by Carlton Reid
September 17, 2012
Trade mag article on bicycle helmets – a “safe upsell” – criticised by US lawyer.
Earlier this year US trade magazine Bicycle Dealer published an article by Amanda Grant, director of communications at helmet supplier Rudy Project North America. Grant said it was every bike retailer’s “responsibility” to inform customers about the “dangers” of cycling. Bicycle retailers who did this would “sell more helmets.”
She advised that children should be shocked into wearing helmets for cycling and that bicycle retailers should source a crushed helmet in order to upsell to teens:
“Keep a helmet in shambles from a crash on display and include a testimony about the life it saved,” Grant told US bicycle retailers.
Colorado-based lawyer Jim Moss, a specialist in outdoor recreation (and a Colnago-riding roadie), said Grant’s article could create liability issues for bicycle retailers:
“If a retailer provide consumers with information which they rely upon in making a purchase and that information is incorrect and results in an injury, the retailer could be liable.”
Moss wears a helmet when riding but doesn’t believe they are as protective as some proponents argue: “If you are involved in an accident severe enough that a head injury will kill you, other parts of your body will be injured severely enough to kill you. Cyclists die when vehicles hit them. If the speed of impact is greater than 30 to 40 mph, cyclists have almost a zero chance of surviving the impact, with or without a light polystyrene helmet.”
Moss added that cycling is not inherently dangerous:
“If you are trying to sell a helmet to someone based on fear, how will that help get more people on bikes? Is that how you want to sell cycling: this is a dangerous sport, so spend [more money] with me?”