The bike helmet, it’s certainly an emotive issue amongst cyclists and seemingly one with no simple answer. There are many for and against advocates who constantly voice strong opinions on the matter and equally there is much evidence to back up both sides of the argument. So who is right? There is no doubt a helmet can reduce the risk of severe head injuries and even death but this is very dependent on the type of accident, let’s be honest a helmet will do nothing if you tangle with a lorry, it’s simply not designed for such high impact collisions.
Even though every club I know or have dealt with has a compulsory helmet policy, there is currently no legislation within the UK that requires you to wear a helmet; it is purely down to individual choice. Like most UK and Irish cycling clubs, VC Iveagh employ a zero tolerance rule when it comes to helmet safety with the remit that it’s better being safe than sorry. However, there is no way to enforce this policy when riders are out on solo training runs. So, why enforce a policy for group rides if the decision is down to individual choice?
Recently one of our members crashed while out on a group ride, unfortunately it was a case of touching wheels with an estimated speed of between 20-25mph. The rider went down with the left side of his helmet taking the brunt of the impact, not one person in the club has or had any doubt that the injury would have been a lot more serious if a helmet had not be worn. The helmet in question was a Giro Aeon and it basically took the impact upon hitting the tarmac. As you can see from the images below, the externals and internals of the helmet broke apart while absorbing the impact and cushioning the blow to the head, exactly what a helmet is supposed to do. So while there are neurosurgeons who suggest wearing a helmet will give you no protection whatsoever, I have seen enough accidents in my time spent on the roads to completely disagree.
Rather than preaching the rights and wrongs of wearing a helmet, we would suggest you take the time to do a little research into the subject matter. There are a plethora of sites that try and validate the pros and cons of helmet safety with some industry big hitters like Bradley Wiggins and Chris Boardman becoming embroiled in the matter. There is no doubt that safety benefits do exist when wearing a helmet but they must be taken as a whole, if you ride safely rather than depending on protective gear you will significantly increase your chances of staying safe.