In fact, there's been no such call, not even from helmet zealots. Why not? Official Department of Health figures contained in the just released Hospital Episode Statistics, 2003-04, show that falls from "same level from slipping or tumbling" led to 74 145 hospital admissions. There were also 4533 recorded falls "involving ice-skates, skis, roller skates or skateboards." Why does BHIT remain the Bicycle Helmet Initiative Trust when the Helmet Initiative Trust could do so much more good by clamouring for helmet wearing for all indoor and outdoor activities?

Call for pedestrians to wear helmets

According to Hospital Episode Statistics, 2003-04, there were six motorists injured after they hit pedal cyclists!

If you’re going to crash your car into a cyclist, best wear a helmet. In fact, all motorists would benefit from head protection.

There were 1524 reported hospital admissions due to cyclists hitting cars, pick-ups trucks or vans. Six hit trains. A futher 8848 admissions had "transport accidents" without hitting anything. 51 hit unspecified animals.

An overwhelming percentage of "accidents" – whether collisions into or by cars – happened to males. It’s the same for pedestrians. Of those pedestrians injured by cars, a whopping 96 percent were male. 34 percent were 14 or under.

Which group of people are the most likely to flout a cycle helmet law? Teenage boys.

Women and girls have the least number of cycle collisions and would be the most likely to comply with any lid law. And, it could be argued, also the most likely to give up cycling altogether if forced to be "mushroom-heads", the phrase used by helmet compulsion MP Eric Martlew in defence of his proposals to make all kids wear helmets when cycling. Even tiny tots cycling on grass on trikes would be so forced, were Mr Martlew to get his way, although children on motorised go-carts and electric play motorbikes would not have to wear helmets.

Perhaps Mr Martlew should get himself a copy of Hospital Episode Statistics? He could read about the 119 203 Accident and Emergency admissions caused by falling, and the 24 475 admissions following falls from stairs and steps. Perhaps he may be persuaded to clamour for a lid law for anybody who sleeps in beds? Hospital Episode Statistics shows there were 12 042 hospital admissions following falls from beds. Sitting down is also hazardous: there were 7114 admissions following falls from chairs.

Of course, a huge killer is the so-called ‘sedentary lifestyle’. It’s believed up to 50 000 people a year die from illnesses caused or exacerbated by too much eating, not enough exercise. And what could get kids fitter? Cycling.

Many kids wear helmets, many others don’t. Of those that don’t, being made to wear helmets is a major disincentive to cycling, something found time and time again by Bike It officers who ask school children to list their reasons for not cycling to school.

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