London is one of the busiest places in the world: narrow streets clogged with double-decker buses, taxis and huge delivery lorries. There are some who feel that a cycle helmet is uncool or moan about having ‘helmet hair’ but surely that is better than your head being squashed after a crash. For me I wear a helmet in the same way I wear a seatbelt when I’m driving a car – it is natural.
Until the government sees sense and decides to make the use of helmets compulsory, the wearing of them needs to be encouraged as much as possible by all, including the media – especially in these days of reduced NHS budgets. Lots of people question their effectiveness but I know aged 16 I would have suffered a serious brain injury when I was knocked off my bike into a tree if hadn’t have worn a helmet, which ended up with a large crack in it.
I understand that a requirement to wear a helmet may limit casual cyclists using the hire scheme on impulse. But equally should users be expected to carry around helmets with them all day on the off chance they might choose to hire one of these bikes? A possible solution may be attaching helmets to the cycles or having dispensers at the docking stations.
Of course a helmet does not make the wearer invincible, and cyclists need to ride with care, not going through red lights or being unaware of the blind spots of large vehicles or putting pedestrians at risk.
A TfL spokesman has said:
“The use of cycle helmets is not a legal requirement. In addition, for a helmet to be effective it has to be the appropriate size and fitted properly.”
I think this is really interesting discussion point and would be interested to hear other people’s views on this.