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'Helmets should be compulsory for all cyclists', says mum of injured paperboy Louis Kadir

By Western Gazette - Sherborne  |  Posted: March 22, 2012

  • Louis Kadir, his mum, Tina, and PC Rhiannon Stroud

  • Year 8 Gryphon School pupils Oriana Crabb, Lucy Siebert, Alanna Allen-Cousins, William Pullen and James Taylor with Angie Lee from the Bicycle Helmet Initiative Trust at a special safety assembly

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A Sherborne mother whose son was badly injured when he was in a collision with a car has called for wearing a helmet while cycling to be made compulsory by law.

Tina Kadir, of Lambsfield, says not enough is being done to protect people from the dangers of cycling.

Mrs Kadir’s son Louis, 14, suffered life-threatening injuries in November after a collision with a car during his paper round. He was not wearing a helmet.

Now Mrs Kadir wants to petition the Government for a new law making it compulsory for cyclists to wear a helmet.

She said: “I don’t want any family to ever go through what we went through.

“Our whole life has changed. We aren’t how we used to be. Everything is a lot harder than it was before. I want something good to come of Louis’ accident. I don’t want his injuries to be in vain.”

Mrs Kadir admitted that she had not considered wearing protective gear before her son’s accident.

She said: “I used to cycle to work every day without a helmet and think nothing of it. Perhaps because it was only down the road and there are pavements either side.

“Every single one of us in the house has a helmet but we didn’t wear them as regularly as we should. Louis never wore his for his paper round.

“Had Louis been wearing his, he probably wouldn’t have been injured as badly. We were very lucky that he pulled through. There was definitely someone watching over him that day.”

Louis, a Gryphon School student, now makes sure his friends always wear helmets.

He suffered serious head injuries during the accident at the junction of Newland and North Road.

He was airlifted to hospital where he was placed into an induced coma. He was in a life-threatening condition for two days and returned home from hospital in January.

Mrs Kadir said Louis is making a slow and steady recovery.

She said: “When he came out of the coma, we saw his personality shine through straightaway.

“He certainly hasn’t lost his sense of humour.”

Mrs Kadir said her son won’t return to his paper round but he hopes to pursue an interest in catering. He has returned to school part time and receives one-to-one lessons. He is being integrated back into lessons with his Year 9 classmates but has difficulty concentrating.

Mrs Kadir said: “No one quite knows how long it will take for him to recover.”

Louis attends speech therapy classes and will return to Frenchay Hospital in Bristol for a check up in May.

The keen footballer is unable to play sport due to the risk of banging his head and is resigned to playing on his games console.

Louis, a former member of the school’s team, said: “I’m eager to get back on the pitch, my classmates need my skills to win again.”

Even if he does return to sport he may be required to wear a protective helmet.

Mrs Kadir has worked with Dorset Police to arrange for safety awareness assemblies which took place in Sherborne schools this week.

The talks were delivered by cycling charity the Bicycle Helmet Initiative Trust (BHIT).

PC Rhiannon Stroud helped to arrange the assemblies.

She said everyone should wear a helmet and it should be made a legal requirement as it is for motorcyle riders.

She said: “It needs to be drummed into people. I don’t think it is promoted enough.”

She said helmets were sometimes seen as uncool which led many to avoid wearing them. She urged parents to set an example to their children by also wearing head gear.

BHIT’s founder Angela Lee was approached to lead the assemblies.

Amanda Woodard, office manager for the BHIT, said Mrs Lee, a paediatric trauma nurse at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading, set up the charity after she realised too many children were coming into her care after being injured by not wearing a helmet.

She added that help is available for schools, through the BHIT, if they want to promote cycling safety to students.

For more information visit www.bhit.org.

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  • BurttheBike  |  March 31 2012, 7:19PM

    dank1995: "A bike helmet will still be better than nothing at all. Helmets take some impact of the damage; therefore it is better to wear a helmet than nothing at all." That is an assumption which is not borne out by the facts: nowhere with a massive rise in helmet wearing due to either a helmet law or propaganda campaign can show any reduction in risk to cyclists, and some research shows an increase in risk. There are a number of explanations as to why it isn't safer to wear a helmet, risk compensation, increased possibility of the most dangerous types of injury, and the fact that cycle helmets are just flimsy bits of plastic. So flimsy that you're supposed to replace them if you just drop them. So, no, all the reliable evidence shows that it isn't better to wear a helmet. It all depends on whether you believe the evidence or your own assumptions. Check out cyclehelmets.org for the facts rather than the invalid assumptions of someone with no knowledge of them.

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  • dank1995  |  March 29 2012, 12:18PM

    Both bike helmets and educating motorists and cyclists should be made compulsory. A bike helmet will still be better than nothing at all. Helmets take some impact of the damage; therefore it is better to wear a helmet than nothing at all. However I do agree with the recent comments of educating people about the dangers of the road and how cyclists can be made more visible to motorists even a high visible vest can make all the difference.

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  • PotatoMan11  |  March 28 2012, 10:01PM

    Motorists wearing motorcycle helmets would save many more lives than cyclists wearing cycle helmets. Why no call for that to be made compulsory? Likewise, pedestrians wearing helmets would also be just as effective in stopping injuries. Especially in the elderly and children. Again, why no call for that to be made compulsory? In a serious accident, a cycle helmet does no good. Making them compulsory would stop many people cycling, which means more fing traffic, and more fat children being driven around. The introduction of compulsion in Australia and NZ has been an utter failure, with a massive reduction in the numbers of cyclists, and no effect on the number of head injuries. People assume that wearing a helmet must increase safety, whereas there's no conclusive evidence either way. It's been shown that cars give you less room when overtaking if you've got a helmet. And helmets can actually make serious injuries worse. So, please have a think and a do a bit of research before starting to get behind any campaign to make people wear helmets.

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  • avonside40  |  March 26 2012, 9:39AM

    @Barnum42 - I'm sorry, but I didn't think I was being "holier than thou", and that wasn't my intention. I was just pointing out that there is bad behaviour on the roads from motorists too, for which they also do not automaticaly get pulled over or fined by the police. I agree that there are dangerous cyclists on the road, and there are stupid pedestrians, and there are dangerous motorists. As a cyclist and as a motorist, I have seen and experienced dangerous behaviour from all sides. My final word on all of this, as it is all irrelevant to the original article.

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  • Barnum42  |  March 23 2012, 7:16PM

    Avonside - the expected holier than thou reply from a cyclist - deflect the sins of your brothers by attacking another group. I lived and worked in Bristol long enough to experience the worst of all forms of commuter be they on foot, or wheels or have an engine to help them along. If a motorist gets caught driving irresponsibly, Plod takes their number plate and fines them accordingly. The multitude of dangerous cyclists get off scot-free. I returned to Bristol the other weekend with my family and had two near misses with cyclists. One who bombed through the red light on a pedestrian crossing nearly hitting my daughter and another hammering along the pavement by the exit to St Nick's Market. I had a close shave with a pavement cyclist in Yeovil the week before that. When I worked in the centre, it was a daily occurrence having near misses and hits with pavement cyclists. There are plenty of responsible cyclists and motorists, but sadly too many irresponsible ones on both sides. If you are a responsible one, good for you but please don't defend the vicious cyclists by having a go at motorists. That's a different argument.

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  • clarysage50  |  March 23 2012, 7:02PM

    Very sad to see that this young lad is now wearing his helmet....too late unfortunately..

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  • siarad2  |  March 23 2012, 1:48PM

    As has been pointed out, there's almost no means of enforcement. If the boys mother failed to enforce the wearing how on earth can the police, with no means of identification. Let's not forget the Peltzman effect, whereby people increase risk upon increased safety, so the reckless will be more reckless. Good luck & a speedy recovery

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  • avonside40  |  March 23 2012, 12:53PM

    Although that is rather off-topic. And as a final comment I would like to say that I have never cycled on a pavement which wasn't a road or designated as "shared-use", I have never jumped a red light and I always stop at crossings. More fool me, obviously!

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  • avonside40  |  March 23 2012, 12:46PM

    @Barnum42 - I think you'll find a large number of motorists who also don't stop at red traffic lights or pedestrian crossings (and I think you'll find a lot of motorists also eating, drinking, changing a CD or talking on their mobile whilst in charge of a tonne of metal, too...)

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  • Barnum42  |  March 23 2012, 12:33PM

    A helmet will provide protection if the skull hits the road as it dissipates the point of impact. From that stand point they are a good idea. Making them legal will make no difference to them being worn. There are laws in place that cyclists regularly ignore: Stop at red lights. Stop at pedestrian crossings. Don't ride on the pavement. If you report any of the above to Plod, you'll be told they can't do anything about it as there's no way of identifying the perpetrators. It would be no different with helmets. The best that can be done is to educate people about the importance of protective equipment. But bottom line relating to this story is to wish Louis well with his continued recovery.

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