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An Apology: On Bikers, Helmets & Jeremy Choate

We recently posted an item discussing the fact that lighting designer Jeremy Choate was not wearing a helmet when he was hit by a car and killed while riding a motorcycle. We also argued that if he had been wearing a helmet, he might have survived, and so he did, in part, contribute to his death.

Many of you -- even those agreeing that wearing a helmet is important -- thought we were insensitive both in timing and tone. For that I apologize and agree we could have done better, as do the writer of the piece and his immediate editor.

But please understand that the intent of raising this issue was precisely because it was very much in everyone's mind and that the loss of such a talent as Choate was particularly sad. And if we were stating the obvious -- helmets make a motorcycle ride a bit safer -- then it is something obvious that a lot of people choose to ignore.

We could have said nothing about the missing helmet, other than to note that Choate was not wearing one and let readers draw their own conclusions. We chose not to do that. I believe that we should be able to write about helmet safety and bring it home in a way that matters to people.

But in perfect hindsight, we should have waited to raise this discussion at some later time. There is no way of knowing whether Choate would have survived his injuries, helmet or not. It is a question that can probably never be answered.

Again, we apologize for bringing additional pain to people already grieving for the loss of a friend and loved one.

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