“We cannot support legislation that would require competent adults to wear cycle helmets, particularly given the lack of evidence regarding the effectiveness of cycle helmets and given the importance of defending people’s right to take risks with their health,’ say authors Dr Carwyn Hooper and John Spicer of The Division of Population Health and Education, St George’s, University of London. “If competent adults wish to cycle with their hair (or their shiny pates) exposed to the wind, rain and sky, then they ought to be able to so without interference from the government or from anyone else.”
Absolutely agree – and in addition, we know that the more cyclists on the roads, the safer we all are. We also know that helmet legislation reduces the numbers of cyclists on the roads…. Helmets for racing, yes, maybe… But otherwise, it’s good old blaming the victim again…
Many jurisdictions require cyclists to wear bicycle helmets. The UK is currently not one of these. However, an increasing number of interest groups, including the British Medical Association, want to change the status quo. They argue that mandatory cycle helmet laws will reduce the incidence of head injuries and that this will be both good for cyclists (because they will suffer fewer head injuries) and good for society (because the burden of having to treat cyclists suffering from head injuries will be reduced). In this paper we argue against this position. We suggest that cycle helmets may not be especially effective in reducing head injuries and we suggest that the imposition of such a restrictive law would violate people’s freedom and reduce their autonomy. We also argue that those who accept such a restrictive law would be committed to supporting further legislation which would force many other groups e including pedestrians e to take fewer risks with their health. We conclude that cycle helmet legislation should not be enacted in the UK unless, perhaps, it is restricted to children.”
Download the full paper JMEcyclistsHelmets.