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Jenny wearing her new bike helmet,  Jiangnan University,  Wuxi,  China

I must get this girl's name.  She's wearing her new bike helmet.  Jiangnan University,  Wuxi,  China

My heroes are the people who...


  ...do the smart thing before anybody  
         else realizes it's the smart thing.

The Helmet Initiative

As all of my students know by now,  I've taken it on myself to promote the use of bicycle helmets in China.  Here are a few of the highlights of this campaign.


As The Word Gets Around (Originally posted April 17, 2009)

We had a wonderful barbeque dinner on the street this evening. When we returned home we got a surprise visit from William, our old friend and Chinese teacher.  He'd been talking to his younger brother about my helmet campaign,  and his younger brother,  who is about to do some cycling around the lake here, decided he wants a helmet.  Yes! (pumps fist in air).  A young Chinese who voluntarily wears a bike helmet.  Fantastic.

William and David,  Jiangnan Universisty, Wuxi, China. William's younger brother wanted a picture of the China Daily article.

I asked William's younger brother if he would be riding with a friend,  and of course he will be.  So of course he will need two helmets.  I really should be working in retail.

Leveraging my Efforts to Promote Helmets (Originally posted March 25, 2009)

Today Edward came to see me to pick up two helmets that he has sold to other students.  He's decided to support my helmet promotion project by selling them himself.

Edward my helmet salesman.  Hope for the future of humanity.  Jiangnan University,  Wuxi,  China

What a thrill this is for me,  to have a student take up this cause on his own initiative, with no prompting from me at all.  It gives me hope for humanity.

Helmets in the News Again (Originally posted March 24, 2009)

Today one of my students,  Edward Hou in my IELTS preparation class,  presented me with a copy of Lihu Magazine,  the all-student produced Jiangnan University news magazine.  It's a slick and professional publication.  More to the point,  this issue devoted four whole pages to me and my helmet campaign.

Edward delivers Lihu Magazine,  with a four page article on my helmet campaign.  Jiangnan University,  Wuxi,  China.  Edward asked for a helmet.  I knew this guy was smart.  Jiangnan University,  Wuxi,  China.

Wow.  Thanks guys.  I really appreciate the attention and recognition.  Most of all,  I appreciate that Edward came over to my home to buy a helmet.

A Legend in His Own Mind Part 2 (Originally posted February 28, 2009)

On Wednesday of this week I was interviewed for an article in the Yangtze Evening Post,  the most popular Chinese language evening paper in Jiangsu Province.  Yesterday the article came out. It was better in the actual paper,  because that included a picture.  But at least it's here. Here's the picture that they didn't post with the online article.

Click to see the article in the Yangze Evening Post. David Scott and student with bicycle helmet,  Jiangnan University,  Wuxi,  China

It's really encouraging to see how the Chinese media is picking up on the bicycle helmet idea.  Now I think I need to talk to the doctors in China who deal with brain injuries,  and get them on board this campaign.

The Hainan Bike Rider (Originally posted February 16,  2009)

On our way back to Wuzhishan on the mountain highway of Hainan Island,  Ruth spotted a bicycle rider coming toward us.  "Hey, somebody in China wearing a helmet," she said.  "That's great." 
We're always on the lookout for Chinese bike riders who wear helmets.  We're hoping that the idea is catching on and spreading.
"He looks American or European," I said.
"No,  I think he looks Chinese."
     The next day,  getting ready to board the bus back to Sanya,  we saw him at the bus station with his bicycle.  He's a serious bike rider from Boston,  Massachusetts. He spoke excellent Mandarin, and he needed it to convince the bus driver to load his bike into the baggage compartment of the bus.


I noticed a bandage on his nose and some road rash on his face.  "Where's your helmet," I asked.
"I broke it this morning," he said.
"Wow.  Imagine what you would look like if you hadn't had the helmet."
"Yeah.  I'm a firm believer in helmets.  Probably save my life this morning."
     Somebody had removed a manhole cover, and there was grass around it that hid the open hole from view.  That's what he hit. Fortunately, he was wearing a helmet.  If he'd been a Chinese rider, without a helmet, he'd probably be one more reason why the bicycle fatalities are seven times higher here than in North America. 


A Legend in His Own Mind - The China Daily article. Our first national publicity for the helmet initiative.  This was beautiful.  A tiny picture on the front page,  directing readers to page 10,  where we had a huge picture and almost the whole page.

A Legend in His Own Mind Part 2 - The Yangtze Evening Post Article: Getting the news out to the Chinese people in the most popular evening paper in Jiangsu Province.

Student Support:

Several of my students have become quite enthusiastic about the helmet initiative,  and a few have offered to help sell and promote helmets on campus.  Here's an email I got from Merry,  slightly edited:

Dear David,

You know what, I still remember the first time I saw you (of course you didnít know me that moment). I laughed, and said: Ēhow funny!Ē I donít mean to laughed at you, I just feel surprised to see a man who is just riding a bike on a peaceful campus wearing a helmet! for me, for most students who ride to school every day, itís not necessary. first, we donít see how dangerous it is; second, we donít want to cost that much (maybe 100yuan or more?) for a useless thing; third, it will take us time to wear and it obviously may make annoy our hairstyle (itís terrible!); last but not least, it make us outstanding, and maybe we will be laughed at just like you and Ruth.

Thank goodness, I give up those stupid opinions now!
After surfing on your page and listening to you, I think I can accept it now~ and many thanks, David, you help us to find how important our head are. ye, you got it, thanks for reminding us we every one could have our own thought!


Just gotta love my students.  They are what this is all about,  after all.

Posted September 5, 2010

picture:  only the second Chinese person I've seen wearing a bike helmet in China.  Very intelligent.  Wuxi, China
This is the second Chinese person I've seen wearing a helmet.  I told him he's very smart to protect his brain.

I dropped the ball on this campaign last year, and did nothing for two terms.  But my energy has come back, and I'm excited again.  We can make this happen.  The other day Ruth and I saw two bike riders on the Jiangnan University campus wearing helmets, and they weren't riding together.  That's a first, and a start.
     I've also started to network with other interested people on the helmet issue: Here's a link to the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute, a great stateside site promoting bike helmets.  Any questions you have about whether wearing a helmet is a good idea can be answered here.  There's also a lot of information about how to campaign for helmet use, and what is happening globally on this issue.

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