Boardman says people riding bikes without helmets is “quite wonderful”

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Mike Sales
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Boardman says people riding bikes without helmets is “quite wonderful”

Postby Mike Sales » 18 Sep 2020, 12:36pm

If you missed the predictable furore when ITV ran a segment on cycling during lockdown in which Chris Boardman was seen riding a bike without a helmet, don’t worry, we’re probably in for a reprise today.

Responding to the criticism earlier in the week, Boardman directed people towards Cycling UK’s position (link is external).

The charity is opposed to both cycle helmet laws and to helmet promotion campaigns because it says they are almost certainly detrimental to public health.


https://road.cc/content/news/cycling-live-blog-september-17-2020-277323

It is perhaps worth saying that Chris Boardman's mother died on her bike.

He posted images of roads full of helmetless cyclists in the Netherlands, where people clearly feel safe on their bikes, and ride with a much lower casualty rate than we do. The pictures make it clear what makes cyclists safe, and feel safe.
The countries which have gone down the helmet route to make cycling safer remain rather more dangerous for cycling than the UK. There is nothing about compulsion which stops helmets working.

Cycling UK has the right policy.

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mjr
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Re: Boardman says people riding bikes without helmets is “quite wonderful”

Postby mjr » 18 Sep 2020, 1:50pm

The video that started it all can be seen at:
https://twitter.com/itvcycling/status/1 ... 0926882816

Some of the replies to the "but helmet!" replies are very good. Others are funny. A few are rather naughty.
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Mike Sales
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Re: Boardman says people riding bikes without helmets is “quite wonderful”

Postby Mike Sales » 18 Sep 2020, 1:57pm

I think helmet wearing and helmet promotion (as well as compulsion) are signs of a cyclist hating country.
The nasty comments about cyclists I have read from Australians on the web are very unpleasant.
Of course I am not suggesting helmet promoting cyclists hate cyclists. That would be absurd. I do think that they have taken on the "conventional wisdom" of drivers which is so prevalent in this country.

Jdsk
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Re: Boardman says people riding bikes without helmets is “quite wonderful”

Postby Jdsk » 18 Sep 2020, 1:59pm

Or perhaps they think it's the best decision for others to take. it might be nothing to do with drivers.

Jonathan

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mjr
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Re: Boardman says people riding bikes without helmets is “quite wonderful”

Postby mjr » 18 Sep 2020, 2:07pm

Mike Sales wrote:I think helmet wearing and helmet promotion (as well as compulsion) are signs of a cyclist hating country.

I agree. It's certainly made me less keen to revisit NZ.

Of course I am not suggesting helmet promoting cyclists hate cyclists. That would be absurd. I do think that they have taken on the "conventional wisdom" of drivers which is so prevalent in this country.

Oh I'm not so sure. I think there are quite a lot of cyclists who don't much like other cyclists, sadly.
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Mike Sales
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Re: Boardman says people riding bikes without helmets is “quite wonderful”

Postby Mike Sales » 18 Sep 2020, 2:12pm

mjr wrote:Oh I'm not so sure. I think there are quite a lot of cyclists who don't much like other cyclists, sadly.


It's true that cyclists do often divide themselves into various sects.
For instance, some who prefer ordinary clothes and flat bars are annoyed by lycra clad helmet wearers.

tim-b
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Re: Boardman says people riding bikes without helmets is “quite wonderful”

Postby tim-b » 18 Sep 2020, 2:29pm

Hi
Mike Sales wrote:I think helmet wearing and helmet promotion (as well as compulsion) are signs of a cyclist hating country.
The nasty comments about cyclists I have read from Australians on the web are very unpleasant.
Of course I am not suggesting helmet promoting cyclists hate cyclists. That would be absurd. I do think that they have taken on the "conventional wisdom" of drivers which is so prevalent in this country.

Do helmet-wearing cyclists hate cyclists or do they believe that in the hierarchy of hazard control measures PPE is the last resort because safer roads engineering isn't widespread in the UK? I don't suppose that'll change in my lifetime and so I'll continue to wear a helmet
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tim-b
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Re: Boardman says people riding bikes without helmets is “quite wonderful”

Postby landsurfer » 18 Sep 2020, 2:30pm

mjr wrote:Oh I'm not so sure. I think there are quite a lot of cyclists who don't much like other cyclists, sadly.


:lol: If this forum is anything to go by ............... :)
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Re: Boardman says people riding bikes without helmets is “quite wonderful”

Postby mjr » 18 Sep 2020, 2:53pm

Mike Sales wrote:For instance, some who prefer ordinary clothes and flat bars are annoyed by lycra clad helmet wearers.

Yeah, I don't understand it. They're both wrong, of course ;-)
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Re: Boardman says people riding bikes without helmets is “quite wonderful”

Postby Syd » 18 Sep 2020, 3:18pm

mjr wrote:Oh I'm not so sure. I think there are quite a lot of cyclists who don't much like other cyclists, sadly.

I’m not that shallow. It’s other people in general I don’t like.

On the subject of the video. Good on Chris. I’m open to everyone having free choice.

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Re: Boardman says people riding bikes without helmets is “quite wonderful”

Postby mjr » 18 Sep 2020, 5:38pm

tim-b wrote:Do helmet-wearing cyclists hate cyclists or do they believe that in the hierarchy of hazard control measures PPE is the last resort because safer roads engineering isn't widespread in the UK? I don't suppose that'll change in my lifetime and so I'll continue to wear a helmet

I don't think many of them have thought of it as much as you, else they would be taking the higher measures in the hierarchy that are within their control — such as elimination of darkness with good lights at night, substitution of regular tyres with winter tyres in winter and engineered controls like two working brakes — plus they'd be donning the PPE correctly instead of the common style of wearing it at a fashionably rakish angle with the chinstrap flapping. I suspect more of them have just believed the haters, who I feel push helmets because doing so reduces cycling.
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Re: Boardman says people riding bikes without helmets is “quite wonderful”

Postby mumbojumbo » 18 Sep 2020, 8:19pm

The countries which have gone down the helmet route to make cycling safer remain rather more dangerous for cycling than the UK. There is nothing about compulsion which stops helmets working.

Cycling UK has the right policy.


I would imagine smart cyclists, seeing roads are dangerous,respond by donning helmets.Dutch cyclists seeing less traffic eschew helmets.However if British cyclists stop wearing helmets,there will be no reduction in traffic volume.Cycling will remain hazardous.Chris Boardman has questionable judgement and has made abundant wealth despite a modest medal for time-trial in Olympics.Struggled in tour de France.

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Re: Boardman says people riding bikes without helmets is “quite wonderful”

Postby Mike Sales » 18 Sep 2020, 9:28pm

mumbojumbo wrote:
The countries which have gone down the helmet route to make cycling safer remain rather more dangerous for cycling than the UK. There is nothing about compulsion which stops helmets working.

Cycling UK has the right policy.


I would imagine smart cyclists, seeing roads are dangerous,respond by donning helmets.Dutch cyclists seeing less traffic eschew helmets.However if British cyclists stop wearing helmets,there will be no reduction in traffic volume.Cycling will remain hazardous.Chris Boardman has questionable judgement and has made abundant wealth despite a modest medal for time-trial in Olympics.Struggled in tour de France.


It's plain helmet wearing does not make people feel safe enough to use their bikes on anything like the scale of the Dutch. And they are right.

When wearing in Australia went from about 30% to near 100% because of the law, casualty rates did not change by a significant amount (the rate increased slightly), but miles ridden decreased. The Australians did not seem to feel safer. In that sunny, sporty land rather fewer people ride than in soggy Britain, and at a rather higher risk. It is a particularly odd idea that helmets don't work if you are forced to wear one! You might guess that it was the risk takers, those who did not wear helmets already, who were forced into them by the threat of fines, and so the safety improvement given by the law would be magnified.
Not wearing helmets will not make the roads as safe as Dutch ones. That will take a campaign like Stop der Kindermoord. , and a sustained change to our road infrastructure. The more helmets are seen to the solution to cyclists being killed and injured by motors, the less likely such a campaign is. People who feel genuine regret at the high casualty rate for cyclists can be diverted from the real cause, and the real solution. If only they would wear helmets, they can say, they ought to take responsibility for their own safety. It is a argument frequently used by anti-cyclists.

It would be so good if wearing a helmet was an answer to the problem, but it is a comfort blanket, not a solution. Wear a helmet if you must, but try not to believe it does much good.
The ad hominem attack on Chris Boardman is uncalled for. Playing the man, not the ball. You accuse him both of poor judgement and making a lot of money! I have heard that his short career with Cofidis was down to his refusal to take PEDs.
Our own club goes so far as to not promote helmets.

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Re: Boardman says people riding bikes without helmets is “quite wonderful”

Postby drossall » 19 Sep 2020, 12:20am

mumbojumbo wrote:I would imagine smart cyclists, seeing roads are dangerous,respond by donning helmets.

Not if they're smart enough to understand that helmets aren't designed to deal with risks from motor vehicles, but from falling off sideways from a stationary start. Or to have a sense of the difference in kinetic energy between the two types of collision. That, and what mjr said about the hierarchy of responses to risk, are why Boardman famously said previously that helmets aren't even in the top 10 things you'd do.

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Re: Boardman says people riding bikes without helmets is “quite wonderful”

Postby mattsccm » 19 Sep 2020, 7:13am

Pray tell. How do helmets stop cars hitting you?