Opinions Clash on the Surprisingly not-Simple Topic of Bicycle Helmets

When it comes to polarizing social issues, the choice of whether to wear a helmet while biking is midrange. It's below legalizing same-sex marriage, but above, say, the battle to digitize the nation's medical records.

In the behelmeted corner, we've got your mom, anyone who's seen or done something like the above helmet-cracking mountain bike crash, and professional cyclists who like their job as is. Most of the facts support their case. Helmet use reduces the risk of head injury by 85 percent, and head injuries are cited in the vast majority of cycling-related deaths. And if you live, head injuries are a bad, bad thing. Ever see the film Memento, where the guy looking for his wife's killer has to tattoo things on his arms to remember them? That's the afterparty of a head injury. Avoiding head injuries where possible is a sign of basic competency in adults.

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