Patrick Harvie reveals Greens' 'transformational' plans for Scotland
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Patrick Harvie, who was appointed Scotland’s “Active Travel” minister by the Scottish First Minister as part of the SNP-Greens cooperation agreement last week was pictured cycling without head protection down a busy road in Glasgow. The incident occurred just hours after he was addressing spectators at Glasgow Pride on Saturday, September 4.
Mr Harvie has made his views about helmets known and claimed the safety gear was “not my style” and said it made him feel like he was doing an extreme sport.
But road safety charities urged the Scottish Greens MSP to comply with the Highway Code, which states helmets should be worn when riding a bike.
Peter McCabe, Headway’s chief executive, said: “Using negative language that discourages the use of helmets puts lives at risk.
“As a charity that helps people to rebuild their lives after sustaining brain injuries, including those acquired through cycling accidents, we would welcome the opportunity to discuss with Mr Harvie the overwhelming body of peer-reviewed scientific evidence that proves the effectiveness of helmets in reducing the risk of brain injuries and fatalities.
“Rather than tweeting anti helmet messages suggesting their use neither looks nor feels normal, we should be working together to normalise cycle helmet use, as has happened in numerous countries including Australia and the USA.
“Using negative language that discourages the use of helmets puts lives at risk.”
Neil Greig, policy and research director at IAM Roadsmart, added: “Even a low speed fall from a bike can lead to permanent brain damage so it’s simply not worth the risk in our view, and particularly for growing young children it’s vital to protect the head.
“Many activists claim helmets put people off cycling and we are all for choice but choosing to avoid lifelong disability seems the right one to make.”
The incident comes after the SNP-led Scottish government said it aimed to have the best road safety performance in the world by 2030.
Ministers also said they wanted to have no one seriously injured or killed on Scotland’s roads by 2050.
Transport Scotland is currently working with Police Scotland to develop a one-year pilot scheme to develop an online reporting system “enabling anyone to upload camera footage of dangerous driving” as part of the governing agreement struck between the SNP and the Greens.
Various studies have also shown that cycling with a helmet on helps to prevent injuries.
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A 2016 study found evidence that wearing a cycle helmet reduces the risk of serious head injury by almost 70 percent and that of fatal head injury by 65 percent.
A separate 2019 study found that wearing a helmet was associated with a significant reduction in severe traumatic brain injury.
The Scottish Greens declined to comment and Scottish Government have been approached for comment.
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