The Scene: A cyclist coming down 16th Street NW between Q and P on Saturday morning.

The Sheer Idiocy: This fellow was going at a nice clip, on a busy street made of asphalt and surrounded by granite curbs and concrete sidewalks. The cars were of steel. He was riding without a helmet. Nothing newsworthy there, as a lot of garden-variety idiots do that all the time. But this guy had a helmet strapped to the back of his backpack.

I’ve seen cyclists of this fellow’s ilk before, and they are demonstrably the dumbest people anywhere. They pay $40, $60, $80 for a nice, sleek helmet and then leave it someplace where it protects something completely undeserving of protection—-they take off for their ride and leave it dangling from the handlebars, they stuff it in their panniers, or they do the backpack thing.

I refuse to consider any of the mitigating scenarios for this moronic behavior: That the helmet is broken and they’re on the way to replace it; that they bought one for a friend; or that perhaps the $80 helmet is employed to protect that $160 backpack.

I’d prefer that such morons put on their helmets for their own sake. But they can do it for everyone’s sake too, as evidenced by these numbers from the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute:

  • Direct costs of cyclists’ injuries due to not using helmets are estimated at $81 million each year.
  • Indirect costs of cyclists’ injuries due to not using helmets are estimated at $2.3 billion each year.