Equipment and On Road Behaviour, Laws and Rules. Cycling Promotion and Advocacy
'The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilised community against his will, is to prevent harm to others. He cannot rightfully be compelled for his own good, or because, in the opinion of others, it would be wise, or even right. These are good reasons for persuading him, but not for compelling him.' : John Stuart Mill
Though to be fair to the pro-helmet people, that quotation from John Stuart Mill needs to be taken in the context of his larger political philosophy; he was not a libertarian but a utilitarian. Under Mill's conception of liberty and government, one could argue that many forms of harm to self, also leads to harm to others in the community (if we use the measure of "utility"). For instance, a father with children who is seriously injured doing an activity that nominally only harms himself, still does harm to the rest of his family. Mill's argument on personal liberty ends at "protection from others" in terms of "protection of society" from a utilitarian framework.
Photos: Michael's bicycle obsession
2009 Pegoretti Responsorium Ciavete Custom :: 1982/3 Colnago Super :: 2006 Cannondale Six13 Pro :: Late 1980s Repco Superlite
OMGosh, "helmet thread" is mushrooming on BNA... And clearly enjoyed by many with obvious entertainment and "brain exercise" value.
Bianchi, Ridley, Montague, GT, Garmin and All things Apple
I must admit that having grown up with the MHL i have never really given it too much thought. However, now that the issue is thrust forward with so many people chiming in I thought I would throw my 2 cents in. As I said, I have always worn a helmet and yes, as a kid it was a massive annoyance. But as I got older and more into riding I found the helmit to be a useful device. On two occasions I have used my helmet for its intended purpose, the second of which, and probably the first, very much saving my life.
That aside, I must admit that I find myself feeling that the arguement is not about making helmets totally manditory or not but about selective locations and purposes. At the end of the day, those people who use their bikes to the extent that their heads are in real danger (Roadies, corss-country, downhill etc) are prob going to wear one as they will know its needed and as mentioned before if they dont then natrual selection may have a win (god knows it looses enough when it comes to man kind these days). However, rolling down the beach front on your chopper at a solid 12kmph or a family taking a quick cruise through the park doesnt really seem to be all that life threatening. Doing research in other fields myself i dont have time to troll the stats but I suspect that a breakdown would indicate that not that many people have serious crashes on the way to the local shops for some milk and bread.
I would suggest an easing of the MHL, to only apply to say road riding on arterial roads or certain off-road riding. As it is today, the policing would be relaxed. I don't know of a single soul who has been done for riding without a helmet. but by making it manditory it would provide some incentive to be smart, while saving all the other debate surrounding the issue.
personally, as soon as i look at the roadie my helmet is on and I think riding without one at any sort of speed or dangerous situation is stupid, but the individual should have the right to decide whats dangerous, let them choose if they want to wear one. Only when there is a definite danger should the law step in and make helmets manditory
Who needs a car, I got a BIKE!
oh, its wet...
"sweety, can i use the car?"
Ironically it's when off-road MTB riding (the one type of riding where I would be most keen to wear a helmet) that the MHL does not apply. Road rules only apply to roads and road-related areas. Real off-road singletrack falls outside this definition.
Not surprisingly, everyone I see riding singletrack is wearing a helmet.
Cycling in the Netherlands by the way
Gotta keep the helmet thread going
Einstein discovered the bicycle too
"Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race." H.G. Wells (1866-1946)
Bet ya she rode a bike without a helmet too
Actually she didnt wear one. Used to train with the men coz the girls were wooses. One of her cousins repd NZ at the olympics. She used to eat bikes she didnt like for training too. Steel is good for mental toughness
Thought I'd better post my explanation for my opinion on why we shouldn't debate the helmet issue with non cyclist here. It was based on this reply to an opinion article on the ABC website.
For a start, I'm not sure if it's from a full on cyclist or not but I truly believe this sort of comment is plain crazy.
Firstly, I decided to time how long it takes to put on a helmet, takes me between 5 to 10 seconds. I'm pretty sure it would take longer to walk out to the car, unlock it, get in and then start it. Depending on where you live you might very well have to back out the drive and then finally your off. Crazy stuff and a crazy argument, but more importantly why do you want to put off non cyclists?
What ever you option on helmet laws, why do something to put others off cycling? Sometime I suspect some of the Anti-helmet law supporters want cycling to become less popular so they can push their boat a bit further.
Sure lets discuss it here, but the effort the anti MHL people put into their agenda would be better spent promoting cycling directly.
Never underestimate the power of human stupidity!
Oh, let's revive a helmet thread... yummy...
I am anti MHL, but i do everything I can to promote cycling .
But how can I ?
For a lot of people the helmet is something negative, how can you promote something that has a big negative attached to it ??
You can't , just look at the melbourne bike hire scheme.
The negativity is not just comming from the inconvienience of wearing one, it is also the underlining though of ; is what i am going to do really so dangerous that I need a helmet?
oh, why don't i take a safer option and drive.. ?
Most people don't cycle because they think cycling is dangerous, and this thinking is a result from the MHL
Offcourse I can't prove that statement, and it is only my opinion, but it is also the opnion of many others.
So unless you can proof people otherwise, they won't change the negativity that comes with the helmet, and start seeing it as something positive.
For most people helmet=danger.
Unfortunatly, there is simply no clearcut evidence that a helmet reduces head injuries.
I would love to see test results of 2 exatly the same accidents with nothing but 1 difference , the helmet.
I would love to see the results of that, once those result are in, you can say 1 is safer then the other.
Until then, all you can really do is speculate an guess and assume.
This is for me one of the biggest things that is wrong with the MHL, it is based on assumptions, speculations and guesses.
The dutch have one word to describe the aussie MHL, this word is ;
YOU might find it a crazy argument but the FACT is that it does put some people off cycling.
Where do you get this absurd notion that suggesting that we remove MHL is some how making cycling less popular and puts others off cycling? You have failed to explain this logic. Your suspicions are down right bizarre, I don't want cycling to become less popular. I just want choice.
I fully admit I wasn't using logic, but then again I don't beleive you are either.
I have previously conceded that in the case of the city bike rental schemes the lifting of the MHL's may help.
As for choice that is your right to voice your opinion and good on you, One of the very few things I'd get out in the street to fight for is your right to have your say.
The facts are that at the moment we have MHL's, weather I like them or not in this debate is beside the point. It has been from the very first post the negativity of the poster on the articles web site I was addressing, but you seem to be ignoring that.
I don't have an issue with wearing a helmet and was wearing one before the laws and if they are over turned will be wearing one still! My kids while under my roof will always wear helmets as well. My older kids if they choose not to wear helmets will get a lecture about safety but that's all.
I quite often see some ot the less well to do people and other kids not wearing a helmet but I never say a thing to them, not my place.
As previously stated I really do beleive there a groups in the cycling community that spend to much time and money going after the MHL rather than promoting cycling.
That WA site, which the name of eludes me at the moment is a good example.
How is arguing in public about MHL's going to promote cycling?
Again I'll mention my experience with the motorcycling community. We fought that law for over 5 years but the public hardly ever heard about it. It was fought with the people who put the rules in place and it was won!
Want to change the law? do it I won't stop you, but I won't help you either.
My free choose is to say I don't agree with your stand on MHL's and that's how it should be.
Never underestimate the power of human stupidity!
You can do this yourself. Find a nice solid brick or concrete wall and whilst NOT wearing a helmet headbutt the wall as hard as you can. When/if you get over this (give it at least a week or two) do the same test but this time wear a helmet.
Bike falls.... on an icy path.... without helmets ! Watch how many actual head impacts occur (or should I say, how few)
Note: looking at these, many of the falls would have probably resulted in head impacts if they were wearing a 3cm thick styrofoam hat - "My helmet saved my life !!"
Last edited by il padrone on Thu Mar 24, 2011 11:24 pm, edited 2 times in total.
I've heard all these arguments before regarding seat belt laws, then random breath tests, and the still ongoing speed cameras tirades. They didn't get repealed and i don't think MHLs will either.
I wear a helmet because I want to protect the my brain if I crash. I would wear one if it wasn't mandatory too. If you fell off a slow moving bike you are still falling from quite a bit higher than rolling out of bed, and you're not landing on carpet.
There is another thing I like to think of and that's if I fall and the helmet reduces or stops me getting injured, I don't have to use an ambulance, emergency dept, etc. They can be used for someone else in more need than me, so it's a bit like having a duty of care to my community. By looking after myself I am looking after them. It's the same as an OH&S theory.
As for the Blue bike scheme, if there was as much thought and effort being put into into positives about them they would become popular in short order. There are plenty of bright sparks around who could sell the "I've got helmet hair" look and it would be a thing to be proud of or any of a multitude of reasons to use them. And how long does it take to comb or freshen up your hair when you take of the helmet?
I just love riding my bike!
Jeez, coming up 20 years since the laws were introduced and people still can't get over it.
Everyone grow up - it's not worth discussing anymore!
I ride, therefore I am.
...real cyclists don't have squeaky chains...
The only reason i made a habit of wearing helmets is because the cop in my small country town told me to, if not for that i would have been killed several times over at very low speed (chains slipping/snapping under load, sticks in wheels). I owe my life to cheap, effective helmets that i believe wouldn't be available if it wasn't for helmets being mandatory.
When man invented the bicycle he reached the peak of his attainments- Elizabeth West.
Oooohh don't we wouldn't want to question a politicians decision would we?
The only way we're going to make cycling safer is if we question these laws.
No one is trying to say you can't wear a helmet. Just give people a choice.
More utility cycling will force better cycling facilities.
I am led to believe that university research in QLD commissioned by our government has endorsed repealing these laws. Unfortunately the study has been supressed for political reasons. .
Once you can climb hills on a bike it's all downhill.
Hopefully I'll know what that's like..... one day.
I'm all for the discussion to continue, after all this is a "Cycling forum" were else can like minded (ok no in all case but as cyclist we do at least have that in common ) people discuss these subjects. Just one point I'd like to clarify, in recent days more than one of the Anti MHL people have mentioned things like the following.
Regarding the law, in the interest of fairness to all especially newbies who might read these forums.
Whether the law is fair or makes things safer or not is relative to what side your on. ie: the Anti MHL people on the whole will say things like in the above quote and such were as the for MHL people will say the opposite.
Unfortunately the facts get bit lost in the cross fire, as I've seen both side produce facts and stats (Statistics and damn lies!)to prove their point.
Lets try in the continuing debate to not make judgements on the laws with out undisputed proof.
I know, that's pretty hard.
As much as this debate drives me crazy I would hate to think in a cycling forum people would ever feel uncomfortable or unable to discuss a genuine cycling issue.
Never underestimate the power of human stupidity!
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