Momentum Magazine has a great new article about the helmet debate – one of the most divisive issues within the biking community. I’m a bit torn on the issue. I wear a helmet and would feel naked without one, but I think the mandatory helmet law in BC should be scrapped.
Why? Two main reasons.
- Helmets discourage people from riding and increase the perception that cycling is unsafe. Less people cycling means more fat people. If we could convince them to bike, they would be healthier and society would be better off even if they didn’t wear a helmet.
- Helmets make bike-sharing nearly impossible. Melbourne is the only city that has a public bike-sharing program and a mandatory helmet law, and it is floundering. Vancouver is looking to become the second city, but it is also struggling to figure out how to make it work with a mandatory bike helmet law.
The real focus should be on making cycling safer, not on reducing the risk of head injury in the most severe crashes. That means education cyclists and drivers, enforcing lower speed limits, creating separated bike lanes, and doing other projects to improve general cycling safety.
Here is Mikael Colville-Andersen’s TEDx talk on Why We Shouldn’t Bike with a Helmet