September 6, 2010

Comments (12)

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Its about freedom of choice

Rick and Max, you are welcome to think what you like about helmets. Its your heads and should be your choices. However I have read the research and came to the same conclusion the judge but the law prevents me exercising my choice just as it tried to prevent Sue Abbott exercising her's. I should no more be forced to wear one than you should be forced not to wear one.

Antony more than 4 years ago

don't care

i don't care about studies, i don't care about safety in numbers, i don't care about other kinds of head injuries...
if i smash my knee in an accident they can probably fix it and if not then replace it. if i scramble my brain there ain't no fixing it and i'm relearning the alphabet. i know the alphabet pretty darn well and i'm not keen on relearning it.
i wear a seatbelt when i drive and i wear a helmet when i ride (which averages twice as many miles a year than my driving). this has nothing to do with any guarantees that i won't need to relearn the alphabet, it's simply a sensible precaution.

rick more than 4 years ago

Personal risk assessment

This isn't a debate about helmets but about why it should be 'law.' I am tired of reading helmet testimonials and the like when this topic arises when this is really a social and philosophical debate about the pros and cons of mandatory helmet laws and the role of government in determining what we can and can't decide for ourselves in the name of the social greater good. Repealing the law does not equate banning or promoting helmets not be worn. Similarly it is not an attack on your choice to wear one.

Each type of journey you take by bike is different and while an accident could happen on any of them - route, speed, traffic type of riding should be able to play a part in a personal risk assessment. We do this in almost every aspect of our lives when we make a decision. I don't see why I shouldn't be able to cycle somewhere I deem safe enough for my ability as a cyclist to go without a helmet as so many cyclists in other countries can. I am no more likely to have accident getting to the local market on my bike as I am getting there as a pedestrian.

No other country (such as the UK - a fair comparison to Australia in terms of road conditions for cyclists) is crippled by the health costs of people cycling without helmets and a great many people do wear them in the UK but it's not law. The health cost angle is just not a valid argument for the laws. If it was we should outlaw alcohol, the biggest cost to our health systems, immediately.

This is not about being anti-helmets or disputing that in certain circumstances they can prevent a more serious injury but about reinvigorating utility cycling in Australia and especially allowing us to enjoy the benefits of bike share schemes in our cities as other cities around the world have. Currently children are taught to wear helmets out of fear, a fear that cycling is inherently dangerous and will kill you. As a result helmets or not children and more importantly their fear-mongered parents are not encouraging or participating in cycling as an everyday activity and this is the most dangerous situation of all because the less cyclists on the roads the more riskier cycling does become.

Naomi more than 4 years ago


I was thrown off my bike in a traffic accident. I was wearing a helmet.
I was knocked unconscious. My helmet cracked.
I'm damn glad I was wearing it. I'm pretty sure it would've been a cracked skull if not for the cracked helmet.

Max Rockbin more than 4 years ago


Helmets themselves may get squashed, but this helmet law (unless Australian dictionaries are less like American ones than I think) got <i>quashed.</i>

Monte more than 4 years ago

Helmet INcapabilities

Even IRC's quoted 10-16% is an overestimate as the "sample" of fatalities studied excluded those with no head injury (in itself 39% of a different DfT survey) or massive multiple injuries. So that bring the numbers down to 6-10% at most.
Would those who believe that helmets are effective please explain why they take them off when they aren't riding bicycles and exposing themselves to all the other dangers that account for 99% of all hospital cases of head injury? IIRC it was academic research from Adelaide which found that "cycle" helmets for car occupants reduced fatalities by 20%.

Jon Wood more than 4 years ago

Helmet Capabilities

PB seems to overestimate how much good a helmet does. They are certainly not the answer to being doored or hit by a truck. A review of the evidence by the UK Dept of Transport found that while helmets might help is certain cycle only accidents they would only have prevented 10-16% of a sample of fatal accidents they studied.

IRC more than 4 years ago


I'm a UK cyclist and wear a helmet more often than not but am absolutely anti-compulsion. Well done that lady and here's to more enlightened helmet laws worldwide.

MissM more than 4 years ago

Helmet Laws

As an Australian, most of us wear a helmet and it is normal to see people wearing them. Most under about 25 have been raised wearing them, the cultural normal to gen Y. 1991 was when this law was put in place, it has taken Australia's police almost 20 years to catch this cyclist! Not bad. Seriously, it is the law here, wear one. One reason is unlike in Holland and other "bike aware" places Aussie car and truck drivers don't look for cyclists or know how to deal with them. With our long distances between places the car still rules down under. Viva la Bicycle revolution, we are getting bike lanes and better facilities, but the bike lanes are still next to parked cars that open doors into the lane or park accross them etc. Think before you ride, a helmet is required by law.

PB of Brisbane Queensland, Australia. more than 4 years ago

Helmet Law

I have been biking to work for over 30 years. I wear my helmet with pride, but once it came in very useful. I was hit by a car that ran a red light. While I ended up in the hospital for my injuries; those injuries did not include a head injury. My dented Helmet, saved me from that.
Wearing Bicycle helmets is good, we have a law that says so. Sometimes you need laws for the good of everyone.
If we end up with Helmet head hair.

RobertS more than 4 years ago

Helmet Laws

The government either respects us as responsible adults, or manages us like domestic livestock. Helmets are good for people, but helmet laws are good for herd animals. You can't reason with government, but you can still earn back your freedom. When bikers start knocking nanny-crats out of office, they will deserve respect. Not with votes, but with campaign volunteering. Until then, bend over and put on your helmet.

RIDE2REPEAL.COM more than 4 years ago

Helmet law

In the end it's the responsibility of bicycle rider themselves to wear a Helmet or not. I grew up in the Netherlands never had an accident.(not even close) very few people wear helmets. In Canada I had 3 accidents and the helmet saved my brains. Now, I wear always a helmet. It's second nature. Hope Sue Abbot will never fall on her head.

Sjors more than 4 years ago

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