British Cycling's policy advisor Chris Boardman says helmets are a barrier to cycling and are not in the top 10 issues affecting cyclists in Britain

Chris Boardman has hit back at detractors who have criticised him for not wearing a helmet while filming a cycling safety video for BBC Breakfast.

The British Cycling policy advisor drew the ire of cycling campaigners for appearing in the video wearing dark clothing and no helmet in the clip, which aired this morning (November 3).

Boardman also said that he wouldn’t let his daughter ride on local roads for fear that she might be injured, but it was his decision to ride without head protection that drew most attention.

In an additional video posted on the BBC Breakfast Facebook page, Boardman explained that he wasn’t wearing a helmet because he feels they are not one of the top 10 safety issues when cycling on the road.

Boardman says he also believes that helmets are a barrier to cycling for some people and insists the real dangers to cyclists need to be addressed first.

“[Helmets] discourage people from riding their bikes,” he said. “You are as safe riding your bike as you are walking.

“There’s nothing wrong with helmets, but they’re not in the top-10 things you can do to keep safe.”

In a statement on the BC website, he added: “If cycling looks and feels normal, more people will cycle (British Cycling research has shown that two thirds of people would cycle more if they felt safer).

“The more people cycle, the safer they are — the safety in numbers effect. The more people cycle, the more lives will be saved from amongst the 37,000 that die each year from obesity-related illnesses.

“Never mind the more than 27,000 that die annually from pollution-related illnesses.

“In contrast, there are approximately 116 cyclists tragically killed in the UK each year, that’s one per every 1000 times around the planet.

“Cycling is statistically safer than gardening and yet it doesn’t feel like it when you’re cycling next to a lorry or car that gets too close at a busy junction.”

Citing statistics from Utrecht in the Netherlands, where Boardman says helmet use is less than 0.5%, the Olympic gold medallist believes the real dangers to cyclists need to be addressed before helmet usage.

“I understand exactly why people feel so passionately about helmets or high vis,” he continued. “I understand why people wish to use them. But these actions seek to deal with an effect.

“I want to focus the debate on the cause and campaign for things that will really make cycling safe.

“That is why I won’t promote high vis and helmets; I won’t let the debate be drawn onto a topic that isn’t even in the top 10 things that will really keep people who want to cycle safe.”

  • Paul Irving

    “without my helmet I would either be dead or have had a serious brain injury”
    How do you know?

  • Paul Irving

    How do you know?

  • RobTM

    What a nice informative post! Wish UK cyclists could say “most of them never in a bike accident”

  • Sylvia

    I think it all depends on the circumstances. In the Netherlands everyone on a regular bike does not wear a helmet. But in the Netherlands everything is set up to stimulate using your bike (protected bikes lanes, special traffic lights for bikes, streets where cars are guest, not the bikes and let’s face it, the Netherlands is super flat, so we cannot be in accidents when descending, because there are not many slopes to descent from). When riding your bike to work or to school, we (in the Netherlands) would not wear a helmet. When going for speed cycling with your sports bicycle, we all wear our helmets (like they do in the Tour de France), because we go much faster on these bikes and we usually do that outside of the cities and towns, where you have to share the bike paths or streets with scooters, the occasional tractor (that suddenly turns around from a corner, that’s how most accidents happen with speed cyclist happen in the NL), truck or car. In other words, because we know we will go faster, wearing a helmet can make the difference between life or death when being in an accident with another vehicle/bike or when hitting the floor because you made a wrong steering movement or something. On our regular bikes we hardly ever bike this fast and the change of being in an accident with another vehicle is very very small. Not all Dutch people own a sport bicycle, but almost all Dutch people own one or more (regular) bikes and they usually use them every or every other day and most of them are never in a bike accident. If I would take my regular bike on holiday to France I would consider wearing a helmet there (and I probably would wear it there), because the circumstances are different, and the slopes can be scary and thus dangerous.

  • mark oh’loiracain

    falling whilst walking killed scotlands then first minister donald dewar

  • nicola coleman

    Thanks, some interesting points and opinions there.

  • Earl

    Cars have airbags,and seat belts, so why would you need a helmet? I do wear my bike helmet on public buses which has no protection!

  • elleryjk

    This one is obvious – look at the average cyclist’s limbs in relation to space. The head is above, centered and protected from a large body hitting it independently; arms are extended out to the bars. Any vehicle approaching from behind hits an arm/bars/wheel/back/butt before it ever comes near the head. No, what happens in real life (been hit two times myself), is just what I described above – if you are hit from behind. If you are hit head-on, t-boned or right hooked – the bike and possibly arms goes first, either to the side, rolling or over the bars. The head injuries occur during the ejection phase of these types of incidents; throwing the cyclist and smashing their head into the vehicle/pavement/curb as the vehicle and bike impact. This has happened to me on two occasions – the first without a helmet at 20 mph and the second time with a helmet at around 27 mph. I received a minor head injury from each one. I was ejected from the bike each time. It’s not fun, but I don’t go around pretending my foam hat saved me. What saved me was dumb luck and the fact that bother drivers were going around 25-30 mph max. Look at statistics of cyclists who are hit at higher speeds – there are no differences in fatalities between those wearing helmets and helmetless riders.

  • Guest

    This one is obvious – look at the average cyclist’s limbs in relation to space. The head is above, centered and protected from a large body hitting it independently; arms are extended out to the bars. Any vehicle approaching from behind hits an arm/bars/wheel/back/butt before it ever comes near the head. No, what happens in real life (been hit two times myself), is just what I described above – if you are hit from behind. If you are hit head-on, t-boned or right hooked – the bike and possibly arms goes first, either to the side, rolling or over the bars. The head injuries occur during the ejection phase of these types of incidents; throwing the cyclist and smashing their head into the vehicle/pavement/curb as the vehicle and bike impact. This has happened to me on two occasions – the first without a helmet at 20 mph and the second time with a helmet at around 27 mph. I received a minor head injury from each one. I was ejected from the bike each time. It’s not fun, but I don’t go around pretending my foam hat saved me. What saved me was dumb luck and the fact that bother drivers were going around 25-30 mph max. Look at statistics of cyclists who are hit at higher speeds – there are no differences in fatalities between those wearing helmets and helmetless riders.

  • elleryjk

    Please cite evidence that there are significant differences between TBIs gained through direct blunt force of an unprotected head versus a foam helmet (aside from obvious skin and soft tissue contusion). To make assumptions that a safety device works as claimed without real world evidence makes self-mockery in speaking of science education (common sense being something else entirely).

  • elleryjk

    I was hit once by a car – t-boned while I was travelling about 20 mph – hit my head with mild concussion and a nice broken collarbone. Two years later I was hit via right hook while travelling 27 mph while wearing a helmet and sustained a similar head injury. It’s ridiculous – the assertion of helmet panacea is. In your accident, you could have easily survived a high speed collision without your helmet OR… maybe you are correct? Who is to say? I have firsthand examples of both and am still here to tell each tale. I am also wise enough not to make faith based assertions about protective gear used in real life that was tested at most through a simple drop test in a factory. For me, a helmet is the gateway to being socially acceptable amongst other cyclists; but I wouldn’t bet on it saving me from more than a mild concussion at any speed, if even that.

  • ctips

    Only a twat wears a plastic hat.

    See, we can all make insulting rhymes about others’ personal choices. The reasons you give for wearing a helmet on a bicycle can be equally applied to wearing one in a car. Head injuries from car accidents are a leading cause of death and serious injury amongst the young. So, do you wear a helmet when traveling by car?

  • ctips

    Wear a helmet when you’re traveling in a car do you? No, thought not.

  • ctips

    Only a fool thinks that tying a bit of expanded polystyrene to his head before venturing out in to traffic will make anything more than a marginal improvement to his safety.

  • evista

    After being knocked off last year and hitting the road while wearing my helmet,waking up not recalling anything and then the vist to a@e for my 27 stitches,my helmet was split,i dread to think what the outcome would have been without it…..its madness not to wear one…

  • David Chadderton

    I am really not impressed by statistics on cycling safety. Arguments about the likelihood of this or that happening; numbers of cyclists injured or not injured. These are all about, ‘somewhere else’.

    There is only one person that my decision to wear a helmet on every ride will affect; me. It’s my head I am protecting thanks. Who are you considering?

  • disqus_9CtKL0gYuM

    I would because flying a jet is awesome, just as cycling and regardles of safty its fun! So fuck the helmets. I have cycled for over 4 years on all types of roads every day and i dont feel the helmet is esential to me. Also how do you know god never intended automobiles, do you know him? Have u ever played sims? Because if you have and God is our creator like us while playing sims maybe the birds flying into cars are a resoult of him being bored. If God is all knowing and he didnt see us inventing automobiles then he isint God or does not exist.
    and i would not fly a jet without a parachute, in worst case scenario just wait for the speed to go down, open the cockpit, turn the plane upside down but in a slight angle, unstrap the belts, push with your legs and there you go, you jumped out and you can live.

  • Gogogarden

    Because, of course, a helmet will protect your entire body from injury.

  • sc3pilot

    He probably doesn’t wear his seat belt or have fire extinguishers in his home, either.

  • the.kadee.experience

    Perhaps it is beter to look at a country where riding a bike is completely absorbed in the daily life and where, besides sportbikeriders, nobody’s wears a helmet, the Netherlands. Ofcourse riding a bike with a helmet is safer, as it would also be safer to ride a bike in a american football outfit. It is not the main safety issue. The interaction between and behaviour of people in cars, buses and bikes is!

  • Henrdry251

    I’m not sure Boardman is right… i would like to see the list of 10 things thats are more important to safety on a bike. However – I can definitely understand his point. Safety can sometimes be misinterpreted. How about cyclists who don their helmet, then believe “its OK” to ride irresponsibly because they are protecting their head? It works the other way too, that other road users see a cyclist with a helmet and sub-conciously pay less attention to how they pass or overtake.

  • ScaredAmoeba

    ” Wearing a helmet is always going to be better than not wearing one.”
    Rotational brain injury.
    Neck injury.
    Both are more likely when wearing a helmet.

  • ScaredAmoeba

    “Obviously you don’t think before writing, ”
    Irony alert.

  • Scott Gee

    Pete – its obvious you are a troll, and not a very good one at that. Do get some lessons.

  • Actually, the hand, elbow and shoulder tend to hit the ground before the head most of the time.

  • The person with the small mind is you. As Boardman says, helmets aren’t even in the top 10 things that are important for bicycle safety. Your ignorance is showing.

  • The_PainfulTruth

    If you care to check your statistics before yapping on you will see that when introduced, the law had no statistically significant effect. If helmets worked, there would have been a drop on day one, there was not (beyond what other groups also experienced that were not affected by the law. Bicycle helmet laws do not cause drops in pedestrian TBI, or driver TBI, both of which happened, pointing to other causes).

    As for any claimed drop today, show it was because of the helmet and not other factors. I can wait.

  • Pete Hibson

    ONLY A FOOL BREAKS THE NO HELMET RULE

  • Pete Hibson

    If you care to check your statistics before yapping on you will see that Australia does have a law that states helmets must be worn by cyclists. You will also see hat last year head injuries percentage in accidents involving cyclists has gone down slightly. Or do you not keep up to date with cycling issues.
    Just remember Only a small minded fool, breaks the ride with a helmet rule.

  • The_PainfulTruth

    Did you consider other factors? Perhaps different riding styles? Correlation does not imply causation, you still have to prove it was the helmet.

  • The_PainfulTruth

    There is no such thing.

    Anyway, there is no solid proof helmets work. No city or country that have made them mandatory and saw a large increase in their use have seen a corresponding decrease in the rate of TBI. If they worked as claimed, there would be examples. There would be no debate.

    I’d suggest rather than name calling, you actually look at real world examples and see what little evidence there is backing helmets.

  • nicola coleman

    Yes I am completely with you on that, confused about some comments on here particularly the judgmental ones. If I was in my car turning right into someones path, I would have been at fault. Seems bizarre to think because you are a cyclist that you are at fault .

  • nicola coleman

    Thank you Pete, as you cam imagine I had to purchase a new helmet as it was broken in two! And yes only a small minded fool breaks the no helmet rule!! Couldn’t agree more.

  • zero

    Good grief. Obviously I did think before writing because I played along with your little rhyme – in an attempt to lighten the tone to be honest… But I can see that you just want to sling insults – and I doubt that you are equipped to match wits with me, so I’m just going to call the whole thing a wash.

  • Pete Hibson

    quite true, in which case those numbers may well be lower.

  • Pete Hibson

    Is it not plain to see, that a helmet saved her from injury, like it would save most other people if they wore a helmet. A side swipe from a bis mirror is a common injury, in the past year there has been 45+ in my area, yet the only ones who got head injuries where the ones not wearing a helmet.

  • Pete Hibson

    Dear Nicole I have come off my bike many times racing and in bad weather, I know where you are coming from. Usually the first thing to hit is your head. Don’t forget Only a fool breaks the no helmet rule.

  • Pete Hibson

    Obviously you don’t think before writing, so it just goes to show who is the small mided person with out a helmet.

  • Pete Hibson

    Another small minded person, only a fool breaks the no helmet rule

  • zero

    There is no such rule. Fool.

    Had to keep the rhyme going…

  • Pete Hibson

    Only a fool breaks the no helmet rule

  • Pete Hibson

    Only a small minded fool breaks the no helmet rule.

  • Pete Hibson

    Only a small minded fool,
    breaks the no helmet rule.

  • Pete Hibson

    Perhaps if they had a sensible adult, or go to a bike shop to get the helmet fitted properly this be no problem.

  • Pete Hibson

    Only a small mixed fool breaks the no helmet rule.

  • Pete Hibson

    Only a fool breaks the helmet rule,
    So what you say is it may not be your actions but other people’s, so a car sudecswiping you sending you headfirst in to a ditch or on to the side, where it is possible to hit the pavement or a post, is still no argument to wear a helmet. Perhaps yoy should ask your doc how easy it is to sustain a head injury and it’s consequences. Perhaps then you may change your small mind.

  • Pete Hibson

    Only a fool breaks the helmet rule.

    In this health and safety world we live in, then does it not make sense to wear an helmet when cars see you as an hinderence to them doing 40 in a 30 zone. And 80 or 90 in the countryside.

  • Pete Hibson

    If the roads are too dangerous perhaps he should wear a helmet when riding. Only a fool breaks the helmet rule.

  • Pete Hibson

    One life saved with thee use of a helmet is worth more than a World Cup final winning goal. Perhaps you should remember how far a bus or a trucks wing mirror pertrusion and how far it is from your head.

  • Pete Hibson

    We all want people to get from A to B preferably by bike, but we want to see this happen in the safest possible way. By all means wear your greys, black browns or any colour or clothing you like, but just think, you may well be able to see the motorist but can they see you. There is no mistaking a hi viz. It catches your eye and you see the person. Think once think twice think bike.

  • Pete Hibson

    Thevuttrect video shows a dedicated cycling lane, where cyclists are treated like road users the vehicles have to wait for cyclists in turn. There are no cars parked in the cycle lane, there is no cars to weave in and out of, no stationary traffic, no dogs or trucks, everyone is happy to cycle there, perhaps when we see a similar cyclelane in UK then people may well be happy to cycle without a helmet or high viz. But as we are no where near getting such a system in the UK then I am quite happy wearing my helmet and hi viz given me by British Cycling and sky ride.
    Perhaps if the government abolished tax or put a 5% tax on all cycles and cycle equipment then they might well get a lot more people cycling. But like all governments they are only interested in getting money out your pockets. this is aiding the reduction of the carbon footprint, we get grants to aid sustainable energy and to put solar panels in, why not to purchase a cycle and kit, after all it sure pollutes less than a car, train, bus, and motor bike.

  • Steve Colinese

    Pete makes some good points. On the Utrecht video I didn’t see any sign of dogs, especially loose dogs or those on the end of the extending “trip wires”, nor pedestrians who want their half of shared use paths in the middle! So for me, cars aren’t the main problem. After three days in hospital and nine weeks off work I would never go out riding without a helmet anymore than I would drive off without my seatbelt on. Even if you’re minding your own business and cycling at a slow pace, the height your head is at, and the force it can hit the ground during an incident is surely a good enough reason to wear a helmet? We have to expect the unexpected. If I hadn’t worn one, it’s doubtful I would be able to send you this email. It’s not as if modern helmets are uncomfortable either.

  • JohnFraser

    Hats off to Chris (as it were). He hit the nail on the head – I´m fed up with all these helmet fascists going round telling everyone else what to wear.

  • Martin OLoughlin

    no what is being said is as follows, a women in a short skirt are they guilty if they get raped? a man who gets stabbed are they guilty for not wearing a stab proof vest? Is a cyclist who is hit by a car guilty for not wearing a helmet?

  • RG123

    Utrecht is full of cycle lanes – so cyclists there don’t share the roads with lorries and cars. Anyone who has cycled there will know that there is no comparison with the UK. That’s a misleading comparison for Chris Boardman to make and utterly irresponsible

  • Robert Walls

    I have cycled something like 100,000 miles and come off twice. Staying on the bike is the most important safety device.

  • Robert Walls

    There is a political concept called ‘tyranny of the majority’ of which ‘cyclists must wear helmets’ is an excellent example. Compared to cyclists many, many more car occupants die of head injuries. Why is there no pressure for them to wear helmets?

  • Paul W

    A Cochrane review actually shows there is a benefit in wearing helmets:

    Cochrane review considering five case-control studies from the UK, Australia and the USA illustrates a large and consistent protective effect from cycle helmets, reducing the risk of brain injury by up to 88% and injury to the upper and mid face by 65% (Helmets for preventing head and facial injuries in bicyclists, Thompson et al.. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2000) – From Headway.

    Here is a reply from the BBC when I asked them about it:

    “.. there is no legal requirement to use them. In our report Louise Minchin did wear a helmet, but Chris Boardman did not. As we explained in the programme he chooses not to wear one and we make no comment on that choice….”

    When someone consciously tries to set an example I think they should conform to the mainstream and evidenced behaviours. In this case, wearing a helmet is proven to reduce significant brain injury. Anyone who says different probably can’t back it up with a Cochrane review.

  • Teresa Harry

    i never wore a helemt my kids dont either but if they gonna travel where theres high trafic they do do ask kids to wear but just playin about in street i dont believe it nessessary

  • drcyberbob

    I’m a bit astonished by this logic. “Helmets only save a very small number of lives, so they’re not worth promoting”. It’s not even like he would have wasted air time promoting other issues if he had promoted them whilst wearing a helmet? It’s definitely personal choice, but isn’t encouraging people to choose even a low impact mitigation part of generating the sort of safety culture that all road users should have?

  • Andy Beddow

    It was nice though to hear someone state the obvious that helmets can be a barrier. I also think that many cyclist create an elitest feel with all the clothing and associated accessories. These effectively turns the idea of cycling into a weekend/ evening event rather than a sensible and enjoyable means to get from A to B.

  • Kevin Murton

    Very good. A Dutch-wish not a Death-wish is catchy. Honestly you should send that to the BBC breakfast programme. I don’t wear a helmet, because of the same reasons everyone suggests. I know that it is about a lack of respect and understanding by too many drivers caught up in a race to work, together with a lack of cycle lanes. I’ve been driving for nearly 30 years so I know the other side of the argument. I think there are a lot of drivers who don’t know what it is like to ride a bike on a city’s streets, the intimidation, the danger. The worst part of my day is riding to work and then home again, but I can’t afford to do anything different. It is true that a horse gets more respect than a cyclist. Of course there are unsafe cyclists out there. I’m not one of them.

  • No it’s not saying “trust drivers” it is saying “control and calm drivers and get them away from cyclists”. Remember the average sedan has the destructive power of field artillery, and Anglophone countries have done a dismal job of keeping those away from cyclists and pedestrians. Even as slow as 30 MPH a motor vehicle is 4.5 times as deadly as any man-portable firearm bullet, and 50 times as deadly as a trained marksman 100 yards away trying to hit you as you walk or ride a bicycle.

  • Boardman doesn’t have a death-wish, he has a Dutch-wish. Same initial and terminal letters and letter count, but vastly different results.

  • Interestingly enough the proportion of helmet-wearing cyclists among fatal wrecks closely tracks the proportion of helmet-wearing among cyclists in the country where the statistics were gathered. In the US the number is 25%, in New Zealand the number is 97%. If helmets were as good at preventing death as some believe this would not be true…

  • The_PainfulTruth

    Do you wear one while walking? Driving? Taking a shower? No? Then why single out what is already a safe activity and dangerize it?

    “Wearing a helmet is always going to be better than not wearing one.” Then take that logic to the max, always wear one, when doing any activity. After all wearing it is always better right?

  • Lysbeth Black

    Most of the little kids I see with helmets have them so badly fitted they would most likely be choked by them as saved, Personally I ride much more sensibly with out one and take less risks but STILL enjoy myself more because I am comfortable, the helmet really irritates me

  • in reply to nicola coleman … surely you mean that there’s a possibility that you might (rather than would) be either dead or suffering from a serious head injury now ! it seems that nowadays nearly every cyclist who crashes whilst wearing a helmet has their life saved by it whereas nearly everyone who crashes whilst not wearing one survives just the same. what does this mean ?

  • Pete

    Potholes, Bad Junctions, cycle lanes, Lorries, Taxi drivers, decent lights, awareness, Potholes, Potholes, oh and add having a lit firework thrown at you from a car, should be addressed first. A helmet helps protect you, but agree it’s not top of the list. I always wear one by choice but it should be a choice. I don’t wear high vis but wear bright tops and have excellent lights.

  • Ben

    Your disbelief is misplaced. People do die from brain injuries sustained in falls while walking, not least if they are hit by vehicles. So, helmets for pedestrians?

  • Neil Crudgington

    I cracked my helmet when my front forks sheared and i went over the handle bars. I walked away with a dislocated collar bone, but not even a headache. It just seems like a fairly easy thing to promote and it offers protection for what is a pretty important and sensitive part of the body. I wouldn’t ride without one.

  • Mark Jones

    In Great Britain, 6 times more pedestrians and 18 times more motor vehicle occupants suffer lethal head injuries than cyclists. Pedestrians and motor vehicle occupants also suffer more lethal injuries to the abdomen and thorax. (Kennedy, 1996; DfT, 1)
    If that’s the case, then everyone leaving the house should wear a helmet.

  • Jay

    That makes no sense. What you’re saying is lets trust the drivers and ignore any personal safety a helmet brings. I understand the point that we need to raise awareness of road safety but that’s not a reason to not to wear a helmet. Like this woman says, and from personal experience, protecting your head from falls should be a priority and if you’re out riding on the road then for any sane person that cares about their well-being a helmet should be a must.

  • Mark Jones

    I agree and the issue is not the helmet but the car pulling in front of you. If you are cycling at a fast pace and misjudge the road due to wet conditions then that is where a helmet should be beneficial. In this instance the car driver shouldn’t have pulled in front of you. My uncle never wore a helmet due to very bad eczema and enforcing people to wear one will be discriminative especially when their benefit is not proven. Incidentally I wear a helmet, but it is my choice.

  • Brian Turpin

    We’re falling into the usual trap by labelling this programme a cycling safety film. It’s not. It’s a programme about how the lack of space for cycling discourages normal non cyclists from taking up cycling opportunities. Boardman, IMO, the most articulate spokesman for improved space for cycling, judges that wearing a helmet simply reinforces perceptions that cycling is dangerous. I think he’s right. He also states he wouldn’t ride in London, preferring to walk, as he considers the roads to be too dangerous.

  • Nico S

    In respect of Chris Boardman’s statement (which is correct in my opinion), the key part of your post is “…when a car pulled out in front of me…”. The motorist was at fault, and Chris’s assertion that these issues need addressing before obsessing over helmet wearing is spot on.

  • nicola coleman

    I was travelling at 8-12mph when a car pulled in front of me, I went over the back end of the car and landed on my head, without my helmet I would either be dead or have had a serious brain injury, so speaking from a personal experience. Thanks to my helmet you possibly saved my life!

  • nicola coleman

    I was hit by a car two months ago and was wearing a helmet, I would either be dead or suffering from a serious head injury now, yes personal choice, glad which one I choose.

  • Dave2020

    “Most brain injuries (TBI) are fairly mild and don’t cause lasting effects. Generally, the person may only get a concussion. TBIs from car accidents are typically the most severe and often have lasting consequences.”

    Hence the clamour for laws to make the wearing of helmets in cars compulsory. . . !

    Seat belt legislation clearly didn’t go far enough, to highlight where the true dangers lie.

    When I bought my first car 48 years ago, I fitted it out with five seat belts. There would be no need for laws to enforce sensible behaviours, if kids had a decent science education. (in ‘common’ sense)

  • zero

    ..or possibly removing the actual danger: the private car.

  • zero

    G’wan Chris!

  • Pete Lovatt

    I’ll be wearing one after my recent high speed downhill head first crash and critical injuries although I understand Chris’s point I hope to have a bit of a cushion next time I kiss the tarmac with my now brittle skull. There needs to be a greater debate though because some of my specialists at hospital argue that helmets might exacerbate some brain bleeding type impacts.
    Pete Manchester

  • Actually, “tackling the ignorance and poor attitudes that lead to the incidents that cause injuries in the first place” IS injury prevention.

    You are correct that helmets are injury mitigation and not really prevention.

  • Binnsie

    Yay! Someone talking sense. Let’s hope people listen.

  • Riggah

    I am with Chris Boardman on this one. Helmets are NOT ‘safety’ devices,
    they are injury mitigation devices. There is too much emphasis on injury
    prevention and very little on tackling the ignorance and poor
    attitudes that lead to the incidents that cause injuries in the first
    place.
    Having said that, Australian driving standards are so poor that I wouldn’t ride anywhere without wearing a helmet.

  • Do you mean by taking a Bikeability safety course and riding as they teach?

  • Bruce Davies

    Well done Chris.

  • Bruce Davies

    Whats happened to common sense? Take responsibility for yourself and your actions. “To wear or not to wear?” It should be everyones individual choice. I wouldn’t race or train without one – but riding the 1500 meters work on the cycle path?

  • Frank Nonest

    What will make cycling safe is for cyclists to use high-vis, use front lights and stop being dangerous on the roads.

  • Stephen

    wouldn’t be without one,saved my life after being taken out on Tolworth roundabout

  • John Hughes

    18-24mph head first on a road bike….sure, a helmet is important. 8-12mph on an upright commuter/city bike? Not necessary. After three years living in Belgium, I moved back to the US with my fiancee. She thinks it’s just highlarious how many people are out with helmets cruising around all slow riding city bikes on paths wearing helmets. I wouldn’t stop someone from wearing one if they wanted to, but Mr. Boardman is correct, is isn’t even remotely the issue others make it.

  • Thomas W-P

    I’d be dead without a helmet, and the comment that it is as safe as walking is bonkers. On a sunny day, on a flat straight road, with no other traffic around I hit the ground hard in an unexplained accident (I remember nothing). Broken ribs and still scabbed three months on. Not sure that can happen walking.

  • “There’s nothing wrong with helmets, but they’re not in the top-10 things you can do to keep safe.”

    Absolutely. Boardman is correct. Personally, I can’t take someone seriously if they obsess on helmets and think that they are especially important for bike safety.