Anti-Helmet Advocacy: What it is and What is not

LTRs know that I am anti-helmet. That strikes many people as strange. It should not. Here’s an FAQ.

1. It is NOT telling people what to do.

If you want to wear a helmet, I will not tell you not to wear one. I might mock you, though.

2. It is NOT putting people at greater risk.

This is because people all ready know to wear a helmet. This information has been around ever since we got the technology to make helmets that were light enough to be useless. That’s right, in many cases, riding with helmets is useless. If helmet advocates really walked their walk, they’d advocate for better standards for helmets rather than telling people what they all ready know.

Also, some people take more chances when wearing helmets. I do. Also, motorists give less space to helmeted riders which raises the question “do helmets actually increase some risks of cycling and put riders at risk.”

I don’t really know the answers to those questions. Nobody does. Unlike those who tell everyone to wear a helmet, it’s safe for me to admit ignorance. If helmets are proven safer, great, wear one. I still won’t.

Most pro-helmet people won’t even CONSIDER that helmets could be more risky. The fact that helmets are safer is taken on faith alone.

3. It is NOT equivalent to arguing against seat belts.

People feel safe inside a car even without a seatbelt. They feel in danger on a bicycle even with a helmet.

But there’s more!

People choose to drive a car because they feel that they have to. Making then take a few minor, extra steps is no big deal for mode share.

On the other hand, riding a bicycle is seen as something dangerous and freakish. Anything that makes it even more alienating from something normal will make it less popular.

Since cycling is beneficial, taking a benefit away hurts people’s health more than the imaginary, yet to be established, benefits of wearing a helmet.

4. Advocating for helmets is NOT something cycling advocates should do.

This was probably addressed above, but I’ll re-iterate.

Yes, we should try to make cycling conditions safer, but there has never been a successful campaign in favor of cycling that rested messing up your hair as a main benefit to cycling.

Helmet advocates over estimate the risk for head injury that cycling has and they have convinced an entire generation or two that cycling is “taking your life in your own hands.”

The fact that you need protective equipment to do it makes it look very foolish.

Making an activity look dangerous and foolish is not a way to advocate for cycling.

If you get more people to cycle, like I said, they’ll wear helmets IF THEY WANT TO. BUT FOR THE LOVE OF GOD STOP PREACHING TO PEOPLE WHO ALL READY KNOW BETTER.

We all know that not wearing a helmet makes us an organ donor. But did you know that wearing a helmet makes you look like a dork?

I’d rather get cut up for spare parts right now than spend the rest of my life cowering beneath a useless piece of plastic that anti-cyclists have convinced me to wear to make motorists feel better about themselves.


One Response to “Anti-Helmet Advocacy: What it is and What is not”

  1. CultFit Says:

    Gotta tell ya … I’m with you on this! I’m the anti-Christ Dad in the neighborhood who lets his Son ride without a helmet. My argument of him “Needing to learn how to fall under control” is a moot point. If we go on longer trail rides I’ll slap a lid on him, mostly to avoid people fussing about it
    You bring up some good points that are sadly lost on our hyper-safe-obssessed society. Simply throwing a lid on does not make you a safer rider!

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