Spokes, Scotland’s leading cycle campaign group which covers Edinburgh and the wider Lothian area, has announced it will stop publicizing events that require participants to wear a helmet in the face of what it describes as “the creeping growth of semi-compulsion.” I’d like to think we have made progress over the past several years. There are a growing number of people wearing their safety helmets when participating in active sports so I simply cannot see the logic in Spokes’ decision. Would they like to turn back the clock on the use of car safety belts and condoms as well? Helmets have been proven to save lives and I don’t see any merit in the argument that riding a helmet encourages more reckless cycling habits. If anything, a person wearing a safety helmet is demonstrating that he/she knows the risks involved and is, therefore, interested in taking the necessary precautions to ensure his/her safety. Furthermore, the article argues drivers give less space to cyclists wearing helmets than those without. This is one of the most bizarre claims I have ever heard. The real issue for cyclists is being seen by drivers. As long as the cyclist is visible to the driver, drivers will instinctively provide the cyclist with more room on the road. The goal of our Mothers Against Naked Riding Campaign is to promote helmet safety awareness so the stance of the European cycling group, Spokes, is in direct conflict with our message. Naturally, I will avoid any joint ventures with Spokes but I will forward a copy of this blog post to them!
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