Friday, July 01, 2005

UK debate - 'Don't force people to wear helmets'

Helmet compulsion article index., 16 Apr 2004

The pro-helmet, anti-compulsion makes a commentary prior to listing an index of stories carried to date on UK's MP Eric Martlew's private members' bill 'protective headgear for young cyclists' as well as post-bill helmet compulsion articles.

Cycle helmet compulsion needs to be fought tooth and nail by anybody who cares about the health of children in this country.

Every child death is sad but it's ludicrous to force children off bicycles because a handful of children (some of whom may have been wearing ill-fitting helmets) die from cycle-related injuries.

The minimal risks of cycling are outweighed 20:1 by the health benefits.

Far from being the rantings of "cycling fascists", as helmet compulsion MP Eric Martlew claims, the anti-compulsion argument is a strong one.

There are pros and cons for helmet wearing. Pro-compulsionists don't seem to register this.

Some keen cyclists wear helmets, others don't. Fairweather cyclists usually don't wear helmets and that's fine. Force people to wear helmets for cycling and non-enthusiast cyclists will simply stop cycling.

More lives would be saved per year if car passengers were forced to wear helmets but cycle helmet compulsionsts won't even countenance such a suggestion. Why a lid law for cycling but not driving?

And why not for young and old pedestrians? They suffer many more head injuries than cyclists.

And why aren't soccer moms clamouring for head protection for their footballing kids? The Football Association said there have been nine deaths "in recent years" from soccer-related head injuries.

Compulsion would be bad for cycling, bad for whole population health.

Buy helmets, wear helmets, promote helmets. But don't force people to wear them.

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