When I see images of cyclists riding in past Tours de France, they look odd to me. I recognize the riders, but they aren't wearing helmets. But over the course of the last decade, helmets became mandatory in the most prestigious bike race in the world.
Wearing a helmet is the simplest safety precaution you can take to protect your most important body part: your brain. Even though most casual cyclists are not barreling down hills and mountainsides at the speed of professional racers, wearing a helmet is a no brainer! Yet more than half the riders I see on the street are not wearing helmets. I just don't get it. I know helmets are not the most stylish of biking accessories, but is there really anything flattering about cycling gear? If messed up hair is keeping riders from wearing helmets, I would respond that a serious head injury is considerably worse than a bad hair day. We spend so much time taking care of our bodies and feeding our brains with knowledge, we really should protect our brains when biking.
Some helmetless riders argue that they're skilled cyclists so they don't need a helmet since they're not going to fall. Think of the helmet like the seat belt; it's there to protect you from crazy drivers or large potholes or, in the case of Matt Lauer of the Today Show, a deer. Without a helmet, Lauer would have suffered injuries far greater than a separated shoulder. Same goes for Lance Armstrong's collar bone-breaking crash a couple of months ago. Without a helmet his fate might have been much worse. If you're cruising around town or barreling down a dirt path on your mountain bike, wear a helmet. Please!