To Wear a Helmet or Not to Wear a Helmet, that is the fashion (and safety) question

I ALWAYS wear a helmet. I have ALWAYS ALWAYS worn a helmet. My mother got a head injury once standing over her bike without a helmet when a dog ran into her, and she toppled over on her head. My whole family suffered for years from her injury. She was not, however, in motion at the time.

It's true that wearing a helmet flattens your hair. It also can look dorky. On the other hand, I once knew this really cool guy who wore his helmet all the time. We were sitting at a cafe for hours, and he never took it off. That said, I was compelled by this research that scientifically proves that helmets do NOT make you safer.

From Velo Mondial:
The active promotion of helmet use by cyclists is a fiercely controversial and often emotional subject, with views put forward with great conviction both for helmets and sceptical of their value. Controversy is particularly acute with regard to mandatory helmet laws. But the heart of the matter is: Less cycling increases risk for those who do cycle: Safety comes in numbers! It is also logic to wear a helmet if you are a child or a speed cyclist. Helmets do not help when in collision with cars; the difference in speed between car and cyclist or pedestrian cannot be compensated by a helmet. Helmets can even suggest to car drivers that the cyclists are safe. Then they are better off without. Read more at the Bicycle Helmet Research Foundation.


Charlotte said...

Is there a compelling argument against wearing a helmet, other than cars thinking your some kind of cycling pro and a reluctance to helmet hair? I understand it's controversial as to whether a helmet actually helps, but my position has been that it does no real harm. I'd feel really stupid if I were in an accident and I didn't have a helmet.

As for the perception of cars, a fluttering skirt will counteract the effect of helmet - now that it's spring I can test in trousers and skirts and cars are much more chivalrous to a skirt.

Kristin Tieche said...

Hi Chic - Totally agree with you. I just purchased a new stylish helmet from Nutcase. So now, no one will think I'm just a cycling pro, but an uber-chic velo vogueuse.

The only other arguments against helmet wearing, that I can think of, would be that requiring a helmet might deter people from riding a bike versus other forms of transportation, and makes cycling appear more dangerous than walking or driving or taking public transportation.

I will defer to Lilia's opinion on this issue since she's the transportation expert.

Anonymous said...


Among other things, a study which found that cars give a wider berth to cyclists without helmets.

Kristin Tieche said...

Great article, thanks for sharing! I especially like the wearing a wig with helmet part!