BHIT & DfT

Discussion in 'UK and Europe' started by Tony Raven, Jan 30, 2004.

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  1. Tony Raven

    Tony Raven Guest

    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.
     
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  2. Sandy Morton

    Sandy Morton Guest

    In article <[email protected]>, Tony Raven
    <[email protected]> wrote:
    > I have reproduced the letter below and you may wish to take up this use of taxpayers money with
    > your MP.

    Thanks for the effort. I will be raising this with my MP/MSP and with other agencies.

    --
    A T (Sandy) Morton on the Bicycle Island In the Global Village http://www.sandymillport.fsnet.co.uk
     
  3. Tony Raven

    Tony Raven Guest

    Sandy Morton wrote:
    > In article <[email protected]>, Tony Raven <[email protected]
    > family.com> wrote:
    >> I have reproduced the letter below and you may wish to take up this use of taxpayers money with
    >> your MP.
    >
    > Thanks for the effort. I will be raising this with my MP/MSP and with other agencies.

    Thanks. Incidentally of these organisations "taking very different stances" can anyone think of
    anyone other than the self elected BHIT that are pro-compulsion. So far on the anti-compulsion side
    I have CTC, RoSPA, National Cycling Strategy Board, BMA, Government and John Franklin. Have I missed
    anyone on either side? Which beggars the question why fund one side and not the other?

    Tony
     
  4. Sandy Morton

    Sandy Morton Guest

    In article <[email protected]>, Tony Raven
    <[email protected]> wrote:
    > Incidentally of these organisations "taking very different stances" can anyone think of anyone
    > other than the self elected BHIT that are pro-compulsion.

    Probably not organisations as such but all of the Local Authority Education departments which I deal
    with and also the various parties which I have from another organisation insist on helmets.
    Unfortunately they only insist on them for the kids and the staff, who are more likely to have
    accidents, are immune from the system - even when it is pointed out by the kids and myself.

    --
    A T (Sandy) Morton on the Bicycle Island In the Global Village http://www.sandymillport.fsnet.co.uk
     
  5. Chris French

    Chris French Guest

    In message <[email protected]>, Tony Raven <[email protected]> writes
    >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.
    >
    Thanks for that Tony
    >
    >Cycle Helmet Compulsion
    >

    >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).

    Of course did there site search find it quicikly...............

    Thankyou Google..............

    If anyone wants to see it it's here:

    <http://www.dft.gov.uk/stellent/groups/dft_rdsafety/documents/page/dft_rd safety_507998.hcsp>

    >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.
    >
    <snip>
    >
    >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.

    I take that to imply that they are waiting for wearing rates to get high enough before they consider
    trying compulsion.
    --
    Chris French, Leeds
     
  6. James Annan

    James Annan Guest

    chris French wrote:

    > I take that to imply that they are waiting for wearing rates to get high enough before they
    > consider trying compulsion.

    That policy has been clearly state several times. It's enough to make me deliberately reduce my
    frequency of helmet-wearing.

    James
     
  7. On Sat, 31 Jan 2004 01:21:02 +0000, chris French

    snip

    >>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.
    >
    >I take that to imply that they are waiting for wearing rates to get high enough before they
    >consider trying compulsion.

    Like I keep telling people: Every time you wear a helmet you are voting for compulsion.

    Don't forgett thgat next time you unnecessarily don one for a trip to the shops.
     
  8. >Got a very disappointing letter back. They think BHIT is a good thing

    As they are funding the BHIT, you don't expect them to admit the BHIT is wrong, do you? There may
    well be murmurings of discontent behind the scenes but they won't admit such publicly.

    Cheers, helen s

    --This is an invalid email address to avoid spam-- to get correct one remove dependency on fame &
    fortune h*$el*$$e**nd***$o$ts***i*$*$m**m$$o*n**[email protected]$*$a$$o**l.c**$*$om$$
     
  9. On 31 Jan 2004 08:01:09 GMT, [email protected]
    (dirtylitterboxofferingstospammers) wrote:

    >>Like I keep telling people: Every time you wear a helmet you are voting for compulsion.
    >
    >Bollox.

    No it isn't.

    As the letter quoted here from the dft shows it is only current low levels of use that prevent
    compulsion becoming policy. You will find this repeated in many documents.

    >
    >>Don't forgett thgat next time you unnecessarily don one for a trip to the shops.
    >
    >I won't even consider it as it's a load of tosh.
    >
    >By cycling I'm helping to promote cycling - period. And I choose to wear a helmet - and by doing
    >so, I am *not* forcing you or anyone else to wear one.
    >
    >Perhaps by choosing to drive a Merc, I'm voting that everyone else should be driving a Merc...

    Well, if you can showme a letter from the dft satying that a Merc driving population is their
    aspiration and that the only factor preventing compulosion is current low levels of take up, I'd
    agree with your comparison.

    >Sheesh.
    >
    >helen s
    >
    >
    >--This is an invalid email address to avoid spam-- to get correct one remove dependency on fame &
    >fortune h*$el*$$e**nd***$o$ts***i*$*$m**m$$o*n**[email protected]$*$a$$o**l.c**$*$om$$
     
  10. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    [Not Responding] posted ...

    > On Sat, 31 Jan 2004 01:21:02 +0000, chris French
    >
    > snip
    >
    >>> 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.
    >>
    >> I take that to imply that they are waiting for wearing rates to get high enough before they
    >> consider trying compulsion.
    >
    > Like I keep telling people: Every time you wear a helmet you are voting for compulsion.

    I simply cannot see how wearing a helmet says they should be made compulsory. Everyone (mostly)
    wears shoes, but they're not a compulsory item of clothing ..

    > Don't forgett thgat next time you unnecessarily don one for a trip to the shops.

    I don't do 'a trip to the shops' on the bike .. that's what the 4x4's for .. ;)

    --
    Paul
     
  11. Just Zis Guy

    Just Zis Guy Guest

    On Fri, 30 Jan 2004 22:57:40 -0000, "Tony Raven"
    <[email protected]> wrote:

    >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.

    And they refer to RR30, which was an indemepndent report written independently by independent helmet
    advocates (check the research publication histories of the authors).

    They then go on to say that lying is not a reason to withhold funding from BHIT. Are these two facts
    connected, I wonder?

    Bah!

    Guy
    ===
    May contain traces of irony. Contents liable to settle after posting.
    http://chapmancentral.demon.co.uk
     
  12. dirtylitterboxofferingstospammers wrote:

    > By cycling I'm helping to promote cycling - period. And I choose to wear a helmet - and by doing
    > so, I am *not* forcing you or anyone else to wear one.

    I disagree. Helmets reinforce the image in most people's minds that cycling is unsafe - as well as
    making eventual compulsion an easier decision for the government - so you may be forcing us all to
    wear one in future.

    On a line stretching from anti-helmet through pro-choice to compulsory helmet, I'd have to put
    myself rather a long way to the left. I can see some point in getting children to wear them for
    maybe their first couple of years of cycling.

    We didn't need helmets when I was growing up, and then the Americans came up with the brilliant
    marketing idea of selling a piece of moulded polystyrene for sixty quid (OK, they're cheaper now,
    but no more effective). The great cycling nations of Europe have generally flipped helmets the bird.

    My *average* commuting speed is 16-17mph. What use does a protective device, designed for impacts of
    up to 12mph, have for me?

    And why do half the helmeted cyclists I pass on dark winter mornings have no lights? The emphasis
    should be on avoiding collisions first, then secondary safety (which is always going to be pretty
    hopeless on a bike, if an motorised vehicle is involved). Helmets are an unnecessary panacea to
    other road users' fears of squashing us.
     
  13. James Annan

    James Annan Guest

    > I simply cannot see how wearing a helmet says they should be made compulsory. Everyone (mostly)
    > wears shoes, but they're not a compulsory item of clothing ..

    It's because the Govt has repeatedly indicated that it wants to make everyone wear a helmet, but
    realises that it has to wait until a larger proprtion of cyclists are already wearing them through
    choice or else the law will get a hostile reception and be unenforceable. Once the proportion is
    high enough, they will try to make it compulsory.

    James
     
  14. Just Zis Guy

    Just Zis Guy Guest

    Tony, are you going to follow this up at all? I have some questions which this response does nothig
    to answer. Specifically,

    - what evidence do they have that BHIT's programme is reducing injuries (BHIT quote success criteria
    solely in terms of proportion of cyclists using helmets)

    - what evidence do they have for prioritising helmets above, say, roadcraft training

    - what level of funding is applied to organisations promoting cycle safety rather than injury
    mitigation (and does the DfT understand the difference)

    Guy
    ===
    May contain traces of irony. Contents liable to settle after posting.
    http://chapmancentral.demon.co.uk
     
  15. Pk

    Pk Guest

    "dirtylitterboxofferingstospammers" <[email protected]> wrote in
    message news:[email protected]...

    > But that doesn't mean to say I should not be able to take the secondary precautions I deem to be
    > necessary for *my* safety. You could put the same arguments for fluorescent clothing as you are
    > putting for helemts - that
    the
    > wearing of such other safety gear suggests cycling is unsafe. I know -
    lets ban
    > lights on bikes, let's ban hi-viz cloithing - let's ban reflectives...
    after
    > all, all of this stuff that's available is sending out the same signal -
    using
    > your logic

    Quite right, helen.

    The fact is everything that we do is unsafe - as there is no such thing as absolute safety.

    Helmets work to provide some measure of some form of protection in some cicumstances.

    Just as refelctives and lights work to make cyclists more visible in some circumstances

    pk
     
  16. James Annan

    James Annan Guest

    dirtylitterboxofferingstospammers wrote:

    > you effectively trying to force me not to wear one

    I don't see anyone doing this. Some have pointed out that the Govt will view your choice to wear one
    as a vote in favour of compulsion. Despite this, I often wear a helmet, but I recognise the risks of
    taking that choice and I expect to see increasingly aggressive and vociferous attempts to introduce
    mandatory helmet laws over the coming years. They only have to succeed once.

    James
     
  17. On 31 Jan 2004 09:41:01 GMT, [email protected]
    (dirtylitterboxofferingstospammers) wrote:

    >>I disagree.
    >
    >feel free. but if you think I'm going to stop wearing one because you don't like it - tough.
    >
    >Hmm... I seem to remember on several occasions it being raised on this NG that there is a very anti-
    >helmet stance and was effectively howled down...

    I can't recall anyone standing up *against voluntary wearing of helmets* and google doesn't chuck
    anything up. Nothing that ZtU has posted here fits that description.

    My stance, however, has evolved towards it in the past few months. In isolation I have no views on
    what people choose to wear - on their heads or otherwise. But having spent a lot of time looking at
    various policy papers, bills etc it is apparent that we must all consider the effect of our choice
    in the current legislative environment.

    There is a very strong drive and desire for compulsion and the only real factor that prevents a MHL
    being introduced is the current low level of use. If we voluntarily increase that percentage we will
    bring compulsion on ourselves.

    As the things are known not to work it has been easy for me to move from anti-compulsion to
    anti-helmet.

    There you go Helen, your first anti-helmet statement.

    >>Helmets reinforce the image in most people's minds that cycling is unsafe
    >
    >You *know* most people's minds? Pray tell when were you taught telepathy?

    Conversation and discussion are good ways of finding out what others think - no telepathy required.
    Discussions I have with non-cyclists often include comments such as "if it's as safe as you say, why
    do they all wear helmets?".

    >>as well as making eventual compulsion an easier decision for the government - so you may be
    >>forcing us all to wear one in future.
    >
    >Don't blame *me* for the government. *Your* stance is just as bad
    >

    What has been done here that reduces your choice? Only MDL will do that; which is why I and others
    are so strongly against it.

    >
    >>We didn't need helmets when I was growing up,
    >
    >We didn't apparently need a lot of things, but time moves on, life changes, and knowledge grows.
    >Perhaps we should be going back to the 19th C when it was okay to live in slums adn we didn't seem
    >to need inside toilets? Same logic as you are applying.

    ?

    >>The great cycling nations of Europe have generally flipped helmets the bird.
    >
    >Their choice and that's okay. It is my choice to wear one and I'm not forcing you to wear one
    >and you effectively trying to force me not to wear one is just as misplaced as the pro-
    >compulsion lobby.

    We want to be OK with our choice.

    >>My *average* commuting speed is 16-17mph. What use does a protective device, designed for impacts
    >>of up to 12mph, have for me?
    >
    >It has some effectiveness in some situations. If you choose not to wear one, so be it.
    >
    >>And why do half the helmeted cyclists I pass on dark winter mornings have no lights?
    >
    >Plenty of non-helmeted stealth cyclists have no lights - and your point is?

    I suspect the point may be that helmets are currently promoted with such vigour as a life-saving
    talisman that real safety measures such as training, light promotion just are no funded.

    >>The emphasis should be on avoiding collisions first,
    >
    >Indeed it should.
    >
    >But that doesn't mean to say I should not be able to take the secondary precautions I deem to be
    >necessary for *my* safety. You could put the same arguments for fluorescent clothing as you are
    >putting for helemts - that the wearing of such other safety gear suggests cycling is unsafe. I know
    >- lets ban lights on bikes, let's ban hi-viz cloithing - let's ban reflectives... after all, all of
    >this stuff that's available is sending out the same signal - using your logic
    >
    >Cheers, helen s
    >

    Er, no one - not even me - has asked for them to be banned.
     
  18. Just Zis Guy

    Just Zis Guy Guest

    On Fri, 30 Jan 2004 23:25:04 -0000, "Tony Raven"
    <[email protected]> wrote:

    >Which beggars the question why fund one side and not the other?

    Excellent point. Note to self: write to DfT asking what they are doing to fund the CTC.

    Guy
    ===
    May contain traces of irony. Contents liable to settle after posting.
    http://chapmancentral.demon.co.uk
     
  19. > >Which beggars the question why fund one side and not the other?
    >
    > Excellent point. Note to self: write to DfT asking what they are doing to fund the CTC.

    There are two sides to BHITs work. One is promoting helmet use, the other is seeking mandatory
    helmet laws. It is for the first that they have received funding, and for specific projects by the
    look of the letter.

    I don't believe that the CTC is promoting helmets with quite the same evangelical zeal as BHIT, so
    have less projects for which to receive funding.

    It should be noted that the CTC, BHIT, BMA et al are ALL pro-helmet. By the looks of the letter BHIT
    received no funding for its pro-compulsion activities (though I'm not sure what their guidelines etc
    to schools say).
     
  20. > >Which beggars the question why fund one side and not the other?
    >
    > Excellent point. Note to self: write to DfT asking what they are doing to fund the CTC.

    There are two sides to BHITs work. One is promoting helmet use, the other is seeking mandatory
    helmet laws. It is for the first that they have received funding, and for specific projects by the
    look of the letter.

    I don't believe that the CTC is promoting helmets with quite the same evangelical zeal as BHIT, so
    have less projects for which to receive funding (if any).

    It should be noted that the CTC, BHIT, BMA et al are ALL pro-helmet. By the looks of the letter BHIT
    received no funding for its pro-compulsion activities (though I'm not sure what their guidelines etc
    to schools say - I shudder at the thought). There is no 'other side' to fund. We can all see the
    flaw in this argument, but I doubt a government department can.
     
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