The Highway Code states that a cyclist should wear certain things when cycling, those being:
* A helmet which is the correct size and is fastened correctly
* Appropriate clothing for cycling ( so no baggy trousers that could get caught in the chain)
* Florescent clothing which is appropriate for the time of day and weather conditions ( so that other road users can still see you no matter the weather!)
Although the highway code has set this advice for cyclists, there is no requirement by law to actually wear the items.
In the case of A (A child) V Shorrock, a 14 year old boy was injured whilst on his paper round, but he was not wearing a helmet. The court however awarded him the full amount of the compensation and did not make any deductions to his compensation as they decided that as there is no statutory requirement to wear a helmet and as the cyclist was not driving hazardously there should be no deduction from the child’s compensation.
In another case of Swinton V Annabel’s ( Berkley Square) Ltd, the other party tried to compare the injured person not wearing a helmet to a motorist not wearing a seatbelt – they tried to get the injured party’s injury compensation reduced on that basis but this again was dismissed by the judge as the Judge determined that as wearing the helmet was not a legal requirement but wearing a seat belt in a motor car is. If it was a legal requirement, for example a motorcyclist on a public road then the outcome of this case may have been very different.
If you have been involved in an accident whilst cycling and were not wearing a helmet, then you are not likely to have your compensation reduced unless you were driving hazardously or in dangerous situations (for example on very busy roads). Another situation where the outcome may be different is if you sustain serious head injuries which could have been reduced if you were wearing a helmet – your compensation may more than likely be reduced in these sorts of circumstances.
In our humble opinion you should always wear a helmet and be safer!