Most cyclists don't wear helmets - survey

2013-01-18 19:07

Johannesburg - Many cyclists in South Africa do not practise precautionary measures when using public roads, a survey revealed on Friday.

About 61% of cyclists questioned said they did not always wear helmets when they were on the road - despite 64% agreeing that they did not feel safe on the roads.

Two out of five (38%) cyclists claimed they would like to ride to school or work but they believed their safety would be compromised.

Most of them - 75% - agreed they would cycle to work or school if cyclist lanes were introduced.

Consumer insights company Pondering Panda conducted the survey among 4 264 people between the ages of 13 and 34. About 37% of them were bicycle owners.

Spokesperson for Pondering Panda, Shirley Wakefield, said if more people turned to cycling, they could enjoy cheaper and healthier ways of commuting. She said the safety of cyclists depended on motorists.

"The fact that the majority of cyclists say they don't always wear a helmet makes it especially important for drivers on our roads to remain vigilant and drive carefully when they spot a cyclist," she said.

The survey was carried out on cellphones between 7 and 10 January across the country and the results were weighted to be nationally representative, said Wakefield.

It was conducted shortly after the death of Olympic cyclist Burry Stander.

The 25-year-old died on 3 January after being knocked off his bike by a taxi at Shelly Beach on the KwaZulu-Natal south coast.

Cyclists across the country have since been calling for government to implement cycling lanes to ensure their safety. The Automobile Association reported that 252 cyclists were killed on the country's roads and an estimated 800 more injured during 2010.

  • ditoare.gypsy - 2013-01-18 19:33

    Most Casanova's don't wear condoms- survey

      chumachienda - 2013-01-18 20:34

      @ditoare.gypsy wats ur point?

  • dave.ducker.3 - 2013-01-18 19:34

    Interesting, not one of my friends who ride either on the rode or off the road do not wear helmets. Not sure who was surveyed here. Another factor that is probably higher on the list is bike jacking, we may get cycle lanes but still have a very real chance of getting bike jacked !! eish helmets and mace !

      BeverleyDuPreez - 2013-01-18 20:01

      Not sure who did the survey but as an avid cyclist myself, I don't know of anybody who rides without a helmet ... In fact I cannot remember the last time I saw any cyclist without a helmet and that includes our postman! Sounds like A load of hogwash to me!

      julian.booyens - 2013-01-18 22:26

      Only 37% of 4264 surveyed own a bicycle! i would never hire these people to do a survey for me as these stats are a joke, try survey 4264 people who own a bicycle next time

      joanita.hitge - 2013-01-19 10:26

      It’s because in the article they do not note the difference between a cyclist and a person on a bicycle.... Cyclist wear helmets… “No helmet. No ride.” But the person who uses a bicycle as main/only form of transport does not wear a helmet and is apparently also classified as a “cyclist”. The fact that you own a bicycle does not make you a cyclist!

  • nico.dejongh.90 - 2013-01-18 19:35

    Another law and poor us are force to buy a helmet. The cycling helmet may help when falling, but not even a crash helmet will protect you against a car.

  • bryn.barker - 2013-01-18 19:41

    I read an article once stating that research shows that it's actually safer to not wear a helmet. You aren't lulled into a false sense of security whilst riding, and motorists don't subconsciously forget to note your presence in their vicinity just because you're wearing a helmet.

      hugo.brown.9659 - 2013-01-18 19:54

      What a crock ........

      gray.braatvedt - 2013-01-18 20:07

      Look hard enough and you will find an article that says smoking is good for you or that AIDS is a conspiracy theory. Believe what you want and I'll believe what I want and I will wear my helmet every time I ride a bike.

  • hugo.brown.9659 - 2013-01-18 19:53

    Pretty obvious who the sport riders are. Never seen one without a helmet.

  • markn907 - 2013-01-18 19:54

    Here in New Zealand it is a law to wear a helmet You will be fined if you dont

      shermanm.amos.9 - 2013-01-18 21:53

      In South Africa it is compulsory to wear an SABS approved safety helmet for more than ten years already when using a cycle on a public road yet 61% of cyclist surveyed confirmed that they do not wear a helmet. This is indicative of the irresponsible and defiant road user culture and any safety measure for cyclists including the new provision in the Western Cape of a 1,5 passing safety net which is both impractical to enforce and prove in court will be a waste unless there is a paradigm shift amongst both cyclists and drivers and mental change in attitude and willingness to follow basic road safety rules when using our roads.

      john.volsteedt.1 - 2013-01-18 21:57

      Well, actually, in South Africa it is law. Difference is, you wont get fined.

  • Jimmy - 2013-01-18 20:19

    Cycling lanes will improve the safety of cyclist.

      Jimmy - 2013-01-18 21:02

      Cyclists should wear helmets and lanes should be made available on pavements.

  • malcolm.james.macleod - 2013-01-18 21:07

    "The fact that the majority of cyclists say they don't always wear a helmet makes it especially important for drivers on our roads to remain vigilant and drive carefully when they spot a cyclist," she said. Yay for backwards logic!

  • jermworm - 2013-01-18 21:17

    To all those who say they see few cyclist not wearing helmets, you clearly aren't looking - I see lot's every day - they are usually riding inexpensive bikes which are probably their only form of transport, also there are lots of school children riding around with no helmets. They might not be taking part in road/mtb races or even belong to some cycling club but I would guess they form a significant portion of cyclists in SA.

  • stephen.ramalepe - 2013-01-19 05:16

    i think goverment should fine those who cycle without helmet.

  • - 2013-01-19 08:11

    I think those who do not wear helmets also do not wear condoms. XD

  • cecil.acker - 2013-01-19 09:16

    Most hobbyists have a selfish streak. I've seen many cyclists riding two or even three abreast. Moreover, how can parents allow kids of seven or eight ride on busy roads - even highways. Seeing bicycles are not licensed there is no way to control such misbehaviour.

  • angelo.oliveira - 2013-01-19 15:35

    Most cyclists can't afford helmets when u look at the demographic. How many ppl in that survey were of lower income brackets??

  • ddelport - 2013-01-28 13:02

    I see this all the time. I think we should catagorize cyclists for a few reasons. There is a group (casual/informal/commuters) that may represent many of this survey's population. Most amateur/club cyclists (inbetweeners) do wear helmets (I have seen some sinners here but that is exceptional). (Pro) riders know of better, I hope. Then there are plenty of scholars. We as "inbetweeners" has to reach out to schools, rural communities and commuters and educate them. If you come accross somebody talk to them our give a handout about bicycling safety. We are the biggest stakeholders and it would be for our own benefit as well. I love my sport and do not want it to be spoiled by some individuals that disregard rules. Clubs has a major role to play here and safety/skills clinics should be arranged in a national attempt. This is only part of (the beginning from our side) toward sharing safe roads and obtaining dedicated lanes. We should engage with government on this. I am sure Helen Zille and Cosatu will support such a cause. Let's form a representative forum of people to act on this.

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