(UNEDITED) There are a growing number of us electing not to use protective headgear. In spite of the fact that it is not illegal to ride a bicycle helmetless, we are becoming objects of contempt by other cyclists. Within the local cycling community some are intolerant of non-conformity regarding this voluntary and perfectly legal practice.
When I ride in a group I always wear a helmet. Always. However, for several years now I have stopped wearing a helmet on solo rides. Thus from other cyclists, I've been bullied, screamed at, lectured, and even given the middle finger. My crime? Riding without a helmet.
If some of us choose to not wear protective headgear while pedaling a bike, that is our business not yours. If I go without, it's my head, not yours. So, to all those who insist on acting as self-appointed helmet Gestapo, please allow others to exercise their right of freedom and personal choice in this particular matter, or... find another hobby. Model trains perhaps.
I'm not against safety. I'm not against bicycle helmets. You want to wear a helmet, go for it.
I'm against the arrogant, abusive attitudes demonstrated by bicycle riders towards other fellow cyclists who may decide, either occasionally or habitually, to go without a helmet.
This commentary isn't about debating helmet research, bicycle safety statistics, or all the pros and cons. Such discussions would go on ad infinitum, ad nauseam. Quote me your internet-sourced helmet related statistics all you want. You're missing the point.
Bicyclists could learn a valuable lesson from bikers, i.e. motorcyclists. On a recent ride, I encountered a very large motorcycle club. About eighty engines roared by me. Half wore helmets, half did not. Yet they were part of the same local organization and all having a great time in harmony with each other in their common recreational pursuit. Bikers seem to have respect for each other's rights of personal preference and freedom regarding head protection. They don't tend to badger their fellow bikers who go bareheaded. Cyclists do.