Your views on: should it be illegal to ride without a helmet?
by Harris MacLeod in Sports Lab
Wed August 8, 3:44 p.m. BST
British cycling phenom Bradley Wiggins stirred debate about whether cyclists should be forced to wear helmets, recently, over comments he made relating to a fatal collision near the Olympic park.
Mr Wiggins, the Olympic Gold medallist and recent Tour de France champion, said:
“Ultimately, if you get knocked off and you don't have a helmet on, then you can't argue … You can get killed if you don't have a helmet on."
He later clarified that he was not calling for the wearing of helmets to be made law, but rather was suggesting that by wearing helmets cyclists would have more protection both legally and in terms of their physical safety.
Mr Wiggins’ comments attracted criticism from some, who said that, due to the nature of the accident, a helmet would have been unlikely to have saved the life of the victim involved in the collision, and that making helmets mandatory could discourage some people from cycling.
But, given the debate that had been instigated over the issue, we decided to further the discussion in SportsLab too. – Would you be for or against making it illegal for a person to ride a bicycle without a helmet?
The largest proportion of discussion participants was FOR making it illegal for cyclists to ride without the protection of a helmet.
- Most of you argued that given the clear safety benefits of wearing a helmet it simply made sense to enshrine wearing a helmet in law.
- And some drew a parallel with the law on having to wear aseatbelt, – and that the helmet issue was no different.
A smaller proportion of you told us you were AGAINST making helmet-wearing mandatory for cyclists.
- Participants in this corner argued that individuals should be able to decide for themselves whether or not to wear a helmet, adding that some environments are safer than others to cycle in, and therefore donning a protective helmet should be at the cyclist’s discretion.
- Some thought that while helmets greatly improved safety, they still felt it should be a personal choice – while others believed the safety benefits were overstated.
Click on the headings below to read panellist comments from both sides of the debate:
Do you think that wearing a helmet while cycling should be made compulsory?
And what do you think is the most important thing that could be done to make cycling safer?