Sunday 1 May 2011

The great bicycle helmet debate: four perspectives

Liberal Democrat MP Julian Huppert doesn’t believe in helmets. It is a troubling thought that a Liberal Democrat MP can talk sense but that’s how it sometimes goes.


Steve Presland, vice-chairman of Ely Cycling Club, believes it is vital to wear a helmet at all times.

And just look at these typical cyclists.

Robin Heydon, of Cambridge Cycling Campaign, believed the discussion of helmets skewed the debate on road safety. He said: “The safest countries for cyclists have the lowest incidence of cycle helmet use. Holland [sic], Denmark and Sweden all recognise that injuries are actually caused by cars, so it’s more important to design roads better and invest in more driver education.

And we know what Cambridge Cycling Campaign means by designing roads better.


Joel Hickman, spokesman for the road safety charity Brake, said: “Cyclists in Cambridge would benefit from wearing helmets, like cyclists in any other city. It is a basic safety precaution that could save your life. We have extensive evidence that cycle helmets are effective in reducing the risk of serious head injury when cycling.

No, he doesn’t.

IAM cycling manager Duncan Pickering said: “If cyclists feel safer wearing one it makes sense to do so. But cyclists can improve their safety and confidence a lot by taking training. Many accidents involving cyclists could be prevented by cyclists positioning themselves more defensively in relation to larger vehicles.”

Ah, yes. Defensive cycling for the motorized battlefield.