Cyclists across Oxfordshire are being given the chance to buy helmets for just £5, a saving of nearly £10, in a bid to cut the number of serious head injuries in accidents.

The Oxford Mail has linked up with Oxford Products, a Witney firm which supplies cycle helmets approved to stringent European safety standards.

Stephan Davies, operations manager for the company, said: "Wearing a cycle helmet could make all the difference.

"Our helmets will come with a 12-month crash warranty, because if kids come off their bike and their helmet absorbs an impact it will not have the same protective qualities next time round."

The special promotion, which starts tomorrow, is being launched after 10-year-old Numaan Khan, of Church Cowley Road, Oxford, was almost paralysed in a cycle accident because he was not wearing a cycle helmet.

He was involved in an accident with a car in Iffley Road on July 27 and it was not until he opened his eyes on July 31 that his father Hassan knew that the schoolboy would be able to walk, talk and even see again.

The Larkrise Primary School pupil is still recovering. His father said: "He was not wearing a cycle helmet because he did not have one. That was a mistake we have learned from - it has cost him and us dearly.

"I would say to parents, if their children have a bike they should buy the helmet, because it could save their life."

Mr Davies added: "More often than not children don't wear their cycle helmets because they think it's not cool, but if they do have an accident the helmet could make a big difference in terms of the injuries they might suffer."

Oxford Mail editor Simon O'Neill said: "So many people cycle in Oxford, so it's of paramount importance to improve safety for all cyclists, especially children. We're delighted to join forces with Oxford Products for this initiative."

James Styring, a spokesman for Cyclox, which campaigns for cyclists in Oxford, welcomed the initiative.

He said: "I wear a cycle helmet and if I had children I would get them to wear one, but parents should remember that cycle helmets are not magic safety devices.

"In some accidents they could save your life, but that's not the case in every accident and I believe cycle training is even more important than wearing a cycle helmet. Children and adults need to be aware of the dangers on the road."

Cyclox is now offering cycle training to complement the cycle training the county council provides for primary school pupils.

For training, call Henry Strivens on 07809 685099 or Clare Farley on 01865 247791, who specialises in lessons for women.

*Last year, 148 cyclists were injured in accidents in Oxford. Most were aged between 16 and 25.

Oxford University student Tsz Fok died following a collision with a lorry at the junction of Parks Road and Broad Street on April 18.

Studies have shown cycle helmets can protect against head, brain and facial injuries and death.

In the US, a survey of 3,854 cyclists found helmet use reduced the overall risk of brain injury by 65 per cent and severe brain injury by 74 per cent.

Studies in Australia and New Zealand have reinforced the findings.