Survey sparks hi-vis debate
Halfords report garners strong opposition
Halfords and a government minister both found themselves on the receiving end of a public backlash last week as they separately suggested cyclists could be forced to wear hi-vis, helmets and even have number plates.
The Halfords report entitled Sharing the Road 2017, was based on a survey conducted for it by polling organisation Yougov, which found 59 per cent of people backed the introduction of number plates for cyclists.
Perhaps unsurprisingly this prompted a strong reaction from cyclists who started the hashtag #boycotthalfords across social media. Twitter user Hamish Denton’s comment was typical: “Just caught up with what Halfords have been up to. So disappointed. Creating self-serving research that whips up division.”
Meanwhile, roads minister Jesse Norman got similar short shrift when he said, in an interview with The Guardian on Friday, that the government’s road safety review would consider whether cyclists should be made to wear hi-vis clothing and helmets.
Norman said that the review would “ask very general questions and if the feedback is that we should consider that stuff, then we’ll look at it” and pledged that conclusions would be led by the evidence.
He added: “Obviously there will be some people who feel very strongly that there should be hi-vis, and there will be plenty of people who think strongly the other way. It’ll be the same with helmets. The literature on risk is quite a welldeveloped one, I don’t need to tell you.”
But British Cycling campaign manager Martin Key said the review should “focus on issues that reduce the source of road danger, which is mainly the infrastructure and motor traffic”.
He added: “The terms of reference of the review need drafting so that dog-whistle issues like hi-vis and helmets — that reduce the numbers of people cycling and make no discernible difference to safety — remain off the agenda.”