But I'm finding something sinister about a bunch called "Put a Lid on It", who are crowdsourcing funds so Boris Bikers can buy cheap helmets. It's something about the way they use images like this:
I'm being silly of course. The real thing that is wrong with that picture is that there is no decent infrastructure protecting that woman from that bus. If it unexpectedly veered into her and crushed her, a helmet would be as much use to her as those glasses. Why is she not being protected from the bus?
Then there's this.
"92% of Boris Bikers DO NOT wear helmets, that's crazy!"
Now here it's easier to see what is wrong. Using the word "crazy". It's a word that is used to attribute mental illness to people. And in the case of Boris Bikers, whether or not they wear helmets is not a matter of sanity. It's a matter of balancing the benefits of using a bike on the roads of London against the slight risk of accident, and the marginal mitigating effects of a helmet. It's complex stuff, is calculating risk. It doesn't involve slurs on anyone's sanity, including those people who actually have mental illness.
Three things I'll say about Julian. First is, he's a believer in magic:
"From that moment onwards I have never ridden without a helmet. I never had another accident riding in Belfast."That's right. Julian puts having no accidents in Belfast down to wearing a helmet. I bet he has lucky underpants as well.
Secondly, it strikes me that, for a man who commutes in London, he's always going too damn fast.
Thirdly, read this:
"I was head down feeling really good and riding between 40-45kph along Embankment. I hadn’t realised there was a slight narrowing of the road layout due to a pothole."That's right. We're being advised on safety by a man who, by his own admission, does 30 mph through London without looking where he is going. Maybe wearing his magic helmet that stops him having accidents in Belfast also made him think he had super-vision? Julian does say, however,
"these hard lessons have served to make me hyper-vigilant and aware when riding"I'm guessing it must have been the last one that served to make him hyper-vigilant? The one where he wasn't looking and rode into a road sign?
As I say, if you want to buy a helmet, that's up to you. If you want to try and sell other people helmets, good for you. But if you want to have safer roads - for cyclists and pedestrians - that's a matter of engineering, infrastructure, reducing motor traffic (which Boris Bikes do), the Police actually prosecuting drivers who kill people, and juries returning verdicts that don't defy all logic.
And if you see Julian cycling through London, for your own sake and his steer clear. If you're very lucky, he may be looking where he's going. But I wouldn't bet on it.