Cycling groups in the United Kingdom say any moves to make helmets compulsory would be “detrimental to public health”.
- British Government conducting a review of cycle safety
- Cycling UK spokesman says forcing people to wear head protection is “not a wise move”
- Emergency physician says helmets have saved his patients’ lives on many occasions
Unlike Australia, where helmet use is mandatory, cyclists are free to ride without protection in the UK.
But the British Government is conducting a review of cycle safety, which will include the contentious issue of helmets.
Duncan Dollimore, campaigns director at Cycling UK, said forcing cyclists to wear head protection would discourage people from riding.
“I think it’s a move that would be detrimental to public health and the wider population,” Mr Dollimore said.
He said the effect of Australia’s laws, introduced in the early ’90s, resulted in a fewer young people choosing to cycle.
“If you look at the wider population benefits of people being involved in forms of active travel and the benefits of that in terms of reducing congestion … it’s just not a wise move,” he said.
Australia’s yearly cycling participation rate is heading downhill from 40 per cent in 2011, to 34 per cent in 2017, according to the National Cycling Participation Survey.
Mr Dollimore said he believed Australia’s helmet laws were part of the problem.
“It’s become the activity of the serious cyclist. It’s becoming something that you get dressed up to do,” he said.