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    Two-thirds of Belgium’s cyclists don’t wear helmets

    Only 29% of cyclists in Wallonia wear helmets, the Walloon Road Safety Agency, AWSR, noted on Monday in a new study.

    The study, conducted among 10,334 cyclists, differentiates between three categories of cycle: classic bicycles; electric bicycles and shared bicycles, such as the blue bikes available at Belgian train stations and the Li Bia Velos in Namur.

    The researchers found that 71% of cyclists riding classic bicycles failed to wear their helmets, as did a whopping 97% of those using shared cycles. Riders of electric cycles appeared to demonstrate a greater awareness of the dangers they faced, since 47% donned their helmets when going for a ride.

    “Using a cycle helmet reduces the risk of concussion by over 50%, and the risk of severe or fatal head injuries by over 65%,” the AWSR stressed in its report, noting that helmets offer good protection for impact speeds of up to almost 20 km/hr.

    At the national level, 68% of cyclists say they practically never wear helmets, according to data from the 2015 E-Survey of Road users’ Attitudes (Esra) Project, relayed on Monday by the ASWR. This places Belgium at the low end of the European helmet-use ranking. Only cyclists in the Netherlands and Hungary have lower rates of helmet use.

    The AWSR study also looked at the behaviour of Wallonia’s cyclists in terms of fluorescent clothing and accessories: 87 percent of classic cyclists admitted that they never wore any, as did 94% of users of shared cycles and 79% of riders of electric cycles.

    Cyclists are involved in 6% of physical accidents and make up 3% of road fatalities in Wallonia.

    In 2017, 12 cyclists lost their lives and 685 were injured in the region, which registered 697 physical accidents involving at least one bicycle that year.

    Oscar Schneider

    The Brussels Times