Just to clarify our policy at Woodside regarding helmets and high vis clothing for cycling. We considered this when we first encouraged cycling, looking at research and talking to Sustrans, the sustainable transport charity. We found that when they made helmets compulsory in Australia the result was less people cycled. As other research showed 40% less chance of cyclists dying from heart disease this was not a good thing. Research has has also indicated that helmets and hi vis clothing can make the cyclist over confident about cycling in traffic and actually encourages drivers to drive 3 inches closer when passing them. Although a helmet will give some protection to your head if you fall off it will not save you if go under a lorry. Being seen, with hi vis clothing and lighting is very important but obviously relies on other road users responding appropriately.
Following this we took the decision to ask you to provide helmets for children and to insist on them for our cycling activities and training for both children and staff but not to prevent children from cycling to school without them. When we have advertised that we are taking children on rides and you have sent you child to school with a bike but not a helmet we assume you are happy for them to cycle like that. If children are wearing a helmet it needs to be worn correctly - across the head rather than at the back and so loose it will fall off if they do.
We hope the government decides to improve cycling safety with more designated cycle lanes properly separated from traffic and measures to improve curb the pollution that cyclist breath rather than introducing rules which discourage cycling. Children and parents are reminded that cycling without lights at night is already against the law and extremely dangerous.