Challenging Event Crash Helmet Rules

Discussion in 'Helmet Discussions' started by mjr, 5 Aug 2015.

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  1. mjr

    mjr Wanting to Keep My EU Citizenship

    Has anyone ever successfully got a crash helmet rule overturned?

    I tried asking British Cycling why they mandate crash helmets for a local charity ride and I'm pulling it together as much for my own convenience as for me and others to learn from my mistakes. The context is a completely inconsistent rule enforcement on the 2014 charity ride, with people like me riding free, but some people being lent ill-suited crash helmets and told they must wear them - of course, as soon as they were round a corner from the start, the helmets got strapped to the bike and the volunteer marshals out on the course didn't care, viewing it (correctly IMO) as a matter of personal choice.

    For the 2015 ride, local volunteers said they were OK with people riding free but published materials said otherwise, so I used a web form in Dec 2014 or so to ask for the published materials to make it clear there wasn't a helmet rule ;) I summarise the subsequent email conversation like this - these are all actual quotes but of course there was a lot more written by both sides, including a load of greetings and pleases and thank-yous and Merry Christmas and Happy New Year:

    Charity Officer: "I do remember this coming up as an issue this year and I'm very sorry if there was any confusion caused. Our event is run under the standard British Cycling sportive guidelines (which you can read here - http://www.britishcycling.org.uk/zuvvi/media/Cycle_Sportive_Event_Guidelines1.pdf) and our insurance and risk assessments are tied to following this guidance. ... I personally think it sets a good example to ensure everyone wears a helmet." (Note: to his credit, despite his personal opinion, he did pass this to British Cycling.)

    Me: "Is BC's current position still http://www.britishcycling.org.uk/staticcontent/Safety-Points-0 which is much more reasonable: "British Cycling recommends wearing a correctly fitted helmet for non-competitive riding, whilst recognising the right of each individual to choose whether or not to accept this recommendation and the limit to the protection helmets provide."?"

    BC's Lead Sportive Officer: "Participants have to wear a helmet when participating in any BC endorses events. See page 4 of the Guidelines<http://www.britishcycling.org.uk/zuvvi/media/Cycle_Sportive_Event_Guidelines1.pdf>. As a British Cycling insured event the event organiser has a duty of care to fully risk assess the route and provide a safety plan around the event itself. The mandatory use of helmets relates to this."

    Me: "Riders don't have to wear a helmet on some BC-endorsed events such as SkyRides, do they? Could you bring the sportive event guidelines into line with SkyRides...?"

    BC: "Organisers have more a responsibility here. They are organising and delivering an event participants have paid to enter. The guidelines are in place to lower any risk etc involved. Compulsory helmet wear when participating in these events, is one of the measures put into place."

    Me: "On what evidence does British Cycling base its view that helmets reduce risk to participants in charity challenge rides?"

    That last question was sent 26 January 2015. No reply since.
     
    Last edited: 5 Aug 2015
    Dan B likes this.
  2. If you don't like the rules, don't play the game.
     
    Last edited: 5 Aug 2015
    Lemond, fossyant and Hill Wimp like this.
  3. Milkfloat

    Milkfloat Veteran

    Location:
    Warwick
    Fair play to you for putting the effort in, I am honest enough to admit that I wouldn't be able to stand the pain of banging my head against a brick wall as much as you. I guess in the end it is their event so they can do as they please. The guidelines seem to suggest that the old faithful catch-all of 'insurance' is the reason, I don't see how unless they provide documentation you can disprove that.

    Although I would probably wear a helmet on one of these rides, I do support the notion of choice, partly so I can see what cycling caps people wear.
     
  4. OP
    OP
    mjr

    mjr Wanting to Keep My EU Citizenship

    I think I understand what you're trying to say, so just to clarify I didn't take part in that event this year as a consequence of the crash helmet rule and donated to another charity.

    I felt I should try to stop British Cycling hurting charities though.
     
  5. OP
    OP
    mjr

    mjr Wanting to Keep My EU Citizenship

    Yeah, but it's kind of strange though that the volunteers who do most of the work for the event seem OK with normal riders and the buck is passed firmly to British Cycling's rules.

    This is a new brick wall to me so I've only had one go at it so far :banghead: - In general, I feel I have sometimes helped in improving conditions for cycling, which makes it feel worth having at least one go the rest of the time.

    Indeed. BC are not subject to Freedom of Information and I'm deliberately not a BC member so some of the tricks I've used elsewhere don't work. The insurance defence doesn't seem strong because some other BC-supported mass-participation events (such as the Sky Rides I mention) don't require helmets, so they seem able to get such cover if they want it. My suspicion is that the charity ride rules are controlled by pro-helmet officers while those other mass-participation events aren't, but that's going to be near-impossible to prove and somewhat difficult to overcome.
     
  6. Milkfloat

    Milkfloat Veteran

    Location:
    Warwick
    Perhaps you should turn up wearing this helmet that conforms to EN1078, or at least used to. Hopefully the sticker is still there somewhere.

    broken_helmet.jpg
     
    mjr likes this.
  7. Profpointy

    Profpointy Guru

    If it's on public roads, then I'd.be inclined.to ride along (not) wearing whatever hat you like. If they don't like it say they're excluding you from paying rather than you being too tight to pay and freeloading
     
  8. OP
    OP
    mjr

    mjr Wanting to Keep My EU Citizenship

    Yes, I have done that sometimes, when friends are doing the paid event, else I'd probably go ride a less congested route where I can look at the scenery rather than other riders (my views on some sportivers are in other threads). Of course, I took my own food and drink rather than using the organised feed stops.
     
  9. w00hoo_kent

    w00hoo_kent One of the 64K

    If you want an extra cause to poke at, we went to the Cycle Show last year and I was quite surprised/dismayed to see that the 'try a bike' area included mandatory helmet use. It seemed a bit much for pootling around a tiny closed course on bikes including promenade cruisers etc. Naturally they had a pile of 'common use' lids with no obvious provenance to pick from if you wanted a go. I considered asking an opinion at the CTC stand, but to be honest didn't want to ruin there day or mine.

    It does sound like the charity ride isn't a Sportive (which too many people consider a race and might actually benefit from a helmet rule in the same way racing seems to) and would be much more suited to a freer approach. I'd be a bit surprised if BC didn't have a blanket insurance thing going on if they were running multiple events of similar sizes. 'It's the insurance' does sound like a convenient fob off.
     
  10. JMAG

    JMAG Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Windsor
    Shouldn't that be a question for BC rather than some bloke trying to organise a charity event?

    If it's a good enough excuse for @Drago to use when obliging his students to wear cycle glasses, then it's good enough for event organisers IMO :smile:

    FWIW, I'm pro choice. Although I choose to wear a helmet, I don't feel an urge to try to force you to wear a helmet and I support your right not to.
     
  11. OP
    OP
    mjr

    mjr Wanting to Keep My EU Citizenship

    Sorry but I can't do everything and as should be clear from the above, I don't know yet what works to get helmet rules removed so I maybe wouldn't have any effect and there's other stuff I want to do where I think I'm more likely to be effective. The situation you describe sounds ridiculous to me.
    Well, unsurprisingly, it's becoming more and more sportive-y. I feel it's because they have to market themselves to the sorts of riders keen on sterotypical sportives because they're the ones most likely to be OK with the various rules. It feels like BC don't understand charity rides and have this sportive hammer that they're using for almost everything.

    Has racing benefitted? I think that's a topic for another discussion!

    Yes, so that's why that question was directed to BC's Lead Sportive Officer. Only the initial response was from the charity officer, who passed it to the BC officer - thereafter, the quotes labelled BC are from emails from the BC officer and my replies were to them. The charity officer wasn't copied in, as he requested.
     
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  12. w00hoo_kent

    w00hoo_kent One of the 64K

    I wonder if an unexpected side effect of more people cycling is that less people see raising money just to cycle as a special thing and the 'sport' aspect is needed to make it special. I wonder if there are many 'fun rides for charity' in Holland. (I have no idea either way).
     
    mjr likes this.
  13. zizou

    zizou Veteran

    A Skyride is a bit different - for the big ones that happened in the past you didnt need to register you could just turn up and ride and the local ones are free, informal social rides with a leader. A charity ride is more organised, riders pay an entry fee / donation to charity, it is marshalled, has first aid cover (etc) so the two sorts of ride are not really like for like.

    Insurance is a big issue when organising events these days (and to an extent rightly so) and it isn't just about helmet use but having proper risk assessments done, medical cover available and so on. British Cycling pulled out of authorising MTB Enduro events this year because the costs and the risk to them was becoming prohibitive. These races still happen and are organised by a third party now but the insurance costs are substantially higher than they were previously. So if having a rule requiring helmet use for a charity ride reduces the cost and potential liability they face then i can see why they want to go down that route, even if it does make them appear more like a sportive rather than a fun ride.

    Although you seem to be choosing which charity to support based solely on whether a bike ride they organise requires you to wear a helmet or not so perhaps what is in the best interests for the charity isn't really a concern!
     
  14. OP
    OP
    mjr

    mjr Wanting to Keep My EU Citizenship

    Please refrain from such wild lies: it is not solely based on that, but I don't want to support a charity that I believe does harm unrelated to its core mission.
    The marshalling seems to amount to volunteers at feed stations and someone driving around the course looking for people in difficulty. Seeing as we don't have any skyrides locally (no need: the various local groups put on a wide variety of rides), I didn't realise they had no first aid cover or people tracking riders, but doesn't that make them more risky not less? :wacko:

    I don't know about Holland and a quick search didn't find any but I had assumed that these cycling challenge fundraisers had been going on almost as long as people were cycling - first as a novelty, then as a test but maybe they were longer than most people rode then, then as a novelty again. I've been surprised to see that L2B and RAGBRAI both seem to have started only in the 1970s.

    A key annoyance with BC's rules is that forcing helmets on non-sport rides like charity events seems to go against much of what their Choose Cycling campaign and advisor Chris Boardman say.
     
  15. TinyMyNewt

    TinyMyNewt An execrable pun

    Location:
    South coast, UK
    Our local Breeze rides, which have the laudable aim of encouraging more women to take up cycling and become more confident cyclists, involve a compulsion to wear a helmet on almost all the routes (strangely, the exceptions seem to be low-speed off-road rides where a helmet might just offer a small degree of protection, but let's leave that aside for the moment). The 'Breeze Champion' has been slightly apologetic about this when I spoke to her about it, but maintains that she has to say 'helmets compulsory' in order to be insured by British Cycling who fund the whole operation.

    Are you saying this isn't really the case @mjray? These are social rides with restricted numbers of participants, and no fund-raising or entry fees are involved.
     
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