I am a fan of bicycling, specifically road cycling. I really enjoy it and when I decided to pick up road cycling a few years back, I thought about the dangers of transitioning from trails to the street. I never gave it a second thought, but figured that a helmet was no longer optional, but something that was completely required for my personal safety.
I just watched a very compelling TED Video from bicycling advocate Mikael Colville that suggests otherwise. In fact, he is so anti-bike helmets he says your potential for harm is greater while wearing a bike helmet! Surprisingly there are a lot of people out there and some very compelling statistics that makes one stop and think, that you might be better off without a bike helmet!
Some of the stats on Bike Helmets:
- Scientists are split. 50% are pro helmet, 50% are against them. If helmets were a vaccine or drug, the FDA or local governments wouldn’t approve their use.
- In a cycling accident (not involving a car), you have a greater risk of brain injury while wearing a helmet.
- Countries with the greatest helmet use have the greatest number of head injuries!
- You actually have a 14% greater chance of getting into an accident while wearing a helmet.
- Bike Helmets are only tested and certified for direct impacts to the crown of the head at 12 mph. (Most road cyclists average 17-25 mph).
- Bike helmets are not tested for side or rear impacts.
- Pedestrians are more likely to sustain head injuries from a fall than cyclists, yet they are not required to wear helmets.
- Helmets do not prevent accidents from happening.
- Since helmets became popular in 1990′s, head injuries from bike accidents are up 51%!
- 85% of head injuries are NOT preventable by wearing a helmet. NYT discusses what the industry would have you think.
- Distracted and Road-Raged drivers are a huge reason for bike/automotive crashes. (I’ve been yelled at personally by a lunatic driver while observing the rules of the road and staying in the bike-lane).
- Safety elements aside: Helmets are a big fashion and comfort faux pas preventing millions of people from riding more bikes and leaving their cars at home.
Why have we as a cycling community come to accept that bike helmets are a necessary safety item when there is so much to be said against them? Wow, this is an interesting topic that deserves a lot more thought and research before the Spring thaw in Wisconsin.
What do you think?
This is something you should know.
@whatUSK on Twitter.