helmet debate

I see that Jon Snow berated Boris Johnson for not wearing a helmet when he overtakes the mayor, when both are cycling on the streets of Islington. It was a bit of one upmanship by Snow, who was quick to point out that he cycled faster than the blond mopped politician and I also think it a mistake to criticise Johnson over this issue.
I have very mixed feelings about helmets and certainly I am completely opposed to making them compulsory. It is very much a matter of individual choice and whereas I do know people whose lives have definitely been saved, such as one chap who went through a windscreen with barely a scratch, helmets do have several disadvantages. They may well make people cycle in a different way which is less safe and there is clear evidence, from a research in Bristol, that motorists driver closer to cyclists with helmets than those without.
Moreover, helmets set cyclists apart from other road users. It is noticeable that in Holland virtually no one uses helmets, except the weekend sporting cyclists in their lycra and yellow jerseys.
But here is the killer point.There is clear evidence from Australian research – Federal Office of Road Safety, CR 160 – that if motorists wore helmets, many lives would be saved. So, if the government attempts to bring in compulsory helmet wearing for cyclists, they should also do it for motorists. That won’t go down well with Jeremy Clarkson.

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