After what they described as a “manic” day, the AA has given away around 2,500 helmet and hi-viz jacket sets in Central London today, each worth, the motoring organisation says, about £40.
Not all, however, were given to people with bikes - in fact, it seems that no-one from the crowds that quickly gathered was refused a set - and an AA spokesman admitted that some of them would probably end up on eBay.
“We hope that people will act in good faith but obviously it’s impossible to police what happens once we give the sets away,” he said.
As for the wider debate about the giveaway potentially reinforcing a notion that cycling is inherently dangerous without tacking the issue of driver behaviour around cyclists, he said: "We are not saying the cycling is inherently dangerous, people who cycle know the risks and we are simply giving people the choice to wear a helmet or not.
“We’ve never called for compulsory cycle helmets, we’re trying to break down the "them and us" culture between some cyclists and some motorists as we believe we’ve all got to share the same road space.”
He continued: “Although we are a motoring organisation we’ve been campaigning on road safety for a hundred years now.
"We also campaign on the issue of bad driving but what we were doing today is saying if people would like to wear a helmet then they can take one of ours, maybe to keep in the office when they are at work here in London."
As for how the whole day went, he said: "The reaction from people was very positive and overall we thought the day was very successful."
The organisation says the remainder of the 5,000 AA-branded helmet and hi-viz clothing sets will be given away at other cities in the UK at times and places yet to be decided. The money to purchase the items came from the AA Charitable Trust