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Poll: Do your children wear safety helmets when cycling?


* Please note that the results of the online poll represent just a snapshot of opinion from the site members who participate. The results of each poll do not necessarily represent the national picture. Participants are only allowed to vote once in each poll.



   ·   17/05/2004 11:26

I believe that cycle helmets should be made compulsary. All parents, I believe would like to have their children wear them. I live near a private school and I see the young ladies from that school pass my house each day with the new expensive helmets dangling from the handlebars thereby causing an obstruction when they cycle. I have no doubt they put them on once in view of their own home depending on whither there is anybody there to see them or not. Parents can supply helmets but if it is not "cool" to wear them they won't. Making it illegial to cycle without a helmet could possibly help.

   ·   17/05/2004 18:21

I totally agree that bicycle helmets should be made compulsory, after all helmets are compulsory on building sites, seat belts in cars and if our children fall of their bikes, some of the injuries are just awful, there have been some kids paralysed from falls like this. When we lived in the U.K. my kids went to \'bicycle safety classes\' run by the local police and also they were available at schools, here there is nothing like that, at least not down the country anyway. If they went to some of these classes they might learn the dangers of not wearing helmets, riding without lights at nighttime etc.

   ·   19/05/2004 11:45

That's true putting legislation is place is of little use unless it's backed up by demonstrating reasons why not wearing a helmet is dangerous. Classes via the scholl in conjunction with the local police would be a great idea

   ·   19/05/2004 16:27

Helmets are a good starting point. What about adding that all cyclists, immaterial of age, should pass a road safety exam, before being allowed on the public highway. How often have we seen cyclists break red lights, go down one-way streets in the wrong direction, etc? And most of these are adults. Secondly, why not introduce insurance for public road users. All other vehicles on our public roads need insurance, and NCT's, so why not cyclists - they use the same roads, should obey the same rules, take the same chances as everybody else. And use part of the funds raised from this to increase number of cycle paths, increse education of all road users.

   ·   19/05/2004 17:24

i cycle to school most days and i always cycle if i need to get somewhere in a hurry, i generally away from traffic but i never wear a helmet. i dunno i just never really bothered to get one cos i only found my bike in the garage in january and decided id get places faster if i cycled. im in first year and i intend to cycle til im at least old enough to get a motorbike, which i hope to do in the foreseeable future, and i intend on wearing a helmet when on that, but i dont want to wear one on a bike.

   ·   19/05/2004 20:05

compulsary for certain, I see so many young children riding around and no helmet, its frighting, if parents put helmets on them as soon as they start cycling the children would take to them,and both parents and children be lot happier, and safer.

   ·   20/05/2004 00:28

I think this poll could show distorted results.I see 100's of secondary school kids everyday cycling to school with no helmets. Lets raise awareness and make it cool to wear a helmet.We did it for hurling. Let's extend the professional safe cycling courses for all kids at school, primary and secondary.

   ·   20/05/2004 09:04

no children but this should be made law in Ireland

   ·   20/05/2004 12:11

I have purchased the most trendy up to date helmets and I may as well have given them a paper bag! They just wont wear them! I now tell them to wear a hat so that when they smash their heads on the ground it will be easier for the emergency services to clean up their brain matter instead of making a mess on the road!

   ·   21/05/2004 02:12

I do not believe that this poll is correct53% say that children wear helmets. I don`t think so. I know that my kids should wear helmets but I live on a quiet cul-de-sac and all the kids cycle up and down on their bikes with out a care. They should wear the helmets, but try telling that to kids.

   ·   21/05/2004 09:36

Re the comments about parents being unable to make their children wear helmets. This is a clear sign of things to come. Children should show respect to their parents by complying with their instructions. If they refuse to wear the helmet, ban television for a week, or no pocket money for a week. Some people are too soft and will pay the price later in life. Everybody complains at some stage about the "youth of today" - well, we were all the youth at one stage and I know if I disobeyed my parents, I would have lost a privilege. For those who say you can't police your children 24 hours a day, I say, why not? ARe they not your most precious thing in life? Do you not want them to be safe? Surely you wouldn't give them unlimited access to the internet, or your drinks cabinet? Finally, I say lead by example. Cycle with your children - and wear your helmet; drive your children to school - and wear your safety belt; cross the road with your children - at the pedestrian crossing, or safest point and not at the most convenient point to you. Children learn from their parents, siblings and peers. Parents can have the greatest influence on their children's lives, but don't blame your children for not wearing their helmets, if you're not prepared to enforce it fully.

   ·   21/05/2004 16:47

Children should probably wear helmets, but to say they should be compulsory is coming directly from the perspective of the motorist. Get the cyclists off our roads is what you are all saying in all honesty. Where compulsory helmets are the law in Australia, this means a 40% reduction in cyclists. The real answer to safety for cyclists is not helmets but safer roads with reduced speeds and more enforcement.

   ·   24/05/2004 09:10

I agree that you cannot be with your children 24 hours a day. It is unrealistic to suggest that you can. But I remember as a child that anyone caught doing 'wheelies' (considered to be dangerous at the time) had their bikes tied up in the garage or shed for a week. This seemed to put a stop to it. Could the same idea work for kids not wearing helmets?

   ·   25/05/2004 17:50

there are many ways to make cycling safer before one thinks of implementing manditory use of helmets. helmets aren't designed to protect cyclists in colisions with cars. this is where most cycle injuries come from. if children are forced to wear helmets, chances are the won't wear them properly - making them 100% redundant. there is no point in wearing a helmet which falls of the childs head. if motorists were forced to travell under 20MPH in built up areas, which is the european standard, there would be much less threat to cyclists. one point to keep in mind is that an uneducated child (in terms of cycle safety) may be given a false sence of security by wearing a cycle helmet. conversly, a motorist sub-concously travel a couple of MPH quicker past a cyclist wearing a helmet. these two points could have disasterous consequences. i would also like to ask everybody two questions. 1.) is it just me or does anybody else feel uncomfortable with the fact that The NSCs Cycle Safely booklet is supported by the Irish Insurance Federation??? mayby i am just being paranoid but something tells me that the IIF may be more interested in getting cyclists off the road and into cars. 2.)is there anybody here who cycles regularly and believes that manditory use of helmets would make cycling safer???

   ·   26/05/2004 09:03

I cycled to school and college over the space of about 9 years and never wore a helmet. The only two accidents I had were a knee injury (my own fault) and a very minor shoulder injury where a truck came around the corner too close to the edge of the road and glanced off my shoulder. But I think if we were to reduce the speed limit to 20MPH in built-up areas (all of greater Dublin) this would result in frustrated motorists who would then try to 'make up' time on country roads, taking risks they might otherwise not take, this endangering cyclists and pedestrains. What's needed as well as traffic awareness for cyxlists, is cycle lanes. Surely the NSC cannot expect children and adults alike to cycle in the gutter, competing with cars, motorcycles and litter and then expect them to feel safe bacause they have a helmet on. I wonder how many deaths or serious injuries to cyclists in Ireland last year were the result of head truama?

   ·   26/05/2004 13:41

Shane Foran Chair Galway Cycling Campaign 087 9935993 Any parents using this message board need to be aware of some salient facts regarding these calls for child cyclists to wear, or made wear, so called "cycling helmets". Cycle helmets are intended to prevent soft tissue injury in the event of simple vertical falls at low speeds. They are neither designed, intended nor expected to provide protection from impacts with moving motor vehicles, the cause of the overwhelming majority of cyclist fatalities and of the majority of serious injuries. This limited level of protection is only provided if the helmet is properly fitted and worn. Improperly worn or used helmets can and do kill, with reports of deaths of children due to strangulation in Sweden, Finland the US and Canada. Cycling helmets are primarily specialised items of sports equipment used by adult racing cyclists - they must be replaced with a new helmet every time they suffer an impact - the impacts damage the energy absorbing liner (which is how they actually "work"). However, bear in mind that cyclists who use helmets have been shown to be seven times more likely to hit their heads if they fall (the helmet makes your head bigger). There is no real world evidence that encouraging or compelling helmete use has had any serious injury prevention effect for cycists. In fact the reverse is the case, the Australian data in particular indicates that the helmet law resulted in increased risk of accident and injury for cyclists. The Bicycle Helmet Research Foundation (BHRF), an international coalition that includes doctors, cycling safety experts, statisticians and people with professional involvement in helmet design and performance has intervened in the ongoing public controversy about the National Safety Council's claims regarding helmets. This week, on their own website, the BHRF have released detailed rebuttals of the claims made by the NSC. ( ) The claims for every one of the NSC's supporting documents have now been either discredited or rejected as irrelevant to the debate. The fact that most Irish people, whether children or adults, don't use helmets is actually something to be deeply proud of. It proves that we have a robust cycling culture in this country and shows that most Irish people, whether children or adults, have more "cop on" than to fall for commercially motivated pseudoscience sourced from the USA. More details here in reverse chronological order. Experts release detailed rebuttals of disputed NSC claims Is the NSC planning to rid Ireland of all cyclists? By Rory McKevitt, Irish Cycling Campaign Cyclists Reject Safety Council's Helmet Proposals

   ·   27/05/2004 18:56

In Germany the cars drive much faster than in Dublin, but there's a big cycling culture and they don't really wear helmets. MAny many people have their children or baby on board too...I'm surprised there aren't more accidents. Another thing I've noticed here is that it's more socially acceptable to cycle on the footpath..No tut tuts like Ireland..I'm going to start cycling on the footpath in what if I end up in court...I'm not going to die like so many others. *

   ·   29/05/2004 21:04

Making helmets cumpulsory will decrease the number of cyclists on the roads. I think that more children are killed/injured in car accidents than in cycling accidents. A litle respect and tolerance from aggressive motor vehicle drivers would be more useful.

   ·   30/05/2004 17:28

There are alot of angry drivers out there, as a cyclist, I've been chased by drivers intent on harming me beacause of a two fingered salute...even a detective rammed me off the road deliberately...

   ·   02/06/2004 10:37

I've worn a cycling helmet for the last 22 years and I'd feel naked without one, as I would if I didn't wear a seat belt while in a car. My motivation initially was the loss of my brother and my first cousin in cycling accidents, where head injuries were the main cause of death. Pretty stark motivational factors and ones I would not like others to have to experience. I really believe that parents have the responsibility to ensure that their children wear helmets. The choice is - 'You wear your helmet when cycling, or you don't cycle.' If the 'cool' factor seems to be an issue, don't let it be used as an excuse. Being killed in a road accident is not a bit 'cool'. If necessary ask other parents to keep an eye out and reinforce the message, and let the children know that you'll hear about it if they're not wearing the helmet. Then it's back to the choice outlined above again. The bike gets locked up after a 'repeat offence'. If children start to learn early enough, safety becomes second nature to them.

   ·   02/06/2004 14:25

Shane Foran, Galway Cycling Campaign, "Anonymous" has made reference to two fatal cycling accidents involving head injuries. Most fatal cycling accidents involve head injuries, most of these are caused by moving motor cars. Cycle helmets are not intended to protect in such cases and there is good reason to believe they lead to increased risk of serious brain injury in such collisions. "Anonymous" makes no reference to the children killed by cycling helmets after getting them caught on playground equipment, bunk beds etc. Anonymous has also made no reference to the health effects of deliberatly preventing children from getting natural healthy exercise. Let us be very clear, there is no evidence that promoting cycle helmets has ever prevented a single unecessary death, there are proven cases where cycle helmets have killed their wearers. See here for more details Lurid, anonymous, unverifiable stories of fatal-head injuries add nothing to the debate.

   ·   02/06/2004 15:44

Wearing cycle helmets does not prevent children getting healthy exercise. Even is they didn't cycle as a result, surely you're not implying that it woud prevent them from playing tennis or football or swimming??

   ·   02/06/2004 17:26

Shane Foran, Galway Cycling Campaign. 1) Not all kids want to play football, go swimming or play tennis. 2) Many of them do but don't have such facilities, eg like-minded friends, tennis courts, football pitches or swimming pools next door. If they can cycle around their neighbourhoods then not only do they get healthy exercise, but their opportunities for meeting other children and participating in other forms of physical recreation are significantly increased. 3) Many children get insufficient PE opportunities at school but would love to be able to cycle to school. Many could be cycling to school right now with a little support from the state plus advice and guidance on best routes. Forbidding all this, in order to make a point about a scientifically disputed plastic-hat seems to my mind to be a bit excessive.

   ·   03/06/2004 09:19

I take your point Shane, I believe tho; that legislation is relatively east to make, ban this, allow for that. What state should bedoing is creating cycle lanes - afterall, a lot of towns have footpaths big enough to drive a small car down and also cycle safety training - thru' the schools perhaps, rather than expecting children to intuitivly know cycle safety and then expect them to cycle in the gutter, jostling with cars and litter for space

This discussion is now closed.