James Leroy Wilson's blog

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

I'm Not Buying Bicycle Helmets

My latest at LewRockwell.com. Excerpt:

I would never buy my children bicycle helmets no matter what the law says. The risks of a head injury sustained at slow speeds and small heights are too small to justify the cost and inconvenience for the kids. I don’t want to send the message that riding a bicycle is unsafe. Besides, kids are supposed to get cuts and bruises, and wipe out once in a while. It toughens them up.

In what other ways would I be a bad Dad? From education to alcohol, from arts to medicine, I would try to do what’s right regardless of the law or social expectations. Obviously, my course of action would have to take these into account; no one wants to go to jail or not have enough money. But while I would want my children to learn prudence and responsibility, I wouldn’t want them to value conformity, especially to an unjust regime and absurd social order. I’d rather home-school in a trailer park and be free than have a huge house in the ’burbs and send my kids to a "good" indoctrination camp.

But my biggest crime as a father would be that I’d discourage my children from going into law enforcement and the military.

More here.


  1. Anonymous5:22 AM PDT

    I read your article on Lew Rockwell. Well said!


  2. Start fathering as soon as it is convenient for you.

  3. Aaron Kneile6:13 PM PDT

    Well written. I don't think the Government has any more business telling me I should wear a bicycle helmet than how I should educate my children. I am personally committed to raising children that are responsible, independent minded, and stand up for liberty. Values you mention in your article.

    The only thing is, I actually DO wear a helmet. I never ride without it. This is because I personally know more than one person who suffered brain damage falling off a bike at a slow speed. I wouldn't make my daughter (currently much too young) wear a helmet on a tricycle, but on a bike, I'd insist. It's my prerogative as her father. If the Government passed a law outlawing helmets, I'd still make her wear one. But if you don't want to buy helmets, I strongly agree that it is your choice and it is in no way the business of Uncle Sam.

    Anyway, it's not really about helmets. Your points about the military, conformity, faith in the Government, etc. are right on target. I found your ideas both logical and well-presented. Thanks for writing an excellent article.

    Oh, just a couple of months ago I got doored (when someone opens a door to a car without looking in their rearview mirror, thereby causing you, the cyclist, to go flying.) I cracked my ribs pretty good and slammed my head on the pavement when I landed. My helmet absorbed the impact so well that it was as if I hadn't hit my head at all. With no helmet it'd have been a concussion at the very, very least. Ok, I’m done with my soap box.

  4. Christina9:21 PM PDT

    I agree with the last poster.

    I, too, wear a helmet, and not because it's the law in Spokane. And not so much to protect me from my own mistakes, but to protect me from everyone else.

    I don't have kids, but your excuse that helmets are too expensive and inconvienent for kids is weak.

  5. The pro-helmet response I received in e-mail referred to anecdotes of grown people, usually in collisions with cars.

    Where one bikes might determine safety more than does a helmet.

    I'm not saying there were never serious head injuries or fatalities involving helmetless children. But none have come to my attention. As a parent, I wouldn't want to live in fear of every remote possiblity of danger.