The Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa

to helmet or not to helmet???

So here’s a question?? Are helmets required for Ragbrai?? I don’t generally wear one as they are hot and uncomfortable. Now I know that they are supposed to prevent brain damage (I haven’t got any to damage) and protect your noggin. But when I did some research, statistically(in Australia, I know gravitational pull is different on that side of the world) they have been found that since the introduction of a law requiring helmet use, head trauma has gone up but the number of bikers has gone down. Makes you wonder why? SO, lets start this conversation. To helmet OR, NOT to helmet?

81 Replies

Amanda, January 13, 2019 at 3:23 pm

You can express yourself by wearing a helmet! My son airbrushed the helmet on the left. I did my helmet on the right with spray paint!Helmets

This reply was modified 6 days ago by  Amanda.

This reply was modified 6 days ago by  Amanda.


trknight, January 13, 2019 at 5:12 pm

RAGBRAI 2017 on the Karras Loop, ~2-3 miles short of Plover, somehow another rider crashed on top of me, breaking my helmet on the pavement with my head in it. I was knocked unconscious and hauled to the hospital in Pocahontas. When I woke, a doctor was sitting beside and informed me I had bleeding on top of the brain and if it worsened, they were not capable of taking care of it so I was put on a helicopter and flown to a trauma center at Iowa Methodist Hospital in Des Moines. Never experienced before vertigo issues persisted for a year. Without the helmet, who knows what condition I would be in today…

I always ride “defensively”, scanning and evaluating to avoid any potential issues. Unfortunately, other riders may have issues such as wheel touches with another rider that creates tremendous, instant disarray that is unavoidable.

I have amnesia from the accident and only know what a friend told me later that was just a bit behind me. He also told me the other rider got up, grabbed his bike and took off, leaving the scene of an injury accident which, in most states, is a felony.

Just sayin.. if you ride RAGBRAI, make sure you register and wear a helmet!


Jay Kuivinen, January 13, 2019 at 7:04 pm

And by the way HELMET is NOT a verb.


KenH, January 13, 2019 at 9:12 pm

I had an amnesia from my cracked helmet, wake up in the hospital accident too. This was not at RAGBRAI, this was about 200 feet from home. I cannot remember anything from that afternoon but it took the insurance company we had at the time about 3 years to give up asking me about the accident!

In the English language any noun can be used as a verb. Some of our best verbs started life that way! Everyone should helmet all the time, wherever they ride.


Pedaling Pete, January 14, 2019 at 4:35 pm

Wow! You guys have convinced me that RAGBRAI is too dangerous. This is my first BRAI and I think I’ll make my way across the state on another route, and meet up with the ride in one of the cities to see what it’s all about.


John Richardson, January 16, 2019 at 9:05 am

Don’t become too alarmed Pedaling Pete, Ive rode 14 RAGBRAIs and have never been involved in any kind of mishap. Cycling accidents can and will happen anywhere. Trknight so sorry to hear of your accident. Are you pretty much back to normal now? I can really relate to your vertigo and my sense of taste and smell was also way out of wack, but other than having some numb toes I feel like I’m back to normal.


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