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College of Emergency Medicine debate ends with call for compulsory helmets for child cyclists
18.09.09 by Buffalo Bill

Two serious collisions involving cyclists and lorries in 2 days. (The 2nd took place in South London, at Poynders Road roundabout, not clear as to the extent of the injuries to cyclist [see comment 4 below for more details]). Meantime, the College of Emergency Medicine has debated whether children should forced to wear helmets when cycling. And voted overwhemingly in favour, according to this Telegraph report.

The pro-helmet lobby will doubtless use this ‘success’ to press the case for legislation.

On the other hand, we have these more moderate comments:

Robert Gifford, executive director of the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety, … …said: “I think the Government is right to encourage voluntary wearing of helmets. A helmet will protect you if you are riding off road – it is not going to protect you if you are hit by a car which is going too fast.”

A spokesman for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA) said: “At this stage, we don’t think a law would be practical or enforceable. There is also the outstanding question whether making helmets compulsory would just put people off cycling, which would not be a good thing.”

Let’s be clear: if you get run over by a lorry, a helmet will not save your head. Emma Foa was wearing a helmet when she was killed; so was
the cyclist that was killed 2 years ago on Brixton Hill.

Comprehensive round-up of the helmet thing on road.cc.

Related posts on this web-site:

Risk compensation
Not wearing a helmet could be 'contributory negligence'

  1. I certainly agree that there should be no legal compulsion for helmet wearing. A strong policy and programme of encouragement, absolutely. Free helmets for kids, even better. But one thing that we do not need to take away from children and the public in general is the concept and construct of choice. We do too much to coddle children and it’s taking away the valuable experience of using judgement. It may be bold to suggest that removing this ability for children to learn, not just with helmets but in all aspects, could well result in more fatalities in the future.

    — The Seldom Killer    18 September 2009, 11:47    #
  2. The only thing helmets actually help with (as with hiviz) is the insurance claim afterwards.

    Downfader    18 September 2009, 23:13    #
  3. @Downfader agreed mostly – I would add scratches, bruises etc as within their capabilities.

    I don’t agree with legal compulsion for any age group. I’m not at all sure about encouragement, and certainly not a “strong policy and programme …”, which I think will have the same effect of reducing cycling appeal and incorrectly presenting cycling as dangerous.

    — no    21 September 2009, 17:16    #
  4. With respect to collision at Poynders Road roundabout on 17th September, I received the following by email from a contact at the Met

    ‘I’ve had a chat with one of the traffic officers who says he believes the injuries sustained were not fatal or life threatening.’

    — Bill    23 September 2009, 07:19    #
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