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14/04/2011 // INFO 6 Comments

Cycle safety day so say AA

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AA

Today has been designated “Cycle Safety Day” by no less than national motoring organisation the AA. To celebrate this self appointed day, the AA has announced that this morning it will be handing out 5,000 sets of free helmets and high-visibility vests to London commuters.

The helmets and vests with AA branding will be will be available on a first-come-first-served basis from Boris Bike docking stations at two locations - Waterloo Place (SW1Y 4BN) from 7.30am and Lincoln’s Inn Fields (WC2A 3NA) from 1pm. For those people who do not live in London, fear not the AA plans to host similar events handing out free helmets and vests in other UK cities and towns.

Misjudged

While a commendable action on the AA’s part, maybe it has misjudged the reaction of cyclists to its move judging by comments on twitter yesterday afternoon when the Evening Standard’s Ross Lydall announced the AA’s plans.

Cyclists negativity to the initiative was not helped by the AA Charitable Trust claiming on the “Cycle Safety Day” press release that 97% of AA’s 16,000 members think cyclists should wear helmets. I’m sure they do.

A number of tweets to the AA President Edmund King (@AAPresident) sarcastically mention that maybe the AA should concentrate on teaching motorists how to drive properly. For instance, @SarcastiCyclist quips that 100% of cyclists want to see motorist get off their mobile phones while driving.

AA loves cycling

In the press release, Mr King is keen to point out that despite being a motoring organisation, the AA “has always had an interest in cycling and safety”

“We welcome the increase in cycling… but we want to ensure that more cyclists don’t lead to more casualties. The use of cycle helmets and vests by all cyclists could significantly reduce the number and severity of injuries that occur each year.”

Mr King responding to negativity towards the AA’s campaign told the Evening Standard that the adverse reaction to it was from what he called a “minority” of cyclists, and expressed disappointment that AA’s motives should be questioned.

Mr King has stressed that the AA doesn’t want to see a law to make it compulsory for cyclists to wear helmets. An issue that has been grabbing national newspaper column inches and debate this week after cycling minister Norman Baker declared that he did not wear a cycling helmet as was his libertarian right.

See also

Radio campaign preaches road safety to cyclists
End of the line for NI helmet compulsion law?

from Going Going Bike – Auctions, Bike News, Cycle Stuff

6 comments [leave one]
Jonomc April 19, 2011 at 1:19 pm

So today having totally wonderful weather and my wife being on holiday not to nag me – I rode to work without a helmet, yes I will continue to wear a helmet most of the time but it is my choice.

What would be much more helpful would be if the person in the van last night didn’t do a right turn acroos the road I was cycling up mean I had to slam the brakes on very hard – that would have been a lot safer for me.

BTW would never wear a yellow AA branded helmet – what a great way to show you are a cheapskate, freebie chaser.

Reply

Ros April 19, 2011 at 6:18 pm

So the AA want to make sure that ‘more cyclists don’t lead to more casualties”? They might benefit from reading some of the information and statistics showing that cycle casualties decrease as the number of cyclists on the road increases.

Here’s one article to get them started: http://edinburghnews.scotsman.com/edinburgh/Bike-accidents-in-reverse-as.2689392.jp

And figure 6 in this article gives some statistics http://www.bikexprt.com/research/pasanen/helsinki.htm

Reply

James - Going Going Bike April 20, 2011 at 10:32 am

Ros – thank you for linking to those articles…neither of which we had seen. Very interesting.

I cycled in Edinburgh over the course of a two year period (2000-2002) and, although cycling was not widespread, I felt safer than cycling in London. With the increased numbers of people cycling in Edinburgh I am sure it will become even safer.

Reply

Ashley Leaney (Mr) April 22, 2011 at 6:32 pm

I’m sure if all cyclists wore full body armour and donned orange aircraft style strobe lights on their helmets and rode along slowly in the gutter and gave way to speeding drivers this too would result in fewer deaths and casualties.
.
But yet again an organisation – this time the AA – is addressing the symptoms not the cause.
.
If all drivers, including all AA members, drove with due care and attention and complied with the road traffic act (highway code) AS THEY SHOULD, there would be even fewer deaths and causalities.
.
Yes, there are bad cyclist as there are (far more) bad drivers. But stop this ya-boo nonsense and take action against bad ROAD USERS, cyclists and drivers.
.
“Yes”, I drive and ride and “yes”, I am insured in my car AND on my bike and “yes”, I wear a helmet.

And “Yes” my brother and I narrowly avoided a collision with a car yesterday which was coming towards us a decided to pull across our path to enter a driveway but then STOPPED, completely blocking the road (a narrow country lane). INEXPLICABLE!
.
We were both wearing helmets – how did this help us?

Reply

James - Going Going Bike April 22, 2011 at 10:06 pm

Thanks for adding your experiences Ashley. Agree that is the responsibility of all road users not just cyclists or drivers. Fundamentally though a bad driver is more dangerous than a bad cyclist!

Reply

Geoffrey Downing April 23, 2011 at 11:00 pm

I do believe every cycle sold should automatically come with a halmet. I applaud the AA saying helmets should be compulsary and yes it should lead to a lot less deaths after all you never hear the doctors saying “it would have been alot better if he hadnt been wearing his helmet”. But also it should be made clear that the laws need to be changed so that any driver hitting a cyclist should be charged unless the cyclist was to blame(much like some of our european counterparts) after all a car is potenmtially a weapon in the wrong hands. I cycle everywhere and have more than a few brown trouser moments.

Reply

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