• Newlane

Is it illegal to ride without a bike helmet?

The debate about helmet usage is a long-running and fierce one. There are many who believe that protecting your head while on a bike should be a legal requirement, there are some who question their capacity to reduce serious injury and there are others who fear that mandating them will reduce the number of people who choose to get on a bike.

The fact is there are just three countries around the world where riding without a helmet is illegal. It’s only in Argentina, Australia and New Zealand that you run the risk of being fined by the local traffic police if you get on a bike without one. Everywhere else using a helmet is a matter of choice.


Research and guidance


You can find data to support all sides of the argument. In one recent study "helmet use was associated with reduced odds of head injury, serious head injury, facial injury and fatal head injury" (Olivier & Creighton) while another found that "prevention of serious bicycle injuries cannot be accomplished through helmet use alone" (Rivara, Thompson & Thompson). One research project even suggested that wearing a helmet puts you at additional risk because cars drive closer to riders when they think they're better protected.

Even so, the majority of guidance from governments and medical bodies is broadly in favour of helmet use. The UK The Highway Code advises riders to wear "a cycle helmet which conforms to current regulations, is the correct size and securely fastened." The British Medical Association, who represent health professionals across the country, strongly advocate for helmet use. Cycling UK, who promote two-wheeled transport, consider helmet wearing a personal choice rather than something which should be mandated through legislation.


Conclusions


Wearing a helmet doesn't make everyone feel safe and certainly can't guarantee protection on a bike. Changing city road layouts, especially separating bikes from cars, is likely to have the biggest impact when it comes to helping more to feel safe about riding more often. Even so, while they might not always look great and can mess up your hair, wearing a helmet does seem to make sense.


At Newlane we believe people should have the choice of wearing a helmet without the hassle of carrying one. Our cool new helmet, built around its' patented flip clip system, offers you access to protection either on your regular commute or that spontaneous hire ride around the city. We're about innovation rather than legislation!

You can find out more about our revolutionary packable helmet and be among the first to own one by signing-up to our newsletter. Thanks for your interest and enjoy life in the Newlane!