Road Safety News
 

Campaign rewards children for wearing cycle helmets

Thursday 3rd May 2012

Police and the road safety team in County Mayo in Ireland are pedalling a safety campaign to encourage more children to wear helmets when riding their bicycles.

Policing teams are awarding a hi-vis sticker to every child they see wearing a helmet while those seen riding without a helmet are stopped and given advice on the safety benefits of wearing one. A follow-up letter, reinforcing this advice, is then delivered to their parents by the road safety team.

Inspector Joe Doherty said: “We’re trying to make it more about awareness and a reward for those doing the smart thing.

“Children are particularly vulnerable while cycling as they do not have the awareness, balance or experience that adults have when it comes to the risks involved in cycling without a helmet. We should lead by example.”

A helmet artwork design competition is also being run as part of the campaign. The competition challenges students to create artwork for a helmet that is bright, will appeal to both genders and stand out from the crowd. The interactive competition is also supported by education resources for teachers.

For more information contact Noel Gibbons, Mayo CC road safety officer, on 0877870055.

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If my husband had not have been wearing a cycle helmet when he recently got knocked off his bike by a motorist travelling too close, then he might not have been here today to tell the tale. He suffered with concussion and all the medical staff he spoke to and the police who attended the scene of the accident said how lucky he was to be wearing a helmet. Surely anything that can prevent people with more serious injuries is a positive thing, coupled with road safety awareness, health benefits and enjoyment from the sport?
L Wiseman, Bedford

Agree (0) | Disagree (0)
0

"Is it also not the role of the Police force to aid and assist the public at large, and if that means they give advice on the safety of riding a cycle on a public road, is that not part of their remit for public safety? Any person whose states that the Police Force should concentrate and be blinkered needs to find out what the main role of the Police is firstly.
Bill P Traffic and Road Safety"

A interesting point, and if cycle helmets were a proven road safety benefit, then it would be a valid point, but since all the long term, large scale, reliable research shows no benefit, the police are wasting time and resources promoting something that doesn't work. The urban myth of cycle helmet effectiveness is based on bad science, biased researchers and grossly biased media reporting.

To make cycle helmets seem a reasonable choice, it is necessary to make cycling seem very dangerous, which it isn't, but if it isn't, why would anyone buy a helmet?
Richard Burton, Bristol

Agree (5) | Disagree (1)
+4

Dear Honor Byford, North Yorkshire, I'm afraid there is considerable evidence that making children wear helmets reduces the number of them http://www.cyclehelmets.org/1020.html#184

Since regular cyclists, those most exposed to the risk, live longer and are fitter, healthier and slimmer than the general population, it is more dangerous not to ride a bike than to ride one. In the middle of an obesity epidemic, anything that frightens a single person from riding their bike will be counterproductive, especially when there is no proven safety benefit. Is it coincidence that the fattest nations on earth are those with helmet laws? This propaganda campaign is, as I've already pointed out, the public health equivalent of tobacco advertising. I make no apology for re-stating that it is completely counterproductive, a waste of time and quite literally incredible.

Check out cyclehelmets.org for the facts rather than the endlessly repeated urban myths that cycling is very dangerous and that a cycle helmet reduces risk.
Richard Burton, Bristol

Agree (6) | Disagree (1)
+5

Is it also not the role of the Police force to aid and assist the public at large, and if that means they give advice on the safety of riding a cycle on a public road, is that not part of their remit for public safety? Any person whose states that the Police Force should concentrate and be blinkered needs to find out what the main role of the Police is firstly.
Bill P Traffic and Road Safety

Agree (1) | Disagree (2)
-1

The point that Co Mayo is making is that children fall off their cycles and, when they do so, they are often suffer head injuries – potentially life changing injuries. In England children under 14 years old who ride a pony on the road are required to wear a helmet - because they are by definition novice and more likely to suffer injury if they fall off. Cycle helmets for children offer the same protection to child cyclists – no more, no less. Whilst a study in Australia (some years ago now) found that some adults do not like wearing cycle helmets and are less likely to ride if they have to wear one, there is no evidence that making children wear helmets reduces their cycling activities. Unless their parents are making the decision for them? Attitudes change so it may be time for that Australian study to be reviewed and updated?
Honor Byford, North Yorkshire

Agree (3) | Disagree (6)
-3

Possibly the most misguided campaign I have ever seen, utterly counterproductive and completely wrong! Well intentioned but utterly disastrous, and about as helpful as tobacco advertising.

Nowhere with a helmet law or huge rise in helmet wearing after propaganda campaigns like this one can show any reduction in risk to cyclists. The biggest ever research project about helmets found a small but significant increase in risk with helmet wearing, and children have been strangled by their helmet straps.

So why are the police promoting something with no proven safety benefit which has killed children, and are using frightening propaganda to do it?

The only two effects of this campaign will be to frighten children out of getting healthy exercise, and to make obscene profits for the helmet manufacturers. I don't quite see how either of these would be a priority for police when they have actual crime to deal with.

The images used are, judging by the one featured here, deliberately designed to frighten children, and adults, into giving up something which will enhance their lives.
Richard Burton, Bristol

Agree (8) | Disagree (6)
+2

Surely the police have better things to do, such as enforcing laws. Since wearing a helmet in not required by law then this is a waste of police resources.
Adam, Hants

Agree (8) | Disagree (7)
+1