The question of whether cyclists should wear helmets provokes hysterium often from those on four wheels. But which has “the worlds biggest” benefit: increased physical safety, or creating a better environment for people to cycle helmet-free?
As a cyclist, I dont any objections to helmets or to high-visibility apparel. Like the majority of members of people I know in London, I wear a helmet the majority of members of the time when on a motorcycle. I do, however, have serious concern about make further efforts to build the use of hi-vis clothes or helmets compulsory, or even to encourage them as a security panacea. Because when it comes to genuine make further efforts to build cycling safer, they are a red herring, an irrelevance, a peripheral issue that has somehow come to dominate the argument.
Olympic cycling champion Chris Boardman eloquently conveyed this when an appearance on BBC1s Breakfast show to discusses bike infrastructure became dominated by angry spectator reactions to him being filmed cycling down a street bare-headed. I understand exactly why people feel so passionately about helmets or hi-vis, Boardman wrote. I understand why people wish to use them. But these actions seek to deal with an effect. I want to focus discussions on the cause, and campaign for things that will really build cycling safe. That is why I wont promote high-vis and helmets I wont let the debate to be withdrawn on to a topic that isnt even in the top 10 things that will really maintain people who want to cycle safe.
Boardman is not alone in receiving that helmet utilize provokes strong and strange reactions. Nick Hussey, the founder of a British cycle apparel company, Vulpine, became so perturbed by the vicious social media reaction when his firms website featured modelings on motorcycles without helmets that he wrote a response for the Guardians cycling blog. It began with the parallel of him hypothetically marching into a saloon and snatching a third or fourth pint of brew from a random alcoholics lips, yelling, Stop drinking or you will die!
Thats more or less what the infamous helmet debate has become, Hussey lamented. Shouty strangers hollering at other shouty strangers for choices that dont affect the first shouty strangers life. Its a bit weird, definitely a garbage of energy, and not a fun place for cyclists to share space in.
As Boardman noted, in the Netherlands, perhaps the least perilous country for cyclists in the world, helmets and hi-vis are almost unknown. You dont build cycling safe by obliging every rider to dress up as if for urban warfare. You do it by creating a street system that insulates them from fast-moving and unpredictable road traffic.