The helmet brigade strikes again

There’s an article in the Telegraph that has got me all riled up. I’m not going to link to it but the headline is something like, “Teenager seriously injured because he wasn’t wearing a bicycle helmet”. Why do people think it’s ok to shame cyclists for not wearing helmets? Do they do the same to smokers or people who don’t exercise? Maybe they do but I have never seen a newspaper headline like this: “Obese mother who drives children to school dies of heart attack”. You just don’t see that and I doubt the people who drive their kids right up to the school gate in their tanks ever get shouted at, as I do on my bike, even though I’m likely to cost the NHS far less in the long term and I’m not putting noxious gases into the air that harm our children. No, instead I am the one who gets abused. And for what it’s worth, I do wear a helmet but most people don’t realise that because it’s an invisible helmet.

Physical inactivity is the biggest health problem of the developed world. Air pollution kills 50,000 people a year in the UK. People who ride bikes, with or without helmets, are doing a great service to society. I’m not in favour of compulsory helmet legislation because it reduces the number of people who ride their bikes which is bad for the health of the population as a whole. The risk of injury and death from not wearing a helmet is far lower than the risk of not doing any exercise at all. Cycling UK has a good summary of the facts.

I should know better than to read an article in The Telegraph.