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Bruce Todd: Worst Person In Austin

I'm kicking off a new category which this entry: a la Keith Olberman's "Worst Person In The World".

The inaugural worst person in Austin is:

Bruce Todd

Back when he was mayor, the city spent hundreds of thousands of dollars originally dedicated for bike lanes to build a park for residents of Circle C who not only were not residents of Austin, but actively fought attempts to annex them later on. Todd was also the primary force behind the stupid and eventually overturned all-ages bicycle helmet law here in Austin. Todd ran on a sort of half-hearted desultory environmentalist platform but proceeded to roll over every time Gary Bradley cleared his throat. Think about him the next time you swim through some algae in Barton Creek or Barton Springs Pool.

Now, he's at it again. Todd had a serious accident when he loaded his bike up in his car/truck and drove out in the country to do a gonzo ACA ride, was convinced it saved his life, and now he wants to force everybody else to wear a helmet. Despite the fact that they don't appear to work in general practice, and that the primary impact of helmet laws is to reduce cycling, this is how ex-Mayor Todd is spending his political capital: continuing to willfully make things worse for people who just want to ride their bike to work or to the store.

Despite Bruce Todd's apparent interest in cycling since leaving office, he has not made any kind of statement I can find about: driver education, cyclist education, facilities improvements, enforcing traffic laws, promotion of cycling as a healthy transportation alternative, etc. No, he hasn't made one peep except for this push on helmets. Once again: he's decided that his best contribution is to push a law which will discourage people from bicycling for transportation.

M1EK's advice is: Wear a helmet when you're paying more attention to your speed than the road, as Todd apparently was. Wear a helmet when you go mountain biking, sure. But don't bother when you're just riding in traffic - it's not going to help you in any serious collision, and it's likely to just discourage you from bicycling, at which point your health is going to suffer from the lack of exercise. Likewise, NASCAR drivers wear helmets and have other safety gear which we don't force on normal motorists driving to the grocery store.

Congratulations, Mayor Todd. You really set a high bar for future contestants for Worst Person In Austin

Update: This entry was dropped from the austin bloggers portal for being "a personal attack" (I then had to decategorize this so it didn't show up again there on future edits). I don't know any way I could write this story with the essential bits in it and make it not an attack on Bruce Todd. My cow orker blames Keith Olbermann. I blame the helmet nazis. Nevertheless, this category may have a brief lifespan if it turns out that the rejection sticks - there's no point writing these for the half-dozen people who actually subscribe.

Update: Austin group fighting the mandatory helmet law is at http://www.nohelmetlaw.org/

This entry was posted in the following categories: Bicycle Commuting , Bicycling in Austin , Republicans Hate Poor People , Republicans Hate The Environment , Texas Republicans Hate Cities , Transportation , Worst Person In Austin , metablog


People should have thicker skin regarding Todd. He's a long-time public figure that has had his share of controversey. If he enters this area with this ill-conceived idea, he should be open to some criticism.

Yes, the idea of a helmet law is absurd. Check out why at nohelmetlaw.org. We had a great rally last night with a bicycle helmet fashion show. Todd told Fox 7 TV news that we should be ashamed of ourselves for mocking helmets. We actually spent most of the time praising helmets while pointing out the flaws with the law. Public hearing on this ill-conceived idea is still on for Thursday, Aug. 24 at 6 p.m. at City Hall, even though they don't even have a draft of the ordinance change public yet!