UK Transport Minister Dismisses Legalising Helmets for Cyclists

UK Minister of State in the Department for Transport (DfT), Jesse Norman, has responded to a written question in UK Parliament on whether the DfT will make it a legal requirement for cyclists to wear helmets on public roads.

The question was proposed by Mark Pritchard, the Conservative MP for The Wrekin constituency.

TfL Santander Cycle Lanes
Cycling increased by 22% in outer London during the pandemic, compared to spring 2019
Mark Pritchard said:

“To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will hold discussions with road safety and cycle representative groups on making it a legal requirement for cyclists to wear helmets on public roads.”

Improved head protection is arguably crucial in supporting the growing popularity of cycling in the UK, particularly for cyclists travelling at higher speeds on e-bikes.

The use of helmets significantly reduces the risk of fatal head injuries during collisions and is therefore highly recommended by the DfT.

However, Jesse Norman responded that the DfT does not plan on making helmets a legal requirement on public roads, as it believes the benefits of active travel outweigh the potential safety benefits of such legislation.

Jesse Norman said;

“The Department considered this matter at length in a comprehensive cycling and walking safety review in 2018 and held discussions with a wide range of stakeholders as part of that review. The safety benefits of mandating cycle helmets for cyclists are likely to be outweighed by the fact that this would put some people off cycling, thereby reducing the wider health and environmental benefits.

“The Department recommends that cyclists should wear helmets, as set out in The Highway Code, but has no intention to make this a legal requirement.”

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