Why don't I wear a helmet when cycling? Well, it's complicated.
There are countries such as the Netherlands pictured above, where virtually no one wears a cycling helmet. Why are helmets so much a part of U.S. culture?
Folks say things like "drivers here are crazy" and use that as a reason for wearing helmets. If you get run over by a 3,000 pound car, do you think a piece of styrofoam is going to make any difference?
If you really want to be safer when riding, wear a motorcycle helmet! Those are actually tested to prove they save lives. Bicycle helmets are not. And while you're wearing the motorcycle helmet, use it when you are walking around town too, as statistics prove walking around is actually more dangerous than cycling.
Infrastructure is immensely more important to our safety versus any article of clothing we wear while cycling. Believe it or not, downtown Murfreesboro proper is a really safe place to ride. It's only when you get onto the major thoroughfares that you really are at risk.
There are countries such as Australia, where helmet use is mandated. That law has had an overall detrimental effect on public health. Fewer people ride bikes there because of the helmet law, increasing the country's rates of obesity and heart disease.
Talk about the law of unintended consequences!
Now, I have nothing against laws requiring kids to wear helmets, especially if they are younger, with skulls not fully developed. More important than that, is they be taught safe riding techniques (ride with traffic, act as traffic, and you will be respected as traffic. Well, most of the time).
Teaching proper cycling from a young age is probably key to cycling safety in places like the Netherlands. Bikes are so much part of their culture that kids grow up riding virtually everywhere instead of being shuttled place to place in the mom or dad taxi.
To make our city safer is pretty simple actually. We need about 20 times more people on bikes, cycling in a vehicular manner. We have great power in numbers, and infrastructure changes will only happen if we show they are needed to accommodate a certain volume of cyclists. Then helmet use will be even more optional.
I don't want everyone to follow my example and go helmetless. I just want everyone to ride!