Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thread)

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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby yugyug » Sun Mar 02, 2014 10:37 am

new one in the Guardian:

Is failure to promote the wearing of cycle helmets 'irresponsible'?
http://www.theguardian.com/science/occa ... mpensation
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by BNA » Sun Mar 02, 2014 11:05 am

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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby queequeg » Sun Mar 02, 2014 11:05 am

yugyug wrote:new one in the Guardian:

Is failure to promote the wearing of cycle helmets 'irresponsible'?
http://www.theguardian.com/science/occa ... mpensation


Love the byline:-

Richard P Grant used to cycle in Sydney, Australia, where the biggest risk is to life and limb is from drop bears. This post was supposed to be a summary of the evidence for and against cycle helmet use but you should probably check out the Bicycle Helmet Research Foundation yourself
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby citywomble » Sun Mar 02, 2014 3:48 pm

I love this comment:

I guess the biggest argument in favour of cycle helmets is that the one country where everybody cycles and almost nobody wears a helmet has one of the highest cyclist head injury rates in the world.

No, wait. One of the lowest. Sorry.


I think this same statement, with a few changes, is also very close to being the defining truth:

I guess the biggest argument in favour of cycle helmets is that the one country where hardly anybody cycles and all are required to wear a helmet has one of the lowest cyclist head injury rates in the world.

No, wait. Thats Australia with "One of the highest". Sorry.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby myforwik » Sun Apr 06, 2014 2:29 pm

I am against helmets for the simple reason that there is known heirarchy of risk control:
-Eliminate or engineering it so it can't happen.
-Administrative rules to stop it happening.
-Lastly: PPE to protect when it does happen.

Obviously we want to eliminate it by not having cyclists and road users interact by having better infrastructure, but this isn't always practical.

It is not surpirsing at all that cyclist deaths per cyclist have increased since helmet laws come in. This is safety 101. Everyone in the safety industry knows that if you ignore elimination and administration and rely on PPE - you end up with more accidents, not less. The reason this happens is that people become to think of the PPE as a 'protector' that should be used - rather than as last ditch effort that should never need to be used. The evidence for this is overwhemling. Every study has shown cars drive more closly to people who wear helmets than those who don't, and drive even more closely to people in fluro yellow with a helmet than people in black with no helmet. Why shouldn't they? The helmet protects them incase there is an accident!

By requiring PPE, this is an open admission that the administrative rules of the road use regulations fail to provide safety to cyclists. These administrative rules are easy to change, but things like helmets, are used as reasons not to change them.

The evidence against helmets on the large social scales has been so overwhelming for so long its pointless to even argue any more. Cycling goes down. Use of public cycle share goes down. Deaths from heart disease go up way more than deaths from road crashes. Just taking the small percent drop in cycling use and applying that as an exercise activity and you get orders of magntiude higher chance the people will die of heart disease than from cycling.

Also, many people mistakenly believe its an argument of no helmet vs helmet. it isn't. Its argument about letting people use common sense to assess safety themselves. Requiring children and people to wear helmets while riding at 5-10km/hr down an off road shared path is just ludicrous. Deciding to wear a helmet because you ride 40km/hr in traffic is something entirely different.

The helmet rule itself was purely brought in to kill off cycling. May people think that this is a crazy conspiracy theory claim to make. But its the truth. The lobbying that went on to get it through was all funded by motorists groups. The requirement for a helmet is not used any where else in the world (except in 1 or 2 US states where similair lobbying by motor groups as been successful). There was never any evidence for helmets, it all just cherry picking quotes and measuring things without thinking about the wider impacts. All of the bigger studies by dozens on counteries on earth have always universally said mandatory helmet laws would be a disaster. Australia is the only backwards nation to have them.

700 people fall to their deaths every year down stairs, and tripping on gutters, yet no one require pedestrians to wear helmets. Far more pedestrians suffer head trauma than cyclists, and far more die every year when walking on or near roads, yet no one requires them to wear helmets. Passangers in motor vehicles still do, and always have, suffered far more head trauma than cyclists, not just by probability, but per capita. Yet no one requires them to wear helmets.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby Xplora » Sun Apr 06, 2014 4:20 pm

Would love some references to that post. Well played.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby human909 » Sun Apr 06, 2014 9:56 pm

Very well said and I agreed with pretty much all of it. :D

myforwik wrote:The evidence against helmets on the large social scales has been so overwhelming for so long its pointless to even argue any more.

Unfortunately the case still needs to be made to MOST Australians in fact even to most cyclists. So it isn't pointless arguing it especially when so many cyclists actively resist any movement away from MHL.

myforwik wrote:The helmet rule itself was purely brought in to kill off cycling. May people think that this is a crazy conspiracy theory claim to make. But its the truth. The lobbying that went on to get it through was all funded by motorists groups.

I'm not quite in agreement with you here. Don't underestimate the evil that can be done by people trying do what is "right" and telling other people what is best for them. While some might have ulterior motives the majority involved believe they are doing right. Just as the stolen generation.


Incidentally I rode 80kms today without a helmet! Normally I don't go without but today I drove to my starting destination and completely forgot my helmet. It was a blissful day! :mrgreen:
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby simonn » Mon Apr 07, 2014 8:47 am

myforwik wrote:Deaths from heart disease go up way more than deaths from road crashes.


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https://www.aihw.gov.au/cardiovascular-health/trends/
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby il padrone » Mon Apr 07, 2014 1:45 pm

Riding bikes in traffic - what seems dangerous is usually safe; what seems safe is often more dangerous.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby yugyug » Wed Apr 09, 2014 11:26 pm

Myforwik am totally in agreement with your post, but am wondering about this:

myforwik wrote:. The lobbying that went on to get it through was all funded by motorists groups. The requirement for a helmet is not used any where else in the world (except in 1 or 2 US states where similair lobbying by motor groups as been successful)..


What references do you have for this? As human909 said "Don't underestimate the evil that can be done by people trying do what is "right"" - I remember reading something or other about the (failed) push for MHL in the UK being connected to a motoring organisation, but that it was equally (or not) a result of well-meaning doctors. Without consulting my notes, I think it was mainly well-meaning doctors consulting government and advising the public which drove the push for MHL in Australia. Please correct me if I'm wrong.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby il padrone » Thu Apr 10, 2014 12:19 am

yugyug wrote:I think it was mainly well-meaning doctors consulting government and advising the public which drove the push for MHL in Australia. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

You are quite correct. The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons made noises for some years, then Monash University Accident Research Cnetre came on board with helmet safety testing and Vicroads' road-safety bods made it a trifecta. Few of these doctors and engineers were actually commuting cyclists (the corporate team, "cycling as the new golf" trend had not kicked in). They certainly didn't know anything about doing population-level studies, predictions of travel intentions, nor the concept of risk-compensation.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby simonn » Fri Apr 11, 2014 9:17 am

il padrone wrote:Few of these doctors and engineers were actually commuting cyclists


That's good. We shouldn't want public policy based on anecdote.

I doubt anybody expected a reduction in cycling due to an increase in safety measures. Seat belt laws had been shown as effective*. Helmets on motorcycles had been shown as effective*. Helmets had been shown as effective* in other fields etc. So why, given all this, would MHLs for bicycles be a bad thing?

The dilemma faced by policy makers now is that on average helmets do reduce the severity of head injuries, however even if they reduced the level of cycling when first introduced, the level of cycling is increasing now. This, along with the fact that the cycling community is small and the anti-MHL community even smaller makes removing MHLs politically risky, or even irrelevant (as in much bigger fish to fry). It is also slightly hamstrung by it being a state and slightly federal issue, while most activism and building of cycle facilities happens at the council level.

*Effective = reducing the severity of head injuries.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby human909 » Fri Apr 11, 2014 9:43 am

simonn wrote:
il padrone wrote:Few of these doctors and engineers were actually commuting cyclists

That's good. We shouldn't want public policy based on anecdote.

No, it is fact better letting our betters make laws telling how us how we should behave. :roll: The world is full of people who want to deny the freedom of others because they think they know better. Look at how that worked out for the stolen generation.

simonn wrote:I doubt anybody expected a reduction in cycling due to an increase in safety measures.

I doubt anybody cared. Cycling was seen by policy makers as something for kids and recreation for adults.

simonn wrote:Seat belt laws had been shown as effective*. Helmets on motorcycles had been shown as effective*. Helmets had been shown as effective* in other fields etc. So why, given all this, would MHLs for bicycles be a bad thing?

Were you riding bikes in the 80s? I still remember most cyclists I knew complaining about this law.

simonn wrote:The dilemma faced by policy makers now is that on average helmets do reduce the severity of head injuries, however even if they reduced the level of cycling when first introduced, the level of cycling is increasing now.

Do I need to insult your intelligence of why this is a very poor argument? Its sort of like saying sure I've lost my leg, but my other one is getting stronger each day. The damage of MHLs remains while MHLs remain.

simonn wrote:This, along with the fact that the cycling community is small and the anti-MHL community even smaller makes removing MHLs politically risky, or even irrelevant (as in much bigger fish to fry). It is also slightly hamstrung by it being a state and slightly federal issue, while most activism and building of cycle facilities happens at the council level.

Yep it is difficult. But that doesn't mean that we should abandon the fight for freedom the rest of the world endures.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby simonn » Fri Apr 11, 2014 10:46 am

human909 wrote:
simonn wrote:
il padrone wrote:Few of these doctors and engineers were actually commuting cyclists

That's good. We shouldn't want public policy based on anecdote.

No, it is fact better letting our betters make laws telling how us how we should behave. :roll: The world is full of people who want to deny the freedom of others because they think they know better. Look at how that worked out for the stolen generation.


Do you think you can know more about everything than everyone else?

I am certainly not qualified just by being a cyclist to determine the efficacy of helmets. Some one who actually studies this, or deals with the aftermath, would certainly be "my better" in this regard.

The renaissance man stayed in the renaissance.

human909 wrote:
simonn wrote:The dilemma faced by policy makers now is that on average helmets do reduce the severity of head injuries, however even if they reduced the level of cycling when first introduced, the level of cycling is increasing now.

Do I need to insult your intelligence of why this is a very poor argument? Its sort of like saying sure I've lost my leg, but my other one is getting stronger each day. The damage of MHLs remains while MHLs remain.


I clearly do not need to insult your intelligence to point out that I was making what I believe to be a statement of historical fact, not making a value judgement.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby Xplora » Fri Apr 11, 2014 11:25 am

Didn't feel the attack was called for, 909. I agree with simon's point. There are advocacy challenges and I'll throw the biggest one out there - the most successful advocate for cycling, SCA, and to a lesser extent AGF, are completely onboard with MHL, and SCA doesn't want to touch it with a 10 foot ugly stick.

I will put it out there - the current wave of cyclists are simply people who are choking from urban sprawl and the physical and financial reliance on cars. There is nothing egalitarian or noble about it. It's just necessity. If you don't need a car for kids, and you could commute without issues like presentability then it becomes nonsensical to invest in a car. I know plenty of one car families who thrive without the second car. I grew up in a 4 car house. I won't get that second car. :idea: These people aren't interested in MHL; they are interested in saving money and time!
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby il padrone » Fri Apr 11, 2014 11:39 am

simonn wrote:however even if they reduced the level of cycling when first introduced, the level of cycling is increasing now.

This keeps getting trotted out as a reason not to worry about the impacts of the MHL on cycling uptake. I very much doubt the accuracy of this statement. Currently cycling for commuting is still sitting at ~2% of journeys in Melbourne, less in other state capitals. The figures were not much different 10 years ago. There has been a bit of an increase in city commuting by adults, and a fair boom in roadie bunch riding. But this is not all that we should consider. The killer decline from the 80s has been the kids and teens, riding to school, and even other, non-CBD conmuters riding to workplaces in manufacturing and service industries - this was a fair number previously.

Increase in one sector does not make an increase in bicycle use overall. Without the MHLs we do not know what would have happened, but it's not unreasonable to presume that there would have been many more cyclists, especially amongst the young, the lower income, and the occcasional/non-enthusiast rider.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby human909 » Fri Apr 11, 2014 12:18 pm

simonn wrote:Do you think you can know more about everything than everyone else?

I think I am in a better position to judge what is best for me than somebody who has never met me.

simonn wrote:I am certainly not qualified just by being a cyclist to determine the efficacy of helmets. Some one who actually studies this, or deals with the aftermath, would certainly be "my better" in this regard.

I hope you are being disengenuous rather than ignorant. Do I need to remind you that this isn't a discussion about the efficacy of helmets in an impact?

simonn wrote:The renaissance man stayed in the renaissance.

Which is where Australia currently is regarding cyclist safety.

simonn wrote:clearly do not need to insult your intelligence to point out that I was making what I believe to be a statement of historical fact, not making a value judgement.

Nobody said you were making a value judgment simon. But you were using it as an argument, which as I pointed out was an exceedingly poor one.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby human909 » Fri Apr 11, 2014 12:28 pm

Xplora wrote:Didn't feel the attack was called for, 909. I agree with simon's point. There are advocacy challenges and I'll throw the biggest one out there - the most successful advocate for cycling, SCA, and to a lesser extent AGF, are completely onboard with MHL, and SCA doesn't want to touch it with a 10 foot ugly stick.

Which is exactly the problem. But as I have already said that is no reason to give up or be silent.

Xplora wrote:I will put it out there - the current wave of cyclists are simply people who are choking from urban sprawl and the physical and financial reliance on cars. There is nothing egalitarian or noble about it. It's just necessity. If you don't need a car for kids, and you could commute without issues like presentability then it becomes nonsensical to invest in a car. I know plenty of one car families who thrive without the second car. I grew up in a 4 car house. I won't get that second car. :idea: These people aren't interested in MHL; they are interested in saving money and time!

Who says that these people are not interested in MHLs? Who said anything about nobility?

How do any of these things mean that they are not interested in MHLs!? Two decades has not change the fact that helmets add another barrier to cycling. Two decades has not change the fact that people dislike having a helmet on their head. You know what? I am part of the current wave of cyclists you describe, so are most of my friends. You know what, I care about MHLs. And so do many of my friends.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby simonn » Fri Apr 11, 2014 12:55 pm

human909 wrote:
simonn wrote:Do you think you can know more about everything than everyone else?

I think I am in a better position to judge what is best for me than somebody who has never met me.


So, if you got cancer you would devise and prescribe your own treatments...?

human909 wrote:
simonn wrote:I am certainly not qualified just by being a cyclist to determine the efficacy of helmets. Some one who actually studies this, or deals with the aftermath, would certainly be "my better" in this regard.

I hope you are being disengenuous rather than ignorant. Do I need to remind you that this isn't a discussion about the efficacy of helmets in an impact?


You really do need things spoon fed to you....

I was using this as an example of why cyclists are not necessarily the best judge of what is best for them. Just like the initial objections to seat belt and helmet laws by motorists and motorcyclists.


human909 wrote:
simonn wrote:clearly do not need to insult your intelligence to point out that I was making what I believe to be a statement of historical fact, not making a value judgement.

Nobody said you were making a value judgment simon. But you were using it as an argument, which as I pointed out was an exceedingly poor one.


Correct, I was using it as an argument, but not an argument for MHLs like you are implying. AS you are clearly the smartest guy in the room, I'll leave you to figure out what the argument it was.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby human909 » Fri Apr 11, 2014 1:16 pm

simonn wrote:So, if you got cancer you would devise and prescribe your own treatments...?

No. But I do have the freedom to choose. The doctor can't force me into treatment. That choice is important. I've gone against doctor recommendations many times. Doctors do not always know what is best for me, how could they?

simonn wrote:You really do need things spoon fed to you....

I was using this as an example of why cyclists are not necessarily the best judge of what is best for them. Just like the initial objections to seat belt and helmet laws by motorists and motorcyclists.

And none of that is an example showing that cyclists (motorists/motorcyclists) are not necessary the best judge of what is best for them.

Simon you are continuing to ignore that an individual freedom of choice matters. You continue to ignore that a rule for all fails to address the needs of all.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby London Boy » Fri Apr 11, 2014 1:28 pm

simonn wrote:
human909 wrote:No, it is fact better letting our betters make laws telling how us how we should behave. :roll: The world is full of people who want to deny the freedom of others because they think they know better. Look at how that worked out for the stolen generation.


Do you think you can know more about everything than everyone else?

I am certainly not qualified just by being a cyclist to determine the efficacy of helmets. Some one who actually studies this, or deals with the aftermath, would certainly be "my better" in this regard.

For research into the effectiveness of cycle helmet laws, you probably are every bit as qualified as a trauma surgeon.

A trauma surgeon is qualified to say that helmets reduce particular types of head injuries sustained by people who present at A&E.

But you'd need a social scientist of some kind to assess the impact of helmet laws on cycling participation. You'd need a someone else to assess the relationship between participation rates and accident rates. You would need a psychologist to assess the impact of risk acceptance on cyclist behaviours. I'm not sure who you would need to examine the relationship between those behaviours and the number and type of accidents that occur as a result, and the incidence of injuries other than head injuries. I don't know who you would need to compare the relative social and personal impacts of chronic disease, resulting from lack of exercise, and trauma, resulting from collisions. Or the relationship between cycling participation rates and fitness levels through society.

And so on. A lot of words to say that if you have the basic smarts (I assume you do) you can read, interpret and critically evaluate research papers. Most importantly, you can work out what the question is. And it isn't so narrow as whether helmets reduce the damage done if you hit your head on something.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby mick243 » Fri Apr 11, 2014 1:34 pm

human909 wrote:
simonn wrote:
il padrone wrote:Few of these doctors and engineers were actually commuting cyclists

That's good. We shouldn't want public policy based on anecdote.

No, it is fact better letting our betters make laws telling how us how we should behave. :roll: The world is full of people who want to deny the freedom of others because they think they know better. Look at how that worked out for the stolen generation.


Were you riding bikes in the 80s? I still remember most cyclists I knew complaining about this law.


Freedom huh. So everyone should be allowed to own machine guns, car drivers shouldn't need licenses or rego, untrained people should be able to do all the electrical work they like.... Sometimes freedoms need to be curtailed for the greater good. Maybe, just maybe the person saying you should wear a helmet does know better than you.


Was I riding bikes in the 80's? Yes I was. I was also wearing a helmet - I didn't need someone to tell me to, just like I always wore a seatbelt without being told to. Just like I don't jump off cliffs without being told not to.


Wearing a helmet really isn't that bad, especially compared to being a vegetable.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby mick243 » Fri Apr 11, 2014 1:43 pm

myforwik wrote:I am against helmets for the simple reason that there is known heirarchy of risk control:
-Eliminate or engineering it so it can't happen.
-Administrative rules to stop it happening.
-Lastly: PPE to protect when it does happen.

Obviously we want to eliminate it by not having cyclists and road users interact by having better infrastructure, but this isn't always practical.

By requiring PPE, this is an open admission that the administrative rules of the road use regulations fail to provide safety to cyclists. These administrative rules are easy to change, but things like helmets, are used as reasons not to change them.


Where you have failed in your appreciation of the WHS control hierarchy, is that just because you have used higher level controls does not mean that you don't also use lower level ones... The only control that prevents the need for all lower level controls is elimination - if you eliminate the possibility of falling from your bike then you can eliminate the need for ppe (in this case, helmet)

We cannot eliminate the possibility of a fall.
We can reduce its likelihood, by segregating from cars and building better infrastructure.
We can reduce likelihood by administrative controls (like safe passing laws, no go zones etc)
Yet we are still left with a small possibility that you may fall from your bike and hit your head, so wear the PPE
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby il padrone » Fri Apr 11, 2014 1:45 pm

mick243 wrote:Freedom huh. So everyone should be allowed to own machine guns, car drivers shouldn't need licenses or rego, untrained people should be able to do all the electrical work they like.... Sometimes freedoms need to be curtailed for the greater good.

Personal freedoms, the sort that do not infringe those of others, nor risk any harm to other citizens. The 'freedoms' you list all fail on these counts. Riding a bike without a helmet does not.

You seem to be misunderstanding freedom here


mick243 wrote:Was I riding bikes in the 80's? Yes I was. I was also weariing a helmet

So was I, but I chose to wear a helmet, and wore it most of the time..... choice again :idea:
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby mick243 » Fri Apr 11, 2014 2:09 pm

il padrone wrote:
mick243 wrote:Freedom huh. So everyone should be allowed to own machine guns, car drivers shouldn't need licenses or rego, untrained people should be able to do all the electrical work they like.... Sometimes freedoms need to be curtailed for the greater good.

Personal freedoms, the sort that do not infringe those of others, nor risk any harm to other citizens. The 'freedoms' you list all fail on these counts. Riding a bike without a helmet does not.

You seem to be misunderstanding freedom here


mick243 wrote:Was I riding bikes in the 80's? Yes I was. I was also weariing a helmet

So was I, but I chose to wear a helmet, and wore it most of the time..... choice again :idea:


How does owning an inanimate object infringe on the freedoms of others?

So, you're against mandatory seatbelt laws?

You don't like the law that says you can't leave an unattended vehicle unlocked?
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby human909 » Fri Apr 11, 2014 2:23 pm

mick243 wrote:Freedom huh. So everyone should be allowed to own machine guns, car drivers shouldn't need licenses or rego, untrained people should be able to do all the electrical work they like.... Sometimes freedoms need to be curtailed for the greater good. Maybe, just maybe the person saying you should wear a helmet does know better than you.

Please explain how MHLs have achieved a greater good in Australia. If this good is so great why are the rest of the world not following our lead?

mick243 wrote:Yet we are still left with a small possibility that you may fall from your bike and hit your head, so wear the PPE

I could apply the same logical process to pedestrians.

You have completely ignored the other side of the analysis that of the costs of mandating helmets.

mick243 wrote:How does owning an inanimate object infringe on the freedoms of others?

Don't play dumb. Public gun ownership clearly has issues and problems around it relating harm to others. It is all a trade off of allowing freedoms vs the public good. You've already said that yourself. Except the public good from MHLs is not really clear. :wink:

mick243 wrote:You don't like the law that says you can't leave an unattended vehicle unlocked?

Well now that you mention it, yes.
Last edited by human909 on Fri Apr 11, 2014 2:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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