Opinion » Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor for the week of April 11th

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CN puts safety first

CN applauds Tourism Whistler for removing an online profile recommending walking on or alongside the train tracks to access the Train Wreck site.

CN certainly appreciates the benefits of recreational trails. However, the risk to public safety as a result of trespassing across our right-of-way is an inevitable result of bringing the public closer to the rail track.

Our police force take the matter of trespassing very seriously and try to use education first, but enforcement is also a tool at their disposal to ensure that people are safe and stay away from railway property.

The number of rail trespassing incidents is rising and as a matter of principle, CN will not permit a situation that unnecessarily invites a compromise to public safety. Our hope is that by providing this information, the community understands why CN cannot condone any encouragement that promotes the public's use of the rail right-of-way to access hiking trails.

Safety is CN's number one priority and our policy of not allowing trails within the rail right- of-way is in-line with our commitment to safety. CN will be erecting additional "private property/no trespassing" signage in the area.

CN Police will also be monitoring the area to educate the public of the dangers of trespassing helping to ensure public safety and will also be stepping up enforcement.

Michael A. Cory, Senior Vice-President

Western Region, CN Rail

Helmets not the answer to concussion prevention

While no good scientific evidence exists (nor has it ever existed) that demonstrates helmet use can reduce the risk of concussion, a significant body of compelling information in the form of legal evidence exists that demonstrates beyond any reasonable doubt that helmets can cause or contribute to serious injury to the user. When any party, but especially parties with medical or scientific credentials, make unqualified recommendations for helmet use or make statements to the effect that "any helmet is better than no helmet" it is reasonable for the public to rely on the implied expertise and assume that helmets will provide  broad protection against head injuries including concussion with no associated risk. Nothing could be further from the truth.

At one time there were 35 makers of helmets in North America. By 1985, due to successful litigation, only 5 major helmet makers were left standing. At that time the cost of obtaining insurance coverage had necessitated an increase of $30 in the price of football helmets and was threatening to put helmet makers out of business. More recently, a suit was filed against helmet maker Riddell (Maxwell v. NFL et. al. No. BC465842 - Supreme Court L.A. County - July 19, 2011)  in which it is alleged, among other things, that the helmet maker failed to warn players that its helmets would not protect against long-term head injuries and that Riddell had been aware of this since 1928.

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