To wear a helmet or not wear a helmet - that is the question.
The discussion over whether or not cyclists should wear helmets usually drums up strong opinions. There a large number of people that get very passionate over this debate no matter which side they fall on. We (Handsome) have been criticized in the past for showing people riding their bikes with out helmets on. We try and show a realistic view of what cycling looks like and that sometimes means showing people without helmets.
So, should you wear a helmet when riding?
My stock response is always this “I have never met anyone who has crashed or been hit and told me 'Thank god I wasn’t wearing my helmet...’.”
Now that said, I (Ben) routinely ride my bike without a helmet on. For me it usually depends on what I am doing and where I am going. For instance, if I am going out for a fast paced road ride or mountain biking in the woods I will always always always wear a helmet. On road rides I am constantly having to ride in the street along moving cars at a brisk pace. One bad move on either my or the drivers part could mean disaster for my melon. In the woods, if I over estimate my cornering abilities (which I often due) I could go full blast right into a tree. So I strap on my helmet. On the flip side, if I am casually riding around Lake Nokomis with my wife and 97% of the ride is taking place on a bike path that is removed from the street I will often forgo wearing a helmet. Is that smart? Probably not. But it is a calculated risk. I know my level of confidence on a bike, I know my route, I know the pace at which we will be moving and most importantly I know if something goes catastrophically wrong I will have no one to blame but myself.
Now, this is all a long way of saying that whether you wear a helmet or not is your choice. Its simply personal responsibility. We encourage anyone and everyone to wear a properly fitted helmet when riding your bike. Again, I can’t imagine a scenario when someone would be glad they weren’t wearing one.
Finally, and this is important. If you are wearing a helmet make sure it is the right size. A helmet can’t do much good if it falls off. Also, helmets need to be replaced. They are usually designed to take 1 good impact and thats about it. Though this may seem strange, it actually makes a lot of sense. When you crash there is a ton of force, you want the helmet to take that force instead of your head. Therefore many helmets will break or split in a crash, which oddly enough is a good thing. That means the helmet took the impact and dissipated the blow. That might mean you have to spend another $50 on a new one, but that is cheap compared to the alternative…