Should I wear a bike helmet?

Photo of a lady wearing a white bike helmet at speed

Yes!

Whilst you are not legally obliged to wear a bike helmet in the UK, you definitely should!

There are plenty of strong arguments for not wearing helmets: Cycling great, and all-round good egg, Chris Boardman often points to a couple of facts:

  1. Fewer than 1 in 100 cyclists in the Netherlands wears a helmet, yet they have the lowest rates of head injuries in the World!
  2. Any risk of cycling (with or without a helmet) is far outweighed by the health benefits of cycling.

No argument from me on either of these. However (1) is a classic cause-effect trap: It doesn’t imply that if the the Dutch all started wearing helmets head injuries would go up.

Similarly with (2):  I agree that if a greater proportion of the population started riding, the death rate would go down even if none of them wore helmets! BUT – we are not talking about the life expectancy of the general population and laws of large numbers; we are talking about YOU, and you already receive the health benefits of cycling.

Of course, I’m a hypocrite as I sometimes go riding without without a helmet. However, this doesn’t mean it’s a good idea; it just means that sometimes I’m an idiot!

Carmen Greenway

Last photo of Carmen Greenway