After posting yesterday, I explored the How We Drive Blog more. There’s a fascinating article by a research scientist who tried to determine if wearing a helmet makes us safer. The short answer, no one knows.
To summarize, it may actually be better to not wear a helmet because people will be more aggressive around you if you are wearing a helmet. Cyclists are also riskier because of a perceived increase in safety. (Psychological research says that monotony and repetition lull us into feeling safe; apply that to cyclists who do everything “right” and have never been in an accident.) Additionally, most cyclists die with head and chest injuries; no helmet can help your crushed torso.
Arguing for helmet, they will help with slow speed crashes and self-induced falls.
I got a chuckle from this bit: A bicyclist visited their doctor with a damaged knee following a crash. “You should have been wearing a helmet,” says the doctor sternly. “How would that have saved my knee?” replies the cyclist.
So, does wearing a helmet make you safer? Hard to say!