More than 50,000 children across Birmingham will put their lives at risk over the summer holidays because they think it is 'uncool' to wear a cycling helmet, a study has found.
The findings come from the largest ever survey of school children on cycling safety carried out by Jet petrol stations as part of their Safe & Smile campaign.
Four out of five Birmingham youngsters questioned said they would always wear a cycling helmet if a change in the law made it compulsory.
However, more than half said they had previously had an accident on their bike, with 61 per cent of those admitting that they had not been wearing a helmet at the time.
Some schools in the city responded to the findings by saying they would be encouraging pupils to wear a helmet.
More than a quarter of the 8,000 children nationwide who participated in the study said they did not even own a helmet.
Peer pressure to appear 'cool' was the chief reason not to wear a helmet - 70 per cent of those questioned said this as the main disincentive. Other reasons included discomfort and expense.
The latest figures show that approximately 100,000 children nationally are injured in cycling accidents each year while more than 1,300 under-16-year-olds are seriously injured or killed.
Jet's Safe & Smile campaign wants the Government to change the law to make wearing a helmet compulsory.
"We are really concerned that children are putting their image before their own safety by choosing not to wear a cycling helmet", Roy Roley, manager of the campaign, said.