DO WE REALLY NEED BICYCLE HELMETS?

Few serious bicyclers would argue that a helmet is just as essential to their ride as wheels and pedals. That being said, why are so many recreational cyclists, who are less experienced, so ready to get on a bike without wearing a helmet?

Not many of us wore helmets when we were kids and our bike was the main form of transportation for 9 + hours a day in the summertime. Most of you have probably been lucky enough to avoid catastrophic crashes so far in your cycling adventures but the question begs to be asked, do we really need helmets?

WHAT'S YOUR REASON FOR NOT WEARING A HELMET?

Did you ride your bike to the hair salon and now are faced with the epic quandary of not wanting to mess up your $80 perm by putting on a helmet? The main reason that most people state for not wanting to wear a helmet is because they're uncomfortable. Unfortunately being wheelchair bound or having family and friends wait on you for the rest of your life isn't very comfortable either and could happen with just one fall. To be honest, there's really no good reason for not wearing a helmet, especially “I don't want to look like a geek.”

IT ONLY TAKES ONE SPILL

Suppose you leave your house and inexplicably forget to bring your helmet. You could trek on and risk it or you could make the short jaunt back to your home and grab your head protection. The important thing to remember is that it only takes one bad spill to change your world forever. Most bicycling accidents happen closer to home and life is full of a 'million to one” mishaps, look no further than Frank Costanza, a Seinfold statue made of fusilli pasta, and a proctologist.

IT COULD BE THE LAW SOME DAY

California has fines of up to $25 for youths under 18 bicycling without a helmet and in New York penalties up to $50 can be imposed on those under 13 without head protection. With pro sports leagues such as the NFL looking into the serious implications of concussions and head injuries the individual states may not be far behind in making helmet wearing mandatory for all bicyclers. It's best to get into the habit of wearing a helmet now so that you're not only protecting your head, but eventually your wallet as well.

In the end, there's really no disadvantage to wearing a helmet. Sure you might get an awkward suntan on your face and mess up your sweet mullet hairdo but those are temporary compared to suffering from a traumatic brain injury. The truth is there are just too many intangibles to put just your skull between your brain and the pavement. From unmarked cuts in the road to bike failure to a wayward chicken darting out in front of you to cross the road, the common consensus is that it's better to be safe than sorry.

August 05, 2014 by Dave Weiner