Cameron’s failure to wear cycle helmet “irresponsible”

Following David Cameron's irresponsible failure to wear a cycle helmet, it has emerged that one of the leading campaigners for compulsory helmets is a Tory MP.

David Cameron was today “under fire” for choosing to cycle without a helmet. And, as the news prompted an online row about whether it is “sanctimonious” to highlight cycling safety, it emerged that one of the leading campaigners for compulsory helmets is a Tory MP.

Just weeks ago, Peter Bone, Conservative MP for Wellingborough, spoke out in favour of making helmets compulsory for children up to the age of 14:

If somebody said 16 per cent of people who died in road accidents could be saved, you would bite their hand off … The savings to the NHS alone would be enormous … I believe individuals can make up their own minds whether they want to kill themselves. Youngsters can’t, however, and we have to do it for them.”

In January 2010, Bone asked a question in parliament about the Department for Transport’s assessment of the safety case for children to wear safety helmets. He received this response from Paul Clark, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the DfT:

“The Department commissioned a research project on cyclists’ road safety, which included a new review of cycle helmet effectiveness.”

The review concludes that, assuming cycle helmets are a good fit and worn correctly they should be effective at “reducing the risk of head injury, in particular cranium fracture, scalp injury and intracranial (brain) injury for users of all ages but would be expected to be particularly effective for children”. The report that Mr Bone highlights also includes the results of a forensic case review of more than 100 British police cyclist fatality reports:

“[The] case review … highlighted that between 10 and 16% of the fatalities reviewed could have been prevented if they had worn a cycle helmet.”

It also found that helmets would be “particularly effective” for children.

Given the currently available evidence (highlighted by one of his very own MPs) of the safety benefits of wearing a cycle helmet, and the (uphill) efforts of safety campaigners to encourage children, in particular, to wear a helmet, David Cameron should be trying to set a good example. Instead, he is irresponsibly choosing to look good for photo opportunities, regardless of the message this sends to Britain’s young cyclists.

46 Responses to “Cameron’s failure to wear cycle helmet “irresponsible””

  1. torybear.com

    RT @leftfootfwd: Cameron's failure to wear cycle helmet "irresponsible": http://bit.ly/ahVsyZ <– hahahah keep up the hard hitting stuff

  2. the credo

    RT @torybear: RT @leftfootfwd: Cameron's failure to wear cycle helmet "irresponsible": http://bit.ly/ahVsyZ <– hahahah keep up the hard hitting stuff

  3. Edward Jones

    RT @leftfootfwd: Cameron's failure to wear cycle helmet "irresponsible": http://bit.ly/ahVsyZ <– incredible that this was deemed a story

  4. Duncan Stott

    Until you find one instance of a child refusing to wear a cycle helmet because David Cameron doesn’t, I’ll file this one under “desperate attack”.

  5. Daniel Warburton

    Are there not bigger issues at hand? RT: @leftfootfwd Cameron's failure to wear cycle helmet "irresponsible": http://bit.ly/ahVsyZ

  6. Jamie Edwards

    Wow. The standard of LFF.org’s content never ceases to improve, does it?

    How about we stop worrying about everyone and everything and let people take their own minor lifestyle choices.

  7. Pete

    This is really low grade stuff!

  8. 6000

    Aside from his lack of helmetry garb, and in addition to the list of heinous crimes that Cameron has committed, I have it on good authority that he didn’t clean his teeth on March 12th and he’d been eating liquorice. Also, his farts don’t smell like roses. Vote Labour!

  9. truthmonkey

    As responsible as dealing drugs I’d say. Oh, wait, not wearing a cycle helmet isn’t illegal.

  10. Anna

    Left foot in it more like!

  11. Oxford Kevin

    I don’t like Cameron but I have to agree with Duncan here. Cameron’s wearing of the hideous flouro yellow shoulder strap is more likely to be beneficial by reducing his chances of being hit than wearing a helmet. There’s plenty of areas to attack Cameron but this aint one.

  12. Frank

    Is it buggery.

  13. DevonChap

    If you look at the TV footage this was an absent minded mistake. He was being interviewed just as he was setting off and his helmet is hanging from the handle bar. Show the cyclist who has never forgotten to put on their helmet and I’ll show you a scantimous prig (and someone who doesn’t cycle much).

    http://playpolitical.typepad.com/uk_conservative/2010/04/sky-news-catches-david-cameron-cycling-without-his-helmet-.html

  14. Silent Hunter

    Fu**ing Labour Nanny state. Get out of every aspect of our bloody lives you interfering b*st*rds.

    Thank God you’ll be history soon.

  15. Andy Boyne

    RT @torybear: RT @leftfootfwd: Cameron's failure to wear cycle helmet "irresponsible": http://bit.ly/ahVsyZ <-Ho ho Nanny state not yet gone

  16. No Strings Attached

    Everyone on this thread seems to be mocking something that is actually quite serious. Whether we like it or not, people in the public eye — today’s ‘role models’ — have a good deal of influence over the children of ‘Broken Britain’ today. Take anorexia, for example. We are seeing incredibly high rates of anorexia among young children — both boys and girls — that is at least partly fuelled because people in the public eye strive to be skinny and, like Kate Moss, choose to make statements about not eating. Without being a direct parallel, it is therefore also concerning when someone with such a high public profile as Cameron doesn’t act responsibly when riding a bike. That he ‘forgot’ is not good enough. Whether or not we find it odd to believe that Cameron could ever be a role model to young kids, doing everything possible to avoid more deaths on the road is critical and not something to be scoffed at.

  17. Henrik

    This must be viewed as ANOTHER glaring example of how overly concerned Dave is with his public image.

    This obsession with PR highlights Davey-boys lack of substance!

  18. John

    Yeah. Highlighting this plays into the Tory campaign against nanny state / health and safety. It probably loses votes among a) cyclists and b) statisticians, given that the evidence suggests cycle helmets don’t help (it’s a little bit safer to have an accident if you’re wearing one, but risk adjustment by cyclists and other road users means that accident is more likely to happen).

  19. MC

    Forget about the not wearing the cycling helmet surely its a crime to wear that ridiculous luminous sash!!!!!!

    Fashion Police pull over!!!!

  20. Mr. Sensible

    This is a couple of years after the immages of Cameron cycling whilst being flanked by the motorcade…

    This is really going to serve Mr Bone well in his marginal seat, isn’t it.

  21. Will Straw

    “Labour nanny state”, says Silent Hunter. Did he miss the bit about Tory MP Peter Bone calling for the new law?

  22. Bing

    Terribly childish blog entry.

  23. Chris Rust

    Bike helmet law is regressive, look at the health stats from Australia and be prepared to look at ALL the evidence, not just this very narrow and convoluted TRL study. At least Cameron’s bike puts him on the street with ordinary people instead of the back of a limo. If I want to vote for somebody who will think progressively about transport policy would I go for the party of “twobikes” Cameron and Johnson or the party of “twojags” who were accused by Greenpeace of “giving green taxes a bad name” when they tried to tax poorer people’s old bangers as well as richer people’s new gas guzzlers?

  24. Bing

    Highlighting this actually makes Cameroon look more appealing to a lot of people.

  25. TinTin

    Cameron is such an idiot to keep posing on his bike with or without a helmet. The one fact every voter repeats about him is his riding his bike with a chauffeur driven car following behind with his suit and briefcase. He just keeps reminding. people what a shallow PR imposter he is.

  26. Robert

    If it’s sensible and commonplace for Mr Cameron’s core vote of horse riding foxhunters to wear helmets then it’s sensible for him to wear one on his bike.

    Besides, he should think of his dependents.

  27. paulstpancras

    As a father with three sons, I find it reprehensible that both Boris Johnson and David Cameron fail to set an example to children by wearing safety helmets when cycling.

    My 12 year old already balks at wearing his saying “Boris doesn’t wear one, and he’s Mayor, why should I?” It’s an argument we’ve had throughout the winter and will start again this spring.

    Johnson and Cameron are high profile figures and should consider the impact their irresponsible actions have on children.

    Helmets are a necessary safety requirement and all cyclists should wear them.

    Johnson also regularly sails through red traffic lights. Not only is this irresponsible, it is dangerous to pedestrians.

    Two weeks ago, one cyclist came within inches of knocking me over on Euston Road at a crossing. I’m on warfarin, a blood thinner, and a fall caused by a cyclist could cost me my life.

  28. Silent Hunter

    Will Straw:

    No but I heard the one about “Daddy got me this job as a journalist”

    N E P O T I S M. Look it up, Will.

  29. Nick Wilde

    Well done Will. You’ve really highlighted your talent as a journalist. I guess you can always get Daddy to get you another job if this one doesn’t work out.

  30. Nick Wilde

    Will, quite a lot of negative views here. Are you going to close the blog to comments?

  31. Mike Smith

    Paul St Pancras, your son must be almost as much of a pompous twat as you. I have an 11 year old son. Neither he nor his friends have any interest in what Boris or Cameron do or whether they wear helmets. As for necessary safety requirements, I think that a man on warfarin should not be allowed out on foot – he is clearly a danger to himself and this should not be allowed in a caring, progressive society. Best you stay home. Maybe you are one of the many pedestrians I meet on my bike every day who walk out in front of me without looking or who cross on a red light and then shout at me for cycling on green.

  32. Nick Wilde

    I see you have deleted my two posts, Will. What’s the matter? They weren’t profane or abusive. Aren’t you a little thin skinned to be blogging at all? Oh, i forgot, in the progressive left there is no room for dissenting voices.

  33. Will Straw

    Mike – If you want to call someone a “pompous twat” please do it on another blog. If you’re going to comment here, read our comments policy: http://www.leftfootforward.org/about

    Nick – We didn’t delete anything, we just had better things to do this evening than moderate your comments.

  34. Nick Wilde

    Will, was one of the better things you had to do commenting on a politician’s legal choice not to wear a helmet. If you want to be treated as a serious political blog then you should act like one.

  35. Silent Hunter

    Nick – We didn’t delete anything, we just had better things to do this evening than moderate your comments.

    Or in other words – “Yes; we deleted it”.

    A chip off the old block – as Walter Wolfgang would attest to.

  36. Colonel Sanders

    Our Life, Our Death.

    No one should have the right to waste breath critisiscing something insignificant like this.

    Liberty!

  37. Will Straw

    Charming, Silent. It works like this: because a bunch of chumps can’t be civil, we now moderate the first comment from any new IP address. This means that Nick’s comments got caught in the moderation queue. I was busy at 9pm and didn’t get to a computer until closer to 11pm. Capiche?

  38. Jules Wright

    What a laughable blog posting, found via Guido Fawkes. Didn’t know riding a bike without a helmet was against the law. So what if he doesn’t wear a helmet. I ride my bike without a helmet. However, I wasn’t brought up in a Nanny State where terminal bansturbators, po-faced prigs and sour officialdom insist on making my business their business when my business is none of their business.

    Which sadly is what people have to face today; from polemical, political finger-waggers like you Mr Reading. I bet you hate ‘Top Gear’ too. Go out, get a life – and spare us the opportunistic, faux outrage.

  39. Mike Smith

    Will, is it OK just to call paulstpancras pompous, without the twat bit? I have rarely heard more sanctimonious twaddle in my life. It’s not entirely clear to me either how cyclists wearing helmets are less likely to injure him (sorry, cost him his life!) than those who do not. Still, why worry when bashing the Nasty Party. They are, by definition, wicked people, unlike the Labour Party, who have offered us the most ruinous and divisive war since the 1940s, spin, character assassination of opponents, class warfare (wonderful campaign in Crewe by the way) and neglect of ordinary people on such a scale that it has given us a revival of the BNP.

  40. Jules Wright

    @Mike Smith

    Quite.

  41. Who will Tychy support in the May election? « Tychy

    […] and voices being lowered over tea at the vicarage. Two days ago, LFF ran with the headline “Cameron’s failure to wear cycle helmet ‘irresponsible’.” David Cameron was indicted of “irresponsibly choosing to look good for photo opportunities, […]

  42. Tony

    I live in Western Australia and wear a helmet when cycling, thus complying with local laws.

    However, the comprehensive statistical Australian evidence FAILS to show that helmet wearing whilst cycling significantly reduces the risks or either head injury or death, particularly in adults.

    I challenge all those who propose compulsory helemt legislation for the UK to demonstrate stistical evidence that wearing a helmet will significantly reduce death or head injuries amongst cyclists.

  43. stephen

    Hi you are lucky to not live in Australia which is a total nanny state and everyone no matter where and of all ages is forced to wear a helmet.
    I unfortunatly live in Australia and wish we had the option to ride without helmets here – i have a medical problem and find it is worstened when exercising with a helmet on so i have not been able to ride by bike unless i risk an expensive fine it really sucks – My advise is stay away from australia and it’s stupid laws.
    I drove past 2 students last week one appeared to be getting a fine from the police for riding without a helmet ( she had a hair arrangement which probably would have not suited wearing a helmet ) – they were on a cycleway and probably just out for lesure ride around a park in no danger at all but the law treats people like criminals over here, so now i just drive everywhere it’s just not worth the effort to ride when you get treated like a criminal by the law.
    You do not want this anywhere – keep helmets optional and keep your freedom of choice.

  44. Burtthebike

    Except that neither you nor Mr Bone MP appear to have bothered reading the report you rely on so heavily, and it doesn’t say what you think it does. Anyone familiar with such reports would immediately have realised that the conclusions were not based on fact, if only because of the language used in it, which was universally conditional: “assuming that…” “would be expected to…” “predicted that…..” “could have…” “may have….” “would be expected…..” and nowhere does it say cycle helmets can be shown to reduce the risk to cyclists. The authors themselves point out that all their figures for the protective effects of helmets are not based on evidence, merely their own assumptions “However, it should be remembered that there was no specific evidence to support these estimates”.

    All the reliable evidence from over twenty years of helmet laws in Australia and New Zealand show that helmets don’t reduce the risk to cyclists. Check out cyclehelmets.org for a few facts rather than Mr Bone’s fairy stories.

  45. Keith Elliott

    But think….and know mine stop me from having a very bad headache why take the risk……

  46. why_me

    A helmet or a segregated cycle way would save most lives? I hate apartheid but love cycle segregation.

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