helmet or no helmet?Posted: July 28, 2013
I’ve been reading a lot of discussion lately about helmet use in Bike Shares. Most of them encourage or require helmet use. And predictably, most people who use bike shares (up to 80%) don’t wear them:
“There’s been a lot of back and forth about this,” Fischer tells Shots. “Wearing a helmet is a good idea because if I’m going to fall off my bike and strike my head, I’d rather have a helmet than not.” But it’s not clear that the lack of a helmet should completely deter somebody from biking. “We want to increase people’s ability to get exercise and do things that are environmentally sound,” Fischer says.
That dilemma is one reason mandatory-helmet laws are so rare. No state requires adults to wear them, and only 21 states require them for younger riders. In Washington, D.C., they’re required for anyone under 16. The argument goes that requiring a helmet doesn’t increase helmet usage so much as decrease bike riding. And studies have shown that the more bikers a city has, the safer biking in that city becomes.
Do you wear a helmet? What are your reasons? If not, why? If a Bike Share program requires helmet use do you think it discourages ridership?
I am an obsessive helmet wearer. Two years ago I had an accident and I landed hard enough on my head and face that I was knocked unconscious. I woke up surrounded by cyclists and paramedics. Two years later I still don’t know what happened but it appears I braked hard to avoid something in the trail, and I most likely flipped over my handlebars. The doctors said my helmet saved me from brain damage or death.
As you might imagine I always wear a helmet and I encourage others to wear helmets as well. It doesn’t detract from the sheer fun I have while riding. But others see helmet requirements and laws as an impediment to the sheer fun of riding a bicycle. What do you think?