Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

Helmet plan shows someone is using their head

As chairperson of Headway Foyle, I want to take issue with Richard Spencer's objections to the proposal to make helmets compulsory for cyclists (Write Back, February 3).

Mr Spencer views this proposal as little more than state coercion. He goes on to tell us that he does not intend to "consent" to wearing equipment that is "designed for racing cyclists".

It would appear that he prefers to incur the compulsory fine for not wearing a helmet. His rant is both arrogant and misinformed.

We live in a highly-motorised society. Space on our roads is limited for cyclists and is not risk-free.

Mr Spencer appears to employ the assumption that children are the only ones to be "thrown off" cycles. I must disappoint him.

Adults are also vulnerable - even when they are going "50 yards to the shop".

The critical point I wish to make is that when you are thrown off a bicycle, you may - as Mr Spencer suggests - acquire "a bump". But, equally, you may acquire a brain injury.

Last year alone 180,000 people in the UK sustained an acquired brain injury as a result of a car accident or cycling.

Against this backdrop, Headway Foyle supports the proposal to make helmets compulsory.

So, Richard Spencer: Get on your bike, wear a helmet. You know it makes good brain sense.

PAT ARMSTRONG

Chairperson, Headway Foyle

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