Bikes are not cars, and infrastructure is better than helmets

vancouver bike lane

CC BY 2.0 Lloyd Alter/ Vancouver bike infrastructure
We do go on about bike safety, primarily the question of whether the emphasis should be on building better infrastructure for cyclists so they don’t get squished or mandating helmets for their head to try and protect them when they do. On the Alternative Department for Transport, a UK website, the author notes that in the UK people do wear helmets and hi-vis vests- because they are afraid not to.
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.
Higher helmet use shouldn’t be a goal, it should be seen as a failure of policy, an embarrassing statistic. An increase in helmets is a sign that the government has failed miserably in their duty to provide safe streets.

The Minister of the ADFT (he doesn’t give his name) goes on to suggest that the real solution is better infrastructure, with good bike lanes optimized for safety. He suggests that helmet laws and promotion campaigns are just a way for governments to shift responsibility, as if they are saying saying “if you get hurt, you’ve only yourself to blame”...

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