I’ve been researching the effectiveness of cycle helmets lately. A few interesting thoughts:

  • Bike helmets are developed to protect cyclists from solo accidents that don’t involve other vehicles.
  • At lower speeds it is apparently impossible to crash and hit your head. It is usually your arms or legs that get hurt.
  • If you are hit by a car at high speeds there is no helmet that will protect you.
  • Cycle helmets provide best protection in situations involving simple, low-speed falls with no other party involved. They are unlikely to offer adequate protection in life-threatening situations.
  • Helmet promotion (and especially compulsion) reduces cycling and the health benefits of cycling. Less cycling increases risk for those who continue to cycle, whether they wear helmets or not.
  • The risks of urban (as opposed to sport) cycling are often exaggerated.
  • Drivers leave less of a gap when overtaking helmeted cyclists than bare-headed cyclists.
  • There are conflicting and contradictory studies on cycle helmet effectiveness.

Though I think I still will wear a helmet mostly in the lion den of Sydney’s roads.


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