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Cyclists - do you wear a helmet?

Cyclists - do you wear a helmet?  

22 members have voted

  1. 1. Cyclists - do you wear a helmet?

    • Yes
      12
    • No
      10


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Apparently Elle Macpherson was this week pilloried by the tabloids for bicycling in a London street without a helmet and with her (helmeted) son on her handlebars.

 

I was reading this Guardian leader on my commute to work this morning:

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/sep/19/transport.transport

 

and was surprised by

 

Last year Norway's centre for transport research, in rejecting compulsory helmets, noted the "increased risk per cycling kilometre for cyclists wearing helmets, in Australia and New Zealand at around 14%".

 

and

 

The world's most celebrated cycling country, the Netherlands, has just 1% helmet use and has the safest cycling record anywhere. It has one third the cycling death rate of Western Australia, which has the most draconian law. The Dutch Cycling Council declares that helmets "increase cycling speeds and encourage riskier cycling behaviour ...They also reduce the care motorists give to cyclists".

 

I've always worn a helmet while cycling although I don't particularly like wearing it - in summer it gets too hot, it's not exactly comfortable (although better than having your brains dashed all over the road), and I don't really want to carry it around when I'm off my bike.

 

So, cyclists - do you wear a helmet? Also, motorists - do you give cyclists more care if they're not wearing one?

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Yes I do.

 

It's just not possible to compare different countries with regard to cycling as they have different cultures for both riding and driving.

 

E.g. in Australia, nearly all cycling will take place in cities where the driving in my experience is very fast and aggressive.

In Holland, there is a culture of mass cycling in urban and rural areas so everyone expects and looks out for cyclists. The driving is more considered and sedate there on the whole.

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P.s. Whenever the Guardian produces evidence based on statistics, it is almost invariably flawed. Best ignored in my view.

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The "Shared Space" concept has been trialled in this country though - with what seems to be considerable sucess:

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shared_space#United_Kingdom

 

A scheme implemented in London's Kensington High Street, dubbed naked streets in the press—reflecting the fact that the road has been cleared of markings, signage and pedestrian barriers, has yielded significant and sustained reductions in injuries to pedestrians. It is reported that, based on two years of 'before and after' monitoring, casualties fell from 71 in the period before the street was remodelled to 40 afterwards - a drop of 43.7%.

 

(And yes I know - i've just quoted from Wikipedia... :hihi:)

 

The Tories also think that the "Shared Space" concept is safer:

 

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/article1295120.ece

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I recently read a study that said people who wore helmets rode more dangerously and took more risks.

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I recently read a study that said people who wore helmets rode more dangerously and took more risks.

 

From the article:

 

Macpherson was probably the safest cyclist in London that day. Like the mayor, Boris Johnson, she is signed up (I guess by instinct) to the Wilde-Adams theory of compensatory risk assessment. By not wearing a helmet, she lowers her risk threshold and thus rides more carefully. She commendably cycles rather than drives a car and protects her child, who cannot manage his own risk.

 

Here's an article on Risk Compensation (again, from Wikipedia). Studies have shown that car drivers tend to drive more recklessly when wearing a seatbelt than when not wearing one.

 

And another interesting article about the link between cyclists wearing helmets and car driver's attitudes:

 

http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=strange-but-true-helmets-attract-cars-to-cyclists

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The world's most celebrated cycling country, the Netherlands, has just 1% helmet use and has the safest cycling record anywhere. It has one third the cycling death rate of Western Australia, which has the most draconian law. The Dutch Cycling Council declares that helmets "increase cycling speeds and encourage riskier cycling behaviour ...They also reduce the care motorists give to cyclists".

Having cycled in the Netherlands I've no doubt the impressive safety record there is because everyone cycles there so the whole country is set up for cyclists. There's basically a separate road system just for cyclists and on the rare occasions you do share a road with cars the motorists are all cyclists aswell and unlike their British counterparts very accommodating.

 

Cycling in the UK is a hellish, stressful and dangerous experience in comparison.

 

I always wear a helmet nowadays when cycling, on the road I've had 2 accidents in 15+ years of very regular cycling wearing a helmet, each occasion really hurt but didn't require a visit to the hospital though annoyingly I did rip my favourite shorts, off road I've fallen off loads but that doesn't count and usually doesn't hurt much either.

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I don't cycle, but if I did, I would wear a helmet to cycle on the roads. I might not if I was in a park or on a separate cycle way. I'm not sure what the law is/if there is a law about this? If I was likely to get a fine no matter where I was I'd just do it to avoid the fine. Otherwise it'd only be for use on the road. That said, I wouldn't cycle on the road (that's what puts me off getting a bike) as I think it's too dangerous even with a helmet on.

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Na i dont bother due to it will mess my hair up and i wont look cool.

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I cycle a lot and never wear a helmet. If you wear one, you can sense the motorists getting closer.

I also find that a helmet restricts my vision which is dangerous.

I have been in one accident, I was run over on the pavement by an idiot driver who did not look when reversing! I was pushing the bike up a steep hill in order to let a woman with a pram pass. Fortunately I was hit, I dread to think what could have happened if it was the pram.

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