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Call for children’s cycle helmets law - August-02-12
Source: The Times - Law
Lawyers have joined with a brain injury charity to call for cycle helmets to be made compulsory for young cyclists
A change in the law to make cycling helmets compulsory — at least for children — is being urged as part of a new campaign launched by lawyers together with a leading brain injury charity.
As thousands of Britons take to the streets inspired by Bradley Wiggins’s victory in the Tour de France, lawyers are calling for a new law to help prevent the devastating injuries that can be suffered without a helmet.
With the backing of Jacob Roberts, 17, five times British BMX Champion and Team GB BMX Cyclist, the law firm Fletchers has joined forces with Headway, the brain injury association, to promote the use of helmets and change the law.
Ed Fletcher, director at Fletchers, which is a specialist personal injuries law firm based in Southport, Merseyside, said: “Cycling can be dangerous and while adults can take some responsibility for their own safety, children are less aware of the serious consequences of cycling without a helmet.
“There is a perception that injuries can only be caused if the rider falls from a great height or at speed. Sadly we only encounter these injuries when it is too late.
“We want to campaign for change at the root of the problem and secure a change in the law. It won’t eradicate cycling injuries among children, but it will reduce it.”
Jacob Roberts, the young cycling champion who is backing the campaign, said: “All it takes is one crash or fall from a bicycle to change your life for ever.
“Cycling helmets are one way of helping to prevent head injuries. For a BMX racer the helmet is the most essential piece of protection as crashes are hard and frequent.”
Jacob said he had had numerous crashes where his headgear has been severely damaged. “The helmets have been destroyed on impact, an indication of how hard my head has hit the ground, but thankfully I’ve escaped head injuries with no more than the occasional knock-out.”
Sinead King, 22, is still receiving treatment for a brain injury she sustained as a child when she fell a few feet to the ground, falling off her Barbie bike aged six.
She is still receiving physiotherapy and spent several weeks during 2008 in plaster and in a wheelchair after an operation to lengthen her Achilles tendons, which had seized as a result of her left-sided weakness.
“We all think it will never happen to us: I would never have thought that a tiny bicycle could have such a significant impact on my life. Young people may think it is uncool to wear a helmet but there’s nothing cool about having no hair and a horse shoe-shaped scar where there were 36 staples in your head.
“I was unable to walk, talk or do simple things like go to the bathroom on my own. I don’t want other people to go through this, which is why I am backing the campaign to make cycle helmets for children compulsory.”
A man who suffered serious brain injuries when cyling along a dedicated cycle route is preparing to lodge a damages claim - but needs to find the “good Samaritan” doctor who helped him.
Raymond Parker was cycling along a route that runs from Canterbury to Whitstable when one of many loose shards of concrete along the path caught in his front spokes, throwing him off his bike.
He fractured his skull and suffered brain and other injuries. A woman doctor attended the accident, last October, and called for an ambulance which in turn summoned an air ambulance.
His lawyer, Ben Posford, from the law firm Prolegal, said: “Unfortunately although the GP, who had a Dutch accent, gave her details to Mr Parker, they somehow got lost in transit.”
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