Cycling is only risky because of vehicles.
Have you ever cycled before? I have had several accidents, and only once was it due to a vehicle. Most of the time is it uneven ground, and the tyre getting caught in a rut. The state of some of our roads also is not good for cycling, especially at the edges which is where cyclists are supposed to ride. Infact our local council decided to remove all the cycle lanes in my area, and removed the 'cycle painted symbols', and turned them into car parking bays, so they are no longer officially 'cycle lanes'. .So now we have to swerve in and out of the bays when riding on the road, and watch out for potential hazards with car doors opening. Opeing doors on cars is my number one fear when on the roads.
I can see why cycling has decreased with kids, because as a parent I would be reluctant these days to allow my kid to ride on the road with the very heavy traffic flows we now have.
I was cycling in Chch one rainy day. I saw 3 cyclists fall in the 10 minutes I passed Hagley park. There were no other animals within 200m of those cyclists who dropped like flies. Reason? Slippery tarmac vs very narrow near-slick tyres.
I now ride a mountain bike with thick knobby tyres :)
:-) and you now have less traction on a dry day! You know F1, you should know that! In that park, whats the worst they will get? Grazes, bruises, stitches, maybe a broken arm, maybe concussion but unlikely. As no cars or concrete 90 degree gutters involved, no high risk, so let them go helmet free. But the anti helmet brigade who are extremists want the world. If the law was changed to mandatory on a car based road, and optional at a park, they will still whinge.