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Do helmets protect? Views of the North.

WAS David Banks' addendum (Journal, November 22) just to fill up space? I find it a flippant aside to a very serious problem. Six cyclists have been killed in the last fortnight in London, (none in the whole of last year in Paris) mostly involving your "20-ton trucks".

I don't believe a helmet would be much protection if a collision had occurred between your "20-ton truck" and the cyclist. Donning a helmet is not the panacea that some believe it is.

Brain damage has caused the deaths of cyclists falling off their bikes, with no other vehicles involved, even though they were wearing helmets. As many more people travelling in motorised transport suffer brain damage than those that use bicycles, perhaps a priority should be made for this fact to be addressed.

A cycle helmet is designed for a fall off your bike when travelling up to 12mph and hitting your head (helmet) on something solid like concrete (road, path). As an experiment, I visited 11 local bike shops, pretending to be after a helmet.

Only one of these shops gave me the pros and cons of what a helmet could and could not do. All others advised wearing a helmet in case of a collision with another road-user, which the helmet is patently not designed for.

Lots of high-profile cyclists choose not to wear a helmet, most notably Boris Johnson, although his hair could not be more "spoiled" than it is! Some family doctors don't allow their own children to wear helmets.

Almost all recreational, "normal" cycling in Germany, the Netherlands, Scandinavia, is done helmet-less.

Do you believe our European neighbours are being stupid, silly, etc, etc, etc? Having done millions of bike journeys in over 50 years cycling, I have only fallen off about a dozen times. Of those falls I have hit my elbows, knees, hands, etc - never my head.

Cycling in London I find the biggest threat of a collision, by far, is pedestrians stepping into the road without care and attention. Otherwise, it is, of course, other road-users.

I have found that the more vulnerable I appear i.e. no helmet, no protective clothes, etc, the more careful the motorists are. It is very simple, respect.

DAVID LEVY, Blyth.
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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Dec 2, 2013
Words:374
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