The cycle helmet debate


Some people always wear helmets; in some countries they're legally required. Some people never bother. Others wear helmets when cycling in traffic, but take them off for rides in the country.

  • If you do wear a helmet, it is important that you adjust your helmet so that it fits your head securely and does not wobble - otherwise you might as well not bother.
  • If you have an accident and bash your helmet, you should replace it immediately - they are 'one use' items.
  • The Student Union shop sells good value helmets for around £12

Why not?
They're a hassle, expensive, can be hot and sweaty in the summer, and chillier than your woolly hat in the winter. They crush your hair and have no fashion appeal, unless you like wearing lycra shorts anyway.

Why, then?
Like most people who talk to cyclists, I know several people who claim to have had their lives saved by helmets. I know of no one who claims to have had their life saved by not wearing a helmet, although I know plenty of people who never wear a helmet and are not dead.

Basically, if you fall off and break your wrist, that is bad but it will heal in a few months - but if you fall off and break your head it can ruin your whole life.

Typical scenario: You're cycling along University Road, not fast, and a student steps into the road without looking. You swerve and miss them but lose control and fall off. Your head meets the kerb. It is a low speed accident, but you still wind up with a head injury. If you have a helmet it will probably only be concussion, but if you don't...

See CycleHelmets.org for more debate.