Einstein said common sense is “that collection of prejudices we have accumulated by the age of 18”. How well Ben James’s Soapbox piece illustrates this point (The Argus, February 2).

Lets look at a few of your pearls of wisdom: “For the price of a couple of pints, you can get a helmet from Argos – and it could potentially save your life.”

Curnow’s 2005 scientific paper of bicycle helmets showed that while helmets offer some limited protection against direct trauma to the skull and brain, they offer no protection against angular motion impacts and, in fact, may even exacerbate angular motion effect by adding whiplash, or increasing the risk of “catch and twist” impact as a result of a helmet adding physical dimension to the skull.

Perhaps it will save brain damage, perhaps it will cause it. Science can’t currently say which is more likely.

“You wouldn’t think of driving your car without strapping up, so why would you get on a bike without a helmet?”

Brain trauma is one of the most common injuries in people involved in car crashes, and in fact car occupants would benefit far more from helmets than cyclists because the helmet design would not have the same weight and ventilation constraints as cycle helmets. Why not make the same suggestion for car drivers? Surely they are being just as irresponsible?

“It’s difficult to gauge why people don’t bother... From talking to friends it appears it may be partly down to looks.” Well, that’s called hearsay.

“If you are seriously pathetic enough to think that a helmet will mess up your hair, then get a grip, get off you bike and walk.”

How exactly is that going to help? A head injury is just as likely for pedestrian casualties as for cyclists, so you’re just swapping one risk for another.

The risk of head injury is present whether you are inside or outside a vehicle, pedestrian or cyclist, and the probabilities are about the same for all, so why is it just the cyclist who is irresponsible?

I have read all the literature so I know there is no consensus on the issue. I certainly know enough, though, that I can’t judge someone who chooses not to wear a helmet.

Ronald Reid, Caterham, Surrey