Helmet Promotion Hurting Cycling Adoption?
Here’s some Coffee Talk for ya…
There’s a theory that seems to be supported by strong evidence that promotion and enactment of helmet laws tend to DECREASE cycling in the targeted population. Ã‚Â Why?
- Because the “public service” campaigns often hinge on the dramatic dangers of not wearing a helmet, literally scaring parents and kids into NOT cycling.
- People really like “Do as I say, not as I do” type laws. In other words, public support for helmet laws is usually high in surveys, but when it comes down to it, those same people don’t want to be told what to do.
In actuality, countries or regions that have enacted mandatory helmet laws saw marked decreases in cycling. Ã‚Â The societal cost of such legislation increases dramatically via decreased activity, less healthy citizens and the associated “healthcare” costs that ride shotgun with such trends.
Don’t just take our word for it. Ã‚Â Cyclehelmets.org pretty much lays it bare, and Copenhagenize has a great post on the subject. Ã‚Â And, we’ve got the 7 reasons the UK’s National Cyclists Organization (CTC) used to successfully lobby against a mandatory child helmet law there after the break…
- The principal threats to children’s lives are obesity, heart disease and other illnesses resulting in large part from inactivity. Cycling has a key role to play in preventing these illnesses. Less cycling through a helmet law would aggravate the situation.
- Cycling is a healthy activity, and the likelihood of serious head injury is widely exaggerated.
- Cycling becomes safer the more people do it. Encouraging cycling is by far the most effective way of reducing risk of injury.
- Helmet promotion deters cycling and leads to poorer health.
- The benefits of helmets are greatly over-stated.
- Many other everyday activities could benefit more from helmet-wearing than cycling.
- A helmet law would make it a crime for children to take part in a health giving activity.
So, what’s the answer? Ã‚Â Well, the consensus among these parties and a few other sites that have commented on this seems to be that promotion of helmet wearing should be left to the helmet manufacturers and retailers.
I don’t think there’s any doubt that for avid cyclists, a helmet is a smart choice, and I make sure Sweetie and little Bikerumor juniors don them before we go for rides. Ã‚Â As for mandatory legislation, I’ll revert to my ol’ standby:
Less government, mo’ betta.