronic devices. He is all for adults and children wearing helmets at all times (as am I), but at what point does the government stop telling us how to be responsible adults, and let us determine that for ourselves?

    In my state, it’s the cellphone while driving issue. You must use an earpiece in order to talk on the phone hands-free while driving. By the time I plug in the cord to the phone, stick the earbud in my ear, and get it all set up, I could have caused 20 accidents. I know that I am personally safer just opening the flip phone, getting the quick message, and putting it away. Our state government doesn’t give me the option to choose what is safer for me, the rare time I need to take a call. I know that some people use the wireless ear pieces, but I don’t feel compelled to spend the money for that particular set-up, since I rarely use the phone in the first place.

    I think NYC also wants to ban trans-fats. What are they going to ban next, McDonald’s? Caffeine? I agree, PJ, live and let live.

  2. Debby says:

    I should add that the Fredcast had no problem with mandatory helmet use for children under 18. They are, by definition, not adults who should know better. 🙂

  3. pelotonjim says:

    I know, I know. It’s hard to give up a personal soapbox. What if they built cellphones into helmets? 🙂

  4. Theresa says:

    I truly believe in helmets, and it’s the same with motorcycles. With winter weather making a shocking return this year to this part of MO, it was interesting that the last snow fall caused chaos on the streets during rush hour. The police said, speed (of course), and talking on cell phones was big reason for crashes and sliding into ditches…I’m glad I work odd hours, so I ride my bike when people are working, and drive home when people are sleeping…much safer!

  5. pelotonjim says:

    Wow, this soap box is getting crowded. Welcome.

  6. Debby says:

    I haven’t made up my mind with helmet laws. I do think they should be mandatory, so I guess I’ll just keep my fingers crossed at whatever may come next. David of Fredcast fame had also brought up the issue of the 3-ft lane for cyclists, another interesting debate.

  7. Ed says:

    There’s a difference between cyclists and pedestrians. Cyclists are out in traffic WITH the cars. Pedestrians are not. Moreover, cycling requires both hands and feet while walking doesn’t.

    For that reason, I have no objection to helmet laws for cyclists and reject electronic device prohibition laws for pedestrians. That being said, if a cyclist is on a closed road, or maybe a state park road where the speed limits are like 10 mph and cross traffic is minimal, I don’t have a problem with cyclists not wearing helmets.

    Pedestrians, on the other hand, are never in potential contact with danger except when crossing the street. As a live-and-let-live proponent, it should be up to the pedestrian to stop, look, and listen before crossing the street.

  8. Ed says:

    I think if an adult is only endangering only himself with his actions, the government’s interest in public safety is more limited. As Debby said, “…at what point does the government stop telling us how to be responsible adults, and let us determine that for ourselves?”

    I hate to infuse politics into cycling but, it comes down to the whole “personal responsibility” question of do you believe in big, intrusive, nanny-state, government or limited, unobtrusive, government which lets us live our lives as long as we don’t infringe on the rights of others.

    Today it’s helmets, trans fats, and cell phones. Tomorrow it’ll be a mandatory Prius in every driveway, a free-range chicken in every pot, and a copy of the Daily Worker in every mailbox.

    It’s all part of creeping government control of our lives. My kid and I ALWAYS wear helmets no matter what, but should the government force us to?

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