Helmets for safety, but don't stop there

Shaun Murphy's arguments against helmets ("To bicycle or not to bicycle?" April 15) miss the critical point: When you take a spill on your bike (and you will), would you rather your head hit the pavement (or the car fender or the light pole) directly or would you prefer an inch or so of foam to cushion the blow? I've done it both ways, and there's no question that doing it with a helmet is preferable for all concerned.

When British troops were issued helmets in World War I, statistics showed a greater instance of head wounds treated, leading to the mistaken conclusion that the helmets weren't helping and maybe were contributing to injuries. A closer look showed that the increase in head wounds happened because injuries that previously would have been fatal were reduced in severity. It's the same for bike helmets. Wear them.

Christopher Wright, Minnetonka

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I wear a helmet because I figure it can't hurt, but I hardly have the illusion that it is what keeps me safe on a bike. That's why I laud folks like Murphy who propose real environmental improvements to bicycling in Minneapolis.

When I talk to prospective bicyclists, the thing they cite most for keeping them off a bicycle is not having a safe and comfortable place to ride.

It's no coincidence that as bicycling becomes more popular in Minneapolis, the rate of bicyclists who are injured and killed declines. Minneapolis is a great place to bike, but we can do better with safety improvements on our busiest streets and by enticing more people to ride.

Grant Boelter, Minneapolis

Craft beer blockade is yet another blow

Is there any wonder why more and more businesses across the country, large and small, are relocating and expanding in more business-friendly, right-to-work states? Now we hear about new opposition at the Minnesota Legislature to craft beer sales on Sundays ("[N]ew opponent: The Teamsters," Jon Tevlin column, April 16). Don't expect support for the small entrepreneurial craft brewers over the Teamsters from this Legislature. Excessive taxes and public debt and overregulation of business seem the norm in Minnesota — just another log on the fire!

Mike Hohmann, Minneapolis

Endorsement process is just not representative

In response to an April 16 letter defending the Republican endorsement in the Sixth Congressional District: Fewer than 15,000 people in the entire state attended the Republican precinct caucuses in February. More than that voted in the primaries two years ago in the Sixth District alone. The letter writer reasons that those who did not participate in the endorsement process were apathetic. Apathetic people do not volunteer for their children's schools, deliver meals, coach, run ministries, vote, walk in parades, make phone calls or donate money. Do not confuse not participating in an outdated and predetermined process with being apathetic.

Look at the demographics of the delegates and you will have the truth about the engagement, effectiveness and representation of the endorsement process. Tom Emmer is going to have to actually earn this position from voters; he is not entitled to it just because 300 people have crowned him with an endorsement.

Denise Rene Hannah, Columbia Heights

The real power is in independent thinking

As pluralistic rationalists, we feel both sympathy and admiration for the escape of Lindsay Tornambe and another woman from the religious cult that trapped their families (" 'Maidens' called to God but then lived through hell," April 16). But also as plurationalists — both theists and atheists who commit to more consistently use everyday reasoning, regardless of our worldviews — we know their escape wasn't simply from a religion, but from something so insidious it traps many of us. That evil was identified by Lindsay herself: "We didn't really have a chance to think for ourselves."

Frank Burton, Minneapolis

The writer is executive director of the nonprofit organization The Circle of Reason.


Open, open, open? Don't hold your breath

I was involved in the protests against the closure of Nicollet Avenue at Lake Street in Minneapolis "back in the day." It was a stupid idea then, and it remains a stupid idea. Now I find that Kmart has a lease until 2053 ("Reopening Nicollet gets a push," April 16). I understand that the store provides employment and a reasonably priced place to shop for many lower-income residents, but at the same time it closes a vital artery to downtown. This was the problem then; it is the problem now. I foresee a long, drawn-out battle.

Judy Cooper Lyle, Minneapolis

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While a reopening of Nicollet would be a positive thing, an interesting and unintended positive resulted from its closure: The area became more and more blighted. As a result, property values dropped and buildings were bought up by immigrants, mostly Asian, who created the thriving "Eat Street" we have today. A city planner couldn't have done it better!

Charlie Meyers, Minneapolis

An April 16 letter erroneously implied that the Anoka County attorney chose not prosecute a court administrator who was under investigation for expenses charged to the state. In fact, the case was reviewed by Hennepin County in order to avoid a conflict of interest in Anoka County.