Cycle mag, CTC finally caved in re helmets & sold us out?

This sub-forum all discussions about this "lively" subject. All topics that are substantially about helmets will be moved here, if not placed here correctly in the first place.
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pjclinch
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Re: Cycle mag, CTC finally caved in re helmets & sold us out?

Postby pjclinch » 1 Dec 2018, 8:29pm

Wanlock Dod wrote:Yet from their own briefing document
Cycling UK wrote:So instead of focusing on helmets, health and road safety professionals and others should promote
cycling as a safe, normal, aspirational and enjoyable activity, using helmet-free role-models and
imagery
. Individual cyclists may sometimes choose to use helmets, either for confidence or because
of the type of cycling they are doing. However, they should not feel under any pressure to wear
them. For the sake of our health, it is more important to encourage people of all ages to cycle, than
to make an issue of whether they use a helmet when doing so.


While that says "using helmet-free role-models and imagery" it doesn't say "using exclusively helmet-free role-models and imagery". And by making it non-exclusive you satisfy the last paragraph too. Simples.
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Re: Cycle mag, CTC finally caved in re helmets & sold us out?

Postby thirdcrank » 1 Dec 2018, 8:51pm

Taken as a whole, I'd say that the briefing document is against the promotion of helmet wearing for normal, everyday cycling. I've not ticked off every sub-clause but there's a lot about the detrimental effects of the promotion of helmet wearing and nothing going the other way. Nor do I detect any sign of it being written with fingers crossed to allow implied exceptions.

I don't know the status of the document, in particular the extent to which it binds or guides people representing CUK.

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Re: Cycle mag, CTC finally caved in re helmets & sold us out?

Postby bovlomov » 1 Dec 2018, 10:07pm

RickH wrote:Looking at the last 12 months they've had 3 editions without helmets appearing & 3 with.
DSC_1005.JPG
DSC_1006.JPG


The most notable thing about those six covers, for me, is how unrepresentative they are of cycling. The cyclists might be modern, but the settings could be from a 1930s cycling handbook. No pavements, no road markings, no motorised traffic. It's not a really a criticism, but there is nothing about those cover pictures that I identify with. It's nice if people are enjoying being out on their bikes in these rural idylls, but the message seems clear: utility cyclists shouldn't expect to find anything for them in the magazine.

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Re: Cycle mag, CTC finally caved in re helmets & sold us out?

Postby pjclinch » 2 Dec 2018, 8:24am

thirdcrank wrote:Taken as a whole, I'd say that the briefing document is against the promotion of helmet wearing for normal, everyday cycling. I've not ticked off every sub-clause but there's a lot about the detrimental effects of the promotion of helmet wearing and nothing going the other way. Nor do I detect any sign of it being written with fingers crossed to allow implied exceptions.

I don't know the status of the document, in particular the extent to which it binds or guides people representing CUK.


What certainly isn't clear either way is if a photo of an "everyday cyclist" wearing a crash helmet amounts to "promotion of helmet wearing". It can clearly be argued that it could be, but on the other hand not allowing yourself to depict a significant proportion of your own membership in your own magazine would be a somewhat questionable policy decision, and I suspect the pragmatic reality would not go that far.

Having said that, there does increasingly seem to be a Standard Format for parents and children of parent bareheaded and child in lid, following Sustrans down that route even after they rebuilt their helmet policy in to a sane one. I think that's bad, but again we are up against reality and significant elements of the Great British Public take a dim view of children being portrayed without helmets and will use that as an excuse to write you off as imbecilic zealots with blood potentially on your hands. And I say that as an accredited cycling instructor who insists on teaching Bikeability while not wearing a helmet myself to show that they're not necessary, and that means despite having a good teaching track record locally and being willing to do it for free, nobody will let me teach children any more, and nobody will let me teach instructors for other children either (that's Dundee City Council, Angus Council, Perth & Kinross Council and Sustrans, Cycling Scotland who actually run the overall scheme don't have a problem).

The practical reality is that if you take helmeted riders as being promotion of helmets you just rule yourself out of the argument altogether.

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Re: Cycle mag, CTC finally caved in re helmets & sold us out?

Postby pjclinch » 2 Dec 2018, 8:32am

bovlomov wrote:
The most notable thing about those six covers, for me, is how unrepresentative they are of cycling. The cyclists might be modern, but the settings could be from a 1930s cycling handbook. No pavements, no road markings, no motorised traffic. It's not a really a criticism, but there is nothing about those cover pictures that I identify with. It's nice if people are enjoying being out on their bikes in these rural idylls, but the message seems clear: utility cyclists shouldn't expect to find anything for them in the magazine.


There again, with significant numbers of people not wanting to cycle for utilitarian trips because they see the prospect as unsafe or at least unpleasant, is reality really going to find its way on to the cover?

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Re: Cycle mag, CTC finally caved in re helmets & sold us out?

Postby thirdcrank » 2 Dec 2018, 10:45am

pjclinch

I think it's fair to say that "product placement" - depicting helmet wearing as normal - is a powerful form of promotion, not least because direct advertising of the benefits of helmets is dodgy. Evidence that it works seems to be implied by the number of people who have been convinced that helmets work. If CUK members are among that number, it just seems to be even more evidence.

In your admirably measured reply above to the utility cyclist you stressed the importance of evidence and it seems to me that the CUK briefing note makes a strong, evidence-based case that helmet promotion has a negative effect on levels of cycling, with consequences for public health which outweigh any safety benefits. As you suggest, that doesn't fit with the received wisdom, but what's the point of evidence if you defer to common sense? Is the role of the charity to promote cycling or to promote itself? This thread is about the mag., and that's in the enviable position of not having to maximise circulation to survive in a dwindling market for print media. Should it be publicising CUK's evidence or striving for some version of balance, largely to keep onside with public opinion? The choice seems to be between a principled approach and expediency.

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Re: Cycle mag, CTC finally caved in re helmets & sold us out?

Postby bovlomov » 2 Dec 2018, 11:36am

pjclinch wrote:There again, with significant numbers of people not wanting to cycle for utilitarian trips because they see the prospect as unsafe or at least unpleasant, is reality really going to find its way on to the cover?

I imagine they've done their focus group research, and decided this is the way to go. I was slightly surprised by those six covers though. They seem designed to appeal to people who ride while on holiday. Are there enough of them to sustain a magazine? To exclude road cycling* entirely from the cover is to ignore a large chunk - the majority? - of cycling mileage.

* I know some roads are shown, but not as most of us experience them.

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Re: Cycle mag, CTC finally caved in re helmets & sold us out?

Postby reohn2 » 2 Dec 2018, 11:43am

bovlomov wrote:
pjclinch wrote:There again, with significant numbers of people not wanting to cycle for utilitarian trips because they see the prospect as unsafe or at least unpleasant, is reality really going to find its way on to the cover?

I imagine they've done their focus group research, and decided this is the way to go. I was slightly surprised by those six covers though. They seem designed to appeal to people who ride while on holiday. Are there enough of them to sustain a magazine? To exclude road cycling* entirely from the cover is to ignore a large chunk - the majority? - of cycling mileage.

* I know some roads are shown, but not as most of us experience them.

A bit like car advertisments on TV,it's driving Jim but not as we know it :?
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Re: Cycle mag, CTC finally caved in re helmets & sold us out?

Postby pjclinch » 2 Dec 2018, 12:37pm

thirdcrank wrote:I think it's fair to say that "product placement" - depicting helmet wearing as normal - is a powerful form of promotion


On the one hand that's part of why I refuse to teach Bikeability wearing a helmet, but on the other it is the case in the UK that helmet wearing is normal, and unlike e.g. sexism which is also prevalent it is generally held to be at least reasonable.

thirdcrank wrote:The choice seems to be between a principled approach and expediency.


Yes, and while one might view my refusal to teach in a helmet as principled, it actually means there's even fewer role models to counter the misapprehensions of local authorities delivering cycle training that helmets are "essential". Effectively abandoning my role as a children's cycling instructor has been very difficult for me, but ultimately I think I gave up because I won't enjoy teaching in a helmet, and cycle training is an optional extra for me I do as a volunteer. If it were my primary occupation I'd be in a very sticky spot.

In other words, the choice is between being damned if you do and damned if you don't :(

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Re: Cycle mag, CTC finally caved in re helmets & sold us out?

Postby Steady rider » 2 Dec 2018, 12:48pm

I think it was back in about 1987-89 ish when a cycling instructor lost is job due to the helmet issue, he refused to wear one when teaching kids to ride, East Anglia location.

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Re: Cycle mag, CTC finally caved in re helmets & sold us out?

Postby Phil Fouracre » 2 Dec 2018, 1:03pm

I’ve every sympathy! Did a ride leader course with British Cycling, but didn’t continue due to ‘disagreeing’ over helmets! Such a pointless waste of time and effort :-(
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Re: Cycle mag, CTC finally caved in re helmets & sold us out?

Postby thirdcrank » 2 Dec 2018, 1:29pm

I can see the problems which affect people at a personal level: parents trying to counter compulsory helmets for the ride to school is another, but isn't the purpose of a campaigning organisation to shift opinion?

I think the mention of sexism supports my case. Attitudes have changed fundamentally in my lifetime and I don't think that occurred through some sort of natural process. Yesterday's imbecilic zealots were the women who endured force feeding and all the rest of it. Incidentally, advertising images which reinforce the stereotype of the woman's place being in the home were and remain a big target of campaigners.

Overall, I think what bugs me is that CUK has collated the evidence, but prefers to show a different face in the mag.
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Back to the personal level, I've felt obliged to wear a helmet ever since they were introduced to give the victim-blamers on less thing to crow about and I do know that in doing so, I've helped normalise helmets.

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Re: Cycle mag, CTC finally caved in re helmets & sold us out?

Postby pjclinch » 2 Dec 2018, 2:01pm

thirdcrank wrote:I can see the problems which affect people at a personal level: parents trying to counter compulsory helmets for the ride to school is another, but isn't the purpose of a campaigning organisation to shift opinion?


Absolutely, but there's more to shifting opinion than just laying down your evidence and opinion. How to shift an entrenched opinion is an interesting game, and even where almost everyone is pretty much onside with the evidence it can take decades (e.g., drink driving is a Very Bad Idea). There are, however, signs that things are shifting. Go back a few years and BC wouldn't have contemplated showing unhelmeted riders on their campaigns pages but now they're regular features, including in videos. Sustrans have moved from clear recommendation, particularly for children, to a helmet-neutral policy. CUK have been trailblazers here.

thirdcrank wrote:Overall, I think what bugs me is that CUK has collated the evidence, but prefers to show a different face in the mag.


Cycle shows many faces, often within the same printing. Which is to be expected, because it tries to cover lots of different facets of cycling.

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Re: Cycle mag, CTC finally caved in re helmets & sold us out?

Postby bovlomov » 2 Dec 2018, 4:41pm

reohn2 wrote:
bovlomov wrote:I know some roads are shown, but not as most of us experience them.

A bit like car advertisments on TV,it's driving Jim but not as we know it :?

That hadn't occurred to me, but yes. It's selling a dream, of carefree pootling along carfree lanes. A recipe for disappointment.

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Re: Cycle mag, CTC finally caved in re helmets & sold us out?

Postby reohn2 » 2 Dec 2018, 5:22pm

bovlomov wrote:
reohn2 wrote:
bovlomov wrote:I know some roads are shown, but not as most of us experience them.

A bit like car advertisments on TV,it's driving Jim but not as we know it :?

That hadn't occurred to me, but yes. It's selling a dream, of carefree pootling along carfree lanes. A recipe for disappointment.

You got it :wink:
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