Most parents would support a mandatory helmet law for children, claims surge - safety concerns are paramount

But only a quarter of parents give their kids' bikes an annual safety check

by Sarah Barth   June 21, 2014  

Frog 52 - full bike

The vast majority of parents think helmets should be compulsory on the road, according to a survey by the children’s bike manufacturer Frog timed to coincide with National Bike Week.

In the poll of more than 1,000 people, it turned out safety concerns were paramount for those with children riding, with 85 per cent backing mandatory helmets and 74 per cent saying they would pay to ensure the children took a cycling proficiency test.

But that’s not putting parents off, with only one in five (22 per cent) saying the roads were too dangerous to allow their child to cycle more often.

However it does seem that kids’ bikes need a tune up more often than they currently receive with only a quarter (24 per cent) having an annual MOT and safety check.

Frog Bikes Technical Manger Stephen Johnson said: “Just like an adult bike a child’s bike is not just a toy and also needs to be inspected and serviced by a qualified mechanic at least once a year, all the moving parts such as cables, bearings, brake pads, chain and tyres over a period of time will start to wear and if not attended to could become unsafe and in extreme cases dangerous to ride.

“A basic service/ inspection at a reputable bike store is not expensive and would give you peace of mind knowing your child is safe, as well as keeping up the bikes second hand value.”

There is no fear about the new generation of cyclists according to the study, with over 99 per cent of parents still believe learning to cycle is important.

71 per cent of parents felt their children should cycle more than they currently do but lack of time was cited by 38 per cent of respondents. A quarter of respondents said they do cycle at least three times a week however.

43 user comments

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“A basic service/ inspection at a reputable bike store is not expensive and would give you peace of mind knowing your child is safe, as well as keeping up the bikes second hand value.”

Or, you can learn the basics of cycle mechanics yourself, and get in the habit of keeping an eye (and ear) out for problems before they arise. Bikes are fundamentally very simple - that's a big part of the appeal.

dafyddp's picture

posted by dafyddp [181 posts]
21st June 2014 - 19:09

43 Likes

I find it very amusing that so many people get so wound up over such a simple thing as a piece of polystyrene painted a nice colour.

It seems that at the moment virtually evey article put on the forum literally gets slagged off and ends up in an arguement between posters, its quite sad really. Just look at this one, it started off about a company simply putting out a result of a small survey they carried out and within 7 posts it had become a slag off of infrastructure, cars and police and not forgetting the holier than thou "highway code".

There are no stupid questions, just stupid people.

stumps's picture

posted by stumps [2847 posts]
21st June 2014 - 19:57

43 Likes

Whatever happened to the ability to exercise judgment ? Why the survey respondents think a change in law is going to make the difference utterly baffles me ! If you think mandatory helmets "are the clincher" in terms of deciding to send your nippers out on bikes you:
A) have no idea what little protection they provide
B) have no idea about the causes of most cycling accidents
C) probably have no intention of getting your children out on bikes in the first place.

posted by arfa [542 posts]
21st June 2014 - 20:08

53 Likes

Excellent post Belaroo.

Excellent parent!

BUT, it would be nice to stay here and fight the good fight with us.

posted by ChairRDRF [169 posts]
21st June 2014 - 20:36

38 Likes

"[...] kids’ bikes need a tune up more often than they currently receive with only a quarter (24 per cent) having an annual MOT and safety check."

I wonder how the question was phrased, that produced this answer? Was it simply "do you have an annual safety check?"

My answer to this question would be no, of course not. And why? Because checking the mechanical state of a bike - your own or your kids - should not wait such an incredibly long time.

And that answer may be the one that many respondents gave; but the survey results imply that no maintenance is happening.

Badly worded surveys...

posted by severs1966 [115 posts]
21st June 2014 - 20:36

40 Likes

stumps wrote:
I find it very amusing that so many people get so wound up over such a simple thing as a piece of polystyrene painted a nice colour.

It seems that at the moment virtually evey article put on the forum literally gets slagged off and ends up in an arguement between posters, its quite sad really. Just look at this one, it started off about a company simply putting out a result of a small survey they carried out and within 7 posts it had become a slag off of infrastructure, cars and police and not forgetting the holier than thou "highway code".

The 'holier than thou' highway code? If you don't like the highway code, by what secret protocols do policemen and other advanced motorists drive?

posted by oldstrath [206 posts]
21st June 2014 - 20:57

30 Likes

I was out earlier supporting some of our riders in the 24 hour TT. A father/son duo rode through the other way. The (small) kid did have a helmet on but positioned only to protect the back of the head. Had the child fallen on his face (common) then his forehead would've definitely hit the ground first. But I suppose that technically he was wearing a helmet.

I do ask that my son (14) wears a helmet most of the time - rare exceptions include when he's testing out his fettling in our quiet residential road. I wear a helmet most of the time unless I'm riding with people I trust not to do stupid stuff. We don't need legislation we need education. Or common sense - which appears not to be that common.

posted by SteppenHerring [231 posts]
22nd June 2014 - 0:02

44 Likes

stumps wrote:
I find it very amusing that so many people get so wound up over such a simple thing as a piece of polystyrene painted a nice colour.

It seems that at the moment virtually evey article put on the forum literally gets slagged off and ends up in an arguement between posters, its quite sad really. Just look at this one, it started off about a company simply putting out a result of a small survey they carried out and within 7 posts it had become a slag off of infrastructure, cars and police and not forgetting the holier than thou "highway code".

OMG - you not actually suggesting people should try to be reasonable with each other and at least try to see the others point of view and not make vile insensitive remarks about them just because, in their life experience, they have reached a different conclusion based upon what they have had happen in their own life - how dare you Angry - you jumped up self centered obnoxious toe rag At Wits End - do you realise that the every forum infrastructure on the internet will fall apart at the seams if people start being nice to each other Crying - what you are proposing beggars belief and you ought to be shot/eviscerated/be dangled by a piece of dental floss tied around you testicles until you plead for forgiveness - people like you are worse than Hitler.

posted by leqin [130 posts]
22nd June 2014 - 8:37

30 Likes

"So I won't be buying a frog bike any time soon then." .. and similar sentiments ..

Aren't Frog simply highlighting the responses received and putting it up for discussion? I'd be concerned about 85% believing in compulsion rather than common sense and freedom and raising that as a topic, asking why etc, is not a bad thing.
It's an endless debate but the response is a fair reflection of the current perceptions held by parents.

posted by james-o [213 posts]
22nd June 2014 - 10:31

26 Likes

james-o wrote:
"So I won't be buying a frog bike any time soon then." .. and similar sentiments ..

Aren't Frog simply highlighting the responses received and putting it up for discussion? I'd be concerned about 85% believing in compulsion rather than common sense and freedom and raising that as a topic, asking why etc, is not a bad thing.
It's an endless debate but the response is a fair reflection of the current perceptions held by parents.

Exactly mate.

There are no stupid questions, just stupid people.

stumps's picture

posted by stumps [2847 posts]
22nd June 2014 - 10:35

25 Likes

One small problem. Children under the age of 10 cannot commit a criminal offence. How would you enforce it? Not to mention the complete waste of time of police chasing kids trying to persuade them to wear one.

The fact that it's probably a good idea doesn't mean that you need a law to encourage it. The law should stay out of this one.

posted by Tom Amos [246 posts]
22nd June 2014 - 11:46

33 Likes

oldstrath wrote:
stumps wrote:
I find it very amusing that so many people get so wound up over such a simple thing as a piece of polystyrene painted a nice colour.

It seems that at the moment virtually evey article put on the forum literally gets slagged off and ends up in an arguement between posters, its quite sad really. Just look at this one, it started off about a company simply putting out a result of a small survey they carried out and within 7 posts it had become a slag off of infrastructure, cars and police and not forgetting the holier than thou "highway code".

The 'holier than thou' highway code? If you don't like the highway code, by what secret protocols do policemen and other advanced motorists drive?

Oh, that Holier-than-thou highway code! It really winds me up. What does it think it is, with its 'shoulds' and its 'musts'! Parading around with its nose in the air, acting like its better than the rest of us!

It should mind its own business like other more unassuming codes that know their place. You don't catch Morse or Enigma, or even Da Vinci, telling people what to do!

posted by FluffyKittenofT... [751 posts]
22nd June 2014 - 12:31

21 Likes

Aren't Frog simply highlighting the responses received and putting it up for discussion?

Ha ha. I look forward to their follow-up survey on "should women be allowed to ride bikes?" and "should must cyclists be banned from the public roads for their own good" along with the burning question "should cyclists be made to pay Road Tax, just like the rest of us?".

posted by Ush [437 posts]
22nd June 2014 - 14:37

18 Likes

Ush wrote:

Aren't Frog simply highlighting the responses received and putting it up for discussion?

Ha ha. I look forward to their follow-up survey on "should women be allowed to ride bikes?" and "should must cyclists be banned from the public roads for their own good" along with the burning question "should cyclists be made to pay Road Tax, just like the rest of us?".

Yes, clearly they've set up a bike company purely as a front for creating marketing surveys to push a sinister political agenda on niche interest websites. It's pretty obvious if you think about it.

joemmo's picture

posted by joemmo [914 posts]
22nd June 2014 - 17:22

38 Likes

joemmo wrote:
Ush wrote:

Aren't Frog simply highlighting the responses received and putting it up for discussion?

Ha ha. I look forward to their follow-up survey on "should women be allowed to ride bikes?" and "should must cyclists be banned from the public roads for their own good" along with the burning question "should cyclists be made to pay Road Tax, just like the rest of us?".

Yes, clearly they've set up a bike company purely as a front for creating marketing surveys to push a sinister political agenda on niche interest websites. It's pretty obvious if you think about it.

And apparently you don't have to be clever or have to get the point in order to be sarcastic.

posted by Ush [437 posts]
22nd June 2014 - 18:02

21 Likes

Ush wrote:
joemmo wrote:
Ush wrote:

Aren't Frog simply highlighting the responses received and putting it up for discussion?

Ha ha. I look forward to their follow-up survey on "should women be allowed to ride bikes?" and "should must cyclists be banned from the public roads for their own good" along with the burning question "should cyclists be made to pay Road Tax, just like the rest of us?".

Yes, clearly they've set up a bike company purely as a front for creating marketing surveys to push a sinister political agenda on niche interest websites. It's pretty obvious if you think about it.

And apparently you don't have to be clever or have to get the point in order to be sarcastic.

And so easy to grasp the wrong end of the stick isn't it ?

Note that BikeRadar didn't even mention the helmet question in their regurgitation of this press release but if there's one thing road.cc loves it's a good old chin wag about bike hats.

joemmo's picture

posted by joemmo [914 posts]
22nd June 2014 - 18:39

14 Likes

Just because the parents questioned may not be regular posters on forums about helmet compulsion doesn't mean they don't know - or haven't considered - the implications of a law.

And just because they hold a different view to you does not make their view invalid and being parents makes them pretty important stakeholders in matters concerning safety of their children.

That said, its a bad, unworkable, idea!

posted by 700c [587 posts]
22nd June 2014 - 18:39

1 Like

700c wrote:
being parents makes them pretty important stakeholders in matters concerning safety of their children.

Well, if they were asking for a law that only applied to their children I doubt anyone would object!

posted by FluffyKittenofT... [751 posts]
22nd June 2014 - 18:44

19 Likes

700c wrote:
Just because the parents questioned may not be regular posters on forums about helmet compulsion doesn't mean they don't know - or haven't considered - the implications of a law.

And just because they hold a different view to you does not make their view invalid and being parents makes them pretty important stakeholders in matters concerning safety of their children.

That said, its a bad, unworkable, idea!

So what is stopping them imposing helmet wearing on their own children? Why the need to try to impose laws on those of us who are not their children?

posted by oldstrath [206 posts]
22nd June 2014 - 19:24

20 Likes

oldstrath wrote:
700c wrote:
Just because the parents questioned may not be regular posters on forums about helmet compulsion doesn't mean they don't know - or haven't considered - the implications of a law.

And just because they hold a different view to you does not make their view invalid and being parents makes them pretty important stakeholders in matters concerning safety of their children.

That said, its a bad, unworkable, idea!

So what is stopping them imposing helmet wearing on their own children? Why the need to try to impose laws on those of us who are not their children?

They were asked a question, simple and they gave an answer. These parents are not starting a petition to get the law changed however if they were i would gladly sign it even if it just upset some of the pretentious muppets on this forum.

There are no stupid questions, just stupid people.

stumps's picture

posted by stumps [2847 posts]
22nd June 2014 - 19:33

17 Likes

Not many helmets worn in Groningen (did make me shudder a bit)... http://bit.ly/1lJLNTf When I first cycled in London (30+ years ago) I felt the need for a smog mask before a helmet..

Only doing what I have to..

Teri's picture

posted by Teri [2 posts]
22nd June 2014 - 19:39

19 Likes

My kids wear cycle helmets when they're racing, tho my oldest doesn't do that much any more. My youngest wears a lid when he's at the skatepark with me too. Messing up a jump on a concrete ramp really hurts.

They don't wear helmets for riding on the road.

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2308 posts]
22nd June 2014 - 20:59

23 Likes

stumps wrote:

They were asked a question, simple and they gave an answer.

Fine. So simply put, what was the wording of the question? And where can I find the survey data? Because I can't find the info on the frog website, and their twitter feed just points to the bikeradar article.

If they'd had the decency to explain the details themselves then my pitchfork might have been shelved...

And stumps, thanks for being honest that you want to use the law to force my kids to behave a certain way, despite a lack of evidence of any benefit to that behaviour, because you think I'm a "pretentious muppet". Nice.

posted by pmanc [144 posts]
22nd June 2014 - 21:58

19 Likes

stumps wrote:

They were asked a question, simple and they gave an answer..

Stumps, have you stopped raping cats yet? Please tick yes or no. A simple question m'lud, yet the defendant refuses to answer it.

Numpty.

posted by Ush [437 posts]
23rd June 2014 - 2:10

22 Likes

Ush wrote:
stumps wrote:

They were asked a question, simple and they gave an answer..

Stumps, have you stopped raping cats yet? Please tick yes or no. A simple question m'lud, yet the defendant refuses to answer it.

Numpty.

haha lush keeping it coming matey, it never ceases to amaze me how some people have to stoop so low as to try and make a forum user look stupid because they didnt like what was posted. Rolling On The Floor

Also pmanc - i never called you a pretentious muppet i said some on the forum were which is completely different. As for the law - should i disregard it because i dont agree with some of it ???????????

There are no stupid questions, just stupid people.

stumps's picture

posted by stumps [2847 posts]
23rd June 2014 - 9:49

13 Likes

700c wrote:
Just because the parents questioned may not be regular posters on forums about helmet compulsion doesn't mean they don't know - or haven't considered - the implications of a law.

I suspect that very few people properly consider the implications of such a law.

The simple gut response is "Children. More safety. Good".

The argument that such a law may actually cause greater harm than good (as it has in other countries) is much more nuanced and is easily overlooked, or simply dismissed as the mad ramblings of some anti-helmet lunatic who wants to kill our children. Confused

posted by GrahamSt [115 posts]
23rd June 2014 - 10:11

16 Likes

Am I being naive, stupid, or what ?
Surely if it's true what was mentioned earlier, that kids under 11 cannot break the law as far as our judicial system is concerned,
then all talk of a law to enforce helmet wearing amongst them is just a waste of time.

Enjoy

posted by cisgil23 [49 posts]
23rd June 2014 - 11:04

12 Likes

cisgil23 wrote:
...kids under 11 cannot break the law as far as our judicial system is concerned, then all talk of a law to enforce helmet wearing amongst them is just a waste of time.

In theory I think they could just fine/prosecute the parents or responsible adults. Like truancy.

In practise it wouldn't really be enforced much, but would be used as another way to ensure that dangerous drivers are not prosecuted fully and that insurers can wangle out of claims.

posted by GrahamSt [115 posts]
23rd June 2014 - 11:17

15 Likes

Couldn't agree more.

About 38 years ago I got into bike riding and a couple of weeks later racing and have had a string of bikes ever since. At the moment I have four bikes (road, touring, MTB and folding) and have previopusly had track and motorpaced bikes. My road bike is around 30 years old and my MTB over 20.

None of my bikes, nor my children's bikes, has ever had an anual check or service and never will, because like very many cyclists I check and adjust them far more frequently.

Shay

posted by shay cycles [254 posts]
23rd June 2014 - 11:57

11 Likes

if you poke around the frog website and blog you can find the link to the questionnaire and the actual questions asked

http://voxpopuk.com/survey/?survey=5c71043

the helmet compulsion question is a straight yes /no

the road.cc article states the poll had 1000 responses but doesn't indicate if this was a representative survey - for lots of surveys (not polls) a sample of 1000 is a pretty credible number so that adds some weight to the headline

Went and looked for the survey because this surprised me:

"with only one in five (22 per cent) saying the roads were too dangerous to allow their child to cycle more often."

and if you look at the survey this is a pretty open response question - if you took that figure then kids being able to cycle to the shops / school / sports venues / friends on their isn't a problem for parents?

footnote
for me helmet not essential - if riding to school / shops but no jumps / hops or manuals allowed
riding on own - no. just too many drivers in a hurry

antigee's picture

posted by antigee [174 posts]
23rd June 2014 - 13:16

12 Likes