Fabian Cancellara sparks helmet debate on Twitter, says all cyclists should wear one
Trek Factory Racing rider shocked by number of bare-headed riders — in the Netherlands
Fabian Cancellara has this morning sparked a revival on Twitter of the eternal helmet debate, after saying that all cyclists should wear the headgear – his comments prompted by the sight of bare-headed people riding bikes in the Netherlands, where he is currently taking part in the Eneco Tour.
The Trek Factory Racing rider tweeted:
Yesterday i saw a lot of people in Breda on they normal bike riding around.got surprised by all of them not riding with the helmet #notSafe— Fabian cancellara (@f_cancellara) August 14, 2014
Shortly afterwards, he added:
It is important to wear a helmet and wear it right, specialy the kids.— Fabian cancellara (@f_cancellara) August 14, 2014
The fact Cancellara was tweeting about the Netherlands, which together with Denmark has the highest levels of cycling in Europe but one of the best safety records, did not escape attention:
.@f_cancellara How do explain that cycling in Holland, where they don't wear helmets, is safer than anywhere else? It's not sports-cycling!— Stan, SpecialEyedLez (@geckobike) August 14, 2014
@f_cancellara Casualty rates are lowest in the world in Holland and Denmark. Helmet use is almost zero in both countries.— Jon (@ormondroyd) August 14, 2014
Some also pointed out that everyday cycling is an entirely different proposition from racing, where helmets have been compulsory since 2003 – although the speeds that racers travel at means that the velocity of any impact would in all likelihood be well above the maximum stipulated under EU standards for cycle helmets.
@f_cancellara That's just RIDICULOUS for utility riding on utility bikes with flat pedals on safe streets! You are helping anti-cyclists!— George White (@ExtAnimal) August 14, 2014
@f_cancellara the operative word is ‘normal’. Stop spreading notion that everyday cycling is inherently dangerous. You should know better.— Amsterdamize (@amsterdamized) August 14, 2014
@f_cancellara The higher the modal split of bicycles in traffic, the lower the percentage of people with helmets > Amsterdam, Copenhaguen.— Laurens van Rooijen (@bikejourno) August 14, 2014
@f_cancellara It's the safety of the swarm, and it takes away the notion of cycling being dangerous. It's not if the infra is right.— Laurens van Rooijen (@bikejourno) August 14, 2014
While Cancellara’s original posts were widely retweeted and favourited, that doesn’t necessarily mean that Twitter users doing that were endorsing his views.
One person who lives in the town where Cancellara noticed the lack of helmets happened to be visiting the rider’s home country, Switzerland, and said:
@f_cancellara Today in Bern I see a lot of people on bikes with helmets. It looks strange to me, as I live in Breda normally.— peter van leeuwen (@bigpete46) August 14, 2014
Not everyone took exception to Cancellara’s stance. One Twitter user said:
@f_cancellara just been involved in road traffic accident mother bike hit me from behind at speed cycle helmet saved my life— carl easom (@jakk15) August 14, 2014
Finally, this tweet sums up an opinion shared by many:
@f_cancellara Stick to racing yeh?— William Bradley (@W_Bradley) August 14, 2014