One of the most long-lasting debates in cycling is how mandatory should be the use of the bicycle helmet or if the helmet actually prevents head injuries in cyclists or not. There is one neuroscientist who claims that Helmets are useless while in the same country an other one believes that helmets save liveshelmets save lives. If you want to base your decision on science you have to search hard for the truth, but even then you can’t be certain. For years I was commuting around the city without a helmet as I thought the Danes who commute every day helmet-less must know more about the subject than me. But later on, a simple accident changed completely my view on the matter. While I was slicing bread, my girlfriend rushed into the kitchen and said something loudly. The unexpected sound made me jump and as a result my head hit the corner of the open cabinet door. If that ever happened to you, you know the incredible sharp pain that shuts down your whole body.
Now, one can take that experience and change some things to fit better in a bicycle accident scenario. Replace the wooden cabinet door corner with a similar shaped object made out of concrete. Like the edge of a building or a sharp-edged curb. Ofcourse, the forces in an accident are way greater also. You can imagine a huge slingshot flings you head-first towards an immovable object. Do you think the 6.5 millimeters bone of your skull can sustain such an impact? I don’t think so. I am not an expert, but common sense tells me that a helmet would do a decent job preventing the concrete from penetrating your skull.
I had a horrible experience few years ago that attest the truth behind the argument.
Few years ago I was working on a helicopter as the guy controlling a long boom that sprays demineralised water at high pressure onto the insulators of the powerlines (you can see me in action here). The helicopter had two crews; two boomen and two pilots. One day, while the other crew was washing some power lines and I was getting ready to start my shift a horrible accident happened right before my eyes. As the helicopter was approaching the land side, its skids tangled on the low-voltage lines close to earth and the boom engine caught fire (that was 15 m above the ground). A second later the helicopter crashed violently few meters from where I was standing. Both men from helicopter crew were my friends (you can see the state of the helicopter here).
To make a long story short, the impact of the crash made the pilot bounce around the cockpit like a rag doll in a metal box. He smashed his knee and the head on the metal instruments of the helicopter roof. When the ambulance came and took him, the other pilot went and checked his helmet. It had a huge hole on it. After two weeks in a coma, he made it alive with a broken face, a blind eye, a metal stick inside his knee (that now he holds as a souvenir) and few other injuries. If it wasn’t for the helmet, he would be definitely dead.
So, Instead of driving yourself crazy with all that contradictory info about bicycle helmet, I suggest to use common sense and decide.