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Fittingly Mad: Cyclists Not Wearing Helmets!

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!

Image Source: Getty
Join The Conversation
bigestivediscuit bigestivediscuit 8 years
My boyfriend cycles to and from work in London and just today I was tugging on his helmet in the morning making sure it was on tight enough, which annoyed him. I see people in London cycling ALL the time without a helmet and it seriously boggles the mind.
Asche Asche 8 years
I just think that most rational adults wouldn't get on a motorcycle without a helmet (some states don't have helmet laws), so why is a bicycle any different? Miamixo: If the helmet feels awkward, you probably don't have the right one. I recommend going to a bike store (not general sporting goods store) and buying your helmet. They will know how to fit your properly so that you can find one that works for you, and they will trim any excess material left at the buckle (so it doesn't get in your way). If you force yourself to start wearing a helmet, you will get used to it. I NEVER used to wear a helmet, and one day I said to myself "this is it!" Since then, it feels awkward not to wear one.
fuzzles fuzzles 8 years
Oops! "pan"=pants. I forgot typing helmet.
fuzzles fuzzles 8 years
I'm about to say something that will likely make me unpopular on this post, but I am a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of gal for the most part, so I'll risk it. That said, I applaud those of you who opt to wear helmets for your athletic adventures. The key word here is "opt". As an adult who is fully capable of making personal safety decisions, I have an averse reaction to another adult who, based on their beliefs, chooses to press his or her choice on me. Do I wear a helmet? I may, or I may not. But that is MY choice. Period.
miamixo miamixo 8 years
It's not about how they look. I know I'm taking a huge risk but they just feel awkward and I've tried on many.
cg130 cg130 8 years
I ALWAYS wear a bike helmet!
runningesq runningesq 8 years
I do not, for the life of me, understand why people DO NOT wear helmets ! The cost/ benefit is ridiculous: $35-$75+ and looking "uncool" versus busting your head open, dying, ending up in a coma, etc. No brainer, and yes, pun intended. And if your bike helmet is in an accident - replace it ! A great reminder, Fit !!
Merlin713 Merlin713 8 years
People also need to know the correct way to put them on too!
Asche Asche 8 years
Sidenote: I love that this is filed under "rant" :)
Asche Asche 8 years
You have a point, Francoisehardly. Not enough people wear helmets while skiing, either. Do you while you ski, Fit?
Francoisehardly Francoisehardly 8 years
After what happened to Natasha Richardson (that was while sking, but same difference), I don't think I would risk it.
Asche Asche 8 years
oh, and I should add that i googled "halo+head accident" and that is the first photo that came up.
Asche Asche 8 years
Miamixo, PLEASE wear a helmet. Even if you're just biking around your neighborhood. Helmets may not look cute, but you know what looks even more unattractive? This:
miamixo miamixo 8 years
When I bike I don't wear one either. I know I should but I just don't like em.
kia kia 8 years
Helmets are one of the easiest safety precautions anyone can take. My town experienced a tragic accident in the last few weeks. We have a costume-themed cruiser ride on Thursday nights. Three local high school girls were on their way to the ride and on a bike path when two cyclists actually out for a ride whizzed past them in the opposite direction via a blind curve. One of the girls pedals was clipped by one of the faster cyclists. She was thrown over her handlebars, her head smacked into a concrete wall nearby and she sustained brain injuries. She almost died that night but was able to talk the next day. The full extent of her injuries still are not known but I hope she makes a full recovery before her senior year starts. Weird, unexpected stuff can happen on a bike. Better safe than sorry, wear a helmet.
Asche Asche 8 years
Thank you, Fit! I get so angry when I see people not wearing helmets. Especially when I see parents riding with their own children! Why force your kid to wear a helmet without setting an example? I always wear a helmet, no matter where I'm going...even if it's just around my neighborhood. A friend of mine was in a lengthy coma from a small head injury...Twice! You would think that after the first coma, she would have learned, but sadly she didn't. By the second injury she suffered just enough brain damage to have to quit her job and start a new, less stressful and demanding career. To someone who doesn't know her, she seems like a normal person, but I see the difference. Her life was really turned upside down from not choosing to protect her head while riding. I really hope that those choose to not protect their brains learn from the mistakes my friend, and the smart decisions by people like Matt Lauer and Lance Armstrong.
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