I've done a lot of driving in the five years since I received licensure. I like to drive fast (3 speeding tickets). Heck I like to walk fast. And I don't like wearing my seatbelt. The freedom it permits is not without risk but I have managed to avoid any driving accidents in my tens of thousands of miles of travel (I was a backseat passenger in a car that got T-boned by an old man running a red light at 35 mph; so I have had that "maybe I should rethink my policies moment", but I still stand firm). At this point it's only natural for me to question the institution of wearing a helmet for my bike trip. I haven't had one thus far and as D-Day approaches I'm contemplating pocketing that $40 for an extra night in a motel somewhere along the way.
A helmet will only be 1% of my accumulated expenses but here's some food for thought. The article introduces the possibility that unprotected cyclists may be safer on roadways because of existing stereotypes about helmets and experience. "On average, drivers steered an extra 3.3 in away from those without helmets to those wearing the safety hats. Motorists were twice as likely to pass “very close” to the cyclist if he was wearing a helmet" (Hoyle, 2006)
The jury (me) is still deliberating; but honestly a helmet seems to spit in the face of the whole gung-ho/cowboy/manifest-destiny thing. Just about anybody goes cross eyed when I mention leaving the helmet at the shop, but then again just about anybody goes crossed eyed when I tell them I'm going alone.
Another random view from today's ride. I can't say enough about the beauty that's hiding in the rolling hills of SE Ohio, right in my own backyard.