Cycle Training & Cycle Helmets

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  • I have been invited to speak at this seminar run by Cycle Nation. As you can see the aim of this conference is to explore issues around risk health and danger and help people talk to the media rationally about contentious issues such as cycle helmets and road danger etc. I have been given the short straw, I think, and am preparing a presentation on cycle helmets and cycle training.

    I would be grateful for any help with this, or thoughts and ideas to construct a balanced presentation. I plan to address the questions below:

    1. If the aim of training is to get more trips by bike, encouraging people to do a low risk activity by teaching them skills in a low risk manner, how do we manage the contradiction of this message with the message given when we go straight to PPE (personal protective equipment) while cycle training. Often the very first interaction with our trainees is around helmets?

    2. What is the position of Bikeability schemes around this issue? Are people refused access to training for not agreeing to wear a helmet?*
      . *

    3. How much money from cycle training funding goes to supplying helmets to trainees?

    *4. *How much time per schools session is spent on helmet related issues whether it is fitting, replacing, telling young people to stop playing with...etc ?

    *5. *Anecdotally how many trainees have suffered/potentially suffered head injuries in your scheme from an incident while training? I do hope you are happy and willing to help me with these questions. If you’d prefer not to reply publicly, pm/email me and I will ensure confidentiality.

  • short straw indeed, good luck, will send you a couple of comments later from a proper keyboard.

  • Try to come up with something constructive for you today.
    Presenting to IAM Bournemouth tonight about NS you'd be proud

  • Cheers fellas. Looking forward to your thoughts
    Saw this in a school bikeshed recently:

  • One thing over lunch, the above reminds me of the relatively frequent occasions that children I coach are sent to school with instruction from parents to keep (their poorly fitted) helmet on at all times, only for me to check their bike and find neither brake works, stem is loose and above min insert line, ditto saddle.

    Parents often are fed these "helmets = safe" messages, without similar info about bike safety or rider behaviour safety.

  • Is that headway ? They get loads of priority for promoting their cause.however their foundation is in brain injury from many causes NOT cycling per se

  • It is headway. And they do have some good intentions though it is hard to fire kids up to get on a bike when their bikes are parked under a picture of a dead person

  • They've pushed for compulsory helmet use for children, but employed a dreadful photo of a child wearing an ill-fitting helmet (perched well back, 'y' of straps over rather than under earlobes, etc.). I wrote to their PR people about it, but heard nothing back. Think I posted to that effect on here too. Also failed to get an office assistant job with them.

    Er, that's all.

  • Sort out some photos of big hair - I work with a girls secondary school where most of the girls have braided hair that can be as big as the images on this site.
    http://richmond-virginia.olx.com/good-lu­ck-african-hair-braiding-richmond-va-804­-228-9772-fish-tail-braids-micro-braids-­iid-115005674
    The school insists the girls wear helmets, which they do, perched atop the hair like a cherry on a cupcake. Hardly meets their aspiration to be stylish.

  • I have never seen a kid need a helmet in cycle training.
    I agree that starting every lesson with the helmet is sending out the wrong message. In addition I can't find any scientific evidence that supports the wearing of a helmet whilst cycling. Anyone know of any? I haven't looked too hard, I must admit.
    I did some work with BC on their Go ride programme and spent the first hour fitting kids with helmets that were really old, filthy and battered, and provided no protection, but some revulsion!
    On a side issue I was recently very roundly criticized for taking some kids out from a school without fluro vests, and the teacher said it was a legal requirement now. Is it?
    (It was after their level 1, and they had all been told to come dressed brightly, to choose the brightest clothes they had, so the were a conspicuous bunch)

  • No legal requirement to wear hi viz. In fact better not to while training so drivers treat the trainees more normally. CTUK do not encourage people to wear these for training. Cheers adroit for you comments.

    @speshact. I do hear many times that people really insist on helmets for people even if fitting them would mean they are not only ineffective but more risky such as for people with big hair or wrong size helmets. It is so perverse

  • I wonder whether the best practical use of a cycle helmet in lessons, given that most children prefer not to wear them, would be as a kind of Dunce's Cap, along the lines of:
    a) Oy, Mostafa with your shoe lace undone, since you've forgotten to do your ABCD check before getting on your bike you'll have to do it now and wear the helmet because you're not making sure you're acting safely.
    b) Cassandra, for the third time, you're riding too close behind Mostafa. Please ask Mostafa for the helmet as you're not cycling safely
    etc. etc.

    To me this approach follows the lines of the famous telegram from the father in Arthur Ransome's Swallows and Amazons in response to the children's request to be allowed to sail to an island "BETTER DROWNED THAN DUFFERS IF NOT DUFFERS WON'T DROWN"
    http://arthur-ransome.wikia.com/wiki/Bet­ter_drowned_than_duffers

    In risk assessment terms PPE should be the last resort only used if proper training, well maintained tools etc aren't sufficient.and the dunce's hat approach reinforces the need to concentrate on actions that prevent a crash/collision.

    Re Hi-Vis, I covered some of the territory in my recent blogpost:
    http://kenningtonpob.blogspot.co.uk/2012­/03/highway-code-versus-schools.html

  • Good blog post spashact...
    You'll like this one I suspect
    http://owntheroad.cc/2012/04/blinkin-sil­ly/

  • https://twitter.com/#!/Littlehuan/status­/190147441859903490/photo/1
    (After Daddy explained the relative risks of cycling, the children knew exactly when to wear their helmets)

  • ^retweeted

  • One thing over lunch, the above reminds me of the relatively frequent occasions that children I coach are sent to school with instruction from parents to keep (their poorly fitted) helmet on at all times, only for me to check their bike and find neither brake works, stem is loose and above min insert line, ditto saddle.

    Parents often are fed these "helmets = safe" messages, without similar info about bike safety or rider behaviour safety.

    I get this ALL the time.

  • from BoJo on mumsnet (tip off via twitter, honest)

    "The most effective thing cyclists
    can do to be safe is wear a helmet, be visible,
    be patient and respectful."

    I couldn't read further for fear of what it leads to.

    http://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/mumsnet_live­_events/a1448277-Boris-Johnson-webchat-M­onday-16th-April-11-30am-12-30pm

  • Too late for your talk, but maybe for the next time:
    http://adrianshort.co.uk/2009/08/24/save­-the-planet-ban-cycle-helmets/

  • Thanks' speshact
    I will post the main points from Saturdays talk later
    Many of the points I made are in that piece

  • Here is a summary of the presentation to Cycle Nation conference. Thanks to all who contributed on this thread or who pm'd me with ideas.

    The aim of cycle training is to promote cycling and give people the skills to do so with low risk.

    For many cycle training sessions in a number of Bikeability schemes the first interaction instructors have with trainees is often a helmet and hi-viz fitting session. ( A good session should start with aims, name learning, learning about the young people’s riding experience, agreeing ground rules, then checking trainees clothes, their bike then Helmets if they’re wearing one. Then start riding.

    Some people are excluded from training because they don’t have a helmet. Some trainees are forced to wear ill fitting helmets or inappropriately fitted helmets (Such as girls with braided hair being forced to wear helmets perched on top) rather than the less risky option of not wearing one in these circumstances.

    There are a number of schemes who insist that instructors always wear a helmet ‘to set a good example’, and act as role models.

    From a very rough survey of a small number of Bikeability schemes up to 10 % of a course can be spent on helmet relates issues such as fitting, replacing, excluding people, asking people to stop playing with them etc. Many instructors insist on people wearing damaged helmets or helmets that have been dropped (So considered ineffective) rather than no helmet.

    There are schemes who fund the purchase of helmets and hi viz from the funding allocated for cycle training

    Risk management is key to the job of being a cycling instructor and any accredited instructor will have demonstrated that they have a practical grasp of the dynamic risk assessment needed to ensure that a low session is delivered

    According the health and safety executive guidelines there is a hierarchy of control measures to be taken graded in effectiveness. (Eliminate, control, Awareness,, inform, PPE) The least effective and final control measure to take is to wear personal protective equipment. The question therefore to be answered is why do so many cycle training sessions begin with PPE or insist on PPE for the session?

    Cycling instructors are trained to manage risk by checking fixing/adjusting bikes, checking trainees and adjusting clothing, pitching training to their level of trainee, progressing at their pace, outcome based training, choosing locations appropriate to their ability, helping people take on their own risk management on a bike, giving them more control over their riding and upping the level of interaction with drivers in a controlled manner etc.

    So why do so many schemes emphasis PPE? Perhaps through a high incidence of trainees heads making involuntary contact with the ground? Again according to schemes who responded there was not even one incidence of this amongst any of the schemes who responded

    What is the national standard view of the wearing of helmets?
    'No instructor should ever suggest that a cycle helmet 'improves safety'. If appropriate words are needed then ‘can reduce injury in the event of an accident’ is appropriate, and an emphasis on the client maintaining cycling skills and awareness to reduce the risk of accidents emphasises the purpose of the training session.”
    National Standard Adult Cycle Training a Guide for Organisers and Instructors: Appendix 3

    What should Bikeability schemes view be about cycle helmets?

    1. Give people choice. Let parents decide for their children whether or not they should wear a helmet. Avoid promoting helmets and never exclude a young person from training for not having a helmet

    2. **Give people balanced unbiased information. **These websites present a balanced view:
      **www.cyclehelmets.org/index.html **
      **www.ecf.com/ **
      **http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicycle_he­lmet **
      www.cyclistsdefencefund.org.uk/

    3. If they wish to wear one teach them how to fit it and explain how to look after it. Never allow a person to wear a damaged helmet!

    In conclusion: Bikeability is a programme that exists to enthuse young people about riding bikes. Its aims are to up-skill people so they are less likely to crash. It is delivered by professionals who are able to deliver this training at low risk. The emphasis, time and money involved in active helmet promotion is detrimental to these aims and send the wrong message even putting people off doing this low risk fun activity.

  • Good feedback thanks. the more I read this ^^ the more interesting it becomes from a H./S.perspective.
    Pertinent line of questioning running through the post and good word use to remember as well.
    The summation of what happens at a typical school session certainly rings true with me

  • Chees *m.f . I will be putting together something that you will be able to download from CTUK resource section about this issue. Will post link here when done

  • good to see J.T of Sustrans is going, hes used to work with transport 2000 moved over a couple of years ago

  • JT gave a talk about the sustrans Free Range Kids scheme (I'll be at the launch will you?). Unfortunately he left before my presentation so didn't get to hear the person who asked why sustrans 'encourages' bikeit people to wear helmets.

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Cycle Training & Cycle Helmets

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