Cycle helmets are next to useless, but that in itself will not prevent their use being made compulsory. Recent history shows that where there’s a political will, any amount of nonsense can make its way into the statute book.
If cycle helmets are any use, then surely it makes sense to force everyone to wear a helmet. Pedestrians included, who, given their relatively low walking speed, will find these thin polystyrene shells offering more protection than they provide to cyclists.
Take our happy cousins across the North Sea in Denmark, a country about which I know a thing or two, having lived there for a number of years. A few years ago there was in Denmark a parody road safety campaign promoting helmets for pedestrians. This in a land in which cycle helmets are a rare sight, and it makes no business sense to promote them.
You lose the catchiness of the slogan in translation,…
“A walking helmet is a good helmet.
Traffic safety is not just for cyclists. Pedestrians in Denmark actually have a higher risk of head injuries. The Council for Improved Traffic Safety recommends walking helmets for pedestrians and other good folk in high risk groups.”
“A bike helmet is a fine substitute for a walking helmet, so there’s no need to remove it when you get off your bike. Keep it on throughout the day for maximum safety.”
So there you have it. And with strong anecdotal evidence that cycle helmets interfere with the cognitive function of celebrity cycling champions whose words carry far more weight than legions of BBC or Daily Wail commenters sounding off in spEak You’re bRanes fashion, we need to be creative in our response.