7 things that sure make me feel safer – NOT

I think we've crossed the line on safety. The inconvenience to safety ratio has gotten way out of control.  Pretty soon we'll all be wearing body armour to leave the house just in case an acorn is going to fall on us.

1.  Car seats for kids until they are six! You can't tell me those booster seats do much. And reverse facing until they are a year old? What baby wants to stare at the back seat for ever? But I have a friend that bought the additional safety story and now her two year old is still in a reverse facing car seat. Poor girl! Did you have to sit in a car seat when you were little? How many accidents have you been in in your life time? I think the car seat manufactures are responsible for the lobbying that brings us our current set of our car seat laws.

2.  Bike helmets.  I always wear my hockey helmet – I've hit my head hard playing hockey. Same with skiing. But biking around the neighborhood? I can't tell you the last time I fell on my bike much less fell hard enough to hit my head. And I (and most of my friends) have made it to adulthood without wearing helmets when biking.

3.  No pillows or blankets! Did you know that babies (in the US at least) aren't supposed to sleep with pillows, blankets or stuffed animals? Don't you sleep with a blanket? Can you imagine sleeping on top of your bottom sheet with nothing else for a year? I wish I'd never heard about SIDS. I think my baby would have been much happier.

4.  Tuna. Eggs. Milk. To eat or not eat? Eggs are good for you. No, they're bad. No they're good. Or "Pregnant women shouldn't eat any fish." "No, they should have at least three servings a week or their baby will be stupid." Just eat. In moderation.

5. Seatbelts on airplanes. I've used my seatbelt in a car. By "used" I mean it's tightened up and held me in place. But on the airplane? I think they just want to keep us in our seats.

6. Electronics on airplanes. Actually, it really worries me that they think my cell phone might interfere with the aircraft. Because half the time I leave mine on. Are we going to crash some day because of that?

7.  Airport security.  Do you really feel any safer now that nobody can take more than 3 oz of any one liquid on the airplane? Or that their shoes all got xrayed? (FYI, they can take much more than 3oz, they just have to take the time to put it in separate containers.) Personally, I'd rather have the hours this year that I've lost standing in line waiting for my laptop to get scanned. Not to mention getting the airport early. I used to get there just in time to get on my flight. Now I'm there in time to wish chair massages at the airport weren't so expensive. Oh, and to spend money eating expensive sandwiches.

And I could go on and on … what's your favorite safety pet peeve?

73 Replies to “7 things that sure make me feel safer – NOT”

  1. That first one reminds me of a Ted Talk Steven Levitt about car seats. It’s pretty interesting and worth the 18 minutes! He goes further and says there’s no data to show there for children 2 years and above child seats show virtually no improvement over adult seat belts.

  2. Seatbelts on airplanes: I recently read somewhere that the most recurring cause of death in aviation is people bumping onto other people after heavy turbulence.
    Car seats: Well I saw a few movies of crash test dolls at the size of children in average cars, and after that in the better brands of those seats and the difference, during a crash, is basically: either your kid is dead, or he might survive (in such a seat). But the most safe thing to do, as a parent, is not to crash the car. of course πŸ™‚
    The others: sure

  3. Think you’re missing the whole point of bike helmets. They’re not to protect you if you fall off as 99 times of 100, you’re aware of what’s happening and you can protect yourself.
    A helmet is for when you get hit by something else, where you have no warning or power to protect yourself. They make a serious difference even in low speed collisions.
    Re blankets and pillows: It shows a marked decrease in cot deaths. Yeah that’s terrible advise. Yeah I’m really angry too that some monster did the research to find out how to save babies’ lives.

  4. To me it comes down to an odds, risks and comfort. What were the odds that my kid would die of SIDS with and without a blanket or stuffed animal? And then is it worth it for them to have the comfort or not? I don’t think doctors should make that call for us.
    For example, the risks of biking, I’m sure that I haven’t fallen down 1% of the time I’ve ridden my bike. Not since I learned to ride anyway. So to me, the risk is not worth wearing a helmet. Not for the type of bike riding I do. For the type of skiing and hockey playing I do, it’s worth it.

  5. > I recently read somewhere that the most recurring
    > cause of death in aviation is people bumping onto
    > other people after heavy turbulence.
    And how many people a year is that? .5?
    As for the car crashes, did they compare car seats to seat belts or car seats to nothing?

  6. I’m with you for all those except the airplane seat belts. I’ve had the plane drop more than 100 feet on three separate flights. Anybody not in their seat with a seatbelt on got slammed into the roof. Thankfully there were only minor injuries on each of these occasions. And no I don’t fly very often, maybe a couple times a year.

  7. Read your post on Planet Gnome, and had to chime in about bike helmets:
    A bike helmet saved my life. I was in a collision with a car where my nose started to leak cerebro-spinal fluid (it stopped after a while, thankfully) — I’m positive that if I wasn’t wearing a helmet I would either be dead or breathing through a tube πŸ™‚

  8. 2. Bike helmets aren’t to protect you from falling off, they’re to protect you from what happens when ignorant drivers hit you in their car. In most cases this leads to death without a helmet, it’s a simple thing but the safety is warranted, especially on motorbikes you only have to ask lefty what can happen there!
    3. The pillows and blankets thing is because of antimony and ended up blown way out of control, antimony in childrens bedding was linked to SIDS (of which my sister died), the laws went out of control as a result, take note antimony doesnt get into bedding anymore anyway (hence the marked decrease in SIDS in the last 10 years or so), so blankets are fine now… Doesn’t stop the lunatic fringe going safety nuts :/
    5. Seatbelts on airplanes are a requirement now after a bunch of turbulence incidents which caused people to fly around the cabin a bit. The airlines got sued, we all wear seatbelts the whole time now.
    6. Analogue mobile phones and the early generation digital ones did actually mess with some of the flight mechanics, the radio transmitters were so powerful that they’d screw with CRT screens and induce enough current in certain circuit configurations that you REALLY don’t want to take the risk at 30,000 feet.
    7. Airport security and the liquids thing is a joke, you can easily make enough TATP to puncture a hole in the side of a plane mid flight within the 100ml/3oz limit, you can also do as much damage with things you can buy in the airport and you only need a hole the size of a penny to take a plane out of the sky… anyway this comes down to the oppression+paranoia thing, if you search people, make them think that they’re safe then they’ll feel safe at the same time you discourage people who do want to cause harm from flying because they fear getting caught…. There’s a ben franklin quote which fits well with this sentiment πŸ™‚
    The element of risk thing ends up being about who’s going to sue you and what disclaimers you can legally put in place, well in the US with the liability laws you have it ends up being about who sues who.
    Anyway this post reminds me of this level crossing incident in the US, a train went over this piece of road which was unmarked 3 times a day every day, after 40 or so years of this track operating over this stretch of road (the rail was there first), nobody had a problem, the towns folk were aware of it etc… However, one day, someone got hit by a train in their car, the odds of that happening are astronomical somewhere in the region of 50000:1 I believe, 1 person in 40 years and the towns folk started lobbying for a marked level crossing with a gate, which would have cost a fortune as it was a railroad in the middle of nowhere. The company that owned the track in their defence stated “over 600 people a year die getting out of the bath, we don’t ban baths” and they had a point, people need to be able to manage their own risk instead of insisting on legislating risk to death.

  9. Both of my parents would be dead now if it weren’t for bike helmets. My mom was on the bike end of a car-on-bike collision, and luckily for her it was her helmet and not her skull which split into pieces; all she had to deal with was a separated shoulder. In a different incident, my dad tried to swerve out of the way of a pedestrian while on loose gravel, and his helmet met a similar fate.
    And as for airplanes… well, it’s certainly hard to quantify EMI rusks, but it’s not the one person with a cell phone who’s the concern, it’s the fact that potentially every single passenger on a plane may be in posession carrying a potential interferer operating at the same time. Plus, your cell will just sit in your pocket draining battery and annoying everyone around you ringing while you’re on the ground (if it does happen to ring) anyways πŸ˜‰
    EDIT: But that said, I completely agree about the liquids etc. in airports, it certainly does seem more like theater than anything else; I feel like securing the cockpit was the one bit of real security that got added after the terrorist incidents

  10. I was going to make a bike helmet comment, but I see that I’m too slow so let me just +1 that bike helmets save lives, and very often. Veggie tales are cute, but having actual vegetables for friends is a huge bummer.

  11. As a biker in NYC, I’m a bike helmet fan and I wear one most of the time. I’ve had too many close calls and see too many ghost bikes to be entirely cavalier about the matter.
    But I’m with you on the car seats. Why is it that 5-point harnesses are necessary for kids and not adults? The answer is simple: we could never get adults to wear them. But we can force kids to do things we’d never do ourselves. So we do. We trade the comfort and happiness of our kids for insurance against having to feel guilty if they die because we weighed the odds and took a risk with their lives.
    As for sids, I break the rules quite often (my kids have pillows and blankets), but AFAICT they’re indifferent to such amenities.

  12. I think car seat laws are quite stupid – I mean, maybe it should be required until 4 or 5 years, but here they’re making it compulsory until seven years old…
    But seatbelts in cars and planes, and bike helmets are very important and should always be used in my opinion.
    I wouldn’t be too worried about electronics on planes though – planes are exposed to electromagnetic radiation through cosmic rays, microwave communications links, satellite communications, radar, mobile phone towers in cities and so on that would end up being thousands of times stronger than if every person on the plane was using their phones at once… Also, if phones really did pose that much of a threat, they wouldn’t be allowed in the cabin at all – you’ve seen how ridiculous airport security is…

  13. 0.5 is 0.5 too many?
    I’ve experienced turbulence where I’ve lifted off my seat. Right now most airlines requires you to wear it, especially during turbulence or turbulent moments like landing or lifting off. If you except that movement during turbulence does kill people, and right barely anyone dies right now because movement is restricted, isn’t that a good thing? Would it be better that movement wasn’t restricted, so we could can just end up with a few more tragedies every year?
    I don’t want to sanitise the earth. I do stupid things running around mountains every now and then, and know that more people probably die doing that. But sitting safely with a seatbelt doesn’t really deprive you of much experience (unless you want to be thrown around; they could perhaps instead have everyone wear helmets) and helps eliminate a few tragedies.
    Besides, remember watching Lois Lane flail about in Superman Returns? πŸ˜€

  14. By the way, is no blanket or pillow regulated or is it just doctor’s advice? I thought it was just the latter, which gives people the option of helping preclude senseless tragedy, or let their child have a more comfortable year they won’t explicitly remember in the future (but which will hopefully benefit them developmentally perhaps).

  15. The reverse car seat is more about the fact that airbags can cause death in infants. If the infant is in a car seat, facing away, the back of the car seat can protect the infant from the airbag. If they’re facing forward, and the airbag expands, it can suffocate small children. This is also the reason why it’s a law for passenger front airbags to be disableable.
    And yeah, the laws aren’t there because they are overly common occurrances. It’s more like insurance. How often is your house going to catch fire, flood, or whatever else? Or how often do you get in a car accident? You never really want it, until you need it. There are lots of other laws you’re probably unaware of, that might seem just as silly. In most US states, it’s illegal to be drinking anything while driving, not just alcohol. It’s not a highly enforced law, but in an accident it may be used to cite liability one way or the other. If you’re drinking, tilting your head back, not paying attention to the road, and you hit someone, it’s your fault.

  16. The airport security hassle bothers me in that I doubt how effective most of the measures are. I dream of a day that flying somewhere is like stepping onto a bus (or at least a Greyhound).

  17. I was myself fairly skeptical of the danger of liquids on airlines until I saw this video:
    I’m still frustrated by the limitation, but if that sort of damage can be caused by nothing more than tang and undiluted hydrogen peroxide, I have to admit it may be somewhat reasonable.

  18. I did not think I’d ever say this to you, but this sounds like a uniquely American list of safety peeves. You know, like the old “seatbelts in cars is a Free Speech issue” thing. πŸ™‚
    Bike helmets: You’ve never needed one in your neighbourhood, but you and your family will be thankful for it the only time it matters. I know people who are alive today because they were wearing bike helmets on unassuming, neighbourhood rides.
    Plane seatbelts: Forget crashes, they’re rare enough as it is (but a seatbelt will still help you). Let’s look at something altogether more likely: If an aircraft falls during flight, or faces very rough turbulence, people fly around the cabin. Usually up. Physics sucks.
    Above your seat is a rather significant chunk of plastic. Next to your leg is a rather significant chunk of metal (the arm of each seat). If you fly up or to the side, you can very easily hit either of these and crush your head. When it happens, it doesn’t happen to 1 of 500 passengers, it happens to every idiot who wasn’t wearing their seatbelt (because they think it’s dumb or it was uncomfortable while they were sleeping).
    Yes, security theatre can often be ridiculous, but there are not too many forms of overly-inconvenient safety theatre.
    The US will probably never do “safety theatre” where it matters though. You know, those things which kill people more regularly than planes do? πŸ™‚

  19. Regarding seat belts in planes. They are actually essential. Note that mostly they are mandatory on take off and landing. The reason is that those are the stages where it’s most likely to have an accident.
    Now, if an accident happens, the first parts of the airplane most likely to break into pieces are the wings. Image both wings are ripped off the plane. Now imagine the huge cylinder carrying all that momentum. Most likely it will end up spinning on its own axis.
    Now imagine none of the passengers had seat belts. That’s right, everyone would be rolling all over the place, crashing with the seats, the overhead bins, with each other… if the overhead bins get accidentally opened the Caesar Salad gets even funnier.
    Yes, mandatory seat belts have side benefits for the mood of the passengers. But it is not the main reason for them being mandatory.
    As for the rest, I mostly agree with you πŸ™‚

  20. There was an amazing poster in the radio station in my college. It was a semi-recent picture of Keith Richards with a caption that read:
    The scary thing about heroin is that sometimes it doesn’t kill you, sometimes it turns you into Keith Richards.
    What most people fail to realize is that bike helmets ARE NOT there to save your life (at least not in the morgue sense of the word). A large rapidly moving vehicle is very likely going to kill you with or without the helmet. Helmets are there to prevent traumatic brain injuries for the kinds of accidents that have no chance of killing you at all.
    Traumatic brain injuries are a very real and very depressing thing. I have a good friend who works with high functioning developmentally disabled adults and several of them are there because of a traumatic brain injury caused by a bike accident. These people essentially lost their lives to a trivial accident.

  21. “And I (and most of my friends) have made it to adulthood without wearing helmets when biking.”
    With this statement it’s hard to tell if you’re even being serious. Of course your friends *who’ve made it ’til now* have been fine — it’s a selection bias. Those who didn’t wear helmets and *weren’t* fine aren’t around to remind us.

  22. You should consider yourself fortunate that you live in a city where, while cycling, cars do not routinely open their doors in your path, and run you onto the footpath.

  23. Stormy, I l don’t agree at all with your vision of some security concerns, namely bike helmet and airplane belt.
    1) Bike helmet saved my life (or at least my head) only once. But it’s enough. I was riding gently when someone just appeared in front of me. He was hidden by a parked car. I felt so hard that my head violently hit the road. Really violently, all my weight was on it. I has an helmet and that was it. On the other hand, a friend of my parents was standing on his bicycle. He was not even riding, just standing. He wanted to start riding but the wheel was blocked by some stuffs on the road. He tried to push harder and felt from the bike. His head touched the border of the road. He’s dead now.
    Let see now what is the drawback of an helmet on a bike ? None. It’s light, cheap. Maybe it’s not cool enough for you but would you take any risk just to be “cool” ? Would you accept your children to be “cool” and to take that risk ? It simply does not worth it.
    2) airplane belt. I cannot understand to someone that travel so much like you has just no knowledge at all of airplane. Airplanes can meet unexpected “hole” in the air. The plane will then suddenly fall from 10, 20 or 30 meters. If you are not attached to your seat, you will juste meet the upper part of the plane like it was the floor after a 30 meters jump. Scary, isn’t it ? It’s the first cause of mortality in airplane. There are death and injured people every years. And when the plane has landed, it still go at a reasonnably high speed. If for any reason it should stop suddenly, your teeth will meet the front seat at that speed. If the plane is stopped and has to move a bit, it’s the same. There are accident every year but a lot of people know better, just like you. And airplane’s crew hate those people, they see injuries all the time.
    On the other hand, what is the drawback of a seat belt in a plane ? A little inconfort but that’s it. Nothing.
    I’m sorry but I found profoundly immature to criticize security measures that :
    – have no drawback or so few
    – are cheap
    – save lifes all the time
    for the sole argument that you, in your personnal life, never had your life saved by it. Don’t you see the paradox ? If you want to put an helmet or a belt only once you are convinced, it would be too late.
    On the other hand, they are a lot of stupid things like airport security : it has no sense, it doesn’t work at all (nobody even knows what it is supposed to achieve), it has a lot of drawbacks and it’s expensive. Just read Bruce Shneier blog to laugh a bit about it. But please, think rationnaly, not only with “I never encountered a problem so there’s no problem”

  24. Anecdotes versus statistics? I choose (well-examined) statistics… to avoid becoming the wrong kind of statistic.

  25. I prefer the extra security in most cases. My child follow the SIDS recommendations, car seat recommendations, will be using helmet, we always use safety belts in planes, and so on.
    Why not have the extra security when it is just habits?
    Me and my wife is looking forward to bring our kid for weeks of trekking in the Himalayas, mountain climbing, week long winter cross country mountain trips in Norway, and so on. All those activities with as much security as possible without spoiling the experience.
    Breaking some bones and getting some treatments are OK. But security should be a top priority in life as long as it do not conflict with the experience.

  26. re: Bike helmets, my mother died falling off her bike, nothing else was involved, just the road and her head. This would have been prevented if she was wearing a helmet. I think you should think twice on this issue.

  27. > The plane will then suddenly fall from 10, 20 or 30 meters. If you are
    > not attached to your seat, you will juste meet the upper part of the
    > plane like it was the floor after a 30 meters jump.
    That’s not really correct. In freefall there’s no gravity for you either towards the floor nor towards the ceiling. So relative to the airplane you will be floating (like as if you are in space).
    I certainly agree that you might bump onto stuff and get yourself killed that way. You’re right on that. But not that it’s the same as falling from 30 meters. No, instead you will be falling for 30 meters together with the plane.
    If you would be falling like the plane does while inside of it, the seat belt wouldn’t safe you (the amount of pressure on your belly would simply tear your body into two pieces).

  28. Helmets and seabelts are at least improving the safety in almost all cases, also bring a culture of safety which is the hardest to bring.
    Someone told me a quote and I found it very real: “Please to you to wear seat belt, not because of me, cause I drive very safe, but who knows who can knock my car and to be crazy”
    Regarding bicycle, on the bicycle track one I’ve hit branches of a tree violently and without a helmet I should have scratches on my had and a big pain, but it happens to feel nothing (I’m tall and that branches was fairly low placed. What I mean is not always an issue of ultimate crash between a monstertruck and a bicycle, and helmet saves, but wearing it, it will bring to you some class of better safety than without it.

  29. I know someone that was killed by a car when biking without an helmet. It was in a city, so the car speed was not that high (around 50km/h).
    His brain was damaged, but his body was still fine. A helmet could have saved his life.

  30. I cannot edit my previous post, but regarding your airplane safety, I’ve worked in field for more than an year.
    I’m fully agree of most of rules there. A single phone will probably not change much in interferences, but more will do. Also the smartphones that have wifi, a lot of frequencies (for 3G, GPRS, etc.) increase the interference levels even at huge amounts.
    Question: what’s the big deal to you to keep your electronics closed? Will you lose your big bussiness call that change your entire life? Supposedly if your phone will interfere as much as the pilot will hear another airport and you will waste 5 hours of rearranging your schedule, will you feel better that there is no air plane crash?
    Some rules in safety are just in case that in case of an explosion decompression, you to not get hurt, or of an emergency landing. Did you feel so bad that your bag is kept locked? Will you feel better that if things will fly away and hurt you? Will you feel good if the plane have a forced landing and you cannot go out, because the bags are in your way to go out, or you will feel good if you will know that cause of your bag in the same very case, will stop 10 persons to jump out of the plane and are burned?
    Look at least regarding plane crashes on Air Crash Investigation and Seconds from Disaster series. You will find a lot of very dramatic cases in that some persons were saved just bercause of keeping belt in it’s place.

  31. In each of these cases, there is some inconvenience you need to endure in order to protect yourself from some catastrophic event.
    It seems pretty naive to judge these solely based on the chance of the probability of that event unfolding. You should also take into account the consequences of the event and the magnitude of the inconvenience.
    In some of the cases, the level of inconvenience is so low and consequences of a catastrophe so great that it makes sense to take on the inconvenience even though the risk is low.
    I would categorise airplane seatbelts this way, since they aren’t that restrictive and the worst case outcomes are pretty bad. The incident on Qantas flight 72 is one case in point:
    I’d also argue that the inconvenience of bike helmets is low enough to make them worth wearing given that the downside to not wearing them can be death. And today’s helmets are much less of a nuisance than ones like the Stackhat I grew up with.
    For airline security and electronic devices on planes (at least those without an RF transmitter), I’d tend to agree with you that the inconvenience outweighs the risks though.

  32. Not quite right about electromagnetic radiation. Assume passenger’s cell phone is 10 m from critical equipment. It could be less, there are probably sensors all over the place. Cell phone has a poor connection, so it is working full blast. I believe that is 1 Watt. Power density goes with the inverse square of distance. This means that everything else being equal, a transmitter 100 m away has to be 100 W to have the same effect, and one a km away has to be 10 kW. That’s just from a single cell phone. It’s the same order of magnitude as you could expect from very close communication towers and broadcast transmitters, but less than you can expect from radars. But planes have been designed for being around radars for a very long time.
    You can’t a priori rule out that cell phones could affect avionics. What you can do is design/modify/test airplanes so that they won’t be affected by phones. I believe most modern planes now have been hardened. But the concern was real back when cell phones were new.

  33. I totally agree with your sentiment on bicycle helmets. Unless you ride your bike in heavy traffic or are into extreme sports, bike helmets are completely unnecessary.
    The major sufferers of traffic head trauma are car drivers, car passengers, and pedestrians. Every argument proclaiming the virtues of bike helmets should first be applied to drivers and pedestrians — if it seems ridiculous to use a pedestrian helmet or a car helmet, then a bicycle helmet is even sillier.

  34. My favorite safety pet peeve is people who use their phone/ipod while a plane is landing when they have been told not to.
    Fortunately they often also omit to wear their seatbelt, so they bounce off the seat in front when the plane decelerates and I get a good laugh πŸ˜‰

  35. I am totally with you in all points. And even though I think bike helmets can be useful in certain areas (heavy traffic in NYC e.g.), I would not force them on people – it’s their health after all. And even if I do wear a helmet myself, why would I feel better if there are such security laws in effect and others forced to helmets as well – let’s gain back the power to decide ourselves what to do.

  36. So I’m not saying there’s no risk just because I haven’t had any problems. I just think we are becoming risk adverse and we take way more precautions than are justified. But how much risk you are willing to take should be a personal decision.
    I wear my seatbelt in the car and on the airplane because it’s easy and doesn’t bother me at all. Even if I think the risk is minimal in an airplane, it’s no bother to wear the seatbelt. (And certainly not worth arguing with the flight attendant over.) (But if you want anecdotal evidence, I fly about 100,000 miles/year and have never had an issue. But I too would rather go on statistics.)
    On the other hand, when I’m in my dad’s home town, I use a bike as transportation around town. A town of about 500 people and I don’t wear a helmet. That’s my personal decision. The convenience, comfort, etc, outweigh the additional safety to me. I’m not saying a helmet won’t save people’s lives in certain situations. I’m just saying I’m willing to take the risk.
    And I do think we have the right to take risks for our kids. We can’t keep them 100% safe and I think we are kidding ourselves if we think we are. I don’t think the laws should mandate complete safety.

  37. “And I (and most of my friends) have made it to adulthood without wearing helmets when biking.”
    There is an obvious problem with that line of reasoning if you stop to think about it… πŸ™‚

  38. The electronics in aeroplanes and in hospitals thing really bothers me. Why has this safety of life critical equipment not designed to to be resistant to EMF from everyday items?!?

  39. Yes, I said it tongue in cheek. However, I do think we are increasingly willing to go through a lot of inconvenience and expense to avoid the chance of any harm, no matter how small the odds.

  40. I’ve been sideswiped by a car while bicycling before. I wasn’t wearing a helmet. My entire left side was scraped and bruised, but my head was completely untouched. What would have helped in that case is jeans and a leather jacket.
    I’m not saying there’s no risk, or that nobody has ever been involved in a bicycle accident where a helmet would prevent brain injury. But as Stormy says, it’s trade-off between risk and inconvenience. There are all sorts of freak accidents that can happen to you throughout the day. We all make decisions as to which risks are worth protecting ourselves from.
    I don’t care at all if others choose to wear a helmet while bicycling. That’s their decision. But somewhere in the last decade, we’ve developed a culture where you can get ostracized if you choose not to.
    I wear a bike helmet when off-roading. I do not wear one when biking around town. And I continue not to wear jeans and a leather jacket every time I get on my bike, despite my own experience.

  41. Clearly your personal experiences make you feel strongly about this, and that’s fine. By all means, wear a bike helmet if you want.
    But it’s unfair to trivialize other people’s decisions by assuming that being “cool” (quotation marks and all) is the only reason not to wear a helmet. I don’t know your daily bicycling uses, but I use by bike to get places. If I wear a helmet, I have to carry it around with me all day. It’s terribly inconvenient.

  42. Just wear it all day, make the fashion statement! πŸ™‚ I’ve sent my bike ahead of me by mail a couple times and taken a helmet with me on the plane trip, wearing it as I walked until I reached a place where I could leave the helmet until the bike arrived. (Well, except at airport security, where — yes — they did require me to remove it to put it through the scanner.)

  43. I can’t fathom why one would not want to use a bike helmet. They’re crazy cheap, say $30, and with a little care they last exactly as long as they need to. If you never crash, it’s only $30 for an entire lifetime of not worrying about your head if the unexpected were to happen. If you do, it’s *still* only $30 — for that last time you owned the helmet when you didn’t crash.
    Precisely because crashes are rare but dangerous, and precisely because wearing a helmet is almost no burden, and precisely because they’re so cheap do I wear a helmet. One instance it definitely made a difference, between a glancing hit which lightly crushed part of it (enough to render it useless after that, but still minimal) and something worse which could easily have given me a concussion or at least a headache. I fail to see how bike helmets are anywhere close to bad enough for anyone not to wear one, given their cost compared to the cost if you do end up crashing sometime.

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