Should I wear a helmet?

LCC believes cyclists should be able to choose whether to wear a helmet or not. This is because the evidence that helmets increase safety is inconclusive (visit www.cyclehelmets.org for more information), whereas they have been shown to reduce the number of people who cycle, which sadly increases danger to cyclists.

Helmets do not prevent cyclists from being involved in a crash, and making cycle helmet wearing compulsory is often seen as a substitute for taking concrete measures to reduce road danger - for example by improving street design and improving driver behaviour. In Holland, where they have the safest streets in the world, cycle helmets are not compulsory.

The LCC believes that promoting compulsory wearing of cycle helmets is a distraction from the real issues of road safety and responsible cycling – which LCC are actively campaigning on.


Replies

The LCC attitude about cycling helmets is rather a childish one and is reminiscent of the attitude towards car safety belts in the 60's & 70's, when it was erroneously & foolishly thought that wearing a safety belt would lull the driver &/or occupants into a false sense of security and thereby, somehow, causing accidents. I'm horrified whenever I see a cyclist without a helmet on their head.

Indeed, wearing a cycle safety helmet will not prevent an accident, just like wearing a car safety belt will not prevent an accident, nor will it lull cyclists into false sense of security and somehow cause an accident. However, like car safety belts, in the unfortunate event of an accident, wearing a cycle safety helmet WILL help reduce the severity of accident injury. (A friend of mine who had just started out on a bicycle ride had a serious accident. Had she not been wearing a helmet at the time, she would have been killed.)

I see lots of cyclists, with and without helmets. Having spoken to non-helmet wearing cyclists about the dangers to which they are exposing themselves, they have then stated that they would immediately purchase a helmet. To suggest that making wearing a helmet mandatory would put people off from buying a bicycle is utter nonsense!

Please, please, bring your thinking in line with most other civilised countries round the world and encourage cyclists to wear helmets. Then go one step further and start a campaign to make wearing a cycle helmet a legal and mandatory requirement whilst cycling.

Yours sincerely,

TheCyclist

This post was edited by TheCyclist at 6:34pm 4 July 2012.

  • By JHW at 11:42am 11 November 2012
Dear TheCyclist, I concur with just about every word you have written.

I sometimes wear a helmet, depending on the bike I'm riding at the time. On my shopping bike I've worn a helmet a couple of times, but it makes me feel LESS safe than riding without one. My main issue with helmets is that they stop other road users seeing the person underneath.

There is considerable evidence that helmets would prevent head injuries to drivers and pedestrians in crashes too - should we ALL wear one all the time?

LCC's policy on helmets matches exactly that of every other credible cycling organisation in the country, including British Cycling, CTC, the Cycling Embassy of Great Britain and Cyclenation. Are we all "childish", or are we perhaps the ones in possession of the full facts?

Your assertion that most countries have them is wrong, as shown by this map:

We urge you to challenge your own views, rather than simply reinforcing them with statements that have no grounding in reality:

http://www.cyclehelmets.org

Dear Thecyclist

For an update on childish opinions about seatbelt laws try - http://www.john-adams.co.uk/?s=seat+belts.

For helmets the most comprehensive collection of evidence is - http://www.cyclehelmets.org.

Somehow I doubt that either will change your ill-informed opinions.

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