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

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London Boy
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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 London Boy » Mon Feb 26, 2018 12:58 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.

I don't take casual rides anymore, because of the helmet laws. I don't ride City Cycle rental bikes, because of the helmet law. I drive my car instead. When I want to pick up a couple of things from the shop, I drive. Too far to walk. Distance easy to cycle but, frankly, I can't be arsed.

I only ride my bike when I decide it is worth getting kitted up. Longer rides. Rides I do specifically for the joy of cycling, where kitting up is part of the point of it.

Being from the UK of course, I haven't always lived in this peculiar Australian bubble, where helmet laws are even a thing. Even the recent brief discussion in the UK kind of went nowhere, because it just wasn't interesting. To anyone.

The Dutch, the Danes, the Italians, French, Germans, Belgians, Spanish and Portuguese don't give it a thought. They don't need to, because
(a) there are so many cyclists that the risks are much lower in any case (noting that participation rates are demonstrably better at improving safety than any kind of PPE);
(b) that drivers - even in Italy - are more careful and considerate around other users than seems to be the case here in Australia (yes, I've driven in Italy, from one end of the country to the other. It is exciting, but not reckless as to others' safety, as too often happens here);
(c) the lack of helmets (and the associated Lycra, etc) means cyclists are seen in Europe as people who just happen to be riding bikes, while in Australia cyclists are seen as this weird race whose sole reason for existence seems to be to slow down the traffic. So we need to teach them a lesson. Get them off the roads. Register them. Fine them because all they ever do is go through red lights and harry pedestrians on shared paths. Etc.

There's a scale that's used in industrial safety practice, that determines the effectiveness of safety measures. PPE is the last on the list, because it is the least effective, and is only there in case everything else fails. For cycling, as a form of transport as well as leisure, it is a pity that someone forgot to do the 'everything else' first.

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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 » Mon Feb 26, 2018 2:32 pm

find_bruce wrote:
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.


have you got any real data to support that Bruce? (I'm actually assuming you do and I'd like to see it....I have looked unsuccesfully for a few years now, on and off)

london boy wrote: The Dutch, the Danes, the Italians, French, Germans, Belgians, Spanish and Portuguese don't give it a thought. They don't need to, because


Actually, there are MHL's in Spain. It doesn't suit the anti crowd to acknowledge this but they exist.

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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 London Boy » Mon Feb 26, 2018 4:46 pm

fat and old wrote:
london boy wrote: The Dutch, the Danes, the Italians, French, Germans, Belgians, Spanish and Portuguese don't give it a thought. They don't need to, because


Actually, there are MHL's in Spain. It doesn't suit the anti crowd to acknowledge this but they exist.

Quite. You have to wear a helmet unless you're in an urban area. Or unless you're riding up a hill. Or unless it's too hot. Or unless you ride professionally.

And outside of these, it isn't generally enforced. Arguably, you could be pinged for not wearing a helmet, but in practice there are so many exceptions that it is simply not a consideration.

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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 » Mon Feb 26, 2018 5:14 pm

fat and old wrote:Actually, there are MHL's in Spain. It doesn't suit the anti crowd to acknowledge this but they exist.

Yep, they conveniently ignore that one because it blows all of their arguments out of the water. I mean, all they have to do is to :

1. Make that law apply universally like in Australia.
2. Remove all the other exceptions that make it almost unenforceable.
3. Make it a huge fine like Australia.
4. Actually enforce it.
5. Wait 30 years to see if the cycling culture in Spain remains totally unaffected by this,

And BAM!, those anti MHL guys arguments are gone. ;)

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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 » Mon Feb 26, 2018 5:20 pm

London Boy wrote:
fat and old wrote:
london boy wrote: The Dutch, the Danes, the Italians, French, Germans, Belgians, Spanish and Portuguese don't give it a thought. They don't need to, because


Actually, there are MHL's in Spain. It doesn't suit the anti crowd to acknowledge this but they exist.

Quite. You have to wear a helmet unless you're in an urban area. Or unless you're riding up a hill. Or unless it's too hot. Or unless you ride professionally.


Mandatory in all situations under 16. Like France (under 12), Argentina (no fines), Chile (urban areas), and various Canadian states (generally under 18) . Professional cyclists of course have to wear one when competing.

But you're quite right, rarely enforced :D
Last edited by fat and old on Mon Feb 26, 2018 5:23 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 mikesbytes » Mon Feb 26, 2018 5:21 pm

If they do make helmets optional in ACT, what will be the metrics to determine if the initiative is a success or failure to meet the primary objectives?
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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 » Mon Feb 26, 2018 5:26 pm

uart wrote:
fat and old wrote:Actually, there are MHL's in Spain. It doesn't suit the anti crowd to acknowledge this but they exist.

Yep, they conveniently ignore that one because it blows all of their arguments out of the water. I mean, all they have to do is to :

1. Make that law apply universally like in Australia.
2. Remove all the other exceptions that make it almost unenforceable.
3. Make it a huge fine like Australia.
4. Actually enforce it.
5. Wait 30 years to see if the cycling culture in Spain remains totally unaffected by this,

And BAM!, those anti MHL guys arguments are gone. ;)


Don't forget the 'Special Spain Bicycle Helmet' standard to push up the price while limiting the range available.

(I'm only grumpy because I brought a helmet home with me from my trip to Europe a few years ago, forgetting I can't legally use it here.)

:evil:

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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 tubby74 » Mon Feb 26, 2018 5:34 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.


I wont say I don't ride because of helmet laws, but I ride a lot less because of them. 1 mile to the shops, it's a toss up between riding and driving now. Warm day, slow speed riding gets 0 airflow through helmet, I'd rather drive even though its probably slightly quicker on the bike and all on backstreets.

Was in London earlier this month, got about everywhere by borris bike without a helmet and felt far safer than in Sydney. Driving culture is a far bigger issue than helmets overall, yet in Australia we've allowed PPE to become the focus. Imagine any industrial setting, workplace would get crucified if they approached safety in the same order our government does to cycling

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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 » Mon Feb 26, 2018 6:32 pm

baabaa wrote: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.


TBH I think that selective enforcement of laws is far from ideal. Don't bother if it's a pretty girl, throw the book at them if it's a dark skinned male. :?:

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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 8:29 pm

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

I am flattered that you assume I always have data to back things up. I don't believe I have seen any real data, but I am going off my recollection that was a reason given by a politician at the time. It will be tough to find data as it was back in the early 90s.

Trying to find real data can be an exercise in frustration - NSW solved the problem of racial bias by not recording the race of the offenders which makes collecting the data nigh on impossible

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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 » Mon Feb 26, 2018 8:55 pm

tubby74 wrote: Imagine any industrial setting, workplace would get crucified if they approached safety in the same order our government does to cycling

You might be surprised, they all seem to focus on sticking a hard hat and hi vis vest and not worry about driver attitudes. In our depot at work it is a hi vis area, which is almost fair enough, but someone in there wisdom decided that pedestrians should give way to vehicles, even on marked ped crossings. Originally there was a marked crossing area where you didn’t need hi-vis to cross the depot but someone thought it was dangerous.
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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 » Mon Feb 26, 2018 9:45 pm

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

I am flattered that you assume I always have data to back things up. I don't believe I have seen any real data, but I am going off my recollection that was a reason given by a politician at the time. It will be tough to find data as it was back in the early 90s.

Trying to find real data can be an exercise in frustration - NSW solved the problem of racial bias by not recording the race of the offenders which makes collecting the data nigh on impossible


Yeah, I can remember the hoopla over that. My gut says there was no real data beyond 1 or 2 heavily publicised outliers that got a lot of sympathy and a knee jerk reaction. You know...Territory style.

Maybe Thoglette has something?

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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 » Mon Feb 26, 2018 9:50 pm

bychosis wrote:
tubby74 wrote: Imagine any industrial setting, workplace would get crucified if they approached safety in the same order our government does to cycling

You might be surprised, they all seem to focus on sticking a hard hat and hi vis vest and not worry about driver attitudes. In our depot at work it is a hi vis area, which is almost fair enough, but someone in there wisdom decided that pedestrians should give way to vehicles, even on marked ped crossings. Originally there was a marked crossing area where you didn’t need hi-vis to cross the depot but someone thought it was dangerous.


Indeed. And the workplace would be crucified if it approached safety as the government does with cycling. PPE? Nope....cycling would be banned. Simple, and already happens in many workplaces.

Why do people want to introduce workplace OH&S into the equation?

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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 10:57 pm

fat and old wrote: Like France (under 12)

Which has been there for, what, less than a year? The French example only underlines that MHLs are mostly about the politics and not about safety. And even they managed to stop with "won't someone think of the children".

I repeat my favourite summary quotation (in full) from the editors of a BMJ edition (interestingly, epidemiologists, not surgeons)
Goldacre, B; Spiegelhalter, D; (2013) BMJ wrote:In any case, the current uncertainty about any benefit from helmet wearing or promotion is unlikely to be substantially reduced by further research. Equally, we can be certain that helmets will continue to be debated, and at length. The enduring popularity of helmets as a proposed major intervention for increased road safety may therefore lie not with their direct benefits—which seem too modest to capture compared with other strategies—but more with the cultural, psychological, and political aspects of popular debate around risk.
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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 London Boy » Mon Feb 26, 2018 11:12 pm

fat and old wrote:Indeed. And the workplace would be crucified if it approached safety as the government does with cycling. PPE? Nope....cycling would be banned. Simple, and already happens in many workplaces.

Why do people want to introduce workplace OH&S into the equation?

Not so much workplace OH&S as hazard management 101.

If the same approach was applied to motor vehicles as is applied to cycles, every car would have a roll cage and every passenger a helmet.

I find the Indian approach interesting. Ride a cycle and you don't need a helmets. Ride a motorcycle and you do. But only if you're the person actually driving it. Everyone else - as often as not herself and the two kids - goes bare headed. I can see the parallels, philosophical if not practical. A strange kind of bureaucracy that ignores the real risks.

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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 » Tue Feb 27, 2018 7:40 am

Thoglette wrote:
fat and old wrote: Like France (under 12)

Which has been there for, what, less than a year? The French example only underlines that MHLs are mostly about the politics and not about safety. And even they managed to stop with "won't someone think of the children".

I repeat my favourite summary quotation (in full) from the editors of a BMJ edition (interestingly, epidemiologists, not surgeons)
Goldacre, B; Spiegelhalter, D; (2013) BMJ wrote:In any case, the current uncertainty about any benefit from helmet wearing or promotion is unlikely to be substantially reduced by further research. Equally, we can be certain that helmets will continue to be debated, and at length. The enduring popularity of helmets as a proposed major intervention for increased road safety may therefore lie not with their direct benefits—which seem too modest to capture compared with other strategies—but more with the cultural, psychological, and political aspects of popular debate around risk.


I'd have thought that an epi would be more appropriate to comment/judge on the usefulness or otherwise of helmets than a surgeon? In any case, good quote, and spot on (imo) in this passage

but more with the cultural, psychological, and political aspects of popular debate around risk.


Surely the argument that helmets promote the appearance of increased risk can be used to promote VRU safety? "We wouldn't need to wear helmets if other road users respected us and paid attention to their driving/surroundings/conditions"? Has any advocacy group tried this approach?

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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 » Tue Feb 27, 2018 7:46 am

London Boy wrote:
fat and old wrote:Indeed. And the workplace would be crucified if it approached safety as the government does with cycling. PPE? Nope....cycling would be banned. Simple, and already happens in many workplaces.

Why do people want to introduce workplace OH&S into the equation?

Not so much workplace OH&S as hazard management 101.

If the same approach was applied to motor vehicles as is applied to cycles, every car would have a roll cage and every passenger a helmet.



Call it what you want; if the same approach was used as is applied on any worksite I've ever been on Cycling would be banned. Motor vehicles would not. Roll cages, ROPS and FOPS, various other engineering approaches (proximity sensors, wheel chocks on slopes, reverse parking etc..) already exist on most (civil mainly) worksites as motor vehicles and powered plant are essential. Cycles are not.

Edit...the "essential" thing is what I think makes the difference here. Worksites are a different world......apparently we're not supposed to do anything other than go home each week with an increased bank balance and improved health. At present. I can see a transition of non-work life towards these ideals, and maybe we'll get there.

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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 » Tue Feb 27, 2018 11:41 am

fat and old wrote:Call it what you want; if the same approach was used as is applied on any worksite I've ever been on Cycling would be banned.

I've been on one where they are not. But that site recognised that their biggest actual cause of injury was the MVs (despite having being a major industrial site with all sorts of horrible substances and temperatures)
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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 human909 » Tue Feb 27, 2018 5:58 pm

fat and old wrote:Call it what you want; if the same approach was used as is applied on any worksite I've ever been on Cycling would be banned. Motor vehicles would not. Roll cages, ROPS and FOPS, various other engineering approaches (proximity sensors, wheel chocks on slopes, reverse parking etc..) already exist on most (civil mainly) worksites as motor vehicles and powered plant are essential. Cycles are not.

You have it backwards and your assertion that powered plant is essential also is backwards. In general people are essential and people are the primary concern when it comes to safety. Worksites vary considerably. From an office, to a shop floor, a factory floor, civil construction to mining.

In general you put guards, containment, barriers etc around machinery not around people! (Though there are some places where the reverse is true, but in the broad context they are the exception not the rule.) Your worksites might be dominated by the exception, but that isn't all worksites.

Cycling is not the issue. Separation of heavy vehicles from people is the issue. We've allowed heavy vehicles to invade out public thoroughfares with only a little thought about the safety of the people.

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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 Tequestra » Tue Feb 27, 2018 7:55 pm

I have thought carefully about the social damage I could do to myself if I should add to this thread, as I am a stranger to this forum who I only joined today, and MHLs were never on my mind when I went looking for a place like this to further the cause of cycling in Australia in general. It is a touchy kind of subject, and perhaps a new member has no place here.

The truth is, I have been considering these MHL's since their introduction in WA and my first set of fines (4 of in 1 yr) when I was told by the last traffic cop who booked me that he thought I should ride on the footpath, (which was illegal in WA in 1996 when he suggested it).

I think that I will be in the majority here in my support for the ACT's proposed new deal of those cards, because I believe that the safety of the individual being is primarily the responsibility of that individual, regardless of whether someone in authority may think that the individual does not have the sense to look after themselves, even though it is they, themselves who must bear the consequences of their own decisions, (with the exception of the predicted future public health costs in the event of some distant, unknown calamity that only Nostradamus could truly forsee).

I sincerely hope that my new friends will accept my own opinion on this political issue if I do my best to substantiate the reasons why I have gathered such an opinion over the past twenty-two years. Please argue my points at will, but I beg you please not to become emotional with me for honestly stating my opinion on this dangerous topic for a new member to broach.

This is my opinion:

I would like bicycle helmets to be an option for adults across the nation, and private helmet manufacturers and retailers be free to promote them as they believe best, at their own expense. It should not be law to wear a helmet on a bicycle at all times. It is my head, and my life. If everyone has to pay an extra 0.0001% income tax to cover the fantastic medical costs which have a 0.0001% chance of ever happening, then I believe that it can only be the best of human nature to choose the 99.9999% probability in the interest of our mutual lives, and let us be.

These are my reasons:

1. Helmets reduce the rider's spatial awareness in dangerous situations. The wind noise, however minimal, reduces one's ability to hear what new surprises are happening behind them. Having a cap on the head also upsets some kind of sixth sense of oncoming danger that one would need to be a survivor of many years of city riding to even know about. I would put it to the AMA that perhaps MHLs reduce the quantum of certain kinds of head injuries according to their studies, but I would also suggest that helmets increase the total number of injuries, particularly for competent cyclists who do not have that same degree of a sixth sense - a situational awareness that veteran pilots are thought to have when flying, when wearing a helmet as they would riding unencumbered.

Now, in a race, it is predictable, and it is 100% wise to wear a helmet. In the city however, we cannot reliably predict what hazards other vehicles will necessarily cause, and the most effective way to avoid an accident is to maintain as much spatial (aural) and situational awareness as we can whenever we ride in traffic. For example, when a car in the right lane swerves and knocks a truck in the left lane, and the truck swerves left across the kerb, it is better to be aware of the car before it hits that truck, and get out of the way before the truck swerves, and the helmet somehow reduces such awareness, whether you believe me or not.

2. Whether helmets merely reduce head injuries in collisons, whilst increasing the chances of collisions in general, or not, is entirely dependant on the individual wearing the helmet or not; the one who is going to suffer a lot more than the other one who pays their public hospital costs, believe me.

Helmets do not stop one breaking their arms, legs, or most importantly, their neck, and if you are smacked by a car, is it going to be any much consolation to wind up a quadraplegic in a wheelchair with a good mind and a pretty cranium?

Unless of the full-face variety, helmets do not protect one's nose, nor one's jaw, as I found out on November 6th 2015 when knocked off my motorcycle wearing a helmet. My nose is straight and fine now, but my broken jaw healed slightly out of alignment, so now my wisdom teeth bite into my own cheeks if I am not very careful how I chew or how I speak. I am glad I was wearing a helmet in that crash, but then there is one more reason comes to mind which may have led to an injury-free collision:

3. The extra weight and bulk of the helmet reduce the ability of the victim of a collision to roll properly. If you know the most basic Ju-Jitsu, you will instictively know how to duck your head under and roll to get out the way of peril. With the helmet on, your speed and strength in the neck muscles to tuck the head and roll is diminished, and so you are more likely to splat against the road, rather than roll down it out and stand up afterwards.

Those are the honest reasons why I support the loosening of MHR's in the ACT and hope that you don't object to me posting my opinions on a highly political subject, even though you are welcome to question and disagree with my reasons outlined above. Thank you, new friends.
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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 London Boy » Tue Feb 27, 2018 8:04 pm

Tequestra wrote:This is my opinion:

Etc.

Can't argue with that.

Well I could, but only if I was being deliberately contrary. Which I am of course, but my logic wouldn't stand up.

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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 London Boy » Tue Feb 27, 2018 8:08 pm

fat and old wrote:Call it what you want; if the same approach was used as is applied on any worksite I've ever been on Cycling would be banned. Motor vehicles would not. Roll cages, ROPS and FOPS, various other engineering approaches (proximity sensors, wheel chocks on slopes, reverse parking etc..) already exist on most (civil mainly) worksites as motor vehicles and powered plant are essential. Cycles are not.

I suppose my experience is mines and railways. As well as regular roads, paths and open spaces.

Bottom line? Australian drivers are not very considerate or careful. They need to be re-educated. Helmets are neither here nor there.

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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 » Tue Feb 27, 2018 8:15 pm

Tequestra wrote:This is my opinion:


Great. Nice to see you have one.

Even though I agree with your conclusion, opinions are, in and of themselves, rarely worth the electrons that die in communicating them.

This is doubly so around politically charged matters. Please wander over to the MHL thread and get familiar with the available research, much of which provides evidence to support your conclusion (if not your lines of argument).

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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 Tequestra » Tue Feb 27, 2018 8:32 pm

Thank you for easing my mind, Mr LondonBoy and Mr Thoglette. It is rewarding to have some positive interaction at first glance of this new forum which I like very much for a day's work and hope to like again in a week's time. I will follow your advice and peruse the MHR (sorry) MHL thread a suggested. It will good if I can learn that my reasons for our shared opinions may not be my reasons alone, although I would not wish upon anyone here the experiences which have led to these reasons, because I find it much easier to write than to talk now, because of that 2015 event mentioned.

I am extremely pleased to meet you both, and wish you Good Night.

Thank You.
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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 » Wed Feb 28, 2018 9:16 am

human909 wrote:
fat and old wrote:Call it what you want; if the same approach was used as is applied on any worksite I've ever been on Cycling would be banned. Motor vehicles would not. Roll cages, ROPS and FOPS, various other engineering approaches (proximity sensors, wheel chocks on slopes, reverse parking etc..) already exist on most (civil mainly) worksites as motor vehicles and powered plant are essential. Cycles are not.

You have it backwards and your assertion that powered plant is essential also is backwards. In general people are essential and people are the primary concern when it comes to safety. Worksites vary considerably. From an office, to a shop floor, a factory floor, civil construction to mining.

............... Your worksites might be dominated by the exception, but that isn't all worksites.



As was obvious, I was mainly referring to civil construction sites Human. If you can make a road without powered plant and turn a profit, I'll underwrite your business :lol:

I agree absolutely that worksites differ. Stupid not to. And there's obviously going to be some where cycling will not "get in the way" and be cyclist friendly. If my own job wasn't already cycling friendly, I'd envy them.

Anyway, back on track.....I reckon the Canberra initiative is good :D

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