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Motion urging withdrawal of support for events requiring helmets and hi-viz passed by 44 votes to 10

Members of Cambridge Cycling Campaign have overwhelmingly voted to withdraw support for events requiring cyclists to wear helmets or hi-viz clothing. The motion, which we reported on last week, was carried by 44 votes to 10 at the group’s Annual General Meeting yesterday, according to Cambridge News.

As a result, no events or other initiatives that necessitate helmets or hi-viz clothing, or imply that they should be worn, will be promoted through its website. The motion, which was inspired by a similar approach taken by Lothian cycle campaigners Spokes earlier this year.

A spokesman for the group told Cambridge News “The campaign has a position that we are neutral on helmets and hi-vis clothing – it is a personal choice.

“We have many people in the campaign who wear helmets and hi-vis clothing.

“Event organisers who wish to have Cambridge Cycling Campaign help to promote their event will have to think hard about their guidance to participants.”

Mary Goode, chief executive of brain injury charity Headway Cambridgeshire, told Cambridge News she failed to understand the reasons behind the decision, asking,

“Why would cyclists make themselves more vulnerable by not wearing protective clothing?

“Cyclists, as a matter of course, will be checking their bike to ensure it is fit-for-purpose and roadworthy, and we would hope everyone would encourage the young in particular, to have road sense and an understanding of the Highway Code, so why would the Cambridge Cycling Campaign not take the same care about protecting their brain?

The motion had been proposed by Simon Nuttall, a committee member and adult cycle trainer, and seconded by Heather Coleman, and read:

Cambridge Cycling Campaign supports all cyclists as they go about their lawful business on the public road. We note that the law does not require helmets or high visibility clothing. The image of cyclists presented to the public has become so strongly skewed towards riders wearing those items that the legitimacy and status of those who do not wear them is being undermined. In order to help restore the balance the campaign reserves the right to decline to promote events or activities where helmets or high visibility clothing are required or implied.

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.

45 comments

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mad_scot_rider [581 posts] 3 years ago
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I whole-heartedly agree with the stance of both Spokes and CCC

Including a quote from a brain injury charity just once again highlights the culture of victim-blaming that goes on

Interestingly I note that loud-mouth Wiggins (cf. his ill-advised and insensitive comments after cyclist death during Olympic Games) wasn't helped by his helmet when a 4 ton van tried to roll over him last night - funny that

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zanf [858 posts] 3 years ago
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mad_scot_rider wrote:

Including a quote from a brain injury charity just once again highlights the culture of victim-blaming that goes on

"But think of the children!"

Her quote is terrible. The efficacy of helmets to provide any kind of protection in non-linear impacts over 12mph is unproven so you have just as much protection wearing a towel wrapped around your head.

Considering that car drivers and passengers suffer also head injuries in accidents why isnt she decrying those people not wanting to protect their brains?

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Chuck [555 posts] 3 years ago
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I think Mary Goode has missed the point here:

Quote:

Why would cyclists make themselves more vulnerable by not wearing protective clothing?

The issue is being hit by cars- how does wearing a helmet make you less vulnerable to that?

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mad_scot_rider [581 posts] 3 years ago
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zanf wrote:

... just as much protection wearing a towel wrapped around your head...

Sorry - I have to disagree - the towel would protect you from the gaze of the Ravenous Bug-blatter Beast of Trall - a creature so mind-bogglingly stupid that it assumes if you can't see it, then it can't see you

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colinth [191 posts] 3 years ago
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mad_scot_rider wrote:

I whole-heartedly agree with the stance of both Spokes and CCC

Including a quote from a brain injury charity just once again highlights the culture of victim-blaming that goes on

Interestingly I note that loud-mouth Wiggins (cf. his ill-advised and insensitive comments after cyclist death during Olympic Games) wasn't helped by his helmet when a 4 ton van tried to roll over him last night - funny that

How do you know it didn't help him? Surely the fact that he was in an accident and escape without a head injury is more of an argument for helmets than against them ? Don't let the facts get in the way of your opinion though

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doc [167 posts] 3 years ago
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colinth wrote:
mad_scot_rider wrote:

I whole-heartedly agree with the stance of both Spokes and CCC

Including a quote from a brain injury charity just once again highlights the culture of victim-blaming that goes on

Interestingly I note that loud-mouth Wiggins (cf. his ill-advised and insensitive comments after cyclist death during Olympic Games) wasn't helped by his helmet when a 4 ton van tried to roll over him last night - funny that

How do you know it didn't help him? Surely the fact that he was in an accident and escape without a head injury is more of an argument for helmets than against them ? Don't let the facts get in the way of your opinion though

He was in an incident. He had no head injury, whether a helmet was in use or not, it's a bit silly to make a statement without knowing the facts of the incident, and indeed whether any head contact even happened!
It's down to choice, and not being preached at by single issue "experts". Which is exactly what the Cambridge motion is doing.
Everyone is entitled to their view, and to state it, but not to suggest spurious evidence without any base in knowledge of specifics.

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mad_scot_rider [581 posts] 3 years ago
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colinth wrote:

... he was in an accident and escape without a head injury is more of an argument for helmets than against them ? Don't let the facts ...

I love how you engage in a wild and illogical hypothecation - then berate me for ignoring the facts

Truly superb logic

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jarderich [94 posts] 3 years ago
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The sort of bloody mindedness demonstrated by CCC, Spokes and most of the comments here nearly caused a fellow club member his life a few weeks ago when a midweek ride ended in a pile up (no cars involved). The rider without the helmet was the one airlifted to hospital with his skull clearly visible through the hole in the side of his head. The others (none of whom sustained serious injuries) had the (dis)pleasure of attending to him by the roadside

I don't give a flying fixed wheel how effective or otherwise a lid can (or can't) be, you owe it to the people who are potentially affected by your actions to be more responsible.

I wonder how many objectors, when they're a passenger in the front seat of a car, choose to switch off the passenger airbag? Or perhaps encourage their kids to ride a bike without a lid?

Finally, I walked from Cambridge station to the town centre and back last Saturday and judging by the standard of the vast majority of the riding I saw CCC, would be better off throwing their efforts at improving riding standards in their city instead of trying to maintain a clearly flawed principle.

And you can come and have ago as much as you want - i'll have my lid on!

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hoski [81 posts] 3 years ago
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mad_scot_rider wrote:
zanf wrote:

... just as much protection wearing a towel wrapped around your head...

Sorry - I have to disagree - the towel would protect you from the gaze of the Ravenous Bug-blatter Beast of Trall - a creature so mind-bogglingly stupid that it assumes if you can't see it, then it can't see you

I think you might both be onto something... my gut instinct (backed by my poor result in an engineering degree) is that a towel would offer greater protection against head injury than the traditional lid. And with the added Bug-blatter Beast protection (and of course the many other uses), a towel-turban may become my headwear of choice.

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mad_scot_rider [581 posts] 3 years ago
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For the record jarderich - I *wear* a lid

What I object to is laws/rules/regulations being created to force me to do so while ignoring the elephant in the room - drivers!

And by the way - as always - an anecdote, no matter how true, poignant and heart-breaking - is not a good basis for policy

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Chuck [555 posts] 3 years ago
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jarderich wrote:

The sort of bloody mindedness demonstrated by CCC, Spokes and most of the comments here nearly caused a fellow club member his life a few weeks ago when a midweek ride ended in a pile up (no cars involved). The rider without the helmet was the one airlifted to hospital with his skull clearly visible through the hole in the side of his head. The others (none of whom sustained serious injuries) had the (dis)pleasure of attending to him by the roadside

I don't give a flying fixed wheel how effective or otherwise a lid can (or can't) be, you owe it to the people who are potentially affected by your actions to be more responsible.

I wonder how many objectors, when they're a passenger in the front seat of a car, choose to switch off the passenger airbag? Or perhaps encourage their kids to ride a bike without a lid?

Finally, I walked from Cambridge station to the town centre and back last Saturday and judging by the standard of the vast majority of the riding I saw CCC, would be better off throwing their efforts at improving riding standards in their city instead of trying to maintain a clearly flawed principle.

And you can come and have ago as much as you want - i'll have my lid on!

Eh? They're not saying nobody should ever wear one. I don't see how they've caused anything. And while wearing a lid is probably a good idea on a fast club ride with people in a close bunch it doesn't at all follow that everyone should wear one whenever they get on a bike, especially if doing so takes the focus away from the elephant in the room.

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colinth [191 posts] 3 years ago
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mad_scot_rider wrote:
colinth wrote:

... he was in an accident and escape without a head injury is more of an argument for helmets than against them ? Don't let the facts ...

I love how you engage in a wild and illogical hypothecation - then berate me for ignoring the facts

Truly superb logic

Whereas your point about his helmet not saving him from some broken ribs makes perfect sense.

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mad_scot_rider [581 posts] 3 years ago
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colinth wrote:
mad_scot_rider wrote:
colinth wrote:

... he was in an accident and escape without a head injury is more of an argument for helmets than against them ? Don't let the facts ...

I love how you engage in a wild and illogical hypothecation - then berate me for ignoring the facts

Truly superb logic

Whereas your point about his helmet not saving him from some broken ribs makes perfect sense.

Of course it does - it goes to the heart of the argument against compulsion - that a piece of poly on your napper is no protection against the majority of injuries suffered in collision with vehicles

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Coleman [335 posts] 3 years ago
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Well done CCC.

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qwerky [184 posts] 3 years ago
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jarderich wrote:

I wonder how many objectors, when they're a passenger in the front seat of a car, choose to switch off the passenger airbag?

Lets say that you have a car which doesn't have a passenger airbag - many older cars don't. You are hit by another vehicle as the driver was on the phone at the time and wasn't looking where he was going. A family member in the passenger seat is killed. The police don't prosecute the other driver as they say it was your fault for not having a car with a passenger air bag. Is that right? Lets say the press take up the story and run articles about air bags; completely ignoring the real issue.

How would that make you feel, if the public opinion blamed you for the death of, say, your wife or child. Would you start campaigning for air bags, or would you start campaigning for the prosecution of drivers on the phone.

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colinth [191 posts] 3 years ago
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Is that the heart of the argument ? That the majority of injuries aren't head related so why bother wearing one ? I've honestly never heard that before.

We don't know what happened, but if we found out he did hit his head and escaped unscathed what would your opinion be then ?

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Edgeley [371 posts] 3 years ago
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I wear a lid. That is my choice. I am not forced to wear one, and would object to that compulsion.

Whether I wear one or not, I would rather not be hit by a car. My safety would be greatly enhanced by drivers driving properly.

People in the Netherlands tend not to ride with hats on because they don't expect to get hit by cars.

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colinth [191 posts] 3 years ago
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Just heard Shane Sutton was hit this morning on the A6 and suffered severe bruising of the brain

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mad_scot_rider [581 posts] 3 years ago
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colinth wrote:

Just heard Shane Sutton was hit this morning on the A6 and suffered severe bruising of the brain

Not a good 24 hours for high profile cyclists

To completely step aside from the lid argument for a moment I hope they both recover quickly and have no long-lasting effects

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mad_scot_rider [581 posts] 3 years ago
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colinth wrote:

Is that the heart of the argument ? That the majority of injuries aren't head related so why bother wearing one ? I've honestly never heard that before.

We don't know what happened, but if we found out he did hit his head and escaped unscathed what would your opinion be then ?

Once again - that would be anecdotal - as in, yes in this case it helped, but that might not always be the case

However I hope everyone on this board is aware of the rating/testing of helmets and therefore exactly how much use they are in real-world collision situations

Also I concede it's not the *whole* heart of the argument - but if it's not *at* the heart or pretty close, then it should be

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theincrediblebike [40 posts] 3 years ago
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The point is the CCC are saying that we have a choice whether we wish to wear a lid or not, I don't always wear one it depends what ride im on, thats my choice and i'm aware of the risks.However if i choose to participate in an event i should not have to be dictated to whether i wear a helmet or hi-viz clothing. Just cause you have your hi-viz garb on it doesnt necessarily mean you will be seen as your surroundings have a part in it. Wiggins was tagged because a driver did not pay due care and attention when pulling out onto a road, no argument dangerous driving prosecute and as for drivers on phones don't get me started. The real issue is the roads are busy and we all want to get to our destination lets do it safely within the law and the highway code. (oh Eutopia)

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colinth [191 posts] 3 years ago
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Sounds like they're both going to be OK which is the main priority, feel bad for saying it but is there any hope that 2 such high profile collisions might just prompt some action from Government ? I know it's unlikely seeing as people being actually killed barely raises an eyebrow in some circles when it's a cyclist but in the age of celebrity, maybe, just maybe ?

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Paul M [360 posts] 3 years ago
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colinth wrote:

Is that the heart of the argument ? That the majority of injuries aren't head related so why bother wearing one ? I've honestly never heard that before.

We don't know what happened, but if we found out he did hit his head and escaped unscathed what would your opinion be then ?

Then you are either dishonest (as people who say "I honestly" usually are) or you have lived a very sheltered life.

There is an Everest of fact and statistics which support the proposition that a cycle helmet is far less beneficial than most people think, and certainly should not be compulsory. See www.cyclehelmets.org for details.

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mad_scot_rider [581 posts] 3 years ago
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Hi Paul M

While I don't disagree with any of your points, I feel uncomfortable about starting down the road of ad hominem attacks

If we can all stick to tackling the ball and not the player it'll be easier to have a civilised debate

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colinth [191 posts] 3 years ago
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Paul M wrote:
colinth wrote:

Is that the heart of the argument ? That the majority of injuries aren't head related so why bother wearing one ? I've honestly never heard that before.

We don't know what happened, but if we found out he did hit his head and escaped unscathed what would your opinion be then ?

Then you are either dishonest (as people who say "I honestly" usually are) or you have lived a very sheltered life.

There is an Everest of fact and statistics which support the proposition that a cycle helmet is far less beneficial than most people think, and certainly should not be compulsory. See www.cyclehelmets.org for details.

Paul

I'm not dishonest, and haven't heard that put forward as the main point against helmets / compulsion before. For the record, the main arguments I've heard are compulsion reduces the number of cyclists, gives drivers a false sense of security, and that helmets are not that effective against head injuries over a certain speed.

The website that you kindly promoted has no mention anywhere on it's main page that the "heart of the argument" is that most cyling injuries are not head related. Indeed, it makes more references to the points that I thought were the main arguments against.

If you believe not knowing the ins and outs of the arguments for or against helmets means you've lived "a sheltered life" (god knows why), then you clearly need to broaden your interests, and check your facts before being abusive

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mad_scot_rider [581 posts] 3 years ago
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Quote:

... the main arguments I've heard are compulsion reduces the number of cyclists, gives drivers a false sense of security, and that helmets are not that effective against head injuries over a certain speed ...

You've heard all that and still favour compulsion - hmmm

Quote:

... that the "heart of the argument" is ...

My term, not his - again, I strongly believe it is part and parcel of the key points made in many cases

Quote:

... before being abusive ...

Hardly. It wasn't civil certainly, but bearing in mind the tone of some comments made earlier, it smacks of feigned indignation to call what Paul M said "abusive"

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colinth [191 posts] 3 years ago
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mad_scot_rider wrote:
Quote:

... the main arguments I've heard are compulsion reduces the number of cyclists, gives drivers a false sense of security, and that helmets are not that effective against head injuries over a certain speed ...

You've heard all that and still favour compulsion - hmmm

Quote:

... that the "heart of the argument" is ...

My term, not his - again, I strongly believe it is part and parcel of the key points made in many cases

Quote:

... before being abusive ...

Hardly. It wasn't civil certainly, but bearing in mind the tone of some comments made earlier, it smacks of feigned indignation to call what Paul M said "abusive"

1) where did I say I favour compulsion

2) your term which he used still not a main point according to the source he quoted as evidence

3) I personally think being called dishonest is offensive, most honest people would

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qwerky [184 posts] 3 years ago
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colinth wrote:

For the record, the main arguments I've heard are compulsion reduces the number of cyclists, gives drivers a false sense of security, and that helmets are not that effective against head injuries over a certain speed.

The main argument is that helmets are not a reliable safety measure in a collision or fall. Many people are ignorant of the limitations to a helmets protection but push helmets as the best solution to cyclists' safety. I can't speak for everyone but my opposition to mandatory helmets is that it does nothing at all for my safety as I always wear one. The best thing to improve my safety would be to do something about those people who drive around like fricking lunatics and run into things (i.e. me).

Helmets may help alleviate the effects of a collision but the best thing to do is prevent the collision in the first place. This is what people mean when they talk about the 'elephant in the room'.

To quote Chris Boardman, who summed it up nicely on the BBC this summer:
The emphasis shouldn’t be just on the cyclist. We’re creating a symptom without looking at the cause. If someone gets shot on the street, the answer isn’t that everyone should wear body armour. You say – ‘hang on a minute, maybe we need to look at the reasons behind this?’.

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mad_scot_rider [581 posts] 3 years ago
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colinth wrote:

1) where did I say I favour compulsion

The fact that we were debating compulsion and you jumped in with ...

Quote:

How do you know it didn't help him? Surely the fact that he was in an accident and escape without a head injury is more of an argument for helmets than against them ? Don't let the facts get in the way of your opinion though

... could reasonably allow us to infer your position. No?

Also I don't recall getting all touchy about your attack at the end of that quote - other than to point out your logical fallacy - all I'm asking is if ALL of us can avoid personal remarks/attacks and stick to the issue

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colinth [191 posts] 3 years ago
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mad_scot_rider wrote:
colinth wrote:

1) where did I say I favour compulsion

The fact that we were debating compulsion and you jumped in with ...

Quote:

How do you know it didn't help him? Surely the fact that he was in an accident and escape without a head injury is more of an argument for helmets than against them ? Don't let the facts get in the way of your opinion though

... could reasonably allow us to infer your position. No?

Also I don't recall getting all touchy about your attack at the end of that quote - other than to point out your logical fallacy - all I'm asking is if ALL of us can avoid personal remarks/attacks and stick to the issue

No, not really. I wear a helmet and favour promotion of wearing them, but not compulsion. I don't really buy the argument that drivers take less care, if anything I think there's an increasingly dangerous attitude of "not wearing a helmet so got what you deserve". I also think there's increasingly less relevance in helmet use meaning less people cycle, it might have been an issue 5 or 10 years ago, but now it's probably more common than not to wear one so there's less of an "I look like an idiot" syndrome.

Agreed on the personal stuff, apologies if I started it

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