We’ve profiled Matthew Modine many times here on the razz for his pro-biking initiatives and efforts. Since relocating to NYC in the 80s, the actor has used a bike as his primary transportation; finding no need to compete with the multitude of cars filling the streets.
There’s an interesting quirk, however, to Modine’s love of biking — he doesn’t wear a helmet. In a new interview with New York Magazine, the 50-year-old says he doesn’t wear one, because he doesn’t assume he’s going to get hurt. Right — because I wear a seatbelt with every intention of getting in an accident. From the article,
“I get shit for that a lot of times,” he says—not least from the League of American Bicyclists. Modine says they wouldn’t link to a short film he had made for his Bicycle for a Day website because he’s not helmeted. “Should we wear helmets when we walk down the sidewalk?” Then his logic gets really shaky: “I think that people that wear helmets, cars are a little more aggressive with them.” He mentions the late Natasha Richardson, who died in March after a skiing accident: “She was a great friend of mine. She barely banged her head and it cost her her life.” Yes, and she wasn’t wearing a helmet. Doesn’t that give him pause? “I think it gave us all pause. Think how many times you’ve banged your head in your lifetime.”
Part of me can understand where Modine is coming from — growing up, I never had a helmet either while biking. It takes a bit of a transition period to getting in the habit of wearing one, but I value my head too much not to. It just doesn’t seem worth it to fly around the chaotic streets of NYC without one. How about you? Are you helmet — or old school?
[UPDATE: For another take on the bike helmet debate -- check out Copenhagenize's well-written article. And for the record, I do not own a pitchfork.]