To Helmet or not to Helmet: Brought to you by @hotgirlsinhelmets


My sophomore year of college, my friends and I started a fun Instagram called @hotgirlsinhelmets. We were inspired by Sustainability U of U’s Bike Week. They were giving out flyers printed with the slogan #youlookhotterinahelmet, and we just took that idea and ran wild from there. It truly did just start out as a joke, and while we still have a lot of fun with it, it did inspire some interesting conversations with people about the culture of safety.

Last spring, hotgirlsinhelmets started posting dress-up themes for the 999 on Thursdays in Salt Lake City. For those that don’t know, the 999 is a weekly bike ride that happens on Thursdays where many people meet up on the corner of 9th and 9th at 9 p.m. and ride around Salt Lake City. I have had a lot of insightful conversations with helmetless bikers at the 9. I just was truly never aware that so many people are anti-helmet. Over the past year, I have asked members who identify with this community for their reasons behind why they do not believe in protecting their heads, and today I am going to report on some of the most common responses.

We’ll start off with a classic: “Helmets make me look like a loser,” “Helmets aren’t cool,” or “I just shampooed my hair.” This one always makes me giggle. I still cannot comprehend how full-grown adults are giving me this answer with a straight face. You would think that most people grew out of succumbing to negative forms of societal or peer pressure after high school, but this response always reminds me that apparently, appearances are significantly more important than safety. They say you can’t fight fire with fire, but I disagree. I always counter this reason with the same response. Everyone knows you look hotter in a helmet, so if looking good is really that important to you, you should probably put on a helmet.

Everyone knows that ego is a large part of outdoor culture, and boy oh boy is it abundant in the anti-helmet community. Too many times when I have asked someone why they aren’t wearing a helmet, they’ll say, “You don’t need a helmet if you are a good enough biker to never crash,” or “I have been biking since I was a kid. I know what I’m doing. I don’t need a helmet.” The 999 is a very crowded event with lots of bikers in very close proximity to each other which makes my counterargument very simple. I just always say that I am not a very good biker. I wonder if their childhood biking skills will protect their heads if I crash into them. Just having biking skills is not enough to protect you from uncontrollables like me that could come barreling your way.

I have also heard that helmets are uncomfortable to wear. While I personally have never shared this sentiment to the point that wearing a helmet is unbearable, I am sure some people feel this way. However, a helmet does seem a lot more comfortable than having a concussion or a worse head injury because you decided to trade out safety for comfort.

At the end of the day, choosing to wear a helmet is your own decision. However, if you choose to not wear a helmet in activities where helmets are recommended, maybe try to reflect on what is motivating this decision. Superficiality and pride should not take precedence over your well-being. However, if it does, remember that the helmet is making a trendy comeback, and everyone looks hotter in a helmet.