A reader of the July-August 2012 League of American Bicyclists’ “American Bicyclist” complained that the magazine featured a rider in flip-flops. The writer’s statement is as follows (November-December 2012 issue): “Riding in flip-flops is dangerous. Featuring riders with helmets and flip-flops sends a distorted message implying safe riding conditions when, in fact, those flip-flops are a hazard to the person wearing them AND those riding along side the flip-flopper. Please stress the danger of riding in flip-flops and the importance of safe riding head and foot gear.”
The offending picture was clearly composed for the article and featured riders out for a causal cruise. (To view the image, click the above LAB link and page through to page 10 of the July-August issue.)
This kind of nonsense raises multiple questions:
- What exactly is the danger of flip-flops? Frostbite? Dirty feet?
- Is there a case of flip-flops causing death?
- What is the danger to “those riding along-side the flip-flopper”?
- If head and footgear is so critical – what about elbow, shoulder and kneepads, leather pants and jacket, and (even) gloves? How about a handle-bar-mounted air bag?
- Where is the distortion in the message? Even allowing for the helmet, why should not the rider be comfortable?
With so many more critical safe riding issues – rider education, bicycle maintenance, traffic control, motor vehicle traffic enforcement, road maintenance – it is regrettable that this level of criticism even gets printed.