Letter to Brake: Dear Sir/Madam,
I’m just writing after a fellow cyclist alerted me to what is apparently a new campaign on pushing cycle helmets for the cycle hire bikes in London. (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/wirecopy/8020258/Boris-bike-scheme-urged-to-include-helmets-after-two-riders-injured.html and http://twitter.com/markbikeslondon)
No doubt you’ll be hearing from CTC, but I urge you to look at countries where a lot of people cycle – the Netherlands and Denmark, for example. A tiny minority of adults or children use cycle helmets in these countries, and yet cyclists are rarely injured. As Mark observes, if the roads in London are so dangerous, you’d be better calling for them to safer for non-vehicular users: mandating helmets for a cycle hire scheme is a sure way to murder it: http://ibikelondon.blogspot.com/2010/07/why-bike-hire-and-helmets-dont-mix.html
While I appreciate you have the interests of individual cyclists in mind, by suggesting they need helmets, it is demonstrably in the wider interest that more people cycle more often, and cycle helmets is no way to encourage this (http://www.ctc.org.uk/DesktopDefault.aspx?TabID=4688 as an example).
I earnestly support your overall aim – to make our roads a safer place – but I can’t stress strongly enough that mandating cycle helmet use like this is of no value to the promotion of a healthier country and a healthier cycling environment.