Thursday, August 2, 2012

Helmets for everyone?

It looks like this old topic is being discussed again, this time because Bradley Wiggins decided to talk about it.

Bradley is an amazing British cyclist and an Olympic champion. He won his last gold medal just last Wednesday. Too bad that on the same day, Daniel Harris was killed by a city bus while riding his bike on the streets of London. Wiggins decided that was the right time to talk about helmets again - in his opinion, a necessity in the city like London.
Bradley Wiggins in his helmet. This one does not protect from city buses (Photo by Matt Rourke, AP)

It is unknown if Harris was wearing a helmet at the time of the accident. Still, Wiggins thinks that forcing cyclists to use helmets would make Britain safer.

If I was Bradley, and was asked what to do to make cycling in the city safer, my answer would be "build more cycle paths and lanes - separate the fast moving vehicles from bicycles the same way pedestrians are separated from car traffic, educate both drivers and cyclists on how to safely move through the city and watch for others". Apparently, Bradley prefers easier and cheaper solutions such as forcing everyone to wear a helmet and perhaps even reflective vests. I just wonder how much protection a helmet really gives you in a collision with a city bus? Something tells me that not much.

The good thing is, that London has no intention of following Australia's example and forcing helmets by law. Since enforced bicycle helmets usually mean a significant drop in the number of cyclists, maybe this will save some of the British from becoming couch potatoes.

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