Note: some of what follows isn’t actually true. But only slightly.
In a move that has caused controversy in the pedestrian community, James Cracknell has come out in favour of a law to make it compulsory to wear a helmet when you walk across the road.
Speaking on the Sportlobster programme, he said
I was cycling down Route 66 in America, and a fuel truck hit me. His wing mirror hit the back of my head. The truck hit me at 70mph, and I would be dead without the helmet I was wearing.
But I’ve been thinking. What if I’d been hit hit by that truck while I was walking at the side of that road? Surely a helmet would have saved me in exactly the same way?
You know, we need to protect our heads when we’re on the road. Not just while cycling. But also while we’re walking. Use your head. Wear a helmet.
Cracknell admitted that, when it comes to helmets,
The pedestrian community is strangely ‘anti’ being told what to do. So you can’t have legislation that you should wear a helmet, because it’s an invasion of your rights to do what you want.
However, he was quick to point out that there’s no real downside to wearing a helmet for crossing the road.
But what’s the worst that can happen if you wear a helmet? There’s no downside, apart from maybe having slightly messy hair. That’s it. Whereas the upside is enormous.
And if you think it’s an invasion of your privacy, or someone telling you what to do, to wear a helmet when you walk across the road, imagine having someone wipe your arse for the rest of your life. That is the downside. Or not even surviving! The best thing that could happen is that someone has to wipe your arse for the rest of your life. I would choose to wear a helmet, and have slightly messy hair.
Actor Ralf Little – also appearing on the programme – was quickly won over by Cracknell’s faultless logic.
Why wouldn’t you wear a helmet for walking across the road? What’s the worst that can happen? You’re out walking anyway. Who cares what your hair looks like? It doesn’t matter.
Indeed. Messing up your hair is trivial, compared to the risk of suffering a catastrophic brain injury, if you get hit by a driver. He continued -
I follow James’s missus Bev, and she’s been tweeting over the last few days about Schumacher, and the need to wear a helmet when you cross the road. And the anger – this bizarre anger – from people, this response of going ‘how dare you’, this real vitriol she’s been getting… All she’s saying is, ‘listen, it would be a good idea if everyone was safe when you are on the road.’
Quite right. It would be a good idea if everyone was safe when they are on the road. Just protect your head. What kind of idiot would object to that?
Cracknell also pointed out the extra importance of wearing a helmet while walking across the public highway. Racing drivers wear helmets on racing tracks, where they are surrounded by drivers who are competent and know what they are doing. However -
On the road, you don’t know what anyone else is going to do.
Wise words. Racing drivers are highly trained, whereas drivers on the road are amateurs, and are more likely to crash into you when you walk across the road. They might not be wearing their glasses, and hit you on a pedestrian crossing, causing catastrophic head injuries. Or they might be travelling at 55mph in a 30mph zone, and hit you on a pedestrian crossing, causing catastrophic head injuries. You don’t know what anyone else is going to do.
It’s simple, says Cracknell. What’s the downside? Wear a helmet when you cross the road. How can anyone argue against something that will save your life? How?
Please do read Beyond the Kerb’s piece The Brick Wall, if you haven’t already