It is so easy to cite statistics: 58 percent of Americans don't wear helmets while cycling, 92 percent of riders killed while cycling in 2007 were not helmeted, etc. The medical and societal costs of these deaths and head injuries are in the billions.
It is even easier for people to joke about being eager to rid the gene pool of the helmet-free riders one meets constantly riding to work and through town.
But the best reason, the most selfless reason for wearing a helmet, is that you are influencing kids with your behavior. It is hard for kids to figure out what's safe, what's cool, and what weight to give vanity in a sometimes shallow world.
If we abandon the legal obligation to wear a helmet at 16, or 18, as many laws allow, we give the impression that helmets are child's attire, and that mature riders no longer need them. This is a deadly education.
Helmet hair is cool. Walking into your office or the grocery store with sweat-smashed locks sailing every which way is sexy. Forget the spandex riding togs and the pricey cycling gear – the really attractive quality a bike rider can communicate is that he or she simply recognizes that our community's children are priceless, and that anything, any simple $40 thing they can do to help keep them safe is worth it.
Just as we're slowing ridding our parks and public places of smoking, let's rid our streets of the destructive message sent by riding without bike helmets by wearing them and being an inspiration to the community we love.
Carol Denney is a community activist, musician, and bike commuter.