HAVING read Matt Westcott’s article regarding the wearing of cycle helmets and hi-vis clothing, I would like to offer my views (Echo Weekend, Dec 2).

My wife and I have been committed leisure cyclists for over 36 years, both on solos and tandems. We have cycled in many European countries and their high mountain ranges, so would consider ourselves to be experienced and competent.

We have worn helmets since they first appeared, from the blocks of expanded polystyrene with covers to today’s super ventilated models.

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In my opinion, helmets may protect one in a simple low speed accident, like falling from a bike without being involved with another vehicle, but research has shown that in a collision with a motor vehicle that is travelling faster than 30mph, the results are usually fatal.

Helmets, I believe, give motorists a flawed perception of cyclists’ safety, in that they see the cyclist kitted out and believe they are fully protected.

I can see the sense in wearing hi-vis clothing, but donning an extra hi-vis waistcoat on a hot sunny day climbing a high mountain pass would not appeal.

Pedestrians wearing hi-vis would be a good idea too, but imagine the outcry if that was suggested.

Education for motorists would be a more direct approach.

Generally, motorists abroad are much more aware of the vulnerability of the cyclist and are mostly prepared to wait until it is safe before overtaking, where as in the UK motorists overtaking can be a too close experience.

As always, the UK seems to lag behind European countries regarding the provision of cycling lanes in busy towns (try the Netherlands for a taste of how to look after cyclists) and if this problem was addressed I’m sure cycling in this country would be very much safer.

Reg Marshall, County Durham