Helmets make bicycling safer…right? Well, maybe not.

For many cyclists, the first thing they do before any ride is to make sure they are wearing their helmet. After all, safety always comes first.

However, what may surprise most cyclists is that wearing your helmet may actually put you in greater risk of getting into a bike accident – thereby increasing your likelihood of injuries. While this idea may sound counterintuitive, there is recent research to back it up.

Specifically, in a study recently published in the journal of Psychological Science, researchers found that cyclists who wear helmets tend to take more risks than they otherwise would if they had no helmets on at all – making them much more likely to have an accident. Researchers reached this conclusion after testing the behavior of 80 cyclists in a serious of experiments in which riders would wear helmets or baseball caps.

Psychologists involved in the study stated, “Humans adapt their risk-taking behavior on the basis of perceptions of safety; this risk-compensation phenomenon is typified by people taking increased risks when using protective equipment.”

These findings – coupled with other studies that show drivers tend to pass closer to cyclists who are wearing helmets – merely illustrate to need for cyclists to remain ever vigilant and always ride defensively, even when they are wearing helmets. Quite simply, there is no such thing as being too safe, especially when sharing the road with motor vehicles. Avoid unnecessary risk and always ride safely.