Thursday, 8 March 2012

Cycle Helmets

I have updated my paper on cycle helmets for a talk presented to the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers last Tuesday.  It can be downloaded here  It may be quoted from or otherwise used provided that my authorship is acknowledged.


  1. Hope not. I will make this available on my chambers' site shortly.

  2. Afraid so. Also links to New Law Journal on the right don't work. Very interested to read your article(s).

  3. New Law Journal links hopefully now fixed.

  4. I've taken the liberty of converting to PDF, and adding to the Cycling Embassy of Great Britain's document library:

    Thank you for a very interesting and useful summary of the legal issues involved.

    1. Thanks I have changed the link in the post to your site.

  5. Good read. Always intersting to hear from an expert on legal matters, if only for the language employed!

  6. Excellent paper. It summarises well the arguments for personal choice and the limited protection afforded by helmets.

    As I always say in these discussions almost all cyclists deaths involve motor vehicles and not even helmet makers claim their product gives any significant protection in bike/motor vehicle collisions.

    The aim must be to wherever possible reduce risk not rely on the injury to one part of the body being slightly reduced by wearing a helmet.

  7. very nicely written summary - thanks

  8. As with any sport, wearing a helmet reduces the risk of a head injury but there are so many other factors involved.

  9. I am not convinced that overall helmets give as little protection as is commonly supposed by the "anti- legislation" lobby although I am prepared to accept that wearing a helmet probably does not afford as much protection as subjectively I feel it does. I do a lot of mountain biking as well as road biking and in both cases wearing a helmet offers some protection from two of the most common accidents. In the case of a MB accident going over the handle bars and landing on your head or being hit by a low branch and in the case of a road accident being shunted from the rear at low speed (<20mph) by a car and hitting said car windscreen with the back of one's head. In both cases I feel that wearing a helmet would offer significant protection but I accept that my belief is entirely subjective.

    None of this means that I think that wearing helmets should be mandatory but I do think that wearing a helmet should be encouraged by responsible organisations such as the CTC where it can be shown that some benefit is to be gained.

    On a slightly different note could a claim of contributory negligence be brought against a cycling club that did not at least encourage members to wear a helmet while on club sponsored events? What if any duty of care does a club have to individual members and to the wider community as a whole?


  10. 'anon' tonight as this is just a quick passing comment - I read this fascinating blog from time to time when I remember it, in big chunks!

    Just wanted to point out that the link to the paper is broken again - goes to a place that says that they 'have a new website'.

    Will try to remember to come back and read the helmets paper. I always ride with one, complete with multiple lights (in addition to those on my bike) but it's several years old and I've been advised that they have a shelf-life shorter than that...