Cycling: Helmets

Department for Transport written question – answered at on 13 October 2016.

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Photo of Tania Mathias Tania Mathias Conservative, Twickenham

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential benefits of making the wearing of cycle helmets compulsory for cyclists on UK roads.

Photo of Andrew Jones Andrew Jones Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

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. This is 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 the use of helmets by all cyclists and in particular by children.

However, people and parents are free to choose whether to follow this advice and we have no plans to legislate to introduce a mandatory requirement for the wearing of cycle helmets.

Does this answer the above question?

Yes9 people think so

No5 people think not

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Andrew Avis
Posted on 18 Oct 2016 8:31 pm (Report this annotation)

Ah a helmet debate...
However the question was clearly not answered. The question asked was about assessment of the benefits not what the highway code has to say about it or how successful commercial helmet manufactures and their suppliers have been in lobbying the government in making their products compulsory.

However I do recall that there have been several promises to review the effectiveness of cycle helmets over at least the last three governments. Particularly the last Labour government who commissioned a report from the TRRL (what a shame you cant download it) that said something along the lines that there was little evidence in the effectiveness of cycle crash helmets but it was probably a good idea to wear one. In other words although there is little evidence, the view of the person commissioning any report would like the result to be in favour of helmets for cyclists.

I fear that our government are afraid of the accusations that would come from the helmet lobby if they were to dare to suggest that the effectiveness of cycle helmets is questionable. The catchphrase is simple "anti-helmet equals anti-safety".

Perhaps Mrs Bone could suggest someone to look at this issue and make some headway on it. (see Hansard for Mr Bones comments)

If there is a review of the effectiveness of cycle helmets then it must ask the question as to why the Dutch have the highest number of cycles per person on the road, have lowest proportion of helmet wearers and yet have the lowest proportion of head injuries. While in the UK with helmet use about 50% and increasing why head injuries are increasing.