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Some cyclists think they're safer without bike helmets

It's become very clear over the years that bike helmets can be quite helpful when an accident takes place. They can prevent serious injuries and save lives. Almost no one who has studied the subject would ever disagree with that.

However, there are people who have studied the statistics and decided that they think they're safer without the helmets. They think this even though they acknowledge that helmets can help in an accident. How exactly does this line of thinking work?

Basically, the idea is that drivers give more space to cyclists who don't have helmets on than cyclists who do. Studies have backed this up. Drivers will move over a lot farther, on average, when they see that a cyclist is riding with a bare head. The jury is still out on why they do this -- maybe the drivers just think the cyclist looks like he or she is more vulnerable -- but it is clear that they do.

Therefore, cyclists who have helmets on are closer to cars and more likely to be hit. For those who stay away from helmets on purpose, it comes down to this question: Would you rather have a helmet and be involved in an accident or not have a helmet and not be in an accident?

There is clearly a risk here, and it's hard to say which side of the argument is right, as riders without helmets are in extreme danger if and when they are hit, but it's interesting to look at both sides of the theory.

If you have been injured in an accident in British Columbia, it's wise to look into your legal rights.

Source: Howie Chong, "Why it makes sense to bike without a helmet," Howie Chong, accessed Sep. 24, 2015

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