Helmets are being made compulsory ‘by the back door’ - BikeBiz

Helmets are being made compulsory ‘by the back door’

CTC considering legal action to overturn High Court ruling that helmet-free cyclists could be blamed for injuries
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According to The Independent, the CTC is considering legal action to take on the High Court ruling that has opened up the possibility of helmet-free cyclists being blamed for head injuries.

The ruling, reported by BikeBiz last month, cited that riders who didn’t wear helmets that were injured in accidents – regardless of blame – could potentially be found guilty of “contributory negligence”.

"There can be no doubt that the failure to wear a helmet may expose the cyclist to the risk of greater injury," Mr Justice Williams at the High Court hearing. He stated: "A cyclist is free to choose whether or not to wear one," and added that by not wearing a helmet "any injury sustained may be the cyclist's own fault and 'He has only himself to thank for the consequences'."

The ruling concerned an accident that took place in Brightlingsea, Essex in June between a motorbike and bicycle.

The CTC's campaigns and policy manager Roger Geffen said: "The judge didn't have any evidence before him about the effectiveness of cycle helmets. It just seems he has exceeded his remit.

"It's a kind of creeping compulsion by the back door and it leaves cyclists in a state of uncertainty. There's a feeling you might have to wear a helmet because you are legally at risk.

"What we know overall is that wherever helmet-wearing has increased, it hasn't improved cycle safety. We certainly feel the ruling is wrong and ill-informed. We need legal advice," he added.

Meanwhile, former shadow transport secretary Bernard Jenkin MP said he'd speak to the Government about the ruling: "The judge is clearly not a cyclist and he's exhibiting all the prejudices of someone who does not regularly use a bicycle."

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