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

Equipment and On Road Behaviour, Laws and Rules. Cycling Promotion and Advocacy

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

Postby Mulger bill » Wed Jul 17, 2013 12:12 am

human909 wrote:
high_tea wrote:EDIT: I do contend that regulating pedestrians is a much bigger deal than regulating cyclists. In light of this, I find the repeated cries of "why not make pedestrians wear helmets" ridiculous and tiresome.


The cry of "why not make pedestrians wear helmets" is MEANT to be ridiculous! :idea: The hyperbole is used to display the ridiculousness of the MHLs for cyclists. But of course you completely ignore that.

high_tea wrote:Not quite as tiresome as demands to defend things I never said, but still.

So you don't believe Australia should have MHLs? Great! Otherwise stop being evasive.


I'm not so sure about the hyperbole to be honest.
"If it saves only one life..."*



*or any of a dozen variations :|
...whatever the road rules, self-preservation is the absolute priority for a cyclist when mixing it with motorised traffic.
London Boy 29/12/2011
User avatar
Mulger bill
Super Mod
Super Mod
 
Posts: 27219
Joined: Sun Sep 24, 2006 2:41 pm
Location: Sunbury Vic

by BNA » Wed Jul 17, 2013 12:18 am

BNA
 

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

Postby il padrone » Wed Jul 17, 2013 12:18 am

"If it saves just one life...."




Sorry, I know it has probably been here before, somewhere in this mega-thread, but it is so appropriately ridiculous :)
Riding bikes in traffic - what seems dangerous is usually safe; what seems safe is often more dangerous.
User avatar
il padrone
 
Posts: 20771
Joined: Mon Apr 07, 2008 11:57 pm
Location: Heading for home.

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

Postby high_tea » Wed Jul 17, 2013 8:35 am

If all you want to do is beg the question then yeah, talking about lifejackets or helmets for pedestrians is probably as good (actually: bad) as anything else. Hey, beg away. Just remember, it's a logical fallacy so notorious the ancient Romans had a name for it.
high_tea
 
Posts: 1378
Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:10 pm

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

Postby Xplora » Wed Jul 17, 2013 2:21 pm

I'm glad we've found your weak spot though, HT. It simply goes to show that for all the pithy statements that could be made for MHLs, there is a line in the sand that provides ample evidence that the MHL is a garbage law. Fairness to humanity is not the sole premise of one group, egalitarian oppression is the not gift to the minority.

Cycling is not so different or dangerous to any other mode of transport that protection should be mandated. The speed and risk is directly proportional to the effort put in by the rider unlike motorised transport. There are few people riding at 60kmh without serious intentional effort to do so. :idea:

Now that we have this resolved... how do we move forward?
User avatar
Xplora
 
Posts: 7622
Joined: Fri Dec 10, 2010 11:33 pm
Location: TL;DR

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

Postby high_tea » Wed Jul 17, 2013 3:58 pm

How do you move forward? If your best argument is that MHLs are somehow discriminatory, you don't. Your cause is doomed, find another windmill to tilt at. If you seriously want to improve the MHL situation, why not lobby to adopt Darwin-style MHLs?
high_tea
 
Posts: 1378
Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:10 pm

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

Postby human909 » Wed Jul 17, 2013 4:23 pm

high_tea wrote:How do you move forward? If your best argument is that MHLs are somehow discriminatory, you don't.

That is not the argument.

high_tea wrote:If you seriously want to improve the MHL situation, why not lobby to adopt Darwin-style MHLs?

Why campaign for a silly law to replace another silly law?
human909
 
Posts: 6235
Joined: Tue Dec 01, 2009 10:48 am

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

Postby human909 » Fri Jul 19, 2013 9:17 pm

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/b ... oad-safety

There's no ethical case for mandatory cycle helmets
Helmets do not provide sufficient protection to warrant the claim that they are highly effective – and the right to cycle bare-headed is by no means trivial

Researchers think that bike helmets provide some protection, but there is little consensus as to how effective they are. Photograph: Tetra Images/Alamy
Sometime in the third millennium BC, if not before, some entrepreneurial warrior donned a helmet to protect his brain from blows to the head. He may have been mocked as a coward, but soon enough copper and bronze helmets became a common sight on ancient battlefields. As Homer reminds us in the Iliad, these protective contraptions were not always effective:

The first to hurl, Great Ajax hit the ridge of the helmet's horsehair crest — the bronze point stuck in Acamas' forehead pounding through the skull and the dark came swirling down to shroud his eyes.

Nonetheless, this innovation in protective armour proved to have real staying power. Knights, for example, became very attached to their iron helmets in medieval times – even if they lost some of their manly imagery by wearing padded versions – and war helmets remained popular well into the early modern era.

Admittedly, helmets did drop out of fashion between the 17th and 19th centuries, but steel helmets were reintroduced during the Great War to protect soldiers from shrapnel and synthetic helmets are now widely used by modern day troops.

Warriors may have worn the first – and, if the Iliad is anything to go by, the most elaborate – helmets, but they were certainly not alone in their fondness for skull protection.

By the beginning of the 20th century a number of helmets had been devised to protect motorbike riders from injury and it is now possible to purchase protective head gear for a wide array of different occupational and recreational activities such as skateboarding, snowboarding, and skydiving.

It is somewhat difficult to calculate what the "helmet industry" is worth, but if we bear in mind that 1.2 million ski helmets were sold in 2007-2008 it is reasonable to conclude that total annual revenues may be counted in the billions of dollars.

Why does any of this matter from the ethicists' perspective? Frankly, if the evidence demonstrated that all of these different types of helmets were highly effective and if no one was forced to wear them there would be little to argue about. But this is not the case and so the ethicists' interest is piqued.

Currently, the most ferocious debate about the effectiveness of helmets – and the legitimacy of forcing competent adults to wear them – centres on cycling. It is not entirely clear why, but it may have something to do with the growing popularity of cycling as a sport combined with the visibility and ubiquity of "commuter cyclists" in our everyday lives. Whatever the reason, the debate about the relative effectiveness of cycle helmets is fierce and the debate about their mandatory use is even more so.

No one denies cycle helmets can protect cyclists from skull and brain injuries in some accidents. Instead, the debate focuses on how effective helmets are. Some researchers suggest that helmets reduce the risks of head and brain injury by as much as 63-88%. Others are less optimistic, claiming that the real figures are closer to 58-60%. Curnow has even argued that there is insufficient evidence to conclude that helmets provide any significant protection against serious injury to the brain.

In summary, the majority of researchers think that bike helmets provide some protection, but there is little consensus as to how effective they are.

This really matters because governments are increasingly showing a penchant for creating legislation that would force adults to wear helmets on pain of legal penalty. Australia took the initiative in the early 1990s when cycle helmets became compulsory in every state. Similar legislation now exists in a number of provinces in Canada and in a number of states in the United States, while Slovenia, Sweden, and South Korea have enacted laws requiring children to wear protective headgear. The Northern Ireland assembly also approved a cycle helmet bill back in January 2011 though it seems to have lost some legislative steam since then.

The ethical problems associated with legislation prohibiting adults from cycling without helmets are relatively obvious. First, John Stuart Mill's "Harm Principle" suggests that we should not interfere with competent adults who wish take risks with their own health. Second, even if we do not always agree with the letter of Mill's "law" we still have sound liberal reasons to avoid paternalism unless the risks we wish to prohibit are significant and unless there is a highly effective way of reducing them with little infringement of liberty.

Of course, some will argue that cycle helmet legislation conforms to these latter requirements. However, it is not clear that helmets provide sufficient protection to warrant the claim that they are highly effective and, as a keen cyclist, I would argue that the right to cycle bare-headed is by no means trivial.

I concede that cycling "sans helmet" will lead to higher costs to society in some situations. This is because a number of non-helmeted cyclists will require medical treatment following cycle accidents which they would not need if they always donned protective helmets. However, the total costs involved here are dwarfed by the costs generated by those who smoke, drink excessive amounts of alcohol, eat unhealthily and fail to exercise regularly.

As such, it seems mighty odd to create legislation prohibiting people who are engaged in a healthy activity from taking a relatively small risk of creating a relatively small cost while allowing other people to engage in highly risky activities that will generate enormous social costs. Indeed, the whole thing smacks of discrimination against the cycling minority.

So where does all this leave us? Some will read the above and continue to advocate mandatory cycle helmet legislation. It is hard to know what to say to such people other than to ask them whether they would also agree to defend a compulsory pedestrian helmet law. This might seem like nothing more than a bad April Fools' joke. However, thousands of pedestrians are injured and killed each year and many of those who suffer the worst injuries do so because of head trauma. As such, pedestrian helmets could make a real difference to people's health and significantly reduce healthcare costs to boot.

Perhaps a very committed helmetologist will claim that a pedestrian helmet law is justifiable. Indeed, the logic of the helmetology argument seems to commit advocates of mandatory cycle helmet legislation to exactly this conclusion. But I imagine that most readers would join me in resisting those who would want to give us all a bad hair day, every day.



Its good to see a sensible article on MHLs. Pity rational discussion and consideration of the ethics of laws are largely devoid in Australia these days.
human909
 
Posts: 6235
Joined: Tue Dec 01, 2009 10:48 am

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

Postby high_tea » Sat Jul 20, 2013 10:34 am

Huh. This sort of thing comes up a bit, actually. It even has a name: theories of law. Helmet laws don't get mentioned much, it's true. Perhaps because they're fairly unremarkable, as these things go. If I wanted to get stuck right into theories of law, I wouldn't start with MHLS, that's for sure.

I will also note that baccy, grog and, increasingly food are quite heavily regulated.

PS Is the argument that helmet laws are somehow discriminatory or not? The emphasis is not, near as I can tell, in the original.
high_tea
 
Posts: 1378
Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:10 pm

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

Postby human909 » Sat Jul 20, 2013 1:56 pm

high_tea wrote:Huh. This sort of thing comes up a bit, actually. It even has a name: theories of law.

Um, 'quite a bit'? HA! Sure amongst legal academics and in the classroom it is a common discourse. But in regular society and policy discussion, surely you a kidding?

high_tea wrote:Helmet laws don't get mentioned much, it's true. Perhaps because they're fairly unremarkable, as these things go. If I wanted to get stuck right into theories of law, I wouldn't start with MHLS, that's for sure.

Um. This is a cycling forum and a topic of this thread is MHLs. :? :roll:

high_tea wrote:I will also note that baccy, grog and, increasingly food are quite heavily regulated.

And?
(Food generally has minimal concerning freedom of consumption. Health quality standards of are not about regulating and controlling consumption they help address information asymmetry issues in the market. I don't see many people here complaining about the existence of helmet standards either.) I also object to food "fat taxes" but that isn't the discussion here.

This is a cycling forum. I am objecting to MHLs because it harms cycling. You supporting this harm.
human909
 
Posts: 6235
Joined: Tue Dec 01, 2009 10:48 am

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

Postby Ken Ho » Sun Jul 21, 2013 8:38 am

So, here's a thought.
Another reason the MHL is a poor law, is because it is so un-necessary.
Voluntary helmet usage rates a re so high amongst any number of other sports. If MHLs were abolished today, discretionary helmet usage rates would remain very high in cycling, and there would not be a sudden epidemic of head injuries.
However, we would all be a little more free, and the innocent joy of a helmet free ride would return.
Currently I ride helmet free at least half the time, and the helmets I do use are pretty shite. I have a bobby dodger, which is epically shite, and a decent one that is a bit broken.
The dunce cap effect would be broken.
You have officially become your parents.
Ken Ho
 
Posts: 1297
Joined: Mon Mar 21, 2011 6:28 pm
Location: Pikey, based on Southern Gold Coast

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

Postby human909 » Sun Jul 21, 2013 9:13 am

Ken Ho wrote:So, here's a thought.
Another reason the MHL is a poor law, is because it is so un-necessary.
Voluntary helmet usage rates a re so high amongst any number of other sports. If MHLs were abolished today, discretionary helmet usage rates would remain very high in cycling, and there would not be a sudden epidemic of head injuries.


Agreed! I think many if not the majority of existing cyclists would continue wearing helmets. In all likelihood I myself would continue wearing my helmet for many rides.

But suddenly we open cycling up to many others and other bikeshare schemes have a chance to work!
human909
 
Posts: 6235
Joined: Tue Dec 01, 2009 10:48 am

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

Postby Mulger bill » Sun Jul 21, 2013 8:15 pm

Imagine the state of the full bike lane on PB then :D

Can someone with a blacker belt in Googlefu than me please have a go at finding the poll I did a way back on that very topic? IIRC, voluntary use would still be in the 80+% area.
...whatever the road rules, self-preservation is the absolute priority for a cyclist when mixing it with motorised traffic.
London Boy 29/12/2011
User avatar
Mulger bill
Super Mod
Super Mod
 
Posts: 27219
Joined: Sun Sep 24, 2006 2:41 pm
Location: Sunbury Vic

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

Postby lycraless » Thu Jul 25, 2013 6:10 pm

I cant help with that but my own experience on the bike lanes of Amsterdam where I was very attentive to these things was that without a helmet law, easily 90% of the training, lycra, plastiuc bike riders were wearing helmets. Zero, absolutely zero, of the ordinary riders on the lanes and 30k roads wore a helmet. (Correction. I saw two but they were Brit/NewZealanders on holiday. They so stood out I had to ask.)
Going by this, voluntary use would easily be enough to satisfy the safety obsessives need to see plenty being worn by those taking risks in their riding.

Can someone with a blacker belt in Googlefu than me please have a go at finding the poll I did a way back on that very topic? IIRC, voluntary use would still be in the 80+% area.[/quote]
lycraless
 
Posts: 39
Joined: Thu Jul 22, 2010 9:17 am

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

Postby Percrime » Mon Jul 29, 2013 8:19 am

"Seriously these are people who think anecdotal helmet savior stories trump actual data " Yehuda Moon 2012-09-06
Percrime
 
Posts: 1047
Joined: Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:41 am

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

Postby diggler » Tue Jul 30, 2013 11:06 pm

I was riding oh the Anzac Bridge shared path today. I was going around a corner approaching the bridge. I was going down hill probably too fast and probably over the centre. I encountered a cyclist probably going too fast and probably over the centre too. We collided but our wheels took the brunt of the force. We both hit the ground. It was all a bit of a blur. Judging from the bruising, I obviously hit my elbow. Judging from the sore neck and scrape marks on my helmet, it seems my helmet hit the ground.

I think the helmet saved me from a more serious result. Of course there will be those who will argue that if I didn't wear a helmet I would have ridden safer, or the other guy would have ridden safer, or the helmet caused my sore neck, or even if the helmet helped, it is my choice whether I want to risk whatever helmetless riding entails.

I just want to point out that accidents can happen anywhere, not just on roads. We should all take more care whenever we ride. Whether or not it is mandatory to wear a helmet, I would wear one voluntarily.

Of course I don't expect anybody to change their opinion on this subject due to my post. 258 pages in and we are still arguing.
Motorists hate cyclists and cyclists hate the motorists and the pedestrians hate the bikers and everybody hates the trucks.
diggler
 
Posts: 587
Joined: Sun Aug 01, 2010 11:23 pm

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

Postby DavidS » Tue Jul 30, 2013 11:32 pm

I can see the point of your post diggler but you make one big mistake which tends to get a lot of us riled up. You state "it is my choice whether I want to risk whatever helmetless riding entails." Actually, no, that is not your choice, helmetless riding is illegal. And that's the whole problem. Those of us advocating the repeal of MHLs want us all to have that very choice, we do not seek to make the decision for you. I'm probably in the minority amongst those who oppose MHLs by saying I would not wear a helmet on my daily commute, but the very point is we should have this choice. Cycling is not such a dangerous activity that we should have our choice to take the very small risk of helmetless riding taken away from us.

DS
Image

Riding: Cannondale Quick Speed 2
User avatar
DavidS
 
Posts: 1577
Joined: Wed Sep 22, 2010 11:24 pm
Location: Melbourne

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

Postby diggler » Wed Jul 31, 2013 12:07 am

My mistake. I should have said "Of course there will be those who will argue that it ought to be my choice whether I want to risk whatever helmetless riding entails."

I think this thread is about whether we should have a nanny state. Should we have freedom or should the government forcibly protect people?

This is a philosophical point of view. I like a nanny state. Obviously there are many people who don't.

After 259 pages, it should be bleedingly obvious that people have different opinions about paternalism and will not alter their position.

I don't understand the anti MHL people. You must know the government will not change the law. Can you imagine the outcry if they did change the law and somebody died? Are people just going to spend the rest of their lives complaining about this law?
Motorists hate cyclists and cyclists hate the motorists and the pedestrians hate the bikers and everybody hates the trucks.
diggler
 
Posts: 587
Joined: Sun Aug 01, 2010 11:23 pm

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

Postby DavidS » Wed Jul 31, 2013 12:19 am

I don't think they will change in the short term (although they did weaken the law in the NT recently). However, I do think there is a possibility for change in a few years. If people really want to promote cycling then this law will be questioned because it is a deterrent, just look at the article from the Melbourne Age cited in another thread, an advocate for cycling saying MHLs are wrong.

DS
Image

Riding: Cannondale Quick Speed 2
User avatar
DavidS
 
Posts: 1577
Joined: Wed Sep 22, 2010 11:24 pm
Location: Melbourne

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

Postby diggler » Wed Jul 31, 2013 1:05 am

"there is a possibility for change in a few years"

Really? My bet is that in 5 years you will still need a helmet to ride on a NSW road. If you're willing to put your money where your mouth is, send me a message.

I'm just curious. If the law was abolished, what do you think will happen? 6% of people commute by cycling in Sydney. Will that double, triple, quadruple?
Motorists hate cyclists and cyclists hate the motorists and the pedestrians hate the bikers and everybody hates the trucks.
diggler
 
Posts: 587
Joined: Sun Aug 01, 2010 11:23 pm

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

Postby Percrime » Wed Jul 31, 2013 8:42 am

My predictions. The bike hire schemes will boom.

I don't want a nanny state. Most of what I do is not the states business. I,m ok with that. I like you humans but only to a point
Percrime
 
Posts: 1047
Joined: Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:41 am

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

Postby diggler » Wed Jul 31, 2013 9:57 am

Ok, some people like nanny state, some people don't. Fair enough. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. But after 259 pages, I think every argument on each side has been aired many times over. Is there anything else that needs to be said on this issue?
Motorists hate cyclists and cyclists hate the motorists and the pedestrians hate the bikers and everybody hates the trucks.
diggler
 
Posts: 587
Joined: Sun Aug 01, 2010 11:23 pm

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

Postby VRE » Wed Jul 31, 2013 12:15 pm

diggler wrote:Ok, some people like nanny state, some people don't. Fair enough. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. But after 259 pages, I think every argument on each side has been aired many times over. Is there anything else that needs to be said on this issue?

Always :) . These fora get new members all the time, and we can't reasonably expect them to read all 260 pages of this thread before replying.
User avatar
VRE
 
Posts: 582
Joined: Fri Aug 24, 2012 9:14 am
Location: Ringwood North, VIC, Australia

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

Postby human909 » Wed Jul 31, 2013 2:08 pm

diggler wrote:But after 259 pages, I think every argument on each side has been aired many times over. Is there anything else that needs to be said on this issue?


Well it seems there was because you posted something on the 260th page! :P

The fight to fix injust laws is long and full of impasses. But that is no reason to stop. Do you think those who fought for women's suffrage gave up, gay marriage, drug reform? Those previous three are a far bigger societal issue important than getting MHLs repealed. However in terms of cycling advocacy MHLs are extremely important.

I am continually aghast that so many cyclists are so strongly in favour of keeping barriers to cycling in place.
human909
 
Posts: 6235
Joined: Tue Dec 01, 2009 10:48 am

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

Postby Xplora » Wed Jul 31, 2013 3:29 pm

diggler, did you know that MULTIPLE children drown in buckets each year? Kids drown in the pool. Tourists die in the surf, even with professional lifeguards onsite. People die inside fridges and washing machines. People are paralysed for life falling off ladders at home. Around one person dies at work, despite numerous OHS laws, every week. Not sure if that's in NSW or nationally.

If you add up the tons of random stupid ways people die, even despite laws designed to protect, it becomes clear that a nanny state doesn't work, and isn't desirable because it cannot achieve its aim of protection without incredible authoritarianism. The State has failed to provide legitimate laws to protect cyclists (such as the 1.5m passing law) while passing a law that effectively achieves nothing when you consider that a car can hit a rider intentionally and then avoid penal sanction. Helmets are helpful, they are not a safety solution.
KenGS did some maths - with a 1.5m passing rule in effect, you need to have a cyclist turning at 30 degrees to the traffic in order for a rider to hit a car if the car passes them at 1.5m away. Effectively, impossible unless the rider is suicidal.
Here is my point - if we were getting nanny state, the 1.5m rule would be law already. We'd see debate about helmeting the pedestrian population, since people walking actually suffer just as many fatalities as cyclists on the road.
The nanny state promotes false values on the population - if it is not illegal, it is not unsafe, unsound or unkind. Cyclists will occasionally fall and hit their head. This is a risk on foot or in a car as well. There is no equivalent helmet law for walkers or passengers.

I can accept the thrust of your argument, diggler, as long as you accept my rebuttal, which shows it clearly is false, and at worst, your position makes life more dangerous for you and other riders.
User avatar
Xplora
 
Posts: 7622
Joined: Fri Dec 10, 2010 11:33 pm
Location: TL;DR

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

Postby high_tea » Wed Jul 31, 2013 5:57 pm

The issue with overtaking laws is that the state has legislated, then failed to enforce them. Big difference. Maybe 1.5m will improve matters, but it's not a new law as such, it's refining an existing one.

I don't intend to argue the toss about the nanny-state; the very term begs the question.
high_tea
 
Posts: 1378
Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:10 pm

PreviousNext

Return to Cycling Safety and Advocacy

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users



Popular Bike Shops
Wiggle Wiggle UK
Torpedo 7 Cycling Express
Ground Effect Ground Effect NZ
Ebay Ebay AU
Chain Reaction Cycles CRC UK

“Bicycles BNA Twitter
“Bicycles BNA Facebook
“Google+ BNA Google+
“Bicycles BNA Newsletter
“Bicycles BNA on Strava