May 20th, 2015
With every staunch supporter of the benefits of wearing a helmet there is another who argues that it’s a matter of personal choice and that the evidence for helmets is not sufficient to enforce a mandatory policy.
In recent months, Olympic gold medal winner, Chris Boardman was lambasted by the pro helmet supporters when he appeared in a film piece for BBC Breakfast television for safer cycling without wearing a helmet or high viz. clothing. He believes that: “[Helmets] discourage people from riding their bikes,”
“You are as safe riding your bike as you are walking.
“There’s nothing wrong with helmets, but they’re not in the top-10 things you can do to keep safe.”
He stated on the BBC website:
“If cycling looks and feels normal, more people will cycle (British Cycling research has shown that two thirds of people would cycle more if they felt safer).
“The more people cycle, the safer they are — the safety in numbers effect. The more people cycle, the more lives will be saved from amongst the 37,000 that die each year from obesity-related illnesses.
“Never mind the more than 27,000 that die annually from pollution-related illnesses.
“In contrast, there are approximately 116 cyclists tragically killed in the UK each year, that’s one per every 1000 times around the planet.
“Cycling is statistically safer than gardening and yet it doesn’t feel like it when you’re cycling next to a lorry or car that gets too close at a busy junction.”
Olympic cyclist and all round cycling legend, Bradley Wiggins, has unwittingly got dragged into the debate when gave an interview with the London Evening Standard. He was asked his opinion and revealed that he supported mandatory wearing of cycle helmets. Wiggins said in the interview:
“I think cyclists have to help themselves in terms of wearing helmets and things.
“I think that probably should go some way to becoming the law soon.”
The issue of cycle helmets is always a hot topic particularly after any deaths on London’s roads. Sadly for those cyclists involved in collisions with HGVs, a helmet may not have mattered but for many who have been involved in accidents and survived they will often attribute their survival or lack of serious head injury to their helmet which took the brunt of the force. The debate continues…