OpEd: The Unintended Consequences Of Bicycle Helmets

We should encourage people to cycle, not scare them away

It’s obviously important to have concern for bicyclists’ safety. There’s a gigantic industry for it. Flourescent paint (https://www.wired.com/2015/03/lifepaint-reflective-paint/), bells (http://www.ilovebicycling.com/why-use-a-bike-bell-5-of…/), lights (http://www.cyclingweekly.com/…/cycling-lights-buyers…), and of course head armor (https://inhabitat.com/new-life-saving-bike-helmet…/). The elephant in the room (or “bull in the china shop” as one commenter says) is cars.


“From personal experience I can attest that it is almost impossible, in the US at least, to have an intelligent conversation about bicycle helmets. The universal view is that you have to be crazy not to wear a helmet. Since I almost never wear a helmet this is not a good way to begin a productive conversation.

I think the issue is far more complex than most people believe. It’s a great example of unintended consequences, and that what seems obvious may not always be so.”

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