They say the hire scheme, introduced in the capital last July, has boosted cycling journeys every weekday by around 20,000 but spot checks suggest fewer than five percent of scheme users wear helmets.
To help remedy this, the AA Charitable Trust for Road Safety and the Environment are offering free Raleigh helmets, which are yellow and have an integrated rear LED, and vests. Cyclists can pick them up from two docking stations: Waterloo Place (from 7.30am) and Lincoln’s Inn Fields (13pm).
Edmund King, director of the AA Charitable Trust and AA president, said: “The AA has always had an interest in cycling and safety. Many of our staff, including me, are enthusiastic cyclists and we're keen to do more to promote cycle safety. We welcome the increase in cycling brought about by the cycle hire scheme but 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."
Not everyone agrees with this statement – see our question of the week, Should cycle helmets be made compulsory?, for more on the issue...