For as many times as I’ve rambled, made fun of, attacked, or complained about helmets, you’d think I’d have come across this before. Ironically, it was a coworker that pointed this cultural phenomenon to me.
When inflatable neck wear doesn’t do it for you, it is time to don the hair-helmet. Brought to you by that fantastic folk duo Flight of the Conchords and presented without comment:
So we take the worry about helmet hair and replace it with a hair helmet. That’s what you call turning a frown upside down.
Photo Credit Ross Del Duca / VeloReviews Media. Used with permission.
Of all of the things I’ve written about here on JustAnotherCyclist, few subjects tend to spark as much disagreement – from both cyclists and non-cyclists alike – as my posts regarding bicycle helmets. Many seeing me roll up to work or wherever without my helmet on have referred to me as reckless, stupid, crazy, nuts, or even… well, you can probably imagine. I’ve been told I’m an irresponsible parent, setting a bad example for my children. I’ve been told I make drivers on the road nervous, thus increasing motorists/cyclist contention. I’ve even been told I “deserve to crack my skull open” because I opt to sometimes ride without a helmet.
I’ve never once encouraged anyone to ride without a helmet. Instead, I’ve spoke of my own opinions and ideas on the subject, encouraging others to find out the facts and make an educated, reasonable decision on their own.
Cycling helmets seem to be a recurring theme here on JustAnotherCyclist as of late. To wear or not to wear. To promote or not to promote. Blah blah blah… There has got to be some way to resolve the issue. Perhaps with better technology?
Folks seem pretty happy with the air bags in their cars. This probably has a lot to do with the reams and reams of evidence for their collective benefits. Unfortunately the same concept does not apply to bicycles. First off there is simply no practical way to mount an airbag on the handlebars of any but the most heavily customized bikes. More importantly is the fact that it is usually the ground or a car – and not the handlebars – that you smack into if you are injured in a cycling crash. If only there were some way to get that same level of passive protection on a bicycle…
Maybe there is.
I’ve been doing a fence-straddling maneuver here at JustAnotherCyclist regarding the issue of bicycle helmets. Again I will reiterate that I do not encourage folks to go about without a helmet. Nor do I encourage you to ride with one. It is entirely your choice (except for areas where specific laws apply.) My frustration comes entirely from the dogmatic nonsense that the issue seems to instill in some folks.
I first started to become openly frustrated with the whole helmet situation when I was in the hospital for a broken collar bone due to a bike crash. I distinctly recall one of the ER nurses asking me “Were you wearing a helmet?” I simply answered the question at first, but then I started to think a little more critically about the question. (more…)
I’ve said it many many times, I’m neither pro- nor anti- helmet. My statements on the subject have been very accurately described by others as ambivalent.
I may, however, be changing my mind. And you, dear reader, get to come along for the ride.
So to stop skirting the issue, I’ll state my opinion, as it exists today:
I don’t really mind wearing a helmet, but I really don’t think they do squat to protect me. The risks the helmet protect me from are the same risks I experience when walking down the street. I’m just as comfortable riding my bike without a helmet as I am walking across my living room without a helmet.
And that is when the “Say what” and “this guy’s nuts” comments come on. “Clearly you’re safer with a helmet on. It’s obvious. Anyone who thinks otherwise is a moron,” is another possible retort to my sentiment.
Ah bicycle helmets. The topic that I just can’t leave alone. While I try to remain non-judgmental to the choices of others, and personally can take it or leave it, I still remain decidedly against helmet laws.
Unfortunately, the folks that support helmet laws often throw out statistics without saying where they come from.
Bicycle helmets. They are the subject that I just can’t seem to leave alone. As my daily commute has significantly changed, so as my approach to that commute. One of those changes – without any specific intent that I am aware of – is the fact that I’ve shed the helmet for more of my commutes than not. Perhaps it is the influence of all of the urbanite riders I come across. Whatever the reason, I’ve mostly been without ye ol’ brain bucket lately.
My wife, on the other hand, is a stanch helmetarian. She is often gently (or not so gently) ribbing me about my cycling-cap-only head. I was this ribbing that prompted me to put on the helmet before I left for work the other morning. As I’ve said before, I’m not against helmets, so riding with it is not something that really has to be forced on me. This wasn’t a big deal. Grab it, throw it on my head, strap it around the chin and forget about it.
Update: The survey has ended. Watch for the results here soon.
I’ve had a survey running that is an attempt to gather general opinions on bicycle helmet usage from my readers and others. I’ll be closing out this survey tonight to allow me to compile the data and present an article on the findings – hopefully this Friday.
For those of you that have taken the time to express your opinions – thanks! If you haven’t yet done so, it only takes just a few short moments. Please go here and take the survey.
Lawyers are a highly educated bunch – right? I mean, when they make a statement of law they know what they are talking about (goes the common wisdom). So boy was I excited when I read the following, written by a Nebraska Attorney:
Bicyclists always have the right of way [...in Bellevue, Nebraska]
Really? Someone from Nebraska – tell me it’s true! (more…)
In the culmination of a 20+ year project, the new eastern span of the San Francisco Bay Bridge opened up. And included on that new bridge was a separate bike and pedestrian lane. Those familiar with the area will quickly point out that this bridge only gets you half way across the bay, and that there is a second bridge that still lacks bicycle access that prevents a bike ride completely across. So for the short term at least this is a recreation trail only with no commute benefits. (more…)