Put A Helmet On It

As a child, you probably had this experience: you left the house to go ride your bike, and your mother (embarrassingly) called after you, “Remember to wear your helmet!” I think it would be fair to say we all thought these reminders would end when we moved away from home. Instead, you now have members of the faculty yelling after you to wear your helmet. The Dean of Students, Paul Murphy, has sent out multiple e-mails to this effect and has even included the subject of helmets in an e-mail about community expectations. In no way do I find fault with the fact that the faculty wants to keep us safe and healthy. They are our caretakers for the better part of the year, and our parents hope that they are both helping us grow as people and that they are keeping us out of the hospital. However, I do have a problem with the hypocrisy involved in the situation. Andover’s campus is big. Walking from one end to the other can often take upwards of 10 minutes, so both students and faculty make good use of their bikes, and, obviously, not all of them are wearing the proper safety gear. Some members of the faculty enforce the rules more so than others, which is to be expected, but the real problem is that not all of the faculty wear helmets themselves when riding their bikes. I don’t think it’s fair to insist that a student wear a helmet when a faculty member refuses to do the same. Yes, students and faculty are held to different standards, but in terms of safety, I think there should be the same expectations. As the ads posted around campus note, brains are priceless, regardless of age. You expect a student driver to stop at a crosswalk. Wouldn’t you expect the same of a faculty driver? Everyone on campus has to be accountable for their own safety, and be mindful of the risks they are taking whether they are riding their bikes or driving their cars. Holding students and faculty members to different safety standards is not only unfair but also dangerous. Faculty members should be setting examples for us about how we should conduct ourselves within the Andover community. Can you really expect a student to wear a helmet when riding a bike if the faculty members they look to for guidance are not wearing their helmets? Either everyone on campus who rides a bike should wear a helmet, or the faculty should stop trying to enforce this rule. It’s not right to have such a double standard, especially in a community that prides itself on equality. Natalie Kim is a three-year Upper from Newton, MA, and an Associate Copy Editor for The Phillipian.