Making a statement vs playing safe
For just about every tragic happening, the public hindsight offers a lot of views on what victims should've done. While most of these views border victim blaming, the post factum debate pits against each other people whose views have something in common: they are all right.
Of course, there's no universal right or wrong here, they are right within the individual array of personal values, amounting to answering the question: what do you value?
Here are some situations:
- You're about to cross the road at a crossing, with pedestrian green light.
-> safe view: you are a pedestrian, you should always give way to cars. Being legally in your right to cross doesn't prevent you from getting hurt.
-> statement view: cars should obey the driving code, they should stop. If I stop to give way, drivers will get used to this and will informally treat all lights as an invitation to cross knowing pedestrians got used to giving way anyway.
- Should you wear a helmet while biking?
-> safe view: it's a sporting activity performed while exposed to severe risks, so you should always wear a helmet to minimise risks to head/brain injury (see reputable medical study published in peer-reviewed publication, risks are reduce by 85% overall to 88% for brain injury specifically). The view that drivers change behaviour based on bikers wearing helmets is an informal study that wasn't even accepted in a peer reviewed publication, relevance based on methodology is questionable and despite being quoted as a Bath University study, the university never backed it. Hell, drivers should also wear helmets! Accidents do happen.
-> statement view: biking is an alternative method of public transit in many cities. None of the other participants in public transit are even recommended to wear helmets despite having greater number of injuries per number of participants (pedestrians and drivers), even though pedestrians account for the highest number of serious injuries in traffic. Sure, helmets do reduce risks of brain injury if you get in an accident, but the point here is to promote safe biking so as to not be accident victims in the first place.