More than ten per cent of cyclists would give up cycling if wearing helmets was made compulsory, research has shown.
And according to a poll by the Institute of Advanced Motorists, only 20 per cent of respondents said they thought helmets should be compulsory.
The poll – which surveyed over 4000 people – found that another 30 per cent would simply continue to cycle without a helmet.
Cycle helmets were not seen as a priority compared to using conspicuous clothing and lights but nor were the respondents negative in their views towards them.
Almost 60 per cent thought that wearing a cycle helmet should be a personal decision and 60 per cent of those surveyed who cycle said they did wear a helmet.
A similar number of people thought that helmets offered limited protection from serious head injury and saved lives.
Training was high on the agenda and was rated the second most important cycle safety measure.
IAM cycling manager Duncan Pickering said: “One in ten cyclists being prepared to give up cycling shows how controversial compulsory helmets would be.
“But generally people are not anti-helmet – they see it as an issue of choice.
“Ultimately, fewer than ten per cent voted that they didn’t think wearing a cycle helmet was beneficial at all, so if cyclists feel safer wearing one it makes sense to do so. But cyclists can improve their safety and confidence a lot by taking training.”