Bike Helmets in China


Chinese word of the day:自行车头盔
(zi4 xing2 che1 tou2 kui1) bicycle head helmet

I’m seeing more and more bicycle helmets here.  For our first few years in China we didn’t see a single Chinese person wearing a helmet.  But just this year I must have seen a couple of dozen or more.

I’ve been saying for years that China will adopt the bicycle helmet, just like we did in Canada.  My theory is that we adopted it primarily because the baby boomers had kids, and we had to set a good  example. And today, while riding to Starbucks for my weekend 超大杯那提啊 (chao1 da4 bei1 na4 ti2 a1 =venti latte), we happened on this father and son at a stop light.

Picture: Father and son wear bike helmets, first time seen in China.

For years I’ve been making the same speech to students:  Some day, maybe twenty years from now, you will be out on the street with your child or your grand child, and you will see that everybody who is riding a bike is wearing a bicycle helmet.  When that day comes, I want you to remember this crazy foreigner who told you this would happen.

It’s so very strange to see my predictions coming true so quickly, and I wonder whether all those students I told this to will actually think of me when they see this kind of thing, and whether they will laugh.

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