It’s not worth sacrificing your safety for comfort
By Jessica Berget, Opinions Editor
Vancouver is a fantastic city for biking. We’ve got bike lanes on practically every street; parks, trails, a whole seawall, and Mobi bicycle rentals all around the city. Yet as fun and accessible as this city is for bikers, seldom do I see people wearing their helmets. Even though bicycle rentals generally provide you with one, I often see people just sticking them in their baskets and forgetting about it. They say you never forget how to ride a bike, but you should never forget to put on a helmet, either.
Not wearing your helmet while biking is like not wearing your seatbelt while driving: Sure, maybe nothing will happen to you, but considering the dangers, or the liability of becoming extremely injured, do you really want to take the risk?
Even if you are the safest biker in the world, there are plenty of other drivers and factors that you may not see that could put you at risk for injury. Furthermore, for legal reasons, it’s better to wear a helmet. According to Bay Area Bicycle Law, if you end up getting hit by a car and seriously injured because you didn’t wear a helmet, you might wind up shouldering all responsibility for the incident because of your own negligence.
You might be thinking, “That’s never going to happen to me.” But no one who gets into an accident thinks they’re going to be in one, and bike riding injuries are more common than you think. According to a report from CAA National, 7,500 cyclists are seriously injured in Canada every year. Additionally, Dr Nav Persaud, the leader of a study by the Canadian Medical Association Journal says in a Globe and Mail article that, “There are about 70 cycling deaths in Canada every year, and based on our study, we estimate we can prevent 20 of them with helmets.”
Helmets may not protect your life in some cases, but if you do get in an accident, it will protect you, your brain, neck, and spine from permanent injury.
If that doesn’t convince you, in BC, wearing helmets is not only mandatory, it’s the law. You can be fined up to $500 for not wearing one. I’m sure no one wants to have permanent damage to their brain or pay a ridiculous fine, so you may as well just wear the helmet. I get that helmets can be uncomfortable or flatten your hair, but it’s a small price to pay for your safety.