Deputy Andrew Green sadly saw his son sustain serious head injuries at the age of nine and is now trying to impose on all children and adults a law which makes us ride our cycles wearing a helmet.
Having given this some thought, and having a couple of extra bikes at home for when friends visit Jersey my views are simple enough. Firstly as an adult I would not wear a helmet because I only use the bike in fine weather and to pop to the shops and as a motorcyclist, car driver and boat driver the chances of being seriously hurt at 12 mph are minimal but I admit possible. Really though give us proof. Is their more chance of winning the Euro lottery ?
Can the figures over the last 20 years be published to show that so many people are being smashed up on their bikes that this is necessary.
Is this another law which is out of step with developed countries ? Are visitors to Jersey who hire bikes, expected to wear helmets when in thier own countries (which have larger and faster traffic) there are no such laws.
It is proved that there is a health cost as many of us will give up bikes rather than accept the law to wear helmets.
Is this the nanny state yet again.
The idea of green lanes as with Andrew Greens suggestion, is another kind and caring law, but cannot be policed effectively without draconian fines.
My own view is maybe for children under sixteen. Adults have free choice we are not children, and figures for other countries do not make the case.
Helmets - Wear One If You Want
Quotes from Bristol Cycling.
As most of you will know, the Department for Transport is running a campaign to get teenage boys to wear cycle helmets, a campaign which is counterproductive and doomed to failure. The graphic images of x-rayed heads and helmets are likely to discourage teenagers, and if they don't, they will certainly make sure that the parents won't allow them out on a bike, with or without a helmet.
Why is the DfT taking this action? It appears to be in response to a DfT review of the research about cycle helmets, which was supposed to be independent and unbiased, but has been widely criticised for being neither. Amongst hundreds of research papers, they just happened to pick the same sixteen, small-scale, hospital based papers that the Australian government used to justify their imposition of mandatory helmets, and they didn't look at any of the whole-population research which showed no benefit whatsoever. The DfT have said that they intend to bring in a helmet law when a sufficient proportion of cyclists are wearing them, and this campaign would appear to be a push to increase that level, so that they can justify a law. http://www.bristolcyclingcampaign.org.uk/tbc/2003/summer/helmets.htm
The likelihood of a crash when cycling is not the same for all cyclists or in all situations, and not all crashes are equally likely to result in a head injury. For example, the risk of a crash is very much influenced by social factors , cycling skill, where the person is riding and even personal temperament. Serious head injuries are much less likely in crashes with no motor vehicle involved and when a person rides more cautiously.
Just as gloves prevent minor wounds to the hands, cycle helmets are likely to prevent similar wounds to the head, but these are not serious injuries or in any way life-threatening. In the largest case-control study, 73% of head injuries did not involve concussion or other brain injury . Based on this wide definition, including all wounds to the head, helmet wearers will have lower rates of head injury. However, the case-control study evidence for other types of head injury is not as consistent as is often suggested. http://www.cyclehelmets.org/1052.html