Helmets Kill

Calm Down….Calm Down…I know this is like the singular most contentious issue in cycling…styrofoam hats or no?….honestly I have two and I advocate them for crazy stunts or children (rather, any newer cyclists) but I have developed a very short fuse for people with wild misconceptions and little knowledge when it comes to any issue let alone helmet usage.  I mean 40,000 people are dying annually from auto related deaths and we get pissed and in a huffy about not wearing a helmet? For realz? I think not….here’s a little graphic for you non-believers:

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10 thoughts on “Helmets Kill

  1. Can’t argue with that. This issue for whatever reason does seem to trigger knee-jerk reactions across the board when, like most polarizing issues, this one has lots and lots of gray area.

    Not that you asked, but in case anyone cares, here’s my position: A helmet isn’t going to prevent an accident, but it can spare you some serious head and neck injuries if you do crash. When I crashed hard 2 weeks ago today and effed up a bunch of ligaments in my shoulder, my head also hit the ground super hard, and thanks to my helmet my head and neck are fine. Granted, I was riding recklessly fast and was asking for a crash. Still, we can ride as slowly or as carefully as we’d like, but if we’re going to share the road with cars, then there’s always the reasonable possibility car-bike collision, and the car will win every time.

    I’m pro-helmet for my own little world, but I’m pro-choice for the rest of you. I like to make evidence-based decisions whenever possible, and the evidence suggests that my $40 helmet spared me a head injury, $$$+ in medical bills, more time off the bike than I’m already facing, and who knows what other complications.

    I know, I’ve gone and done it now — the can of worms is officially open. Maybe now is the time to reiterate that I’m only sharing my own little story, not telling anyone else to wear a helmet. (Sorry Will!)

    1. You are right Jason, if we are sharing the roads with cars our lives are at risk. I think if anything this graphic demonstrates it’s that lack of infrastructure and subsidization/tacit encouragement of the automobile as transport in urban environs creates dangerous situations that no protective gear can prevent. I encourage helmet wearing too for those who choose them and thats me in some situations. For commuting, I think there are other areas that would require improvement to facilitate my safety before a helmet made me feel safer in the end.

  2. P.S. This chart is ignoring some important data. Everyone knows there are no rednecks driving pickup trucks with ranchero mirrors in Europe. B.S.

  3. There are endless arguments for why you should where a helmet but I can’t think of one reason not to?

    1. Mainly because it discourages others not to ride from what I have seen and my position is we need improved infrastructure before cycling for transport “feels” safer for people….people can choose to wear them or not. Here is some liberal bias references for ya!

  4. I think the statistics support the fact that proper cycling infrastructure makes cycling safe for people. I would not wear a helmet if I had a bike path separate from cars, but when cars are speeding down Huguenot Road at 45mph+, my heart rate increases every time an SUV goes by or someone doesn’t give me room. I know a styrofoam hat does not make me invincible, but it might provide some protection from major head injury.

    Now, when my 5 year old speeds through the neighborhood streets, he definitely wears one because he is reckless and not that visible to cars due to his size. He could fall off or crash into a ditch. But he sure has fun.

    1. Huguenot Road is pretty scary…do you know if there are any plans in the works to improve the area for bikes when they build the new bridge?

  5. I don’t know about that because that is in the city. I live in the county and I know that on Huguenot Road from Robious to Forest Hill “bicycle facilities have been planned” according to the Richmond Area Metropolitan Planning Organization. I have a map of regional bicycle facilities which indicates that also, so I’m thinking that a bike lane has been approved and they are just waiting for funding to build it.

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