Would an obligation to wear a helmet put you off buying an e-bike? A survey commissioned by Bike Europe in the Netherlands found that half of those who intended to purchase one would definitely or probably not do so one if helmets were made compulsory.
Mandatory cycle helmet laws are often suggested for those riding unassisted bikes and the government’s response is generally pretty consistent.
As recently as last month, the Department for Transport confirmed it had no plans to make cycle helmets mandatory in the UK after Conservative MP Mark Pritchard raised the issue in a written question.
Minister of State at the Department for Transport, Jesse Norman, explained: “The safety benefits of mandating cycle helmets for cyclists are likely to be outweighed by the fact that this would put some people off cycling, thereby reducing the wider health and environmental benefits.”
While e-bikes cease to assist the rider above 15.5mph, some argue that as they are technically motor vehicles, riders’ should be obliged to wear helmets.
Bike Europe’s survey, carried out by international research agency GfK, reveals that such a law would be a huge deterrent to uptake.
Of 50,000 people in GfK’s consumer panel, 3,567 said they were planning to buy an e-bike. Asked whether they would still make the purchase if helmets were compulsory, 12 per cent said they would not and 38 per cent said it would be unlikely.
The survey also identified 16,601 people who already own an e-bike. They were asked whether they would continue to ride it if a mandatory helmet use were introduced. Almost a quarter said ‘no’ or ‘probably not’.