CTC criticises AA bike helmet giveaway stunt

CTC, the national cyclists’ organisation, has countered the AA’s distribution of bike helmets and high visibility vests to cyclists in London by distributing copies of the Highway Code to drivers.

Motoring organisation AA staged its helmet giveaway in central London on Friday (April 15) in an attempt to highlight the vulnerability of cyclists on the road. CTC countered this one-sided view by claiming that the AA was ‘misrepresenting the sources of road danger’. CTC staff and volunteers accompanied the AA and gave copies of the Highway Code to drivers in order to give balance to the AA’s campaign.

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The AA had staged the stunt in reaction to a survey of its members, some of whom said they thought that cyclists should wear more protective equipment.

“The AA’s gimmick merely gives the impression that cycle helmets are an essential safety aid, and that cyclists who don’t wear them are to blame if they get hurt – neither of which is true,” said CTC campaigns and policy director Roger Geffen.

“Cycle helmets aren’t designed for fast or heavy traffic, and increased helmet use has never been linked with improvements in cyclists’ safety. The one thing we know about helmet promotion is that it puts people off cycling, which in turn worsens not only congestion and pollution, but road safety as well.”

“If the AA wants to improve safety for cyclists, it should work with groups like CTC to encourage all road users to follow the Highway Code. Yes, this includes cyclists too, but police data show that the risks cyclists face come overwhelmingly from dangerous driving.”