I enjoy biking into work. It is only a mile and a half, but it is all urban biking next to and in between cars. It’s a fun way to get around town, and it feels great. I also never wear a helmet. There are looks that people give me for it, but it is a conscious decision I’ve made.
Last year I stumbled across research that showed wearing a helmet while biking does little to protect you. That individuals who wore helmets ended up in more accidents than those who did not. It’s very interesting, and counter to the cultural story we are told about bike saftey. There are two articles from earlier this year that describe the issue much better then I can. I encourage you to read them here and here (also linked to below).
A few quotes for the lazy:
If there was conclusive proof that bike helmets reduce the total number of serious head injuries compared to other normal activities, then I’d reconsider my stance. But if I’m not the kind of person who wears a helmet when I take a walk or get behind the wheel of a car, then there’s no logic to me wearing one when I’m on a bike, particularly if I’m confident in my urban bike safety ability.
Meanwhile the proof is pretty strong that vehicles give me more space when I’m biking without a helmet. In a city biking, that’s the kind of injury I’m most concerned about.
On the whole, when large numbers of people begin wearing helmets, we really don’t see a benefit in the head injury or fatality rates.
Photo Credit: Henry