Laura Trott changes her mind on helmets

Olympic champion now says helmet wearing should be "personal discretion"

by John Stevenson   March 21, 2014  

Laura Trott (copyright John Stevenson)

Olympic cycling star Laura Trott has changed her mind on whether wearing cycle helmets should be a legal requirement. While she still thinks helmets prevent major injuries, the 21-year-old now thinks helmet use should be a matter of "personal discretion".

Speaking at the Olympic Velodrome at Lee Valley Velopark last week, Trott reiterated that her sister’s crash had convinced her of the benefits of helmets.

"I cycle a lot around roads and I would always wear a helmet," she told Rob Virtue of wharf.co.uk. "I've been out with my sister when she crashed and it just showed me how a helmet prevents major injuries.”

Emma Trott, who is two years older than her sister, was one of five British riders hit by a car in Belgium in 2010

But in a change from her previous comments Laura Trott added: "But it's also something that should be at your personal discretion. If you want to wear it, wear it, if you don't, then don't."

Last year, the Wiggle-Honda rider attracted vociferous criticism when she implied that cyclists sometimes have only themselves to blame should they get hit by a vehicle. “It’s not always the car’s fault,” she said.

At the time, Trott was speaking in her role as one of Mayor of London Boris Johnson’s cycling ambassadors.

“It should be a legal requirement to wear a helmet,” she said. “So many lives have been saved by them and it saved my sister’s life.”

However, Boris Johnson’s own cycling commissioner Andrew Gilligan believes helmets have no proven benefits and refuses to wear one.

The benefits of helmet use is one of the most hotly contested topics in cycling. British Cycling policy advisor Chris Boardman recently called for the debate to be put to bed as it had become a distraction from the bigger issues of making cycling safer by building segregated infrastructure and improving vehicle design.

In an interview with road.cc, Boardman said that helmet use was “not even in the top 10 of things you need to do to keep cycling safe or more widely, save the most lives.”

Studies based on A&E admissions often conclude that helmets are effective at preventing head injury. But this effect vanishes when data from larger groups of cyclists are examined.

In 2005, researcher PJ Hewson analysed police STATS19 data on traffic collisions and concluded: “There is no evidence that cycle helmets reduce the overall cyclist injury burden at the population level in the UK when data on road casualties is examined.”

 

In a 2006 paper for the British Medical Journal, researcher Dorre Robinson, also working with whole-population data for injury rates concluded that there was no clear evidence of the effectiveness of making helmets compulsory.

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Flying Scot wrote:
cyclingDMlondon wrote:
Flying Scot wrote:
Laura has her opinion, she speaks her opinion, formed from personal experience, get over it.

'Formed from personal experience'?

Yes, because unlike you, I actually read what she said. It's based on her experience of her sisters accident,

That's interesting. I always thought that one classed as 'experience', things one had personally you know, erm 'experienced'.

Does that mean that I ceased to be a virgin, the first time my eldest brother got his leg over?

Flying Scot wrote:
and her opinion following that was the hat helped.

Yes, and that 'opinion' is based on nothing more than a gut feeling, and what sociologists call 'common sense opinion'. Other such 'opinions' used to be that exceeding 4 mph in a car would result in death. Or that the death penalty 'must deter', because no one would voluntarily commit what amounts to suicide.

And so on.

It's bollox. All of it. And yet because of who says it, it makes national news.

That's what I object to. Is it really so difficult to understand?

'It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning' (Henry Ford)

cyclingDMlondon's picture

posted by cyclingDMlondon [211 posts]
22nd March 2014 - 15:00

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FluffyKittenofTindalos wrote:
Also, there's the little problem that the media gives undue prominence to the views of people who have no particular expertise on the topic they are speaking about (cf Nigel Lawson being treated by the BBC as an expert on climate change!)

*applause*

'It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning' (Henry Ford)

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posted by cyclingDMlondon [211 posts]
22nd March 2014 - 15:01

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cyclingDMlondon wrote:
Flying Scot wrote:
Laura has her opinion, she speaks her opinion, formed from personal experience, get over it.

'Formed from personal experience'?

LOL!!

She's 21. At that age, she doesn't have any personal experience. She is a child. As my grandfather would sometimes say, 'she hasn't stopped shitting yellow'.

Patronising much?

posted by jacknorell [333 posts]
22nd March 2014 - 15:56

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I wouldn't for a moment suggest that a mere multiple world championship and Olympic champion professional cyclist would know anything about a subject pertaining to cycling, or indeed that the aforementioned same world and Olympic champion professional cyclist should be listened to by anyone when she voices her opinion on a subject pertaining to cycling.

posted by allez neg [4 posts]
22nd March 2014 - 16:24

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darranmoore wrote:

I very rarely see anyone not wearing one, especially under age of 50!

Maybe your looking at the wrong people, i see plenty of leisure, bikes as transport people who don't wear helmets, i see very few bikes as sports equipment without helmets.

You have to remember there are broadly two sets of cyclists, they are not the same, there needs are not the same.

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posted by mrmo [1064 posts]
22nd March 2014 - 16:54

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ped wrote:
Personal choice wins for sure. I choose to wear one.

For the myriad 'mate was wearing a helmet, had a crash, still got injured' stories I've yet to see a single 'mate was wearing a helmet, had a crash, still got injured, wished they hadn't been wearing a helmet' one.

Well, you asked for it, the parents of these children will be wishing they didn't wear helmets:
Child deaths due to cycle helmets

posted by kie7077 [448 posts]
22nd March 2014 - 17:07

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kie7077 wrote:
ped wrote:
Personal choice wins for sure. I choose to wear one.

For the myriad 'mate was wearing a helmet, had a crash, still got injured' stories I've yet to see a single 'mate was wearing a helmet, had a crash, still got injured, wished they hadn't been wearing a helmet' one.

Well, you asked for it, the parents of these children will be wishing they didn't wear helmets:
Child deaths due to cycle helmets

What a load of bollocks, strangulations due to wearing them off the bike mostly, you know, the kind of thing that can happen with a scarf, only a scarf doesn't come with a warning sticker, label and handbook, bike hat does.

All Campag

posted by Flying Scot [520 posts]
22nd March 2014 - 17:15

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When the HSE makes recommendations about building site safety, PPE is not at the top of the list, yet in any conversation about road safety, its top of the list for what cyclists should do.

I find it funny that there's a direct correlation between the people who call for mandatory helmet law and how their argument for such legislation is formulated entirely by anecdotal evidence.

Calling for such legislation because your partner/family member/acquaintance once fell on their face and you claim its down to wearing a helmet that saved their life, is about as convincing as making the same call because a bloke down the pub told you they save lives.

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posted by zanf [471 posts]
22nd March 2014 - 17:55

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I wear a full face helmet on my motorcycle and a cycle hat on my cycle - I appreciate the choice when I am on my cycle and I am glad that Laura Trott seems to appreciate that, she seems pretty sensible to me.
Interesting top speeds through town are only very slightly higher on my motorcycle and yet I wear protective clothing, boots and helmet - but comfortable in Lycra and trainers on my cycle - go figure!

posted by Crankpoet [6 posts]
22nd March 2014 - 18:55

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zanf wrote:
When the HSE makes recommendations about building site safety, PPE is not at the top of the list, yet in any conversation about road safety, its top of the list for what cyclists should do.

My job's connected with the construction sector and I can tell you that in the UK, enforcement of PPE is pretty strong. If you're not wearing a hi-viz or a helmet, you won't be allowed onsite in all but a few instances, and those sites where the rules aren't enforced are the ones you don't want to risk going on anyway.

And it has to be the right kind of high-viz too. I have a German high-viz top I can't use in the UK as the reflector stripes go the wrong way. The HSE rarely has to enforce PPE any more because the construction sector has become pretty good about self-policing. Most firms don't want to risk an incident where it's found out later someone didn't have the right kit, because they'd be fined heavily and considering PPE is cheap, it simply isn't worth it.

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2165 posts]
22nd March 2014 - 19:01

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Love life, love cycling, love the road & love my helmet. Two accidents & major concussion. Would never go without one. Last year spotted two pro's 60+ all the gear & just cap, this frightened me a lot. I respect cyclist when in a car & respect drivers when on my bike but all it takes is lose of concentration. Please wear one it could save your life.

posted by beko [1 posts]
22nd March 2014 - 19:02

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I've been cycling for 48 years and I've never had an 'accident' worthy of the description or suffered 'major concussion'. I don't know what you do with your bike but the way I ride mine it is not a dangerous activity that requires PPE.

If you think you 'love cycling' now then try doing it the proper way with the wind in your hair and unencumbered by bits of foam on your head. If you simply look where you are going and adjust your speed according to the conditions then you should be absolutely fine.

I despair that young people have become such utter woosies that they are too scared to ride a bike without a completely useless foam hat.

posted by Joeinpoole [235 posts]
22nd March 2014 - 19:40

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Old Ridgeback, I seem to remember reading that the construction industry was exceeded in death rate only by deep sea fishing. Has it improved, is my information outdated?

posted by felixcat [208 posts]
22nd March 2014 - 20:40

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Ooh excellent, another helmet debate. Cos we really haven't had enough of these on road.cc, we could do with they same old anecdotal evidence and general argument... Yawn

posted by crazy-legs [504 posts]
22nd March 2014 - 21:08

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I can't be bothered reading all of it, has somebody mentioned cyclehelmets.org yet? It's like Godwin's Law on these threads.

I really don't care if anyone wears a lid or not, just keep your opinions to yourself on the matter and go ride bikes instead.

posted by drfabulous0 [292 posts]
22nd March 2014 - 21:17

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drfabulous0 wrote:
I can't be bothered reading all of it, has somebody mentioned cyclehelmets.org yet? It's like Godwin's Law on these threads.

I really don't care if anyone wears a lid or not, just keep your opinions to yourself on the matter and go ride bikes instead.

I don't care who wears a helmet either, just so long as it isn't me. Already there have been a couple of attempts in Parliament to make me.
Why is it you object to other people voicing their opinions?

posted by felixcat [208 posts]
22nd March 2014 - 21:36

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drfabulous0 wrote:
I can't be bothered reading all of it, has somebody mentioned cyclehelmets.org yet? It's like Godwin's Law on these threads.

I really don't care if anyone wears a lid or not, just keep your opinions to yourself on the matter and go ride bikes instead.

Bikes? What have bikes got to do with it? I almost always wear a helmet, obviously, and rarely miss an argument about them, but I never ride bikes. Far too dangerous.

posted by FluffyKittenofT... [657 posts]
22nd March 2014 - 23:54

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crazy-legs wrote:
Ooh excellent, another helmet debate. Cos we really haven't had enough of these on road.cc, we could do with they same old anecdotal evidence and general argument... Yawn

The internet isn't going to fill itself you know. It can't all be cat pictures, porn and Americans arguing about guns.

posted by FluffyKittenofT... [657 posts]
22nd March 2014 - 23:58

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FluffyKittenofTindalos wrote:
crazy-legs wrote:
Ooh excellent, another helmet debate. Cos we really haven't had enough of these on road.cc, we could do with they same old anecdotal evidence and general argument... Yawn

The internet isn't going to fill itself you know. It can't all be cat pictures, porn and Americans arguing about guns.

Oh yes it can! although I dont bother much with the Americans arguing about their amendments.

Smile

posted by edster99 [156 posts]
23rd March 2014 - 0:35

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cyclingDMlondon wrote:
Flying Scot wrote:
Laura has her opinion, she speaks her opinion, formed from personal experience, get over it.

'Formed from personal experience'?

LOL!!

She's 21. At that age, she doesn't have any personal experience. She is a child. As my grandfather would sometimes say, 'she hasn't stopped shitting yellow'.

But just like every 21-year-old the world over, she thinks that she is the oracle of wisdom. Put another way, she thinks she knows it all.

Just like I did. The difference is that when I was 21, my opinion was ignored (as was only right). No one was beating a path to my door, fawning over me, sticking a microphone in my face and then reporting my words as if they have issued forth from the tablets on the mountain.

Her position means that her opinions aren't ignored, and that's where the danger is. She is expressing an opinion (and thank God, she has the right to do that), but her opinion, because of who she is, is taken as somehow being authoritative by those who don't know any better (which, alas, seems to include some people on this very website). In short, she is considered 'an expert', in spite of her lack of experience of.. well, of just about everything.

Now, that some of our younger contributors here have evidently taken a shine to the pretty young miss, is one thing. But that doesn't mean that the rest of us are 'attacking' her in any way. We're not. Well, I'm not. I'm just saying, 'Shut up, sit down and learn a bit about the world before you open your gob'.

If you take that as an attack .. well, *shrug*

last i checked she was a professional cyclist...? which i assume you can't do without riding a bike a lot.... Confused so if she can talk about anything its cycling. maybe not much else compared to you, yoda and all your mighty wisdom, but i don't recall you being a pro cyclist.... or are you? If so i'd happily ignore your opinion because you obviously wouldn't know what you're talking about being pro and all... Thinking

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posted by georgeince [66 posts]
23rd March 2014 - 1:37

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FluffyKittenofTindalos wrote:
crazy-legs wrote:
Ooh excellent, another helmet debate. Cos we really haven't had enough of these on road.cc, we could do with they same old anecdotal evidence and general argument... Yawn

The internet isn't going to fill itself you know. It can't all be cat pictures, porn and Americans arguing about guns.

The Americans don't argue about guns. They settle their differences with a good old fashioned shootout instead. I hear they're thinking about the right to arm bears now, so there'll be some pissed-off grizzlies packing nines.

posted by allez neg [4 posts]
23rd March 2014 - 9:31

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I heard that after carefully considering all the evidence, helmets have changed their mind about Laura Trott.

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posted by joemmo [787 posts]
23rd March 2014 - 10:05

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Aren't you the LUCKY CYCLIST ! 3 broken helmets in a season and all from different reasons ! Can't claim they were not my fault , since i chose to get on the Bike !
Even see old women out shopping on their bike getting into bother so " Murphy's Law applies to them also !

Being hit by a ton+ of kinetic force from the rear , usually can be described as an incident that a Helmet was of NO VALUE !

ADD your " LIKE " to https://www.facebook.com/pages/Vision-ZERO-Worldwide/540123632761709

your good fortune may make it more successful and may SAVE A LIFE !

Skippy(advocate for "Disabled / Para Sport")@skippydetour. blogging as skippi-cyclist.blogspot & Parrabuddy.blogspot currently on the road with ProTour Grand Tour Events .

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posted by skippy [383 posts]
23rd March 2014 - 12:08

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felixcat wrote:
drfabulous0 wrote:
I can't be bothered reading all of it, has somebody mentioned cyclehelmets.org yet? It's like Godwin's Law on these threads.

I really don't care if anyone wears a lid or not, just keep your opinions to yourself on the matter and go ride bikes instead.

I don't care who wears a helmet either, just so long as it isn't me. Already there have been a couple of attempts in Parliament to make me.
Why is it you object to other people voicing their opinions?

I don't have any problem with people voicing their opinions, but it's just got boring now, it's like droning on about religion. Compulsory helmets is never going to happen thankfully, so lets just find something better to do with our time than arguing about it.

posted by drfabulous0 [292 posts]
23rd March 2014 - 12:14

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Sikhs are a bit buggered if helmets were made compulsory, unless they'd be exempt.

There - helmets and religion. Just got to get Hitler and Nazism mentioned now.

posted by allez neg [4 posts]
23rd March 2014 - 13:11

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allez neg wrote:
Sikhs are a bit buggered if helmets were made compulsory, unless they'd be exempt.

I believe Australia has exempted Sikhs, and generally they do get an exemption, as with motorcycle helmets.

posted by felixcat [208 posts]
23rd March 2014 - 14:26

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drfabulous0 wrote:

Why is it you object to other people voicing their opinions?

I don't have any problem with people voicing their opinions, but it's just got boring now, it's like droning on about religion. Compulsory helmets is never going to happen thankfully, so lets just find something better to do with our time than arguing about it.

You could comment on actual road safety:
http://road.cc/content/news/114653-lcc-urges-londoners-oppose-tfls-kings...
It may be a London road junction, but that doesn't mean that road designers in other cities won't be following the issue. These junctions were so badly designed TFL narrowly avoided being prosecuted for corporate manslaughter. And now they're doing it again.

...but you decided to moan about people debating helmets, 100 comments says the issue bothers people.

I can't understand why you would comment on a subject that you're not interested in just to say you're not interested in it, that must be very time consuming. / no-one's forcing you to read the article

posted by kie7077 [448 posts]
23rd March 2014 - 14:36

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drfabulous0 wrote:

I don't have any problem with people voicing their opinions, but it's just got boring now, it's like droning on about religion. Compulsory helmets is never going to happen thankfully, so lets just find something better to do with our time than arguing about it.

Upthread you told us to keep our opinions to ourselves. Why, if you have no problem?

If you are bored by helmet discussions I suggest you don't click on them

Why do you think helmet compulsion will not happen? Lids are obligatory in Australia and the USA, in some Canadian Povinces and South Africa, Spain has a law and so does Israel. What makes UK different? We certainly have liddites campaigning for a law.

Edited for spelling.

posted by felixcat [208 posts]
23rd March 2014 - 15:06

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Against helmets;
There is no clear evidence that helmets save lives or prevent major traumatic injury,
obligatory helmet wearing will discourage increased bicycle use.

For helmets,
The manufacturers will make money,
People will be reminded that many people are cycling.

It's a close call; I frequently wear mine so that I can be seen with it when I'm shopping or arriving at the cinema or theatre, in order to advertise cycling, but I believe that Laura Trott's latest statement is the best.

posted by oliverjames [15 posts]
24th March 2014 - 12:09

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No one as yet owned up to making pro helmet reports because they have been persuaded to by threat or favour! the billion,billion dollar
oil industry is far to moral to resort to such tatics.

ronyrash

posted by ronyrash [3 posts]
24th March 2014 - 20:03

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