What’s with all the helmet-hatin’?

Today, I read a seemingly anti-helmet statement posted via Alex Bogusky’s (@bogusky) Twitter stream that read:

The culture of fear and why we shouldn’t bike with a helmet. If we were rational we would wear helmets in our CARS. http://t.co/g3iRyKZ

It links to a blog post by Bogusky on his FearLess Revolution blog with an embedded video of Mikael Colville-Andersen’s recent TEDx talk in Copenhagen. The video is 16 minutes long, and asserts, essentially, that the bicycle helmet industrial complex and their use of fear tactics to encourage sales is directly responsible for a decline in the growth of cycling, promotes unsafe cycling behavior, and claims that cycling with a helmet is less safe than riding without a helmet.

A real conspiracy or just sartorialist helmet hatin’?

Colville-Andersen is better known as @copenhagenize on Twitter and is responsible for the popular bike culture blogs Copenhagenize and Copenhagen Cycle Chic. In his video (link in Bogusky tweet above) and related blog post, Colville-Andersen’s reference to facts and statistics seem tenuous, at best. Maybe he’s totally right and there IS a direct correlation between helmet scare tactics and reduced cycling uptake. I’d like to see some real proof of that, though. My sense is that there’s more of an anti-industry, sartorialist underpinning here than empirical evidence. I totally dig the sartorialist coverage of cycling by Colville-Andersen and others, and I do feel that our consumerist society is out of control (more on that below).

BHSI’s Response to the video

The Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute (BHSI, a part of that evil bicycle helmet industrial complex) responded with a post on their site, offering rebuttals much of what Colville-Andersen claimed. They offer some compliments for the presentation’s entertainment value, but contend that the claims Colville-Andersen are inaccurate or without merit.

Is there a conspiracy?

Yes and no. I believe there is definitely a concerted effort by those within the automobile-centric ecosystem that would prefer to see the status quo maintained. This is evidenced by recent policy statements by AAA Mid Atlantic suggesting that Highway Transportation Funds be shifted away from alternative (non-motor vehicle) transportation projects. Huffington Post covered it well in this interview between Larry Cohen and Dick Jackson, M.D., M.P.H. But, I doubt very seriously there is any conspiracy between the automotive complex and the helmet industry.

Consumerism is rampant and planned obsolescence-along with lofty claims of performance and/or safety-is as prevalent in cycling as every other aspect of our “modern” consumerist societies. Who really needs a 3D TV, or an iPhone 6XLi? I doubt, though, that the marketing, from what I see in the U.S., is something that turns people off of cycling. If there’s hard evidence of that, I’d love to see it exposed more clearly so that we can legitimately rail against it.

Can we get more dialogue on this from both sides of the argument?

Helmet lovers and helmet haters who all care about bicycling should come together and discuss what the issues really are. What’s the evidence behind the claims being made? Is there a better way to promote safety for cycling that’s holistic, beyond the basics of using a helmet, lights, and brakes? Of course there is. So let’s get together and hug this shit out. If you’re not into hugging, talking/writing is OK, too.

@bogusky, @copenhagenize, and BHSI: (Why don’t you have a Twitter account, BHSI?) Can we have an open, civil dialogue/debate that covers these issues in a factual, helpful, possibly even mind/policy-changing way? I would personally sponsor a site to host the dialogue—virtual or in person.

To all cyclists: What are your thoughts about helmets and the fear factor mentioned by @bogusky and @copenhagenize? Are you a helmet hater? Any stories to tell to support either position?



33 Comments

I personally wear a helmet now. It’s good for mounting my a light and for storing my gloves, arm warmers, balaclava, and it might just save my brain from injury some day. In my opinion there are much better scare tactics available. Just mention teens, texting, distracted driving, and I get chills.

My own take on why I wear a helmet (and don’t support helmet laws) can be found at:

http://bit.ly/9T4v22

“Maybe he’s totally right and there IS a direct correlation between helmet scare tactics and reduced cycling uptake. I’d like to see some real proof of that, though.”

Here’s some proof. An article from 2006 in the peer-reviewed British Medical Journal showing reduced cycling in places with enforced adult helmet laws. The article also shows that as helmet-wearing goes up, head injury does not fall.

British Medical Journal: No clear evidence from countries that have enforced the wearing of helmets by D L Robinson

I think he’s extending a valid point (mandatory helmet laws DO reduce cycling), applying his Eurocentric disdain for helmets and layering an overly-restrictive demand on evidence to come to faulty conclusion.

Wearing a helmet on a bike will reduce your risk of injury for ordinary riders (see this post I wrote a while back on Commute By Bike (http://www.commutebybike.com/2010/11/29/four-myths-about-helmets-and-safety for the reasons why). 

Of course, wearing a helmet while walking, or driving, or standing up too fast will also reduce your risk of injury.  It’s just that adults properly weigh the risks in these activities - risks which are either incredibly remote or mitigated by other safety devices - and choose not to wear helmets while doing them. 

And so should it be with biking.  It’s about people making responsible, adult choices.  Most people who ride regularly in the US choose to wear a helmet, accepting the modest inconvenience as the price of decreasing the risk of serious injury.  It’s their choice (and mine, BTW - see http://singlespeedseattle.com/2011/01/06/helmet-design/), and not one to turn our noses up at.

 

I get opposition to helmet laws, personal freedoms and all, but nowhere in the States where I’ve ridden is there adequate urban infrastructure for cyclists to feel safe. They have good reason to fear. In the past, I’ve not engaged or shut down helmet debates on Bike Hugger because they don’t add anything new to a divided community. With Mikael et al. beating this anti-helmet drum, thought it was time to speak up. I’ve ridden in Amsterdam without a helmet. Also Shanghai, Beijing and other cities too because I felt safe. London? Absolutely not or Seattle, LA, and elsewhere in the States. I don’t know what the stats are in Copenhagen, but I see in my newsreader daily injuries and deaths from car/bike accidents. I’ve also sat with cyclists in the hospital while they recovered from concussions and rode through blood from a cyclist’s head wound who crashed in a bike race.

As I said in my tweet on this, we’ve got this misplaced romanticization of Amsterdam and Copenhagen. We enable and encourage them to make us feel inferior to them, as if they’re not riding on streets build for horse and carriage while were a country built on highways.

Meanwhile, more than a dozen cyclist died in Florida last year and [two in the past two days](http://www.nbcmiami.com/news/local-beat/Second-Cyclist-in-2-Days-Killed-by-Car-in-Sunrise-112937384.html) in Miami. For Bogusky, who promotes his bike share program, to join with Mikael in the anti-helmet stance is irresponsible at best. That is until we’ve got an infrastructure to make cycling safe.

I respect what our Dutch and Dane bros are doing and have ridden with some of them. As I said, I ride carefree and without helmets when there. But they can join me on a ride through Seattle on Alaskan Way with Semis next to their ears, potholes at their wheels, and exposed railroad tracks with other hazards. They may have a broader perspective of this issue when they do.

While I value the conversations Colville-Andersen brings to the cycling community (and the excellent photography), most of the time the only message that sinks in is “U.S., you’re doing it all wrong and there’s no hope for you.”  Needless to say, I’m tired of that…help us out, man, instead of constantly pointing out all the ways we stray from the path of Copenhagen-style righteousness!!!

And, as a Florida resident and a resident of the 2nd most dangerous city in the nation for bikes and pedestrians, I simply MUST point out that there have been more than a dozen cycling deaths in the state last year.  Hell, we had 10 or 11 just in the Tampa Bay area!  It’s a warzone out there.

Sorry for the double post…too much coffee and not enough patience.

No problem—our comment system is slow and we’re working on that. It cause double posts.

I wear a helmet most of the time. However if I’m grinding up some steep, car-free dirt road or tooling along on a car-free bike path then yeah, I sometimes take my helmet off. It’s a calculated risk but then again I suspect the odds of being injured doing this are still substantially lower than the odds of sustaining a head injury while participating in a crit, even with a helmet. Funny thing is riding sans helmet on the Burke gets you yelled at while nobody screams at the Lance wannabe crowd at the local crit.

I would like to shatter one little myth the anti-helmet crowd like to perpetuate: the myth of personal accountability. These people claim it’s OK not to wear a helmet because they’re the only ones who pay if they get hurt. Anyone who believes this is clueless and hasn’t thought things through. Let’s look at who gets impacted should you crash without a helmet:
1) EMS/police: More cops/firefighters get killed in car crashes responding to calls than are killed by criminals or burning buildings. When you do something and get hurt these people have to put their lives at risk to come scrape your stupid carcass off the asphalt.
2) Your next of kin. If they’re lucky your not wearing a helmet will result in your death. However, that usually doesn’t happen and instead your family will have to spend the rest of their lives taking care of you because you now have the mental power of a 4 year old. How is that fair to them? On top of that they will likely be financially ruined by the cost of your care.
3) Other tax payers/insurance customers. The millions of dollars in medical care you’ll require after sustaining a serious, life altering head injury has to be paid for by someone and that’s not you.

Fact is we don’t live in little self contained bubbles. Our individual actions almost always have direct consequences on others. Not wearing a helmet while riding in traffic is just as stupid, dangerous and selfish as not wearing a seatbelt or talking on a cell phone while driving in traffic.

Video of me climbing up [Waimea canyon](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zRB-1kSAldI) with no helmet. Helmet went back on during the descent.

Helmets should be a matter of choice, I choose not to wear one, I have read a lot of the research and can find no convincing reason to wear one (but then I have a background in scientific research and a sound understanding of statistics).

What I object to is the way helmets are promoted, the risks are massively exaggerated, as are the potential benefits of wearing a helmet. The reality is that it is very unlikely to save your life if you are hit by >1.5t of metal travelling at speed, nor will it prevent you being hit. SO why the continual blaming of the victim by the pro helmet Brigade?

The use of fear marketing in this way is clearly unacceptable, and is being used by some groups with an alternative agenda, after all why are car companies and bus companies (looking for school bus contracts) so keen on promoting cycle helmets?

Wear a helmet if you want to, but if you are promoting them be honest about their limitations and your interests in promoting them.

Kim - couldn’t have put it better myself.

James Moores’ reply (and seeing others do exactly the same) is a little mystifying to me. Anything you attach to a helmet could do you no favours whatsover if you are unlucky enough to crash and bang your head.

Another thing to consider - some of the above comments refer to taking a ‘calculated risk’ when choosing to wear a helmet. None of these calculations appear to take into account the design criteria for a cycle helmet - or what Kim refers to as ‘their limitations’.

Aaahh…a helmet debate.  They are like the Sirens of the bicycling blogosphere:  try to resist commenting, but they’ll draw you in and dash you on the rocks in the end anyway.  Let me know when you get it all sorted out.

Snark aside…I have a few cents to throw in, too!

The element of every one of these “debates” that grates on me is the absence of good evidence and sound logic—on either side.  The most level-headed pro-helmet position is a personal one:  “it makes me feel safer, so I wear one.”  That’s perfectly fine, but recognize that “feeling safe” doesn’t support the conclusion of “actually safe.”  The studies trying to prove “actually safe” don’t do a very good job of it, but, rather, dance around what is the central question:  In a specific accident, would the outcomes helmeted and not-helmeted differ significantly?  That is pretty much impossible to prove, so we have to tease through the data on related topics and try to make some guesses.  But they are only guesses, and there is some data to support whatever guess you want to make.  In the absence of good data, we should allow rational adults to individually balance risk, harm, enjoyment, aesthetics, and hassle.  Scrap the legislation, however.  If the state is going to legislate personal “harm prevention” behavior (like seatbelt laws), then it better have good data to support the legislation (as they do with the preventive effects of seatbelt use).

I am pro-helmet, mostly because I believe that I have a better chance of avoiding a serious head injury if I crash on my bike while wearing one.  Secondarily, I have two young children.  I want them to wear a helmet when they ride, so they never see me ride without mine.

In the whole pro-helmet/anti helmet argument, the one point that is sometimes made that I tend to agree with is that too much focus is on the helmet, and not enough on riding in a safe manner. This leads inexperienced riders into a sense of “being safe” just because they are wearing a helmet. Unfortunately, the anti helmet faction will then extrapolate this into a “helmets are unsafe” argument.

Three of the more common anti-helmet arguments that I’ve heard go something like:

“Cyclists wearing helmets die in cycling accidents, ergo, they provide no protection against fatal accidents.”

” No one can say with any certainty that a helmet saved their life in a crash.”

“Helmets promote unsafe riding as one will take more risks with a helmet than without.”

The first argument is .... flawed.

The second argument partially (if not entirely) misses the point.

The third, seems like conjecture.

I’ve had two crashes where my helmet was destroyed, and not just a little. Can I state with any certainty that the helmets saved my life? No, I can’t say that. I can say that if my face/head had hit the pavement as hard as my helmets must have to sustain the damage that was evident, at the very least my ugly mug would have been much uglier.  Inevitably my face and head would have sustained the deep gouges and scrapes that my helmet absorbed.

I don’t believe in seat belt laws or helmet laws. Laws should be for keeping us from hurting each other because some people are inconsiderate or unintelligent.

As for hurting OURSELVES, it’s called Darwinism. If I’m only going to hurt myself, let’s do away with the laws so maybe I’ll learn to think for myself and take responsibility.

Personally, I don’t care of you wear a helmet or not. Why should I? I wear one, but that’s my own choice.  You can do whatever you want with your head. Just don’t come crying to me if your head is ever injured in an accident.

I always wear a helmet when I ride, just like I always buckle my seatbelt when I drive/ride in a car.

I’ve had 4 crashes in the 21+ years I’ve been cycling as an adult. I was wearing a helmet all 4 times.

In one crash, my head didn’t contact the ground or anything else, so the helmet wasn’t needed.

In another crash, I fell 20 feet at 15mph and landed on my head & right hand. I crushed my wrist and knocked a fist-sized chunk loose in the helmet. The helmet shell remained intact. I was knocked unconscious for about 5 minutes (according to the guys I was riding with). I sustained no other injuries. I actually ride more aggressively now than I did prior to the crash because I know where the limit is.

In two other crashes, my head did make contact with the ground, but due to the nature of the terrain in both cases, the helmet didn’t impact.  Both crashes involved me falling sideways - my MTB washed out from under me while crossing a stream & my road bike was taken out from under me by a ridge of pavement while moving from the left side of the lane to the right side of the lane. In the MTB crash, other than feeling the impact, no injury was sustained. In the road bike crash, the lens of my glasses cut into my forehead above the eyebrow, and I sheared the end off the top of the humerus.

In those two crashes, the only way a helmet would have helped would have been if it had been a full-face helmet.

Some of you may be thinking, “if your helmet only did its job in 25% of the crashes you’ve been in, why bother wearing one?” Well, I wear it because of that 25%. Maybe my next crash will be bad enough that the helmet will be needed. I’d rather wear it and not need it, than not wear it and need it.

@Josh wrote:

Most people who ride regularly in the US choose to wear a helmet, accepting the modest inconvenience as the price of decreasing the risk of serious injury.

Correct—these days surveys show somewhere around 50% of bike riders regularly where helmets. Back in the 1970s, it was closer to 0%.  In spite of claims that helmets reduce the risk of serious injury and death by up to 88%, the simple fact remains that bicycle head injury rates are essentially unchanged from 40 years ago.

@Josh continues: “It’s their choice and not one to turn our noses up at.

This is the more important issue, IMO. I often wear a helmet, but for a quick hop to the corner store a block away I’m not going to kit up and strap a helmet on. You won’t believe the nagging, insults and mocking I get from many of my peers who see me unhelmeted just for that simple trip. “What do you call a bike rider with no helmet? An organ donor, har har har.” And then there’s the self-righteous “Okay, you’re stupid, but *I* have something to protect.” :rolleyes:

I’m a live and let live kinda guy, but the crap I get from the helmet nazis for short trips is ridiculous, so I’ve made a decision to fire back at their stupidity and mock helmet use.  Yeah, it’s reactionary, but the ninnies deserve it.

Byron’s been around about as long as me in the bike blogging world—he might remember the time *I* was one of those smug helmet nazis. I took a look at the data, though, and was convinced to change my tune.

We didn’t bait this for some traffic play and I normally don’t engage this debate, but with this Eurocentric view arriving in the States, it was time to speak up. I don’t get the “study this” and “study that” and to what end? Marketing helmets with fear? Really? This is an industry that doesn’t almost nothing for safety—there is NO safety culture for a company that spends millions on athletes and then hurtles them down a mtn pass with little more than lycra between them and the pave.

I wear a helmet cause it makes me feel safer and I think it is safer. Don’t care if people do or not. My perspective is I’ve been on the scene of head-injury crashes and I’m convinced that’s my evidence and it’s not in any particular lobby’s study. It’s what I know and believe. I’ve also crashed on my head and had a helmet absorb that impact. I do not believe at all and no matter what study the helmet haters produce that helmets reduce cycling and actually cause injury. They are making that shit up and if I need to call them out on it, I will and have done so.

Bogusky is the wild card here. He’s on a mission to promote his flavor of bikeshare and thinks people shouldn’t wear helmets. That’s reckless and irresponsible.

All, our commenting system sucks. We know it, live with it, and apologize. We’re working on a change and rolling it out soon. If your comment double posts—I’ll remove it.

Sorry for the hassle and taking time to comment here. It’s appreciated.

Embracing Robert’s hug-it-out sentiment, PLEASE WEAR A HELMET. We don’t have a risk/benefit analysis here: there is no cost to wearing a helmet and a potentially devastating cost of not doing so. I don’t care if the reasons are only anecdotal or if you’re more likely to win the lottery than need Styrofoam on your head. For the price of a little helmet hair, you save yourself and your family from potential physical and financial misery. Sure, it’s not a miracle and won’t protect you from everything but so what? If a helmet makes any reduction in your odds of death or permanent brain injury, it’s worth wearing.

I saw the aftermath of an accident this spring where the rider’s helmet hit the road so hard that people thought they’d heard a gunshot. The helmet was crushed but the man’s skull was not.

The argument that a helmet makes a rider less cautious is specious: I sure don’t feel invulnerable when my face and most of my body are either fully exposed or only covered by cloth.

All,

Just did some server fine-tuning and that should helps the comments.

All:

Thanks for the comments, both for and against. I think nearly everyone understands that there are many issues on both sides of this equation. The sheer number of variables in gathering scientific data on injuries related to bicycling is mind-boggling. And the controversy that ensues is to be expected, because no one has a good resource to turn to to make educated, informed decisions where all the arguments and studies are easily compared and contrasted. Yes, I see the separate websites that are pro and anti-helmet. But they stink of poor salesmanship laden with emotion.

What I don’t like is the innuendo of evilness or wrongdoing on either side (acknowledging the passionate stances we all tend to take) without bringing forth the evidence. I dislike fear-mongering tactics to increase helmet sales as much as anyone. I don’t buy it and never have liked fear-based marketing.

I also don’t want laws dictating that people must wear helmets. Common sense and practical application of helmet usage should reign. When in Copenhagen or Amsterdam, ride like a local. When in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Seattle, or Dallas, consider what might be different about those cycling conditions. Perhaps don a helmet.

But, don’t go spewing inaccuracies or misleading information. That’s why I’m inviting people to help me with providing a neutral place for the information and dialogue to occur. I’ve yet to hear from Alex Bogusky, Mikael Colville-Andersen, the BHSI, or anyone else who want to take me up on this “challenge” for civil, transparent discourse.

I hope they chime in without adding any more inflammatory comments via Twitter or their own blogs. It’s tiring for all of us and does no one any good.

Please keep the comments coming. I’ll be setting up some formal invitations in the coming days to folks involved in the conversation to help clear the air and start a non-biased effort at disseminating factual information for cyclists everywhere.

Didn’t I recently read an article about an older gentleman that was riding home in some small town, sans helmet, who hit a curb and died?

I’ve known of three cyclists that have either crashed on their own or had a mild tangle with a car, and the two that were wearing helmets brushed themselves off and got away with scrapes. The one that didn’t wear a helmet went to the hospital.

I grew up riding bmx bikes, skateboarding, and snowboarding, and never wore a helmet (or hit my head for that matter). I choose to wear one as an adult because I appreciate the risk, much, much more.

You did and there was a tragedy at RAGBRAI where a participant clipped wheels, went off the road, landed on his head and died.

As an Australian who has used a bike all my life I can confirm that helmet laws have had a significant negative affect on cycling numbers in this country. I don’t have a peer reviewed paper in a prestigious journal to support my case; all I have are my own observations as a long time bike commuter in the same city for over 20 years. I struggle to comprehend anyone who seems to think otherwise.

Another point: I am not a helmet-hater. I have much more faith in adults being able to manage their own risk without governments or helmet advocates doing it for them. My partner chooses to wear a helmet in busy traffic and remove it on quieter bike paths; big effing deal. On the other side, helmet advocates are all about forcing their beliefs upon everyone. I find their religious zeal very bizarre and disturbing, kind of like born-again Christians grabbing you in the street and screaming at you to conform to their ways. It’s astonishing, as a cyclist with over three decades of crash-free experience, to have these Johnny-come-latelies pull up alongside me and provide a free safety lecture interspersed with obscenities. You spend a few months cycling in western Europe and come back to the intense groupthink of the safety-obsessed anglosphere - it’s bloody horrible. Stories of brains splattered on the ground, shattered helmets, etc. It’s amazing anyone ever leaves the house anymore.

My previous comments on this are clear, I’ve held people’s heads after a crash and I know without any doubt in my mind and nobody’s TEDX presentations or studies will convince me otherwise that a helmet did not save that person’s life, if not just their brain. That being said, as cyclists I don’t think any of us believe in helmet laws or yelling “helmet” at cyclists without them. The problem is for those of us that choose to wear helmets because we think they make us safer, we’ve got propagandists with their ridiculous claims. What set this post off, a topic I normally avoid, is Copenghagenize making shit up and Bogusky falling in lockstep.

If the eurobike bloggers afforded us the same respect about our choice to wear helmets, we’d have much less to argue about. I have no idea where this “fear marketing” is. I don’t see it and I spend my days blogging about bikes and the industry. The bike industry is about the fantasy of fitness, that you’ll buy a bike and ride like a pro, not smashed brains. I get PR from helmet manufactures and have never seen anything related to fear.

So I’m clear on this, I do not believe in helmet laws, but I believe in the helmet and I’ll wear one when I think the situation warrants it.  If you wear one or not, it’s up to you, but on our team rides in the States, you are no welcome without one, cause we don’t want to pick you up on the pavement.

I love to cycle. Rode my entire life, including 5 yrs commuting in London. I did all of this without a helmet. When I was 30 I moved to Australia & had to wear a helmet. This took away my enjoyment to the point where I gave up cycling for 8 years. It was only when I gained 20lbs that I took up cycling again. Anyone who says that mandatory helmet laws don’t put people off cycling are wrong. I was a very keen cyclist & was put off. How many people were turned off cycling in Australia by the MHL’s & never got back on a bike? How many now have obesity & lack of exercise related health issues as a result? The choice to wear a helmet should be a personal one, so please don’t give me the ‘cost of healthcare for those who don’t wear helmets’ as an excuse. What about the healthcare costs of a sedentary and overweight population?

While we’re not helmet law proponents, how does that work? So the law is so oppressive you won’t ride? Are their helmet patrols? Detain you? We have helmet laws here and when I don’t wear one, have not been stopped.

Any cyclist who has ever had the misfortune of having their unprotected skull come into contact with pavement knows that this is a stupid argument. 

If you want to take a risk because you don’t think a helmet looks cool, that is your prerogative, but to suggest that is safer to ride sans helmet seems foolishly absurd.

Byron, the Police in Queensland are very strict on the enforcement of MHL’s. You would be very lucky to be let off with a warning. Usually it is a $100 fine & you are told to walk the bike home. If you refuse to pay the fine it turns to a warrant for your arrest & you will face jail time. To me this seems excessive given the fact that bike riding is the most environmentally sound means of transport and all the associated health benefits that go with it.

I think people need to put the risks of not wearing a helmet into perspective. Everything that we do has some form of risk attached. Riding a horse is more risky that a bike and yet there are no mandatory helmet laws for horse riding. In Australia 10 times more people drown each yr that are killed in cycling accidents & yet we do not mandate life jackets while swimming. Lighten up people.

Gary,

Thanks for your comments about mandatory helmet laws. I don’t think anyone here is arguing in favor of forcing people to wear helmets. I feel it’s a cyclist’s choice whether or not to wear a helmet.

What I am taking issue with is the attitudes and misinformation being propagated by those who have an agenda in this argument. After watching @copenhagenize’s video and digging a little deeper, I find his reference of “facts” absolutely absurd. I can tell he’s passionate about the bicycle and how it helps society, but his statements around helmet testing, safety statistics, and conspiracy theories are pure fantasy.

While I feel for your inconvenience in being forced to wear helmets while riding, I can’t imagine that you can blame a law like that on obesity rates in a specific location your own or the population in general.

I hope @bogusky and @copenhagenize (and others who aren’t using a common sense approach to discuss the issues) will revisit some of their statements and adjust them based on facts instead of emotional conjecture. That’s the real issue here.

-Robert

I understand rebelling against “the man,” but to the detriment of your own health. I think I’d make a paper-mache hat and paint it up like a helmet at that point. Or a skid-lid at least.

Robert, I think that you can link a law to increased obesity rates. There are many studies in Australia which show that cycling rates dropped by between 31-40% (depending on which study you believe) after the introduction of the MHL’s. There is also plenty of evidence to link active transport rates to obesity rates & my personal experience would suggest that cycle commuting is the best long-term weight management system available. Therefore if a law acts as a deterrent to people making a healthy transport choice is this law really in the best interests of the nation?
Approximately 30 cyclists are killed per year in Australia as a result of accidents, 90% of which are hit by motor vehicles. I am willing to take the risk, so why should I not be given than right? There is a very good article on helmet choice here: http://members.pcug.org.au/~psvansch/crag/P26-CyclingFeature.pdf

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