Last year we dealt extensively with the topic of the Düsseldorf Radnacht on the Classics Tour page. If I do that Reading the article I wrote back then, I realize that I could write an article that is similar in many areas in 2014. Well, unfortunately there was no L'Eroica exhibition, but despite the changed starting point, the bike night was again a stop & go ride for people with a lot of patience. But it's not about sport, but about a family-friendly event that wants to underline Düsseldorf's concern to be perceived as a bicycle-friendly city.
Let's just start with the positive aspects this time: everything that encourages people to cycle is good. Point. So the Radnacht is a praiseworthy event. In addition, everything was well organized and the streets were well cordoned off, here the police, Gios' team and the rest of the stewards did a great job. I came to Radnacht just behind the Theodor-Heuss-Bridge, so I missed the start with speeches by Thomas Geisel, among others. And I left out the "Those who don't have a helmet will be sorted out here" number. Which brings us to the topic of the evening: the helmet discussion.
OK. Let's get in the ring. To our right and left, the comments are already pre-formulated, the same arguments constantly being backed up with new statistics. Everyone tries to keep their emotions under control in order to appear factual. But then comes the point where the polemics have to get out. There's no holding back, buckets full of verbal manure are emptied over those who think differently. Why actually? Maybe you have to accept that there are two opinions. And none of it is right or wrong. Attention racing cyclists: this is like the story about shaving your legs. You do it or you don't. Everyone can decide for themselves.
Of course, major events are subject to certain conditions, insurers want to rule out almost all eventualities or at least consider them carefully. Cities are thinking about how risks can be minimized and liability excluded. One then likes to come up with the idea of turning a stroll around by bike into a sporting event with compulsory helmets. But I, as a completely inexperienced private person, then ask the question: does that make sense?
The introductory speeches were probably about the role model character of the event. I can smart-ass recommend that you always behave in an exemplary manner on the road. If we ourselves change perspective more often, moving through the city in the car, on the bike and on foot, we also stop talking about "the cyclists" or "the drivers". Because we all get a much better understanding of the situations that we sometimes put other road users in through our behavior. Tolerance for one another is exemplary. And that includes letting everyone decide for themselves whether they want to wear a helmet. Because cycling itself is not dangerous. And don't give anyone the impression that you have to wear a helmet when you ride a bike. This tolerance is also brought up during the Rollnacht. Incidentally, the average speed there should hardly be lower than that of the Radnacht aka "SlowSpeedContest".
I really don't want to take sides in the helmet discussion, but in everyday life we expect almost every adult to assess his actions, the consequences and his own risk in many areas of his life. And assume that nobody carelessly jeopardizes their health or life. A tour with an average speed in the two-digit range through a closed, well-lit inner city is certainly not one of the high-risk activities that can be completed by bicycle in Düsseldorf. A drive in the afternoon via Corneliusstrasse, Graf-Adolf-Strasse, Karlstrasse and Worringer Platz, for example, is of a completely different caliber.
That should change.
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