Non-use of bicycle helmets in Europe…and in BC
BC is not Holland! But we can work to make our roads more bike friendly. In the meantime, wear a helmet and ride safe.
Many people choose to cycle without helmets.
- Helmets do reduce the severity of TBIs.
- TBIs do happen in Europe, even in the Netherlands - which is cycling nirvana.
Perhaps the most salient point for North Americans is that many bicycle fatalities or injuries happen when in close proximity to vehicles (if you go inside the link, click on bicycle statistics).
Not many North American cities have infrastructure that supports bike culture in a way that Holland does; vehicles still dominate our roads. When our roads become dominated by cyclists, then perhaps wearing a helmet won't be such a good idea.
Harm reduction for non-helmet users
Here are some ideas to minimize your risk:
- Ride where there are fewer vehicles.
- Ride slowly and defensively, but be assertive.
- Be very visible.
- Ride at low traffic times.
- Ride in a group, wherever possible.
- Ride using proper etiquette.
Check out this resource for bike etiquette and bike safety in general: Bike Sense BC.
And this alternative to helmets: the Hovding airbag for cyclists. They aren't yet available for sale in Canada but what a neat idea.
Advocating non-use of helmets
Walking the line
Why Doesn't the Dutch Bike Culture Include Helmets (The whole blog post is mixed, but the embedded Ted Talk is very anti-helmet.)