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No I really don't need a cycle helmet... or do I?

(102 Posts)
Mrskipling Fri 29-Apr-22 10:06:31

On the one hand, it's a bit health and safety gone mad. I've been cycling for half a century, on and off. Never had a helmet, don't need one now, and a peaked cap keeps the sun out of my eyes better.

On the other hand, I've been chatting to a couple of cyclists my age (60s) recently who are horrified I don't have one and recommend I should get one pronto. And "nobody thought seat belts were necessary until they became compulsory, but who would think of not wearing one now?".

Any thoughts?

Nightsky2 Fri 29-Apr-22 11:27:18


I should probably add that I mostly just cycle in parks and on cycle paths, and quite slowly. Luckily we have cycle paths quite close to the house, so no need to go on the roads.

You’ve only got to fall off once!

Blossoming Fri 29-Apr-22 11:31:42

I would wear one. I already have a devastating brain injury, I don’t want another.

BlueBelle Fri 29-Apr-22 11:32:49

I have cycled out and about on the roads for about 65 of my 77 years I ve never worn a helmet and probably never will, reading that back it sounds really arrogant and I m not arrogant at all but I think I m more in danger crossing the road or being a passenger in a car than going at my speed on mostly cycle paths or none traffic areas

Yes I could fall off and hit my head but I m more likely to fall downstairs at home and I m not wearing one in the house ?

I would happily encourage any children to wear them (grandkids all in cars now and probably in a lot more danger than me)

Very interesting read Petera to see Cycling U.K. are anti helmets believing they are not of a much use and could mean more neck injuries I didn’t know that thanks for the link

Chestnut Fri 29-Apr-22 11:35:02

I think you should buy one and use if necessary. If you're cycling in quiet residential streets or safe off-road cycle tracks then maybe not, but definitely use it in built up areas or open roads where cars travel more quickly. Although remember that an accident can happen anywhere, and it only has to happen once.

mumofmadboys Fri 29-Apr-22 11:36:35

I am a cyclist and always wear a helmet. Your skull and its contents are much more fragile as you age.

Mrskipling Fri 29-Apr-22 11:37:40


I write this as someone who wears a helmet and insists my grandson does too, but there really isn't any evidence I'm aware of beyond anecdotal they do any good. You can find a summary here

What there is evidence for is wearing a motorcycle helmet while driving a car (something like 15% of traumatic brains injuries come from car accidents) but strangely no-one seems to suggest this.

Thank you petera that makes interesting reading. I was assuming that their report would be in favour of helmets. Quite surprising to see that they aren't.

LtEve Fri 29-Apr-22 11:39:07

I’m a paramedic and have seen some fatalities and serious head injuries caused at low speeds when not wearing a helmet. I have also seen many where the helmet has been seriously mangled and the cyclist has walked away. Anecdotal evidence I know but I certainly wouldn’t cycle without one.

mumofmadboys Fri 29-Apr-22 11:39:23

The article is 3 years old. I wonder if more up to date research is available

mumofmadboys Fri 29-Apr-22 11:42:15

I was on a U3A cycle ride once going down narrow country lanes. A driver squeezed past one of our group, a fit man of 80. He clipped his handle bars. The cyclist came off and sustained a head injury. He was wearing a helmet. He had a big intracranial bleed and after 6 months in hospital died. Very, very sad.

silverlining48 Fri 29-Apr-22 11:57:14

Always wear a helmet ⛑

Glorianny Fri 29-Apr-22 12:03:59

Ask any doctor who works in A&E this question and they will always say you need one. You might not fall off, you might not hit your head but if it does happen and you're not wearing a helmet they are the people who have to treat you.

Blossoming Fri 29-Apr-22 12:13:29

Yes I could fall off and hit my head but I m more likely to fall downstairs at home and I m not wearing one in the house

True, but for me it’s about managing risk. I have an untreated cerebral aneurysm and any bang on the head is a real danger. Also my neurosurgeon would have the vapours.

It’s a choice.

tickingbird Fri 29-Apr-22 12:33:17

Yes you most certainly do need to wear a helmet. I cycle regularly, usually with a road cycling club but occasionally on my own or with a friend. I have come off a few times because I wear cleats on my shoes so not so easy to get my foot out and on the ground. Twice I’ve given my head a good bang and the helmet prevented any damage. I once toppled over whilst at a standstill and hit the back of my head really hard and if it wasn’t for the helmet…..

Please wear one. Our heads are heavy and all to easy to take a nasty bang. Not worth the risk.

MissAdventure Fri 29-Apr-22 12:41:14

I did know someone who was a very keen cyclist for many years.
He went on a 6 week holiday to family in Canada, and set out on the first day to go out cycling with his son.

I'm sure I don't need to spell out the rest, but it was simply a tumble off his bike, about 5 mins away from his sons house.

SueDonim Fri 29-Apr-22 12:46:38

My friend still suffers the consequences of a brain injury from a cycling hit-and-run event almost forty years ago. She wore a helmet, even back then. She’d probably have died, otherwise.

hilz Fri 29-Apr-22 12:51:12

Please wear one.
Some years ago my friend took a simple tumble off his bike and a knock on the kerbside caused a cerebral bleed that killed him. A helmet may have prevented it.
Such a simple thing to do that may prevent catastrophic head injury.

jaylucy Fri 29-Apr-22 12:58:01

Even if you only cycle through parks and quiet lanes where there is no or little traffic, you still need to wear one however long you have been riding!
It's like saying that you have been driving for X number of years and don't need an eye test !
My cousin hit an unseen pothole and was flipped over his handlebars. He thought like you did, that a helmet wasn't necessary. He has brain damage .

silverlining48 Fri 29-Apr-22 13:00:36

Close relative works in neurology and her children have always worn helmets and still do. She knows at first hand the permanent damage a fall can do.

nadateturbe Fri 29-Apr-22 13:09:33

It is a wonderful organisation with dedicated staff. It's lovely that your son supports them.
I haven't been involved for quite a few years, but they were very helpful to me recently when I had a (minor) head injury. Really caring people.
As you say, if people saw the injuries sustained they would wear a helmet.

Katek Fri 29-Apr-22 13:10:22

It’s not the speed Bluebelle it’s the landing. I fell over in my own bedroom from a height of around 5ft and fractured a hip. You sit on a bike at app that height so you can do some significant damage if you fall off. Quiet lanes and cycle paths are also hard surfaces - lack of other traffic doesn’t mean you won’t injure yourself.

M0nica Fri 29-Apr-22 14:56:36

Mrskipling My sister's attitude was the same as yours. It was in the 80s, she had been cycling around central London for 20 years or more without incident, she also had big hair and did not want to crush it with a helmet.

But one day a lorry came up to a T junction in a quiet part of central London. It was a tree lined road, lined with parked cars, which entirely hid her from the lorry driver. He was turning right, very slowly, so as he came out he was looking left for traffic from that direction and did not see the cyclist on his right. His lorry just clipped her rear wheel. She fell off and cracked her head on the curb and died three days later.

You may say 'Well I will be dead' so it doesn't matter. Have you thought what effect your death or lifetime with a severe brain injury of other disability will be like for your family?

The devastation and pain my my dear sister's death caused can still be felt by family members 30 years after the event, and worst of all their knowledge that she had been warned this could happen if she did not wear a helmet.

How much can you really care for your family if knowing the devastation an accident like this could inflict on them - and you must know - you still will not wear a helmet.

silverlining48 Fri 29-Apr-22 15:15:41

Monica my dd used to cycle in London to and from work and though she always wore a helmet I still used to worry.
What a terrible tragedy for you all to have to deal with. I am sorry. sad

Germanshepherdsmum Fri 29-Apr-22 15:17:41

So very sorry to read about your sister MOnica.?

Helen657 Fri 29-Apr-22 15:18:05

I knew a lovely man who suffered a significant head injury following a pedestrian stepping in front of him whilst cycling. His helmet minimised the injury & saved his life.
Always wear a helmet - I’m so glad my son (aged 25 & a keen cyclist) does.

karmalady Fri 29-Apr-22 15:23:07

I suppose the ones who will not wear a helmet have no cycling insurance either. Anyone serious about cycling, slow or fast leisure, wears a good helmet and has cycling insurance. I am ok jack, yes until you end up like the paraplegic in my last area, he met a car while on his bike