Cycling UK Helmets Policy

edited on Sun 28 Mar at 12:06 in General
As our rides are starting up again it is good time to point out to new riders that you are welcome to join our rides whether you choose to wear a helmet or not. 
Central London Cyclists Touring Club is a member club of Cycling UK (the trading name of Cyclists Touring Club). Cycling UK does not take a view on whether or not it is beneficial for individual cyclists to wear helmets.  
"We are neither 'pro-' nor 'anti'-helmet. The evidence on this question is complex and contradictory, providing as much support for those who are deeply sceptical of helmets as for those who swear by them," states Cycling UK.
The policy is summarised in these four points:
  • Cycling UK is opposed to both cycle helmet laws and to helmet promotion campaigns because these are almost certainly detrimental to public health. Evidence shows that the health benefits of cycling are so much greater than the relatively low risks involved, that even if these measures caused only a very small reduction in cycle use, this would still almost certainly mean far more lives being lost through physical inactivity than helmets could possibly save, however effective.
  • In any case, there are serious doubts about the effectiveness of helmets. They are, and can only be, designed to withstand minor knocks and falls, not serious traffic collisions. Some evidence suggests they may in fact increase the risk of cyclists having falls or collisions in the first place, or suffering neck injuries.
  • Neither enforced helmet laws nor promotion campaigns have been shown to reduce serious head injuries, except by reducing cycling. The remaining cyclists do not gain any detectable reduction in risk, and they may lose some of the benefits from 'safety in numbers'.
  • 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.

Please be respectful of each others' choice. I draw attention to this as discussion about helmets can often get a bit heated.
A moderator of the Cycling UK forum noted the following: "from a moderation point of view, helmet threads are where it often all kicks off and we have to devote a fair bit of time to trying to calm things down in such threads, and often as not it is exactly the same thing that has triggered the aggression."
We want people to enjoy our rides in good company. Anyone joining any of our rides is welcome to do so with or without wearing a helmet. 

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