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Husband of woman who died after fall from bike says helmets should be mandatory

Carmen Greenway fractured her skull after hitting ‘rough’ patch in the road on her way home from a pub

The husband of a woman who was killed when she was thrown from her bicycle just moments after taking a selfie has suggested that the government should introduce a mandatory helmet law.

The London Evening Standard reports how on August 19, New Zealand born Carmen Greenway was cycling home from The Crown in St Margaret’s with her mother Sherry Bennett and two friends when her bike hit a “rough” patch in the road.

Her husband, Rufus, said: “She’d been taking selfies and had one hand on the bars. It was bumpy and she just jack-knifed the bars, threw herself off the bike and fractured her skull. It wasn’t the cycling that killed her, it was a tragic mistake. She was close to home, relaxed and having a lovely time.”

Bennett said she had been riding right behind her daughter and described the incident as “just one of those unbelievable accidents.”

She was rushed to intensive care at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington where she died six days later after going into cardiac arrest. Her funeral was held last month.

“It is worrying to hear that she had been taking selfies,” said Rufus. “We all think ‘it will never happen to me’, but the reality is that an accident can happen to anyone at any time – regardless of how experienced a cyclist you may be.”

Pointing to mandatory helmet laws in New Zealand, he added: “With London becoming a cycling city there are only going to be more cyclists, therefore perhaps the government should make a stronger case for saying if you want to get on a bike you need a proficiency test and you need to wear a helmet.”

Carmen Greenway took up cycling competitively 18 months ago and both Rufus and their eldest son Finlay, 13, are members of the Twickenham Cycling Club. Rufus was on the group ride during which Ralph Brazier was thrown from his bike and killed after hitting a pothole in March.

A spokesman for Headway, the brain injury charity which campaigns for mandatory helmet laws, said:

“The evidence is clear that helmets protect the brain and save lives. We are calling for a change in the law for children to wear helmets and we would like to see more done to encourage everyone to wear helmets.

“The evidence from Australian and New Zealand is that the number of head and brain injuries from cycling has reduced while cycling has never been more popular.”

This is however disputed. While contributing to a 2015 senate inquiry into the country’s mandatory helmet laws, research journalist Chris Gillham said that data published over the past 25 years had consistently shown a substantial and permanent decline in the proportion of Australians cycling.

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the road.cc team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

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44 comments

Avatar
headingley | 7 years ago
1 like

I hesitate to comment without all the facts , but it appears that alcohol and cyclist behaviour may have played a part here. I'll wait for the inquest and see - jumping to "compulsory helmet" time seems to be too hasty.

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Pub bike | 7 years ago
4 likes

Her husbands says that "the government should make a stronger case for saying if you want to get on a bike you need a proficiency test and you need to wear a helmet."

but previously he said: "but the reality is that an accident can happen to anyone at any time – regardless of how experienced a cyclist you may be."

So a proficiency test wouldn't have helped, and his wife normally wore a helmet.  

The mistakes that caused the crash - riding with one hand and carrying a phone in the other - are all covered by Rule 66 of the highway code.

So the government should do no such thing.

Sympathies to the family.

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BikeBud | 7 years ago
0 likes

Wife.  

Mother of two kids.  

RIP . 

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surly_by_name | 7 years ago
0 likes

Someone on another thread referred to "noddy hat wearing evangelists", which I thought was quite funny. I would stress that I am a fan of wearing helmets, although not to the point of evangelism, I hope, so I disagree with the poster's position on helmets. But at least poster had a sense of humour.

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Ush | 7 years ago
4 likes

Disgusting to watch the "charity" Headway misusing this tragedy.  Is there no depth to which they will not stoop?

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jestriding | 7 years ago
2 likes

New Zealand has a compulsory all age helmet law and it's about exactly as dangerous to cycle there as in the UK which doesn't (interesting that the law was also brought in by using a single anecdote by the "Helmet Lady" rather than population level data).  And the UK is hardly a shining star in European cyclist safety...

If Sweden had a compulsory all age helmet law then you might take some notice as they have a third the road casualties as New Zealand... but New Zealand is hardly a leader in road safety.  You couldn't even regard it as a follower.

More like heads off in it's own direction doing shit that has never been shown to work (you might consider it working if you think reducing cyclist numbers is a good thing).

 

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Leviathan | 7 years ago
1 like

An egg box sellotaped to your head is going to reduce the force in an impact, not much but some. It is funny the way this issue with being crushed by HGV's keeps coming up, like anyone claims a helmet will protect you from this. Its a bit like climate change deniers saying 'It was hotter when the dinosaurs were around' fallacious arguments are fallacious.

Funny as well that there doesn't seem to be the same sort of debate about Horse Jumping, BMXing, Base Jumping, White water kayaking, Rafting, Carting, Motorbiking, Helmets are cool/No compulsion.

The way the law is now is fine, classic British Libertarianism, what are we still arguing about?

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bikebot replied to Leviathan | 7 years ago
2 likes
Leviathan wrote:

Funny as well that there doesn't seem to be the same sort of debate about Horse Jumping, BMXing, Base Jumping, White water kayaking, Rafting, Carting, Motorbiking, Helmets are cool/No compulsion.

If you're trying to draw a parallel between sports activities and everyday utility cycling, I might need to borrow your fallacious argument, argument.

Fortunately, being a sensible bunch, 99% of people who cycle agree that the law is correct even though views on helmets vary. The 1% who want to impose their beliefs, deservedly get clobbered with data until they shut up or look ridiculous.

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davel replied to Leviathan | 7 years ago
1 like
Leviathan wrote:

 Its a bit like climate change deniers saying 'It was hotter when the dinosaurs were around'
...fallacious arguments are fallacious.

it's like raiaiiiiiiiin on your wedding day...

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oldstrath replied to Leviathan | 7 years ago
2 likes
Leviathan wrote:

 

The way the law is now is fine, classic British Libertarianism, what are we still arguing about?

The only thing we are 'arguing' about is the apparent desire of a sad widower and an opportunist 'charity' to use a sad event to push a helmet compulsion law for whioch there is little real demand and almost no evidence of benefit. The law now is indeed fine, but these people's behaviour is far from fine.

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nadsta | 7 years ago
1 like

Condolences to the family and very sorry that TCC have suffered more bad news so soon after Ralph.  

In the rush to rightly defend choice & critique this lady's behaviour, comments above have overlooked the fact that yet again bad road surface was cited as a trigger for the accident.  We should be bemoaning that it's the responsibility of the relevant agency to maintain the roads to be safe for all rather than only blaming the cyclist, who we must accept may well have been also at fault.

It's also possible a helmet could have prevented her skull injury, in contrast to the accidents that involve HGVs

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Jackson | 7 years ago
0 likes

Some pretty awful responses on here to a tragic accident. I hope none of her friends or family come across this site. 

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irc replied to Jackson | 7 years ago
7 likes
Jackson wrote:

Some pretty awful responses on here to a tragic accident. I hope none of her friends or family come across this site. 

 

It was a tragic accident however if the family choose to use it to promote a helmet law then it is no longer a private tragedy and they can expect fair comment on their campaign.

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arfa | 7 years ago
4 likes

A tragedy for the family without doubt but this is all about choice.
Mrs Greenway came from New Zealand where helmets are compulsory yet she chose to ride without one. She chose to ride after a night out without fully concentrating on the road whilst taking a selfie. She was an experienced cyclist in making these choices. Whilst the consequences of these choices are devastating for her and her family, the outcome does not justify the removal of freedom to choose for everyone else. At no point is it clear that if there was a law, her choices would have been different anyway.
A tragic tale and that's it.
My thoughts are with the family but I disagree with the reasoning in their campaign.

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BBB | 7 years ago
7 likes

Husband of woman who died from fall in a shower/ from ladder / in a car accident says helmets should be mandatory...

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MikeOnABike | 7 years ago
0 likes

Shortlist for a Darwin Award.

And No. I have no sympathy for moronic behaviour. If she was killed by a drunk, selfie taking motorist, it would be a different matter.

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BikeBud replied to MikeOnABike | 7 years ago
1 like
MikeOnABike wrote:

Shortlist for a Darwin Award.

And No. I have no sympathy for moronic behaviour. 

Nice.  Wonder what the eulogies will be like at your funeral?!  

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MikeOnABike replied to BikeBud | 7 years ago
1 like
BikeBud wrote:
MikeOnABike wrote:

Shortlist for a Darwin Award.

And No. I have no sympathy for moronic behaviour. 

Nice.  Wonder what the eulogies will be like at your funeral?!  

That I was a miserable cunt unless I was riding a bike, cleaning a bike or repairing a bike.

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fukawitribe replied to MikeOnABike | 7 years ago
0 likes
MikeOnABike wrote:
BikeBud wrote:
MikeOnABike wrote:

Shortlist for a Darwin Award.

And No. I have no sympathy for moronic behaviour. 

Nice.  Wonder what the eulogies will be like at your funeral?!  

That I was a miserable cunt unless I was riding a bike, cleaning a bike or repairing a bike.

Maybe you could find something else in the world that also interests you, might be less of a cunt then ?

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madcarew | 7 years ago
0 likes

Here in New Zealand, cycling events have (almost) never been more popular. Cycling as a mode of transport from a to b (eg kids cycling to school, commuters) is strongly on the wane. I live in a town with about 3000 school students. I pass or live close to 5 schools on my morning 'commute'. It would be a rare day I see more than 10 kids cycling to school. Much of this lack of participation is due to the perception of cycling being dangerous. Personally I support individual choice. I do think children should be strongly encouraged to wear helmets as the incidence of head injuries from cycling accidents in NZ has always been highest in those under 16. 

And back to the article, I do think this guy has done a brilliant job of highlighting why the separated cycle path is a good idea  1

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burtthebike replied to madcarew | 7 years ago
4 likes
madcarew wrote:

 I do think children should be strongly encouraged to wear helmets as the incidence of head injuries from cycling accidents in NZ has always been highest in those under 16. 

And back to the article, I do think this guy has done a brilliant job of highlighting why the separated cycle path is a good idea  1

Are you aware that children have been strangled by their helmet straps but there is no proven case of a helmet saving a life.  So helmets have killed children and saved none.  Do you still think they should be strongly encouraged?

This girl wasn't killed by a car, so of what possible relevance are segregated cycle paths?

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Mungecrundle | 7 years ago
5 likes

Really very sorry for this gentleman's loss, but with best will in the world I fail to see how someone's free, though I'll advised, choice to lark about on a bicycle after a session at the pub whilst taking selfies should mean that my free choice not to ride with a helmet when I don't feel like wearing one should be taken away.

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seiklmeikl | 7 years ago
5 likes

Laws should be based on data and reasoning, not on personal experiences. Nearly everybody who lost friend or family would argue the same way. Imagine the Dutch had introduced mandatory helmets instead of changing their infra based on the "Stop the child murder" campaign. 

 

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tritecommentbot | 7 years ago
15 likes

How about a compromise then.

 

People who want to ride drunk, with one hand on the bars, taking selfies with the other, on rough tarmac, should have to wear helmets.

 

 

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BikeBud replied to tritecommentbot | 7 years ago
0 likes
unconstituted wrote:

How about a compromise then.

 

People who want to ride drunk, with one hand on the bars, taking selfies with the other, on rough tarmac, should have to wear helmets.

 

 

 

She was coming back from a pub.  She'd been there for dinner with her Mum.  Her husband commented that she'd probably had a drink.  This does not mean she was drunk.  Neither does it mean she was not drunk, but it does not mean she was drunk.  

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felixcat | 7 years ago
3 likes
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fenix | 7 years ago
3 likes

A very sad case - but would she have crashed if she hadn't been taking selfies ? 

 

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mike the bike | 7 years ago
6 likes

 

I feel sorry for the husband and family in this tragic accident but they should perhaps remember the old lawyers' motto: Hard cases make bad law.

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Yorkshire wallet | 7 years ago
7 likes

Pub + taking selfies with one hand on bars = everyone suffers for one person's stupidity?

Never mind the husband's it'll never happen to me talk, that WILL never to me as I won't go down the pub on a bike or take selfies whilst riding.

It's bad enough people in cars keep off the phone.

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Barraob1 | 7 years ago
2 likes

I wear a helmet had a crash coming back from the pub, fractured some ribs and cracked the helmet. My own fault cycling with a few pints, unfortunately like my own incident this was self inflicted, compulsory helmet use won't stop accidents like this happening.

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