Mikael Colville-Andersen – Why We Shouldn’t Bike with a Helmet

The bicycle helmet debate has been raging for a long time–even on the pages of Streets.mn. In this presentation from 2010, Mikael Colville-Andersen talks about how important the bicycle is for liveable cities and how bicycle helmets are threatening bicycle culture.

Matty Lang

About Matty Lang

Matty Lang has been interested in land use, transportation, and cities since he fell in love with Paris, France while studying there in 1998-1999. He is a filmmaker living in Minneapolis. He loves film, bicycling, and basketball. Follow him: Vimeo | @MattyLangMSP | Facebook

6 thoughts on “Mikael Colville-Andersen – Why We Shouldn’t Bike with a Helmet

  1. Eric SaathoffEric

    I mostly agree with this video. It convinces me that helmet laws are an extremely bad idea. However, it seems like a chicken and egg argument regarding the critical mass of cyclists necessary to achieve the presence that makes things safer.

    We do not have the safest environment right now and for that reason it seems that helmets do have a reasonable place for some people.

    Do we avoid helmets even when we don’t have amazing infrastructure in order to encourage other cyclists and eventually we will get that infrastructure?

    Or do we wear the helmet and encourage cycling in other ways and ditch the helmet when we finally get the infrastructure that makes us feel safer?

    I suppose whether the helmet is even effective is another question altogether.

    Ultimately, after falling and breaking my ankle last year, my wife’s argument that I wear a helmet won the day.

  2. David

    Sorry, after rollerblading and colliding with a bicyclist, seeing the blood pour from the gash in his head convinced me never to go without a helmet again.

    1. Froggie

      Agreed. An argument could be made about the stupidity of mandatory helmet laws, but that doesn’t mean helmets are inherently bad. After taking a nasty spill of my own over by Minnehaha Falls 20 years ago, I won’t go riding without a helmet either.

  3. Morgan

    I think that the line in the sand is if you ride on arterials, or as many around here call them, stroads. If riding on one of these roads I think that one needs to be as defensive as possible and that includes wearing a helmet. Even if they are not designed to take the impact of a car like he suggests. I think that riding defensively with great intention is very important for safety on these mixed environments with cars moving at 40 miles-per-hour plus.

    However, I do not think that helmets are needed AT ALL if riding on greenways or on neighborhood streets where cars travel at 25 mph.

  4. Matt

    Colville-Anderson has been on a crusade against helmets for years. I agree that we shouldn’t have mandatory helmet laws, but I strongly disagree with his general conclusion that anyone who chooses to wear a helmet is a moron.

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