Road safety charity Brake has called for helmets to be included as part of London’s Barclay’s Cycle Hire scheme.

The charity’s statement comes on the back of news that six people have been injured whilst using London’s cycle hire bikes since the scheme’s launch in July.

“Schemes like the Barclays Cycle Hire project are great but some kind of helmet is surely imperative when users have to travel on such busy roads,” a Brake spokeswoman told the Press Association.

“It must be looked at. Wearing a helmet consequently can prevent some fatal or serious brain injuries.”

Transport for London (TfL), which runs the scheme, was swift to dismiss the risk of accident whilst using the hire bikes, pointing out that six accidents out of 750,000-plus journeys made since July was a very low ratio.

“The use of cycle helmets in the UK is not a legal requirement, which means it is up to each user to decide whether or not they wish to wear one,” said a TfL spokesman.

“In addition, for a helmet to be effective it has to be the appropriate size and fitted properly.

“TfL encourages cycle hire users to consider wearing helmets, as is stated in the scheme’s code of conduct.”

TfL are currently looking into expanding the scheme outside central London, which currently has 5,000 hire cycles spread between 315 docking stations. Around 70,000 have already subscribed to the scheme since its official launch on July 30, 2010. 

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  • Ol Rappaport

    Many thanks to Robert Hedgecock for alerting me to the realities of Brake.

    I checked out the Brake website (www.brake.org.uk)and I was shocked at how negative they are about cycling: “Stopping the carnage”. I note that Red Driving Schools is a Brake supporter – their West London instructors are certainly doing an excellent job in making cycling seem dangerous. I wonder if Specsavers would like to support me too – I’m often advising London motorists to visit Specsavers.

    Interesting that no national cycling organisations (or cycle manufacturers/traders etc) are amongst their corporate partners, donors or affiliated organisations.

  • Robert Hedgecock

    Brake is essentially a motoring organisation that promotes a very negative view of cycling. As far as possible they should be ignored and certainly not given publicity on cycling websites.

  • Ian Perry

    Brake now claim to have been misquoted… Unfortunately they have already done a lot of damage to cycling in the UK – and in so doing possibly reduced the numbers cycling and made our streets more dangerous!

    I’d never recommend a helmet, but people may choose to wear one. Many cyclists are killed whilst wearing a helmet, so don’t be fooled that they would save your live if a lorry ran over your body.

    Segregated cycle paths are needed so young children can cycle in safety. Mixed traffic is for older kids and adults only. We should not mix cyclists and motorised traffic, just so a few bicycle racers can go a bit faster… Cycling is for everyone – and helmets are for those who do not have the full facts.

  • David

    So how many serious head injuries or fatalities would helmets have prevented so far?

    Precisely 0. None at all.

    A 1/100000 risk of an accident, let alone serious injury (which must be orders of magnitude lower) suggest that this helmet waving is just fearmongering, especially given the low rate of head injury in low speed crashes.

    If they were really fussed, they would suggest wearing a helmet that is actually specified to deal with car-bike collisions. Good luck finding one, until then STFU.