Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Don't wear that helmet!

I know I've said we should all be biking while wearing helmets. But according to this TED talk, we shouldn't. Not only is the research surrounding helmets controversial (never thought I'd write that), but according to bicycle enthusiast Mikael Colville-Anderson, wearing helmets contributes to a culture of fear. Via TreeHugger:
He explains in this TED talk why he thinks bicycle helmets promote a culture of fear, that pedestrians and drivers have far higher rates of head injuries but nobody tells them to wear helmets, and that cycle helmets are a conspiracy by the auto makers to scare people off bikes and into cars.

Now I just don't know what to do.


  1. Wear a helmet. I have many clients who would not be here if they had gone without. You need every advantage if you go head first into the pavement. Or into a windshield. Don't you think? Prevention isn't simply a reaction to fear.
    The more bikes on the road, the safer it is for everyone. That skews helmet stats for European countries.
    A good conversation, but can he prove causation?
    We can have both - helmets and promotion of bikes. Biking defensively without being so scared we go too far.
    Wear a helmet.

  2. @Linda, I agree that wearing helmets is the right idea when biking. The TED talk does bring up some interesting points though.

  3. My aunt, an pediatric ER nurse, strongly endorses the use of helmets while biking, rollerblading, skateboarding, etc.

    She's also a fan of seat belts & carseats - I've never tried proposing to her the argument that seat belts and other automotive safety equipment just encourage people to drive faster because they feel safer, making crashes more severe, both because I think that, all else being equal, you're better off with than without, and because I don't think I'd survive the conversation.

  4. @Murph, I was thinking about this at the Y this morning. I can't really imagine any scenario where you would be worse off in an accident because you were wearing a helmet.