Do you need a bike helmet? You wouldn’t think that would still be a controversial question, but it is. The antihelmet contingent offers arguments such as: “Forcing people to wear helmets makes cycling seem dangerous,” and, “It discourages exercise.’’

Helmets aren’t a panacea, but you should wear one. Here’s why: Eighty-seven percent of the bicyclists killed in accidents over the past two decades were not wearing helmets, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. And when it comes to nonfatal injuries, a 2013 review by a committee at the Institute of Medicine found that wearing a helmet during sports reduces the risk of traumatic brain injury by almost 70 percent.

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