Brain Injuries Charity Calls for the Compulsory Wearing of Cycle Helmets; Andrew Harding Is Chairman of Headway, Cardiff, the Brain Injury Charity and a Board Member of the Headway Charity Nationally. He Is a Member of the Court of Protection Court User Group and Is Listed as a Leader in the Field of Personal Injury in the Legal 500
THE death of a 28-year-old cyclist in London last week led to Olympic Gold medallist Bradley Wiggins being asked to comment on whether cyclists should be made to wear helmets.
His comments brought the issue of cycle helmets back into the spotlight and sparked a heated debate about whether now is the time for new legislation to be introduced.
As chairman of Headway, this is a campaign that I am all too familiar with and fully support Headway's call for helmets to be made compulsory for cyclists in an attempt to save lives and prevent lifelong disability.
The wearing (or not wearing) of cycle helmets remains an on-going and increasingly high-profile area for concern. Recent reports suggest that fatal and serious cycling accidents have increased by 74% in Wales, and a total of 118 cyclists were killed or seriously injured last year - an increase on the previous highest number of 68 recorded in 1997.
As a lawyer specialising in head and brain injuries, I represent many clients who have suffered serious brain or spinal injuries, some of whom have been injured whilst cycling, and see the devastating effects it can have on their lives. Whilst I appreciate that wearing a helmet cannot save lives in each and every case, many of the injuries or fatalities recorded could have been prevented or lessened had people worn appropriate headwear. Research has shown that cycle helmets can save lives, and can reduce the risk of head and brain injury by up to 88%.
Some argue that there is no demonstrable link between helmet wearing and the safety of cyclists, citing that cyclists are no more vulnerable than pedestrians, but cases like this one speak for themselves. This is just one example of a series that I see on a weekly basis and it would follow that, if wearing a helmet can provide a measure of safety and protection, one should be worn by each and every cyclist. …