Netherlands’ report recommends compulsory cycle helmets

12.00 | 12 February 2015 | | 3 comments

A new report in the Netherlands has recommended the introduction of mandatory cycle helmet use for children and the elderly, according to Cycling Weekly.

The report, written by the country’s Road Safety Research Foundation (SWOV), suggests that compulsory helmet use for children could prevent five deaths per annum.

However, Melanie Schultz van Haegen, the Netherlands’ minister for infrastructure and the environment, has admitted that the helmet recommendation is unlikely to become law.

This is not the first time that Dutch road safety campaigners have highlighted the risks posed to more vulnerable cyclists.

In April 2013, Marco Brugmans, director of Dutch road safety institute VeiligheidNL, said: “Just like children, older people often fall. And we make children wear a helmet on their bikes.”

Here in the UK, the issue of cycle helmets divides opinion.

In July 2014 TRL produced a report for the authorities in Jersey which concluded that compulsory helmet wearing would prevent injuries to cyclists.

However, earlier last year Chris Boardman, British Cycling’s policy advisor, described helmets as a “massive red herring” and one of the least important cycling safety measures.

He cited the Netherlands as “a better solution to the problem of cycle safety”, pointing out that just 0.8% of cyclists wear helmets yet the Dutch have the lowest rate of cycling head injury.




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    Many years ago they were arguing over the wearing of helmets for motorcyclists and many organisations against such a move lost and the government went ahead with it.

    Since then can we be sure, other than by anecdotal statements, that the numbers killed or seriously injured have been reduced or mitigated by that decision.

    There surely must be factual evidence, scientific or otherwise, since 1973 to vindicate the decision to make them compulsory.

    Are we going to go through the same exhaustive arguments again, particularly if it could be proven that lives would be saved and serious injuries mitigated?

    I would make them wear helmets… I do, and I understand why I do, and I accept why I do, but then I am in a minority group that is rarely listened to when it come to my safety.

    Bob Craven Lancs….Space is safe campaigner
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    Please read the linked story from Cycling Weekly and the three comments posted under it.
    As one of them says, this is poor agenda-led journalism. The original report is in Dutch only. Balance and sense is achieved by Chris Boardman’s comments but why publish in the first place?

    Eric Bridgstock, Independent Road Safety Researcher, St Albans
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    A government ignoring the advice of an expert road safety organisation. Doesn’t surprise me. It has happened over and over again irrespective of the specific subject matter. Compulsory helmet wearing will reduce cycling initially and may not have an effect on injuries. It is not the red herring the sports cyclist claims or they would not be mandatory in races. Someone in the cycle sports fraternity has decided helmets are necessary!

    Peter westminster
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