Wearing bicycle helmets could save up to 85 lives a year in the Netherlands. According to the latest tests, a bicycle helmet reduces the risk of fatal head injury by 71% and the risk of serious head injury by 60%. SWOV has reported that fatalities can be avoided with the implementation of bicycle helmets. Doctors encourage them, but will we ever give helmets a chance?

Bicycle helmets are often discussed because people think they’re useless or wouldn’t make a real difference. The Netherlands has more bicycles than people, it’s ingrained in the Dutch way of life. So why don’t helmets save more lives?

Do we have to ride with a bicycle helmet?

The question of bicycle helmets is contentious in Amsterdam due to its large inhabitance. Many choose to not wear a helmet because it is considered a very safe activity. Of course there’s a case to be made for not wearing a helmet but where safety is concerned shouldn’t we do whatever we can to prevent injury? The laws about helmets being worn on light scooters or mopeds are weird. They ride on the bike path without a helmet despite going twice as fast. Laws for moped riders wearing helmets are still to be expected.

Currently, you don’t have to wear a helmet while riding on the bike paths.

Will bicycle helmets in the Netherlands ever be a law?

SWOV acknowledges no concrete measure of safety exists for cyclists, such as a compulsory helmet requirement, “but it would provide an indication of the effectiveness if all cyclists were to wear a bicycle helmet”.

Aside from the obvious question of how it will be enforced (my money is on more fines), there are people that actively oppose talk of forcing helmets on riders. Bicycle organizations argue that mandatory bicycle helmets will reduce bicycle use.

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