The news of a review of cycling safety in the UK has been hitting the headlines today, sparking the familiar debate over whether helmets and high-visibility clothing should be mandated.
In fact, the two-part Government review is a wide-ranging look at cycling safety that includes a lot of factors, of which helmets are just a small part. But on that issue, many, including Olympic cyclist Chris Boardman, are strongly of the view that it could be detrimental to make such safety measures compulsory – and we at RoSPA agree.
Helmets are highly recommended, as they will reduce the risk of receiving major head or brain injuries in an accident, and they are especially effective for children in accidents which do not involved a collision with a motor vehicle.
For those who choose to wear helmets, they are most effective when correctly fitted in low speed collisions up to 20km/h, and high visibility jackets are beneficial provided the reflective strips are not covered by a bag, for example.
However, making the helmet compulsory will likely have negative effects on cycling as a whole. It could discourage people from cycling, meaning they will not be getting the many health benefits that the activity brings.
Research recently conducted by SWOV, the Institute for Road Safety Research in Holland, suggested that mandatory wearing could save five children’s and five adults’ lives per year, but that doing so would have a hugely detrimental effect on bicycle use, and therefore healthy outdoor activity.
Nick Lloyd, road safety manager
Posted: 11/24/2017 3:40:55 PM