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Step forward for weekly's safety fight as reporter meets transport minister

A weekly newspaper’s campaign for tougher cycle helmet safety measures has been taken to London, where it was discussed by transport minister Dr Stephen Ladyman at the Department of Transport.

Wellingborough and Rushden Herald & Post chief reporter Lawrence John joined round table discussions with the minister last week, as part of the paper’s on-going campaign for it to be made compulsory for children aged under 18 to wear a cycle helmet.

MP Peter Bone – who has backed the campaign since its launch a year ago – and the Bicycle Helmet Initiative Trust’s Angela Lee, also joined the discussion.

At the meeting, Dr Ladyman announced a review would be undertaken during the next two years to look at the impact wearing cycle helmets could have.

Lawrence said: “The H&P is a community paper which aims to reflect the views of its readers and in this case the majority were fully behind the campaign.

“I was not just representing the paper at the meeting but the readers who are supporting what the campaign is trying to achieve.

“From the campaign’s point of view I hope the evidence shows wearing a cycle helmet can save a life and in particular the life of a child.”

The H&P’s campaign coverage has included a wide range of opinions on the need for a new law.

Readers from across Northamptonshire and south Leicestershire also signed coupons published in the paper to pledge their support for the campaign, which MP Peter Bone presented to Parliament.

Series editor Richard Howarth said: “Our papers have a long tradition of challenging the status quo on behalf of our readers.

“Sometimes the results are immediate, on other occasions, as here, we have seen a campaign build from an initial idea by one of the team to a face-to-face meeting with a government minister.

“We’ve seen recent measures introduced to improve in-car safety for children yet we are still to have a proper debate on safety for children when out on bicycles.

“This has been an excellent effort by Lawrence and he will be keeping a close eye on the review process.”