Critics of the proposed cycling helmets bill, which aims to make the wearing of helmets mandatory for all riders under the age of 14, have said that the fact that mandatory helmet wearing would put many young cyclists off would mean that the lack of exercise would cause more deaths than it would save. Many more people have taken to cycling following the success of British riders at the Olympics, as well as at the Tour de France, and other cycling events around the world.
The government, as well as cycling charities, fear that forcing people to wear helmets will mean that this upward trend will effectively stop, and people will revert to less active and more sedentary lifestyles. Cycling has been shown to help reduce the changes of diabetes, heart complaints, and various other physical ailments which can lead to early deaths and cost the NHS millions every year.
Despite this belief, however, a bill to discuss making it mandatory for children under the age of 14 to wear helmets did reach Commons. This was only a preliminary bill, which means that it would have given the right to discuss the proposed new law, and did not mean that the new law would be passed. However, with the majority of groups and people seemingly against the proposals, it seems unlikely to garner much in the way of discussion.
The Cycling Tourists’ Club is one of the bill’s greatest critics, and they have said that the government will not discuss such a bill especially when they are ready to announce the belated, but potentially very beneficial, Cycling and Walking Initiative Plan. This plan will highlight ways and initiatives that will be used and implemented by the government in order to try and encourage a greater number of people to start cycling and walking, rather than driving and using public transport.
Cycling helmets can and do save lives, protecting the head and brain from serious injury, but many people see them as a deterrent to cycling, especially the younger generation. The CTC, and the Prime Minister, are afraid that forcing people to wear them means that they will choose, instead, to stop cycling.