Bicycle helmets are dangerous. I hate them. They don't stop head injuries, they cause them. Well that's my experience.
For a more reasoned view on skid lids listen to what Wellington cyclist and great New Zealander Dan Mikkelson has to say. My story is more personal and less logical.
The kids at my primary were into BMX racing. We had all the gears, including cool, red full-face helmets. First day at my new intermediate I wore mine. I skidded up to the bike rack, looking around wide-eyed, excited about my new life. Proud.
Suddenly it all went horribly wrong. "Hey helmet head" yelled a couple of big kids. Before I knew it they'd ripped my helmet off and were beating me around the skull with it. The very thing meant to protect my head was used to mete out a vicious beating. I'm pretty sure that's ironic.
I spent the next few days with a black eye and several massive eggs on my dome.
Turns out bike helmets weren't cool at my new school and the punishment was severe.
I was terrified. Hid in my classroom at lunchtime. I didn't wear my helmet the next day or the day after that. If they hadn't changed the law I wouldn't have worn one ever again. Too dangerous.
I've never been helped by a bike helmet. One rainy night in the early 2000s I fell off on Don McKinnon Drive avoiding a car.
I put my hands out to protect my face - as everyone does when they come off. My radius bone popped right out through the skin of my wrist. A friend whipped out a camera and filmed me as I tried to get back on and ride to hospital.
He kept filming while they reset my arm in the emergency room. They had to do it before they put me under. Great footage.
Anyway my helmet didn't help, it just sat on top of my head. Wrist guards and gloves may have helped. Maybe a a full motorbike helmet and leathers. Maybe not riding at all. Even then things could go wrong.
No one likes to see people getting hurt. We can always be safer. But what about bathroom slips. They cost ACC heaps. Maybe we should wear helmets in the shower. What about helmets behind the wheel of our cars? Make people wear helmets walking downstairs.
Where's the line? If you go down the path of zero risk we'd have to ban most sports. Play rugby in inflatable Zorb balls. No one would want that.
I make my kids wear helmets (mainly because their mum would kill me if I didn't). But I'm a grown man. Do I really need a piece of polystyrene sitting on the tippy top of my head?
In a cycle lane? Joggers might as well wear them.
Reversing cameras in cars and trucks make things safer. Cycle lanes help too.
It amazes me how wildly angry they make some people. You have to be careful with that. It all starts out okay. But before you know it, you'll be out smashing up traffic islands with a sledgehammer.
Discussion about cycle helmets can get emotional. I feel deeply for people who've lost someone or been hurt badly in a bike accident.
But we have to use logic. It's unfair to point to rare tragedies as if to suggest anyone with an opposing viewpoint is somehow complicit in that tragedy.
I lost my mum a couple of years ago to a heart issue. I think about her constantly. I've definitely lost my perspective in that area. Others may struggle with perspective around bikes.
Most people haven't been beaten around the head with a helmet. The very thing meant to protect them. It forms a deep hatred of brain buckets. So maybe I should stay out of the discussion. I'm a contaminated sample.
Having said that, we lose so many to obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Riding keeps people fit and thin. Cycle helmet laws drastically lower rider numbers. So our current helmet laws have wide and complex negative health consequences.
On purely cost-benefit terms, surely you'd only make the kids wear them. I mean only two other countries ban them. But as I say. I'm staying out of it.
Back to intermediate. In case you're wondering, I made friends at my new school and exacted a vicious revenge on my helmet-weilding attackers. So it all ended happily.