It was a innocent promotional video: Olympic bicycle owner Chris Boardman, using round Manchester, unveiling plans for £85million value of recent biking lanes. However when the minute-long clip was uploaded to Twitter final month there was outrage.
The 52-year-old, identified indignant tweeters, was not carrying a helmet. ‘He ought to know higher,’ one declared.
However, maybe he does – solely 4 years in the past his mom Carol was tragically killed in a biking accident, aged 75, after falling from her bike at a roundabout.
In January 2019, the driving force of the Mitsubishi pick-up that hit her, inflicting deadly accidents, was jailed for 30 weeks. Liam Rosney, 34, had been taking calls on his cell phone – which did not have a hands-free mode – earlier than the crash.
On the time, Chris known as the occasion ‘horrifically life-changing’ and subsequently mentioned he not felt secure biking on Britain’s roads.
His mom was, he factors out, carrying a cycle helmet and high-visibility gear. And but it did not, and could not, presumably have helped.
Chris was additionally hospitalised with a head harm after taking a dramatic tumble within the 1998 Tour de France. He’d been carrying a helmet whereas competing, as is customary.
However the motive he wasn’t carrying one within the latest Manchester clip is as a result of he believes they are not wanted for normal biking.
Chris Boardman was hospitalised with a head harm after crashing within the 1998 Tour de France
Chris, who has been working part-time in a motorbike restore store throughout the pandemic, does not put on one on his commutes and he does not assume anybody else ought to really feel compelled to both.
For drivers, new Covid measures to encourage biking – carving out lanes on the busiest arterial roads in lots of cities – have led to no finish of distress. However it’s no shock that avid cyclists reminiscent of Chris have welcomed them.
It is only one measure, he hopes, that may make helmets irrelevant.
At current, whereas the Freeway Code advises cyclists to put on head safety, it says it is ‘a private alternative’ and they don’t seem to be obligatory on British roads. It isn’t a scenario Boardman needs to see change – ever. Certainly, he explains that his mom’s premature demise has partly impressed his stance.
‘We see aggressive cyclists carrying helmets and so we predict certainly all of us ought to,’ he wrote in a weblog on the British Biking web site by which he argues necessary helmet carrying in locations reminiscent of New Zealand ‘price extra lives than it saved’.
Admitting it sounds ridiculous, he explains his aversion to what he calls ‘physique armour’ for cyclists. ‘About 110 individuals are killed annually whereas biking on our roads, nearly all ensuing from a collision with a motorcar, the place the safety supplied by a biking helmet is negligible,’ he says.
It is a view that is not solely counter-intuitive however controversial. However scientific research do counsel that cyclists who put on helmets on the highway usually tend to be knocked down than those that do not.
Olympic bicycle owner Chris (pictured on the 1998 Tour de France) had been carrying a helmet
One research was carried out by Dr Ian Walker, a psychologist from the College of Tub, who rode a bicycle fitted with a pc and sensors that might measure the space between him and different autos on the highway.
Throughout common journeys, he spent half the time carrying a cycle helmet and half the time bare-headed – and recorded information from greater than 2,500 overtaking motorists in Salisbury and Bristol.
Dr Walker discovered that drivers had been as a lot as twice as prone to get very near the bicycle when he was carrying the helmet. He was struck by a bus and a truck throughout the experiment – each occasions whereas carrying a helmet.
He concluded: ‘We all know helmets are helpful in low-speed falls… however whether or not they supply any actual safety to somebody struck by a automobile may be very controversial. Both manner, this research suggests carrying a helmet would possibly make a collision extra doubtless within the first place.’
Bizarre science: Icy shock for man who was allergic to the chilly
A person having a shower suffered a life-threatening anaphylactic shock as a result of a extreme allergy to the chilly.
The 34-year-old was discovered unconscious and coated in hives – often brought on by sure meals and bug stings – based on The Journal Of Emergency Drugs.
His blood stress had dropped a lot his physique wasn’t receiving sufficient oxygen.
His household say he had a historical past of being ‘allergic to the chilly climate’ and that he had begun getting gentle hives after shifting to the cool US state of Colorado from the tropical islands of Micronesia within the Pacific Ocean.
Not everyone seems to be satisfied. Dr John Black, an knowledgeable in emergency drugs, mentioned that carrying a helmet is ‘widespread sense’, pointing to statistics which present biking helmets cut back the chance of mind accidents by two-thirds.
So certainly, if a helmet saves only one life, making them customary equipment is smart? Chris disagrees.
The UK has among the highest ranges of significant accidents and deaths brought on by biking in Europe, and Chris says: ‘This could inform us one thing. Everywhere in the world, international locations with the best use of security gear are probably the most harmful for cyclists.
‘Wherever helmet use is obligatory, there was no corresponding drop in harm until there may be additionally a drop within the numbers selecting to journey bikes. The place helmets are necessary, biking charges drop considerably.’
This, he explains, may have unintended penalties. A research by the College of Glasgow confirmed that individuals who commute by bike nearly halve their possibilities of dying from coronary heart illness and most cancers in comparison with individuals who drive. Their possibilities of dying prematurely by any trigger drops by 41 per cent.
Chris says: ‘Let these numbers sink in. Within the UK, one in six deaths – almost 90,000 per yr – is on account of bodily inactivity associated illness together with diabetes, coronary heart illness and most cancers. Any measure confirmed past doubt to scale back individuals’s probability to journey by bike will kill extra individuals than it saves.’
He argues that specializing in helmets diverts from extra necessary points, reminiscent of implementing stricter dashing legal guidelines in residential areas, making streets extra bike pleasant and areas round faculties car-free.
They’re strategies that may annoy motorists. However he says: ‘That is what occurred within the 1970s within the Netherlands,’ a rustic recognized for its cycle paths, ‘and now, greater than 50 per cent of kids journey to highschool safely daily.
‘Think about the discount in congestion if 50 per cent of kids weren’t pushed to highschool. Helmets and high-vis clothes are an indication we’re getting it mistaken.’