August 2, 2012
Following the death of a London cyclist yesterday, one of Britain's top personal injury lawyers has reiterated his support for the campaign for greater cycling safety.
According to figures revealed by Transport for London (TFL) in June, more than 500 London cyclists were killed or seriously injured during 2011 - a large enough figure to reignite a concern for cycling safety from high-profile accident claims solicitor, John Spencer.
With cycling popularity already speeding up in the slipstream of Bradley Wiggins' Tour de France victory and crashing into those TFL road casualty figures, the call for compulsory head protection was in urgent need of consideration said John Spencer, further to his comments last month.
Since then Wiggins has gone on to win gold in the London Olympic Time Trials and just hours later; a civilian cyclist has been tragically killed by a bus in the capital. Both Wiggins and Spencer share the same opinion when it comes to making helmets a legal requirement for every cyclist on British roads.
John Spencer originally picked the issue up back in November 2011, when he sided with the idea that wearing a helmet can only be a good thing - preventing potential brain damage or even death, in the event of an accident. Now, Spencer still settles on that idea but, as is perhaps natural for a solicitor he has also given time to the opposing argument:
Personal choice to wear a helmet?
In a separate blog post, Spencer explains how a spokesperson from the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers put forward a presentation on the 'duty' to wear cycle helmets. The presentation concluded that it ought to be a matter of personal choice, as anything to deter the image of cycling in this country could have a negative impact on our health - potentially reducing the amount of people taking up the sport and resulting in a resurge of obesity cases etc.
Spencer takes this notion on board but struggles to believe that introducing the legal obligation to wear a helmet will directly encourage laziness. He recognises that before a law can be passed, the issue needs further debate but his final point is difficult for anyone to contest: 'The prospect of even one child needlessly suffering brain injury is too horrific to contemplate. Better to wear [a cycle helmet] than worry about being cool.'
John Spencer commented:
'Whereas it is important to consider how an increase in cycling injuries can be attributed to an increase in actual cyclists, any legislation that has the potential to prevent tragedies like the Stephen Brian case*, has to be a positive move. Surely we should all be concerned - and hope for safer cycling throughout the whole of the UK, both now and moving forward. Surely cycle helmets are part of that safer future?'
*Stephen Brian was a teacher who fell from his bike and died in October 2011. It was rare for him to ride without wearing a helmet - this one-off case cost him his life.