Why the anti-helmet zealotry?

I have been accused of being anti-helmet. This is self-evidently false (the pictures on my website show that), but it does invite the question of what my true feelings might be. I would summarise them as follows:

  • I am opposed to compulsion
  • I am opposed to exaggeration of the benefits of helmets
  • I am opposed to false portrayal of the evidence
  • I am opposed to clueless zealotry but am perfectly prepared to help those who lack clue to find the evidence
  • I am intolerant of those who pretend that no conflicting evidence exists
  • I am highly intolerant of those who want to impose their interpretation of the evidence on others, however well-informed those others may be

The fact of the matter is that there exists a continuum of views. There are people who are anti-helmet; there are also those who are pro-helmet. And between the two are those, like me, who are neither pro nor anti, who make our choice based on individual circumstances.

Some seek to portray compulsion for children and choice for adults as some kind of middle ground. It isn’t. It’s still compulsion. Every day child and adult cyclists alike are placed in danger by motorists; several times a month (too many) this results in injury. In those cases, the existence of a strong pro-helmet lobby, and the propaganda and disinformation they spread, makes it easier for insurance companies to blame cyclists for not taking precautions against a completely different and less serious risk, that of simply falling off. That is what I am opposed to.