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

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

Postby simonn » Fri Jan 18, 2013 1:23 pm

DavidS wrote:Just had to add this quote from Danish urban planner Mikael Colville-Andersen:
You are the fattest country in the world, you should be encouraging cycling, not convincing people it's dangerous.



Meh. I just don't see a bunch of fat bogans jumping on bicycles because they do not have to wear a helmet.

The only thing that has consistently encouraged cycling worldwide is better cycle facilities.
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by BNA » Fri Jan 18, 2013 1:48 pm

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

Postby il padrone » Fri Jan 18, 2013 1:48 pm

simonn wrote:Meh. I just don't see a bunch of fat bogans jumping on bicycles because they do not have to wear a helmet.

The only thing that has consistently encouraged cycling worldwide is better cycle facilities.

Agreed. Cycling facilities would certainly help. The question is what constitutes good cycling facilities?

Our road authorities and councils are still trapped in the idea of segregation. This involves retro-fitting circuitous cycle routes and shared paths that take us "around the houses" while the route on the regular road (that you could drive in your car) is much shorter, going from point to point. In some other parts of the world the idea of cycle facilities is dealt with to favour the cyclist over the motor vehicle driver.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby outnabike » Fri Jan 18, 2013 3:21 pm

simonn wrote:
DavidS wrote:Just had to add this quote from Danish urban planner Mikael Colville-Andersen:
You are the fattest country in the world, you should be encouraging cycling, not convincing people it's dangerous.



Meh. I just don't see a bunch of fat bogans jumping on bicycles because they do not have to wear a helmet.

The only thing that's has consistently encouraged cycling worldwide is better cycle facilities.



I think that's very well said, then when they join a forum to see what's going on in cycling , you can say "welcome fat bogan "
They will warm to that, and we will have a nice friendly atmosphere, soon the fat bogans will join you on the shared pathways, what fun.
Far dinkum, don;t you reckon persons new to cycling read thes threads?
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby il padrone » Fri Jan 18, 2013 3:49 pm

Fair point outnabike. While I tend to the other extreme, I have several friends who are rather a bit on the large size and they are regular, long-standing and very enthusiastic cyclists who have and continue to do many, often lengthy, cycle-tours.

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

Postby casual_cyclist » Fri Jan 18, 2013 5:56 pm

DavidS wrote:Just had to add this quote from Danish urban planner Mikael Colville-Andersen:
You are the fattest country in the world, you should be encouraging cycling, not convincing people it's dangerous.

Wow! So he hasn't heard of Nauru then? I know Australia is getting fatter but Nauru has an overweight and obese rate of 94.5%. The rate for Australia is estimated to be 63% (reference).

Have you heard of the "French Paradox"? It has about as much credibility as the meme "Australia is the fattest country in the world". I found a great definition of the "French Paradox" here: http://mecheshier.hubpages.com/hub/Obesity-Facts-Around-the-World

French men and women are remarkably slim and have an amazing healthy glow. But their diet overflows with cream filled pastries, rich cream sauces, and quality wines and cheeses. Why are they not overweight? This is what is called the French Paradox.


Well, considering almost 40% of French people are overweight and obese (according to the OECD), I would say they are not "remarkably slim". What happened? Did they stop riding their bikes? :roll:

DavidS wrote:Let's stop discouraging cycling, let's fight against the notion that cycling is so dangerous we need legislation to force us to wear a helmet, MHLs have not made cycling safer and should be repealed.


Back on topic, is there any evidence that people equate mandatory helmet laws with cycling being dangerous?
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby il padrone » Fri Jan 18, 2013 6:09 pm

casual_cyclist wrote:
DavidS wrote:Let's stop discouraging cycling, let's fight against the notion that cycling is so dangerous we need legislation to force us to wear a helmet, MHLs have not made cycling safer and should be repealed.


Back on topic, is there any evidence that people equate mandatory helmet laws with cycling being dangerous?

Talk to a few people (cyclists or non-cyclists) about the MHL and the idea of riding without one - I did last night.

The danger was written all through their comments - "the traffic is so much worse nowadays than back in the 70s", "you might hit a bump/have a blow-out and fall off", "you had a fall last week/month/year", "you can't tell what other riders might do on the bike paths", "I won't trust the traffic, it just takes one fall". It was a diabolical suggestion to make - in our little group, two of us suggested helmet use should be left to personal choice; four could not believe that we could suggest such a dangerous idea. This from very experienced cyclists.

Just one fall - yes it's so very dangerous. I reckon that mandatory PFD law should be on the RACS's agenda next :twisted: That's the trouble with drowning I guess - you drown.... or you don't. There's no half-measures, not so much in the way of damaged bodies for the RACS to fret about.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby Howzat » Fri Jan 18, 2013 11:20 pm

il padrone wrote: two of us suggested helmet use should be left to personal choice


Perceptions of danger aside, I'll pick up on this "personal choice" note.

Skipping the helmet can't be a purely personal choice - not as long others are picking up the bill for for health care, rehabilitation, compo, ambulance services, legal costs, hospitals, funerals, counsellors, loss of income, and everything that may accompany a serious accident. And those services are part of the country, communities, and families we've built.

So what others may find objectionable about the "personal choice" to ride without a lid is that that choice raises net costs, in the aggregate, for everyone else.

We don't wrap everyone in bubble wrap, but we do, as a country, expect people to wear a helmet when riding a bike. Why? We think this is a modest element of personal responsibility to reduce risk and control costs for everyone else.

So explain why we all should pay more because someone else makes a choice to not take personal responsibility?
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby Mulger bill » Fri Jan 18, 2013 11:35 pm

Howzat wrote:So explain why we all should pay more because someone else makes a choice to not take personal responsibility?


Wot? Like the binge drinkers? The smokers? The rock fishermen? The moto riders in shorts and thongs?

Why some and not others? Why do other, commonly not as well off as ours countries not have a problem with this?

Where do we draw the line? I'm sure that there is some activity that YOU pursue that has a potential risk to the budget surplus, would you be happy with further regulation of this activity that you personally as a participant feel to be onerous and detrimental to your enjoyment of this hypothetical activity?
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby il padrone » Fri Jan 18, 2013 11:51 pm

Howzat wrote:Skipping the helmet can't be a purely personal choice

Sorry mate, I take umbrage at someone telling me I do not have a choice. Yes it can be a personal choice.

It is for just about anything else people choose to do in their lives. Happily as a general rule our health care system is not 'conditional' - I don't want to live in any society where this is the case.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby Percrime » Sat Jan 19, 2013 7:38 am

I agree. Just a little bit down that path lies penalising people for a poor choice of genes. Howsat has a recessive gene for heart desease and through bad choice of parents has two copies of that gene. Exactly why should I with my much better choice of parents...subsidise his health care in future years? How fair is that? He should be taxed. It should be a user paid system and he is going to cost more to treat than me.









No I,m not serious. But you will hear this suggestion again. And the people who make it will be serious. Its the next step after penalising people for their lifestyle choices.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby Biffidus » Sat Jan 19, 2013 7:53 am

Howzat wrote:So explain why we all should pay more because someone else makes a choice to not take personal responsibility?

The suggestion through most of this thread is that society wouldn't pay more if a MHL was repealed as helmets discourage cycling and don't work as advertised:
  • MHL discourages cycling, discourages exercise and the associated health benefits which in turn increases health costs to society due to obesity.
  • MHL discourages cycling, encourages driving which increases pollution and the cost of road maintenance.
  • The evidence that helmets actually reduce typical cyclist head injuries is largely anecdotal.
  • Helmets may actually worsen the injuries from certain types of head impact.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby Howzat » Sat Jan 19, 2013 7:56 am

Mulger bill wrote:Wot? Like the binge drinkers? The smokers? The rock fishermen? The moto riders in shorts and thongs?

Why some and not others? Why do other, commonly not as well off as ours countries not have a problem with this?

Where do we draw the line?


Yes, exactly like that. Those guys are also transferring costs of their "personal" choices onto everyone else.

That is why we draw lines. We do it all the time. Motorcyclists have to wear a heavy helmet and hold a license. Smoking is banned in workplaces, and discouraged generally. Rock fishing is banned in some spots, usually following a drowning.

This is not always governmental line-drawing; I'm pretty sure my wife would kill me if I decided to take up smoking. Why? Because my "personal choice" would impose a cost on her.

This stuff is always up for discussion, but it's entirely possible to set expectations, standards, or laws regarding "personal" choices that actually affect other people in your family, community, or country.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby il padrone » Sat Jan 19, 2013 8:00 am

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Higher health costs in helmet-avoiding Netherlands, or helmet-addicted USA ???

Road Safety Annual Report 2011
Australia compared to non-helmet country cyclist fatalities

2000 to 2010

Australia 31 to 38 = +23%

Austria 62 to 32 = -48.4%
Belgium (2000-2009) 134 to 88 = -34%
Denmark 58 to 26 = -55%
France 273 to 147 = -46.2%
Germany 659 to 381 = -42%
Greece 22 to 23 = +5%
Hungary 182 to 92 = -49%
Ireland 10 to 5 = -70%
Italy 401 to 263 = -34%
Japan 1,273 to 929 = -27%
Korea 2,792 to 1,228 = -56%
The Netherlands 233 to 162 = -30%
Norway 13 to 5 = -62%
Poland 692 to 280 = -60%
Portugal 62 to 33 = -47%
Switzerland 48 to 34 = -29%
United Kingdom 131 to 111 = -15%


Consistent with broader averages, the OECD annual snapshot figures show Australia's cyclist fatality rate worsened over the decade from 2000 to 2010 whereas almost all non-helmet law countries enjoyed significant improvements.

http://www.cycle-helmets.com/helmet_statistics.html



The number 1 factor in reducing cyclist road deaths/injuries, and associated health costs, is getting more people riding bikes, on the roads. Living in a world of misplaced fear does no-one any good.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby Howzat » Sat Jan 19, 2013 8:15 am

Biffidus wrote:
Howzat wrote:So explain why we all should pay more because someone else makes a choice to not take personal responsibility?

The suggestion through most of this thread is that society wouldn't pay more if a MHL was repealed as helmets discourage cycling and don't work as advertised:
  • MHL discourages cycling, discourages exercise and the associated health benefits which in turn increases health costs to society due to obesity.
  • MHL discourages cycling, encourages driving which increases pollution and the cost of road maintenance.
  • The evidence that helmets actually reduce typical cyclist head injuries is largely anecdotal.
  • Helmets may actually worsen the injuries from certain types of head impact.


That's the general line argument. To get MHLs repealed, all you have to substantiate these points.

Citing these as opinion won't change the laws. Cherry-picking stats is also unconvincing.

Sydney researchers Voukelatos and Rissel published a study in 2010 showing that helmet laws had not reduced injury rates. That's the kind of thing that will get change effected. Until their paper was formally retracted by the Australasian College of Road Safety, citing persistent "data errors", aka cherry-picking the stats. That's career-damaging stuff for an academic, and a hit under the waterline for anyone hoping for a repeal of MHLs.

It may indicate that substantiating anti-MHL points, in a statistically sound way, will be harder than might be hoped.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby il padrone » Sat Jan 19, 2013 8:24 am

Howzat wrote:That's the general line argument. To get MHLs repealed, all you have to substantiate these points.

What? Substantiated with data.

Like they did to bring in this iniquitous law, where there were no data studies done on the likely impacts upon cyclists ?? Tosh! Just get rid of the law thanks. The only data you need is the experience of every other country around the world that do not mandate helmets.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby Mulger bill » Sat Jan 19, 2013 12:08 pm

il padrone wrote:
Howzat wrote:That's the general line argument. To get MHLs repealed, all you have to substantiate these points.

What? Substantiated with data.

Like they did to bring in this iniquitous law, where there were no data studies done on the likely impacts upon cyclists ?? Tosh! Just get rid of the law thanks. The only data you need is the experience of every other country around the world that do not mandate helmets.


Thanks Pete, saved me a bit of typing. :D
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby winstonw » Sat Jan 19, 2013 12:17 pm

il padrone wrote:The only data you need is the experience of every other country around the world that do not mandate helmets.


not to mention their driving culture and infrastructure, because that couldn't have any bearing on cycling injury rate.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby Mulger bill » Sat Jan 19, 2013 12:28 pm

So show us some US stats shoing how badly they need lid laws then...
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby sogood » Sat Jan 19, 2013 12:30 pm

218 pages and still going strong?

Biffidus wrote:[*]The evidence that helmets actually reduce typical cyclist head injuries is largely anecdotal.

This will never come out as there's no data to prove it any better. Just think of how many smashed helmets that have been reported on this forum, barely a tiny percentage point of those incidents were recorded for researchers. Those who never reached the hospital emergency department would just be vanishing points.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby high_tea » Sat Jan 19, 2013 12:34 pm

Mulger bill wrote:So show us some US stats shoing how badly they need lid laws then...


Well, in terms of changing the status quo in the US, that's a fair enough request. I don't think anyone's arguing for that, though.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby DavidS » Sat Jan 19, 2013 4:11 pm

Howzat wrote:
il padrone wrote: two of us suggested helmet use should be left to personal choice


Perceptions of danger aside, I'll pick up on this "personal choice" note.

Skipping the helmet can't be a purely personal choice - not as long others are picking up the bill for for health care, rehabilitation, compo, ambulance services, legal costs, hospitals, funerals, counsellors, loss of income, and everything that may accompany a serious accident. And those services are part of the country, communities, and families we've built.

So what others may find objectionable about the "personal choice" to ride without a lid is that that choice raises net costs, in the aggregate, for everyone else.

We don't wrap everyone in bubble wrap, but we do, as a country, expect people to wear a helmet when riding a bike. Why? We think this is a modest element of personal responsibility to reduce risk and control costs for everyone else.

So explain why we all should pay more because someone else makes a choice to not take personal responsibility?


2 main points:

1) we have a universal medical system. This is far more efficient, and fair, than a system where blame is apportioned. If you want to go down that road then expect your medicare levy to rise. The other point about a universal system is that it is specifically designed to be universal reflecting a belief that health care should be a given in a wealthy and civilised society.

2) You, and all the other MHL advocates, have failed dismally to make any case whatsoever that forcing all cyclists to wear helmets reduces the bill for health care. You can just throw that argument away until you have some proof.

What astounds me is that, while the road toll continues to fall, and while the rate of cycling fell after MHLs and is still recovering, our fatality rate has actually gone up (see il Padrone's post) since 2000. It's going down elsewhere, yet it goes up here, and we're the ones with MHLs. The figures are damning to say the least. There is evidence that the number of cyclists on the road contributes to safety. There is evidence that MHLs discourage cycling. And if you put the two together we get rising fatality rates in Australia where we have MHLs. I suppose given the evidence this comes as no surprise. The surprise is that anyone is still left defending this ridiculous law.

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

Postby wilddemon » Sat Jan 19, 2013 5:01 pm

Mulger bill wrote:
Howzat wrote:So explain why we all should pay more because someone else makes a choice to not take personal responsibility?


Wot? Like the binge drinkers? The smokers? The rock fishermen? The moto riders in shorts and thongs?

Why some and not others? Why do other, commonly not as well off as ours countries not have a problem with this?

Where do we draw the line?


Alcohol and tobacco, and fuel, have special taxes, perhaps for this purpose? Regardless, they have the effect of deterring use in products almost immune to normal economic (supply, demand, price) rules due to the fact they are freaking massive. I'm not aware of rock fishing or motorbiking with thongs and singlet, but certainly motorcyclists must wear a helmet, reducing risk of brain damage rendering the rider a vegetable and probably wholly dependent on state funded care. Yeah road rash hurts but rarely results in lifetime care required.

If you've ever been to Europe you'll know that a lot of those countries are set up to cater for cyclists and attitudes towards cyclists and cycling are totally different too. Yeah China isn't exactly aiming development at cyclists but there's so many cyclists that it reduces risk within the swarm. Comparing the safety in car focused USA or Australia to these countries is a bit like comparing apples and pears in my opinion.

Where do we draw the line? That's a bit nonsensical to me; shouldn't each risk be evaluated on a case by case basis? Maybe I don't understand the question?

Edit: no disrespect intended, I'm learning a few things from the anti MHLs as I am the pro. Cheers
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby high_tea » Sat Jan 19, 2013 8:39 pm

wilddemon wrote:
Mulger bill wrote:
Howzat wrote:So explain why we all should pay more because someone else makes a choice to not take personal responsibility?


Wot? Like the binge drinkers? The smokers? The rock fishermen? The moto riders in shorts and thongs?

Why some and not others? Why do other, commonly not as well off as ours countries not have a problem with this?

Where do we draw the line?


Alcohol and tobacco, and fuel, have special taxes, perhaps for this purpose? Regardless, they have the effect of deterring use in products almost immune to normal economic (supply, demand, price) rules due to the fact they are freaking massive. I'm not aware of rock fishing or motorbiking with thongs and singlet, but certainly motorcyclists must wear a helmet, reducing risk of brain damage rendering the rider a vegetable and probably wholly dependent on state funded care. Yeah road rash hurts but rarely results in lifetime care required.

If you've ever been to Europe you'll know that a lot of those countries are set up to cater for cyclists and attitudes towards cyclists and cycling are totally different too. Yeah China isn't exactly aiming development at cyclists but there's so many cyclists that it reduces risk within the swarm. Comparing the safety in car focused USA or Australia to these countries is a bit like comparing apples and pears in my opinion.

Where do we draw the line? That's a bit nonsensical to me; shouldn't each risk be evaluated on a case by case basis? Maybe I don't understand the question?

Edit: no disrespect intended, I'm learning a few things from the anti MHLs as I am the pro. Cheers


Nah, the excise on fuel, alcohol and tobacco is a revenue-raising exercise, pure and simple. Historically, the licensing has had revenue-raising behind it to a pretty significant extent too. Advertising restrictions are another matter, natch, but that's a relatively recent thing. Taxes to improve public health always strike me as a bit iffy - the government wants to stop people doing whatever, only they don't really want them to stop because they need the money.

MHLs are in a different category, in that they must stand or fall on their merits as a public health policy.

You appear to be new to this thread. "Where do we draw the line" is often (but not invariably) used to run the following argument:

Some hypothetical law (life jackets at the beach, to name but one example) would save more lives than MHLs have, or will. This law hasn't been enacted, therefore MHLs should be repealed forthwith. I think it works just as well as an argument in favour of enacting some more laws. Disclaimer: I don't think it's a good argument either way.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby wilddemon » Sun Jan 20, 2013 8:36 am

high_tea wrote:
wilddemon wrote:
Mulger bill wrote:Wot? Like the binge drinkers? The smokers? The rock fishermen? The moto riders in shorts and thongs?

Why some and not others? Why do other, commonly not as well off as ours countries not have a problem with this?

Where do we draw the line?


Alcohol and tobacco, and fuel, have special taxes, perhaps for this purpose? Regardless, they have the effect of deterring use in products almost immune to normal economic (supply, demand, price) rules due to the fact they are freaking massive. I'm not aware of rock fishing or motorbiking with thongs and singlet, but certainly motorcyclists must wear a helmet, reducing risk of brain damage rendering the rider a vegetable and probably wholly dependent on state funded care. Yeah road rash hurts but rarely results in lifetime care required.

If you've ever been to Europe you'll know that a lot of those countries are set up to cater for cyclists and attitudes towards cyclists and cycling are totally different too. Yeah China isn't exactly aiming development at cyclists but there's so many cyclists that it reduces risk within the swarm. Comparing the safety in car focused USA or Australia to these countries is a bit like comparing apples and pears in my opinion.

Where do we draw the line? That's a bit nonsensical to me; shouldn't each risk be evaluated on a case by case basis? Maybe I don't understand the question?

Edit: no disrespect intended, I'm learning a few things from the anti MHLs as I am the pro. Cheers


Nah, the excise on fuel, alcohol and tobacco is a revenue-raising exercise, pure and simple. Historically, the licensing has had revenue-raising behind it to a pretty significant extent too. Advertising restrictions are another matter, natch, but that's a relatively recent thing. Taxes to improve public health always strike me as a bit iffy - the government wants to stop people doing whatever, only they don't really want them to stop because they need the money.

MHLs are in a different category, in that they must stand or fall on their merits as a public health policy.

You appear to be new to this thread. "Where do we draw the line" is often (but not invariably) used to run the following argument:

Some hypothetical law (life jackets at the beach, to name but one example) would save more lives than MHLs have, or will. This law hasn't been enacted, therefore MHLs should be repealed forthwith. I think it works just as well as an argument in favour of enacting some more laws. Disclaimer: I don't think it's a good argument either way.


Excise! yes that's the one. True, the taxed money goes into a pool, not into offsetting the cost of those people using tobacco or alcohol but it does offset the burden on everyone else. Excise accounts for over 50% of the cost of cigarettes. Agree, govt want people to stop smoking but also need the money. People keep stuffing cigarettes in their face which both contributes to the govt pool of cash, and deteriorate it. Howzat made the point that people that dont wear helmets are burdening others with costs of their injury, but not contributing to that cost. Mulger Bill suggested that smokers and drinkers make damage inflicting decisions and don't contribute to the financial burden inflicted on society. I was refuting that statement.

Okay, Im getting it now about the "drawing the line". It's in regard to number of lives saved (or lost)? Or maybe lives per capita people enjoying that activity? or lives per capita hours? Agree not a good argument either way. PFDs (personal flotation devices) may be more difficult to police, or cost more, or maybe even the public have greater outrage at having to wear them at the beach and the government has to spend more money on lifesaver patrols to reduce fatalities (which is their job). Interestingly I've heard that PFDs will not only have to be carried in a boat but worn as well (not sure if just outside or also inside of the ocean). I've also noticed a few billboards popping up to soften the public stance over the intro.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby Mulger bill » Sun Jan 20, 2013 10:05 am

wilddemon wrote:...and the government has to spend more money on lifesaver patrols to reduce fatalities (which is their job).

And the difference between lifesaver patrols in this context and a universal healthcare system would be?
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