The CTC has condemned the latest helmet advertising campaign from the Department of Transport, which is aimed at male teens, and depicts x-rays of heads and helmet and which the CTC describes as "macabre".
Angela Lee, the chief executive of The Bicycle Helmet Initiative Trust, a charity that has been campaigning for over five years to promote the use of cycle helmets amongst the under-16s said she was "bewildered" by the CTC’s opposition to the DfT’s campaign.
Lee, a paediatric nurse, said: "All that the leading members of the CTC are interested in is membership numbers and sales figures rather than the welfare of child cyclists."
She dismisses claims that promoting helmet use portays cycling as dangerous, and therefore something parents may discourage their children from doing.
"Cycling is an activity we should all be encouraging, but this should be done responsibly," said Ms Lee.
"Any sensible person can see that cycle helmets protect heads and save children’s lives ad itis just nonsensical to object to any cyclists, let alone children under the age of 16, wearing them."
New research figures released by the Department of Transport during Bike Week have revealed that while more adults and more girl cyclists are wearing helmets, the rate for teenage boys has fallen.
Wearing rates for the population as a whole are up from 16 per cent in 1994 to 25 percent in 2002 but the percentage of teenage boys wearing a helmet has fallen from 16 percent in 1994 to 12 percent in 2002.
"Each week at least one child will die from a head injury sustained through cycling, one such boy who would not wear a helmet was 12-year-old Troy Annetts," said a BHIT press statement.
"He paid the ultimate price in May last year when he died of head injuries sustained in a cycling accident."
His mother, Carlie Annetts, from Andover, has campaigned for compulsory helmet wearing for children as she believes her son would still be alive today if he had been wearing a helmet.
Mrs Annetts said: "If helmets were compulsory I would have been able to say to him that he had to wear one, it’s the law."
"What I would say to anyone who objects to children wearing one is what would they rather see a child in – a helmet or an urn?"
Along with Headway and the Child Brain Injury Trust, the Bicycle Helmet Initiative Trust has called on the government to make helmets compulsory for children under the age of 16 and to encourage their use by all cyclists. Lee has called the government "wimps" for not legislating for compulsion.
"Whilst we welcome the latest government initiative aimed at teenage boys we are disappointed it has not fulfilled its initial plans to produce a television advertising campaign to accompany the poster and magazine adverts.
"BHIT warned the Government five years ago in a report entitled ‘Dying For An Image’ that the UK was failing to protect its young cyclists. Teenage boys account for 60 percent of deaths from child cycling accidents.
"The Government must now take action, learn not to listen to a vociferous minority and instead support the millions of parents who every day have the difficult job of trying to make their children wear a helmet by making them compulsory."