old_windbag wrote: From the organisers perspective, if you were in their shoes and had say 5000 cyclists to organise with every possible admin blunder, logistics problems and then the event accidents/mishaps on non-closed roads etc that could result in completely the wrong publicity for the organisers/charities then the pressure is high. Thats their job, but for them mitigating risk by enforcing a helmet rule may come from outside i.e insurance cover etc. Some of you may have organised a mass participation event where from H+S perspective you were responsible but many won't, it can't be pleasant after a death or serious injury to stand up in court defending your choice of event preparation/safety cover etc. Sometimes the burden of responsibility leads you to make, what many may see as, perhaps excessive decisions, but made for the "safety" of the many rather than the individual. I know we can throw stats around but the organisers have probably found a system they feel works and perhaps has demonstrated that in all the rides they've put on, perhaps they've altered their rules based on past event issues.
First of all, people very, very seldom die doing organised charity rides. I cannot recall ever hearing of one, though there have been a few deaths amongst those doing independent charity rides. So the likelihood that anyone will die, or even be seriously injured is vanishing small. I'm sure that minor injuries are quite common. I also expect that it's fairly common for people to suffer from heat exhaustion, and a myriad of health issues that are due to not being fit enough to ride a bike for the length of whatever charity ride.
Between that and the lack of evidence that helmets actually do very much, there is little or no reason to include them in a risk assessment. It is possible to find insurance that doesn't require helmets.
If I were to organise an event, I would be upset if someone were killed or seriously injured, but I would be under no illusions that a helmet would make a significant difference, and the threat of lawsuits and what have you makes absolutely no difference in that.
IMO, the only valid reason to require a helmet is that the Highway Code recommends them. But then, it should be sifficient to include a statement that participants are responsible to follow the Highway Code. Are organisers going to enforce all of the other recommendations in the Highway Code? probably not, though they may deny someone a finsih certificate if someone does soemthing blatantly dangerous.
Most organisers simply think helmets are a good idea becuase it seems like common sense. If no one ever questions that stance they will carry on believing that helmets are a necessary part of riding a bike.
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom