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By Tom Potter
Wednesday, August 8, 2012
A SUFFOLK cyclist has extended calls for tighter road safety laws by asking the Prime Minister to make bright clothing compulsory.
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.