Two-thirds of Belgian cyclists do not wear helmets
Wednesday, 05 June 2019
Two-thirds of Belgian cyclists do not wear helmets even though they offer protection in accidents. Credit: European Cyclists' Federation
Two-thirds of Belgian cyclists never wear a helmet, according to national statistics
The most recent national figures found that 68% of Belgians do not wear a helmet, and the Walloon Road Safety Agency found that 71% of Walloon cyclists forego helmets, reports New Mobility.
These figures place Belgium at the bottom of European countries, with only Hungary and the Netherlands wearing helmets less.
The Belgian road safety institute Vias reported that wearing a helmet reduces the risk of a serious head injury by 60% in the event of an accident. Autopsies of cyclists who died in accidents and did not wear a helmet show that 37% of them could have survived if they had worn one.
The Flemish cycling policy centre Fietsberaad found that helmets do not offer much protection in accidents with high speeds or heavy vehicles. They do, however, provide protection in other accidents, such as colliding with an object.
There is little research on what motivates adults to wear helmets, but researchers in the Netherlands found that young people do not wear helmets because their peers do not.
However, Fietsberaad argues that cyclist safety comes from proper infrastructure. Since the Netherlands has created that infrastructure, it has higher bicycle safety rates even if its cyclists do not wear helmets.