Our post on the effects of the NZ cycle helmet law has had more views than any other so far on www.rdrf.org.uk . Prompted by this, below we:
(i) Give fuller references to the evidence.
(ii) Suggest the reason for the observed changes (particularly the apparent adverse effects on cyclist casualty rates).
(iii) Look at helmet advocacy in the context of a car dominated “road safety” culture.
If you cycle in London, you’ve almost certainly seen these yellow stickers over the last few months. They’re on the back of most buses, many vans, and a few HGVs.
What can they mean?
“Cyclists stay back – I get priority as I pay road tax / am bigger / faster / more important than you“?
“Cyclists stay back – I can’t be bothered to check my mirrors before turning, stopping or pulling out, so if I run into you it’s your fault“?
Most people reading this will know that there’s a major safety issue for cyclists and pedestrians that HGV drivers can’t see all round their vehicles, and often drive into roadspace without knowing if anyone is already in it. As a result, around 50% of cyclist fatalities in London involve HGVs. (This is often referred to as the “blindspot” issue)
But what does that have to do with vans and buses? And how many of those seeing the sign on a van or bus make the connection? Continue reading
Below is a graph by Chris Gilham looking at cycling (those of all ages over 5) in New Zealand. Look at levels of cycling and the cyclist injury rate following the introduction of the mandatory cycle helmet law. More to come on the analysis of this graph in the next post.
For more detailed evidence on the effect of the NZ law, and what it means, see our post here