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Already this week’s cover story about bike helmets is getting some passionate reactions, and I thought it was only fair that those of us in the office come clean about our own bike-safety habits. I surveyed most of the office’s cyclists this morning (photos are from the cover story; no CP employees are pictured).

William Philpot IV, Office Manager

Philpot does not wear a helmet, despite a 5 1/2 mile commute from Northeast every morning. “I’m mostly on sidewalks,” he says. “I can’t deal with streets.” Still, he plans to get a helmet as soon as he can, because of many heart-stopping moments experienced on cross streets. “People are always trying to make that light,” he says. Philpot wishes helmets were mandatory. “If we have cycling lanes, we should have a law for helmets,” he says. So is he going to buy one today? Philpot won’t commit but says that his “coworkers have implored” him to buy one, and he promises he’ll do it soon.

Jeff Boswell, Operations Manager

Boswell grew up in Lincoln, Neb., and has been a bike nut most of his life. He “almost always” wears a helmet

now, unless:

  1. It is morning
  2. His hair is wet
  3. He is riding the eight blocks to work

This is because “The wind will blow my hair dry under the helmet and give me helmet hair for the rest of the day,” he says. Boswell has been riding since the ’70s—when he was a kid jumping garbage cans on his BMX bike. “We never got hurt somehow,” he says. When he moved to D.C., he began wearing a helmet, and does so religiously except under the above conditions.

Mike Riggs, City Lights Editor

Riggs always wears a helmet on his bike, a departure from his days as a motorcycle hellion in Daytona Beach, Fla., when the guys he rode with used to say that if you got hit and you’re not wearing a helmet you die, and if you get hit and you’re wearing a helmet you’ll be paralyzed the rest of your life. Riggs still sympathizes with this viewpoint, though he says, “If I were up here” riding a motorcycle, “I’d wear a helmet.”

Darrow Montgomery, Staff Photographer

Montgomery hates being interviewed, but he always wears a helmet.

Amanda Hess, Staff Writer

Hess gets around town on a sweet Raleigh Ross step-through and always wears a helmet. “Sometimes I forget,” she says, but then she’ll go back inside and get it. She doesn’t mind taking her helmet when she goes out at night. “I just lock it up,” she says. I ask her if she was ever worried about dogs peeing on it, and she says she is now. I assure her that urine is sterile when it leaves the body.

Andrew Beaujon, Managing Editor

I never wore a helmet till I had kids, and I am a real jackass to people who don’t wear them now, which is hypocritical. I have a bad habit of listening to audiobooks and classic rock on my iPod when I’m on trails (never on the road), so I’m vulnerable there. Also I am bald as crap so I have no hair issues, though some mornings the helmet will leave marks on my forehead for an hour or so, which kind of sucks.


Photographs by Darrow Montgomery