Comment 41813

By moylek (registered) - website | Posted June 10, 2010 at 09:28:20

I hesitate to start the helmet debate, but I will briefly chime in against helment nagging: helmet laws and helmet nannying have helped to turn cycling from a casual mode of transport for many to an extreme sport for the bold few. And so made cycling more dangerous than it used to be.

And the oft quoted "85% reduction in head injuries" studying was flawed and has been criticized(1), though I've never seen anything in the mainstream press.

Here is a list of things which would do far more for cyclist safety than putting a helmet on every head and they most of them are things that cyclists can do for themselves ...

  • more cyclists on the roads
  • cyclists off the sidewalks
  • cyclists obeying traffic signs and using signals
  • cyclists riding upright city bikes instead of hunched-over sport bikes (the kind Europeans still ride and we North Americans rode until the lates 1970s or so)
  • bike lanes (debatable, I know, but they get cyclists on the roads)

These things will all help to reduce the number of accidents and injuries; helmets will only help to reduce the severity of head injuries in a minority of accidents. In fact there is evidence that helmets actually increase the likelihood of an accident with a vehicle(2).

The chorus of "wear your helmet" is a distraction and a false panacea at best, and a contributing factor to the decline in cycling (and thus to cyclist safety) at worst.


Comment edited by moylek on 2010-06-10 08:46:25

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