Poll: Bicycle helmet usage

I will take a guess and predict this board (with its above-average intelligence users) will be skewed towards the “yes” camp, but:

  1. Do you wear a helmet while biking?
  2. All the time?

I ride both on the roads and on trails and I will estimate only 20% of all people are wearing helmets. I don’t have children so I don’t know laws about that, but it seems that < 8 year olds are usually wearing helmets, but kids older than that, not so much. I often see parent-kid combos where the kid is helmeted, but the adult is not. :confused:

Me: yes, all the time.

I ride on roads, and I estimate that 99% of bikers wear helmets.

I wear mine at least 99% of the time. Sometimes if I’m on my errand bike, I don’t worry about it.

Keep in mind that helmets are of course greatly important when you hit your head on something hard in a crash.

Keep in mind that you crash your bike VERY rarely.

And that if you do crash your bike there’s a good chance you won’t hit your head.

With these factors in mind, I think the overall importance of helmets tends to be overstated.

I know this is extremely politically incorrect but -

When I grew up as a kid in a relatively small town, no one had ever seen a bike helmet, let alone use one. In all the years I lived there, I never once heard of a kid having a serious head injury from a bike accident. Oh, there were the usual scrapes and a neighbor girl lost her two front teeth when she ran her bike into a curb but that was it.

So while I suppose the concept of wearing bike helmets is well-meaning, my own personal experience leads me to believe it is, for the most part, unnecessary unless you are reaching excessive speeds on mountain roads - something I think few children, or adults for that matter, ever reach.

I do not have children and have not ridden a bike in many years, so - no helmets here.

I do, all the time - but then again, I just bought a bike and hadn’t ridden before that since I was 10 or so. I’m still kinda wobbly and I’d be a real fool not to wear a helmet. I’d estimate that maybe half of the cyclists I see are wearing them.

Yes, and all the time, although it has been some time since I’ve had the time to ride.

I wear a helmet 100% of the time since I was 21 and started doing serious road riding rather than just a trip around the block. I also insist that my kids wear them.

Although I see almost all road bikers wearing helmets now, years ago none of them did; they wore bike caps instead. I’m not sure what changed the trend. On the bike path it’s about 50/50.

I have only had one bike crash, it was in my pre-helmet days, and I did not hit my head. But if you do have a crash, and you do hit your head, the damage can be devastating.

I will never understand motoryclists who do not wear helmets and people who won’t wear seat belts.

I’ve lived in Japan for seven or so years now, and bicycling to the store or whatever is about the same as taking the car to the store would be in the US. In total summation of my experience:

  1. There should be no need for a bicycle helmet.
  2. If the US stopped forcing you to drive on the street instead of the sidewalk, there really would be no need to wear a bicycle helmet in the US.

Car hits Bicycler = One mangled bicycle rider
Bicycler hits Pedestrian = Some scrapes and bruises

Simply, it is a stupid system. And when you ride on the sidewalk every day, the odds you are going to hit a person drop to zero. I can stay upright (i.e. balanced) on my bicycle behind a thousand year old woman pacing along with her walker.

I used to ride without a helment, even after I had an accident, riding face-first into a pole and fracturing my skull.

It wasn’t until I met Pepper Mill, and knew her for a few years, that she prevailed upon me to wear a helmet. I now wear it all the time, and feel naked without it.

Our daughter MilliCal always wears a helmet, even though the other kids on the street don’t. She’s always telling them they should.

(I still don’t wear a helmet when skiing.)

A co-worker of my dad’s was put into a permanent vegetative state when a bicycle collided with her. He showed me where it happened.

Anyway, yes. I always wear a helmet when biking, 100% of the time. Anything could happen. In fact I lengthened a trip home by a considerable amount yesterday because I’d neglected to bring my helmet with me when picking up my bike from the shop, so I walked it home.

It specifically says “bicycle”. I checked. Last time it was about motorcycles and I opened my big mouth.

  1. Do you wear a helmet while biking?
  2. All the time?

I wear my helmet when I am in danger of getting hit by a car. So that doesn’t include my apartment complex but if I plan to ride on the road, yes. Doesn’t include bike trails, the local park, or anyplace like that. I don’t fall off my bike for no reason! I don’t see the need for wearing a helmet when the worst thing I could crash into is another biker.

I should correct my above statement - whe I see what I call “professional” road bikers, nearly 100% of them are wearing helmets. The guys/gals with $3000 bikes, all dressed in colorful spandex = professional bikers (in my book). What I mean when I say I ride on the roads is I ride on roads briefly (a mile or two) to get to my trails.

I really don’t like wearing a helmet all the time.

I do not wear a helmet when biking. I have crashed bicycles probably close to 100 times in my life and haven’t suffered any head injuries other than a scraped chin. I did have a friend endo into a tree and clock his head pretty badly, but it apparently wasn’t scary enough to make me change.

I ride almost exclusively on asphalt-paved trails. I don’t own or wear a helmet. I usually do rides of 20 to 40 miles at a somewhat leisurely pace, maybe 10 MPH. I haven’t had a bike accident since I was 8 years old. I agree with Trunk’s analysis above.

I never wear a helmet. Everyone bicycles here and no one wears helmets. I mostly don’t because its a hassle to carry around to class and makes you look sloppy for the rest of the day hair-wise.

But kids under 18 are supposed to be helmeted by law, and usually are.

Well…I’m certain that’s true. But still that’s akin to saying that you know a lady who smoked two packs of cigarettes every day since she was 14, and lived to 110.

There may not be a perfect answer, but you’re still better to vote for the one with the higher probability of safety for all concerned.

Please do not assume that everyone in the US lives in cities, or in cities so big we can’t easily ride out of them. Where I grew up, there were no sidewalks. And, at least in suburbia where you can hit reasonable speeds easily, the sidewalks can be more dangerous than the road. A fit, 17 year old friend of my daughters just got 40 stitches, because he unexpectedly came across a missing sidewalk block while going too fast to react. It was a good thing he had a helmet on. And it would be really hard to dodge someone backing out of their driveway, if you were on the sidewalk and traveling even just 10 mph.

I always wear a helmet. The only people I see not wearing helmets are transients. I think relatively serious road bikers changed after all the accidents and deaths involving racers.

I wear my helmet 100% of the time.

I commute to work during the spring/summer (12 miles one way, about 5 miles on a paved trail and the rest on fairly busy roads), and averaged about once a week last year. I’ve been sick and the weather has been bad, but now that I can ride again I hope to bump that up to at least twice a week this year.

My husband and I often do long rides (40+ miles) on the weekends and it doesn’t matter to me whether we’ll be on the road, on a trail, or mountain biking, I always have my helmet on, as does he.
It doesn’t matter if I’m just going around the corner, I put my helmet on. We’ve done several organized rides/centuries, and he’s done a few tri-sprints, and helmets are required at all times for events such as those.

We’re memebers of our local bicycle coalition and as such I just feel like we should be ‘model riders’ if you will.
This is a very bicycle friendly/popular community. I’d guess about 90% of the cyclists I see on the roads are wearing their helmets and obeying the rules of the road.

Yes, I wear one all the time. I’ve gotten so used to it that I feel naked if I ride without one. (Same with car seatbelts.)

And when I lived in Japan, I rode on the road and wore a helmet. Riding a bicycle on the sidewalks is very dangerous, not just for pedestrians but for the cyclist as well. Sidewalks aren’t designed for >10mph traffic. And car drivers can easily miss a cyclist coming into an intersection from a sidewalk, even in Japan.

Of course, a bike lane would be an ideal solution, but only if it’s designed as an extention of the road, and not an extention to the sidewalk.

Yes & yes


I do think it’s strange from time to time because I very much remember not wearing one when I was a child. But I’ve fallen and avoided losing my teeth, if not worse, due to the helmet and a friend of mine was in an accident where another rider came around a blind corner on the wrong side of the lane. My friend’s head went through the other rider’s front wheel - her helmeted head was ok, the wheel was not. There’s no cost really to wearing a helmet and potentially great benefit.

On the trails around here, I see helmets on very nearly everyone. On the roads, it’s not as certain - but more often than not.