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Helmets make cycling less safe, says Dutch cycling union

Tuesday 28 February 2012

Helmets give cyclists a false sense of security and making helmets compulsory will lead to fewer people using their bikes, according to the Dutch cyclists' union in the latest edition of its magazine.

Cycling helmets can protect heads against severe brain injury if the bike is stationary, but at speeds of over 20 kph - easily reached when falling from a slow-moving bike - the helmet offers little protection, Theo Zeegers says in the article.

'It is notable that the number of mountain bikers and racing cyclists who end up in hospital with or without a helmet is almost the same,' Zeegers said. 'Helmets offer a false sense of security. Helmets offer no protection if you crash into a car and often don't help when no other vehicle is involved because they are not properly fitted.'

Rather than introducing the compulsory wearing of helmets, Dutch local councils should improve cycling lessons at schools and improve the provision of cycling lanes, the cyclists' union says.

Zeegers points to research by the Dutch traffic safety council which shows 60% of people would cycle less if helmets are made compulsory. And, he says, the public health institute RIVM calculates the cost to society of that would be much greater than the benefits brought by cycle helmets.

© DutchNews.nl



 

Readers' Comments

Less safe??? He says: "Helmets offer no protection if you crash into a car". What a totally ridiculous and untrue statement. Where in the world did he come up with this utter nonsense? Helmets are required for scooters and motorcycles, and for good reason. They protect peoples heads in an accident. Obviously he has some misguided ulterior motives with regards to this issue.

By stev95 | 28 February 2012 9:20 AM

Seriously? Only country in the world I bet who came to such conclusions.
Statistics on Mountainbikers with and without helmets - do they check stats on HEAR injuries? Or general broken bones and tears?
And saying that helmets help nothing cost their are not used properly same is with jumping with wrongly attached parachute. Doesnt do the job, does it?

By Ozzy | 28 February 2012 9:24 AM

How ridiculous. I've been saved a couple of times by my helmet, and although they can be a bit cumbersome and uncomfortable, I think they're a vital piece of safety wear.

By Mandy | 28 February 2012 9:40 AM

The first thing they can do is ban the bromfiets from the bicycle lanes! How many times have I almost crashed when a scooter races by at double my speed, and then swerves to avoid a parked bike sticking out, or a puddle of water!

By Rick Kane | 28 February 2012 10:25 AM

Unbelievable! Of course the cyclist union will say something like that... I just wonder which papers they have been studying. Don't they know (or have raed about) that a helmet protects even if you crash with a truck! I have learned that in Netherlands it is "uncool" to wear a helmet, but could the union or state even recommend it, if they don't want to make it compulsory? Positive change in attitudes toward helmets doesn't happen fast, but news like this make it even worse...

By Maria | 28 February 2012 10:33 AM

ahhhh how sweet - let's defend stupidity and defy common sense and logic!

By Bill | 28 February 2012 11:12 AM

Of course it's the helmets that give cyclers a false sense of security! It could never be the fact that they think they have the right away no matter where they are, even if they're wrong!

By Petra Ann | 28 February 2012 11:14 AM

The biggest dangers on the cycle paths are the restricted blue number plate scooters going at 50kph and groups of school kids riding on the wrong side of the road, never giving way to oncoming bikes and playing continuously with their iPhones and hardly ever paying attention. I even arrive at work extra early to get ahead of the school children as I do not want a head on collision! I cycle everywhere and notice these hazards all the time, and I do wear a helmet.

By Peter | 28 February 2012 11:30 AM

Norwegian authorities decided not to enforce helmets on bicycles/cycles because it would probably reduce cycling, and result in a much bigger loss in terms of public health than any gain through injury prevention. Studies on how much public health gain there is from cycling compared to increased injury varies, from factors of about 7 to many tens. Check out http://heatwalkingcycling.org /from WHO) and use default numbers, for one view of health savings.
For a recent critique of earlier studies concluding with vast injury prevention potential of bicycle helmets (which are very lightweight, brittle and frail compared to scooter helmets), check out the article of Rune Elvik on helmets. "Publication bias and time-trend bias in meta-analysis of bicycle ..." doi:10.1016/j.aap.2011.01.007

By Morten Lange | 28 February 2012 11:37 AM

The results of the scientific study performed by the Dutch Cyclists Federation shares the view of most cyclist NGOs in Europe. The conclusion is not surprisingly, if you know the science of helmets. All these tales of "a helmet saved my life!" are largely untrue - a helmet simply isn't designed to do so. But the helmet industry is happy to perpetuate the myths associated with helmets. In Europe, science is placed higher than myths and promoting cycling is the goal.

By Mikael | 28 February 2012 11:38 AM

I think also helmets improve pedestrians safety, especially when they pass the road. Actually, if you place each human being in a big bubble, they'd be even safer!

Let people decide themselves if and how they would like to protect themselves.

By Konio | 28 February 2012 11:46 AM

Seriously Mandy, if a cycle helmet has "saved" you several times, you need to learn to ride better or less dangerously.
Maria, you should remind the corpses of the London cyclists who crashed with trucks and buses that a helmet will save them.
Seriously, helmets are designed for impacts less than 15kmh (check the standards), and to put money in the manufacturers pockets.

By Phillip | 28 February 2012 12:03 PM

@stev95 - motorcycle helmets completely different construction, check all the stats after impacts show no notable reduction in serious head injuries with cycle helmet.
@Mandy - typical anecdotal story of how a helmet saved my life, utter garbage. Brain injury caused by brain slamming against skull> helmet must reduce the speed of by soaking up and decelerating the brain > post impact studies of cycle helmets show no compression of material to suggest any benefit. Add this to stats above = they do not work in current form - suggest motorcycle helmets might work? BTW pedestrians suffer more head injuries than cyclists, suggest compulsory motorcycle helmets for all, car drivers too.

By Wayne | 28 February 2012 12:25 PM

To answer Ozzy:
Yes, seriously !
And no, not the only country. Results in Australia and New Zealand are even worse for effectiveness of helmets
To Mandy; No, you don't know whether the helmet saved you, since you don't know what would have happened without helmets
To Maria: recently 2 dutch bikers were killed in Argentine by a truck. Of course a helmet does not help !
To Stev95: Even the Institute for Road Safety Research SWOV, who are known to be pro-helmet, agrees with me that a helmet is not an effective tool to project against car accidents. If you can read dutch, you can read it on their website ('Fietshelm').

Hope that answers all your questions.

By Theo Zeegers | 28 February 2012 12:27 PM

For those who don't understand how this works, here's a quick summary of the issue.

Yes, if you compared falling on your head with and without a helmet, you'll probably fare better with a helmet on.

But. The chances of that actually happening are greatly reduced with no helmet. Here's why:
* No helmet requirement: MUCH more cyclists on the road, makes drivers more aware of bike riders, reduces accidents significantly
* No helmet on: cyclist appears more fragile to driver, more likely to safely avoid cyclist
* False sense of security can lead to riskier behaviour and increase chance of accident

Having less accidents is a safer outcome than the small benefit that a helmet provides (ie by mitigating some of the damage, sometimes).

Helmet laws aren't the solution, they aren't even a positive change.

By Will | 28 February 2012 12:39 PM

The information quoted in the article refers to cycling in cities, not mountain biking or cycling racing, where speeds are much higher and risk of severe head injury much greater.
However, there are studies that show that requiring helmet use does negatively affect cycling rates. There are also studies showing that some injuries (ie spinal and neck) are actually worse when wearing a helmet. And it's not just cyclists who have a false sense of safety when riding wearing a helmet. Drivers have been shown to drive LESS cautiously around cyclists wearing helmets than those without. In any case, the Netherlands have great bike lanes and as a result a relatively low rate of cyclist/car accidents compared to other countries.

By Fiona | 28 February 2012 12:44 PM

BICYCLES SHOULD BE BANNED.
They are the biggest threat to to the pedestrians. A real menace.

By Walker | 28 February 2012 12:47 PM

In real accidents cycle helmets hardly ever seem to crush as designed (http://www.cpsc.gov/LIBRARY/FOIA/FOIA98/PUBCOM/34C7A89B.PDF), large changes in helmet use have not been followed by any demonstrable chttp://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?tool=pubmed&pubmedid=16565131) and the risk to the remaining cyclists has actually increased. (http://tsh.toi.no/?22436#2243630 and http://books.emeraldinsight.com/display.asp?K=9781848552500)

Children have been hanged by their helmet straps(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicycle_helmet#Accidental_hanging_by_helmet_straps).

Strange but true. But feel free to wear a helmet if you really want to.

By Richard Keatinge | 28 February 2012 12:55 PM

All you people complaining about this, no one is stopping you from wearing a helmet.

In the UK people are killed all the time, in spite of helmets, simply because there isn't proper provision for separating cyclists into bike lanes. There was also an experiment done in the UK which showed that drivers gave a wider space to cyclists without a helmet, compared to those wearing a helmet.

By Franchesca | 28 February 2012 1:41 PM

I cycle a lot, been hit by a car, had a few near misses including a truck, but at the same time would prefer to have the choice to wear a helmet instead of having a Nanny State impose it on me. I'll take my own risks thanks. More education on road and traffic awareness is needed. A lot of cyclists here seem to think they're bombproof and the rules of the road don't apply to them as they wobble out in traffic. Having said that I still find the unions comments baffling.

By @CluthaDubh | 28 February 2012 1:44 PM

A court case in the UK (according to http://www.cyclehelmets.org) concluded that a cycle helmet conforming to the European standard offered NO additional protection to a cyclist falling from a stationary bicycle onto a flat surface!

A study by Bath university (http://bbc.in/xB1NLC) suggests that wearing a helmet is more dangerous because drivers pass more closely.

And Stev95 - the article is about cycle helmets - of course you'd be much better protected if you wore a motorcycle helmet - but no country that I know of is considering making the wearing of motorcycle helmets compulsory for riding a bike.

By Mike | 28 February 2012 1:45 PM

A lot of vitriol against the Cyclists' Union.

But read the opinion of someone who tests these things for a living and you might end up agreeing with them: http://cyclehelmets.org/papers/c2023.pdf

By John | 28 February 2012 1:56 PM

"The helmet offers little protection". I'd rather have "little protection" than no protection at all.

By Jayo | 28 February 2012 2:22 PM

There is some evidence to support the claims, though my feeling is that the supporting evidence has been misunderstood. Safety in Numbers theory suggests that there is less injuries in places where the mode of travel is used more than the norm world wide. Netherlands has massive bike use, and thus, per person has lower injuries due to bike related mishap. This is not however proof helmets have no effect one way or another. Data is more tainted by attitudes to not to ride a bike rather than have a helmet when helmet laws are introduced. I would love to see the Unions supporting evidence for their research into the issue.

By Darrell Mennie | 28 February 2012 2:38 PM

Another fact is that number of people killed by contamination is three times higher in Holland than cyclists killed in accidents. Read the complete article in http://www.fietsersbond.nl/nieuws/fietsersbond-onderzoekt-helpt-de-helm

By Koos | 28 February 2012 3:02 PM

Norwegian authorities decided not to enforce helmets on bicycles/cycles because it would probably reduce cycling, and result in a much bigger loss in terms of public health than any gain through injury prevention. Studies on how much public health gain there is from cycling compared to increased injury varies, from factors of about 7 to many tens. Check out the website heatwalkingcycling-dot-org (from WHO) and use default numbers, for one view of health savings.
( I shortened my comment and obfuscate dthe URL, to see if it gets published more swiftly. My commment from some hours ago is still pending )

By Morten Lange | 28 February 2012 3:11 PM

When a young friend of mine was sitting in her bike seat and a student came hurtling by, texting, my friend was catapulted out of her seat and without her helmet the result would have been morbid. As would my crash at slow speed on a racing bike have been. I have a soft spot for helmets - the soft spot on my head they protect!

By Lin | 28 February 2012 3:23 PM

Setting aside anecdotes, is there any evidence that helmets would serve any purpose in The Netherlands?

My understanding is that there are very few fatal accidents. It would be interesting to know in how many of those cases, in say the past year, a helmet might have prevented a fatality (if death resulted from sustaining a head injury). Similarly in the case of non-fatal accidents: would any have been less severe if a helmet had been worn?

The notion that helmets induce a false sense of security, whatever the motive behind making such a claim, rings true to me.

By Sam Vega | 28 February 2012 3:50 PM

Little protection is better than NO protection it could be the difference of life or death, I find his statement both stupid and wreckless!

By AndyT | 28 February 2012 4:35 PM

I am only walking thanks to a Giro helmet. 56kph into a car. The helmet was destroyed and took the impact energy perfectly. The man is a fool. The driver, well... :)

Helmets have been compulsory in Australia for many years now, might help them to go check how it worked our for the Aussies...

By LidLover | 28 February 2012 4:47 PM

They are not the only people who come to this conclusion. If you have 10 minutes spare from putting on your helmets maybe you'd like to watch this...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07o-TASvIxY

I agree helmets have their uses. James Cracknell of Olympic fame was saved by one, but he was hit on the back of the head by the mirror of a fast moving truck. I only wear one when out on a race bike, any other time they seem quite unnecessary.

By Noggin | 28 February 2012 4:55 PM

I think commenter (whoever it was) who compared bicycle helmets to the helmets worn by motorcyclists is not understanding the difference between bike helmets and motorcycle helmets... apples and oranges.
I do think Rick Kane's comment about banning scooters from bike paths is right on... they are far more dangerous to fietsers than not wearing helmets. And I know, that if I had to wear a helmet I would be spending less time on the bike.

By Quince | 28 February 2012 6:51 PM

I can not imagine how Dutch have been managing riding their fiets! Indeed unbelievable! Thanks so much, all of you Marias, Ozzys Ricks and Mandys for putting things straight. Now if only more Dutch people could read that!

By madjestic | 28 February 2012 6:53 PM

'It is notable that the number of mountain bikers and racing cyclists who end up in hospital with or without a helmet is almost the same,'

That statement is highly misleading. You would need to know the ratio of cyclist with and without helmet, the total of accidents and the ratio of accidents that end up in hospital and the ones that do not. False statistics are a common weapon agains the ignorance of the populace.

By Isaac | 28 February 2012 7:24 PM

The numbers are unfortunately not clear cut. In countries like Australia that have had mandatory helmets for years, there has been a reduction in fatal cyclist incidents. HOWEVER, there has been a disproportionate increase in the incidents of paralysation and brain hemorrhage (due to the brain shifting during impact.) It's true, bicycle helmets protect against low speed impacts/skull fractures. They're poor at just about everything else due to a few inherent design choices (namely zero neck protection and a large 'brim'.)

By Kyl | 28 February 2012 8:08 PM

The real issue of cyclist safety is about good infrastucture and lowering traffic speed -- the things which teh Duthc have done so well. In Australia we have complusory helmets which is essentailly about doing little to improve cylcing safety because it provides a snese of safety but not address the real issues 9outliend above). It is ridiculous to think that helmets are the panecea. We look to the Dutch for inspiration.

By Victoria | 28 February 2012 8:29 PM

What kind of message does this send to our children. Children have increased risk factors as they get used to the road. It pains me to see children cycling around without helmets when it only takes one incident to seriously injure them. Children's brains are still developing and growing therefore the skull is softer and more vulnerable.
Children are the very people that should be encouraged to wear helmets so that it is less offputting to be told to wear one, if authorities want to enforce it, once they become adults. Talk about a self fulfilling prophecy.

By Eiram | 28 February 2012 10:09 PM

stev95 A scooter and motorcycle helmet is different from a bike helmet. A bikehelmet is a styrofoam cup that is DESIGNED only to protect from superficial scrapes from falling at near walking speed. It cannot, by DESIGN, protect you from braindamage when hit by a car. A motorhelmet CAN because it's DESIGNED to do so. You cannot wear a motorhelmet when cycling because cycling is exercise and exercise makes bodyheat which needs to escape. Wear a motorhelmet when cycling and you will overheat and have a heatstroke or faint. So to compare the two is, quite frankly, ridiculous. Apples and pears.

By Marion | 29 February 2012 1:14 AM

It just cannot be denied that a helmet provides a cyclist with greater protection from brain damage during accidents. But no doubt it is a cumbersome thing to wear. I wish greater attention would be paid to stop bromers dashing along cycle paths. They are indeed a greater risk to cyclists than anything else.

By A Concerned Citizen | 29 February 2012 7:37 AM

maybe look at this from another angle. Motorcycling helmets are considerably tougher and more cover more of the face/neck than a typical cycle helmet which is designed to stop knocks to the head. Additionally the difference in speed between a car and a bike will make the helmet almost redundant to other body parts that will get mangled. I am not saying he is right on this though. I do think he is right that people will cycle less, but then I would not think the dutch will actually do this; lets face it, scooter riders must wear helmets and cyclists must have lights. But all that does not seem to be inforced.

By Julian | 29 February 2012 8:25 AM

Helmets are indeed like prayers. Only the ones using them, think they do work. In reality, (bycicle) helmets protect only against minor scratches but do not offer real protection against concussions.
The helmets, as the prayers, are just placebos

By Benito Camelas | 29 February 2012 8:53 AM

Did really someone propose to make helmets compulsory ? What a stupid idea! It will be safer because there will be much less bikers around and much more stressed people in a country that doesn't have any room for cars.
Who is pushing for this idea ? Cars manufacturers or helmet manufacturers ?
In any case who already owns a helmet had better find a chain for it, thefts will spike.

By cyclist | 29 February 2012 8:54 AM

I have a friend that had a close call once with her dog and young children when the dog took after a rabbit and subsequently ran in front of their motorized bike, almost causing an accident. Thus my friend and her small children wear helmets now and let me tell you, they sure get some strange looks. I admire her though - safety SHOULD trump fashion every time.

By Stupid | 29 February 2012 9:23 AM

I was living in the UK when legislation requiring the use of seatbelts in cars was introduced. There was an outcry from a minority. They said you would safer in a crash without a belt! This reaction concerning cycle helmets is not very different and just as ill-informed.

And I totally agree with Rick Kane above re brommers (except when ridden by old ladies!)

By RLD | 29 February 2012 10:00 AM

I think it should be up to the cyclist to decide.My head my choice.

By jason buttle | 29 February 2012 10:00 AM

So who of the commenters above honestly think they know better than the greatest and most normalized cycling nation in the world?

In New Zealand where I live, as with our neighhours in Australia, helmet laws have done enormous damage to cycling numbers, usually understood to lead to a 30% immediate drop. Less people cycling is less safe cycling: Less cycling has in turn has made the road a scarier place and so after decades our cycling modal share is now under 1%.

If you actually take a little time to research this issue you'll see that the reality, while counter-intuitive, is not too hard to understand.

By Tim Gummer | 29 February 2012 10:05 AM

Data from Australia and New Zealand, where helmets are a legal requirement, show that the Dutch cycling union is right. The benefits of cycle helmets have been massively exaggerated, and the consequences have been very negative for everyday cycling.

By Kim | 29 February 2012 10:42 AM

An Australian, Molly Meldrum, promoted cycle helmets when they were made compulsory in 1992. Promoted not by the cyclists union but by the Australian College of Surgeons. This same man, before Christmas, fell off a ladder hanging up decorations - sustained life threatening head injuries. Yes, he's recovering, out of ICU, but heads don't respect hard surfaces. This report's statistical evidence is not quoted - perhaps it ought to be.

By Owen | 29 February 2012 12:16 PM

What is this false sense of security they're referring to? I don't think anyone would be stupid enough to change the way they normally bike to work into something reckless enough to be comparable to mountain biking. What an biased and idiotic statement. Besides, the whole "helmets not being properly fitting most of the time" -comment is based on nothing. If it were to be true, it is easily addressed with a little bit of guidance. I'm really disappointed that someone in Zeegers position has opinions like this. That's what it is by the way; an opinion, because there's no evidence supporting his statement. He probably got picked on in school for wearing a helmet and is still angry

By Lapa | 29 February 2012 1:49 PM

The helmet is handy but in the Netherlands it's completely worthless, considering the kamikaze (read reckless and irresponsible) approach from the majority of the bikers when cruising on their omafietsen...

By Tiago | 29 February 2012 1:58 PM

@ Stev95 I think you confuse motorcycle helmets with bike helmets...
@Ozzy - Seeing as more people cycle in NL than anywhere else I imagine they might be worth listening to.

By Renee | 29 February 2012 1:58 PM

Theo Zeegers - a Genius! ;) I'm going to follow his logic and drive my car drunk tonight, because it will make me pay more attention to my safe driving skills. As someone else said, stop Scooters from being in the bike lanes (and yellow plates too!). Also enforce bike traffic laws (with fines), and you'll see safety improve. I'd love to see the stats regarding bike accidents at intersections where the auto had the right of way. At least make children under 16 wear helmets.

By DH | 29 February 2012 2:42 PM

"Dutch local councils should improve cycling lessons at schools". No, they should give extra lessons on bicycle safety to drivers of cars and scooters.

By Pip | 29 February 2012 4:26 PM

If helmets don't help why do all the serious cyclists wear them - even in the Netherlands? Every cycling club I see out road racing or training - they are wearing helmets.

By TB | 29 February 2012 4:38 PM

the helmet manufacturers are wringing their hands in glee, with a dollar sign in their eyes

By Dave Ausma | 29 February 2012 5:28 PM

How about traveling light. If I wanted to go around all day carrying my helmet I would have got a motorbike.

By Andi Stancu | 29 February 2012 5:48 PM

All the people who are surprised that the Dutch Cycling Union reached the conclusion that cycle helmets don't make you any safer are obviously not in possession of the facts. Nowhere with a helmet law or massive rise in helmet wearing because of propaganda campaigns can show any reduction in risk to cyclists, and some research shows a rise in risk with helmet wearing.

Check out cyclehelmets.org for a few facts rather than the helmet promotion fairy tales.

By Richard Burton | 29 February 2012 7:48 PM

What nonsense. The number in the hospital might be the same between helmeted and non-helmeted, but the number in the morgue is different. And the notion that they don't work above 20 mph is also dumb. That's precisely when they are most important, they may not stop a broken arm, but they'll save a broken brain.

By Peter | 29 February 2012 10:50 PM

@Maria: Maybe they've been studying papers by people who test cycle helmets for a living. Like this one: http://cyclehelmets.org/papers/c2023.pdf

By John | 29 February 2012 11:12 PM

I think the bike helmet needs a re-design, perhaps to be more like a hockey helmet. You're going to sweat a lot more playing hockey than you are biking and it covers your ENTIRE head without that stupid brim. Add a hockey stick on your shoulder and you're almost Canadian! :P

But seriously, I wonder how many anti-helmet people are also fashionistas and just don't want to "look dumb." And to all those who think: "It should be my choice - my head" need to rethink this opinion. We live in a SOCIETY, and when you get yourself into an accident, it is society that has to cover the cost of that accident - the cash you've slaved away and paid toward insurance will only do so much. So no, it's not an isolated issue.

By Stupid | 1 March 2012 9:37 AM

Even if a helmet law was introduced at least 80% would ignore it anyway ..... it would be unenforceable & the police would properly refuse to anyway

By denhaag | 1 March 2012 11:09 AM

I think that even more improvement of the infrastructure, and better lessons to both young cyclist as future car owners might do more then the obligation for cyclist to wear a helmet.

Start making places 30 km zones, more and more instead of waiting until a neighborhood is asking for it. Maybe make people with a drivers licence do a test every say 4-8 years, if they fail bye bye drivers licence.

If a bicycle helmet does help, (I am not convinced, but I an not going to judge what study is more correctly), do your best to promote it during those school lessons, and on TV, especially on TV, just MAKE the helmet cool .

By Niek Deurloo | 1 March 2012 4:49 PM

Perhaps it would be better to educate drivers NOT to kill cyclists. I have been driven straight at deliberately by macho van drivers, accidently by an elderly woman who couldn't see me as she turned right, had a car try to park on top of me whilst I cycled in a bus lane with double yellow lines, I could go on for pages.
Police just turn up to tick their attended accident box and then disappear to leave yo to go to hospital.
The patron Saint of car bigots probably hates cyclists, he probably feels that we should all be killed.

By Kenneth Baker | 1 March 2012 6:12 PM

TB, the reason racers and serious cyclists wear helmets is the same reason car racers wear helmets. If safety were truly the issue we would use helmets whenever we drive a vehicle as a great majority of auto accident injuries could have been avoided if helmets had been worn. Bicycle helmets should be worn any time you are sharing the road with vehicles but when you are riding bike-specific paths or in parks it should not be mandatory. Educate cyclists and impose fines for dangerous riding; mandatory helmet laws is not the way to go!

By Arjan | 2 March 2012 4:48 AM

TB: To quote Luke Mansell:
Cycling isn't a monolith. Compulsory helmet laws do not allow that some cycling is based in utility, some is upright, some is calm, most is slow and almost all is safe. Sure, some cycling is best described as an extreme sport, but not all. There may very well be danger in down hill off-road racing or a 600 km randonneuring challenge. This danger does not copy to the utility cycling. Darwin seeks to promote.

Is everyone on the Tour de France? Should all cyclist have a support car with a mechanic hanging out the window adjusting the brakes? Would Skoda be able to supply that many cars just in case someone has a brake failure?! It might happen! Perhaps an upright utility bike rider might have a huge, high-speed crash going down a mountain at 70km/h on their 1.5km trip to the shops to pick up the paper or milk and bread.

Let's apply this deficit of logic to motorists. Should they wear a 5 point racing harness, in a roll cage, wearing a fireproof suit (picture the Stig) because the Bathurst 1000 had a pile up or a top fuel drag car caught on fire. We can differentiate between the two, can't we?

By John Lieswyn | 19 March 2012 11:28 PM

In fact you are all talking about different things. Helmets are very useful for road bikes which are less stable, where the body is more inclined and where feet are strapped/clipped on pedals. Same for mountain bikes where terrain is very challenging and falls much more frequent. I also had a road bike in the past and remember skidding on tramway lines in Boston and slamming my head on the ground, I was very glad I had a helmet this day. However, for utility cycling (which is the vast majority of cycling in the Netherlands), you usually have a Dutch style kind of bike which is very stable, has an upright position aon separated bike lanes and flat terrain

By Philippe Morgan | 6 February 2013 4:33 AM

As a consequence, I rode a bike for years in the Netherlands and never fell on my head. I might have fallen a few times (very rarely) but since you are almost in a standing position anyway this is rare. So basically yes in the Netherlands wearing a helmet probably is more of an inconvenience compared to the benefits it brings. But it doesn't mean helmets are not useful for road cyclists and mountain bikers, we are just talking about two different things here.

By Philippe Morgan | 6 February 2013 4:42 AM

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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