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Cycling: Safety Measures

Department for Transport written question – answered on 5th May 2016.

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Photo of Michelle Donelan Michelle Donelan Conservative, Chippenham

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to promote awareness among cyclists of the importance of wearing helmets and visible clothing.

Photo of Robert Goodwill Robert Goodwill Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

The safety of vulnerable road users is a priority and we recommend that all cyclists wear clothing that makes them sufficiently visible to other road users.

Rule 59 of the Highway Code states, “You should wear light-coloured or fluorescent clothing which helps other road users to see you in daylight and poor light; reflective clothing and/or accessories (belt, arm or ankle bands) in the dark”.

Government policy is that cycle helmets offer a degree of protection for cyclists in the event of a fall from a bicycle and some types of collisions. In line with the Highway Code rule 59 which states “you should wear a cycle helmet which conforms to current regulations, is the correct size and securely fastened” we encourage their use by all cyclists and in particular by children.

Does this answer the above question?

Yes3 people think so

No1 person thinks not

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Annotations

Chris Beazer
Posted on 6 May 2016 11:29 am (Report this annotation)

Cycle helmets are a diversion from the real safety issue for cyclists - driver behaviour. Cycle helmets do not make drivers avoid hitting cyclists - indeed there is evidence that they make it more likely. The main cause of death and serious injury of cyclists is being crushed underneath a motor vehicle - cycle helmets do not offer any protection from this. A cycle helmet is designed to offer, at best, protection from an impact of just over 90 joules. 90 joules is the energy generated by an adult of 70kg falling forward against a flat surface when travelling at about 4 mph - not much of "a degree of protection".

Chris Beazer
Posted on 6 May 2016 11:34 am (Report this annotation)

Shouldn't motor vehicles, being the cause of death and serious injury of vulnerable road users, be obliged to be coloured in a way "that makes them sufficiently visible to other road users"? As usual, we blame the victim for their demise.

Andrew Avis
Posted on 6 May 2016 7:15 pm (Report this annotation)

That's been covered Chris. Operators of commercial vehicles are now encouraged to put on stickers advising cyclists "CYCLIST. STAY BACK" or "CYCLISTS. DO NOT PASS", which is very inconvenient if the truck is parked by the side of the road and you are on your bike*. Commercial operators are now so concerned about death and serious injury amongst "vulnerable road users" that they have started putting these stickers on smaller vans and company cars. They may also supplement these with stickers advising "PEDESTRIANS. DO NOT APPROACH THIS VEHICLE AT ANY TIME".
So if you get run down by a car or truck carrying one of these stickers it is entirely your own fault.

By the way other countries like France & Germany are rather backward over this issue and insist that drivers of such vehicles should keep a good look out for pedestrians, cyclists and horses and be prepared to stop and make way for them. If they don't, they get a heavy fine or go to prison. But I guess that's another reason to leave Europe, we don't want them telling us that lorries and cars can't plow into groups of cyclists and pedestrians and continue to get away with it.

As for helmets, until recently the governments advise (and BHIT) was that "wearing a helmet will reduce the chances of you having an accident by 80%". I wonder why that advice was changed? ;-) "Got a head-wear a helmet" "They don't make them for no reason"

You also have to remember that by encouraging cyclists (and pedestrians) to wear Hi-Viz clothing and cycle (and walking) helmets, that is inconvenient to carry around, adds extra cost as well as being hot and uncomfortable (smelly cyclists), has the advantage of making cyclist look weirdly different and makes the activity look dangerous. Thus encouraging more people into cars. This is called an integrated transport policy.

*I have been advised that as a cyclist it is ok to pass such vehicles when I drive a car.