Should helmets be compulsory in hill climbs and time trials?

The time trial governing body is set to decide on stricter safety rules

A potential shift in hill climbing and time trial rules could see helmets enforced for all riders taking part.

The British body responsible for regulating time trials is considering whether it should enforce stricter safety rules for anyone taking part in the solo events.

Current rules state that only riders under the age of 18 must wear a helmet when competing in time trials and hill climbs held under Cycling Time Trial (CTT) rules, but a proposed change could see riders of all ages having to wear a lid.

As Road CC reports CTT, the governing body responsible for most TTs in the UK, will consider changing the rules so all riders have to wear a helmet to “enhance competitor safety.”

Currently, CTT regulation 15 says: “All competitors under the age of 18 years and/or juniors must wear a properly affixed helmet which must be of hard/soft shell construction. Helmets should conform to a recognised standard.”

But in the agenda for the CTT national council meeting, to be held in Northamptonshire on Sunday (December 1), the Scottish District Committee is proposing an adjustment to the wording.

The proposal says: “In the first sentence, delete the words, ‘under the age of 18 years and/or juniors’ and in the last sentence of the first paragraph delete the words ‘(or parent or guardian if the rider is aged under 18 years of age)’. Explanation: To enhance competitor safety.”

This change of rules would also apply to standard time trials as well as hill climbs, however most competitors do opt to wear a helmet in flat TTs for aerodynamic and safety reasons.

Britain’s other racing governing bodies, British Cycling and the League of Veteran Racing Cyclists (LVRC), have both made helmets mandatory in all competitions held under their rules.

British Cycling says: “A rider whilst racing or training in any cycling discipline, with the exception of training on the open road shall wear properly affixed protective headgear, which must be of a hard/soft shell construction.”

LVRC rules state: “The wearing of hard-shell helmets is mandatory in all events held under LVRC rules. A statement to this effect must appear in all LVRC event programmes.”

There is no British law that compels cyclists of any age to wear a helmet when riding, including on open roads, however the Highway Code does recommend riders wear a helmet.

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Alex Ballinger

Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.