Lift of helmet requirement in Canberra on the cards as ACT government looks at getting more people on bikes

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Re: Lift of helmet requirement in Canberra on the cards as ACT government looks at getting more people on bikes

Postby fat and old » Fri Feb 23, 2018 3:41 pm

human909 wrote:
fat and old wrote:Whilst I'm living proof of the cycling=reduced chance of stroke.....I don't think it's as simple as that.

Sure it isn't as simple as that. Nor is it as simple as non MHLs leads to more head injuries in society. Holland has insanely more cyclists and very low helmet use. But funnily enough no epidemic of head injuries.

Again all this is missing the point. Why are we even talking about head injuries when the rates of head injuries in cycling are so low? Helmets reduce head injuries in ALL activities, the same logic being used for bicycle helmets could be readily applied to countless other activities.


Hey....I was just replying to the post. Don't be dragging me into an MHL head injury discussion. You know my POV on that.

Edit: Specifically, on the chance of stroke/cardiac issues: I'd posit that a fair few of the people who would actually start riding a bike around...to the pub, shops etc....if it was ok to ride on the path without a helmet would be fat smokers who haven't exercised at all in the last 10 years (like I was :lol: ). A quick look at the types who ride helmetless at present....OUTSIDE THE INNER CITY of Melbourne.....will see more than a few fit this description (Go down to the lower peninsula...from Dromana on..... and see what I'm talking about)

Not that I care.....take what you want and pay for it I say.

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Lift of helmet requirement in Canberra on the cards as ACT government looks at getting more people on bikes

Postby cooperplace » Sat Feb 24, 2018 5:43 pm

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-02-23/b ... er/9477782

I think he's crazy; the answer is education IMO.
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Re: Lift of helmet requirement in Canberra on the cards as ACT government looks at getting more people on bikes

Postby Mulger bill » Sat Feb 24, 2018 8:43 pm

Ahem...
Let's keep discussion here civil and rotating around the ins and outs of what, at this stage is still very much a thought bubble. Thx
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Re: Lift of helmet requirement in Canberra on the cards as ACT government looks at getting more people on bikes

Postby cooperplace » Sun Feb 25, 2018 9:11 am

my personal view is that the ACT Minister is crazy. I've had numerous crashed on bicycles and motorcycles in which the helmet has been damaged and has saved me head injury. I regard helmets as a cheap easy way to reduce the chance of a head injury.

The argument that lifting their requirement might get more people out could be said for guns: maybe if we encouraged hunting, people would get more exercise and fresh air. Of course, there'd be more accidental gun deaths, but maybe there would be net health benefit? I am being sarcastic here.
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Re: Lift of helmet requirement in Canberra on the cards as ACT government looks at getting more people on bikes

Postby find_bruce » Sun Feb 25, 2018 11:31 am

cooperplace wrote:my personal view is that the ACT Minister is crazy. I've had numerous crashed on bicycles and motorcycles in which the helmet has been damaged and has saved me head injury. I regard helmets as a cheap easy way to reduce the chance of a head injury.

The argument that lifting their requirement might get more people out could be said for guns: maybe if we encouraged hunting, people would get more exercise and fresh air. Of course, there'd be more accidental gun deaths, but maybe there would be net health benefit? I am being sarcastic here.

I think you are missing the point - no-one is suggesting banning helmets, just removing compulsion as a barrier to cycling. You, I and others will be free to continue to wear helmets.

A better analogy is sunscreen - its a great thing, well documented to reduce the incidence of skin cancer & people choose to wear it. Despite the well known health benefits, AFAIK no-one is suggesting mandatory suncreen laws and enforced with a $400 fine

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Re: Lift of helmet requirement in Canberra on the cards as ACT government looks at getting more people on bikes

Postby cooperplace » Sun Feb 25, 2018 11:50 am

no, I understand that he simply wants to lift the compulsion. I think that's crazy. I like compulsory helmet laws. If helmets aren't compulsory, lots of people won't wear them, and some of these people will get serious head injuries that will ruin their lives and cost society a fortune.
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Re: Lift of helmet requirement in Canberra on the cards as ACT government looks at getting more people on bikes

Postby andrewjcw » Sun Feb 25, 2018 12:05 pm

cooperplace wrote: If helmets aren't compulsory, lots of people won't wear them, and some of these people will get serious head injuries that will ruin their lives and cost society a fortune.


That's great that you understand one side of the argument. Now for full marks, try to understand the other side as well. Here's a hint - look up the yearly deaths in Australia from cycling accidents, and now look up the yearly deaths from cardiopulmonary diseases. Contrast and compare and report back here with your findings.

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Re: Lift of helmet requirement in Canberra on the cards as ACT government looks at getting more people on bikes

Postby Aushiker » Sun Feb 25, 2018 12:58 pm

andrewjcw wrote:
cooperplace wrote: If helmets aren't compulsory, lots of people won't wear them, and some of these people will get serious head injuries that will ruin their lives and cost society a fortune.


That's great that you understand one side of the argument. Now for full marks, try to understand the other side as well. Here's a hint - look up the yearly deaths in Australia from cycling accidents, and now look up the yearly deaths from cardiopulmonary diseases. Contrast and compare and report back here with your findings.

+1 and then carefully review the published empirical studies on cycling related deaths and serious injuries ...

Personally I don't care if folks want to wear a helmet or not; makes no difference to me and my decision which is to wear a helmet most of the time but sometimes I don't. I do however get seriously upset at the focus by Fremantle Police on helmet blitzes whilst ignoring the real issues which result in serious injuries and worse to bicycle riders including the kid I saw flying through the air after a motor vehicle operator hit him. Helmet made no difference to the flight I can tell you :evil:

So I support this move by the ACT MP.

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At least my helmet is protecting the bike right? :)

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Re: Lift of helmet requirement in Canberra on the cards as ACT government looks at getting more people on bikes

Postby uart » Sun Feb 25, 2018 1:18 pm

cooperplace wrote:If helmets aren't compulsory, lots of people won't wear them, and some of these people will get serious head injuries that will ruin their lives and cost society a fortune.


Firstly let me say that there is a lot of research on this, and two findings are clear.

1. That helmets are a moderately effective secondary safety measure for cycling (in the sense that, all other things being equal, wearing a helmet does reduce the probability of head injury). They are however far less effective than primary safety measures, like improved bike paths and on road facilities for cyclist, at reducing cyclist deaths and serious injuries.

2. Despite the above, there is very little evidence that mandatory helmet laws have any significant effect on the rate of serious injury or death from cycling (and actually quite a lot of evidence that they don't do so).

So why the two seemingly contradictory findings? ( Good question, I'm glad you asked. :) ) Well there are number of minor reasons, like risk compensation, which is basically just an overestimate of the protection that your helmet affords you, and a subsequent increase in speed and risks taken as a result. However the biggest factor involved here is probably the simplest, that people are not stupid. What I mean by this is that faster riders will almost ALL continue to wear their helmets in any case. Yes there will be the odd exception, but overwhelmingly the majority of riders in the higher risk categories wear their helmets regardless of whether or not it is mandated by law!

So why would some cyclists, many of whom would continue to wear their helmets in any case, care about slow riders in the lower risk category having the option (and remember it is only an option) to not wear a helmet? Well the problem is that mandatory helmet laws have caused a very selectively disincentive to the uptake of cycling. In particular, it has provided no disincentive at all for sportive and competitive riders, who overwhelmingly would wear their helmets anyway - but has caused some disincentive to utilitarian cyclists taking a casual ride to the local shops etc. And when I say that, please note that these two categories could be the very same cyclist on different days and/or different bikes. In essence it, it has skewed the demographics of cycling in Australia very much towards the "extreme sport" end of the spectrum and somewhat away from the idea of cycling as an everyday activity. There are many reasons why this makes the environment for cycling in Australia (and it's safety) worse for all of us, but I've said enough so I'll leave that as something that you can search for if you are interested. :)

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Re: Lift of helmet requirement in Canberra on the cards as ACT government looks at getting more people on bikes

Postby cooperplace » Sun Feb 25, 2018 2:22 pm

andrewjcw wrote:
cooperplace wrote: If helmets aren't compulsory, lots of people won't wear them, and some of these people will get serious head injuries that will ruin their lives and cost society a fortune.


That's great that you understand one side of the argument. Now for full marks, try to understand the other side as well. Here's a hint - look up the yearly deaths in Australia from cycling accidents, and now look up the yearly deaths from cardiopulmonary diseases. Contrast and compare and report back here with your findings.

Andrew, I'm well aware of this:
http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf ... ,%202016~3
the leading cause of death in Australia is ischaemic heart disease. More exercise helps prevent this. I think we probably agree on this.
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Re: Lift of helmet requirement in Canberra on the cards as ACT government looks at getting more people on bikes

Postby cooperplace » Sun Feb 25, 2018 2:48 pm

uart wrote:
cooperplace wrote:If helmets aren't compulsory, lots of people won't wear them, and some of these people will get serious head injuries that will ruin their lives and cost society a fortune.



that people are not stupid. What I mean by this is that faster riders will almost ALL continue to wear their helmets in any case. Yes there will be the odd exception, but overwhelmingly the majority of riders in the higher risk categories wear their helmets regardless the problem is that mandatory helmet laws have caused a very selectively disincentive to the uptake of cycling. In particular, it has provided no disincentive at all for sportive and competitive riders, who overwhelmingly would wear their helmets anyway - but has caused some disincentive to utilitarian cyclists taking a casual ride to the local shops etc.)


I lived in Illinois for 5 years and saw most motorcyclists, even on the freeway, don't wear helmets. Helmet wearing here is part of the culture, courtesy of the law. Take away the laws and helmet use over time will drop, a lot. Of course enthusiasts -eg people on this forum- will probably still wear them. I certainly will.

And what about kids? They don't make informed choices.

The protective effect of helmets on head injury is quite large, eg Sacks et al JAMA 266:3016 estimated that mandatory use of helmets in the US would prevent 1 cycling death/day and 1 cycling head injury every 4 minutes.

On the other hand, estimates of how cardiovascular deaths in the community might decrease by repealing helmet laws are just hand-waving.
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Re: Lift of helmet requirement in Canberra on the cards as ACT government looks at getting more people on bikes

Postby bychosis » Sun Feb 25, 2018 3:10 pm

I think they are aiming at relaxing the rules, not removing them. Eg tou would not be expected to wear a helmet unless you are travelling on a road with a speed limit of 60 or more, and probably only for adults. So that Sunday cruise around the lake with the kids with a very low risk of crashing, let alone hitting your head could be helmet free, whereas the commuter who rides fast to work on the roads would be wearing one.

I know my potential head injuries (prevented by the foam bucket) have been in situations that would still require a helmet (and I’m including MTB, because sensible due to high risk). Most riders would be unlikely to crash in the situations where the helmet would be optional.
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Re: Lift of helmet requirement in Canberra on the cards as ACT government looks at getting more people on bikes

Postby uart » Sun Feb 25, 2018 3:13 pm

cooperplace wrote:I lived in Illinois for 5 years and saw most motorcyclists, even on the freeway, don't wear helmets. Helmet wearing here is part of the culture, courtesy of the law.

No. Prior to it being the law there was some very strong advocacy, and as a result most serious cyclists had already adopted the helmet even before it was mandated. There is nothing wrong with maintaining a strong advocacy for helmets, even if they were no longer mandated.

Take an informal survey next time you are down at your local bike path. Try to find a single rider with "all the gear" who will say that they'd stop using their helmet if the law changed. You may have a bit of trouble finding even one (and quite possibly attract some "funny looks" for even daring to pose the question).
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Re: Lift of helmet requirement in Canberra on the cards as ACT government looks at getting more people on bikes

Postby uart » Sun Feb 25, 2018 3:24 pm

cooperplace wrote:The protective effect of helmets on head injury is quite large, eg Sacks et al JAMA 266:3016 estimated that mandatory use of helmets in the US would prevent 1 cycling death/day and 1 cycling head injury every 4 minutes.

Yet many studies have failed to find a convincing decrease in cycling deaths or serious injuries where MHL has been introduced. The problem is that those estimates are based on "all other factors being equal", but as mentioned above, all other factors are generally not equal. MHL changes cycling demographics over time to favour the more "extreme sport" end of the spectrum, and tends to reduce the acceptance of cycling as an everyday activity. Both of those factors can adversely effect our safety.

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Re: Lift of helmet requirement in Canberra on the cards as ACT government looks at getting more people on bikes

Postby Thoglette » Sun Feb 25, 2018 3:58 pm

cooperplace wrote:The protective effect of helmets on head injury is quite large, eg Sacks et al JAMA 266:3016 estimated that mandatory use of helmets in the US would prevent 1 cycling death/day and 1 cycling head injury every 4 minutes.

On the other hand, estimates of how cardiovascular deaths in the community might decrease by repealing helmet laws are just hand-waving.

And finally we arrive at this point. Let's selectively pick an old study that flies in the face of current scientific understanding and unilaterally declare the counter arguments as "hand waving".

It's rubbish and you (should) know that.

Again, no-one (seriously) argues that helmets should be banned. Nor that we should not advocate for helmet use.

That paper is from 1991 and somehow estimates that 2700 of 2985 fatalities involving head injuries would have been prevented by helmet use. That's 90%, a figure far higher than any one else claims. However even the authors don't call for MHLs, rather for education.
The current best-estimate of MHL impact on cyclist injury is "Meh". More formally, it's almost impossible to see whether there's been any positive impact on head injuries. Research over the last 5 years or so has been into the question of "why?".

Of course, anyone who bothered to look at those countries with large cycling populations would not be surprised by this outcome.

As your personal history shows, those most likely to benefit from helmet use already use them.

The analogy to skin cancer protection is apt and shows a much better way of achieving better population health outcomes.

Those working, day in, day out in the sun should be using full sun protection. These days, they mostly are.

On the other hand, walking from the shops to the car doesn't warrant full PPE.
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Re: Lift of helmet requirement in Canberra on the cards as ACT government looks at getting more people on bikes

Postby bychosis » Sun Feb 25, 2018 5:48 pm

Thoglette wrote:The analogy to skin cancer protection is apt and shows a much better way of achieving better population health outcomes.

Those working, day in, day out in the sun should be using full sun protection. These days, they mostly are.

On the other hand, walking from the shops to the car doesn't warrant full PPE.b

Agree, that is near the perfect analogy. One further point, those with a higher risk aversion (fair skinned) will self apply sunscreen etc far more readily than others (like myself) even if they aren’t ‘going out in the sun’
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Re: Lift of helmet requirement in Canberra on the cards as ACT government looks at getting more people on bikes

Postby uart » Sun Feb 25, 2018 6:42 pm

Thoglette wrote:The analogy to skin cancer protection is apt and shows a much better way of achieving better population health outcomes.

Those working, day in, day out in the sun should be using full sun protection. These days, they mostly are.

On the other hand, walking from the shops to the car doesn't warrant full PPE.b


Yes, and to make the analogy complete, imagine a world were there was a policeman on every corner waiting to swab your skin to test for the presence of sunscreen (unless you're in your car of course) and issue a $350 fine if it wasn't detected at appropriate levels.

- "But officer, it's just a 5 minute walk to the shop and the sun is not really that strong today". "I'm pregnant and I've got a vitamin D deficiency."

- "Tell it to the judge. You're walking on a public NSW footpath. Who are you to decide when you will and when you won't obey the law."

Yeah, I can't think of any negative social consequences of that. :?
Last edited by uart on Sun Feb 25, 2018 6:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Lift of helmet requirement in Canberra on the cards as ACT government looks at getting more people on bikes

Postby BJL » Sun Feb 25, 2018 6:43 pm

cooperplace wrote:f helmets aren't compulsory, lots of people won't wear them, and some of these people will get serious head injuries that will ruin their lives and cost society a fortune.


I've never really bought that argument. If you accept that helmets reduce injury, then you can't pick and chose which head injuries. By your own logic, you also have to accept that by wearing helmets, some potentially fatal head injuries have been reduced to 'living in a nursing home requiring high dependence for the rest their life', also costing society a fortune. If you sustain a head injury of this level, it's not much of a choice but that's the way it is.

But this argument also ignores the main cause of head injuries sustained by cyclists. And that's idiot motorists. You could save society a fortune by banning motor vehicles. Well, except for emergency vehicles, freight (if you want to eat and wear clothes that is), public transport and work vehicles. Banning private ownership and operation of motor vehicles will go a lot further in reducing road trauma than making cyclists wear helmets no matter how you want to spin it. But we can't do that now, can we?

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Re: Lift of helmet requirement in Canberra on the cards as ACT government looks at getting more people on bikes

Postby DavidS » Sun Feb 25, 2018 9:35 pm

BJL wrote:
cooperplace wrote:If helmets aren't compulsory, lots of people won't wear them, and some of these people will get serious head injuries that will ruin their lives and cost society a fortune.


I've never really bought that argument. If you accept that helmets reduce injury, then you can't pick and choose which head injuries. By your own logic, you also have to accept that by wearing helmets, some potentially fatal head injuries have been reduced to 'living in a nursing home requiring high dependence for the rest their life', also costing society a fortune. If you sustain a head injury of this level, it's not much of a choice but that's the way it is.

But this argument also ignores the main cause of head injuries sustained by cyclists. And that's idiot motorists. You could save society a fortune by banning motor vehicles. Well, except for emergency vehicles, freight (if you want to eat and wear clothes that is), public transport and work vehicles. Banning private ownership and operation of motor vehicles will go a lot further in reducing road trauma than making cyclists wear helmets no matter how you want to spin it. But we can't do that now, can we?


Not to mention that if you really want to save society a fortune you would make helmets compulsory for occupants of motor vehicles, lot's more money to be saved there, lots of lives not ruined.

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Re: Lift of helmet requirement in Canberra on the cards as ACT government looks at getting more people on bikes

Postby Cycleops70 » Mon Feb 26, 2018 11:35 am

I see there are some "end mandatory helmet law" rides organised on the 17th of March around the country.
I'll be supporting my local ride in Perth (after I've seen of the IPWR riders in Fremantle)

Check out Freestylecyclist if you feel like adding some momentum this.

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Re: Lift of helmet requirement in Canberra on the cards as ACT government looks at getting more people on bikes

Postby macca33 » Mon Feb 26, 2018 11:51 am

I hardly see that relaxing / repealing MHL is going to see a panacea in general societal health, or paradigm shift in cycling participation - let's take a serious, mature approach to that portion of the argument...

further, putting the idiocy of the sunscreen argument to one side, can anybody produce the firm statistics regarding the numbers of helmet-related cycling fines issued around the country - I'd be tipping it would be a VERY low figure....
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Re: Lift of helmet requirement in Canberra on the cards as ACT government looks at getting more people on bikes

Postby baabaa » Mon Feb 26, 2018 12:00 pm

DavidS wrote:Not to mention that if you really want to save society a fortune you would make helmets compulsory for occupants of motor vehicles, lot's more money to be saved there, lots of lives not ruined.

DS

Sorry DS but stop playing the hypotheticals of this thought as it will never happen and really adds nothing to the discussion. Besides, people have the choice to wear one in a car now if they wish. If you want change stick to what can be done and that is just toning down the enforcement.
FWIW it was quite/ very wet in NSW and the ACT yesterday and just outside of Sydney (say 80km south) on the Hume a bloke on what looked like a fast-ish looking motorbike with a full face helmet but shorts and thongs overttook me doing about 120 kmph. This bloke was not breaking any laws other than Darwin's Law.
Anyway it is not the laws, but how they are dealt with. In the ACT today you would have to cause a heap of fuss and trouble to be nabbed by the feds for not wearing a helmet on a bike. The people who bike in the ACT do have some sort of choice to when the wear one and simply that is the way it should be nationally.

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Re: Lift of helmet requirement in Canberra on the cards as ACT government looks at getting more people on bikes

Postby 1Rowdy1 » Mon Feb 26, 2018 12:05 pm

Never had anyone say to me they don't ride because of the helmet laws, had plenty say they don't ride because of all the idiots (in cars) on the roads.

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Re: Lift of helmet requirement in Canberra on the cards as ACT government looks at getting more people on bikes

Postby find_bruce » Mon Feb 26, 2018 12:43 pm

macca33 wrote:I hardly see that relaxing / repealing MHL is going to see a panacea in general societal health, or paradigm shift in cycling participation - let's take a serious, mature approach to that portion of the argument...

further, putting the idiocy of the sunscreen argument to one side, can anybody produce the firm statistics regarding the numbers of helmet-related cycling fines issued around the country - I'd be tipping it would be a VERY low figure....

One of the reasons the Northern Territory abolished MHL was because the law was inconsistently applied and enforcement was disproportionately targeted at aboriginal youth.

In NSW the number of no-helmet cycling fines was low, but significantly increased when the fine was increased from $71 to $319 in March 2016. This SMH article shows figures to February 2017. You will notice that no-helmet fines are by far the most penalised bicycle offence. I have been meaning to look at finding up to date figures, hopefully by Area Command, which will show the extent of fines issued outside of the Sydney & North Sydney CBDs

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Re: Lift of helmet requirement in Canberra on the cards as ACT government looks at getting more people on bikes

Postby Thoglette » Mon Feb 26, 2018 12:43 pm

1Rowdy1 wrote:Never had anyone say to me they don't ride because of the helmet laws, had plenty say they don't ride because of all the idiots (in cars) on the roads.

Rowdy,
Your report on safety issues matches the current understanding as to the #1 issue.

However the Heart Council's survey in 2011 found about 1 in six people said that helmets discouraged them from riding or from riding more. Somewhere I've got another one with similar numbers.
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