Angela Lee of the Bicycle Helmet Initiative Trust is a helmet zealot. She believes that all people should wear helmets at all times when they are riding a bike, regardless of how fast they are riding, regardless of how they are riding, or regardless of where they are riding. She believes that helmets should be compulsory. As has been astutely observed
she genuinely must believe that wearing a helmet is the first, best thing a cyclist can do for their safety, and since any attempt to inform her otherwise is apparently met with a tirade, it is unlikely that she will ever learn any better.
The extent to which her group is so single-mindedly focused on putting polystyrene on cyclists’ heads, rather than on actually keeping them from harm in the first place, becomes apparent from a recent comment in response to Mikael Colville-Andersen’s observations about how helmets influence the perception of cycling as a safe activity.
Ms Lee evidently does not believe that ludicrous safety gear presents cycling – any kind of cycling – as a dangerous activity. Instead she argues that
“[What’s] putting [cyclists] off is people talking about changing road structures, making roundabouts safer – that is what makes people feel at risk because you’re making people think there are other fundamental points that need changing. Asking a cyclist to put a helmet on their head is a common sense approach.”
Truly remarkable. Apparently the mere act of talking about making roads safer is what is discouraging cyclists from using them.
What leads me to believe Ms Lee to be an anti-cycling campaigner – and not just a well-meaning but deluded single-issue campaigner – is her opinion that discussing the improvement of roads for cycling is
making people think there are other fundamental points that need changing
As if this is a bad thing; as if making the environment safer was some kind of misguided policy; as if anything other than putting polystyrene hats on heads is muddle-headed and wrong. Heaven forbid we should make the mistake of convincing people that anything needs changing – that huge roundabouts and dangerous junctions should be made safe and accessible for all. No – that would be to make people think that there is something ‘fundamental’ about cycling safety that needs changing, beyond bicycle helmets.
Thanks to Sally Hinchcliffe for spotting the quote