How Many Cyclists Actually Wear a Helmet?

The February 2009 issue of Consumer Reports Magazine asks: How often do Americans exhibit risky behavior?

The Consumer Reports National Research Center recently asked 1,000 Americans how often they did an assortment of risky behaviors. And among other findings the magazine reports that “58 percent never wear a helmet when riding a bicycle.”

58 percent never wear a helmet?

To me, that number sounds extraordinarily high. The vast majority of cyclists I see are wearing helmets. In fact, I can’t even recall the last time I saw someone not wear a helmet when riding a bike.

What is your experience?


About The Author

By Randy Rasa, editor/webmaster at Kansas Cyclist, the web’s premier Kansas cycling information site, featuring authoritative guides to Kansas cycling clubs, bike shops, organized bike rides, touring, trails, and much more. [learn more]

4 responses to “How Many Cyclists Actually Wear a Helmet?”

  1. Brian says:

    There are 2 types of cyclists:
    Guys on bikes – the types that ride because their license is suspended, the car is in the shop or there’s no money for gas. These guys don’t wear helmets (probably because helmets cost ‘beer money’.
    Cyclists: These are folks that ride to ease stress, to crosstrain, to commute, to exercise or just for the fun of it. These guys generally wear helmets.

    If you combine the 2, then 58% sounds right.

  2. acline says:

    That percentage is about right here in Springfield. Many college students I see riding don’t wear helmets — easily half or more. And the working poor that I see on bikes these days (forced there by hard economic times) are almost always without a helmet.

  3. I think 58% is pretty accurate. Just think about it. They asked 1000 Americans about risky behavior not 1000 cyclist. Most Americans do not ride a bike on a regular basis but many Americans own a bike that stays in the garage and if they dig it out to ride around the block one time a summer. “Most” Americans would also not consider bike helmets very cool and would not admit to wearing one even if it is safer.

  4. Harry says:

    Probably close. However, they asked enough people to get a 1000 responses. I doubt the survey was scientific in any manner, and therefore not generalizable to the population. I see the neighbor kids all the time without helmets, but I rarely (if ever) see a serious-looking cyclist without a helmet.