Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Risk Inflation


My mother would probably die of terror if she knew half of the stuff I get up to on this side of the Atlantic. Running off--alone (oh horrors)--to Paris was the least of it (at least I didn't book a hostel, mom): transgressions against her litany of safety include storing food questionably (yogurt isn't sealed, cooked food is kept in the refrigerator for days), working with dangerous chemicals, and perhaps worst of all, riding my bike WITHOUT a helmet.

Funny thing is, I would never-in-a-gazillion-years consider riding my bike sans helmet in Philadelphia (or Paris). The streets of Philadelphia are a place to lose yourself in more ways than one, especially if "yourself" denotes a bodily exterior free of internal viscera. Riding without a helmet in the US is, in general, suicidal. It's also illegal, but there are enough #$%^(*+!@&*=/ drivers that for once, the law is actually a good thing to follow.

But sledding? Apparently the safety officials in the US have decided that sledding is sufficiently dangerous enough to warrant pushing for laws that require kids to wear helmets in the US. I get the feeling that such a proposal would be laughed out of the Tweede Kamer. Are Americans really that paranoid or that lacking in common sense that a law needs to be passed? Are the Dutch really that much more pragmatic? Americans flaunt their personal freedoms, but the Dutch seem to be more in tune with the idea of personal responsibility.

Thoughts? It just seems so...drastic!

1 comment:

  1. I think the Dutch have the added advantage that everything is so flat which makes bike crashes a little less likely.