...so says poll in the latest instalment of the compulsory helmet debate

Compulsory helmets would make one in ten cyclists quit riding

A poll made by a motorist organisation has found that more than ten percent of cyclists would quit riding if wearing helmets became law. 20 per cent of respondents believed helmet wearing should be compulsory.

According to the research, another 30 per cent would simply ignore the rules and continue to ride without a helmet. 

The Institute of Advanced Motorists surveyed over 4,000 people in the poll.

Other findings included that cycle helmets were not seen as a priority compared to using conspicuous clothing and lights, though respondents were not negative towards them. Near to 60 per cent of respondents said helmet wearing should remain a personal decision. Sixty per cent of those surveyed do wear a cycle helmet.

IAM cycling manager Duncan Pickering said: “One in ten cyclists being prepared to give up cycling shows how controversial compulsory helmets would be. But generally people are not anti-helmet – they see it as an issue of choice."

Opinion was split roughly 50/50 over whether they thought helmets offered limited protection from serious head injury or that helmets saved lives. Training was high on the agenda, rated second most important cycle safety measure.

“Ultimately fewer than ten per cent voted that they didn’t think wearing a cycle helmet was beneficial at all, so if cyclists feel safer wearing one it makes sense to do so. But cyclists can improve their safety and confidence a lot by taking training. Many accidents involving cyclists could be prevented by cyclists positioning themselves more defensively in relation to larger vehicles.”

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