Headway has expressed its anger and disappointment over a BBC Breakfast feature on cycling in which Chris Boardman was seen cycling through Manchester city centre wearing dark clothing and without wearing a helmet.
Mr Boardman, a former Olympic cyclist and currently a policy advisor for British Cycling, was cycling with BBC reporter Louise Minchin, who was appropriately dressed and was wearing a helmet in compliance with the Highway Code and BBC editorial policy.
Mr Boardman attempted to justify his reasoning in a subsequent piece to camera which was later posted on the BBC Breakfast Facebook page.
In this one-sided interview, Mr Boardman states that ‘it (wearing a helmet) discourages people from riding a bike’ and that while ‘there is absolutely nothing wrong with helmets, they are not in the top ten things you can do to keep safe’.
Peter McCabe, Chief Executive of Headway, has labelled Mr Boardman’s appearance on BBC Breakfast and his recent comments as ‘dangerous and lacking in common sense’, and said “It is worrying that a leading figure in the world of cycling should be allowed to put across such a dangerous and irresponsible view of helmets in this manner. The UK’s leading independent transport research institution, the Transport Research Laboratory, has recently demonstrated that cycle helmets are effective in reducing the risk of head and brain injury”.
It is ironic that in July 1998 Mr Boardman featured in a full-page article in The Sun newspaper entitled “I was saved by my helmet”. Following a crash at 30mph that left Mr Boardman unconscious, the former Olympic cyclist said: “If I was left unconscious after an incident when I was wearing a helmet, then I dread to think what would have happened if I had not been wearing one.” He continued: “I will continue to wear one. It was a real lesson for me. Things could have been so much worse. At the moment you are not forced to wear a helmet, but I choose to.”
Had he not been wearing his helmet in 1998 then perhaps Chris Boardman would not have been in a position to even still be able to still cycle at all in 2014.