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Wear a Bike Helmet

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Challenge of the Day: Wear a Bike Helmet

Challenge of the Day: Wear a Bike Helmet

The 2006 U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reported that an estimated 151,000 bicyclists visited the ER due to head injuries in one year alone -- and helmets can reduce head injury by up to 85 percent. Keep yourself safe (and set an important example for your kids) by donning a well-fitting helmet each and every time you ride. Your helmet should sit level to the ground and not be able to move more than an inch in any direction when fastened.

For help with today’s challenge, learn how to ride a bike -- safely.

Tell us if you're up for this Challenge of the Day after the jump.

Tomorrow's challenge: Eat Low-Pesticide Produce.
Yesterday's challenge: Set Summer Goals.
Pledge past challenges here.

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Comments (16)

  • I am surprised at the number of "No's" The data is so clear on this one! Wearing a helmet is such an easy way to be safer when riding a bike. I expected to see 100% in the "yes" column.

  • I never bike without a helmet.

  • Those statistics are so misleading... inform yourself correctly: http://www.cyclehelmets.org/

  • The 85% number has long been discredited.

    The largest datasets and most careful analysis show that, for adults, there is no statistically significant benefit to wearing a bicycle helmet while cycling.

    The need for and benefit of bicycle helmets has been GREATLY exaggerated. Cycling is quite safe, even in large cities. Further, cycling helmets actually offer very limited protection. Most accident scenarios for which adult cyclists are at risk are beyond the design parameters of bicycle helmets.

    While it is true that helmets can mitigate minor injuries in some cases, they can actually worsen the effects of accidents in other cases. For example, they can increase rotational forces exerted on the head by adding leverage (by increasing the radius of the head). Such forces are believed to cause concussions and more serious brain injuries (injuries cycling helmets do not, and are not designed to, help prevent, BTW).

    Helmets are the absolute lowest priority for cycling safety. Cycling safety should focus on accident prevention. Lights, regular bike maintenance, better route planning, and learning better bike skills can all help prevent and avoid accidents. Bicycle helmets cannot prevent accidents.

  • Cycling is sufficiently safe that doing so without a helmet will increase your life expectency.

    The safest places to cycle are places where helmets are unheard of - The Netherlands, Denmark...

    Helmets are vastly overrated by the media, cars are the danger on the road, not bare heads...

  • Bicycle helmets are just blocks of polystyrene. They do not provide useful protection in a traffic accident involving a bicycle, such as when a rider finds herself under the rear wheels of a heavy goods vehicle.

    It's perfectly reasonable to claim that cyclists should wear head protection, but if you believe that then you believe that cyclists should wear crash helmets. That is not the way forward.

  • I agree that helmets are useless for everyday bicycling.
    A lot of people mix bicycling as a sport with bicycling to the store. The risks are very different. If you wear a helmet when going to the store, make sure you wear one when taking a shower, drive your car and walk along the side walk.

  • People should wear helmets, and full body armour to prevent themselves from getting hurt while riding a bicycle. However its pretty hard to ride a bicycle in an inflatable sumo wrestler suit. Might as well drive because ridign a bicycle is super scary. not.

    Even if you make the roads safer for everyone you'll still have accidents that don't have anything to do with cars. Thats why they are called accidents. oops.

    I wish people would stop lumping the helmet debate with the Bikes Vs cars debate. If there were no cars on the roads and only bicycles we'd still have idiots and assholes to assist us with accidental injuries.

  • I wore a helmet the other day and she still got pregnant.. Helmets don't always work.

    oops wrong forum.

  • Author Comment:

    Both sides of an argument will support or refute statistics to bolster their positions, but when it comes to bike helmets, we'd rather be safe than sorry. Happy biking!

  • There are car helmets as well. There are no stats that prove that they work (actually there is, but it's out of Australia), but better be safe than sorry.

  • This is nonsense. There are no statistics proving that helmets make any difference.

    Perhaps all pedestrians should wear helmets? After all, those that get knocked down tend to suffer from head injuries.

    Get things into perspective, stop cars killing people and stop making the victims take all the responsibility.

  • I've been biking for years and have never had even a close call. I've never fallen, I've never been hit by a car, I've never been hurt, not even a scraped knee. Biking is incredible safe. I've fallen while walking much more often. Sure, wearing a helmet could be safer, but it's already incredibly safe. it's just not worth the helmet hair and the hassle.

  • Response to Author Comment:
    What you _could_ have said, to increase the credibility of this website :

    "Both sides of an argument will support or refute statistics to bolster their positions.
    It seems some of the pointers added here are quite convincing from first glance. To find out, which "motion" is more correct, I guess we would have to look at reviews of the scientific literature and also ask if there are more than one review, and we would need to look at any criticism that the reviews have received. Some people here claim that cycling for transport prolongs life, and improves health, regardless of the helmets. I guess that has to be taken into account as well.
    We are after all about improving peoples health in natural ways. It sure is clear that cyclists produce less health stress to their fellow human beings than those using cars, or even commuters in public transport.

    Personally I still believe that helmets are important, that is what most authorities tell us. But gauging the responses, I figure the jury is still out on this.
    Myself I'd rather be feeling safe than not.

    Happy biking to all! "

    ( I, Morten, on the other hand have studied the issue at length and I am confident that we have so many more important things to talk about and urge people to do or use than bicycle helmets. But by all means use one if you feel more comfortable that way, especially as long as you don't bully others or cite false claims :-)

  • I second Morten Lange's response: wear one if it makes you comfortable but don't bully others into accepting your choice. Especially when the evidence for the protective value is not the slam dunk you think it is.

    There are dozens of studies addressing bike helmets specifically and the data in this article is pulled from only ONE of them. BTW, the 85% reduction was only in the 0-4 year old category.

  • [...] A helmet: Okay, this doesn't exactly go on your bike, but it's too crucial to leave out -- especially because you can't race without it. And news in New York City this past weekend about the deaths of two cyclists (one wearing a helmet, one not) hammers home the importance of taking every possible precaution to protect yourself. [...]

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