Wiggo Wants Helmets Laws Introduced

If there is anything that can get the cycling community in a larger lather than Vino going up hill, it is the mandatory helmet laws. Australia is one of the few places in the world that has them, and it is blamed by the anti helmet lobby for slashing the number of people who cycle. Well overnight, after a cycling was hit and killed by a bus in London, Brad Wiggins had this to say…

Wiggins spoke at a press conference shortly after the male cyclist was fatally injured in Hackney, east London.

He said: “It’s dangerous and London is a busy city and a lot of traffic. I think we have to help ourselves sometimes.

“Cycling is a dangerous sport. I know there are a lot of people out there who ride bikes who abide by everything, the laws the lights and things.

“But there are a lot of cyclists as well who don’t help themselves, riding along with no helmets on, iPods on, this, that and the other on those Bojo things.

There’s got to be laws that protect both parties. Things like legalising helmets, making them the law to wear. They shouldn’t be riding along with phones and iPods on, shouldn’t be riding without lights.”

The full article is here.

I will be watching what comes of this with plenty of interest. I am not really for or against mandatory helmet laws. The sympathetic side of my brain says it is a good idea to protect people from accidents. The nasty side of the brain says lets Darwin’s theory sort it out. I wear a helmet 99.99% of the time. Last time I didn’t was after adjusting my re mech and rolled up and down the street. My street is a dead end, so traffic is virtually nil.

I have been hit by a car and ended up sliding down the back of the hatchback onto my head. I saw with my own eyes what happened to my helmet. I’m glad it wasn’t my head.

As usual, I would love to hear peoples thoughts in the comments below. Please play nice. 🙂

Update : Apparently Wiggins did his victory lap sans helmet. I will dig up a photo if I can later, I’m off for a ride.

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10 Responses to Wiggo Wants Helmets Laws Introduced

  1. I’m interested to hear if that article includes everything Wiggins said or was edited. Did he express sadness for the loss or launch straight into his opinion? Hopefully the former.
    Coming from the UK where it isn’t compulsory to Australia where it is, made no real difference to me. I chose to wear a helmet.
    I see where compulsion can ruin the ability to utilise bike hire schemes appropriately etc but also that some people need compulsion to protect them from themselves.

  2. perdixperdix says:

    For a little context to those who aren’t local. This happened barely metres from the Olympic park… the bus may have left the site only seconds beforehand. On the day that British cyclists were justifiably wanting to celebrate we are left instead with this tragic horrific incident to stain events. Talk about bittersweet…

    Also, many cyclists in London are complaining about the seemingly terrible road awareness of those driving the official Olympic buses – it seems they are not regular TfL staff. I guess we’ll know more as details emerge.

    On the helmet issue. I think Wiggo is well aware that less than pro-cycling attitudes prevail in the mainstream press and it’s readership. He probably didnt want to (or had been told not to) come out too strongly on the issue of bad driving as it would overshadow his own achievement today – ridiculous as that may sound. Ultimately, and rather horrifically, I dont think wearing a helmet would have helped the poor victim in this case.

    Ride safe!

  3. Tim O'Mahony says:

    Given the angle of the bus and the placement of the bike, I’m wondering if this was a case of cyclist passing on the inside of the turning bus? A complete no-no yet something that we still see people risking. If this was the case, the helmet wasn’t going to help.

    • If the roads were designed better, left hooks would be prevented as happens in other countries such as the Netherlands. Promoting helmet compulsion ain’t gonna help, as it’ll prevent more cyclists starting to cycle, and they don’t help in collisions like this. Helmet wearing should be a choice to the rider.

  4. Tim O'Mahony says:

    doubled post

  5. Tim O'Mahony says:

    And there is this: http://www.reddit.com/r/bicycling/comments/xiud7/just_sat_down_with_some_poor_bloke_for_his_last/

    Don’t know the validity of it, but sounds about right.

  6. CLP says:

    here’s one of him after the tour:

    While undoubtedly he’s a superb cyclist, i’m not really sure that he qualified to dictate road safety issues. I’d be interested to hear from him how a styrofoam hat would have any influence on the result of a cyclist vs Bus crash.

    I have no issue with wearing a helmet, but making them mandatory really doesn’t achieve a whole lot and is nothing but a knee jerk reaction. A better option would be to promote the use of helmets. You’d probably find that most serious riders would still wear them and we’d get more casual cyclists out and about making it safer for everyone (ie safer in numbers) Head injuries are an issue in car crashes too, and yet I’m yet to see even the slightest suggestion to demand mandatory helmets while driving.

    There was also a study done recently that showed that a cyclist in traffic wearing headphones and listening to music at a comfortable level (“comfortable” i guess being somewhat subjective) was able to hear more ambient road noise than a driver in a modern car with the car stereo playing at the same level. So if listening to music is such a safety issue as suggested in the article, then let’s start where the most danger lurks.. i wonder if we have any politicians brave enough to suggest the banning of car stereos? 🙂 suspect not.

  7. Glen says:

    Cav had a considered interview a few days later. He didn’t buy into the helmet thing (what sane person would) but advocated presuming liability for the vastly more dangerous vehicle.
    Rather made up for his silly post-race tweet.

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