To Scott Moninger: You are a champion, you have always been a champion,and this decision just proves even “clean” champions can get screwed. Howmuch proof do you have to present and demonstrate your absolute innocence?How ironic that someone who has always strongly supported drug testingand USADA should be the one who is shafted by the very organization hehas championed (see “Moningergets one-year suspension.”)
Keep your head high; you have been wronged, and those of us who followcycling know it. We want to see you back on the course.
Yay, UCI; boo, USADA
Mandatory helmets for all riders makes sense (see “UCIwill make helmets mandatory“). It is my sincere wish that the professionalranks of the sport will embrace this rule change with a positive attitude.The worst that will happen is that their heads will get a little bit hotter,which is a quality that makes for more aggressive racing!
As for Scott Moninger, I am disappointed that his suspension was notreduced to “time served.” He has shown that the supplement was tainted,that he did not knowingly nor regularly ingest it, and that it had littleor no effect on his performance. This was (largely) at his own expense,too. The man has suffered enough.
Pros are role models for kids
Yeah, cycling is an inherently dangerous sport, and I agree with racerswho don’t want to use helmets – if they’re willing to assume the risk,more power to them. It’s a free world.
But then again, such cyclists are the elite of the elite, and as such,they’re role models to those younger than them. I’m wondering what sortof message might be given to aspiring kiddie cyclists who watch their heroeson TV in the Giro d’Italia or in the Tour de France, if they cycle withouthelmets. The peloton might be like parents who smoke in front of theirchildren while telling them, “Don’t smoke, it’s bad for you.”
You could argue the case for and against mandatory helmet use, and I’msure both sides could present convincing arguments. But I’d ask that youconsider that elite cyclists are role models, and that as such, they mighthave a moral obligation to set an example for the kids. Or, at least, untilthe kids gain sufficient riding ability to decide for themselves whetherthey should wear helmets!
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Require full-face lids and armor
It is about time that the UCI made helmets mandatory. I also believethat the UCI needs to make full-face helmets and body armor mandatory forall mountain-bike riders, including cross country and downhill riders.It is my understanding that helmets and armor presently are only recommended.Recommended is not good enough. Mandatory is the answer.
Helmets saved at least one noggin
I say, “It’s about time!” When I started racing in the mid-1970’s,I was usually the only rider in the field wearing a hard helmet (Bell’sfirst bike helmet) and sunglasses. I can truthfully say that a helmet hassaved my noggin more than once, even in an altercation with an automobile.
Hurt your brain and you’ve had it
Thank you, UCI! I remember the peloton sitting on the start line inthe early 1990s and protesting the UCI’s first stab at making helmets mandatory.All I could think was, “What a bunch of crybabies.”
I, too, was resistant to wearing a helmet when the USCF decided tomake helmets mandatory. At the time the helmets available were very heavyand truly uncomfortable. But today’s helmets are light and you hardly noticethem.
I am a physical-therapist assistant working with people who have sustainedhead injuries, and all I can say is this: Your brain does not heal itselflike the rest of your body. Yes, you do get some “recovery,” but anyonethinking that they’ll be OK should take a tour of my workplace. We havepeople who cannot feed or bathe themselves, walk or talk. They will neverbe all right. All I do is help them cope with whatever they have left andlearn to deal with the very different lives they have now.
I have seen severe head injuries in people who were riding their bikesat less than 5 mph. It is rare to see a cyclist with a severe head injurywho was actually wearing a helmet (I’ve never seen one).
We think we’re all so tough, and we can bounce back from anything,and in most cases that might be correct – but if you injure your brain,you will not bounce back and you will not be all right.
Penalize the bare-headed
“The rules for this initiative (penalties, loss of UCI points) arecurrently being studied,” the UCI said in a statement. I like this. Mandatoryuse of helmets is great. Hopefully, it will prevent the loss of anotherprofessional rider to head injuries. And the UCI understands that not allriders will go along with this at first. Fine, give them a penalty likethey do Mario Cipollini for not wearing team clothing.
No helmet? No-brainer
The only rule the UCI needs to establish is, “No helmet, no start.”None of this nonsense about penalties or point deductions.
Live long and prosper
I’m glad the UCI has mandated helmets for pros. It took long enough.Now pros will live longer and healthier lives, and even more important,their many imitators will also.
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Let’s hope amateurs emulate pros
Kudos to the UCI – not known for their expediency on controversialissues – for passing the helmet law so quickly after the Kivilev tragedy.
Much has been said on velonews.com about the merits of such a requirement,but I am most excited about what it might do for helmet usage among amateurand recreational cyclists. With amateurs worldwide trying to emulate theirheroes, let’s hope that everyone takes after the professional peloton andstraps on a helmet for every ride.
While the UCI’s decision will almost certainly save the lives of professionalriders in the future, let’s hope it saves countless more amateurs who arefaced with not only fast riding, but often traffic and other obstaclesmore likely to cause a fatal crash.
Wear that lid for friends and family
Personally, I’ve never been one for ultimatums. Helmets, however, area different story.
For years, I never thought of wearing a helmet. Way back when, whileriding my mid-1980’s Guerciotti, I wore on my head only a matching capwhich must have looked so cool (I thought so, anyway). Then, around 1990,a road-racing acquaintance of mine made the passing remark, “Well, y’know,you only have to fall once and then you’ll never again have to worry aboutwearing a helmet.”
Thirteen years later, his advice still stands. Wear your helmet. Yourfriends and family will love you for it.
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Looking forward to the trickle-down effect
Now the intense developments in helmet technology that will be calledfor from the superstars will trickle down to us local heroes!
Helmet ruling has silver lining
It’s about time! The technology is already here for decent helmets.Requiring the pro teams to wear helmets will cause the technology to advancethat much more.
Work on the straps
Perhaps with this ruling the helmet manufacturers will work to comeup with more comfortable straps since this seems to be the biggest complaintabout helmets on climbs. I can’t think of any way they could improve onthe cooling issue.
Edward K. Winkler
Yeah, and make ‘em transparent so your tan isn’t marred by thoseunsightly white stripes. – Editor
Some brains aren’t worth saving
So, I guess I won’t be seeing the local Euro-imitators riding aroundwith the latest do-rag anymore? I always thought if you didn’t think youneeded a helmet, your brain wasn’t worth saving in the ER anyway.
Salt Lake City, UT
Unplug the radios, too
Safety-wise, it’s pretty tough to argue against helmets. But cyclingwill have lost something as all riders will look alike behind their sunglassesand under their helmets. You’ll need the start list with the numbers onit to tell one from another.
While they’re changing rules, why not do away with rider radio communications?Without a director or team leader yelling in their ears, riders might bebetter able to concentrate on controlling their bicycles and avoid crasheslike the one that killed Casartelli or Kivilev.
Sioux City, IA
Helmets save lives, period
It’s about time the UCI has made it mandatory that pro cyclists wearhelmets. Let them cry, let them bitch but the fact of the matter is thathelmets work, helmets save lives. I know this for a fact. Three years agoI was in a serious mountain-bike accident that destroyed the entire frontend of the helmet. If I hadn’t been wearing a helmet, and I hadn’t beenkilled outright, I would be writing this with a pencil held between myteeth, one key at a time.
With any luck there won’t be the need to report the sad news of anotherdeath of a cyclist.
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