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Cyclists without helmets on..

(260 Posts)
Writerwannabe83 Sun 06-Oct-13 09:52:08

Am I the only one who gets really annoyed about this?

If it is the law that us drivers have to wear seatbelts why is their safety choice an optional one?

IF we knocked a cyclist of his bike and he suffered irreparable brain damage or death as a result of a head injury it is us who would have to live with that guilt, even though they made the choice not to wear a helmet.

And then you see some parents out with their children on bikes and although the children always have helmets on, not all the parents do. It is great they are protecting their children, but why do they think their own brains don't matter? I don't mind cyclists on the road at all, but I wish they would wear helmets and keep themselves safe.

Maybe I'm just overly anxious about hitting one....or do they think it will never happen to them?

badguider Sun 06-Oct-13 09:58:58

If you knock a cyclist off their Nike with your car you are more likely to break their neck and leave them paralysed. A helmet won't stop that or many other consequences.
Helmets give a false sense of security, a collision with a helmeted cyclist can still quite easily be lethal.

Save your efforts for not hitting them in the first place and your anger for those who ride dangerously or without lights making collusion more likely.

FredFredGeorge Sun 06-Oct-13 09:59:42

Bike helmets are very unlikely to provide any protection to a person in a crash with a car, or from any accident where brain damage is likely. They are very good at protecting the user from low force crashes such as you get when you fall off at slow speed on to the ground. Quite typical for children.

But any crash with high enough forces to cause brain damage, the helmet would not work. There's a reason motorcyclists don't wear bike helmets - it's 'cos the protection isn't worth it. If a bike helmet is broken in an accident, it's failed to protect the user.

hiddenhome Sun 06-Oct-13 10:00:02


My dad died from severe head injuries after coming off his pushbike in the 70s (before helmets were worn) sad

People don't realise how easy it is to die from a brain injury.

polarpercy Sun 06-Oct-13 10:02:06

There are lots of examples of where car drivers have been at fault and not received an adequate punishment, UK Cycle Rules highlight some of these cases. Cyclists have also received lesser compensation if not wearing a helmet, called contributory negligence. Although this does not take into account how/why they were hit, rather it places blame for their injury partially on them.

There are also a large number of accidents where a helmet will make little difference. If you watch some of the cycle-cam videos on YoutTube you will see that a huge number of accidents and near misses involve cars pulling out into cyclists and not hitting them head on or from behind. A helmet will not make a huge amount of difference in such a case, when you are side-swiped.

treaclesoda Sun 06-Oct-13 10:02:46

I'm in the 'false sense of security' camp too. I think cyclists should wear helmets but the very idea that you might feel even a teeny bit less worried about driving into a cyclist with a helmet on is a bit scary.

treaclesoda Sun 06-Oct-13 10:05:23

sorry, I meant 'the consequences of driving into a cyclist wearing a helmet'. I didn't mean to imply that you were recklessly planning on mowing down cyclists safe in the knowledge that they'd be ok because they're wearing helmets.

BucketArse Sun 06-Oct-13 10:07:03

You are more likely to acquire a head injury as a car passenger or pedestrian (being hit by a car) than by cycling.

If there were incontrovertible evidence that cycling helmets reduced injury rates then they would be compulsory.

There isn't, so they aren't.

Please try not to let cyclists annoy you, OP. They depend for their lives on motorists treating them with patience.

Writerwannabe83 Sun 06-Oct-13 10:07:19

Lol treacle - that made me smile. I can see me on a rampage, hunting out helmet- wearing cyclists and mowing them down, safe in the knowledge that they are the better ones to hit smile

I find it interesting though that people say helmets don't actually make that much of a difference?

solveproblem Sun 06-Oct-13 10:08:32

Where I live there's lots of children not wearing a helmet! I don't know what the parents are thinking.

I always wear a helmet especially when biking with my kids as I think parents need to set a good example.

BucketArse Sun 06-Oct-13 10:10:22

If it is the law that us drivers have to wear seatbelts why is their safety choice an optional one?

Because cycling is inherently safe. It's only motorised traffic that makes cycling (or walking, or riding a horse) dangerous.

It would be absurd for the law to require anyone to wear safety equipment to pursue a safe and benign activity such as cycling (or walking down the pavement, or standing at a busstop, or any of the myriad other things we do every day that put us at risk of being killed by drivers).

BucketArse Sun 06-Oct-13 10:11:03

Actually, scrub that - riding a horse IS dangerous.

Latara Sun 06-Oct-13 10:12:16

As a child and teenager I never wore a cycle helmet, as they were only just becoming widely available then.

But If I cycled now then i'd wear a cycle helmet.

One of my friends ended up with minor injuries in hospital from a collision on his bike. He showed a photo of his dented cycle helmet on FB - if he hadn't been wearing it he'd have been in the head injuries unit.
That brought home to me the importance of wearing a helmet.

I would say that a cycle helmet can save you from serious head injuries, but never let it give you a false sense of security because there are many other vulnerable areas on a cyclist, such as the neck.

Toadinthehole Sun 06-Oct-13 10:12:20

Forcing cyclists to wear helmets is just another example of avoiding the real issue, which is dangerous motorists. If roads were properly safe for cyclists, they would not be demanded to wear helmets. The irony is that people are probably put off cycling precisely because they have to spash out on a helmet.

In sensible cycle-friendly places like the Netherlands, cyclists do not wear them.

As for this:
If it is the law that us drivers have to wear seatbelts why is their safety choice an optional one?

(translation) "Miss! Miss! It's not fair!"

fossil971 Sun 06-Oct-13 10:12:56

So why don't pedestrians wear helmets too?

I sometimes don't wear a bike helmet if I'm just nipping up the road half a mile and I know it won't be busy. On longer journeys and with DC we always have our helmets.

I work in construction and am also a motorcyclist so I spend much of my life covered in hi-vis and wearing some kind of helmet. It's amazing the lengths we go to in case a car driver doesn't look where they are going.

The best thing for road safety would be if cars drove slower and looked where they were going. Unfortunately going anywhere near roads these days is a lethal risk.

YABU, but cycle helmets are still generally a good idea. They are just not the answer to everything.

BucketArse Sun 06-Oct-13 10:14:17

OP, riding a helmet while cycling actually impedes your peripheral vision and hearing - the wind whistling through the helmet can be very loud.

I cycle every day. Sometimes I wear a helmet, sometimes I don't. Depends how I feel. I know that, statistically, it makes no difference at all to my chances of survival if I'm hit by an impatient driver trying to squeeze pass me, or pulling out in front of me because they haven't looked properly, or cutting me up at a roundabout, or executing a 'punishment pass' far too close because my mere presence on the road irritates them and because they seem to think I deserve to die...

treaclesoda Sun 06-Oct-13 10:15:17

the horse one is interesting because I think its fair to say that I'd be horrified if I saw someone riding a horse without a helmet, yet the people that I know who have been seriously injured, or even kolled, whilst horseriding have been injured by the horse falling on top of them, which the helmet did nothing to prevent.

treaclesoda Sun 06-Oct-13 10:16:24

killed, not kolled hmm

binger Sun 06-Oct-13 10:17:08

Both my dh and a friend were protected against head injuries, resulting in severe damage to helmet to the extent they needed new ones. One was the result of a dog running in front of them and the other was caused by clipping the kerb. If they had not been wearing helmets they would have been seriously injured.

It's not just cars they need to think about.

caroldecker Sun 06-Oct-13 10:17:08

article here tht says the debate of whether they re safer rages on, with no conclusive evidence for either side

Writerwannabe83 Sun 06-Oct-13 10:17:57

Cycling may be considered safe in open areas but although cyclists can trust themselves to cycle correctly accidents do happen on busy roads - and not always are they the fault of a car driver. Fair enough to take a more casual approach to helmets if they are cycling around in a park or a field but I genuinely think that if a cyclist wants to share a road with motor vehicles then they should realise that the danger is there and try and do all they can to protect themselves.

BucketArse Sun 06-Oct-13 10:18:53

Forcing cyclists to wear helmets is just another example of avoiding the real issue, which is dangerous motorists. If roads were properly safe for cyclists, they would not be demanded to wear helmets.

This. A million times.

OP - examine your irritation. Irritation at cyclists generally translates into a feeling that they have no right to be on the road at all. And they really, really do.

DropYourSword Sun 06-Oct-13 10:20:37

There are some countries where it's mandatory to wear a helmet when you're riding a bike.

Writerwannabe83 Sun 06-Oct-13 10:21:09

If you looks at my original post Bucket I highlighted that I have NO problems. With cyclists being on the road, and I don't, I just worry about their safety, that's all. My husband is always on his bike, it never bothers me, I just make sure he has his helmet on before he leaves smile

MousyMouse Sun 06-Oct-13 10:21:10

there are plenty of studies showing that helmets do only help with specific head injuries and nothing else. it alsomakes drivers less cautious around cyclists which makes it more dangerous for everyone involved.
for (older) dc it is even more dangerous if they don't take the hemlet off before climbing playing (risk of strangulation).
I would be in favour of every driver to have compulsory bike-road-safety training as part of obtaining/reneeing the drivers license.

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