22 07 2011

I'm wearing a helmet in Sedona Az...

Lane from CETMA racks/cargo bikes shared this link on his Facebook page from a site in the UK advocating for in their own words: “…a site which exists to promote one of the most controversial ideas in modern Britain: that cycling is a safe and healthy activity…”

I used a photo in this post from a MTB trip to Sedona, AZ. There is no mandatory bicycle helmet law in Sedona, but I chose to wear a helmet and heavy duty elbow and knee/shin pads that day based on my evaluation of the risk of the riding we were going to do on the trails. Later that day when we rode slowly 3 blocks from our hotel to grab a coffee I didn’t wear a helmet because I didn’t feel the risk warranted it. I’m not anti-helmet or anti-safety. I’m anti-stupid and anti-ineffective – which is what I feel about mandatory helmet laws in relation to their impact on bike safety and health.

Snippet from the site...

If you are interested in reading the site go for it. He makes a lot of good points worthy of consideration. I’m not suggesting you have to agree or you shouldn’t wear a helmet when you ride your bike. I’m not trying to change your mind. Do whatever you think is right for you.



12 responses

22 07 2011

This is the type of post that makes me read your blog. A well thought out responce and it actually meshes with my own thoughts on the matter.

I wear a helmet, when I want to. When I feel there is significant risk. I don’t wear a helmet when I don’t feel there is significant risk of injury. Others may wear one more often, and others less.

I grew up in a state with non-compulsery helmet laws for motorcycles. When I am on the motorcycle, I have ALWAYS worn a helmet (and gloves, and boots, and jacket. I have always felt the risks are significant. However I have always stood with riders rights to not wear a helmet. Same with cycling. Same with seatbelts. Same with trans-fats (illegal here in NYC!).

People need to manage themselves and stop letting the goverments tell you what is safe. one could ASS-U-ME that riding a bike in VC is more dangerous the NYC if you were to consider the standing helmet laws.

PS. I finished my Big Dummy last night! I have to say that I used alot of your pictures to explain to my wife all of the abilities of this bike and why I wanted it. After she saw it done, she likes it too! Thanks, Vic!

22 07 2011

@John – congrats on the BD – she’s a beast and a beauty!

22 07 2011

i think it should not be mandatory to wear a helmet too. but maybe the way to your coffee-store was much more dangerous than your trail-ride!?
i received a link to the following url today. it´s a german page, but you will understand the pictures. todesfolge = if loss of life results.

very, very nice blog by the way…

22 07 2011

@Phillip – a car can jump the curb and hit you while you walk for a coffee – what is the solution? – to wear body armour 24/7 and be scared? At some point a risk is so low you have to forget about it or you will spend your whole life worrying.

22 07 2011

I don’t know how accurate this is, but I have often seen it stated that the risk of injury (bicycle/motor vehicle) is higher closer to home which is sort of logical if you think about it; i.e., home is where you come and go from the most so will be your high use section of road etc.

Oh I wear a helmet all the time when riding. It is a legal requirement here but I would anyway. Each to their own but.

22 07 2011
Chris Sorlie

“Only kids wear helmets”. The stupidest words to come from my mouth in my 61 years of living. Thirty minutes later I fell roller skating. Long story short – bleeding on the brain and emergency surgery at 1:20 on a Sunday morning.
This was April 3 of this year. I’ve not yet fully recovered but hope to. The sad thing is people are stupid. (see 1st paragraph!) Had I been made to wear a helmet I would not have had to suffer like I have. Three neurologists would have had a better weekend. Tax payers would have saved tens of thousands of dollars. Had I had permanent damage taxpayers (insurance companies?) would pay hundreds of thousands more. It’s not just you any more once you have a brain injury.
I haven’t even started with the pain. Your life can be ruined forever.
Do I still believe in risk management? Yep. Do people need to be protected from themselves? Yep. Look at the lives Ralph Nadar and seat belts have saved and yet the very people saved used the same “my rights” arguments before laws were passed. Smoking laws are saving people and would save a lot more if smoking were outlawed. I have a right to smoke. No, you have a right to be protected from yourself because, obviously, people don’t have the wisdom not to smoke or the brains to go roller skating without a helmet.

22 07 2011

@Chris – I’m sorry to hear about your accident. We could make a list of all very serious injuries and then protect everyone against them, but the result would be that it was impossible to live anything approaching a normal life.

You could walk out your door in the winter and slip and have the same injury you received. What would be the solution? To wear a helmet 24/7?

And in every society I’m aware of smoking is legal. so is eating 12 donuts a day.

22 07 2011
doug d

There is always someone who is telling me either “that helmet saved my life”, “if I had been wearing a helmet it would have saved me from ___” or “the helmet just shattered!”. I am not sure which university has been handing out degrees in instant speculative accident reconstruction, but I wish they would stop handing them out to everyone who was in or saw a potential or actual head injury.
Sometimes I wear a helmet.

23 07 2011

I wear my helmet when i am roadracing with a group, or mtb-ing. But i sure hope they will never make wearing one mandatory… It think it would decrease the number of people cycling to do there shopping, commuting or simply going to a pub…

23 07 2011
Max Otterland

Bravo! Helmet hysteria has outscreamed reason. Learn to ride, teach others to ride well, same goes for the kids. Avoid injury by being reasonable in the first place. That’s what the Dutch do. Of course, wear a lid when you’re doing gnarly stuff. Commuting isn’t gnary, unless you live on top of a mountain…

I do get flack for only wearing a Walz cap around here from time to time (Tennessee), so I usually respond “I’m Swedish, we have a very low statistical chance of mortality during cycling compared to Americans…”

25 07 2011

The Netherlands has the lowest use of helmets and the lowest injury rate in the world. I usually wear a helmet. We fought our local town to stop a mandatory helmet law and won. We could find no statistics showing bicycling to be more dangerous than many daily activities. Try stairs, now that is dangerous!
I am pro-choice. Wear them or don’t.

3 08 2011

i would like to follow jolly:
“I am pro-choice. Wear them or don’t.”
i even dont wear them often at the city. so, no 24/7-fear:)

(just coming back home from den haag – the statistics from the netherlands is not very helpful to people in other regions.
where many, many people ride on bikes every day, as it is in the nl, both cyclists and cardrivers are some kind of “used to share the road”.)

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