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Helmet Head

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There was lots of chatter this week about our Outdoors Guide story on urban bicyclist Paco Marshall ["On the Road Again," August 24]—or, rather, not so much about the story itself but, instead, the picture that accompanied it, which showed Marshall riding sans helmet.

"I was shocked to see that your article on bicycling safely in the Triangle featured a photograph of your chosen safety expert—without a helmet," writes Judy Martell. "What a poor message this sends to everyone, when you had a great opportunity to influence so many. In addition, this 'safety expert' didn't even mention helmets in his advice for equipment purchases. It's the number one most important piece of equipment riders can purchase for safety."

The [subject] of your article—with no helmet—has no credibility with me, nor do the INDY editors," adds Marguerite Dingman. "In this day of concussion awareness, it is irresponsible to print an article like this without advocating the use of helmets. Pavement is hard. Life is unpredictable. Put on a helmet! That is the voice of my experience."

One more, from John Wendell: "Loved your article in this week's INDY. My son looked over my shoulder as I read and said, 'Dad, where is his helmet? You always tell me to wear mine.' We can't talk about biking safety without emulating bike safety ourselves. Please consider the impact a photo makes it speakers more than a thousand words."

Jason Jones, meanwhile, says he appreciated both our Outdoors Guide and our brief look at whether Umstead State Park will be threatened by the airport's expansion.

"Can I add in an extra pet peeve?" he writes. "All of the neighborhoods bordering Umstead have NIMBY'd their way into banning any and all parking near entrances. So now one has to either drive an extra five miles for 'lot parking' or sneak around like a lawbreaker. Come on, people, it's nature! Don't live there if you don't want hikers, walkers, and runners coming through." (For clarification: there is parking inside the park.)

Tito Craige says protecting Umstead from development should be a top priority. "As a lifelong North Carolinian, I am upset that [the airport authority's] Vision 2040 proposes to reduce the size of the best urban park in the state and one of the best in the United States. Walkers, runners, bikers, and hikers are disturbed by the shortsighted plan. The proposed quarry will destroy a beautiful part of the park and the development will remove a critical buffer. To me, this park is a place to find who you are, apart from the manic pace of the Triangle. Just this morning, I saw people of all ages in the park. They did not have to contend with the noise of a quarry or new industrial buildings. The last thing we should do is reduce the size of the park and put a noose of businesses around it. Development of Umstead Park is what we need to stop. Now. Before it is too late."

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