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.


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Great article and indeed heroic looking photo sporting the dress AND helmet! I am a fan of both while bike riding. I can't do any riding for at least a few more days (maybe a week!?!?) after a recent crash, rendering my hip & groin useless (exaggeration, as I can still walk- just with a lot of pain that will take time to heal), on the train tracks. Knocked my noggin' pretty good, too, but the helmet took the brunt of it. Happy to have spent the $55 and will gladly fork it over again very soon as I prep for getting back in the saddle.  

I only wear a helmet when racing. Other than that it's a hat if it's chilly or nothing at all. I find that I actually ride more safely and like less of a jackass if I'm not wearing one. I'll admit though, that I stopped wearing mine after I broke it when I got hit by a car.

i disagree. biking is a very dangerous activity.

i think that people sometimes forgot how easily you can fall and hurt yourself severely .. you don't need to be going fast. one fall, the wrong way, and you can crack your head open and be dead. it's serious shit. 

in 2003, an old lady pulled out in front of me while i was on my motorcycle in broad day light and i hit her head on going about 30 mph ... i was not wearing a helmet. i landed on a curb, head first. the 700 pound bike flipped over the car and landed on me. i woke up in the hospital. the emt's and doctors said it that there was no way i should have survived it .. no way the curb shouldn't have mushed my head like a Gallagher melon... i walked out of the hospital that evening, ultimately unharmed .. just a few bruises and a bottle of vicodin. 

you can be very lucky ... or unlucky. i don't think it's wise to chance it. i always wear my knoggin' protector. 

Walking is a very dangerous activity.   A ped gets killed by a car just about every week in this city.

Maybe all peds should be wearing helmets too.    Chicago is not Copenhagen.  Everyone wear a helmet 24/7.

Your examples and statements are, as usual, apples and oranges comparisons which completely distort the whole issue. 

Yes, walking is dangerous but then again so is leaving your house so if we follow your logic to be safe we need to never go out again, avoid showers because accidents happen there often and disconnect the utilities because we can die in a gas explosion or get electrocuted... 

These are all very logical paths if you want to take things to an extreme but pretty silly when it comes to living a practical life.  A practical life is all about risk assessment and taking reasonable precautions when it comes to protecting yourself to the point that you feel comfortable with the level of risk.


The cycling/walking comparison is completely invalid, and a bit ignorant, because it is a simple matter of scale; more people die walking than biking because more people are walking than are biking.  If you want that number to mean anything you need to look at percentages.  Now, I don't have that info, and I don't even know where to look for it, but I do know this: I have had far worse, and more numerous, incidents where I was at risk of bodily injury riding a bike than walking and I would be willing to bet that applies to most people on this forum or in bikes in general.  I choose to wear a helmet when I ride and not when I walk because I believe the risk of a severe head injury, something I consider very dangerous to my well being, happening to me while cycling to be much greater than if I were walking.  I do not choose to wear pads on my knees and elbows because while I see there is an increased risk I do not feel they have as much of a chance or ruining my life or leaving me dead or mentally compromised. 

Helmet use is a choice people arrive at because they do their own personal risk assessment and make a personal choice.  There is nothing wrong with either choice in the big picture no matter what you think personally is right for you.

Of course the real question here Jimmy is why do you have to make such a big deal out of it each time it comes up?  Why does it matter to you so much if people wear a helmet or why they wear them?

James BlackHeron said:

Walking is a very dangerous activity.   A ped gets killed by a car just about every week in this city.

Maybe all peds should be wearing helmets too.    Chicago is not Copenhagen.  Everyone wear a helmet 24/7.

Thanks duggie for your less-than-ignorant clarifications.   

I have a harder question than the original post. Why do YOU care if someone else does or does not wear a helmet?

Maybe he works for the auto companies who would like to see a helmet law so that we can say goodbye to bike sharing programs and Idot plans to put in more bike lanes.

Spencer "Thunderball" Thayer! said:

I have a harder question than the original post. Why do YOU care if someone else does or does not wear a helmet?

It's an easy question.  I care that people wear helmets because I don't want to see anyone I know the victim of a severe head injury.

That said beyond saying I would prefer people, with the exception of those I dislike, wore one I am not one to preach about it beyond giving some examples of why I think they are important.

Spencer "Thunderball" Thayer! said:

I have a harder question than the original post. Why do YOU care if someone else does or does not wear a helmet?

Oy Vey with this thread!!... The guy already wrote his article and sold his soap. He's already been to the bank.

RedEye: Here are some more soap-selling topics.... Got a horn?... Got mirrors?.. Got a helmet AND headphones jammin'?!?... I'd like to know why? SOOOoooo risky!!!

What else do we market with fear and arbitrary humanitaran concern? Oh... I dunno... Our wars? Our professional wrestling play-partisan-for-profit politician/shills of Wall Street? Maybelline?.. Ummm... Yeah... How about almost EVerything?

Simian brethren! There's an unknown rustling in the underbrush!!.. Grab a loaf!... prepare to fling!

Be afraid. Be very afraid. Or?.. Go buy something and be not afraid. Done and done.

Dave Duerson wore a friggin' helmet. I forget... How'd that work out?

Safety first!

OMG fixies have NO BRAKES!!!!!@@!!at!!AT-AT!!

I've been told it isn't classy to make fun of the words (mis)used by sub-literate people. -as fun as it can be to poke fun of people who are clearly deficient in their written language skills.

In my personal point of view how one communicates is a projection of the thought processes that are going on within their own minds.  

When reading the virtual online chicken-scratches of some of the folks who believe their opinion counts, but can't seem to chase together a half-dozen words in written English without making serious spelling and grammar errors, I have to wonder just what sort of deficient thinking is going on behind those furrowed brows.  What shrewd thinking is clicking away, deep down,  as they peck haphazardly at their their computer keyboards while attempting to communicate in a sub-optimal fashion with others in cyber-space. 

Jeff Schneider said:

Breaks is how we spell it hear.  You must be from some were else.

James BlackHeron said:

OMG fixies have NO BRAKES!!!!!@@!!at!!AT-AT!!


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