Letter: Cruise-a-Thong isn’t safe | PostIndependent.com

Letter: Cruise-a-Thong isn’t safe

While standing in my driveway last year, I could hear the hoots of laughter as participants rode by having a great time in the Cruise-a-Thong. I could also hear the “oh no’s” and “whoa, this is a big downhill” as they went careening down the narrow sidewalk too fast for conditions. What disturbed me most wasn’t what I could hear but what I could see. I could see that more than half the participants did not have helmets on. In fact folks had flowing capes, hats with ribbons, sandals and bare feet.

When I wrote to the event organizers, they told me helmets were encouraged. “Encouraged” is not the same as required. When you organize an event you owe it to everyone to create as safe an environment as is possible. Riding a bike without a helmet and with dangling clothing is not safe.

Along the same lines, how can an event in good conscience have people “race” in the rivers without requiring life jackets? Common sense alone dictates that safety measure. The event organizers said life jackets were “encouraged,” not mandatory.

When you live and recreate on the rivers, you must have respect for the dangers as well as the enjoyment. I would never encourage a loved one of mine to raft, kayak, inner tube, fish, ducky paddle or SUP without a life jacket. I understand that accidents happen — that is why they are called accidents. To blatantly not try to prevent an accident in a public event is unconscionable.

We have an obligation to be good stewards of the rivers and that includes helping those new to the rivers become familiar with water safety issues. Every year neighbors in our communities loose loved ones to drownings. To encourage folks to use barely seaworthy floatables without life jackets is not good river mentoring.

What a person does on their own time is one thing. But to have a public event without mandatory helmets and life jackets such as promoted by the Cruise-a-Thong and their sponsors is simply not acceptable in my book. Have fun, but be safe.

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