Essay topics: The following appeared in a health newsletter.
"A ten-year nationwide study of the effectiveness of wearing a helmet while bicycling indicates that ten years ago, approximately 35 percent of all bicyclists reported wearing helmets, whereas today that number is nearly 80 percent. Another study, however, suggests that during the same ten-year period, the number of bicycle-related accidents has increased 200 percent. These results demonstrate that bicyclists feel safer because they are wearing helmets, and they take more risks as a result. Thus, to reduce the number of serious injuries from bicycle accidents, the government should concentrate more on educating people about bicycle safety and less on encouraging or requiring bicyclists to wear helmets."
Write a response in which you examine the stated and/or unstated assumptions of the argument. Be sure to explain how the argument depends on these assumptions and what the implications are for the argument if the assumptions prove unwarranted.
In the aforementioned argument, the author argues that bicycle related accident have risen due to confidence developed in bicyclist by wearing helmet. Also, author concludes bicylce related accident will reduce if government focuses on education related to bicycle saftey than wearing helmets. Although the author may seem persuasive at first, it fails to mention several key factors, on the basis of which the argument and conclusion made could be evaluated.
Firstly, increase in bicycle related accidents might be due to increase in traffic over peroid of 10 years not due to confidence gained by wearing helmet. For one thing, as it is likley to increase number of bicycle and other vehicles on road as it is given 80 percent bicyclist now wear helmet which was only 35 percent five years ago. For another thing, the road condition might be same without improvment since 10 years ago. If it was mentioned facilites for bicyclist were improved, it can be concluded that 200 percent increase in accident is solely due to bicyclist and not due to other several factors.
Furthermore, author mentioned bicyclist in figure of percent which doesn't reveal real figures infront of us. As, 35 percent 10 years ago might be 350 out of 1000 and now number of bicyclist reduced to 500, its 80 percent would be only 400. So, it can be viewed that there is negligible increase in bicyclist wearing helmet which could have aggravated accidents by more than 200 percent. It is possible that, bicyclist aren't wearing helmet properly which could have increase accidents.
Morever, to reduce bicycle related mishaps, it is better to establish separate bicycle lane that could curtail the increasing accients. Author recommendations that governemnt should focus more on bicycle safety than on wearing helmets can further aggrandize the problem of incidents rather than curbing it. One question that evoked me is " Doesn't bicycle safety include wearing helmets ?"
In summary, the given argument fails short in many aspects. The argument did start with sound premise. However, it lacked the necessary evidences to strengthen that premise. For instance, is the argument included the situation of road 10 years ago and now, it would be easier to reach conclusion made by author. Also, it misses the exact numers by taking help on figures of percentage. Is these were mentioned, the author thought process in progressing from the premise to the stated conclusion would not have been so abrupt.Further the inclusion of what it includes in bicycle safety would have helped the author derive home his point in a far more convincing manner and establish his position without a shred of doubt. But in absence of these, the argument remanins flawed.
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