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Do cyclists need helmets?

NATHAN BURDON
Last updated 11:37 10/02/2012

When Lee Moreton and Geoff van Dam went down in a crash during a club cycling race at Thornbury on Saturday there was plenty of damage done.

Moreton lost plenty of ''bark'', but van Dam ended up in hospital after broken ribs punctured his lung.

It could have been a lot worse, though.

Both riders ended up with munted helmets which probably saved them from a much worse result.

Morton told me later than he shakes his head now thinking about the past when most racing was done without helmets.

But new research suggests that a compulsory helmet law has actually caused more harm than good.

It's not uncommon to still see people riding their bikes without helmets, or even with helmets looped over one of their handlebars.

You might subscribe to the Darwinian theory on this one, but do we need to be told to wear helmets on the road?

10 comments
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Holly   #1   01:03 pm Feb 10 2012

I hit my head as a kid once because I wasn't wearing the helmet I was given properly. It wasn't buckled, and it was sitting so that the whole of my forehead was showing. I got a huge lump on my head and a splitting headache from that, and I have made sure I wore a helmet properly ever since.

I think the proper use of a helmet is key in it being fully useful in saving a life. More often than not I see kids who have their helmets sitting on the back of their heads, and they are either not buckled up or the straps are way too loose.

Failing that, why don't they revert to the style of the old bmx helmets for the designs? I hardly think most people need something aerodynamic. They need something that will save their lives.

Buzz   #2   03:02 pm Feb 10 2012

Theres a big difference between casual cycling and competitive high speed/high risk cycling and event those in countries whhere helmets are not complusory wear cycle helmets in races.

Buzz

Ruz   #3   08:46 am Feb 11 2012

Cycle helmets prevent head injury and should remain compulsory. The logic for this is the same as that used to justify the use of motorbike helments and of course seatbelts. The need for protection is because our roads now have more traffic and an overall increase of nutcase drivers.

ann   #4   05:52 pm Feb 11 2012

I hate helmets and since this law came in ive stopped riding.... its the nanny state all over again ....where is the proof that IT has actually saved lives.... where are the numbers.... what are the real injuries from cycle accidents .... this example is from a race not everyday cycling. this is a stupid law and it should be rescinded.

Daniel   #5   05:08 am Feb 12 2012

Not sure if serious.

Dion   #6   06:52 am Feb 12 2012

So why are skateboards and scooters not inforced? You are twice as likely to fall off them. It should be soley upto the discretion of the person riding unless you are under 16. Helmets are one of the main reasons people don't ride bikes and instead use the car. More input into NZ's shocking obesity crisis.

Bryn   #7   09:26 am Feb 12 2012

If you fall off a bike a helmet might prevent injury or death. If you fall out of a tree, a helmet might prevent injury or death. If you have a car accident a helmet might prevent injury or death. If you go boating and a collision occured a helmet might prevent injury or death. If,if,if,if,if,if.....

I say, let people decide their own fate after age 18. Otherwise lets make wearing a helmet compulsory when you step outside your door.

Bryn   #8   09:30 am Feb 12 2012

It has also been proved less people ride bikes since the helmets became law. So 'IF' the injury rate to heads has lowered it's only because a smaller percentage of people actually ride bikes now, not because the law is working.

nelly Hymen   #9   10:57 am Feb 13 2012

I dislike my helmet, they make you hot and give me a bit of a headache. Maybe it should be compulsory for children under 16 only and a choice for adults. I hate my liberties being taken away by Nanny State laws. I know one thing, a helmet would not save you when you get hit by a truck....and there have been a few of those sorts of accidents. I had a bike accident years ago where a car failed to stop and a 'stop sign'...I had no helmet and my head was not what impacted on the road...just everything else.

Stephen K   #10   01:19 pm Feb 16 2012

I wonder how many people who complain about 'nanny state laws' still expect the state to cough up acc if something goes wrong when people ignore or defy those laws.

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