Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

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

Postby Comedian » Mon Sep 11, 2017 1:28 pm

human909 wrote:
Philistine wrote: It never ceases to amaze me that so many people - usually late teen and twenty-something males - consider themselves too cool to wear helmets, and openly flout the law. If I set out to break the law (any law), I will do my level best to ensure that my activities remain as low key as possible. It seems they are saying to any passing policeman "here I am, come and pinch me!"

Civil disobedience is not effective if you do it out of sight. They are doing more to undermine the law that you or me.


DavidS wrote:Unfortunately it seems too difficult to get a decent civil disobedience campaign on this law.

Civil disobedience is not particularly effective unless you have the support of a large percentage of the population. MHL doesn't have this.
It also helps if those doing it are REALLY committed and persistent. Sue Abbott is one. Though she is only one person.'

That said the aboriginal youth in the Northern Territory achieve it through civil disobedience.


I have heard people advocate that if you don't believe in the law then don't wear one and just take the fine as an act of civil disobedience. In QLD - you can't keep doing that. I believe that once you have had a few you are required to go to court. So, even if you could afford to keep paying them you'd end up in a lot of trouble eventually.

I understand that the laws are enforced to different extents everywhere.. but in BNE if you ride around near the city any amount you will be caught. I know people that have letters of exemption, and they get stopped regularly.

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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby human909 » Mon Sep 11, 2017 2:12 pm

fat and old wrote:A simplistic viewpoint human, that doesn't address the societal issues and pressures that bought about that outcome.

Youo'll probably disagree, and that's cool. I just wanted to put my POV across and address that claim on the NT Indigenous youth.

Of course it is simplistic. I didn't see the point in discussing the broader issue in the forum. The fact remains that disobedience of helmet laws by aboriginal kids did bring about the change.

Comedian wrote:I have heard people advocate that if you don't believe in the law then don't wear one and just take the fine as an act of civil disobedience. In QLD - you can't keep doing that. I believe that once you have had a few you are required to go to court. So, even if you could afford to keep paying them you'd end up in a lot of trouble eventually.

I understand that the laws are enforced to different extents everywhere.. but in BNE if you ride around near the city any amount you will be caught. I know people that have letters of exemption, and they get stopped regularly.

I completely agree.

Civil disobedience isn't always an answer to getting a law changed. Otherwise we might have a whole bunch of laws removed. AKA many drugs. But it seems to me that Australian society is more capable of having a mature discussion around drugs than it is of helmets.

(Civil disobedience has had wins on the medical marijuana front. Though a few rough losses too.)

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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby fat and old » Mon Sep 11, 2017 2:51 pm

human909 wrote:
fat and old wrote:A simplistic viewpoint human, that doesn't address the societal issues and pressures that bought about that outcome.

Youo'll probably disagree, and that's cool. I just wanted to put my POV across and address that claim on the NT Indigenous youth.

Of course it is simplistic. I didn't see the point in discussing the broader issue in the forum. The fact remains that disobedience of helmet laws by aboriginal kids did bring about the change.


Maybe not. I do think it's worth pointing out the reasoning for the relaxation of MHL's in the NT had more to do with it being an easy way to placate the angst over Indigenous juvenile inability to obey laws and the results of such (admittedly heavy handed...depending on your outlook which has a lot to do with your experiences) than anything to do with health, civil liberties or common sense for the rest of the population.

But yeah, a win for all of us I guess. :D

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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby g-boaf » Mon Sep 11, 2017 4:45 pm

Mububban wrote:
fat and old wrote:That survey's stupid.

Question: If it WASN'T mandatory to wear a helmet, would you:

ride more
ride less
some other stupid option

Answer: Why would I ride any different? It's a helmet. If I'm happy to ride amongst 40 ton vehicles daily why would I decrease my k's if I didn't have to wear a helmet?


I've heard plenty of people say they don't ride a bike because they hate wearing helmets and getting sweaty and having their hair messed up.

It doesn't need to be what anyone else considers "a good reason" - if it stops someone riding then it's a barrier to participation.

If you routinely spend $200 on a cut, colour and style, or style yourself up with lots of product, you are not going to want to ruin it by wearing a helmet.
I have a crew cut so it's not a major concern for myself :D


I don't know if those reasons are all that real, I have doubts. I do know that the real reason here is the bad/aggressive driving behaviour.

Even the way too fast Italian drivers were perfect around bike riders when I was over there, even those riders wearing a helmet. In fact, a lot of the local riders I saw riding about the various towns we were in did actually wear helmets too. So the idea that wearing a helmet or activity specific clothing (I've seen that mentioned here) contributes to bad driving behaviour is obviously a myth.

I've never felt so safe riding on the road, even busy main roads, and even at peak hour times. It was superb and I had a great time. Innsbruck is a place I absolutely love now. I also like Bressanone too - another lovely place to ride in and stay at . On that note, I'd recommend Hotel Tourist on Via Dante, the incredibly warm staff serving everyone at breakfast - the spotless and modern rooms and the close proximity to the city centre and major hilly routes.

I also liked the driving behaviour at roundabouts, that was a big surprise in Italy and Austria. If people here in Australia would exercise that driving behaviour, I think you'd get a lot more people using their bikes for transport purposes.

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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby human909 » Mon Sep 11, 2017 8:49 pm

g-boaf wrote:I don't know if those reasons are all that real, I have doubts. I do know that the real reason here is the bad/aggressive driving behaviour.


The reason is very real. Why would you doubt? Oh and just because the latter reason is significant doesn't mean that the former isn't significant. People make choices on a balance of costs and benefits.

Helmets are an annoyance, they are an annoyance to US that most of US don't even recognise. Go to you local cyclist cafe and count how many cyclists are sitting wearing a helmet. Go to the smoko room at a construction site and count the number still wearing their hard hats. Likewise with most sports with helmets. They come off pretty quickly once the activity is stopped.

If they weren't an annoyance at all why don't we wear helmets all day everyday in all activities? Clearly they are. The degree of annoyance varies but to deny that it isn't a real reason is blind to reality.

g-boaf wrote:So the idea that wearing a helmet or activity specific clothing (I've seen that mentioned here) contributes to bad driving behaviour is obviously a myth.

Your logic doesn't follow here.

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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby Philistine » Mon Sep 11, 2017 10:26 pm

human909 wrote:
Philistine wrote: It never ceases to amaze me that so many people - usually late teen and twenty-something males - consider themselves too cool to wear helmets, and openly flout the law. If I set out to break the law (any law), I will do my level best to ensure that my activities remain as low key as possible. It seems they are saying to any passing policeman "here I am, come and pinch me!"

Civil disobedience is not effective if you do it out of sight. They are doing more to undermine the law that you or me.

Who said anything about civil disobedience? If the helmetless riders I have seen were intent on making any kind of political statement, I should expect them to be riding decent bikes, and riding them with a bit of panache. The velominati would not regard them as cyclists at all, merely young men who happen to be riding bikes. The absence of helmets has more to do with looking "cool" than any protest about MHL, and they are counting upon the police being too lazy to do their jobs - apparently with some justification!

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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby bychosis » Tue Sep 12, 2017 6:56 am

I talked to someone on the weekend who couldn't understand why the survey was there. He saw no need to even consider repealing the MHL. He has borrowed a helmet for a 500m ride home in residential streets before, but has never had a crash where his helmet has been used so I'm not sure wether his pro helmet stance is becuase of MHL or perceived danger. I suspect that it is more borne of MHL.

Unfortunately there are plenty more out there of the same opinion, the helmets are great, so we should have MHL.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby fat and old » Tue Sep 12, 2017 7:21 am

Philistine wrote: The velominati would not regard them as cyclists at all, merely young men who happen to be riding bikes.


Then the "velominati" are d/heads. :lol: If you ride a bike, you're a cyclist.

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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby fat and old » Tue Sep 12, 2017 7:40 am

g-boaf wrote:[

I don't know if those reasons are all that real, I have doubts. I do know that the real reason here is the bad/aggressive driving behaviour.



I share your doubts; although in a different way. I've long maintained that MHL's are just a small part of the equation. When pressed, the vocal anti MHL'ers will actually agree with this as human has above; usually in a roundabout manner that tries to maintain the illusion that helmets are the greatest reason of all. This isn't really a criticism....you can't blame people for highlighting their own cause and diminishing anything that doesn't agree with it. It's the nature of argument.

On the hairdo/makeup reasoning.....this is called vanity. Do we really want our laws based on vanity? Personally, no. Your hair and appearance are your own personal issue. If you feel you cannot maintain that on a cycle/with a helmet then well and good. Do something else.

So the idea that wearing a helmet or activity specific clothing (I've seen that mentioned here) contributes to bad driving behaviour is obviously a myth.


Again, I agree somewhat, especially on the subject of clothing. I have recounted the anecdotal evidence numerous times where I have had drivers approach me with positive comments on my hivis booties or shoes. They stand out, are seen, and drivers are aware of me and act accordingly. My specific clothing has actually contributed to GOOD behavior. This is offset somewhat by the amount of comments on social media that will slam "tour de france wannabes" and plead encouragement towards "normal" riders. As I have pointed out elsewhere, I believe this is a furphy and is used by the anti-cycling haters to somehow justify their stance...."see, we're only picking on the wannabes. We support the normal cyclists". Previously I wrote:

Further to my assertion....

The absolute wall of outrage and outright lies that spring up whenever improved cycling infrastructure is proposed when it impacts on motorists.

Anything at all on Sydney Rd. The natural home of the "normal" cyclist. A thoroughfare that would benefit from streetscaping and boulevarding.

Anything at all on St. Kilda Rd. Again, a heavily used, "normalised cyclist" heavy route into the city. The uproar over the installment of a separated cycle lane is well known here.

Both of these streets are heavy with shirt/trouser/thongs type riders on all manner of cycles. The type which are "less hated". Why is it so hard to get any decent outcome for them in those locations? The majority don't wear lycra, no big peletons....why is it so?

Any new Cycle lane that results in one less traffic lane, such as the Old Calder Hwy near Macedon. Cycle lane created, then removed after a few months of agitation. Result? Death of a cyclist.

I'm sure that most members here are well aware of these issues....as are the posters of late.

As long as we are where we are supposed to be.


I haven't changed my mind.

Of course, this is a circular argument and we go around and around. It does fill in 20 minutes of an otherwise boring am though :lol:

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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby Philistine » Tue Sep 12, 2017 8:31 am

fat and old wrote:
Philistine wrote: The velominati would not regard them as cyclists at all, merely young men who happen to be riding bikes.


Then the "velominati" are d/heads. :lol: If you ride a bike, you're a cyclist.


Bait your hook with the "velominati" or the "rules" and you can usually get a nibble.

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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby find_bruce » Tue Sep 12, 2017 8:45 am

Nicycle Netwrok reviews its support for MHL

Somewhat surprising given the fervor that Bicycle Network have for MHL, including their recent support for massive increase in fines for non-compliance, but stranger things have happened.

If you have a opinion (& if you are reading this thread you probably do) take their online survey

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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby baabaa » Tue Sep 12, 2017 9:25 am

Somewhat surprising!!
Gawd they have been running two major bike counts each year since 2007* and it would be way easy to include a number of riders seen with and without. I have always put down a" FYI Number" for them and then CC-ed this to the local council till I stopped counting and thus supporting Nocycle Nowerk due to the bully type attack into other states.
This online survey is just one more attempt to gain new members by looking like the good guys. Avoid it.
(*well the first one in NSW and the CBD Sydney anyway, need to look for the counter tshirt in the paint rags to check the year)

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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby RonK » Tue Sep 12, 2017 9:56 am

As with the one-metre rule, Bicycle Victoria seems to be backpedaling again.

Should bike helmets be mandatory? Bicycle Network reviews its support of Australian law
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby g-boaf » Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:34 am

RonK wrote:As with the one-metre rule, Bicycle Victoria seems to be backpedaling again.

Should bike helmets be mandatory? Bicycle Network reviews its support of Australian law


Probably being pressed by their members and worrying they'll lose relevance. The U-turn is probably the sign that they already have lost relevance.

fat and old wrote:Again, I agree somewhat, especially on the subject of clothing.


On here, I've seen before people trying to make the point that the wearing of helmets is somehow related to drivers behaving badly towards riders or that it makes riding dangerous. (not my point, it was one of the anti-MHL people). Having ridden in Europe (only just a week ago), supposedly the Mecca of riding without helmets, the amount of people who were actually riding with helmets on was surprising, and on that note, all the drivers didn't suddenly behave like hooligans or aggressively around these riders.

It's not the attire or the wearing of helmets (or not), but rather that they are more mature when driving their cars. Even the crazy fast Italian drivers are good around bike riders.

IMO, getting rid of the mandatory helmet laws is just a band-aid solution that won't fix anything - the real problem is the immature behaviour of drivers and the entitled mentality they have towards driving. I felt extremely safe riding in Europe, even at very high speeds on enormous winding descents, with traffic around me. That's the one thing I'll miss the most.

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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby uart » Tue Sep 12, 2017 12:20 pm

g-boaf wrote:On here, I've seen before people trying to make the point that the wearing of helmets is somehow related to drivers behaving badly towards riders or that it makes riding dangerous. (not my point, it was one of the anti-MHL people). Having ridden in Europe (only just a week ago), supposedly the Mecca of riding without helmets, the amount of people who were actually riding with helmets on was surprising, and on that note, all the drivers didn't suddenly behave like hooligans or aggressively around these riders.


As would be the case here (probably even more so than in more cycling friendly countries) if MHL was repealed. The majority of sports oriented cyclists would still wear their helmets.

The effect of MHL on driver behavior is far more subtle than drivers simply being more aggressive around them. That may happen to some extent in counties with a large number of motorists that are highly anti-cyclist, simply because the see people on bikes with "all the kit" as being more representative of cyclists (whom they hate) rather than just being a "normal person" who happens to be on a bike.

More subtly than that however is just the change in cycling demographics that anti cyclist laws (like aggressive MHL) can have. Things like the much higher percentage of young women cycling (often slow speed and relative short trips without helmets) in many European cities helps to normalize cycling, making us less of the "outgroup" that we are in Australia. It also stimulates the development of infrastructure to accommodates these slow helmetless cyclists, which again encourages more people to take it up, and further normalizes the activity.

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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby g-boaf » Tue Sep 12, 2017 12:32 pm

They weren't sport orientated riders, just normal people on normal non sporty bikes commuting about, sometimes with bags hanging from the bars. And wearing helmets.

And the sky didn't fall down, the world didn't end, everyone just went about their business without bother.

The image you have projected of cycling in European cities doesn't match with the reality that I experienced in the multiple cities I went through in Germany, Austria and Italy over the last week or two. People did wear helmets, but aside from that, riding was a normal thing and the helmet didn't seem to have any impact on it.

When did you last ride in Europe?

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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby uart » Tue Sep 12, 2017 12:55 pm

g-boaf wrote:They weren't sport orientated riders, just normal people on normal non sporty bikes commuting about, sometimes with bags hanging from the bars. And wearing helmets

Yes, some people way underestimate the number of people that would still wear there their helmets even if there were no MHL. This is not a formal poll or anything, but just from talking with various cyclists, almost 100% of sports orientated cyclist that I ask think helmets are a good thing and would still wear them, and well more than 50% (and possibly as high as 80% or more) of regular commuters type cyclists would still want to wear one. Advocating rather than mandating would still give a really high helmet wearing rate here. What you report there really doesn't surprise at all.

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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby g-boaf » Tue Sep 12, 2017 6:37 pm

And I did see those young women riding, doing short trips at slow speeds. All matching the projected stereotypes on here, except they were wearing helmets.

The difference over there is not what riders wear or the bikes they ride, but the fact that driving is a privilege, rather than being seen as an entitlement.

The drivers are grown ups, not juveniles.

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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby DavidS » Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:00 pm

uart wrote:
g-boaf wrote:They weren't sport orientated riders, just normal people on normal non sporty bikes commuting about, sometimes with bags hanging from the bars. And wearing helmets

Yes, some people way underestimate the number of people that would still wear there their helmets even if there were no MHL. This is not a formal poll or anything, but just from talking with various cyclists, almost 100% of sports orientated cyclist that I ask think helmets are a good thing and would still wear them, and well more than 50% (and possibly as high as 80% or more) of regular commuters type cyclists would still want to wear one. Advocating rather than mandating would still give a really high helmet wearing rate here. What you report there really doesn't surprise at all.


So what? Unlike the pro MHL position, those of us who oppose MHLs are not trying to dictate behaviour. Not seeking to ban helmets, just make them optional. I personally couldn't care less if 99% of people cycling wear helmets if the law is repealed, I still want it repealed and I will make my choice.

As for the comments above about civil disobedience, it comes in many forms. Sometimes it is a helmet optional ride which is organised (been on one of those earlier this year), sometimes it is just youth riding around without a helmet because they just don't want to wear one, whatever. I ride the last couple of KMs to and from work with my fine avoidance hat hanging from the handlebars, call it civil disobedience or whatever, I just want the damned choice. Is that really too much to ask in the 3 countries in the world which remove that choice?

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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby warthog1 » Wed Sep 13, 2017 1:59 pm

g-boaf wrote:And I did see those young women riding, doing short trips at slow speeds. All matching the projected stereotypes on here, except they were wearing helmets.

The difference over there is not what riders wear or the bikes they ride, but the fact that driving is a privilege, rather than being seen as an entitlement.

The drivers are grown ups, not juveniles.


Love your work G 8)
I'm sick of being categorized as part of the problem with driver behaviour simply because I am a cycling enthusiast.

I'll be an old man by the time I can enjoy cycling on European roads, but you've given me somthing to look forward to. Thanks. :D

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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby human909 » Wed Sep 13, 2017 2:08 pm

warthog1 wrote:I'm sick of being categorized as part of the problem with driver behaviour simply because I am a cycling enthusiast.

Since when has this been happening? I certainly haven't seen it. But I've seen people often choose to interpret it this way.

When you cycling population has a low percentage of 'average joes' and a high percentage of cycling enthusiasts it is generally a SYMPTOM of the problem not the problem itself. Likewise if the cycling population is mostly male.

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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby warthog1 » Wed Sep 13, 2017 2:12 pm

human909 wrote:
warthog1 wrote:I'm sick of being categorized as part of the problem with driver behaviour simply because I am a cycling enthusiast.

Since when has this been happening? I certainly haven't seen it. But I've seen people often choose to interpret it this way.

When you cycling population has a low percentage of 'average joes' and a high percentage of cycling enthusiasts it is generally a SYMPTOM of the problem not the problem itself. Likewise if the cycling population is mostly male.


Your logic doesn't follow here.

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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby outnabike » Wed Sep 13, 2017 2:38 pm

[quote="warthog.

I'll be an old man by the time I can enjoy cycling on European roads, but you've given me something to look forward to. Thanks. :D[/quote]

I am an old man, and a 2 years ago I was almost doored in Venlo Holland by a lady driver.
I laugh when I read how the dutch are more aware when opening their car door with the passenger side arm. :)
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby g-boaf » Wed Sep 13, 2017 2:44 pm

warthog1 wrote:
g-boaf wrote:And I did see those young women riding, doing short trips at slow speeds. All matching the projected stereotypes on here, except they were wearing helmets.

The difference over there is not what riders wear or the bikes they ride, but the fact that driving is a privilege, rather than being seen as an entitlement.

The drivers are grown ups, not juveniles.


Love your work G 8)
I'm sick of being categorized as part of the problem with driver behaviour simply because I am a cycling enthusiast.

I'll be an old man by the time I can enjoy cycling on European roads, but you've given me somthing to look forward to. Thanks. :D


Well, it's the reality of what riding is over there where I was. And it busts some of the stereotypes portrayed here.

Sure, some people weren't wearing helmets, but a heck of a lot of people were. Out of the locals (ignoring the 350 or so riders coming from abroad) I saw more people wearing helmets than I did those that weren't.

Out of all of us coming from overseas, we experienced safe driving from all the motorists out on the roads. It was the thing I'll miss the most. And maybe closely followed by the incredibly kind lady looking after us all at breakfast in the Hotel Tourist in Brixen, making sure we were all fueled up on great coffee and well fed for the day. She looked after us like we were family, rather than just guests of the hotel. Riding over there was everything you could imagine and hope for, and multiply it by ten.

That's the key to getting more people riding, rather than getting rid of MHL. Getting rid of MHL will certainly stop people getting messed up hair, but it won't stop them from getting injured or terrorised by bad drivers.

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, with the exception of their crazy fast driving on the autostradas. :shock: :shock: :shock: We were doing 35km/h over the limit and some van goes past at 150-something!?!? :shock: :shock: :shock:

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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (MHL discussion)

Postby warthog1 » Wed Sep 13, 2017 2:53 pm

g-boaf wrote:

That's the key to getting more people riding, rather than getting rid of MHL. Getting rid of MHL will certainly stop people getting messed up hair, but it won't stop them from getting injured or terrorised by bad drivers.

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.


I'd like to see MHL gone.
I agree the driving culture is the main problem.
The commentators and columnists that perpetuate the attitude are heavily embedded in our media so I can't see it changing soon.

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