On 11 August the Guardian published an article entitled “Do cyclists really need helmets?” It noted the difference in cycling culture between continental northern Europe and elsewhere. I submitted a letter on the subject that they declined to publish. So I have submitted it to my blog where I have a 100% success rate.
Do cyclists really need helmets? (G2 11.08.08 and Letters 13.08.08) Two years ago I was invited to give a lecture in Amsterdam comparing Dutch and British attitudes to risk. I complimented my hosts on having a much better cycling accident record than the British, and went on to say that I had been in Amsterdam for two days and seen many thousands of cyclists but only half a dozen cycle helmets. A member of the audience responded by saying that I had been looking in the wrong place. He offered to show me the following morning a disciplined file of children on bicycles all wearing helmets and fluorescent jackets. They would, he added, be cycling to the British school.