A DETERMINED student who was left with a serious brain injury after a cycling accident in his teens has taken his campaign for cycle helmets to be mandatory to the corridors of power.
Oliver Dibsdale sustained the injury when he hit his head on the kerb after falling off his bike in Hillmorton High Street in 2015, when he was just 15 – leaving him with limited mobility and requiring care.
Now, his call for a change in the law to require cyclists to wear helmets has gone all the way to Westminster with the backing of his local MP.
Oliver said: “Wearing a helmet is the single most effective way of reducing head injuries and fatalities resulting from bicycle crashes.
“I once made the mistake of not wearing one, because I thought I was untouchable, but what I thought was so wrong.
“My foot simply slipped of the pedal, which could have happened to anyone.
“So it’s simple – make head protection law on all types of bikes, not just motorbikes. A helmet is more than 70 per cent effective at preventing a serious head injury.”
Oliver contacted Rugby and Bulkington MP Mark Pawsey to make his case by speaking of the impact the life-changing injury has had not just on himself, but also on his family.
Mr Pawsey, himself a keen cyclist, secured a meeting with Junior Transport Minister Trudy Harrison – and invited Oliver to Westminster to speak to her and senior civil servants at the Department for Transport about the impact of not wearing a helmet when he came off his bike.
Oliver asked Ms Harrison to look again at a change in the law, believing his injury would have been less severe or even avoided altogether had he been required to wear a helmet.
Although Ms Harrison commended Oliver on his work and invited him to be part of the Government’s road safety campaigning, she said the Government’s focus was on encouraging people to wear a helmet rather than mandating it through legislation.
Speaking after the meeting, Mr Pawsey said: “Oliver’s story is deeply moving, and I have a great deal of sympathy for his calls for a change in the law to make wearing a helmet while cycling mandatory.
“We never think that it will happen to us, but as Oliver’s case shows, a life-changing injury can occur in the blink of an eye – but wearing a helmet can massively reduce the risk of being seriously hurt in the event of an accident.
“I hope that everyone hearing Oliver’s story will make sure that whenever they get on a bike they will wear their helmet to keep themselves safe.”