There is a debate in the world of cycling that always becomes heated no matter the situation: should we have a choice in whether we wear helmets when we ride our bikes? Countries like Australia have already brought in mandatory helmet laws but so many have fallen behind in their health and safety legislation.

Your safety (as well as the safety of others) should be top priority when riding your bike and we hear a lot of unsubstantiated claims in the debate against mandatory helmet use that prevents governments from properly protecting the public – so we thought we should set the record straight on a few of these.

Here are the popular arguments against the idea of bringing in mandatory helmet laws and why, frankly, we feel that they are simply untrue.

The Government Have No Place Telling Us What To Wear

While we are all for choice, there are limits, and the government will only legislate if they think it’s best. It is illegal not to wear a seatbelt in a car, this is an essential safety precaution, and few people would argue against this. Sometimes the government must interfere if they feel people are putting their lives in danger without knowing any better.

Helmet Laws Make Cycling Appear Dangerous

Just like the inclusion of laws making it necessary for cyclists to use a light on their bike at night has done nothing to dissuade numbers of cyclists’ year on year, the likelihood that helmet laws will do this is also slim to none. Driving a car is statistically the far more dangerous activity and even then people are not put off by this as we never see a decrease in the number of motorists.

You Don’t Need a Helmet If You Don’t Cycle In Traffic

Cycling off-road may present more hazards than you might think – unexpected ditches and animals running across your path could knock you off your back and cause you to have a nasty crash. 

Australian Helmet Laws Haven’t Worked

While it may be true that the targets the government set itself for injury prevention were not as high as they set themselves, the amount of cycling related head injuries were reduced by 41%. This is a huge change and for the better, a head injury could be the most life changing event in a person’s life and should be prevented at all costs. 

Helmets Contribute To Injuries

This one always manages to baffle us. A common argument is that by adding weight to the rider’s head that they increase the likelihood of injury, which simply isn’t true. When there is impact in a crash, the weight is unimportant as it is the helmet that is between the head and the ground/object so the helmet will take the brunt of force. It is also worth noting that motorcycle helmets are far heavier than cycling helmets and yet no one would dispute their vitalness.  

Helmets Are Either Too Pricey Or Flimsy

While it may be true that you get what you pay for in some instances, an inexpensive but quality cycling helmet can cost as little as £30. It’s important to remember that, like your bike, your helmet is an investment that will pay itself back over time. You can’t put a price on your safety.

Whether you cycle using a gravel road bike, or something a bit more adventurous in a mountain bike, it is important to remember to don your helmet – irrespective of the law! Safety first.

Published by Maria Simpson