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Do you have to wear a bike helmet?

Words by Cycles UK

on 16/03/2021 15:25:14

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It is not a legal requirement to wear a cycling helmet in the UK, but the Highway Code suggests that cyclists should wear one. You will also find that most organised cycle events, including cycle club rides, will insist on you wearing a helmet. Most cycle facilities such as bike parks will also insist on a helmet.

Wearing a helmet is a controversial issue for some cyclists. Some leading cycle safety campaigners think that the focus on helmets takes away from things such as segregated cycle lanes which could have a bigger impact on safety. They often point out that Holland, where everyone rides a bike and almost no-one wears a helmet, has one of lowest rates of head injury in the world. This being down to bikes and cars being physically separated on different lanes and less people driving.

As the UK doesn’t have a comprehensive network of separated cycle lanes wearing a helmet is very common with regular cyclists, and at Cycles UK we encourage people to wear one.

A major study of bike helmet use around the world from more than 64,000 cyclists has found cycle helmets reduce the risk of:

  • Head injury by 51%
  • Serious head injury by 69%
  • Face injury by 33%
  • Fatal head injury by 65%

Modern cycle helmets are very light, comfortable and easy to wear. The chances of a bike helmet saving your life, or at least reducing the severity of an injury, are high enough to make it worth wearing one.

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