Homechronic painLike to Bike? This Could Save Your Life

Like to Bike? This Could Save Your Life

"Those people are crazy!" the bus driver exclaimed. I was en route to a doctor appointment in New York City, and a helmet-less rider on a Citi Bike had just darted in front of us, narrowly avoiding getting hit.

"I rarely see those Citi Bike riders wearing helmets," I said.

"I don't know why," the driver said. "It's dangerous out there."

I regularly wonder whether the un-helmeted people who use Citi Bikes—the New York bike sharing program—have a death wish. More likely, they're probably thinking they "only" have a few blocks to go and they'll be fine. Yet in the course of those few blocks, they'll likely encounter buses, trucks, swerving taxis, and overly aggressive drivers.

A few sobering stats: The number of bicyclists killed in motor vehicle accidents increased by 16% between 2010 and 2012, per the most recent Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) report on bicyclist fatalities. Experts note that the rise correlates with an increase in bicycling commuters. In addition, 48,000 "pedalcyclists" (including bicyclists, tricyclists, and unicyclists) were injured in motor vehicle traffic accidents in 2013, per the U.S. Department of Transportation.

RELATED:Â Chic Gear for Every Biking Style

Six states—California, Florida, Illinois, New York, Michigan, and Texas—represented 54 percent of all bicyclist fatalities, and the vast majority were urban accidents. In 2012, at least two thirds of bicyclists who died were not wearing helmets.Â

Currently, 29 states have no bicycle helmet laws, per the GHSA (21 have laws for younger bicyclists, generally below 16). But if you're biking—whether in the obstacle-course streets of a city or the relatively calm ones of a suburb—you shouldn't need a law to protect your life. In other words, use your head and maybe it won't get smashed up. If you know that you're going to be jumping on a bike one or more times on a work day, take a helmet. If you're doing an impromptu ride, consider a good old taxi or public transportation.

Some safety motivation: these 5 stylish yet protective helmets. Because when it comes to guarding your noggin, the hat hair is worth it:

Casual commuter

liv-helmet.jpg liv-helmet.jpg ) is for you. The sleek, modernistic design looks super chic, and the inside webbing creates a secure fit for when you're cruising down the bike lane.

RELATED:Â Bike Your Way to a Better Body

Mood shifter

yakay-helmet.jpg yakay-helmet.jpg ). The rounded, brimless shape is sleek enough on its own, but you can also top it with one of their eight cool hat covers.

Breathe easy

bern-helmet.jpg bern-helmet.jpg ). Super lightweight, and covered with slots for ventilation, you'll feel nice and breezy as you go.

Pack and go

fuga-helmet.jpg fuga-helmet.jpg ), which can shrink to over 50% it's full size.

RELATED:Â Pippa Middleton is Biking HOW Many Miles Per Day?

Loud and proud

nutcase-helmet.jpg nutcase-helmet.jpg ), like this fruity one. They're built tough, adjust for a perfect fit, and they even have a magnetic buckle closure that won't clip your skin. It's the best way to protect your melon.

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