To Wear a Helmet, or to Not Wear a Helmet, That is The Question
With a rise in cyclists expected, the debate of whether cyclists should have to wear a helmet makes headlines once again.
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Thinking of taking up cycling as a hobby? Interest in cycling has picked up hugely in recent years. But the debate rages on – should wearing a helmet be compulsory? Is the possible risk of brain injury not enough to scare cyclists into wearing a helmet?
Cycling Oxford (Photo credit: tejvanphotos)
There are many reasons and benefits as to why people cycle. Whether it’s for health reasons, it’s a cheap means of transport or simply because it’s fun; people love cycling.
With more and more people cycling on the roads, safety is again a main priority. Should wearing a helmet while cycling be a law? No matter how careful a cyclist is, there is no guarantee a driver will be.
After the recent death of a London cyclist, Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins believes wearing a helmet should be a law.
This is not just a debate happening in the UK however. For decades, other countries have been having the same discussion. There are some countries such as Australia, Canada and Sweden who have the law in place. But there are mixed opinions on whether the law makes a positive impact or not.
One worry is that a law would discourage some cyclists. Since the law came into power in Australia and New Zealand, the number of cyclists on the roads fell dramatically – over half. With little evidence of positive effect and a sharp fall in cyclists, is there an argument?
Some believe doubling the number of cyclists reduces the number of accidents. Why? Maybe drivers are more aware and used to overtaking cyclists. The increase in numbers may create many more cycling lanes too. It seems discouraging cyclists is not the answer and in fact, it would be better to encourage even more.
Some have argued that there should more effort focused on how drivers and cyclists behave. But this too is flawed; not all accidents occur because of road rage or taking unnecessary risks etc.
Wearing a safety belt in a car is a law; so should helmets be compulsory? Aren’t the two the same? Some believe enforcing the law would be a waste of the police’s time. But they already stop drivers and passengers for not wearing a seatbelt.
Should wearing a helmet be a choice?