I was looking for some information on a new helmet to replace my aging one, when I came across this during a search on Yahoo!
I skimmed this FAQ about bicycle helmets, and what I read was not what I expected. Basically, this FAQ by OCBC (see link below) claim that helmets do little to save lives and in fact may do more harm than good. The arguments they put out tend to fall into 3 categories: 1. The protection that a helmet gives only mitigates damage from a standing fall, rarely does it actually save a life, 2. Helmets are a poor substitute for teaching good skills and give a false sense of security, 3. Mandating helmets cause people to drop out of cycling, thus increasing disease from a more sedentary lifestyle.
Here's the link for your viewing pleasure...
ONTARIO COALITION for BETTER CYCLING
Bicycle Helmet FAQ
The only part that I sort of agree on is point #2. It's human nature to go for a quick fix... not unlike people who don't wear seatbelts or get careless because they think their airbags will save them. And I do agree that good skills and a sharp eye are better preventative measures against cycling death than relying on a helmet.
The rest I don't buy. Especially their point dismissing helmets because they only mitigate minor damage rather than prevent death. Even if this is true, if a helmet can mean the difference between a concussion or a full blown fracture of my skull, I'll take the helmet. Sure, if I get hit by an 18-wheeler, my helmet won't mean much. But if it can save me from a disabling injury I can't recover from, even if it can't prevent certain death, I think it's worth it.
As for the last point: saying that helmets turn otherwise active people into couch potatoes (I'm exaggerating for effect here ) seems dubious to me. Although I tend to object to mandatory helmet laws just on principle... however, mandatory organ donar cards for non-helmeted riders are a different matter
So I put this FAQ and my humble opinions out here for others to comment. Yes, they do quote a lot of sources, but I am in no position to peer review their sources... being a researcher myself, I know how easy it is to find something out there that agrees with me, no matter out on the fringe the source might be.
What do you think?
-- R. Chan