Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

uart
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby uart » Sun Sep 17, 2017 7:21 pm

g-boaf wrote:I don't care about MHL if it exists or doesn't, but I do care about fixing the driving culture. Driving must be a privilege, rather than being an entitlement as it is currently in Australia.

And of all the drivers I encountered, the German ones were the best of the lot. The Italians were great too


It's interesting that one of the (anti cyclist) comments in the Herald Sun article linked recently in another thread was from a motorist lamenting that "most" (he very magnanimously even emphasized the point, "not all - just most"), "cyclists in Australia are rude idiots, unlike cyclists in Europe". I thought that was interesting, turning it around to blame cyclists.

While I cant say that I know all of the reasons for the differences in attitudes to cyclists in Europe compared to to Australia, I can tell you for 100% certain that the difference in driver behavior you observed there is due to better driver attitudes to cyclists (and more generally better attitudes to cycling in the general community) in Europe compared to Australia.

This is why people point to the distorted cycling demographics here in Australia, where we're mostly cycling enthusiasts and less "average Joe" cyclists. This is NOT blaming cycling enthusiasts for the shockingly bad attitude of many Australian motorists, but it may indeed be related to the relative scarcity of regular Joe cyclists.

This is also why people point to MHL as a possible factor in this problem. Since MHL differently impacts different types of riders (in the sense that almost all fast/sports/competitive cyclists would wear them anyway, whereas someone who wants to occasionally ride a few blocks to the local shops not necessarily), then I think that it's quite plausible that it has altered the demographics.

Anyway, whatever the reason for this difference in community attitudes, it IS the underlying problem. Australian drivers just don't think that cyclists are normal people. Seriously they don't! Whereas people in more cycling friendly countries are much more likely to see cyclists as regular people.

Would any of these attitudes change overnight if MHL was suddenly abolished? No, I very much doubt it. It's taken a long time for the situation in Australia to get as toxic as it now is, and that certainly won't change any time soon. However many people do see MHLs as helping to get us to where we currently are with the terrible attitude to cyclists in Australia.

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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby g-boaf » Sun Sep 17, 2017 7:52 pm

Maybe he's right, most cyclists in Australia are rude. They have the audacity to run cameras and report bad driver behaviour to the Police, how dare they do such a thing? Or is it because they have the audacity to ride on the road, where only motor vehicles should exist?

I only get angry if someone passes me too closely. I don't use a camera even though I have one, because I know that "it isn't calibrated", can't be proven, whatever whatever so I don't waste my time.

So, those cyclists in Europe are less rude? Well I've been one of those cyclists in Europe very recently and riding in some cities for enough time to get a good feel for the way they are, and they don't ride any differently in the traffic to anyone else. I was even an average Joe rider some days.

The difference there is that drivers for the most part don't have any animosity to riders, and the riders don't feel threatened by every car coming along. Everyone just gets along. Everyone is there to get to where they are going without bother. Even when I was not the average Joe rider, I was nothing more than just another bike rider going somewhere, just that I was on a pretty nice bike. No difference. In some of those cities, they also have a lot of inner city bike infrastructure, off road shared pathways or cycleways, underpasses at junctions for bikes, etc. Way more developed.

And some of the town speed limits over there are very slow as well - a lot of 30km/h zones. Slower than drivers here would ever accept. Implementing those speed limits here in towns on all but main arterial roads would have a pretty dramatic effect as well. However, on highways in some places they drive very fast, much faster than we do here and well over the speed limits.

Strong enforcement of rules against bad driver behaviour and lower speed limits on all but arterial roads or highways would go some way to stopping this toxic culture. I don't think getting rid of the mandatory helmet laws is going to do a lot, because I saw a lot of ordinary people riding in Europe on their general commute/shopping rides wearing helmets. But if it makes those people who hate wearing helmets happy, then so be it.

I think enforcement against drivers and lower speed limits where possible would be a start. But my god we need to get working on bike infrastructure, even in our major cities we are far behind. They had bike lanes everywhere, bike paths, etc. Even riding through the local town square on our high end road bikes among the pedestrians didn't really raise an eyebrow for anyone. We were just some random people going somewhere on our bikes, rolling along at little more than walking speeds and threading carefully between the pedestrians. That's riding in Innsbruck. It's easy, and normal. I think I one guy stop me one day because he wanted to have a look at my bike and have a chat, and that we did for a quite a long time. That's the only thing remarkable.

Everywhere I went though, it didn't look like those Dutch cycling videos. That's the one thing I did notice.

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warthog1
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby warthog1 » Sun Sep 17, 2017 8:59 pm

Is there an English speaking country where attitudes toward cyclists are different?
US, UK, Australia all bad.
Australia is the only one with MHLs so it may be a factor but it doesn't seem a defining one.

It may seem a bit out there, but Rupert Murdoch has a strong media presence in all 3 nations and his business model is about demonising minorities, creating division and controversy, to push sales.
Have a look at his mast heads here, anytime cyclists are mentioned.
He isn't the only factor either, but we'd be better off without the miserable old pr1 ck. :x
It may only be a start but it would certainly make effecting cultural change among the driving public easier

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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby Comedian » Tue Oct 31, 2017 6:38 pm

baabaa wrote:Not true TT. Your real key point is this...
My take on the anti-MHL argument - you can write about it here all you like, you can theorise or rationalize to your heart's content but if you want law changed, talk to a politician (or at least make one listen), or even become one!

The discussion here is all about driving in wedges, and the people who post here often/a lot/ way more than they really should, don't do a thing about changing the law apart from posting stuff here. Words here will never = true cycling advocacy because the tone is often waving the fist hostile and how someone else needs to fix it.

Meantime in the real world, I am just back from a shortish ride to the mailbox to get my yes vote in. Waved to a pair of highway patrol officers, they waved back, pulled up beside me and rolled down the window, "Looks like rain, enjoy your ride, See ya round". I did, got back before getting wet and I did so all without a lid.
No biggy and it happens all around Australia each and every day just nobody mentions it here because they are out doing other stuff not posting endless words.

I've seen some really strong advocates burn out over the years. I call it "advocate fatigue".

They work so hard, sometimes for many years. Eventually they realise that it will probably never change.

Actually maybe it's not that bad. Perhaps they realise that in this current environment it will never change. I agree with them.

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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby trailgumby » Tue Oct 31, 2017 9:25 pm

warthog1 wrote:It may seem a bit out there, but Rupert Murdoch has a strong media presence in all 3 nations and his business model is about demonising minorities, creating division and controversy, to push sales.

Nah, I think you're onto something there. Distorting politics to suit his business ends is Standard Operating Procedure. They revel in their power to shape society in their image. And they are very good at it.

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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby DavidS » Tue Oct 31, 2017 9:39 pm

With the Bicycle Network review of their policy there are some interesting opinions on this page: https://www.bicyclenetwork.com.au/our-campaigns/policy-reviews/helmet-review/ I must get around to reading them all.

I particularly liked the one from the European Cyclists Federation and note it includes a lot of citations for the argument being put.

Here's a paragraph:

The bicycle helmet is not a major road safety tool let alone something in need of legislation. Good infrastructure, good vehicles, and sensible trained drivers and riders should be the focus of safer cycling. Unfortunately often doing these things are hard while passing a helmet law is easy. The safest countries to cycle in the world also have the highest numbers of cyclists, this is no coincidence, cycling road safety and promotion requires commitment and sensible measures rather than knee-jerk unsustainable easy to implement measures. I am glad that Australia is beginning to question the assumption that a helmet is a major regulatory road safety tool. Cyclists should be able to choose what they wear.


This is very lazy lawmaking and does not deserve support. I still don't understand support for a law that demonstrably reduces and discourages cycling especially when more bikes on the roads = safer roads for cyclists.

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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby bychosis » Wed Nov 01, 2017 12:04 am

g-boaf wrote:I only get angry if someone passes me too closely.

This is part of the problem with the motorists perception of cyclists. Most of the time there is an interaction between a cyclist and a motorist it is because the motorist has instigated the fight or flight reaction in the cyclist by a close pass or near miss. Why do all the cyclists appear angry? Because they have just been sacred half to death by a couple of tonnes of metal. No near hit, no angry cyclist, no interaction, no recollection.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby Cheesewheel » Fri Nov 03, 2017 8:06 am

http://www.bendigoadvertiser.com.au/sto ... -the-head/

For the record, I actually don't mind wearing a helmet ... but reading this article just makes me wonder whether the author is paving the way for a type victorian duncanism ..... like a mix of magical thinking and statistics that overlooks the means to actually implement bicycle safety
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby CXCommuter » Fri Nov 03, 2017 9:11 am

Cheesewheel wrote:http://www.bendigoadvertiser.com.au/story/5028523/bicycle-helmets-need-to-stay-firmly-on-the-head/

For the record, I actually don't mind wearing a helmet ... but reading this article just makes me wonder whether the author is paving the way for a type victorian duncanism ..... like a mix of magical thinking and statistics that overlooks the means to actually implement bicycle safety

OMGosh that is a terrible article- total BS
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby trailgumby » Fri Nov 03, 2017 11:17 am

CXCommuter wrote:
Cheesewheel wrote:http://www.bendigoadvertiser.com.au/story/5028523/bicycle-helmets-need-to-stay-firmly-on-the-head/

For the record, I actually don't mind wearing a helmet ... but reading this article just makes me wonder whether the author is paving the way for a type victorian duncanism ..... like a mix of magical thinking and statistics that overlooks the means to actually implement bicycle safety

OMGosh that is a terrible article- total BS

No comments published. I and others have made several between us debunking this stupid woman's biased dribble.

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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby warthog1 » Fri Nov 03, 2017 10:15 pm

I live in Bendigo.
I have been here for almost 6 years.
No idea who this person is, or what is her history and area of achievement to rate as a columnist. I'll ask a few people who have lived here longer than I.
Clearly she is not there for her intellect.
Last edited by warthog1 on Fri Nov 03, 2017 10:29 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby warthog1 » Fri Nov 03, 2017 10:27 pm

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/s ... clnk&gl=au


President: Annie Young
Annie Young is a retired secondary teacher librarian who loves books, believes that reading is the key to life-long literacy for students, loves to write and has been lucky enough to be offered a dream job after retirement writing; a weekly column each Thursday in the Bendigo Advertiser by the then editor of the Addy, Rod Case.
Rod and later editor Nicole Ferrie gave Annie carte blanche to write whatever I chose... and I have taken full advantage of that for the last three years, covering everything from local events and people to politics and thorny subjects like Assisted Dying and Same Sex Marriage, and the joy eight grandchildren give to both Rob and me. I write under the guise of ‘Young at Heart’.

In my ‘heyday’ I was on the board of the OTIS Foundation, president of Zonta for two years, board member of CASA and helped as a volunteer at the Bendigo Information Centre and the Art Gallery. Now I just sing... in the Forever Young choir....and write.

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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby Thoglette » Sat Nov 04, 2017 4:20 pm

warthog1 wrote:In my ‘heyday’ I was on the board of the OTIS Foundation, president of Zonta for two years, board member of CASA and helped as a volunteer at the Bendigo Information Centre and the Art Gallery. Now I just sing... in the Forever Young choir....and write.

Should be someone you can have a decent conversation with over a coffee.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby CXCommuter » Mon Nov 06, 2017 7:40 am

Thoglette wrote:
warthog1 wrote:In my ‘heyday’ I was on the board of the OTIS Foundation, president of Zonta for two years, board member of CASA and helped as a volunteer at the Bendigo Information Centre and the Art Gallery. Now I just sing... in the Forever Young choir....and write.

Should be someone you can have a decent conversation with over a coffee.

Sounds more like a tea person
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby warthog1 » Mon Nov 06, 2017 3:36 pm

Sounds like someone who is happy to venture an opinion without having any clue about the issues at play ;)

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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby bychosis » Mon Nov 06, 2017 5:19 pm

warthog1 wrote:Sounds like someone who is happy to venture an opinion without having any clue about the issues at play ;)

That'll get you a long way nowadays. Look who is 'running' the US.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby human909 » Mon Nov 06, 2017 6:00 pm

bychosis wrote:That'll get you a long way nowadays. Look who is 'running' the US.

Russia? :twisted:

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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby DavidS » Mon Nov 06, 2017 9:39 pm

human909 wrote:
bychosis wrote:That'll get you a long way nowadays. Look who is 'running' the US.

Russia? :twisted:

Australia? :P

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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby warthog1 » Mon Nov 06, 2017 11:21 pm

bychosis wrote:
warthog1 wrote:Sounds like someone who is happy to venture an opinion without having any clue about the issues at play ;)

That'll get you a long way nowadays. Look who is 'running' the US.


Fair point :oops: :lol:

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Save me from "revealed truths"

Postby Thoglette » Thu Nov 16, 2017 3:59 pm

A crash, another epiphany and another evangelist. Unfortunately this one has a soapbox.
ABC Tasmania newsreader Peter Gee credits bike helmet with saving him from life-changing injury
And fails to see the big picture. :-( :-(

Repeat after me:

Protection is not grounds for regulation. We don't have mandatory "Slip-slop-slap". We shouldn't have mandatory helmet laws.

And, remember not all cycists are "training" or "going for a ride". Some are just getting from A to B and chose to cycle instead of drive or walk.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby DavidS » Thu Nov 16, 2017 9:13 pm

Bloody irritating isn't it.

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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby Thoglette » Fri Nov 17, 2017 8:03 am

Finally got through some reading. The most interesting is a study into "Why haven't MHLs fixed bicycle injuries?". As, despite all the claims, no-one's been able to show that MHLs reduce injury rates despite very clear evidence that, on average, helmets provide some protection.

They looked at a range of possiblilities, including whether people took more risks when wearing helmets. What they found was something rather different:

p622 wrote:The results of this study indicate that the lacking effect of helmet legislation most likely has to do with a population shift effect, in which the introduction of mandatory bicycle helmet wearing will lead to a decrease of traditional cyclists in the cycling population, who do not have much accidents anyway, whereas the speed-happy helmet- and equipment using cyclists will remain.


Aslak Fyhri, Torkel Bjørnskau, Agathe Backer-Grøndahl "Bicycle helmets – A case of risk compensation?" Transportation Research Part F 15 (2012) 612–624
Institute of Transport Economics, Gaustadalléen 21, 0349 Oslo, Norway

Don't expect the pro-crowd to acknowledge the existence of one, either.

Even the British Journal of Medicine editorial team noticed the one-eyed nature of the pro-MHL debate.
Goldacre & Spiegelhalter wrote:The enduring popularity of helmets as a proposed major intervention for increased road safety may therefore lie not with their direct benefits—which seem too modest to capture compared with other strategies—but more with the cultural, psychological, and political aspects of popular debate around risk.
BMJ 2013;346:f3817

Yes, they're epidemiologists. Not skull surgeons.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby uart » Fri Nov 17, 2017 12:20 pm

Thoglette wrote:A crash, another epiphany and another evangelist.

I notice that the first line of that report reads: "Flying through the air at 50 kilometres per hour headfirst towards a field of rocks".

So while cases like this will inevitably be used to support the argument that we need mandatory helmets for everyone, that first line very much highlights that type of riding in the story is very different to that of many everyday utilitarian cyclists.

p622 wrote:The results of this study indicate that the lacking effect of helmet legislation most likely has to do with a population shift effect, in which the introduction of mandatory bicycle helmet wearing will lead to a decrease of traditional cyclists in the cycling population, who do not have much accidents anyway, whereas the speed-happy helmet- and equipment using cyclists will remain.

Yes, exactly what many of us here have been saying. Reducing the number (or at least the proportion) of everyday utilitarian cyclist whilst having no impact on more competitive/sports orientated cyclist who would be wearing their helmets regardless of MHL.

In a nutshell this is my big grip against MHL. It's just so pointless given that almost 100% of the cyclist that would benefit most from it would already wear a helmet anyway!

And this issue has implications that go well beyond the simple discouragement of some potential cyclists. The skew in the cycling population has very much changed how the general population view cyclists, and unfortunately in a somewhat negative way.

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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby Comedian » Tue Nov 21, 2017 11:24 am

Survey is in..

https://www.bicyclenetwork.com.au/newsroom/2017/11/21/bicycle-network-helmet-survey-results/

One point which raised my eyebrows...

If laws changed, almost all people who currently wear a helmet when they ride would continue to do so and the number of people who never wear a helmet when riding would only increase by 3.7%


I don't understand why this point is so often missed. This makes sense because if you ride now you are very likely happy with the law and/or don't mind wearing a helmet. If you don't like wearing a helmet you probably don't ride now because you don't have a choice about it. So, surveying riders about whether they mind wearing a helmet is rather pointless.

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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby Thoglette » Tue Nov 21, 2017 11:55 pm


I've given the ABC coverage it's own thread (and asked for MHL discusssion to come here. Wait for the merge :-)

Comedian wrote:If you don't like wearing a helmet you probably don't ride now because you don't have a choice about it.


Every single bit of research I've seen on the topic (there's not much) has shown that this is the case. Interestingly, I've seen at least one researcher drop this topic from later published research. Which was co-authored with health&safety professionals
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