For adults we think riding a bicycle with or without a helmet is a personal choice. This personal decision should be based on the surrounding riding conditions, the rider’s age and experience, the type of riding the person is doing, and someone’s general overall risk assessment.
If you’re choosing to wear a bicycle helmet, read our helpful bicycle helmet safety tips on fit and comfort – and why you should replace your helmet every five years.
There’s a lot already written on the heated topic of whether riders should wear a bicycle helmet, and even if laws should mandate wearing a helmet. Although there’s no federal law mandating that bicycle riders strap a shell on their noggins, 22 states have laws regarding bike helmets.
For different perspectives on the helmet debate, you can read the following articles:
- Momentum Magazine – “The Great Debate Around Cycling Helmet Laws“
- Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute – “Should I Wear a Bike Helmet?“
- Grist – “Do helmets really keep cyclists safer?“
- City Lab – “Do Bicycle Helmet Laws Really Make Riders Safer?“
- Howie Chong – “Why It Makes Sense To Bike Without A Helmet“
- Vox – “Stop forcing people to wear bike helmets“
Instead of spending energy debating a personal choice of whether to wear a helmet, we think it’s more important that we, collectively, advocate for safer and better bicycle infrastructure to encourage more people to get on bikes. We believe changing the riding conditions in our cities to make bicycling safer – more protected and separated bike lanes, lower speed limits for everyone, and better designed streets for all mobilities – will ultimately do more to protect riders.
In one of the safest cycling countries in the world, the Netherlands, riders rarely wear helmets, according to Co.Exist. That’s because the country’s infrastructure prioritizes cyclists, and as a result, that gear becomes almost superfluous. In countries like the US and UK, having to wear helmets might be a “failure of policy,” according to the British blog Alternative Department for Transport.