Stop forcing people to wear bike helmets

Bicyclists Riding Without Helmets
Vox:

Stop forcing people to wear bike helmets.

For most bikers, this advice is anathema. The importance of wearing a helmet has been drilled into everyone since childhood. And, it’s true that, as study after study has shown, you’re better off with a helmet if you’re in an accident.

But in the world’s most popular biking cities, particularly in Europe, very few bikers wear helmets. And there are good reasons for that: biking, it turns out, isn’t an especially dangerous form of transportation in terms of head trauma.

I don’t think even motorcycle helmets should be mandatory. But if you are so colossally stupid that you choose not to protect your brain, you should have to sign a waiver that allows us to harvest your organs if you get into an accident – whether you’re still using them or not.

14 thoughts on “Stop forcing people to wear bike helmets”

  1. My mom would not still be with us if she wasn’t wearing her bike helmet. She rode into an unseen pothole, went over the handlebars and head straight into the pavement. The helmet did a wonderful job of protecting her and she’s still with us today. I certainly would advocate wearing one, regardless of a law requiring it or not.

    1. I absolutely advocate wearing them. I wore my helmet even when I rode in States where I didn’t have to. But like I said, they shouldn’t be mandatory.

  2. I’ve never quite understood the argument that not wearing a helmet while cycling is no less dangerous than when wearing one. Would I rather crack my skull off the tarmac with or without protection? hmmm let me think. That inch and a half of polystyrene may just the difference between a debilitating skull fracture and a severe headache.

    In my part of the world the majority of cycling fatalities or debilitating physical injuries are the result of crush injuries; motorized vehicles running over a fallen cyclist, or in some sad instances actually crushing them between tight moving traffic.

    Many deaths and serious injuries could be avoided with some basic awareness from both the motorized and the pedal fraternity. Motorists need to become more aware of their surroundings, they need to relearn to use their mirrors, especially the offside. The cyclists need to be more aware that they are surrounded by large chunks of metal and they should not be undertaking at speed, especially when approaching a junction; dedicated cycle lane or not. Passing should always, when at all possible, be done on the near side.

    I came to the conclusion a few years back after gaining my motorcycle license that most if not all drivers should also undertake a days worth of motorcycle training. Mirror, Signal Manouver is what is taught in our car tests. You are told you should also take a shoulder check to check your blind spot, but its never enforced and will not result in a fail.

    On the bike tests we are taught Mirror, shoulder check, signal, shoulder check, manouver. Something I have taken back to my car driving, and the number of times I’ve not manouvered because a motorbike or other car was sitting there has scared me. I am convinced that taking my motorcycle license and has made me a better and more aware car driver.

    1. “I’ve never quite understood the argument…”

      Did you read the article? 🙂

      “motorized vehicles running over a fallen cyclist”

      A helmet would like be moot in that accident.

      “Motorists need to become more aware of their surroundings, they need to relearn to use their mirrors, especially the offside. ”

      I think we should have to be retested for our drivers license every ten years. I got my license when I was *16*. What bad habits have I picked up in the decades since?

      “most if not all drivers should also undertake a days worth of motorcycle training”

      I think it should be part of the Drivers license testing.

      “I am convinced that taking my motorcycle license and has made me a better and more aware car driver.”

      Agreed. I tell folks to drive their car as if they were a motorcyclist. When I explain to them/show what I mean while driving with them, they are amazed at all the stuff a motorcyclist (at least, a good, safe one) has to pay attention to.

      1. Wearing a helmet and being involved in a crush injury is not going to save you, hence better awareness.

        Smacking your skull off of the tarmac may just.

        You said as comment that while you do not advocate compulsory wearing of protective equipment it would be monumentally stupid if you didn’t.

        Cyclists need to understand, they are in a very dangerous environment.

          1. As a biker I bet when you drive a car you take a left and right glance over your shoulder to check the blind spots.

          2. Its a very simple thing that Bikers do, that car driver tend not to do, the shoulder check.

          3. Drove me nuts whenever I was driving with The CIG and she *didn’t* do shoulder checks when changing lanes. She’d check her mirrors but….

  3. We used to have what were called Cycling Proficiency training and tests. This was a school thing. Around the age of 10/11/12 you did a morning of training in the school and an afternoon of testing.

    It was run by the local police and happened every year. They taught basics, look, signal etc.

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