James Cracknell: Use your head

Posted by Charlotte


4 thoughts on “James Cracknell: Use your head

  1. Recently Another unlucky man was also hit by the wing mirror of a lorry (he also recovered – see link: http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23969839-surgeons-rebuild-shattered-face-of-student-hit-by-lorry.do). This time however he was a pedestrian and, common to most pedestrians, wasn’t wearing a helmet. So does James Cracknell wear a lid while he’s walking? Why not?
    You are more likely to be killed in a mile of walking than in a mile of cycling (http://www.ctc.org.uk/DesktopModules/Articles/ArticlesView.aspx?TabID=0&ItemID=168&mid=13641). In short: cycling is not an exceptionally risky activity and should not be promoted as such.
    I am sorry about James Cracknell’s suffering and glad to hear that he is expected to make a full recovery in due course – he is very lucky. But his appeal is misguided. He makes an implicit connection between the dangers posed by other road vehicles (a lorry in his case) and the need to wear a helmet. Not only is this unjustifiable but it is highly irresponsible to overstate the “protection” that a helmet can afford in a situation it was never designed for, namely anything other than a fairly low speed fall.
    A youngster and his parents watching this clip could be forgiven for thinking “well so long as little Johnny is wearing a helmet he’ll be OK”. They should of course be thinking about teaching/learning road awareness, defensive positioning and inculcating a genuine respect for the dangers posed by other road traffic.

    More links:

    • Yep, all of those things.

      However, the next time you see a pedestrian walking in the road with traffic passing him at 40mph+, do be sure to do your duty as a citizen and remind him to get a skid lid. I mean, walking in the road is dangerous isn’t it??

      For sure, road cycling isn’t all that dangerous if you are sensible, have road sense, are aware of your surroundings and other road users – and this is the important bit – are surrounded by other responsible, sensible and equally aware road users. However, plenty of cyclists each year aren’t that fortunate. Lots of car drivers aren’t that fortunate. Surely even one accident is one too many?

      There are safety features built into our lives, whether they are airbags, elbow guards, seat belts or cycle helmets. They are there to help, not to hinder; and even a modicum of common sense says that we should take the opportunity to defend ourselves against the other idiots out there.

      We don’t have to strap on a hat, but as a cyclist, I choose life.

  2. I think the point being made is that wearing a helmet is better than not wearing one at all, it’s not rocket science is it? I was hit broad side by a car turning right across my path last year, and though my legs took the main hit my helmet had a huge chunk out of it from hitting the bonnet of the car. I hate to think what my head would have looked like had I not been wearing a helmet that day. And for the record I rarely wore a helmet prior to the accident, I wouldn’t entertain not wearing one now however. Surely trying to do what ever you can to make cycling a little safer is a positive thing. The thing is if you have an accident and your not wearing a helmet and the worst happens, you will never know whether a helmet may have saved you had you been wearing one. Personally I’d rather stack the odds in my favour even if only slightly.

  3. “I think the point being made is that wearing a helmet is better than not wearing one at all, it’s not rocket science is it?”

    Well, it’s a point that isn’t necessarily valid – aside from the fact that most cycling helmets will absorb little impact they also make your head effectively bigger and slower – that means you are likely to have more collisions and the rotational forces of any impact will be much greater – and rotational forces are the ones that tear the brain apart.

    For children with weak skulls then helmets DO protect them from minor impacts – but for adults the evidence that they improve cycling safety just isn’t there.

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