I don't like helmets - I never have. They're hot, sweaty and cumbersome.
14 years ago I had a prang, flew over the bars and headed into the tarmac at about 30mph.
Blood was pouring from my ear and I was in the middle of a main road.
I was in intensive care for about three days, in hospital for a week, confined to bed for a further week, housebound for a further three weeks and off the bike for two months.
The head-man who treated me was a cyclist and gave me a telling off, explaining which injuries I'd have avoided if I'd been wearing a helmet.
I've worn one ever since - religiously.
About two years later, one of our club slipped on a corner in ice, hit the road with her head and smashed her helmet. She was unhurt.
Again about two years later I came off on loose gravel on local Greenway, hit a boulder with my head, split the helmet but unhurt.
Three years ago I was hit from behind by a Volvo estate (it's not always an Audi!
) I can't account for this, but I must have been whiplashed or hit by something from behind at head level, because the back of my helmet was smashed to bits. I was injured and incapacitated for 6 weeks, but had no head injury nor headache.
I always wear a helmet now - because of my own experience - no-one persuaded me but the doctor's advice made it's mark. What I do is up to me, and what others do is up to them.
Three things I've learned to watch for are :
1).Shape around the head.
3). Don't ask the price - don't be put off by price - you'll have to try helmets to satisfy item 1). You may have to try several different brands.
4). Pay what you have to, to ensure correct shape and fit - ask the price afterwards.
5). Be sure that replacement inner pads are easily and freely available. They get sweated up and horrible.
A 6th thought is not to buy on-line. You can't try it on on-line. If you've saved a few quid on-line, and find it's wrong then you've all the pain of returning it and getting another and you're still not sure....................a cheapo may not be right for you, and may fail to perform when you need it most.
The last two that I bought were :
1). A frighteningly expensive (and wonderfully ventilated) Giro - the importer's rep came to the bike shop to help me with that.
2). A Specialized - less expensive, but the bike shop are Specialized dealers/agents and fit me right.
Don't get me wrong - I'm not suggesting that a helmet will save you in every and any situation, but some protection is potentially better than none.Edited 20th July - highlighted heavy.