Australian Wins Helmet Law Case
SCONE, AUSTRALIA - A District Court has upheald an appeal from a local cyclist that officially squashes the local helmet law.
Fifty-year-old Sue Abbott was fined in March 7, 2009 by a highway patrol officer in Scone, New South Wales, for riding along the rode helmetless and in contravention of the national road transportation act, which requires that all riders don a helmet.
According to a report in The Sydney Morning Herald,
The 50-year old mother of four has never been in trouble with the law, has never fallen from her bike, and thought it ridiculous she could not ride at 15 km/h on a dedicated cycleway with an uncovered head. ...
Ms Abbott argued that if she fell from her bike while wearing a helmet she would be at greater risk of brain damage from ''diffuse external injury,'' an injury similar to shaken baby syndrome, than if she fell on her bare head.
The presiding judge mentioned that there is a legitimate debate being waged by international medical and transportation experts regarding the safety and risks associated with helmet use. He concluded that: ''Having read all the material, I think I would fall down on your (Abbott's) side of the ledger. ... I frankly don't think there is anything advantageous and there may well be a disadvantage in situations to have a helmet - and it seems to me that it's one of those areas where it ought to be a matter of choice.''
Australia became the first country to pass a mandatory helmet law in 1991. Since then, research has shown no significant reduction in the number of head injuries in the country, according to associate professor Chris Rissel from Sydney University's School of Public Health.