A thistle to the many people not wearing helmets while riding bicycles in central Iowa. And a jab to parents not making children wear them.
It’s certainly heartening to see so many people on two wheels this summer. While the novel coronavirus has meant gym closures, canceled fitness classes and cabin fever, bicycling allows Iowans to be outdoors and active while physically distancing from others.
It seems anyone with an old Schwinn tucked in the garage has dusted it off and hit the road. Bike sales and rentals are up.
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That’s all great.
But the lack of helmets on so many riders is stunning. Particularly baffling are the cyclists on recreational trails wearing masks to protect against transmission of the virus but not wearing helmets to protect against a head injury. Even a minor fall at a slow speed can land your noggin on the concrete and result in a debilitating injury.
Helmets reduce the risk of head and brain injuries in a crash, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “All bicyclists, regardless of age, can help protect themselves by wearing properly fitted bicycle helmets every time they ride.”
Put on a helmet. Protect your head. The local emergency room doctors have enough to do right now.
A rose to the Iowa Department of Human Services for acting quickly to provide food for Iowa families affected by severe weather on Aug. 10. Less than 48 hours after last Monday’s derecho, the agency announced families who currently receive food assistance (formerly known as food stamps) could make a request to replace food that was spoiled by a power outage or destroyed by storm damage.
As if the high winds were not devastating enough to property and crops, subsequent days of lost power forced many Iowans to discard items in refrigerators and freezers. Those with limited resources cannot afford to rush out and replace perishable groceries.
Many Iowans also lost internet, but the agency provided a telephone number and information about the location of offices for those who needed assistance in accessing resources.
And a bouquet of roses to the many others who stepped up to help after the storm. This includes utility workers who traveled from other states, businesses and nonprofits that offered free meals, Iowans who opened garage doors so neighbors could charge phones while physically distancing, and groups of strangers who organized to clear driveways for elderly and disabled people.
This disaster also provided an opportunity to learn some lessons, including that you shouldn’t dump milk in waterways.
A thistle to college students who are disregarding advice from public health experts. To reduce spread of the novel coronavirus, we all need to wear masks, maintain physical distance and avoid large gatherings.
Many schools have spent much time and money reconfiguring classes, testing students, distributing masks and taking other measures to create a safer environment. Yet step off campus, and you see students packing into bars, chumming it up in restaurants and breathing all over each other.
Dick Haws, a retired journalism professor from Iowa State University, summed up recent goings-on in Ames in an op-ed.
“Welch was packed. Hundreds of students, out on the sidewalks, out on the front lawns, out in the street; in some places, sitting in chairs or milling aimlessly or running around and hugging each other because they hadn’t seen each other since last school year,” he wrote.
These students seem oblivious to the needless deaths and illnesses in this state and country directly caused by a very contagious virus.
A rose to the League of Women Voters Metropolitan Des Moines for turning a food truck into a voter-registration-mobile. Chairperson Christie Gerken wanted to make registering to vote and obtaining an absentee ballot request form as easy as possible, and the league is teaming with other organizations to reach communities with low voter registration numbers. Also, a rose to Des Moines University for also providing free wellness care on site. What a great way to celebrate August’s 100th anniversary of women winning the right to vote.
This article originally appeared on Des Moines Register: Getting on a bicycle? Then protect your noggin with a helmet