Aug 3, 2011
Andrew Budd

High vis v getting kids on bikes

  

 It’s Sunday morning, 24 July, and the Travel Plan Club members have been invited, with their families, to attend a “Young Explorers” bike ride from the town centre to Friday Woods. It was run to show people the cycle routes, to get people active, and to raise awareness of Type 1 Diabetes (www.justgiving.com/planetfrank ). As a public event, a risk assessment had been prepared, and one of the options was to offer participants advice on cycling, helmets and high-visibilty vests; and some were available if people hadn’t brought their own.

One parent, in the friendliest possible manner, informed the organisers that if we wanted to get young people cycling, don’t expect them to wear a high-vis jacket, as they will want to put fashion before safety. Bear in mind that this was a led 10 kilometre ride (at a slow pace), with almost every metre off-road, with people wearing bright clothing in perfect visibility conditions.

As with many interventions when trying to bring about changes in transport habits, beware of the unintended consequences. By co-incidence there was a recent news story (link below) about the perpetual cycle helmets debate, with many doctors not supporting proposals that might improve safety, but which would also reduce cycling levels, on balance to the detriment of public health. Of course, we all want to see a reduction in head injuries, and helmets might help, but look at things through ordinary people’s eyes, and think about how they will respond. After all, many of us reading this are motorists, and we too could possibly benefit from wearing helmets when travelling in a car, as many of us suffer head injuries in collisions. Think how you would feel if a road safety person promoted helmets to you as a motorist – what would your reaction be, and what reasons would you use to excuse yourself from this road safety measure? 

http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23974179-doctors-dont-make-bike-helmets-compulsory.do

 

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What’s coming up?

5 - 19 May Colchester Walking Challenge

10 - 25 June Colchester Cycle Challenge

(10 - 17 June National Bike Week)

14 June CTPC members meeting

15 June National Clean Air Day

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