Now I could start ranting and raving and demanding everyone who owns a bike should have a helmet, that the government should make it a law, or even that today's teenagers are too fashion conscious for their own good. But that would do absolutely no good at all.
Cycling popularityLet's look at this rationally. The number of cyclists killed or seriously injured on the roads today is on the increase, simply because cycling's popularity is on the increase worldwide by 7%. In the UK alone this number is 17% over the last decade. The Olympics and Tour de France victories from Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome and even stage wins by Mark Cavendish have endeared cycling to the British public and there has been a boom in cycle purchases. The high street store Halfords makes cycling affordable and easily achievable to beginners with budget lines. People who are wanting to start cycling are not likely to be scared off by buying a bike at Halfords - I think Halfords demystifies cycling and makes it seem less "specialist".
Killed or seriously injured (KSI)
The factsThe facts you see to the right are taken from the Government website, Think!, which aims to raise awareness for a whole range of road-related campaigns. I think it can be put simply that the more cyclists there are on the road, the more chances there are to be accidents.
There is a debate raging as to whether helmets are worth it or not. Some people call for helmets to be made mandatory and some people say the choice should be with the cyclist. This quick Google search shows this opinion-dividing topic perfectly. A study in Western Australia showed that a mandatory helmet law actually had a negative impact on cycling, from increased admissions of cyclists into hospitals to a decrease in cycling in general. When you look at cycling in Amsterdam or Copenhagen, you'd struggle to see a cycling helmet amongst the thousands of cyclists.
I always wear a helmet. I have done since I was little, my Mam made me! Now I'm older and can make my own choices, I still wear a helmet. Why? Today's helmet materials and designs make helmets light, comfortable and airy. They are affordable too.
I wear a Specialized Tactic for every type of riding I do. It's highly adjustable, the peak is removable and it doesn't stand out and there's plenty venting to keep me cool.
|Specialized tactic - peak on|
|Specialized tactic - peak off|
Now I'm a bicycle commuter, I need to take a bag and my helmet into the office. This could be a lot to put people off, carrying lots of extra stuff about. The answer is simple: a backpack with lacing or a net to hold the helmet.
I use a Deuter Bike 1, which isn't available anymore. I've linked to an equivalent. This solves the problem easily and doesn't take much space under my desk.
|Rucksack and helmet combined|
|Easy to store|
SummarySo that's my take on the helmet debate. I choose to wear one. I think that if compulsory helmets were introduced, I think we'd see similar to Western Australia. Some people hate wearing them and if the law was properly enforced, they just wouldn't ride. The key is awareness; not just from drivers, but cyclists themselves.
How about yourself? Which side of the fence do you stand? Let's hear it in the comments below.