Although I started riding before helmets became compulsory, I still had one. I didn't wear it on a summers evening when I was riding to the village coffee bar, but I always wore it for riding to work. It seemed logical at the time. Then, when "jet" helmets became available, I bought one and wore it all the time, mostly to show off, I suppose.
No-one wore armour - it hadn't been invented. Few riders could afford leather, so PVC jackets were common, as were the heavy coats you could get at the ex-army stores. Boots? You wore work boots, or maybe the sheepskin lined boots favoured by air crews. Gloves were whatever you could get hold of. Leg and back protection simply did not exist. When you fell off, it hurt, but you usually didn't get the horrendous injuries which are widely publicised today.
Those were the days when traffic was much sparser. Those were the days when car drivers expected to see motorcycles being used for transport to work. Those were the days when you could fall off your bike without the likelyhood of something else running over you.That was when bikes had maybe half the pace of todays bikes.
I bought my son his first motorbike when he was 6 years old. He wore a helmet from day one. He's 29 now and rides daily - he doesn't have a car. He doesn't question the logic, or the pro's and con's of wearing a helmet. He just does it. He wears a full-face helmet, a one-piece leather suit, biker boots and gloves with carbon inserts. He's happy, and it keeps Mum happy.
On the other hand, My Dad rode bikes during WW2. His protection was a tin hat and a coarse Khaki suit. Later, he was an enthusiastic rider and my Mum rode pillion. As was the norm in those days, they wore no helmets, no protection at all.
Toady I wear a flip-front helmet and ride mostly with the jaw section raised . I like the wind in my face. I wear a leather jacket or a mesh jacket , with jeans, and light boots and gloves.
Having experienced all sides of the subject, where does that leave my opinion on the compulsory wearing of helmets?
I'd say it is not always necessary, but sometimes it is essential. But how do we translate that into a reasonable philosophy ?
I'd say that where the speed limit is 30mph or less, helmets should be optional. Where the speed limit is more, helmets should always be worn.
Well, MCN did ask for my comments ...