As a riposte to the AA’s decision to distribute free helmets to London cycle hire users last Friday, CTC – the UK’s national cyclists’ organisation – staged a Highway Code giveaway for drivers.
Cycle advocates were concerned that the AA’s focus upon vulnerable road users risked misrepresenting the sources of road danger. The AA’s move, as part of their Cycle Safety Week, prompted CTC staff and volunteers handed out the road rulebook to motorists.
CTC’s Campaigns and Policy Director Roger Geffen explained: “The AA’s gimmick merely gives the impression that cycle helmets are an essential safety aid, and that cyclists who don’t wear them are to blame if they get hurt – neither of which is true.
“Cycle helmets aren’t designed for fast or heavy traffic, and increased helmet use has never been linked with improvements in cyclists’ safety. The one thing we know about helmet promotion is that it puts people off cycling, which in turn worsens not only congestion and pollution, but road safety as well.
“If the AA wants to improve safety for cyclists, it should work with groups like CTC to encourage all road users to follow the Highway Code. Yes, this includes cyclists too, but police data show that the risks cyclists face come overwhelmingly from dangerous driving.”
The AA’s helmet give-away followed a survey of some AA members who said they wanted more cyclists to wear protective equipment.