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British Cycling policy advisor responds to criticism, saying it "obscures real issues"...

Chris Boardman’s appearance on BBC Breakfast this morning has provoked a flurry of complaints about his not wearing a cycle helmet – even though the segment began with him explaining why he chose not to do so. In a detailed explanation this afternoon, Boardman says that while the reaction was "understandable," it is also "unfortunate because it obscures what I believe are the real issues."

The early morning TV show is featuring a report on cycling each day this week. It is broadcast from Salford, close to the Manchester headquarters of British Cycling, where former Olympic champion Boardman is policy advisor.

Prior to going on a bike ride with him, presenter Louise Minchin asked Boardman, “Viewers will notice I will be wearing a helmet but you won’t. Why not?”

He replied: “It’s a very long answer and more time than we’ve got here," before summarising his position briefly.

“It discourages people from riding a bike, you’re as safe riding a bike as you are walking, statistically, you’re much safer than you are going in your own bathroom and you don’t wear a helmet there," he explained.

“There’s absolutely nothing wrong with helmets, but it’s not in the top ten things that you can do to keep safe.

“We’re going to look at all of those things, but for me, I want bikes to be for normal people in normal clothes.

“About 0.5 per cent of people wear one in the Netherlands, yet it’s the safest country in the world,” he added.

“There’s a reason for that.”

Despite his explanation, the backlash on social media was predictable, many pointing out that the Netherlands already has the type of infrastructure that Boardman and others are campaigning for in the UK.

One Facebook user, John Stimpson, said: “Chris Boardman wearing no helmet and riding in black jacket and jeans. For an item on cycling safety you can't get more stupid.”

Another, Toni Smith, said: “How can you show a piece about cycling safety when the ex-champion is not wearing any safety gear? This is not acceptable! Please in the future choose an ambassador who practices what they preach!”

Many others leapt to his defence, however, with Morgan Lewis saying: “For all those people expressing outrage, I wonder if you have spent the same amount of time looking at the evidence about helmets over the years as Chris Boardman has. His view is not idly held. There is a lot of knee-jerking in these comments.”

Jonathan Richards pointed out: “About two thirds of fatalities WITHIN cars are caused by head injuries - why not a call for compulsory helmets for those travelling in cars? And as for pedestrians ....”

Meanwhile, Chris Myrie couldn’t resist asking: “Does this mean his £80 endorsed helmets from Halfords are useless?”

There was a similar division in reaction to his comments on Twitter, where Boardman himself tweeted this morning after the show: “Hi All, rather than try to address the helmet debate (again) I'm going to pen something for people to read and point you to it this PM.”

That response has now been published on the British Cycling website. Boardman acknowledged the BBC Breakfast piece had “got a lot of people fired up,” and that “my riding a bicycle in normal clothing, looking like a normal person was greeted by some with cries of horror. It’s both understandable and unfortunate because it obscures what I believe are the real issues.”

Foremost among those issues is why some cyclists in the UK believe they should have to wear a helmet while cycling in the first place, he said.

“People wear helmets and high vis as they feel it’s all they can do to keep themselves safe. It shows just how far away Britain is from embracing cycling as a normal and convenient form of transport,” he added.

Pointing to the example of Utrecht in the Netherlands and providing a link to a video of people cycling there he went on: “I’m willing to bet that even those that swear by helmets and high vis would feel comfortable discarding their body armour in such an environment. And that’s the point; in Utrecht they have addressed the real dangers to cyclists.”

While he admitted that the situation in the UK is vastly different, he said helmet compulsion was not the answer, citing drops of between 30 and 50 per cent in countries such as Australia and New Zealand that had introduced such legislation.

“If cycling looks and feels normal, more people will cycle,” he said. The more people cycle, the safer they are - the safety in numbers effect. The more people cycle, the more lives will be saved from amongst the 37,000 that die each year from obesity-related illnesses. Never mind the more than 27,000 that die annually from pollution-related illnesses.”

Boardman said he understands “exactly why people feel so passionately about helmets or high vis,” and “why people wish to use them,” but said he would not promote helmets or hi-vis nor be drawn into a debate on a topic that he considers “isn’t even in the top 10 things that will really keep people who want to cycle safe.”

He added: “I want cycling in the UK to be like it is in Utrecht or Copenhagen and more recently New York City – an everyday thing that people can do in everyday clothes whether you are eight or 80 years old. I want cycling to be a normal thing that normal people do in normal clothes. Is that wrong?”

In the BBC Breakfast report itself, Boardman outlined his top tips for cycling safely including planning your route, how to negotiate junctions and roundabouts safely, road position, stopping at red lights and giving large vehicles plenty of space and not going up the left-hand side of them.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

285 comments

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700c [1178 posts] 3 years ago
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felixcat wrote:
700c wrote:

Most people walk at around 3-4 mph at a steady pace. I tend to cycle at speeds between 10-35 mph on my commute

So you're not comparing like with like. A helmet may offer protection from a fall at cycling speeds. They're fairly redundant when walking.

so a bike helmet may be use to you if you come of your bike, whether through your own fault or that of other road users. They're particularly useful when mountain biking, as the chances of an 'off' are probably higher.

If you are unlucky enough to suffer a direct head injury from two tonnes of vehicle, then the helmet is unlikely to help you, whether walking, cycling, or in a vehicle itself

Is this meant to be an argument for wearing bike helmets but not car helmets or walking helmets?
The figures show that the head injury rates for all three modes are roughly the same. The rates are certainly not different enough to make a distinction in risk levels.
The question remains: is cycling so much more dangerous that a helmet is needed? Or is there something about being on a bike that makes a helmet so much more effective?
Boardman was not riding off road, or talking about riding off road. (and no one posting above mentioned mountain biking) He is being attacked for going lidless on the highway.
Cycling on the road is not so uniquely dangerous that it needs a helmet, and all the fuss about lids only makes it seem to be something that the average citizen should avoid.

See above post, where I think I've addressed most of the points, but it's an argument about applying common sense more than anything I think!

I think if someone wants to wear a helmet, or chooses not to, for any given activity it is based on their evaluation and perception of risk. I don't think using statistics, which can of course be misleading or lead to erroneous conclusions, is going to persuade anyone either way, since it is a personal choice

I certainly agree that mandating the use of helmets or special clothing would be detrimental to cycling take up, if that's the point you're making? Cyclists come in all shapes sizes and outfits, and I wouldn't enforce helmets any more than i would ban them, I think 'normal' cycling should encompass everything from lycra pro style to jeans/ hipster / suit /casual whatever.

Freedom of choice will encourage the most amount of people to cycle, rather than expecting them to confirm to a certain type.

Certainly some non cycling drivers are guilty of this by expecting hi viz and helmets, riding in the gutter etc, but hopefully most of us are more enlightened on here?

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Gus T [323 posts] 3 years ago
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oldstrath wrote:
Gus T wrote:

Tinternet_tim wrote
"If on the other hand this discussion was about cyclist who cycle in the dark on the public highway with no lights, then that would be a different matter. This really annoys me as you are not only putting your own safety at risk but also the safety of others you might run into (pedestrians) and also risk ruining someones else's life if they knock you off and kill you. I mention this as the 'no-light' brigade are out in force again due to the clocks changing."

Now that is something I agree with, we bang on about how great Copenhagen, Holland etc are but forget these places legislate that bikes must have lights fitted at point of sale, it's only road bikes & MTB's that don't have them fitted as standard by manufacturers, both of Mrs G's town bikes have lights fitted as standard but there again one is a Dutch steel town bike and the other is a Belgian town bike that she bought especially in Belgium because you can't get it in the UK. Maybe the Government can actually do some positive legislating for once & require bike manufacturers to fit lights as standard, it's not a massive cost and might actually keep someone alive plus think of the fun you could have speccing your lights as part of your bike choice.  16

The other side of that though, at least for Germany, is that the regulations specify lights that are utterly and completely inadequate for rural riding, and probably not enough to waken the average half-asleep texting nobber (aka the normal car driver). The main motivation is 'we must not dazzle the poor motorist', with the implied threat that if they are dazzled most of them are too thick to stop, and indeed so lacking in control they'll drive straight into the source.

Ah, but in my experience, admittedly on French motorways, every German driver is convinced they are Michael Schumaker and drive as if the are participating in a F1 GP.

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LinusLarrabee [119 posts] 3 years ago
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felixcat wrote:

Don't you think a helmet might occasionally help a car user or pedestrian? If you think like this surely you wear a helmet in the car or walking?

bendertherobot wrote:

There were 700 stair deaths in 2010. It seems to me that wearing a helmet on stairs is not detrimental to safety but may well benefit you. Ergo we should all wear helmets on stairs.

As a purely logical exercise, then yes, it would be beneficial to wear a helmet in these circumstances. But, as I clearly wrote above, determining if something is beneficial is completely different from determining if something should be compulsory. But those amongst us who are cerebrally challenged seem incapable of understanding that difference - which is probably why you are making the irrational argument that helmets are not beneficial when what you really want to say is you just don't want to be forced to use them or you are just feeling silly when you arguments don't hold water.

Simon E wrote:

Then I can safely ignore every single comment you make, as you are obviously not interested in the facts.

That would be fine by me, except for your complete misrepresentation of what I've said so far. But even then, given how you have irrationally extrapolated that everything I say is irrelevant based on a specific answer to a direct comment to me taken out of context, it is clear that your opinion is of no value at all.

Guys, I can go all day - I've got all the time in the world. I'm happy to sit here making you look stupid and quite frankly I'm having fun doing it. So bring it on.

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HKCambridge [224 posts] 3 years ago
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700c wrote:

That's interesting, and of course there are all kinds of reasons why someone might fall from stationary without protecting their head (serious and sudden illness, loss of consciousness etc), many of which are unpredictable and unexpected. You judge the risk and and choose your 'PPE' equipment based on the likelihood of injury occurring, how serious it may be and the type of injury that might occur.

EXACTLY! THANK YOU! This issue is not whether it will save one life, but whether it is a reasonable response to the level and nature of the danger.

We, correctly in my view, assess that the disadvantages of wearing a helmet while going about our daily lives, even if it only amounts to inconvenience, outweigh the potential benefits that it might prevent some damage in the event of an accident, if that accident involves damage to the head, and that something else worse doesn't happen at the same time to nullify the benefit.

Cycling is something I do every day. My boyfriend does it. My housemate does it. Most of my friends do it. Many of my acquaintances and colleagues do it. It is a normal, everyday activity to get from A to B.

Quote:

Sensible debate should respect individual choice rather than characterising the other side's position or arguments, which unfortunately happens a lot when talking about helmets

I might respect your choice to wear a helmet while walking down the street, but I'll probably assume you're on your lunchbreak from a building site, or you're a bit strange.

Wearing a helmet while doing everyday low-risk activities is a bit strange. The reason we don't think the same thing when it comes to cycling is that for decades we've been working on making cycling at all a bit strange.

Helmet and hi-vis is cultural anathema to wide-spread cycle use. You don't get it in the Netherlands and Denmark. There's a lot less helmets and hi-vis in Cambridge, where cycling is something the majority of the adult population do. Tackling the helmet question absolutely is a part of the battle for normalising cycling as everyday transport.

That said, feel free to wear a helmet. But don't tell me I should do the same, or that I'm stupid for not doing it, because you are feeding into the culture that makes what we do strange, and undeserving of national recognition and funding.

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oozaveared [937 posts] 3 years ago
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Chris Boardman is a very good spokesman and he is right to to stand his ground on helmet use.

Like he says it's not even in the top 10 of things to make cycling safer.

On a previous programme he has likened the attitude to helmets as similar to the attitude that if children were being shot on their way to school then the answer would be compulsory body armour. Obviously the thing to stop is people being shot and in this case run over.

Apart from the fact that body armour does actually work and helmets don't help one iota if you are struck by a car, it's a good argument.

I have been riding on the road in a club since 1973 and only worn a helmet for racing and back in the day they were even more useless. I recently showed my son a picture of a cyclo cross race in the New Forest in 1975 I think. No one wearing a helmet. he asked if there were a lot of head injuries back then and I have to say that in 41 years of active cycling I have never seen any cyclist suffer an injury that a helmet would have prevented. I accept that theoretically there would have to be some somewhere but mostly it's hands wrist arms hips knees and ankles.

Wear one if you like. A friend of mine likes to mount lights and a head cam on his and says that's the only reason he wears one. But it's pretty much like installing a 5 point seat belt in your family saloon for the drive to work. Pretty unnecessary but hey if you're a nervous rider or need a platform for your joystick or head cam then feel free. (only that 5 point belts actually work).

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felixcat [486 posts] 3 years ago
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700c wrote:

See above post, where I think I've addressed most of the points, but it's an argument about applying common sense more than anything I think!

I think if someone wants to wear a helmet, or chooses not to, for any given activity it is based on their evaluation and perception of risk. I don't think using statistics, which can of course be misleading or lead to erroneous conclusions, is going to persuade anyone either way, since it is a personal choice

We obviously agree on many points, but I cannot share your willingness to dismiss statistics.
If common sense or personal impressions were a good guide to the truth we would not need science. Science uses statistics to validate theories, (or otherwise). Medicine assesses the effectiveness of drugs with studies which are statistically evaluated. I expect you take the drugs prescribed by your doctor. For all I know you may believe in homeopathy, but I don't. I believe what the science (statistics) tells me.
When we add up the numbers we find that sitting in a car or walking the streets leads to head injuries at much the same rate as cycling.
Cycling really is not so much more dangerous than other everyday activities that it needs a helmet.
The Netherlands has a much lower rate of cycling injury per mile ridden not because of helmet wearing, but because of different road conditions.
Oz and NZ kill cyclists at several times our rate in spite of near universal helmet wearing.
So expanded polystyrene is also irrelevant.

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LinusLarrabee [119 posts] 3 years ago
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HKCambridge wrote:

Helmet and hi-vis is cultural anathema to wide-spread cycle use. You don't get it in the Netherlands and Denmark. There's a lot less helmets and hi-vis in Cambridge, where cycling is something the majority of the adult population do. Tackling the helmet question absolutely is a part of the battle for normalising cycling as everyday transport.

I have no idea if this is true or not, but could it be that in areas where there are larger cycling populations that drivers and pedestrians are more aware of the cyclists presence? And inversely, in areas where less cyclists are present, drivers are less aware and wearing these things might be more beneficial?

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Dapper Giles [69 posts] 3 years ago
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HKCambridge wrote:

Wearing a helmet while doing everyday low-risk activities is a bit strange. The reason we don't think the same thing when it comes to cycling is that for decades we've been working on making cycling at all a bit strange.

Helmet and hi-vis is cultural anathema to wide-spread cycle use. You don't get it in the Netherlands and Denmark. There's a lot less helmets and hi-vis in Cambridge, where cycling is something the majority of the adult population do. Tackling the helmet question absolutely is a part of the battle for normalising cycling as everyday transport.

That said, feel free to wear a helmet. But don't tell me I should do the same, or that I'm stupid for not doing it, because you are feeding into the culture that makes what we do strange, and undeserving of national recognition and funding.

This. 1000 times this.

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felixcat [486 posts] 3 years ago
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LinusLarrabee wrote:

Guys, I can go all day - I've got all the time in the world. I'm happy to sit here making you look stupid and quite frankly I'm having fun doing it. So bring it on.

You are deluded on this as well. Your arguments have been exploded.

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oozaveared [937 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes
700c wrote:
felixcat wrote:
700c wrote:

Most people walk at around 3-4 mph at a steady pace. I tend to cycle at speeds between 10-35 mph on my commute

So you're not comparing like with like. A helmet may offer protection from a fall at cycling speeds. They're fairly redundant when walking.

so a bike helmet may be use to you if you come of your bike, whether through your own fault or that of other road users. They're particularly useful when mountain biking, as the chances of an 'off' are probably higher.

If you are unlucky enough to suffer a direct head injury from two tonnes of vehicle, then the helmet is unlikely to help you, whether walking, cycling, or in a vehicle itself

Is this meant to be an argument for wearing bike helmets but not car helmets or walking helmets?
The figures show that the head injury rates for all three modes are roughly the same. The rates are certainly not different enough to make a distinction in risk levels.
The question remains: is cycling so much more dangerous that a helmet is needed? Or is there something about being on a bike that makes a helmet so much more effective?
Boardman was not riding off road, or talking about riding off road. (and no one posting above mentioned mountain biking) He is being attacked for going lidless on the highway.
Cycling on the road is not so uniquely dangerous that it needs a helmet, and all the fuss about lids only makes it seem to be something that the average citizen should avoid.

See above post, where I think I've addressed most of the points, but it's an argument about applying common sense more than anything I think!

I think if someone wants to wear a helmet, or chooses not to, for any given activity it is based on their evaluation and perception of risk. I don't think using statistics, which can of course be misleading or lead to erroneous conclusions, is going to persuade anyone either way, since it is a personal choice

I certainly agree that mandating the use of helmets or special clothing would be detrimental to cycling take up, if that's the point you're making? Cyclists come in all shapes sizes and outfits, and I wouldn't enforce helmets any more than i would ban them, I think 'normal' cycling should encompass everything from lycra pro style to jeans/ hipster / suit /casual whatever.

Freedom of choice will encourage the most amount of people to cycle, rather than expecting them to confirm to a certain type.

Certainly some non cycling drivers are guilty of this by expecting hi viz and helmets, riding in the gutter etc, but hopefully most of us are more enlightened on here?

I agree. The phenomena about helmet wearing reducing the take up of cycling and thereby making cycling in general less safe has a proper category of dicursive thought.

It's an aggregation paradox. An individual cyclist may see wearing a helmet as a logical and benign way to improve even very marginally their own safety. But if lots of cyclists adopt that attitude they may unwittingly contribute to the idea that cycling is not essentially safe. The idea that cycling is not safe may reduce the number of people cycling. That there are fewer cyclists on the road increases the risk for all cyclists including them. The latter point arises from the fact that other road users are better at dealing with and are safer around cyclists when they are used to and are expecting them to be there.

That's the paradox. It also arises is the scare about MMR vaccines for example. A significant but small number of parents assessed the risk to their child from the MMR jab as high. They therefore did not get their child vaccinated. In so doing they reduced the overall level of vaccination for the three diseases. And that in some places has lead to increased risk for all children including theirs.

If you're just cycling for transport do the right thing. Leave the helmet at home and help contribute to a safer cycling environment.

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HKCambridge [224 posts] 3 years ago
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LinusLarrabee wrote:
HKCambridge wrote:

Helmet and hi-vis is cultural anathema to wide-spread cycle use. You don't get it in the Netherlands and Denmark. There's a lot less helmets and hi-vis in Cambridge, where cycling is something the majority of the adult population do. Tackling the helmet question absolutely is a part of the battle for normalising cycling as everyday transport.

I have no idea if this is true or not, but could it be that in areas where there are larger cycling populations that drivers and pedestrians are more aware of the cyclists presence? And inversely, in areas where less cyclists are present, drivers are less aware and wearing these things might be more beneficial?

To be honest, I'd be surprised if it was a rational response to weighing up the pros and cons of the situation, in the same way that people don't actually take time to weigh up the pros and cons of wearing a helmet while walking. It's just normal.

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Initialised [330 posts] 3 years ago
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That there is a debate may indicate that public perception of road safety isn't quite where it should be in a developed country in the 21st century. On the other hand it could be the result of rightwing propaganda like the debate on immigration, a nice way of diverting the media away from the elephant in the room or in this case the lorries on the road.

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Paul_C [526 posts] 3 years ago
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this website seems to still be on British Summer Time judging by the timestamps of the most recent posts

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700c [1178 posts] 3 years ago
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To those comparing walking with cycling as similarly low risk activities, which merit the same choice of PPE, my points have clearly fallen on deaf ears - If I fall or hit an object when i walk, I'm likely to avoid head injury. If I fall over or hit something when cycling I'm likely to avoid head injury. HOWEVER I cannot walk at up to 35mph, but I do cycle at this speed on my commute to work. The impact on my head onto tarmac or other stationary object is going to be worse at higher speed.

I appreciate statistically the risk of head injury when cycling is small. I also appreciate there's a small window of 'usefulness' where a helmet is efficacious (limited object mass, low speeds, etc). I still choose to wear one when cycling but not when walking, following my evaluation of the risk including potential severity. See above. i also choose to wear reflective clothing in winter months. Anyone who comes to a different conclusion is fine by me.

I applaud CB's efforts to normalise cycling by wearing regular clothing. That he respects and understands my choice to wear other clothing/ equipment is also good to hear.

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kie7077 [936 posts] 3 years ago
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wildnorthlands wrote:

Helmet debates always end in tears. Perhaps more to the point, did he have to wear completely black clothing? Was he in stealth mode?

Was he cycling at night? Silly to wear black whilst cycling on roads at night, but it could well make you more visible during daytime.

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felixcat [486 posts] 3 years ago
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700c wrote:

To those comparing walking with cycling as similarly low risI appreciate statistically the risk of head injury when cycling is small. I also appreciate there's a sk activities, which merit the same choice of PPE, my points have clearly fallen on deaf ears - If I fall or hit an object when i walk, I'm likely to avoid head injury. If I fall over or hit something when cycling I'm likely to avoid head injury. HOWEVER I cannot walk at up to 35mph, but I do cycle at this speed on my commute to work. The impact on my head onto tarmac or other stationary object is going to be worse at higher speed.

Your points have NOT fallen on deaf ears. You, with reason, say that the extra speed of cycling is likely to cause injury in the event of something going wrong. I counter that nevertheless the figures show that the RATE of head injury to cyclists and pedestrians is pretty similar. The risk is more or less the same.
I guess that this is because the four wheeled elephant in the room does not discriminate. It even runs down pedestrians on the pavement, never mind crossing the road.
Long may it remain your choice, but I see little reason to wear a helmet cycling, walking or driving.

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oozaveared [937 posts] 3 years ago
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700c wrote:

To those comparing walking with cycling as similarly low risk activities, which merit the same choice of PPE, my points have clearly fallen on deaf ears - If I fall or hit an object when i walk, I'm likely to avoid head injury. If I fall over or hit something when cycling I'm likely to avoid head injury. HOWEVER I cannot walk at up to 35mph, but I do cycle at this speed on my commute to work. The impact on my head onto tarmac or other stationary object is going to be worse at higher speed.

I appreciate statistically the risk of head injury when cycling is small. I also appreciate there's a small window of 'usefulness' where a helmet is efficacious (limited object mass, low speeds, etc). I still choose to wear one when cycling but not when walking, following my evaluation of the risk including potential severity. See above. i also choose to wear reflective clothing in winter months. Anyone who comes to a different conclusion is fine by me.

I applaud CB's efforts to normalise cycling by wearing regular clothing. That he respects and understands my choice to wear other clothing/ equipment is also good to hear.

35mph Occasionally. It's not like you're doing that all the time. That's a fast downhill bit even for most regular cyclists. And you're rather missing the point. We're talking about cycling for transport, The people that ride bikes who aren't "cyclists". They'll have the brakes on going down that hill. 35mph would scare the bejeezus out of a lot of commuters.

OK so mostly on here we're all experienced cyclists and a lot of us do or used to race. We're probably confident about our bike and controlling it and confident in traffic. But Boardman is taliking about getting people like my wife to regard cycling as normal and to not be scared and tales of derring do at 35mph on your way to work make it seem like another planet and extremely alarming. Bikes are still very useful at 10mph you know. That 5 mile car drive some of it sitting in traffic that takes 15 mins by the time you've parked or the 20 mins bus journey because of the walk to the bus stop and the wait and then the bus going the less direct route is now a cheap predictable half hour ride away. No special safety equipment or clothing required.

That's what we want to get people to buy into,

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700c [1178 posts] 3 years ago
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@Oozaveared, it's interesting how different things appear depending on where you sit.

Many will have flat commutes get to work, many won't. Regardless, the bike is still useful mode of transport. I will encounter gradients over 10%, I could pretty much top 30 without pedalling. I also crawl up hills at 10. But the point is, an 'off' will be at higher speed when cycling than when I walk.

and Warwickshire's not even that hilly compared to some places

Hence my discrimination about PPE for these two activities.

I think if you had a flat commute and cycled at a constant10mph, it would still be a useful mode of transport, as you say. cycling according to those conditions, I daresay I wouldn't wear a helmet either.

In the context of what CB was doing, I understand his attire completely.

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Chuck [590 posts] 3 years ago
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HKCambridge wrote:

Wearing a helmet while doing everyday low-risk activities is a bit strange. The reason we don't think the same thing when it comes to cycling is that for decades we've been working on making cycling at all a bit strange.

This is spot on.

I don't think many people here are claiming that riding your bike will never lead to a situation where you'd be better off wearing a helmet than not. But this situation is basically no more likely to arise than it is doing any number of other things.
So it's frustrating when the helmet debate dominates any discussion of cycling when it doesn't dominate any discussion of those other things (e.g. head injuries in cars) which isn't rational- and a strategy to increase the number of cycling journeys needs to be rational and not based on pandering to public perception.

It also reinforces the idea that safety on the roads is all about what the potential victims do, not what the people with the potential to do all the damage do. This is pretty much the opposite of the way we would treat any other situation where there's the potential for people to get hurt, and I think the reason cycling is a special case in this respect is largely for the reasons HKCambridge mentions.

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darren13366 [65 posts] 3 years ago
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Here's a novel idea: Do you enjoy riding your bike? Yes? Good. Do you want to wear a helmet? No? Ok, enjoy your ride. Yes? Ok, enjoy your ride.

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farrell [1946 posts] 3 years ago
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oozaveared wrote:

A friend of mine likes to mount lights and a head cam on his and says that's the only reason he wears one.

I wear one in the winter commuting for this very reason. I have a front and rear light attached and find it very useful for sitting up and looking across lines of traffic & junctions and letting drivers know you are there before they commit an unadulterated dick move.

Attaching lights to a casquette is hassle I can't be hooped with.

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700c [1178 posts] 3 years ago
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felixcat wrote:

The four wheeled elephant in the room does not discriminate. It even runs down pedestrians on the pavement, never mind crossing the road.
Long may it remain your choice, but I see little reason to wear a helmet cycling, walking or driving.

I don't wear a helmet to protect myself from the direct impact of a car, as I've previously said.

Rate of injury among peds & cyclists may be similar (not sure), that doesn't mean the severity of the injury will be similar, and in fact I would be surprised if it was, given likely speed differentials of the mode of transport.

Anyway, I've made my peace with the helmet debate; i do respect individual views but obviously want to ensure my rationale and argument is properly understood and not misquoted, hence my posting here. I've been on here long enough to realise I'm not going to change others views though!

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700c [1178 posts] 3 years ago
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felixcat wrote:

The four wheeled elephant in the room does not discriminate. It even runs down pedestrians on the pavement, never mind crossing the road.
Long may it remain your choice, but I see little reason to wear a helmet cycling, walking or driving.

I don't wear a helmet to protect myself from the direct impact of a car, as I've previously said.

Rate of injury among peds & cyclists may be similar (not sure), that doesn't mean the severity of the injury will be similar, and in fact I would be surprised if it was, given likely speed differentials of the mode of transport.

Anyway, I've made my peace with the helmet debate; i do respect individual views but obviously want to ensure my rationale and argument is properly understood and not misquoted, hence my posting here. I've been on here long enough to realise I'm not going to change others views though!

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Storck Rider [5 posts] 3 years ago
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Yes and that's why I wear a seat belt when in a car! How about you??

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mrmo [2096 posts] 3 years ago
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Storck Rider wrote:

Yes and that's why I wear a seat belt when in a car! How about you??

Don't you use a flameproof suit and full face helmet?

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andyp [1549 posts] 3 years ago
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I wear a seatbelt in a car because a) it's a legal requirement, and b) there is evidence to suggest that they actually have some impact on safety. Neither of which could be argued about cycle helmets.

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Trackal [16 posts] 3 years ago
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This was the point that Chris was trying to make. If he wore dark clothes and no helmet in Holland or Denmark no one would think it odd, because the infrastructure is designed for cyclists to arrive at their destination safely Wearing a helmet or fluoro clothes in the UK do not make you safe but they do, theoretically, reduce your risk of being injured. There is a big difference in designing a cycling infrastructure that enables people to ride in safety from one where you ride along a blue strip of paint in bright clothing, with lights and a helmet in hope that you are reducing your risk factors to make it in one piece to the end of your journey

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farrell [1946 posts] 3 years ago
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Storck Rider wrote:

Yes and that's why I wear a seat belt when in a car! How about you??

Seatbelt? Judging by your nonsensical posts I think the best safety feature you should be using is someone running in front of your car waving a flag.

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Tony [132 posts] 3 years ago
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Did the cab behind him have to be painted black? Was it in stealth mode?

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Storck Rider [5 posts] 3 years ago
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@Farrell, give it a break buster! I was just replying to a post earlier relating to the possibility of wearing a hemet whilst driving or walking...... UTTER BOLLOCKS!

My point is was that all CB has done here is re-ignited the helmet debate rather than saying, Look we as cyclists or even just people riding a bike doing all we can to reduce our chance of injury. Now, government, do your part.

Surely there is some level of shared responsibility to improve safety?

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