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Think Out Loud

The Helmet Debate

Following a rash of serious or fatal cycling accidents in the Portland metro area in the past month, one cyclist was moved to write a column about his habit of wearing a helmet every time he rides. He says it’s the responsible, adult thing to do. There’s also plenty of research suggesting that wearing a helmet cuts down on head injuries, possibly by more than 69 percent.

But some riders are resistant to wearing a helmet. They cite copious reasons: helmets are uncomfortable and inconvenient, that there’s not enough convincing data that helmets improve safety, and that they give a false sense of security. Some simply say that helmets don’t look cool.

Do you wear a helmet every time you ride? What are your reasons why or why not? Would you be in favor of mandatory helmet laws for adults?


  • Joseph Rose: Columnist and staff writer for The Oregonian
  • Stephanie Noll: Programs director for the Bicycle Transportation Alliance
  • Dr. Fred Rivara: Professor of Pediatrics at University of Washington’s Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center


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OPB | Aug. 16, 2011