The husband of a woman who was killed when she was thrown from her bicycle just moments after taking a selfie has suggested that the government should introduce a mandatory helmet law.
The London Evening Standard reports how on August 19, New Zealand born Carmen Greenway was cycling home from The Crown in St Margaret’s with her mother Sherry Bennett and two friends when her bike hit a “rough” patch in the road.
Her husband, Rufus, said: “She’d been taking selfies and had one hand on the bars. It was bumpy and she just jack-knifed the bars, threw herself off the bike and fractured her skull. It wasn’t the cycling that killed her, it was a tragic mistake. She was close to home, relaxed and having a lovely time.”
Bennett said she had been riding right behind her daughter and described the incident as “just one of those unbelievable accidents.”
She was rushed to intensive care at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington where she died six days later after going into cardiac arrest. Her funeral was held last month.
“It is worrying to hear that she had been taking selfies,” said Rufus. “We all think ‘it will never happen to me’, but the reality is that an accident can happen to anyone at any time – regardless of how experienced a cyclist you may be.”
Pointing to mandatory helmet laws in New Zealand, he added: “With London becoming a cycling city there are only going to be more cyclists, therefore perhaps the government should make a stronger case for saying if you want to get on a bike you need a proficiency test and you need to wear a helmet.”
Carmen Greenway took up cycling competitively 18 months ago and both Rufus and their eldest son Finlay, 13, are members of the Twickenham Cycling Club. Rufus was on the group ride during which Ralph Brazier was thrown from his bike and killed after hitting a pothole in March.
A spokesman for Headway, the brain injury charity which campaigns for mandatory helmet laws, said:
“The evidence is clear that helmets protect the brain and save lives. We are calling for a change in the law for children to wear helmets and we would like to see more done to encourage everyone to wear helmets.
“The evidence from Australian and New Zealand is that the number of head and brain injuries from cycling has reduced while cycling has never been more popular.”
This is however disputed. While contributing to a 2015 senate inquiry into the country’s mandatory helmet laws, research journalist Chris Gillham said that data published over the past 25 years had consistently shown a substantial and permanent decline in the proportion of Australians cycling.