Question of choice

WITH reference to the wearing of cycle helmets and seat belts on school bus runs, the question remains, does one legislate or leave the choice to the individual and parents to educate or search their own conscience with regard to road safety?

Having dealt with many road accidents over many years in the line of duty, on balance any protection that minimises receiving a more serious injury must be an advantage. Broken bones can be repaired. Brain damage may result in long-term disability.

One must also take into account that a number of road accidents involving cyclists can be attributed to road conditions, that is rain, snow, ice and uneven road surfaces, maintenance and other factors, for example stationary vehicles in cycle lanes causing obstruction, thereby encouraging cyclists to use pedestrian footpaths.

Kenneth Bowker, Vesper Walk, Huntington, York.

Comments (3)

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10:54am Thu 22 Nov 12

pedalling paul says...

The AA recently gave away helmets to cyclists in London. The cyclists organisation CTC responded by handing out free Highway Codes to motorists.

CTC's Roger Geffen said "The AA's gimmick merely gives the impression that cycle helmets are an essential safety aid, and that cyclists who don't wear them are to blame if they get hurt - neither of which is true.

"Cycle helmets aren't designed for fast or heavy traffic, and increased helmet use has never been linked with improvements in cyclists' safety. The one thing we know about helmet promotion is that it puts people off cycling, which in turn worsens not only congestion and pollution, but road safety as well.

"If the AA wants to improve safety for cyclists, it should work with groups like CTC to encourage all road users to follow the Highway Code. Yes, this includes cyclists too, but police data show that the risks cyclists face come overwhelmingly from dangerous driving."

The AA's helmet give-away followed a survey of some AA members who said they wanted more cyclists to wear protective equipment."

Google CTC helmets for more.
The AA recently gave away helmets to cyclists in London. The cyclists organisation CTC responded by handing out free Highway Codes to motorists. CTC's Roger Geffen said "The AA's gimmick merely gives the impression that cycle helmets are an essential safety aid, and that cyclists who don't wear them are to blame if they get hurt - neither of which is true. "Cycle helmets aren't designed for fast or heavy traffic, and increased helmet use has never been linked with improvements in cyclists' safety. The one thing we know about helmet promotion is that it puts people off cycling, which in turn worsens not only congestion and pollution, but road safety as well. "If the AA wants to improve safety for cyclists, it should work with groups like CTC to encourage all road users to follow the Highway Code. Yes, this includes cyclists too, but police data show that the risks cyclists face come overwhelmingly from dangerous driving." The AA's helmet give-away followed a survey of some AA members who said they wanted more cyclists to wear protective equipment." Google CTC helmets for more. pedalling paul

9:33pm Thu 22 Nov 12

yorkshirelad says...

'On balance any protection that minimises receiving a more serious injury must be an advantage'.

I think most people would agree with this to a certain extent. But consider this....

If the justification for a law is the numbers of injuries saved, then there is far more justification in having a law mandating the wearing of helmets inside cars. There would be even more justification in having a law that banned all motor vehicles...

So, on its own,injuries saved cannot by itself be a justification for a law...it's a balance between many factors (eg the health benefits of cycling, the deterrence effect of a compulsory helmet law etc).

In many countries there is a general principle that road users that *cause* the most danger to others should carry the greater legal responsibility.

As ever, it's all more complex than it sounds which leads me to the conclusion that helmets can be a good thing for cyclists but I cannot currently see a justification for a law...
'On balance any protection that minimises receiving a more serious injury must be an advantage'. I think most people would agree with this to a certain extent. But consider this.... If the justification for a law is the numbers of injuries saved, then there is far more justification in having a law mandating the wearing of helmets inside cars. There would be even more justification in having a law that banned all motor vehicles... So, on its own,injuries saved cannot by itself be a justification for a law...it's a balance between many factors (eg the health benefits of cycling, the deterrence effect of a compulsory helmet law etc). In many countries there is a general principle that road users that *cause* the most danger to others should carry the greater legal responsibility. As ever, it's all more complex than it sounds which leads me to the conclusion that helmets can be a good thing for cyclists but I cannot currently see a justification for a law... yorkshirelad

1:21pm Fri 23 Nov 12

J-Dawg says...

There's always justification for wearing a helmet.

Someone stated that they do not work if travelling above 12mph. You will rarley get above that in congested cities (and if you are, you may be being wreckless). However, they will often stop what could be classed as medium injuries. Where without, you would be in hospital, but with, just a headache.

It' slike saying there's no point wearing a seat belt in a car. These stop some injuries, but will do nothing if you get hit by a train.
There's always justification for wearing a helmet. Someone stated that they do not work if travelling above 12mph. You will rarley get above that in congested cities (and if you are, you may be being wreckless). However, they will often stop what could be classed as medium injuries. Where without, you would be in hospital, but with, just a headache. It' slike saying there's no point wearing a seat belt in a car. These stop some injuries, but will do nothing if you get hit by a train. J-Dawg

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