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Compulsory helmets, good or bad?

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.

Tim Bunting Kiwi Yamabushi


Hi, I’m Tim Bunting AKA the Kiwi Yamabushi, a New Zealander who became a Yamabushi Ascetic in the Dewa Sanzan mountains of north Japan. I’m part of the Yamabushido team, and we host life-altering Yamabushi training on the Dewa Sanzan (website link). People come to us for the ultimate mindfulness experience, to reach the next level, or simply connect with nature and themselves.

I’m on a mission to summit all 100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata Prefecture to spread the splendour of this fabulous location, and in dedication to all those who lost their lives out in nature, including my father.

On my daily blog I post thoughts of a practicing Yamabushi that I hope people can use to better themselves and live as fulfilling a life as possible.

Sign up to the weekly Mountains of Wisdom newsletter, follow me on social (Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, TikTok, Clubhouse, all @kiwiyamabushi), or send me an email via the link below to stay in touch.



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Sakata City, Yamagata, Japan 


All photos my own. Contact for more. 

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