Cycle Routes

The Bike Helmet Debate

As a cyclist I enjoy the freedom of cycling and being in the open. This, for me, includes being able to cycle the lanes of Cornwall in the summer, wearing my t-shirt and shorts. My helmet gets left at home….

No. Wear your helmet at all times” I hear you shouting at me.

I know that helmets are there to protect your head if you fall off and hit the ground, and I am led to believe they reduce risk of head injury by 60%. I also realise that when we cycle on busy city roads and quiet country lanes, both of which I am familiar with, I am vulnerable without my helmet and only have myself to blame.

Why don’t I wear a helmet? I find it restrictive with vision and harder to manoeuvre myself as I am cycling, which, I feel, makes me more unstable. There is also the added argument that by wearing a helmet that others around me are less likely to think about how they drive. And by not wearing one it increases their awareness to think they need to be more cautious.

There are some excellent discussions and research to read regarding this very serious subject, which has been summed up in The Guardian, Bike Nation – How Cycling Can Save the World, by Peter Walker.

I have been prompted to write this blog by Kayla, a volunteer youth worker and her students who asked me to put some information up regarding this topic. Kayla, I hope your students will read this article and that it will stimulate some interesting debate regarding the issue.

The big bike helmet debate: ‘You don’t make it safe by forcing cyclists to dress for urban warfare’ Peter Walker