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Cyclist groups' objections to helmet law are absurd

To the editor: As a cyclist, runner and swimmer in my late 70s (and still competing), I would no sooner get on my bike without a helmet than run without shoes. While the latter might be uncomfortable, the former could easily be fatal. ("Legislator sees safety in adult helmet law; cyclists see mostly harm," March 9)

I've had what we cyclists like to refer to as "unintentional dismounts" on more than one occasion. Both times I was not at fault but nevertheless was knocked to the pavement, landing on my (helmeted) head. Both times I required stitches but sustained nothing beyond scrapes and bruises.

It doesn't take a lot of speed to injure yourself seriously when you slam headfirst into a solid, stationary object. "Wind in your hair" is nice, but common sense in your head is better.

Tom Pontac, Seal Beach

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To the editor: This article on a proposed helmet law for cyclists in California was well-written and well-researched.

I have been commuting by bicycle for more than 25 years and 120,000 miles. I don't leave my driveway without a helmet. To me it's a little bit of insurance and a whole lot of common sense.

I've made numerous trips to the emergency room and have broken two helmets as well as various bones and bicycles. Believe me, the fact that I wear a helmet and ride in designated bike lanes gives me absolutely no sense of additional security against traffic.

And to further burden already overburdened police departments that cannot enforce speed limits, talking and texting laws, three-foot clearance laws and children's helmet laws is ludicrous. They have more important things to do than to ticket adults who have questionable brains and little common sense.

Doug Wheeler, Manhattan Beach

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To the editor: A rear-view mirror is a much more important safety feature than a helmet. A mirror helps prevent accidents. In contrast, a helmet provides protection only in the event of an accident, only for the cyclist and only for a single (but certainly vital) part of the body.

My qualifications for offering this opinion are extensive experience bicycling on streets around Los Angeles International Airport without ever being hit by a car. I always wear a helmet when I bicycle, and I glance at the mirror mounted on the handlebar every few seconds.

James Kallis, Los Angeles

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