The Chainlink

Hello All,

I'm admittedly new to the community, but Julie H. told me this group is amazingly diverse and very (hopefully) willing to offer their honest opinions on issues in the Cycling community.

Here's a little background. I'm a reporter from RedEye, and I'm looking into what seems to be a more controversial issue than most people thing: Actually wearing a helmet. I've heard from some great people on both sides, but in the interest of a balanced perspective, I would love to hear from some folks who choose NOT to wear a helmet. I've seen some people say it's a vanity/comfort issue, and others who question the effectiveness of the practice.

Whatever the case, I would be very interested to hear your opinions on the issue. I can be reached most quickly at mswasko@tribune.com. Also, if you have comments you'd like to post in the thread, I will be watching.

Thank you all very much for your help.

mick

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I wear a helmet. 

Interesting observation when my wife and I visited both Buenos Aires and Santiago this Spring.  Helmet usage was almost non-existent in those cities.  Many riders in each city.  I saw at most two riders in each city with helmets.

Hmmm...

 

About 90% of the time I wear a helmet, I have a nutcase helmet, and it is a bit better than other helmets that I have owned- still it feels a bit like I am wearing a cooler on my head.

I know that it will not protect me a 100% from head injury if I go down, but I like to have a better chance of not getting hurt if I do.

In addition, it is a pretty obnoxious helmet, I think that it helps me be more visible to distracted motorists, peds and cyclists.

I ride with a helmet 99% of the time; I never used to and I do now because no matter how slow or safe you ride some kind of random thing can happen in the blink of an eye and you will be lying in the street before you even know you had an accident.  Here are 4 reasons I wear a helmet:

1. I had a bike wreck that resulted in a broken hand, a missing tooth and a huge lump on my head.  When it happened I went from riding to lying in the street before I even knew I had an accident; there was NO time for me to react.  Had I landed different there is a good chance I would have had a pretty bad head injury.

2. I saw a friend get their bars snagged by some construction tape in the wind and they went down, fast.  They hit their head and had a concussion even with a helmet on.  Having seen their head bounce back up I have no doubt they would have been in an ambulance vs. walking away from it had there been no helmet.

3. A friend broke the windshield of a car with a helmet.  The car pulled out in front of them and there was no time to react.

4. A friend crashed on railroad tracks and busted a helmet in half.  They had to sit and rest for an hour but they rode away from that wreck; imagine what would have happened to their head if the helmet had not been there to absorb the shock.

All of these stories share one thing in common; they happened unexpectedly and with great speed.  The people involved had no time to react or avoid the accident and that kind of thing happens no matter how careful you are.

Helmets are a choice for the individual and I'm not here to tell anyone what to do but I will say this I would prefer it if people, at least the ones I like, wore helmets. 

In science the plural of anecdotal evidence is data

-oh,no...that's not right, never mind...

;)

OK, I'm going to tell the truth and be flamed!  I almost never wear a helmet.  Why?  Because I don't want to and that is my choice.  I like having personal choices.  But, just for the record, I am not an urban rider.

I also don't wear a helmet. No reason other than I don't want to wear one. I was actually asked the other day by another cyclist on why I don't wear one. I said no reason, he said well it is a nice day. It seems odd to me for some people who don't wear helmets 100% of the time to advocate for helmet use. But thats nothing for me to get cranky about. In my opinion, you should either wear one 100% or not 100% with the only execptions being trail riding, racing, or training.

Don't be obtuse on purpose just because you enjoy being contrary.

I never claimed science but in three of those four accidents it is pretty difficult to justify the position that the outcomes of those wrecks would not have been worse if the cyclist had not been wearing a helmet.  I can think of several other instances where people I know have been saved from far more severe injuries because they were wearing a helmet.

If you don't want to wear one fine but stop getting on people for passively promoting helmets because they have, or know someone who has, been saved from worse injury for wearing a helmet.  You'll never hear me insult people like a certain well known helmet advocate or preach about it but when the subject comes up all I say is I would prefer to see people I know wear them.

James BlackHeron said:

In science the plural of anecdotal evidence is data

-oh,no...that's not right, never mind...

;)

I'd love to talk with you. I'm at mswasko@tribune.com if you could send me your contact info. 

Davo said:

I also don't wear a helmet. No reason other than I don't want to wear one. I was actually asked the other day by another cyclist on why I don't wear one. I said no reason, he said well it is a nice day. It seems odd to me for some people who don't wear helmets 100% of the time to advocate for helmet use. But thats nothing for me to get cranky about. In my opinion, you should either wear one 100% or not 100% with the only execptions being trail riding, racing, or training.

There have been some really thoughtful replies here, but leave it to RedEye to pick the least nuanced post to use for their story.  I don't know why I expected anything different...

Mick Swasko said:

I'd love to talk with you. I'm at mswasko@tribune.com if you could send me your contact info. 

Davo said:

I also don't wear a helmet. No reason other than I don't want to wear one. I was actually asked the other day by another cyclist on why I don't wear one. I said no reason, he said well it is a nice day. It seems odd to me for some people who don't wear helmets 100% of the time to advocate for helmet use. But thats nothing for me to get cranky about. In my opinion, you should either wear one 100% or not 100% with the only execptions being trail riding, racing, or training.

I've replied to several people in private, as well. Anyone with comment is invited to email me, but it's tough to send quick messages because I'm not connected to a lot of people. I'm finding all the comments very helpful, honestly. 

That's funny, cause this is something you love to do here.  smh

notoriousDUG said:

Don't be obtuse on purpose just because you enjoy being contrary.

I wear a helmet because I have first hand experience of the extra protection, against head injury, they provide. I'm glad I started wearing one before I needed it.

I don't always make great decisions, but I have never regretted wearing a helmet.

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