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Thursday, July 9, 2015

Infrastructure vs Helmets

The safest country in the world for cycling is the Netherlands. There you’ll also find the widest spectrum of people cycling: from young children (the average age at which children begin to cycle independently is about 8 years old) to elderly people (those over 65 cycle for over 25% of journeys).
So, the Netherlands is the safest country for cycling at any age, yet helmet use is only 0.5% – and it’s likely that the 1-in-200 helmet-wearing cyclists are riding for sport. Cycling safety is clearly something more than wearing a styrofoam hat – and yet the German ministry for transport is gung-ho for helmets.
A montage of six Dutch cycling scenes: two young ladies, an older man, a woman with a child in a box-bike and another child riding alongside, a group of teenagers, an older woman, and two young children.
All ages and physical abilities, cycling without helmets – yet the safest in the world.
Helmets are no answer to dangers on the street. In the UK, most cyclists wear a helmet, yet cycling there is six times more dangerous than in the Netherlands (and that figure ignores the fact that hardly any children or elderly people cycle there). 
If we genuinely want to make cycling safer, more helmets aren’t the solution. They are really a good indicator that the streets aren’t safe. When people don’t feel safe when cycling, they will wear a helmet – and hi-vis vest – with or without advertising...

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