Friday, 1 November 2013

There is renewed discussion about

bicycle helmets. Bicycle helmets are compulsory here - and also controversial.
Some people say that, far from helping save cyclists from injury, they are dangerous. They say they discourage people from cycling and, because there are less cyclists on the road, drivers take less notice and less care. They also point out, quite correctly, that cyclists are very vulnerable and that a helmet is very little protection.
Still, it is some protection. I would prefer to wear a helmet.
The other problem however is that bicycle helmets are very poorly designed. Many of them are not comfortable to wear.
Cyclists do not need a version of a motor-cycle helmet but some are designed like that. Others are designed in ways that make the strap, if the helmet fits properly, feel as if it is going to choke you. Some are hot to wear.
And they are designed without any consideration for the weather. A bicycle helmet needs to protect the wearer from the elements as well as from injury. It needs to be designed with a peak at the front and a flap at the back.
A peak would help to protect the face and eyes. A flap helps to keep the sun (and rain) off the neck of the cyclist. It makes common sense to design them with these things.
The Cancer Council of Australia had helmet covers with these things. They were on sale for some years and then were not available. They became available again last year - presumably because there was a demand for them.
They don't fit all helmets - particularly the modern helmets that make the wearer look a bit like a winged messenger. They should be designed to do that.
They are also not "high visibility". They need to be fluorescent orange, yellow or green - or something else equally high visibility.
I know it is up to cyclists to make sure they are visible and that they obey the road rules but it seems to me that failing to make bicycle helmets and covers that are comfortable and convenient is just making it harder to do the right thing.
I would actually rather like a rainbow coloured helmet cover. Maybe I should knit a new one.

1 comment:

Judy Edmonds said...

Fewer cyclists! Not in Melbourne! They are everywhere. I know there are good arguments for and against helmets but on the whole I think the skull is an obvious place to protect - lots of other body bits mend but the brain is less likely to do so. I don't ride a bike but I can understand that helmets are often uncomfortable and I know with my children we have gone to great lengths to find ones that they can comfortably wear. Seatbelts were controversial to start with too and lkots of people said they were uncomfortable and dangerous! The cover things are an excellent idea but I agree with your suggestions about visibility Of course some people could make them but I imagine only a few small number of people would bother.