A SUFFOLK cyclist has extended calls for tighter road safety laws by asking the Prime Minister to make bright clothing compulsory.

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Paul Cawthorn, who makes his daily commute from Ipswich to Martlesham on two wheels, added to mounting demands for cycle helmets to be made mandatory by suggesting that brightly coloured clothing could be equally effective in preventing accidents.

Mr Cawthorn, who works in antique publishing, penned a letter to David Cameron claiming too many cyclists and motorbike riders wear dark clothing on the road.

His concerns follow suggestions by Olympic gold medal winner Bradley Wiggins that wearing helmets would give cyclists more legal protection if involved in an accident.

Mr Cawthorn said: “I want the Government to go even further and make it law to wear bright green, yellow or red.

“Cyclists have to be better protected - too many wear the wrong colour in order to hide mud splashes from roads, but the result is that they become camouflaged.

“I believe changing the law would save lives.”

Olympic champion Bradley Wiggins spoke out in favour of wearing helmets after a man died in a crash near the Olympic Park, following his gold medal time trial ride last Wednesday.

His comments were backed earlier this week by Suffolk’s road safety boss Guy McGregor, who called for cyclists to take more care on the roads.

But not everyone supports Mr Cawthorn’s calls for enforcing a helmet law. A 2006 study by Bath University travel psychologist Dr Ian Walker suggested cyclists who wear helmets were more likely to be involved in a collision because drivers tended to leave less room when passing.

One EADT reader responded to Mr McGregor’s calls online by commenting: “This has nothing whatsoever to do with confidence, it’s about driver behaviour and rather than trying to force cyclists to wear helmets he’d be far better off educating drivers to give all cyclists more room when overtaking.”

Meanwhile, national cycling charity CTC opposes making helmets compulsory, arguing they should be worn at the rider’s discretion.

To have your say on the debate, visit www.eadt.co.uk and vote in our poll, which can be found in the online version of this article.

9 comments

  • By all means where helmets if you wish but please dont force the rest of us to do so. I use a cycle in my daily commute. I also cycle for pleasure. It would not be a pleasure if I had to wear a helmet. I spent 3 years in New Zealand and it is a legal requirement to wear them there. It just puts a lot of people off cycling. Why not make it illegal to ride a bike whilst listening to your walkman? I have to laugh when I see cyclists with their helmets and green jackets, totally oblivious to whats going on as they're listening to the top 20. No helmet Nazis here please.

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    trevorwoolnough

    Wednesday, August 8, 2012

  • Paul Moss, you said "The blame is being placed on the victim here whereas we should be focusing on the perpetrator." Cyclists are frequently the perpetrators! We have all seen cyclists jump red lights, fail to stop at pedestrian crossings and ride up the inside of vehicles turning left. If a cyclist deliberately puts themselves in an extremely dangerous situation is it really fair that the motorist takes all the blame? I have no problem with severe penalties for drivers who cause injury by dangerous driving but road safety is a shared responsibility for ALL road users. As soon as the authorities remember that and start taking appropriate action (through education first and then enforcement) the casualty figures will start to show a dramatic improvement. Enforcement on its own will never work because very few people deliberately intend to hurt someone else on the road.

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    P Pod

    Wednesday, August 8, 2012

  • I cannot understand why the EADT gives space to this sort of ill informed rubbish simple because someone has told them they have "penned a letter to David Cameron". Once again this is an attempt to lay the blame on cyclists for cyclists being killed and injured by motorists. It's ill informed because the Bath research shows that if the cyclist draws attention to themselves by looking confident, wearing a helmet and bright clothing, the passing distance reduces dramatically. Rather than wear helmets and bright clothing cyclists would be better off wearing a long wig and a skirt because motorists give more room to women who don't look like they're dressed for cycling! If anyone cares to take a look at the photos of Mr Cawthorn in the hard copy of the EADT they'll also see that he frankly hasn't a clue about wearing a helmet because it's not even adjusted correctly, sitting far too back on the head, so why he considers himself an expert is beyond me. Where he gets the idea that cyclists "wear the wrong colour in order to hide mud splashes from roads" is also a mystery to me, has he carried out extensive research on the subject or is this, as I suspect, just another piece of witless speculation? I have an extensive collection of eye-wateringly bright and luridly patterned cycle jerseys and none of them serve to prevent motorists from putting me at risk by overtaking too close or in dangerous situations such as blind corners. Let's also not lose sight of the fact that the incident that prompted this article involved a cyclist being crushed by a bus, the cyclist in question wearing both a helmet and bright clothing, neither of which served to protect him. The answer to improving cycling safety is not to festoon the cyclist with bits of multicoloured plastic and flashing lights, it's to educate the motorist away from the current "get out of my way" attitude, where every other road user who delays them for a microsecond is treated with dangerous contempt.

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    Ned Flanders

    Wednesday, August 8, 2012

  • P Pod please note this , “Of pedestrians injured in London in a collision caused by red light jumping only 4% involve cyclists, whereas 71% occur when a car driver jumps a red light and 13% when a motorcyclist does. As an organisation representing those two road user groups, CTC suggests IAM ought to call for more road traffic policing to enforce traffic laws, rather than highlighting red light jumping by cyclists.” (CTC). Cyclists who jump red lights are foolishly putting themselves at risk, motorists who jump red lights are potential killers of innocent pedestrians, cyclists and other road users. This blinkered concentration on red light jumping by car-centric oraginisations and individuals ignores the fact - yes, it is a fact - that motorists also jump red lights, more frequently than cyclists at some junctions. Taken from the TfL report on Advanced Stop Lines, "48% of (red light) violations were committed by pedal cyclists, 31% were committed by cars and taxis." Cyclists on the road may put themselves at risk in some circumstances, but they are the cause of very little harm to others, whilst it's cyclists that are disproportionately at risk from the dangerous behaviour of motorists. It's the motorists that are the problem and they require education, but of course no-one wants to hear that, do they? Unless of course, you actually try cycling regularly in somewhere like Ipswich town centre, then you'll change your mind pretty sharpish.

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    Ned Flanders

    Thursday, August 9, 2012

  • LOL... In this town the Police don't even enforce working lights on your car, let alone bike, let alone helmets.. How many bikes have you seen with lights on thier bikes here... seriously.

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    chris

    Wednesday, August 8, 2012

  • Just to be clear, whilst Bradley Wiggins did appear to call for helmet-wearing to be made compulsory during his interview, he later tweeted "Just to confirm I haven't called for helmets to be made the law as reports suggest" and "I suggested it may be the way to go to give cyclists more protection legally I involved in an accident".

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    Arthur Jackson

    Wednesday, August 8, 2012

  • Bradley Wiggins made it quite clear that he was NOT calling for for helmets to be mandatory. As has been pointed out in dozens of articles, blogs etc., helmets MAY mitigate injury in some cases, but are not much use when being run over by a bus or lorry. It has also been shown that the rate of head injuries in car drivers far exceeds that of cyclists, yet no-one suggests that they be forced to wear them. The "legal protection" that they may offer is just not so, certainly at present, and I cannot see any Government, all of which are car-centric, changing the law to make this so. Cyclists are welcome to wear as much protective gear as they want, and it should remain a matter of personal choice. Anyway, who's going to enforce this, with reduced police forces? As a cyclist, I've been trying very hard to get "the authorities" to be much more proactive in preventing pavement cycling, but to no avail.

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    T Doff

    Wednesday, August 8, 2012

  • Bit surprised that a cyclist would say this. The blame is being placed on the victim here whereas we should be focusing on the perpetrator. The Olympics are all about participation and forcing cyclists to wear high viz clothing and helmets will not encourage that. The old lady that rides past my house every day, my Mum and Dad riding to the shops, the paper boy, the youngests riding to the park, is forcing them all to wear helmets and high viz clothing really the way to go? I don't think so. We should all ask ourselves why we don't ride a bike on the road and then do something about it. Cycling is not dangerous and we should not perpetuate the myth that it is.

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    Paul Moss

    Wednesday, August 8, 2012

  • Making he wearing of helmets compolsory will mean fewer people cycling which will be a negative factor in the move to improve the general health of the population. We need to encourage more people to give up the car occcasionally and walk or cycle instead. The action the County Council should be taking is improving road layouts to make cycling safer, the most dangerous thing for cyclists is cycle lanes which end abruply and force them to make sudden chages of course which can bring them into conflict with other traffic.

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    Terry Hodgson

    Wednesday, August 8, 2012

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