Most Islanders have no time for masks or social distancing”

My friend Allan Rankin is back in the Eastern Graphic after a long hiatus. This week he writes about the devil-may-care attitude of many Islanders toward masks and distancing, echoing feelings I’ve had.

I’ve identified a condition, perhaps unique to we over 50, I call “non-compliance rage syndrome,” characterized by irrationally strong reactions to violations of the social contract: ignoring the hand sanitizer at the entrance, heading the wrong way down the grocery store aisle, riding bicycles on sidewalks, without a helmet, and so on.

The reactions are genuine and rational; the rage, inasmuch as there’s nothing we can do about it, is irrational.


David's picture
David on June 25, 2020 - 13:01 Permalink

Specific to bicycle helmets and a data point for the reaction - I largely do not wear one most of the time because I have cycled in some of the friendliest, highest uptake places in the world and they don't have helmet laws. The link between compulsory helmets and low levels of cycling culture has been proven. It's a protest against car culture.

A quote I particularly like and a summary of research:

“I understand exactly why people feel so passionately about helmets or hi-vis,” Boardman wrote. “I understand why people wish to use them. But these actions seek to deal with an effect. I want to focus the debate on the cause, and campaign for things that will really make cycling safe. That is why I won’t promote high-vis and helmets – I won’t let the debate be drawn on to a topic that isn’t even in the top 10 things that will really keep people who want to cycle safe.”

"In all countries where helmet laws have been introduced and enforced, there has been a substantial reduction in cycle use (BHRF, 1096)."