Thursday, 17 November 2011

Helmet Habits

The Golden Child in the park
Most regular readers of my blog will know I wear a cycle helmet and do this to keep the OH happy. I am well aware of the arguments for and against helmet use and suppose I am pro choice on the subject (my wife gets to choose I should wear one and I get to choose the colour/model!).

On the negative side I find it annoying to carry and wear. Until I changed helmets last year, it was also very sweaty when I was working hard. I know it will not offer any substantial protection in the event of a RTC, can make some types of injuries worse and one study has shown may encourage some drivers to pass more closely. I also believe helmets are bad for cycling as a whole, making it seem like a dangerous activity and so putting some people off riding a bike as an everyday, normal activity. On the plus side it does make a good mount for my bullet cam and some little Knog Frog lights I purchased recently (separate post to come on these). It will also protect my good looks from a nasty case of facial/head road rash if I should come off!

The Golden Child has always worn a helmet, both on her own kiddie bike (with and without stabilizers) and when on the tagalong. Tonight I picked her up from school on the tagalong and we went to the local park. After locking the bike up I went to unclip her helmet but she wanted to keep wearing it. Her argument was she might fall when climbing, swinging, sliding, running, etc and bump her head. I was not overly concerned but it did make me smile a little. Her own assessment of things she does on a regular basis suddenly became dangerous activities, a helmet was deemed essential and she was not going to play without it. This lasted all of ten minutes before it became bit of a bind squeezing through little gaps and the cry came to unfasten it.

I was a little concerned I might seem like an overprotective father insisting she wear a helmet to the park but there wasn't much danger of this as the place was almost deserted. As we cycled home, on the road and in the dark, I thought how ridiculous it is expecting a piece of polystyrene to protect our skulls if a vehicle ploughs into the back of us at 30+ mph. I just make sure I ride defensively and that I/we are very visible. Helmets - a necessary evil as far as our family is concerned!


  1. Daz, the last place you want her to wear a lid is in a play-park. Google it please.

    Not saying this as a foo-stirring helmet hater either mate.

    On her bike, if it makes you & OH feel better, can't say I blame you one bit. There have been some really nasty accidents with helmet straps getting caught on play parks, climbing trees etc.,

  2. Ian

    Thanks for your concern, which I know is more than genuine.

    I am quite aware of the risks of helmet induced strangulation on play equipment and was very watchful for possible consequences and was ready to act if needed. Because I didn't make a big thing of it at the time I doubt she'll even be slightly interested in wearing it next time. It was a choice of let her have her way for a few minutes and then take it off when she got fed up of it or argue the case for a few minutes (with a 5 yr old girl!!!) then go home, both with bad tempers and angry faces with the tantrum lines drawn. Not much choice for me in the end i'm afraid.

    Risks doubly noted though. Thanks.

    P.S. I'm sure you appreciate I am not really a a big helmet advocate but, like Religion, I tolerate them. The battle to confront either (mis)belief head on is too great for one simple man to face alone. Faith vs science. Now that's a debate!