Editor’s Note: Premium Member Robert Armstrong last week wrote in: “I am a long-time subscriber and reader of RBR and really enjoy the wealth of information you provide for all. I also recently subscribed to Momentum Magazine. In their Spring Issue, there is an article by Shaun Lopez Murphy entitled, “Are Bicycle Helmets Holding Us Back?” He attempts to make a case against helmets based on the research he used. Anyway, I am a long-time advocate of bike helmets, and, in fact, wearing a helmet saved my like in a serious fall I had several years ago. I would assume that RBR is also a strong supporter of wearing helmets. If so, do you have any research data to support that position? Thanks in advance.
I had been waiting for the right time to discuss this issue again, for a couple of reasons:
- I think it is vitally important to continue to reject the anti-helmet arguments, because if left unchallenged, they can sow doubt and potentially lead to declining helmet use.
- Since we last covered the issue in the fall of 2014, I’ve experienced two events that for me have absolutely cemented my already rock-solid belief in helmet use among roadies: First, I’ve had the chance to do some serious city riding in both Belgium and Amsterdam. (See the “Addendum” to my article, which follows this intro in “The Great Helmet Debate.” Second, I’ve suffered my second serious crash in which I’ve been otherwise injured (one AC joint injury, one fractured clavicle), but where my helmet perfectly did its job and totally protected my head from any trauma.
Look, I understand that Momentum is a sort of “lifestyle of cycling” magazine and aimed more at city riders and commuters. Still, I firmly believe in helmet use among those groups in most of the world outside of the Western European countries where cycling infrastructure, culture and laws do far, far more to protect cyclists than pretty much everywhere else in the world. So read on. In this best-of article “The Great Helmet Debate,” Tom Petrie argued against helmet use, and I made the case for helmets.