LETTERS: Helmets act as a deterrent to cyclists

LETTERS: Helmets act as a deterrent to cyclists

LETTERS: Helmets act as a deterrent to cyclists

First published in Opinion

I was delighted to read Joan Gordon survived her near-death experience after crashing her bicycle while descending The Struggle near Ambleside at about 40mph (Gazette, April 24, ‘Cycle helmet saved my life’).

If her cycle helmet saved her life, that’s great. And if Joan is now moved to encourage others to wear cycle helmets, that is perfectly understandable.

But I would ask Joan to think twice before advocating a mandatory cycle helmet law in the UK, as it would be a public health disaster.

The British Medical Journal has stated that the health benefits of cycling outweigh the risks by at least 20 to one - whether or not you wear a helmet.

In rural Cumbria, where air pollution is less of an issue, the ratio soars to an astounding 415 to 1.

Yet in the few places around the world where cycle helmets have been made compulsory, the main effect of the law has been to deter people from cycling in their droves, so missing out on all the many health benefits of cycling.

But if a compulsory helmet law saves even one life, surely it would be a good thing?

Unfortunately the real-world evidence is that these laws do not result in any reduction in the rate of cyclists’ head injuries.

This may seem surprising, but cycle helmets are only designed to be effective in crashes where the head hits the tarmac at speeds of 12mph or less, while most adult cycling fatalities involve collisions with motor vehicles at much higher speeds.

As a result, despite determined lobbying by the helmet manufacturers, many of these ill-considered helmet laws have either been repealed or reduced in their scope.

The truth is that the UK needs a compulsory cycle helmet law like it needs a hole in the head.

For more hard-headed facts about the adverse effects of mandatory cycle helmet laws, go to www.cyclehelmets.org

Paul Holdsworth

Kendal

Comments (5)

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10:46pm Sun 18 May 14

snuggle-bunny says...

perhaps learning how to ride a bike proparly might also help
perhaps learning how to ride a bike proparly might also help snuggle-bunny
  • Score: -33

5:39pm Wed 21 May 14

PropMeUpWithTeabags says...

snuggle-bunny wrote:
perhaps learning how to ride a bike proparly might also help
Learning how to spell is also a skill one needs to learn. I echoed these exact points so I am glad someone has backed me up!
[quote][p][bold]snuggle-bunny[/bold] wrote: perhaps learning how to ride a bike proparly might also help[/p][/quote]Learning how to spell is also a skill one needs to learn. I echoed these exact points so I am glad someone has backed me up! PropMeUpWithTeabags
  • Score: 7

6:44pm Wed 21 May 14

zaney5 says...

snuggle-bunny wrote:
perhaps learning how to ride a bike proparly might also help
Couldn't agree more. I'm sick of cyclists thinking they are above the laws of the road. A red light means exactly the same for a cyclist as it does for a car driver, although you'd be forgiven for thinking it means something completely different if you witness some of the idiots on 2 wheels.
[quote][p][bold]snuggle-bunny[/bold] wrote: perhaps learning how to ride a bike proparly might also help[/p][/quote]Couldn't agree more. I'm sick of cyclists thinking they are above the laws of the road. A red light means exactly the same for a cyclist as it does for a car driver, although you'd be forgiven for thinking it means something completely different if you witness some of the idiots on 2 wheels. zaney5
  • Score: -31

9:05am Thu 22 May 14

kendal brat says...

zaney5 wrote:
snuggle-bunny wrote:
perhaps learning how to ride a bike proparly might also help
Couldn't agree more. I'm sick of cyclists thinking they are above the laws of the road. A red light means exactly the same for a cyclist as it does for a car driver, although you'd be forgiven for thinking it means something completely different if you witness some of the idiots on 2 wheels.
Cyclists are sick to the teeth of those motorists who cause them real danger by passing too close, positioning too close behind waiting for overtakes, going through red lights, driving carelessly, using mobiles, speeding inappropriately around them. I do not go through red lights on my bike. But you would be surprised just how many car drivers do not obey red light rules, by either going through late on red or invading the ASL cyclist zone.

Yes, many cyclists will go through red lights, they will often argue that it's for their own safety, and stats do back up their argument (much like the stats against helmet use). I've been criticised by bus drivers in town for NOT going through red lights, then inconveniencing them by cycling slower than they would like me to ride up Beast Banks, causing them to struggle up the hill behind me, or attempt an unsafe overtake.

But while motorists cause about 10,000 times the number of deaths that cyclists cause, I think we need to maintain some proportionality about the type of offending that needs to be highlighted, rather than chuntering about red light jumping cyclists.
[quote][p][bold]zaney5[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]snuggle-bunny[/bold] wrote: perhaps learning how to ride a bike proparly might also help[/p][/quote]Couldn't agree more. I'm sick of cyclists thinking they are above the laws of the road. A red light means exactly the same for a cyclist as it does for a car driver, although you'd be forgiven for thinking it means something completely different if you witness some of the idiots on 2 wheels.[/p][/quote]Cyclists are sick to the teeth of those motorists who cause them real danger by passing too close, positioning too close behind waiting for overtakes, going through red lights, driving carelessly, using mobiles, speeding inappropriately around them. I do not go through red lights on my bike. But you would be surprised just how many car drivers do not obey red light rules, by either going through late on red or invading the ASL cyclist zone. Yes, many cyclists will go through red lights, they will often argue that it's for their own safety, and stats do back up their argument (much like the stats against helmet use). I've been criticised by bus drivers in town for NOT going through red lights, then inconveniencing them by cycling slower than they would like me to ride up Beast Banks, causing them to struggle up the hill behind me, or attempt an unsafe overtake. But while motorists cause about 10,000 times the number of deaths that cyclists cause, I think we need to maintain some proportionality about the type of offending that needs to be highlighted, rather than chuntering about red light jumping cyclists. kendal brat
  • Score: 31

10:15am Thu 22 May 14

PropMeUpWithTeabags says...

Well said Kendal Brat... Oh and well done for cycling up beast banks if I try it I roll backwards!
Well said Kendal Brat... Oh and well done for cycling up beast banks if I try it I roll backwards! PropMeUpWithTeabags
  • Score: 16

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