Cargo bike/pedicab firm bans riders from wearing helmets

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thelawnet
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Cargo bike/pedicab firm bans riders from wearing helmets

Post by thelawnet »

https://twitter.com/pedalmeapp/status/1 ... 2857647113
People that are taking risks that are sufficient that they feel they need to wear helmets are not welcome to work for us - because our vehicles are heavy and could cause harm, and because we carry small children on our bikes.

Instead - we systematically work to reduce risk ..at source. We do this by:

1) Thorough risk assessment.

2) Extremely high level of training, on an ongoing basis.

3) Near Miss reporting - we track near misses, and minor injuries, and tackle the causative factors.

For e.g. 1 our biggest source of injuries was bungee pings, so we eliminated bungees and now use dead inner tubes instead, which don't have a hook which could cause harm at the end.

e.g. 2 We retrofitted all bikes with more powerful brakes because of some brake fade incidents.

There are two areas for discussion here IME:

1) Are helmets useful in normal cycling?

2) Are helmets more or less useful for our use case?

As regards 1:

We know that increasing helmet wearing rates make cycling more dangerous per mile - although there are confounding factors here, this indicates that overall they do not provide a strong protective effect in the round - otherwise the opposite effect.


Extensive reading of the literature suggests that this is because while helmets definitely help in the event of a crash, that risk compensation results in more collisions. So riders wearing helmets take greater risks, and those driving around them take greater risks too.

As regards 2:

A major cause of head injuries is going over the handlebars, which is not possible with a 3 metre long bike.

Another thing that makes us unique is our training systems, maintenance systems, and ability to track poor rider behaviour.

We observe that companies that use helmets while wearing cargo bikes seem to be much more likely to jump red lights and take greater risks in general, as we might expect from risk compensation.

Overall the vast majority of injuries to our riders occur off the bike, which we know because of our near miss and incident reporting - and that's our focus for tackling danger.

As
@Chris_Boardman
says: "Helmets not even in top 10 of things that keep cycling safe"
Jdsk
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Re: Cargo bike/pedicab firm bans riders from wearing helmets

Post by Jdsk »

That is interesting. Thanks for posting.

Jonathan
PH
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Re: Cargo bike/pedicab firm bans riders from wearing helmets

Post by PH »

Also reported by raod.cc, with a bit more detail, including that Bungee cords were the biggest cause of injuries!
https://road.cc/content/news/pedal-me-b ... ets-290133
Stevek76
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Re: Cargo bike/pedicab firm bans riders from wearing helmets

Post by Stevek76 »

I think he might somewhat overstate the risk compensation element a little. The kind of cycling they do, the high amounts of training and control would seem to constrain the potential behavioural response, there'll be some but I think rather less than the protective gain (contrast to sports cycling, particularly MTB where I strongly suspect the opposite). That said can see the logic from a uniform perspective given they carry passengers and peoples goods. If your taxi driver turned up in a full face helmet and 5 point race harness fitted, you might have some reservations about the ride quality you're about to get... :D

Seems a very good application of H&S principles overall, PPE (cycle helmets slightly odd status here ignored) is a last resort for significant residual risks. If they've already managed the risk down then there isn't a need. Big contrast to the far too many people treating risk assessments as a tick box exercise.
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pjclinch
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Re: Cargo bike/pedicab firm bans riders from wearing helmets

Post by pjclinch »

It really comes down to a dress code, which can be justified on what boils down to gut feeling in the absence of really hard evidence and a lot of that is what impression the company wants to give.

Caveat here of reporting purely from memory, but an interesting case was back during the Troubles. When things were bad troops on the streets always wore helmets, but when tensions eased a bit soft hats were favoured by commanders as it was felt to diffuse tensions somewhat. That was dress code based on a lot of gut feeling where lives were clearly at stake.

Another "it's about impressions and not risk" case for dress code is Sustrans Bikeability instruction. Instructors must wear helmets, but the reason (told to me by their behavioural change chap in a 'phone call about the policy) is not about health and safety or role modelling, but to lessen the number of complaints from the public assuming no helmet is the same as irresponsible.

Pete.
Often seen riding a bike around Dundee...
Jdsk
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Re: Cargo bike/pedicab firm bans riders from wearing helmets

Post by Jdsk »

I've had a look at their website. They seem to be responsible employers, and aren't playing gig worker games.

I'd very much like to see more use of HPVs ± assistance for carrying people and things around.

It's hard to get far on this without seeing their risk assessment and something about their employers' liability insurance.

If a relevant injury occurred I'd expect the following to be explored:

1 Was there duress in the recruitment? For example if someone couldn't find any other job, and said that they were happy not wearing a helmet although that wasn't the case.

2 If there was a marketing element in the decision (eg we'll put potential passengers off if we wear helmets) was that reasonable in its effects on the safety of employees?

3 Was the risk compensation argument reasonable in this setting? (See Steve K's post above.)

4 The argument that there were greater risks is irrelevant in the duty to address this one.

5 Had the relevant disclosures been made in the agreement with the insurers?

Jonathan
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pjclinch
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Re: Cargo bike/pedicab firm bans riders from wearing helmets

Post by pjclinch »

Given there is potential for a helmet to make things worse, and since there are employers who insist on helmets, of course all the points apply the other way round too if push comes to shove.

An interesting case is the posties back when they used bikes. The unions wanted the workers in helmets (they believed because of improved safety) but as the HSE exclude cycle helmets from PPE regulation they made it specifically a uniform issue: a helmet became a required part of the postie's uniform if they were cycling, though of course no cycling posties in the UK any more.

Pete.
Often seen riding a bike around Dundee...
Stevek76
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Re: Cargo bike/pedicab firm bans riders from wearing helmets

Post by Stevek76 »

Not sure that they address larger risks is entirely irrelevant. It's still a demonstration that they take H&S seriously and aren't just cowboying it.
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Stevek76
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Re: Cargo bike/pedicab firm bans riders from wearing helmets

Post by Stevek76 »

In the resulting Twitter fight I did notice this quite interesting study posted.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/a ... 3517302059

Goes with usual caveats about single study etc but a tentative indication that the only collisions in which you have no control over (from behind) are the ones in which helmets are distinctly less helpful.
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gcogger
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Re: Cargo bike/pedicab firm bans riders from wearing helmets

Post by gcogger »

There's an interview with the guy who made this decision (sorry, forgotten his name :oops:), on today's GCN show on YouTube.
Basin and Range
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Re: Cargo bike/pedicab firm bans riders from wearing helmets

Post by Basin and Range »

Pedal Me doesn't use cargo bikes or pedicabs. They use mopeds.
Jdsk
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Re: Cargo bike/pedicab firm bans riders from wearing helmets

Post by Jdsk »

Basin and Range wrote: 12 May 2022, 4:45pm Pedal Me doesn't use cargo bikes or pedicabs. They use mopeds.
Is that about Pedal Me, https://pedalme.co.uk/, the company discussed in the original post?

Thanks

Jonathan
ratherbeintobago
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Re: Cargo bike/pedicab firm bans riders from wearing helmets

Post by ratherbeintobago »

Jdsk wrote: 12 May 2022, 6:08pm
Basin and Range wrote: 12 May 2022, 4:45pm Pedal Me doesn't use cargo bikes or pedicabs. They use mopeds.
Is that about Pedal Me, https://pedalme.co.uk/, the company discussed in the original post?

Thanks

Jonathan
Could just be someone making a pedantic (and incorrect) assertion about the cargo ebikes they use?
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simonineaston
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Re: Cargo bike/pedicab firm bans riders from wearing helmets

Post by simonineaston »

That is interesting. Thanks for posting.
Ditto
(rides: Brompton nano & ever-changing Moultons)
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