London cyclists
London cyclists Stefan Wermuth/Reuters

A report in The Times has suggested that cyclists could be forced to wear helmets on UK roads by the end of next year.

Transport minister Jesse Norman will consult the government on whether hi-vis jackets and helmets should be made mandatory, the story claims.

Currently cyclists are not required to wear protective gear, though most bike safety groups strongly encourage the use of helmets and lights.

Some 3,239 serious injuries were recorded by road safety authorities in 2015. That figure rose last year, with 3,397 serious injuries and 100 fatalities on British roads.

In Australia, cyclists can be fined up to £180 for not wearing helmets. However many say the measure deters people from cycling, which they claim cuts pollution and deaths related to obesity.

Neuroscientist and researcher Henry Marsh claims that the use of helmets can be counterproductive and gives riders a sense of invulnerability. He said: "In the countries where bike helmets are compulsory there has been no reduction in bike injuries whatsoever.

"I see lots of people in bike accidents and these flimsy little helmets don't help."

Despite this, the use of helmets is quite high among commuters on the UK's busy roads. 70% of cyclists already use helmets. This figure rises to 77% during the busy morning period.

So what do you think? Do helmets discourage riders from taking to the roads? Or is it simply too dangerous to ride without one?