London cyclists “reluctant” to wear helmets

New Barclays survey finds "vanity" and inconvenience are main obstacles

Only 20 percent of 500 cyclists surveyed agreed that helmets improve cycle safety in London, UK

In a survey organised by Barclays, sponsors of the London Cycle Hire scheme, “vanity” and inconvenience were found to be the two main reasons more than 50 percent of London cyclists are reluctant to wear a helmet.  


According to the report, “vanity related reasons, such as not looking presentable and a fear of ‘helmet hair'” were cited by 47 percent of participants, while “unwillingness to carry one” took 45 percent of the share. The extra cost of purchasing a new helmet was described as a barrier by 21 percent of the survey group.

The conclusions drawn, circulated by PR firm Citizen Relations, were based on answers from a random sample of 500 people aged 18 and over and living in London between 20 and 23 September 2012. 

The survey also revealed a strong public belief in helmets, with 78 percent of those canvased saying they feel it’s important to wear a helmet. However, only 20 percent ticked a box agreeing that cycle helmets improve cycle safety in London, when confronted with several possible answers. 

Asked by BikeRadar about the criteria for selecting respondents, Citizen Relations said they covered the entire spectrum, from those who cycled very occasionally to regular riders.

Barclays Cycle Hire saw record figures throughout this summer’s Olympic season, with Transport for London quoting total rentals as surpassing 45,000 on some days. 


To encourage more people to wear helmets, Barclays have joined up with cycling retailer Velorution to offer a 50 percent discount on a wide range of helmets. To take advantage of the offer, visit the Velorution website or their store at 88 Great Portland Street, London W1W 7NS between 15 October and 15 December 2012. The offer applies to a range of helmet brands including Bell, Giro, TSG and Nutcase.