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“Think of it as harm reduction.”

July 5, 2012

Andrew Clark, a columnist for Canada’s Globe and Mail, chimes in on the helmet debate, writing that when both sides get mired in the details of helmet use, mandatory or otherwise, they obscure the real way to make cyclists safer.  “If governments are truly serious about protecting cyclists, the solution is simple,” he writes. “Create more bike lanes and infrastructure.”

But Clark is no ordinary columnist.  His “Road Sage” column appears in the paper’s “Car Life” section.  Here’s why he’s pro-bike:

You’re probably wondering why a guy who loves cars and driving, a man whose greatest fantasy is to spend the day driving around in a 1971 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible and then finish that day by having sex in it, wants to see more people on bicycles. Think of it as harm reduction. The more we can get people on bicycles, the fewer will be in cars and the fewer people there are in cars, the less traffic there will be and the easier it will be for me to drive around in my car.

Clark’s words reminded me of Ezra Klein’s “Love driving? Buy your neighbor a bike,” which appeared in the Washington Post last year:

If biking weren’t possible, perhaps I’d purchase a parking spot downtown and drive my car. But far from that solution being a victory for other drivers, it’d be an awful defeat: The worst thing for a Beltway motorist is another Beltway motorist. On the rare occasions when I do drive to work, I am grateful for every single Washingtonian who decided to make a different choice.

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