Helmets – this is the argument …

Mikael Colville-Andersen (born January 29, 1968 in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada) is a Canadian-Danish urban designer and urban mobility expert. He is the CEO of Copenhagenize Design Company, which he founded in 2009, and he works with cities and governments around the world in coaching them towards becoming more bicycle friendly. He is a sought-after keynote speaker at design and architecture conferences and events around the world on the subjects of urbanism, liveable cities and bicycle history.

Take 15 minutes and listen to this TED talk by Mikael Coalville-Andersen. In it he eloquently articulates the reason it is more beneficial to not wear a bike helmet. On the one hand, it makes perfect sense to encourage more cyclist in our cities. It is healthier, cleaner, and the cities are certainly more livable. No question! And, that will happen, he argues, if cyclists are not compelled to wear helmets. And yes, the argument is backed by science. Numerable studies demonstrate that it is just as safe, perhaps safer, if you don’t wear a helmet when cycling.

My, my. This is a complicated debate.

Well, as one who has suffered from two concussions, it’s not that complicated. Any head injury can be debilitating. Minor, low-speed hits to the head can be just as dangerous as the high-speed incident I experienced. And, there can be no argument that protection worn on the head reduces the severity of the fall no matter how hard it may be.

Watch this video and let me know what you think. In particular, does wearing a helmet deter you from cycling? And if so, why?


8 thoughts on “Helmets – this is the argument …

  1. Most people I know, wearing a helmet does not deter them. Except for one woman who doesn’t want her hair messed up. Whatever.

    Yes, this argument is used often in terms of cost of helmet and carrying your helmet around with you.

    Have you been to the Netherlands? It is true that helmets are seldom worn but I do think the cycling speed is different and more cycling infrastructure.

    I am taking my helmet to Europe and a folding bike.

    My partner did all the grocery shopping and 90% of the housework for first 2 months. I could not stand in the kitchen and do small movements moving around doing stuff because I would get dizzy.

    My sleep was also affected..so see your doctor about this too.

  2. I hear that a lot from women. They don’t want to mess up their hair. Better that than rattle their brains.

    No, I haven’t been to the Netherlands. I would like to one day. You are right. Speed makes a difference but as I pointed out earlier, even a slow speed hit on the head can be debilitating. I know. I once fainted in the dressing room at one of the local swimming pools after a workout and hit my head on a one of the benches. I ripped the side of my head open for ~ 40 stitches and suffered a concussion that lasted for months. So, in my mind, there are no circumstances that warrant not wearing a helmet.

    It has been 10 days since my most recent accident. I’m still feeling dizzy and nauseous at times and have certainly limited my activities. I’m hoping that in another week I feel well enough to resume more physical activity. Time will tell. As you know full well, you have to be patient with head injuries.

  3. I think you need longer rest. Meaning several months. Please ask your doctor for an MRI on your head. Ask if you can see a neurologist or get tested. I was dizzy but not nauseous.

    I was monitored by my doctor nearly every 2 wks. for progress.

    Right now your brain is in its most vulnerable state just after injury. You need to rest and do nothing.

    I had several rounds of physiotherapy at a sports clinic. She herself had dealt with other concussion patients and some cyclists too. Physio will give you specific, safe exercises to regain your balance. This will take time.

    And dont’ drive a car now. No doctor will recommend this at all. It’s dangerous for you.

    Your son should cycle with you in a few months. I found myself initially hyper aware of my surroundings as I was cycling.

    • Thanks Jean. Yes, I plan to see my doctor next week. I had a complete CT scan at the trauma centre and nothing was found – no broken bones and no vessel damage. I’m taking it easy. Resting a lot. Walking some when I feel like it. Some days are better than others. I certainly understand these first days are the most critical.

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