Compulsory helmets, good or bad?

action bicycling bike biking

One opinion of mine that has changed since coming to Japan is the use of helmets when biking.

I fell off a bridge riding my bike when I was about 11 or 12 and the helmet saved my life. I think we should definitely be encouraged to wear helmets, but I don’t think they should be compulsory. In NZ, whenever you ride a bike, you have to wear a helmet as it is deemed safer, but I actually think overall it isn’t safer.

The reason for this is, compulsory helmets is a turn off for people to ride bikes in the first place. Less people riding bikes means more cars on the road, more cars on the road means cars are prioritized, and it becomes more dangerous for those who choose to ride a bike. So, by making it not compulsory to wear a helmet, you increase the number of bike riders, which increases investment in bike infrastructure, which increases the overall safety.

Serious bike riders who ride on the road would be stupid not to wear a helmet when going fast, and they understand the danger so should wear a helmet anyway. On the other hand, any person traveling a very short distance at a slow pace, they shouldn’t have to wear a helmet if they don’t want to. Of course they should, but it shouldn’t be compulsory.



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