Bradley Wiggins has re-ignited the debate about making complusory the wearing of cycle helmets. I think this is a shame at a time when cycling is suddenly seen so positively.
Let me be clear. I am not a cyclist and have barely ever been one. I am not the right shape or constitution to cycle and I care too much for my comfort and safety to consider taking up the practice at my advanced age. I have also spent the last ten years of my life working in a city where by far the most dangerous and unpredictable mode of transport for the pedestrian or any other road user is the bicycle. However, I will always encourage others to take up the bicycle because it will undoubtedly reduce the NHS bill if it helps people to remain fit and it will make more space on our roads for car drivers like me!
On this basis, I think Bradley Wiggins’s suggestion of compulsory wearing of cycle helmets is unhelpful.
Firstly, it offends my sense of personal freedom. I have never liked being told to wear a seat belt and I resent the ‘elf & safety industry that has burgeoned and that tells us why we can’t do so many things but rarely tells us how we can do them safely.
Secondly and more fundamental, I think the current range of cycling helmets is boringly stereotypical and utterly NAFF. I would not be seen dead in one. I have long thought that there is an opportunity here for an entrepreuner with flair and some fashion sense to design something that is protective but looks smart and fashionable. It must be possible to design a lightweight and small protective helmet that sits on the skull and to which one could attach a variety of stytlish hats to suit the occasion.
Here are a few examples:
….. and before the feminists sharpen
their quills because of the absence of ladies’ fashion styles with which to cycle to Ascot or Henley, I am afraid I leave ladies’ fashions to those more skilled than me …..