Why won’t people wear bicycle helmets?


Giro Indicator


With the warmer weather we’ve had lately, I’ve noticed a definite uptick in the number of commuters the last two weeks (when it’s been dry).  A lot of them look like they’ve not done it much, but God bless them, at least they’re out there giving it a shot.  I know this is stereotyping on my part, but what gives them away is the combination of a slow speed, a mountain bike, a backpack, and unfortunately, often no helmet.

I don’t understand that.  I don’t really know any seasoned cyclist who would consider riding without a “lid”.  They’re such a simple step that provides basic head protection that there is really no excuse for not wearing one.  On a practical note, I’ve broken two of them with my head inside over the years.  In both cases, they saved me from a nasty bump on the head that could have been a serious injury.

All you need is an inexpensive helmet that is either ANSI or Snell Foundation approved.  You can buy them at Wally World for about 20 bucks, or you can shell out mega-dollars for a top-of-the-line racing helmet.  The thing is….whether you pay $20 or $200, they all provide the same amount of protection.  What you get for the extra money are lightness, coolness, easier adjustments, and aerodynamics.  My contention is that most cyclists really won’t benefit from spending a lot of money on a helmet, so unless you’ve just got money to burn and you’re into the “uber equipment” thing, you can get a reasonable helmet at a reasonabe price that will do the job just fine.

I’ve been using the Giro Indicator pictured above for four years now.  I’m on my second one, as the first developed a crack after two years.  It’s a decent all-round helmet that can be had for under $40 at my LBS or on-line.   In addition, Giro offers a no-questions asked replacement policy should you break one of their helmets.  Just take it in to any dealer and get a nice discount on a new one. 


God bless…


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8 Comments on “Why won’t people wear bicycle helmets?”

  1. Jim Phillips Says:


    I’m curious about your thoughts on the above linked article. It’s from an 8 year study at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta. They reviewed 2,546 patients under age 19. 17 had head injuries related to biking. 15 had head injuries related to golf.

    Do you also strongly recommend golfing helmets? Sure a helmet is a simple and cheap way to protect your head. But if head protection is your cause, you should probably recommend them for the situations where head injury is even more frequent. Like driving for example, do you wear a helmet when you drive?

  2. tracywilkins Says:

    I take it you probably don’t wear a helmet (if you’re a cyclist), but that’s your choice.

    My point is exactly as you stated. A bike helmet is a simple and cheap way to afford your noggin some degree of protection in case of an accident. Having ridden over 4,000 miles for the past several years, I consider myself a pretty good cyclist who knows how to ride in traffic and who knows his ability. In spite of that, I’ve still managed to break two helmets in crashes/falls and both times I walked away with not even a bump on the head. Yea, I suppose head protection is my cause!

    Thanks for the input!

  3. tracywilkins Says:

    Oh..I didn’t answer your question.

    1) As stated in the article, most of the golfing injuries were received away from a formal golf course.

    2) They were looking at kids under the age of 19.

    3) A big assumption on my part here….I suspect that many of both the biking and golf related injuries involved some sort of horsing around as a contributing factor. I know my son ended up with stitches many years ago from a golf-related head injury from that very cause….two kids messing around with golf clubs!

  4. [...] SpringfieldCyclist.com – Tracy Wilkins’ Cycling Weblog “I’m just driven to ride.” « Why won’t people wear bicycle helmets? [...]

  5. Jim Phillips Says:

    I am a cyclist and share a similar amount of mileage with you. I think we actually share a similar route as I ride from the SE part of town and I work in the Hammons Tower. I frequent your blog and enjoy reading your perspective.

    I also respect your choice to wear a helmet. I personally think my most important safety gear on the bike is lights and bright clothing.

  6. Pam Thorne Says:

    I agree with Tracy on this one. Why chance it.

    I found out last week that my son is having to commute daily because he wrecked his car…when inquiring about his helmet I found out he’s NOT wearing it! Drats, not like I needed anything else to worry about.

  7. tracywilkins Says:


    It does sound like we probably take the same route. We ought to hook up sometime and ride in together! It’s good to have company once in a while.

  8. Jim Phillips Says:

    I would love to do that. I would love to pick the brain of another commuter in person. I normally ride to school with my son and then to work around 8 to 830 but now that school is out I will have a lot more flexibility in time. jphillips@lowtherjohnson.com

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