Crash Helmets: Should They Be Compulsory?

02/10/2009 09:04 | Updated 22 May 2015

Leading doctors are pushing for legislation to change to make wearing crash helmets on a bike compulsory for children under 16, in order to reduce the number of of deaths and serious injuries on the road.

The Association of Paediatric Emergency Medicine has asked the government to consider making it illegal for any children under 16 to cycle without head protection. I had assumed this was already the case, especially as there are 90,000 on the road and 100,000 off-road accidents involving cyclists each year in Britain. Half of these cases are child cyclists.

Wearing a helmet can mean the difference between life and death, so why aren't more people wearing them?

Tests reveal that crash helmets can reduce the risk of head injury by 85 per cent, brain injury by 88 per cent and severe brain injury by 75 per cent. Admittedly, they're not the coolest looking items to wear, but surely with such a high number of accidents and the protection they offer against severe damage, it's worth a slight dent in their reputation. After all, it's the same as wearing a seat belt in a car, and they're usually fairly cheap.

Unfortunately I think one of the big problems is a lot of the parents, and adults in general, don't lead by example. I often see adults weaving in and out of traffic on their bikes, without any form of head protection. I've even seen school teachers do it. What's the point in telling children under 16 that they have to wear a helmet, if a lot of the adults don't do the same?

What do you think? Do you think it should be made compulsory?

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