I think I'm a pretty good biker.
When riding on the road I stop at lights, I stop at stop signs. I use a "See Me!" light during the day. I'm lit up like a Christmas Tree at night. I take side roads as much as possible. I'm always looking for a car to do something stupid. If I can't make eye contact I'll slow down or stop until I do. I signal.
On MUPs I slow in congestion. If I don't think someone has heard my bell, which I use early and often, I'll slow down in case some impulse strikes them to turn around or move to the left. I never use MPL's. I never think my pace is all that important (though I like to keep it as much as the next guy).
And I wear a helmet.
I've read a lot of the different arguments out there regarding helmet use. As law it reduces biking, statistics show that in countries with no helmet laws biking is greater and less accidents, etc.. I've read them all. And a lot of it makes sense.
I don't care. The way I see it is if I break my knee they'll be able to fix it or give me another one. I scramble my brains and I have to relearn the alphabet.
Now, I know the alphabet pretty darn well. I don't think I can say it backwards anymore but I'm pretty sure if you give me a starting letter I can complete it from there. It's as easy as ABC.
I have no intention of messing with that if I can help it. True, there's no guarantee that a helmet will prevent that (some say it might actually hurry it along) but I'm not willing to take that chance.
A friend of mine and his wife were out in Colorado with another couple and they rented some bikes. They rolled to a stop at an overlook to take in the view and the other woman put her foot down in some gravel. Her foot slipped and she fell backward and hit her head on a stone the size of a fist. She has permanent brain damange. No helmet.
Freak accident? Sure. Would a helmet have prevented it? I don't know. I do know that, sadly, she's relearning the alphabet.