Bradley Wiggins has been the star of the summer, winning both the Tour de France and Olympic gold in the space of a few weeks and helping to revive interest in all things Mod into the bargain.
The sideburn-sporting son-of-Kilburn can do no wrong! Except for today, when he argued for the wearing of helmets to be made compulsory for all cyclists. Wiggins' call came on the back of the death of a cyclist yesterday, following a collision with an official London Olympics bus.
"London is a busy city with a lot of traffic," said Wiggins. "Ultimately, if you get knocked off and you don’t have a helmet on, then you can’t argue. You can get killed if you don’t have a helmet on."
While wearing a helmet for road-racing is highly recommended, there are conflicting reports on the protection offered by helmets for everyday cyclists, to the extent that a government investigation in 2009 concluded that there is no reliable evidence that helmets resulted in a lower risk of head injury.
Possibly Wiggins was lead into the helmet issue by the media, who seemed to ignore the fairly important point that, as of today, we don't even know if the dead cyclist was wearing a helmet or not! That should tell us something about the inbuilt bias against cyclists prevalent in the press.
Had the bus run over a pedestrian, you can bet the focus would have been on the driver or the perils of Olympic transport organisation, not whether or not the walker followed the Green Cross Code.