Wrote a letter to the DfT asking why they funded BHIT when it blatantly used misinformation to pursue its agenda. Got a very disappointing letter back. They think BHIT is a good thing. I have reproduced the letter below and you may wish to take up this use of taxpayers money with your MP. Tony Cycle Helmet Compulsion Thank your for your recent email, about cycle helmets compulsion and the Bicycle Helmet Initiative Trust (BHIT). It has been passed to me to reply. The issue of cycle helmet compulsion is a very emotive one and outside Government organisations take very different stances utilising a range of arguments. In response to the arguments presented by both sides of the debate the Department commissioned an independent review which was published at the end of November as Road Safety Research Report Number 30 (this can be found at www.roads.dft.gov.uk). The review concludes that overall there is evidence that bicycle helmets can be effective at reducing the incidence and severity of head, brain and upper facial injuries and that they can be effective in reducing injury for users of all ages, though particularly for children. The report also concludes that there is evidence that compulsory helmet wearing may discourage some bicyclists leading to decreased bicycle use. We believe it would be irresponsible not to promote a product that can reduce injuries and continue to promote helmet wearing on a voluntary basis. The Government's current position on compulsory helmet wearing is that we measure wearing rates periodically and the 2002 wearing rate survey shows that cycle helmet rates have gone up from 16% in 1994 to 25% in 2002 on major built up roads. However the wearing rate for teenage boys has decreased from 16% to 12%. Compulsion remains an option that we will review from time to time. We have been working closely with the Bicycle Helmet Initiative Trust (BHIT). I helped launch the BHIT's "Guidelines for Setting Up Community Based Bicycle Helmet Programmes" in May 2002. They are the result of three years work funded by a joint package with the Department of Health of £100,000. BHIT also received funding to produce a School Based set of Guidelines, which were sent to all schools last July. The BHIT have received further funding from the Department of Health for three years. The DoH gave BHIT £32,000 in 2002/3, £25,000 in 2003/4 and will be giving £20,000 in 2004/5 for their Helmet Your Head project. The project was funded as part of the DoH's target for the Health Service to contribute to accident prevention and especially injury reduction amongst children. We and the Department of Health provide grant to BHIT when their initiatives are consistent with Government policies. I note what you have to say about the claims made by BHIY concerning the number of child cyclists incurring serious head injuries each year. However these are BHIT figures and I suggest you take up the issue with them. Eric Martlew MP has introduced a Private Members Bill, the purpose of which is to make the wearing of helmets by children compulsory. That will be debated by Parliament in due course. Our position has been that compulsion at current wearing rates would cause enforcement difficulties and could have an effect on cycling levels. However we will wish to reflect on the balance of these arguments given Eric Martlew's Bill. Yours sincerely Jason Richardson.