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

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Re: The one (and only) HELMET THREAD

Postby martinjs » Tue Mar 29, 2011 9:57 pm

Comedian wrote:
martinjs wrote:
They don't need to, they can take 5 seconds of their lives, stick a helmet on their heads and off they go to a better healthier life. If they don't have a bike or helmet a lot of shops do package deales. :D

That was easy, now I'm fit and healthy and wearing a helmet. 8) :wink:

Trouble is it's all about frame of mind and really has nothing to do with the helmet at all. :(

Martin


Yeah.. but you see that's the bit you're missing. You're used to riding with a helmet and as you say it hasn't stopped you. I'm the same, I'm doing 1000k a month - and everyone of them wearing an approved polystyrene hat (APH). Even if given the choice tomorrow probably 90+% of them would still be with a APH.

So that's great - but that's my point. Because you're used to it you don't see the problem. But my point is that there are lots of people out there who it just makes it that little bit too hard, or they don't want their hair to get messed up, or they don't like the sweaty head, or the looks or whatever - but it means they aren't cycling! Personally, I am 100% sure that a repealing of mhl would result in a very significant increase in cycling.

When MHL were introduced there was a massive reduction in cycling. I don't deny that there are other factors, but I still think we'd see a big increase. If we see a big increase in cycling - then that makes it safer for everyone which in turn makes cycling even more attractive.


I understand what your saying, I just think it's silly, really, if someone chooses not to ride because of the helmet law I'm pretty sure if the law disappeared they would still find away not to ride. We have a few in Leeton who either don't like the law or don't know (never spoken to them) and they still ride, they just don't wear a helmet.

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by BNA » Tue Mar 29, 2011 10:02 pm

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Re: The one (and only) HELMET THREAD

Postby Comedian » Tue Mar 29, 2011 10:02 pm

martinjs wrote:
Comedian wrote:
martinjs wrote:
They don't need to, they can take 5 seconds of their lives, stick a helmet on their heads and off they go to a better healthier life. If they don't have a bike or helmet a lot of shops do package deales. :D

That was easy, now I'm fit and healthy and wearing a helmet. 8) :wink:

Trouble is it's all about frame of mind and really has nothing to do with the helmet at all. :(

Martin


Yeah.. but you see that's the bit you're missing. You're used to riding with a helmet and as you say it hasn't stopped you. I'm the same, I'm doing 1000k a month - and everyone of them wearing an approved polystyrene hat (APH). Even if given the choice tomorrow probably 90+% of them would still be with a APH.

So that's great - but that's my point. Because you're used to it you don't see the problem. But my point is that there are lots of people out there who it just makes it that little bit too hard, or they don't want their hair to get messed up, or they don't like the sweaty head, or the looks or whatever - but it means they aren't cycling! Personally, I am 100% sure that a repealing of mhl would result in a very significant increase in cycling.

When MHL were introduced there was a massive reduction in cycling. I don't deny that there are other factors, but I still think we'd see a big increase. If we see a big increase in cycling - then that makes it safer for everyone which in turn makes cycling even more attractive.


I understand what your saying, I just think it's silly, really, if someone chooses not to ride because of the helmet law I'm pretty sure if the law disappeared they would still find away not to ride. We have a few in Leeton who either don't like the law or don't know (never spoken to them) and they still ride, they just don't wear a helmet.

Martin

Yep, it might be silly but that's the way it is. If we try and include them they'll be happier and cycling will be safer :)
Once you can climb hills on a bike it's all downhill. :mrgreen:

Hopefully I'll know what that's like..... one day. :shock: :lol:

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Re: The one (and only) HELMET THREAD

Postby mylesau » Tue Mar 29, 2011 10:22 pm

How many people don't ride a bicycle because they don't want to wear a helmet?

I don't know any - it's always some other excuse - perhaps the people I talk to don't know to use the helmet issue as an excuse?
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Re: The one (and only) HELMET THREAD

Postby Xplora » Tue Mar 29, 2011 10:50 pm

I could believe the comments about hair. Lotta blokes do the spikey gelled hair thing. I personally go a clippered number zero all year around but that's me. Of course lots of gals have perms...

If you've spent 100 bucks on a perm, you are NOT going to risk it cycling with a helmet. If you just want to cruise at jogging pace down to a friend's place, or to a party, then you won't sweat it up, and your hair could be important. Not every ride is the Tour De France. I personally prefer to go ASAP speeds, but that's me. General commuting relies on convenience, and you have to think about what happens at the next stop. We're buying a house in 8 weeks. There were 10 bikes under this house in storage. Clearly there is a will to ride in some segments.

Is a helmet law helping cyclists stay safe, or is it simply suppressing uptake of the bike as a legitimate mode of transport?
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Re: The one (and only) HELMET THREAD

Postby Aushiker » Wed Mar 30, 2011 8:53 am

Comedian wrote:[ Because you're used to it you don't see the problem. But my point is that there are lots of people out there who it just makes it that little bit too hard, or they don't want their hair to get messed up, or they don't like the sweaty head, or the looks or whatever - but it means they aren't cycling!


I see this sort of statement made a lot in these discussions, but I cannot recall any one pointing to any crediable empirical Australian research (or even research from countries of a similar culture/background, .e.g., the UK but please not the Netherlands :roll: ) of recent times (not 10 to 20 years ago) providing some insights into why people choose to ride or not ride. Can you or anyone provide references or links to same?

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The one (and only) HELMET THREAD

Postby Comedian » Wed Mar 30, 2011 10:48 am

Aushiker wrote:
Comedian wrote:[ Because you're used to it you don't see the problem. But my point is that there are lots of people out there who it just makes it that little bit too hard, or they don't want their hair to get messed up, or they don't like the sweaty head, or the looks or whatever - but it means they aren't cycling!


I see this sort of statement made a lot in these discussions, but I cannot recall any one pointing to any crediable empirical Australian research (or even research from countries of a similar culture/background, .e.g., the UK but please not the Netherlands :roll: ) of recent times (not 10 to 20 years ago) providing some insights into why people choose to ride or not ride. Can you or anyone provide references or links to same?

Thanks
Andrew

Yep. Will have to wait until I get home though. I know I've seen it some where. :)
Once you can climb hills on a bike it's all downhill. :mrgreen:

Hopefully I'll know what that's like..... one day. :shock: :lol:

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Re: The one (and only) HELMET THREAD

Postby Aushiker » Wed Mar 30, 2011 12:44 pm

Comedian wrote:Yep. Will have to wait until I get home though. I know I've seen it some where. :)


Cool, thanks.

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Re: The one (and only) HELMET THREAD

Postby mylesau » Wed Mar 30, 2011 1:26 pm

Comedian wrote:It is a statement of fact that if it were mandated that we had to wear helmets in cars we would save far more lives than are killed by bicycle use in total each year.

...and this one as well?

Whiplash and back injuries appear to be the most common car injuries - adding a helmet (weight) to the mix may not improve the stats.? Perhaps some scale of numbers should also be considered since the number of car hours/trips is significantly larger than cycle hours/trips.

But then what does this really have to do with wearing bicycle helmets?
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Re: The one (and only) HELMET THREAD

Postby Xplora » Wed Mar 30, 2011 5:03 pm

mylesau wrote:...and this one as well?

Whiplash and back injuries appear to be the most common car injuries - adding a helmet (weight) to the mix may not improve the stats.? Perhaps some scale of numbers should also be considered since the number of car hours/trips is significantly larger than cycle hours/trips.

But then what does this really have to do with wearing bicycle helmets?

This is the massive irony of your statement though. Cars are involved in HUNDREDS more accidents than bicycles, with more serious results, on average. In the case of serious car accidents, passengers hurt their head if there is no airbag in the curtain or steering wheel. How often does a cyclist endure a fatality? Extremely rarely. How often does someone in a car hit their head? Extremely rarely. The fact of the matter is, there is a negligible risk of hurting your head in a car, hence why airbags are preferred, but not legally required, in a car. Rollcages also increase safety in a car, but they are not mandated either.

This has everything to do with helmets - nanny state laws for inconceivably rare events do not always help. Sometimes they do. There will be no law saying you can't wear a helmet. Helmets are great... But the law that says you must is clearly foolish, when there are likely to be more head traumas from cars or people falling off ladders or down stairs. There are plenty of cotton wool solutions to problems in our world. You could force guys to have prostate exams, or make it illegal to drink booze. These would guarantee more safety in the community... and yet, where is the support for this? We know that it would not work, or that it infringed on rights.

Your desire to see no wrong in a clearly corruptible country is dangerous.
Last edited by Xplora on Wed Mar 30, 2011 5:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The one (and only) HELMET THREAD

Postby Aushiker » Wed Mar 30, 2011 5:19 pm

Xplora wrote:How often does a cyclist endure a fatality? Extremely rarely. How often does someone in a car hit their head? Extremely rarely.


38 cyclists killed in the last 12 months: I wouldn't describe that as "extremely rarely".

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau in its 2006 report, "Deaths of cyclists due to road crashes" might be inclined to disagree as well given they went to the trouble of writing a report on the topic.

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Re: The one (and only) HELMET THREAD

Postby mylesau » Wed Mar 30, 2011 5:32 pm

Xplora wrote:How often does someone in a car hit their head? Extremely rarely

Head trauma is third on the list of common car injuries!

Xplora wrote:Your desire to see no wrong in a clearly corruptible country is dangerous.

??? This is not about my desire, it's about bike helmets.
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Re: The one (and only) HELMET THREAD

Postby Comedian » Wed Mar 30, 2011 6:53 pm

Aushiker wrote:
Comedian wrote:Yep. Will have to wait until I get home though. I know I've seen it some where. :)


Cool, thanks.

Andrew

As promised :)
http://www.cycle-helmets.com/bicycle_numbers.html

As outlined in the March 2005 issue of the Health Promotion Journal of Australia (PDF 88kb), the number of regular cyclists in Western Australia almost doubled between 1982 and 1989 from 220,000 to 400,000. During this time, the numbers of cyclists admitted to West Australian hospitals and reported deaths and serious injuries per 10,000 regular cyclists fell by 48% and 33% respectively. Although surveys suggest a substantial increase in cyclist road numbers from 2000 to 2009, Participation in Exercise, Recreation and Sport by the Australian Sports Commission shows there were 224,600 cyclists aged 15 and over in Western Australia in 2008.

As reported in March 2007 and based on data from Western Australia, Queensland and Victoria, the number of Australian children walking or riding a bicycle to school has plunged from about 80% in 1977 to the current level around 5%.

The data on this website confirms that in Western Australia, the massive decline in cycling (and children's health and safety) began around 1991 when the helmet law was enacted.
Once you can climb hills on a bike it's all downhill. :mrgreen:

Hopefully I'll know what that's like..... one day. :shock: :lol:

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Re: The one (and only) HELMET THREAD

Postby martinjs » Wed Mar 30, 2011 7:53 pm

I'm a little bit sus on that web site, got a story trying to say someone was locked up for not wearing a helmet. If you read the story, it sounds more like he got locked up for flouting the law and being a stirrer. The helmet issue was just a reason for him to stir the pot.

Arguing with the police for a start, all they were doing is there job, they don't make the law, just enforce it. OK they make mistakes but so do we all.
They are not an independent group so there findings are suspect. Again "Statistics and damn lies" the trouble with the so called drop in cycling figures is they seem to start just before the MHL, were first bought in so there is no long term figures.

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Re: The one (and only) HELMET THREAD

Postby Xplora » Wed Mar 30, 2011 7:59 pm

No one is saying that cycling is without risk. Walking down the street isn't without risk. Sitting in a cafe CAN result in a fatality (we've had two cars go into cafes in Sydney this week). 38 deaths on bicycles vs how many deaths in cars? How many minor injuries in bike accidents, what percentage are fatal bike accidents? How many fatalities are directly preventable by helmets? A lot of impacts are going to be so great, involving a head, that a helmet might not help.

How many cars in minor accidents? Injuries in those accidents? I'm not saying that cycling is safer, I don't think it is. But requiring a helmet, when cars don't require helmets? The only reason we don't put seatbelts on 2 wheelers is because they would increase risk... better to be thrown from a bike.

There is incredible danger in fighting against liberty when it cannot be demonstrated that such protection is critical to survival. Head trauma is 3rd on the list for car accidents... that sounds like grounds for helmets in cars. Racing drivers use them. Obviously they do help.
I've been hit by a car at around 20-30kph, and rolled over the bonnet, onto the road. No helmet. My head was a top priority for me, it is for everyone, to protect during the collision. A helmet only protects against one kind of damage, and it's very uncommon to hit your head cycling (no more common than hitting your head in a car).

Liberty is important. The Government CANNOT think for you. It only enacts laws to make it easier to work out who is being mean to other people. Every time you let the State decide for you, you lose your ability to act and think with freedom. We are seeing in the Arabian countries what happens when the State takes control of their citizens' lives, and the result of them trying to take it back. Liberty is a fundamental concept that guides Western thought in the last 200 years. The helmet debate is a microcosm of that debate.
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Re: The one (and only) HELMET THREAD

Postby martinjs » Wed Mar 30, 2011 8:03 pm

Of course the other story mentioned on the web site is the woman with the affro, saying she didn't want to wear a helmet because it's effective and of course had nothing to do with her hear do.

Martin
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Re: The one (and only) HELMET THREAD

Postby mylesau » Wed Mar 30, 2011 8:24 pm

I've always had doubts about the reliability of the data that shows the downturn in cycling participation at and around the time (1989-91) that the mandatory helmet law was introduced. The fact that participation was already in a downturn prior to the law being introduced has never been addressed in any of the articles that I've read.

A titbit of history that may actually align just as well:

The Sydney Morning Herald - New car sales belie economic gloom - July 25, 1989
The car market is showing no sign of slowing down...

I'm not attempting to say that the huge take up of cars at the time explains away the drop, however it may well have had an impact.

Cars become popular, people buy cars, people ride less, more cars on the road -> less bikes on the road...

Worth considering?
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Re: The one (and only) HELMET THREAD

Postby Comedian » Wed Mar 30, 2011 9:02 pm

martinjs wrote:I'm a little bit sus on that web site, got a story trying to say someone was locked up for not wearing a helmet. If you read the story, it sounds more like he got locked up for flouting the law and being a stirrer. The helmet issue was just a reason for him to stir the pot.

Arguing with the police for a start, all they were doing is there job, they don't make the law, just enforce it. OK they make mistakes but so do we all.
They are not an independent group so there findings are suspect. Again "Statistics and damn lies" the trouble with the so called drop in cycling figures is they seem to start just before the MHL, were first bought in so there is no long term figures.

Martin


Oh well.. suck on one of those blue pills then. :)

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Once you can climb hills on a bike it's all downhill. :mrgreen:

Hopefully I'll know what that's like..... one day. :shock: :lol:

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Re: The one (and only) HELMET THREAD

Postby il padrone » Wed Mar 30, 2011 9:06 pm

mylesau wrote:I'm not attempting to say that the huge take up of cars at the time explains away the drop, however it may well have had an impact.

Cars become popular, people buy cars, people ride less, more cars on the road -> less bikes on the road...

Worth considering?

That's a very interesting theory, however it falls down with the simple fact that, in contrast to today, one of the biggest groups involved in active cycling was the 15-25 year age group*, most of them the teens below the driving age. Any alleged growth in driving did not occur at the expense of this age group's cycling - today's 15-18 yo's are not avoiding cycling because they're buying and driving cars.

As a secondary teacher at the time I saw what happened to teenage cycling participation, and spoke to kids about why they were no longer cycling. It was all about the new helmet laws. Unsurprisingly, teenagers are very conscious of appearance, their living costs and what is regarded as 'daggy'. Helmets scored poorly for them on all aspects. Comparisons with what influences adults, in particular motivated, enthusiast riders like us, are quite frankly, foolish and show a lack of awareness of the motives and desires of other members of our community.


* In the 1980s something like 50-70% of children rode bikes to school. Today it is about 5%.
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Re: The one (and only) HELMET THREAD

Postby mylesau » Wed Mar 30, 2011 9:44 pm

il padrone wrote:That's a very interesting theory, however it falls down with the simple fact that, in contrast to today, one of the biggest groups involved in active cycling was the 15-25 year age group*, most of them the teens below the driving age. Any alleged growth in driving did not occur at the expense of this age group's cycling - today's 15-18 yo's are not avoiding cycling because they're buying and driving cars.

As I remember it more and more parents started to drop their kids off at school - driving a car was popular...so I'm not so sure that it falls down at all.

il padrone wrote:As a secondary teacher at the time I saw what happened to teenage cycling participation, and spoke to kids about why they were no longer cycling. It was all about the new helmet laws. Unsurprisingly, teenagers are very conscious of appearance, their living costs and what is regarded as 'daggy'. Helmets scored poorly for them on all aspects. Comparisons with what influences adults, in particular motivated, enthusiast riders like us, are quite frankly, foolish and show a lack of awareness of the motives and desires of other members of our community.

I guess this may be specific to areas/population, but this wasn't the case in my area - perhaps a more regional area than your experiences? [Living costs? I didn't make a comparison with what influences adults?]

il padrone wrote:* In the 1980s something like 50-70% of children rode bikes to school. Today it is about 5%.

And you honestly believe this is all down to the mandatory helmet law?
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Re: The one (and only) HELMET THREAD

Postby il padrone » Wed Mar 30, 2011 10:09 pm

mylesau wrote:As I remember it more and more parents started to drop their kids off at school - driving a car was popular...so I'm not so sure that it falls down at all.

Most of this sort of trend gathered pace a good while after 1990 - first with primarys then with secondary kids later. There was some influence from the ever-present 'parental paranoia' and the access to mum's car. But for secondary kids it was largely a symptom of the lack of popularity of cycling now helmets were compulsory.

il padrone wrote:I guess this may be specific to areas/population, but this wasn't the case in my area - perhaps a more regional area than your experiences? [Living costs? I didn't make a comparison with what influences adults?]

My area is eastern suburban Melbourne - hardly an unrepresentative regional area. It's been a broad brush trend, demonstrated in various cycling counts that were taken in different metropolitan centres. Country areas no doubt had a different trend - partly with some less rigid enforcement, partly a greater need for transport (ride to the bus stop)

mylesau wrote:
il padrone wrote:* In the 1980s something like 50-70% of children rode bikes to school. Today it is about 5%.

And you honestly believe this is all down to the mandatory helmet law?

I certainly do think it is at least 90% of the reason for it. Nowadays kids can use the 'outright laziness' excuse, the 'mum won't let me' excuse (too dangerous on the roads - you need a helmet), or the 'load's too heavy' excuse (gets me a free ride from mum, 'cos helmet-wearing is daggy). Most have derivations from the initial helmet law.
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Re: The one (and only) HELMET THREAD

Postby Xplora » Wed Mar 30, 2011 10:23 pm

It's a powerful thought though - mandatory helmet laws do appear to have decimated the ranks of cycling. I was thinking about it, and I'm SURE I never learnt to ride a BMX with a helmet, starting around 11-12. I always rode my motorbike (from the age of 3-4) with a helmet on, but it really did seem pretty dorky to wear a helmet on a pushy. The old "stackhat" was as good as it got :lol: The motorbike was clearly in a class of its own, because it was motorised and you could get yourself into a lot of trouble instantly because of the torque - you just don't get that same issue with riding pushies. The control you have is so much greater, and there is less risk to the average rider.

Myles, I don't think you give enough credit to the power that legislation has on the attitudes of the people who are controlled by them. Drink driving was a way of life until the laws were changed, and RBT came into force. Burnouts were common, too. Legislation changed community attitudes towards these activities, not the action itself *because plenty of people abused them occasionally*.

Guns aren't safe or sensible, but the Founding Fathers thought the freedom of their citizens was more important than their "safety". Libya, Bahrain and Egypt have been graphic demonstrations of the need for the populace to resist their oppressors. Freedom is one of the most important human rights, if we ever had any. Freedom to be smart, freedom to be dumb, freedom to be a coward, and freedom to be brave and not need a helmet for a ride to pick up some milk. :lol:
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Re: The one (and only) HELMET THREAD

Postby mylesau » Wed Mar 30, 2011 10:25 pm

il padrone wrote:Most of this sort of trend gathered pace a good while after 1990 - first with primarys then with secondary kids later. There was some influence from the ever-present 'parental paranoia' and the access to mum's car. But for secondary kids it was largely a symptom of the lack of popularity of cycling now helmets were compulsory.

Will have to agree to disagree on this one - I was a secondary kid just before this time, I lived through it. My situation was similar to others. We moved into a two car family and it was cool to be driving in the car, mum went to work so could drop me off at school - too easy, especially on a rainy day. The trend was similar with many of my friends at the time. Absolutely nothing to do with helmet laws ('cause they weren't enforced then).

It sounds like you know all the answers Peter - why was participation trending downward before the mandatory helmet law came into play?

Perhaps more cars on the road at the time would have increased the perceived level of danger, resulting in more cars on the road, further increasing the perceived level of danger...and on...and on...

Just to be clear, and I stated it before, I'm not suggesting that the mandatory helmet law had no influence, however I don't believe it was the only influence.
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Re: The one (and only) HELMET THREAD

Postby il padrone » Wed Mar 30, 2011 10:38 pm

mylesau wrote:It sounds like you know all the answers Peter - why was participation trending downward before the mandatory helmet law came into play?

I don't regard myself as any real expert, just know what I saw and heard in a school in Melbourne and as an active cyclist at the time - by the way, one who thought helmet compulsion was no big deal.

Where did you get this trend data from? I was not aware of any such decline in participation. But I have seen data that there was a slight decline in fatlaities that began before the helmet law came in. This was possibly due to the impact of prior changes in general road safety measures (use of speed cameras, introduction of booze buses) - there was a similar decline in pedestrian and motorist fatalities at the same time (1988-90)

[edit] Are you referring to the data shown in this graph?

Image

You'll note that yes, it looks like a decline pre-law. but there is only data collected every 5 years (census I believe) so between 1986 and 1991 in Vic, NSW, Tas and SA there was a decline - cause: helmet law introduction (and enforcement) in 1990*. A pretty clear connection.


* the graph has an incorrect date for Victoria - laws came into force in 1990 and they were enforced then. I saw numbers decline very rapidly at my school within a few months - 300+ cyclists to just 20 !!
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The one (and only) HELMET THREAD

Postby Comedian » Wed Mar 30, 2011 10:47 pm

I didn't ride for ten years after mhl were introduced. I were just s youf then and I just couldn't be bothered with stuffing around with a helmet.
Once you can climb hills on a bike it's all downhill. :mrgreen:

Hopefully I'll know what that's like..... one day. :shock: :lol:

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Re: The one (and only) HELMET THREAD

Postby twizzle » Thu Mar 31, 2011 6:35 am

il padrone wrote:You'll note that yes, it looks like a decline pre-law. but there is only data collected every 5 years (census I believe) so between 1986 and 1991 in Vic, NSW, Tas and SA there was a decline - cause: helmet law introduction (and enforcement) in 1990*. A pretty clear connection.


* the graph has an incorrect date for Victoria - laws came into force in 1990 and they were enforced then. I saw numbers decline very rapidly at my school within a few months - 300+ cyclists to just 20 !!


And wasn't the early-mid 80's the period where interest rates went stupid, no-one had money, and it only started to come good in the early 90's?

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Oh, look - perhaps cycling was related to money, not helmets.
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