The anti-helmet goddess

Yesterday when I was cycling home I was a fitness goddess. Today I had steam coming out of my ears because as I was cycling uphill and at little more than walking pace, a woman called out to tell me I should be wearing a helmet. Aside from the fact that I was wearing a helmet, it’s really none of her business. I didn’t shout out telling her to lose weight – “it’s a health risk to be overweight, didn’t you know?” 

I’ve written about helmets on my blog several times and can’t really be bothered doing it again. But I have been meaning to post a series of Tweets which were posted by @modacitylife after a recent trip to the Netherlands. The Netherlands is the safest country in the world to be a cyclist and yet practically no-one wears a helmet.


17 responses to “The anti-helmet goddess”

  1. Because you do not have to wear a helmet and drag it with you all day, Dutch people use the bike for everything. Because so many people use the bike, it is save. Safety comes in numbers and cars drive more carefully and slowly when there are many bikes around.

    Cars drive more carelessly when someone wears a helmet; cars give bikes less space because it looks saver.

    Your secret helmet may be the most save option if it does not make you bike less. I have the impression it does not, fitness goddess.

    • You are absolutely right! There is safety in numbers, cars give cyclists without a helmet more space, and there’s even evidence that cycling with a helmet makes you take more risks. That said, I think my invisible helmet is probably the safest of all the options and no, it doesn’t make me cycle less. I’m out on my bike everyday.

  2. If you were cycling in the countryside in parts of Wales, a normal cycle helmet would be advisable as Red Kites (big birds of prey, about the size of a buzzard) sometimes go for people’s heads…

  3. I wear a helmet.. but I think that barreling down rural cycle tracks at 20mph is more of a risk than going around at 10mph in a traffic free urban zone..

    Plus my wife insists. And the ‘I told you so’s’ would be worse than the head injury..

  4. The vehemence of views on cycle helmets is in stark contrast to the paucity of evidence for or against their effectiveness. It is a great affirmation of the view that the human brain is driven by emotion rather than logic. I do though wear one most of the time on a bike – it makes an excellent high level light mount.

    Sadly, much, much worse has been shouted at me whilst on a bike. I find smiling and blowing a kiss back is the best response. But then I’m 6’4″ and no oil painting.

  5. >I didn’t shout out telling her to lose weight – “it’s a health risk to be overweight, didn’t you know?”

    Hahaha. On a serious note, great post!

  6. I go to France every year and cycle all the time, going shopping, to the beach,to the local town and on the various cycle pistes. I use a helmet on the longer trips but not for the short ones. At home, we don’t go cycling much at all, as the country lanes are tricky with cars racing round them.

    However, we went cycling with my sister-in-law in Somerset last week and she lost her balance at a T junction and fell back with her head hitting the tarmac. Since she was wearing a helmet, she was merely a bit shaken. Accidents can happen!

    • I don’t think anyone can argue that if you bang your head against a hard surface you’re better off wearing a helmet when you do it. The same is true if you’re walking, jogging, or sitting in a car. It’s not an argument for compulsory helmet legislation, in my view.

      • that is the thing I don’t understand, the fixation on cycling to the exclusion of all other activities where you could bang your head; driving a car, walking on rough ground or just tripping over a kerb in the city, using stairs, climbing a ladder, getting out of the bath, being in an old building with low beams – there’s no logic to it, no assessment of actual risk, just some kind of mass hysteria. It’s very strange

      • I’m not in favour of compulsory helmet legislation either. I am quite happy for individuals to take responsibility for their own safety.

        We used to go to a very large campsite (over 1000 pitches) in France, when our sons were growing up. There were masses of children of all ages cycling around the site on bikes as fast as they could go. It was manic, but I think it sharpened up their reflexes no end. One son told us years later that he learnt not to cycle without hands on the handlebars here!

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