Inside health and cycle helmets

The references I used for Radio 4’s  Inside Health are here


6 Responses to “Inside health and cycle helmets”

  1. Neil McDonald April 5, 2012 at 10:09 am #

    You missed out

    which comes from the European Cyclists Federation

    and an informative video here

  2. John Biggins April 5, 2012 at 10:42 am #

    In your item on cycle helmets in yesterday’s “Inside Health” (4 April 2012) one of your interviewees said that he wears a helmet because he has lived in Denmark where they are compulsory.

    I have no idea where he can have got that idea (possibly overheated CSF caused by wearing a cycle helmet), but helmets are most certainly not compulsory in Denmark, and in fact very few people bother wearing them: largely because that country’s excellent provision of segregated cycle tracks makes them unnecessary. The incidence of non-wearing is not quite as high as in the Netherlands, where absolutely no one wears them apart from racing cyclists and a few visiting Americans. But it’s still barely 5% if even that many.

    The only countries with compulsory-cycle helmet laws are Australia and New Zealand (all ages) and Sweden (under-16s). Spain has had one as well since 2004, but it’s not enforced and is effectively a dead letter.

    I hope that this sets the record straight. And thank you for such a sensible and well-balanced piece on this highly contentious topic.

  3. John Biggins April 5, 2012 at 10:43 am #

    Sorry: forgot to switch off the italics after “not”.

  4. Richard Keatinge April 5, 2012 at 6:20 pm #

    It might be worth looking at the definitive review, in the BMJ and free at

  5. Richard Burton April 8, 2012 at 2:53 pm #

    Excellent article, or at least not quite as blatantly biased as all the other BBC “wear a helmet or die” propaganda.

    Still no examination of whether cycle helmets reduce risk – why not? All the reliable evidence shows that they don’t but the BBC steadfastly refuses to broadcast that fact. One of the contributors implied that cycling was a risky activity, but in fact, it’s about as dangerous as walking. The guy who claimed to be from Denmark had clearly never been there. No comments at all from helmet sceptics – again! – but hey, it’s the BBC, and who needs a charter guaranteeing impartiality anyway? No comments from any cycling organisation, but who needs people who actually know what they’re talking about? That would just be confusing for the listening public.

    When is the BBC going to have an in depth examination of cycle helmets? They keep having little teaser articles like this, but absolutely refuse to do anything that challenges the helmet promoters.

    Two out of ten, which is two better than any other BBC broadcast.

  6. steve April 8, 2012 at 10:15 pm #

    Just to be pedantic, the BMJ review cited above does contain the following suggestion “cyclists who choose to wear helmets generally have fewer head injuries than non-wearers”.
    I used to work in one of the busiest A&E departments in the UK and one of the Consultants there was involved in some of the early pioneering research on the effectiveness on cycle helmets. He seemed clear in his discussions with me that whilst helmets may not reduce the incidence of head injuries he felt they did reduce the potential severity of those injuries.
    Just a thought (though I have no firm views one way or the other)…