The Freakonomics of Bike HelmetsBy Rocky Thompson on March 12th, 2013
The Atlantic takes a look at what they’re calling “The Bike Helmet Paradox,” which is basically research saying that helmets save lives, but requiring them also prevents people from biking. Further, giving people dirty looks for not wearing them might be bad for society as a whole since it means fewer people will bike. States with helmet laws have lower incidence of head injuries from biking, but they also have fewer bikers, which could account for the lower number of injuries.
On that note, imagine we had to wear helmets while jogging. We would be safer. The helmets would inevitably save some lives, even if only by deflecting an occasional errant meteorite. But if we started ticketing all un-helmeted joggers, or giving stern looks to people running without helmets, what would that do for public health on the whole?
So bike, wear your helmet, but don’t scream at people who choose not to. Especially the crowd rolling around on the sidewalks.