Monday, May 11, 2015

Welcome to The Bike Helmet Blog

Well, this is exciting! After two long years of talking about what could possibly work next for bringing balance back to perceptions about bike helmets, we’ve launched this blog. A lot of research and academic studies have been published, but this will be the first open-discussion platform where everyone should feel comfortable jumping in with comments.

There are five of us pitching in as authors for this blog. My particular interest in the topic comes from my personal shame for falling for the fraud of bicycle helmet propaganda. I owned a bike shop here in Prescott, Arizona for 13 years from 1991 through 2004. During that time I terrified countless customers by asking them “How much is your head worth?” in order to sell them a helmet. But it wasn’t just sales I was after. I truly believed I was saving their lives with each helmet sold.

Then, in 2004, the same year I sold the bike shop to my husband, I met advocates who were fighting against the very messages I was spreading. When they showed me the stats and explained that scaring people into wearing helmets only scares them away from bicycling, I felt sick for my part in it. Through my participation in this blog I hope to redeem at least some of the damage I did. 

Since then I have read countless research papers and engaged in many lively discussions with like-minded advocates. We continue to uncover more and more evidence that bicycling is not dangerous and even if it was, bicycle helmets do not provide the protection people believe they do. But how to break this barrier to bicycling out of our close-knit circle so that it receives just as much attention as bicycle helmet promotions? I hope this blog will become part of the solution.

My particular passion within this topic is the disturbing relation between bicycle helmet promotions and the budding culture of fear paralyzing our society. Perhaps this stems from my own guilt for using fear to sell helmets.

Other authors of this blog, like Thomas Krag and Lake Sagaris (joining us soon), will present the best of research papers and academic studies in their posts. Interlaced in these research-based posts you will find posts from Mikael Colville-Andersen, Kaethi Diethelm, and myself presenting the broader view of the damage bicycle helmet promotions and mandatory helmet laws are doing to the overall bicycle movement.

Thanks for joining us on this journey. Let’s get this blog started!