It’s common knowledge that wearing helmet is important when cycling. Helmets protect cyclists from head and brain injuries that they may sustain if they met cycling accidents. According to Helmets.org, the use of helmet may lower the risk of getting head injuries by around 85%. Additionally, a study which was published in the CMAJ or Canadian Medical Association Journal discovered that cyclists who do not wear a helmet have a three times greater risk of dying from head injuries than those who wear a helmet.
But why, despite the statistics presented, do some cyclists insist on not wearing helmets?
Dr. Henry Marsh, a neurosurgeon from St. George’s Hospital in London, admitted that he, himself, does not wear helmets while cycling, stating that helmets are ‘too flimsy’ and advising that there are no decrease in the number of bike injuries in countries where there are helmet laws. The neurosurgeon also brought up a research from the University of Bath which revealed that car drivers feel that cyclists are already safe when they wear helmets; hence, there’s this tendency for drivers to drive three inches closer to cyclists which may lead to road accidents.
Dr. Marsh isn’t alone in his belief that helmets are not essential to cyclists’ safety. For Michael Cavenett of the London Cycling Campaign, the reason for cycling accidents is road designs and junctions, rather than not wearing helmets.
For Mikael Colville-Andersen, cycling ambassador for Copenhagen, another non-believer in wearing helmets, the drivers are to blame for accidents and not the cyclists. He also believed that cycling without a helmet is a sign of a livable city.
Being helmet-free might increase feeling of freedom brought by cycling, but you should ask yourself if it’s really worth the risk.
This debate can go on and on, and in the end, whether or not you’d wear a helmet while cycling is always up to you.