In a message posted to their Facebook page, Cheshire Police have expressed ‘concern’ at the numbers of teenagers riding to school without helmets or reflective equipment.
CTC, the national cycling charity, is opposed to helmet promotion campaigns, describing them as ‘almost certainly detrimental to public health’ on the grounds that they are likely to reduce cycle use.
The Cheshire Police post acknowledges that helmets are unpopular with many teenagers in saying that they ‘may not be the most glamorous’. The emphasis of the somewhat oddly-worded message is on minimising the effects of a collision or fall.
“It's concerning to see this morning the amount of young teenagers riding their bikes to school, with no helmet, or reflective equipment.
“We, as part of the emergency services, see how a cycle helmet can save lives and reduce the physical appearance in the unlikely event of an accident.
“A cycle helmet may not be the most glamorous but it's a temporary measure.
“Appearance after an accident can be life changing.
“Please promote your children to wear helmets, they are reasonably priced considering how they can help keep you alive/safe. DH #bikesafe #besafefeelsafe”
A statement on the CTC website says that organisations concerned with health or road safety should simply aim to encourage people to cycle, regardless of whether or not they choose to wear helmets when doing so.
“Given that the risks of cycling are low – they are not greatly different from those of walking or other forms of active recreation – even a very small reduction in cycle use would be counter-productive to health and other public policy objectives, regardless of the effectiveness or otherwise of helmets.”