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

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

Postby simonn » Thu Nov 01, 2012 7:47 pm

il padrone wrote:What happened in 1991??

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From Charting Transport


Relaxation of tariffs on imported cars? There was much bigger rise in car journeys than could have been accounted for by just cyclists moving to cars.

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

Postby Xplora » Thu Nov 01, 2012 7:58 pm

Very interesting to look at that chart - seems there is a baseline for cycling, and the MHL definitely is a factor when you are looking at reasons that growth of cycling stops.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby high_tea » Thu Nov 01, 2012 8:32 pm

I can think of plenty of interesting things that happened in 1991. Put to it, I could probably make out some kind of argument that they were somehow causally connected to the decline in cycling (among other things). There are plenty of amusing examples of correlation (global warming and piracy, for example), often brought up to make the point that correlation, on its own, means very little.

Put another way, if I've made my mind up about something and go looking for data to support my view, I'll probably find it. Trouble is, it's not good for much except making me feel validated and throwing into half-arsed debates on the subject if I'm bored :twisted:

I gather there was some kind of MHL relaxation in the Northern Territory. Is there any data about participation rates pre and post that, I wonder? That might be interesting. I honestly don't know what it'd show.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby Mulger bill » Thu Nov 01, 2012 9:02 pm

IIRC, posted links show numbers are climbing better than I do.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby il padrone » Thu Nov 01, 2012 10:33 pm

high_tea wrote:I gather there was some kind of MHL relaxation in the Northern Territory. Is there any data about participation rates pre and post that, I wonder? That might be interesting. I honestly don't know what it'd show.

A subjective observation while I was in Alice Springs - there were really quite a lot of people riding bikes about the town..... adults, using bikes for routine transport. Much more than you'd expect to see in a similar-sized town in Victoria (even on a warm day).

National census data on bicycle use and helmet introduction
Image

NT is a bit of a stand-out case, the one that proves the sky will not fall in if we ditch the MHL. NT helmet law was repealed in 1994.

Some comparative data on the NT experience in this study

Cycling to work is most popular in the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory where bicycles where used in 4.2% and 2.6% (respectively) of all trips to work.
Cycling to work is less popular in other areas of Australia, where the proportion of trips to work by bicycle is below 2% and is lowest in New South Wales and Tasmania at 0.9% of all trips.....

.....Cycling for exercise, recreation or sport is most popular in the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory where about 15% of people used bicycles for these purposes.
Cycling for exercise, recreation or sport is less popular in South Australia, Queensland and New South Wales where about 8% of people used bicycles for these purposes


Image

Proportionally fewer men and more women cycle to work and for recreation in the NT compared to all the other states.

There is a statistically higher road death rate for the NT.

The highest rate of cyclist fatalities per person was in the Northern Territory at 0.47 fatalities per 100,000 people. However, the Northern Territory averages only 1 cyclist fatality per year and a high proportion of trips are undertaken on bicycle in the Northern Territory.


More info here as well.
For most road users, the Northern Territory has the worst injury rate in Australia. The sole exception is cyclists, for whom the serious injury rate is the same as the national average and better than several states where helmet use remains mandatory for all cycling. (Berry and Harrison, 2008)
Last edited by il padrone on Thu Nov 01, 2012 11:06 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby il padrone » Thu Nov 01, 2012 11:04 pm

simonn wrote:Relaxation of tariffs on imported cars? There was much bigger rise in car journeys than could have been accounted for by just cyclists moving to cars.

Tariffs on imported motor vehicles continued to fall steadily for the next 10+ years. Cycling use did not, it fell to a lower level then stayed low and later rose slowly.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby high_tea » Fri Nov 02, 2012 8:18 pm

il padrone wrote:
high_tea wrote:I gather there was some kind of MHL relaxation in the Northern Territory. Is there any data about participation rates pre and post that, I wonder? That might be interesting. I honestly don't know what it'd show.

A subjective observation while I was in Alice Springs - there were really quite a lot of people riding bikes about the town..... adults, using bikes for routine transport. Much more than you'd expect to see in a similar-sized town in Victoria (even on a warm day).

National census data on bicycle use and helmet introduction
Image

NT is a bit of a stand-out case, the one that proves the sky will not fall in if we ditch the MHL. NT helmet law was repealed in 1994.

Some comparative data on the NT experience in this study

Cycling to work is most popular in the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory where bicycles where used in 4.2% and 2.6% (respectively) of all trips to work.
Cycling to work is less popular in other areas of Australia, where the proportion of trips to work by bicycle is below 2% and is lowest in New South Wales and Tasmania at 0.9% of all trips.....

.....Cycling for exercise, recreation or sport is most popular in the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory where about 15% of people used bicycles for these purposes.
Cycling for exercise, recreation or sport is less popular in South Australia, Queensland and New South Wales where about 8% of people used bicycles for these purposes


Image

Proportionally fewer men and more women cycle to work and for recreation in the NT compared to all the other states.

There is a statistically higher road death rate for the NT.

The highest rate of cyclist fatalities per person was in the Northern Territory at 0.47 fatalities per 100,000 people. However, the Northern Territory averages only 1 cyclist fatality per year and a high proportion of trips are undertaken on bicycle in the Northern Territory.


More info here as well.
For most road users, the Northern Territory has the worst injury rate in Australia. The sole exception is cyclists, for whom the serious injury rate is the same as the national average and better than several states where helmet use remains mandatory for all cycling. (Berry and Harrison, 2008)


All of which is fascinating stuff, I'm sure, but I don't see any data from before and after the MHL relaxation (as I understand it, the MHL in the NT applies on-road to adults and always to children. Happy to be corrected, I haven't read the legislation or anything). It's clear to me that helmet laws aren't the only difference between, say, the NT and Queensland. It's not clear it's the biggest pertinent difference either. This is just data that is supportive if you squint at it right. No shortage of that, I'm afraid.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby il padrone » Fri Nov 02, 2012 9:49 pm

high_tea wrote:
il padrone wrote:More info here as well.
For most road users, the Northern Territory has the worst injury rate in Australia. The sole exception is cyclists, for whom the serious injury rate is the same as the national average and better than several states where helmet use remains mandatory for all cycling. (Berry and Harrison, 2008)


All of which is fascinating stuff, I'm sure, but I don't see any data from before and after the MHL relaxation

Maybe if you read that link ??

Effect on cycle use

After the law was first introduced, a street survey in Darwin found that 20% of people had given up cycling as a result of the law and 42% cycled less (Mead, 1993). Schools surveys showed a 17% reduction in primary schoolchildren cycling, an immediate reduction of 36% for secondary schoolchildren, reaching 39% by the end of the first year. (Van Zyl, 1993; RSCNT, 1993)

Counts of commuter cyclists showed a dramatic decline of about half following the law (RSCNT, 1993b):
Aug 1990 Apr 1991 Aug 1991 Apr 1992 August 1992 August 1993
252 222 350 142 122 131

Following the law's amendment, cycling recovered. By 2004, 4.2% of people cycled to work in NT (compared with a national average of 1.3%) and 15.3% of people cycled for recreation and sport (national average 9.5%) In particular, more women now cycle. (ABC, 2004)
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby high_tea » Sat Nov 03, 2012 9:23 am

il padrone wrote:
high_tea wrote:
All of which is fascinating stuff, I'm sure, but I don't see any data from before and after the MHL relaxation

Maybe if you read that link ??

Effect on cycle use

After the law was first introduced, a street survey in Darwin found that 20% of people had given up cycling as a result of the law and 42% cycled less (Mead, 1993). Schools surveys showed a 17% reduction in primary schoolchildren cycling, an immediate reduction of 36% for secondary schoolchildren, reaching 39% by the end of the first year. (Van Zyl, 1993; RSCNT, 1993)

Counts of commuter cyclists showed a dramatic decline of about half following the law (RSCNT, 1993b):
Aug 1990 Apr 1991 Aug 1991 Apr 1992 August 1992 August 1993
252 222 350 142 122 131

Following the law's amendment, cycling recovered. By 2004, 4.2% of people cycled to work in NT (compared with a national average of 1.3%) and 15.3% of people cycled for recreation and sport (national average 9.5%) In particular, more women now cycle. (ABC, 2004)


I overlooked that. Thanks. The commuter cyclist counts are interesting indeed. It's a shame that they don't continue past relaxation. The only post-relaxation data I see is that 4.2%. Pity it's a different metric, taken 10 years later.

Look, I'm not trying to be argumentative. It just comes naturally. I just don't see a lot of data that's convincing on either side of the debate. For what it's worth, I think that reflects poorly on the implementors; either they haven't bothered collecting it or it doesn't back their point of view. Either way, it's a poor show. What's done is done, though.

Now, the NT data certainly doesn't suggest that MHL relaxation results in some kind of public health disaster. I see nothing there that argues against repeating the experiment elsewhere. If this should happen, with any luck somebody will take the radical step of collecting some actual data that might shed some light on the effects of MHLs.

I think that this particular relaxation is unlikely to have any effect on utility cycling, though. Children always have to wear helmets. Adults too when on the road. I can't think of much utility cycling that doesn't involve riding on-road at some point. Schools would be the obvious exception but, whoops, children always have to wear helmets.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby human909 » Sat Nov 03, 2012 6:26 pm

high_tea wrote:I just don't see a lot of data that's convincing on either side of the debate.

This isn't a controlled laboratory. You are never going to get absolutely conclusive data. But it doesn't take a genius to figure out that MHLs discourage cycling. In fact it is unarguable, the degree that cycling is discouraged is what is open for discussion.

A simple discussion with cyclists in pretty much all localities overseas where cycling is an everyday activity shows the attitude towards helmets of the general public influenced by existing laws and propaganda.

high_tea wrote:Now, the NT data certainly doesn't suggest that MHL relaxation results in some kind of public health disaster. I see nothing there that argues against repeating the experiment elsewhere.

Apart from the fact that 'experiments' aren't needed. We have the rest of the world to look at!
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby high_tea » Sat Nov 03, 2012 8:06 pm

human909 wrote:
high_tea wrote:I just don't see a lot of data that's convincing on either side of the debate.

This isn't a controlled laboratory. You are never going to get absolutely conclusive data. But it doesn't take a genius to figure out that MHLs discourage cycling. In fact it is unarguable, the degree that cycling is discouraged is what is open for discussion.

A simple discussion with cyclists in pretty much all localities overseas where cycling is an everyday activity shows the attitude towards helmets of the general public influenced by existing laws and propaganda.

high_tea wrote:Now, the NT data certainly doesn't suggest that MHL relaxation results in some kind of public health disaster. I see nothing there that argues against repeating the experiment elsewhere.

Apart from the fact that 'experiments' aren't needed. We have the rest of the world to look at!


Is there data before and after relaxation from, e.g., Israel or Spain? I'd sure like to see it because merely speculating about measurable effects like participation rates and injury rates doesn't sit well with me.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby Mulger bill » Sat Nov 03, 2012 8:37 pm

Hum de hum de hum...

...Effect on cycle use...

...immediate reduction of 36% for secondary schoolchildren...

...In particular, more women now cycle...

Hang on just one bloody minute!!!!

By 2004,...

Am I to understand that MHLs in the NT have been a little relaxed for EIGHT+ years now and the safetycrats do not have an MCG full of shattered corpses as a position strengthening campaign prop to fuel their demands for moto lids and flouro body armour for all cyclists, skaters, scooter riders and joggers nationwide? No doubt they were strident enough when the relaxation was first proposed. :?
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby Philipthelam » Sat Nov 03, 2012 9:37 pm

I know that MHL did cause an initial drop in cyclist when they were first introduced. People just didn't want to ride with a helmet when they could ride with one before. But...
In reality how many people do you think will suddenly take up cycling because they don't have to wear a helmet?

I think the main issue is that the cycling culture in Australia has changed. This may (or may not) have been caused by the MHL which discouraged a lot of people at the time and made them stop cycling. These days cycling to others isn't really a way of transport. This is helped by the fact that there are so many other options now to get from a to b (like public transport, cars) and I don't think people realize that you can average at 25-30km on a bike and get to your destination faster that by the car or public transport. I know that most (if not all) commuter cyclists actually started cycling as a recreational activity before they actually thought about commuting by bike. I'm not sure that the abolishment of MHL will suddenly change this view and that there will be a flooding of new utility cyclists. Until this view/culture changes I am thinking that to get more utility cyclists we need more people to start cycling for fun/fitness

So how does MHL affect the recreational cyclists and in particular those just starting out or thinking about cycling? Do they think about the helmet before the bike or the bike before the helmet. In my circumstances (this my circumstances it may or may not be applicable to other people, I'm happy to hear about yours) it was more of a "hey I want to start cycling, I'll go buy a bike :) and the buying a helmet was more of an afterthought much like pumps, spare tube, multitool etc.

What I am trying to say is that MHL did cause the initial drop of cycling (as shown in your graphs). Also there is a big difference between the effects of the start and end of MHL. At the introduction many people felt it was a major inconvenience and then quit cycling. At the (possible) end of MHL you have still got to encourage people to cycle, it's not like the repealing of MHL will make random people to start cycling. I believe that repealing MHL will not get cycling numbers to suddenly increase the same amount it had dropped. It won't be able to reverse all these things that have happened after the drop in cycling numbers that was because of MHL
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby human909 » Sat Nov 03, 2012 10:56 pm

Philipthelam wrote:I know that MHL did cause an initial drop in cyclist when they were first introduced.

Great we can agree on that! :D

Philipthelam wrote:People just didn't want to ride with a helmet when they could ride with one before.

We can also agreed on that too!

Philipthelam wrote:But...
In reality how many people do you think will suddenly take up cycling because they don't have to wear a helmet?

I think the main issue is that the cycling culture in Australia has changed.

Amazing! We also can agree on this!

Philipthelam wrote:I know that most (if not all) commuter cyclists actually started cycling as a recreational activity before they actually thought about commuting by bike.

WOW! Unless this it a mistype, that is an incredibly naive statement! Most commuter cyclists I know are NOT recreational cyclists! While my peer group is certainly not representative of the "Average" Australian cyclist, it certainly isn't unique!

Philipthelam wrote:I'm not sure that the abolishment of MHL will suddenly change this view and that there will be a flooding of new utility cyclists. Until this view/culture changes I am thinking that to get more utility cyclists we need more people to start cycling for fun/fitness.

WOW! You have the entire thing topsy turvy. I don't know where I should start. That is like suggesting that in order to encourage more people to drive cars for transport we need more people to start driving race cars for recreation!


Those last two statements epitomises how cycling is seen now in Australia including by some cycling enthusiasts. It is sad how far cycling has fallen. :cry:
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby Kenzo » Sun Nov 04, 2012 7:28 am

Philipthelam wrote:I know that most (if not all) commuter cyclists actually started cycling as a recreational activity before they actually thought about commuting by bike.

that is certainly not the case at my work.
The majority of riders there did not ride recreationally, only to and from work. Eventually they start seeing cycling as more than transport. A work mate brought Strava into the mix and in the last month or two some of the commuters have started riding further and faster. So now the bike has moved from transport to fitness and fun (competition).

... and to keep it on topic, I quote Simonn, "Helmets good, MHL bad."
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby Evo6point5 » Sun Nov 04, 2012 12:13 pm

I think there are so many other factors outside of mhl that affect cycling rates that a narrow focus/debate will never provide all of the answers.

Supportive infrastructure etc which is different in all cities etc all affects the ease and attractiveness of cycling. I have friends who don't ride to work because they don't want to ride in major roads without cycle paths. A the same time, Perth just revamped the major city road, st George's terrace, with no cycle lane. This says something about the cities willingness to embrace cycling as a legitimate inner city transport option.

I think that when you look at overall health within Australia as well, the increase in lethargy within society is another major factor totally unrelated to mhl. Kids play video games these days instead of playing outside until its dark.

Perhaps mhl play a small part but a sociological study would need to examine as many major factors as possible to obtain useful data.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby DavidS » Sun Nov 04, 2012 12:33 pm

Philipthelam wrote:I think the main issue is that the cycling culture in Australia has changed. This may (or may not) have been caused by the MHL which discouraged a lot of people at the time and made them stop cycling. These days cycling to others isn't really a way of transport.


Yes, and that is precisely the problem. Cycling as a means of transport has been actively discouraged by MHLs and now cycling is not seen as transport, only as a sport. The irony of cycling no longer being seen as a transport option as the roads get more and more clogged seems to be lost on you.

Cycling should be booming as a transport option now that it is bloody hard to get around by car.

Philipthelam wrote:This is helped by the fact that there are so many other options now to get from a to b (like public transport, cars) and I don't think people realize that you can average at 25-30km on a bike and get to your destination faster that by the car or public transport.


Yeah, I know what you mean, 50 years ago there were, ooh let me see, um, more railway lines in Melbourne as there are today (StKilda and Port Melbourne are now trams), a few of the tram lines have been extended but no new lines from memory (in fact a few less than 100 years ago). Sorry, this argument flies in the face of reality. At the very least public transport has not improved in Melbourne (look up the number of train movements per day in the 1960s, more than today, also tram frequency changed a few years ago from every 12 minutes during the day to every 15 minutes) and while we may have better roads now the average speed is lower because of congestion.

Cycling should be booming as a transport option now that it is so packed on our deteriorated public transport infrastructure and that it is bloody hard to get around by car.

Philipthelam wrote:I know that most (if not all) commuter cyclists actually started cycling as a recreational activity before they actually thought about commuting by bike. I'm not sure that the abolishment of MHL will suddenly change this view and that there will be a flooding of new utility cyclists. Until this view/culture changes I am thinking that to get more utility cyclists we need more people to start cycling for fun/fitness


Crap, got any proof of this or are you just making it up? I don't cycle recreationally, I commute, it is a piece of transport for me. MHLs discourage utility cycling and your argument makes this point very well.

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

Postby human909 » Sun Nov 04, 2012 3:16 pm

Evo6point5 wrote:I think there are so many other factors outside of mhl that affect cycling rates that a narrow focus/debate will never provide all of the answers.

I completely agree.

Evo6point5 wrote:Perhaps mhl play a small part but a sociological study would need to examine as many major factors as possible to obtain useful data.

I and many others believe that it isn't a small part but a significant part. We don't need studies we need to get rid of MHLs.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby Xplora » Sun Nov 04, 2012 8:32 pm

evopoint, are you going to provide the 50K required to fund such a study?

There is no study of these things outside Australia because they just don't see the point. It would be like studying the effectiveness of raising children by lions in the wild... the MHL is a waste of time for most of the world, they won't study it. The writing is already on the wall... cycling is an effective replacement for walking. It is no more dangerous than walking... the hysteria about helmets won't go away because it just doesn't make sense to any sensible person.

To the less sensible, well it's fine because they don't have the ability to see the loss of freedom as a bad thing.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby ldrcycles » Sun Nov 04, 2012 8:46 pm

DavidS wrote: MHLs discourage utility cycling


I have a single speed Repco cruiser i got from the tip and use to get shopping from the nearby supermarket (which i would say fits the term "utility cycling") and i keep an $18 Big W helmet in the basket so i just throw it on when i head out. If there is any kind of cycling where a helmet is NOT going to be a problem i would say it is "utility cycling" where you are going little more than jogging pace and wouldn't work up a sweat in a month of sundays. Just saying.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby il padrone » Sun Nov 04, 2012 8:53 pm

high_tea wrote:I just don't see a lot of data that's convincing on either side of the debate. For what it's worth, I think that reflects poorly on the implementors; either they haven't bothered collecting it or it doesn't back their point of view. Either way, it's a poor show. What's done is done, though.

The entire 'research' methodology associated with the introduction of MHL gave very little consideration to issues of the impact on bicycle use and the reduction in cyclist numbers. This all cuts back to those who were the real movers behind this law - they had no real interest in cycling conditions, just bleeding heart surgeons lamenting a few cyclists on their operating tables. Why were they not lamenting the hundreds of motorists and drunk pedestrians on those same operating tables?
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby il padrone » Sun Nov 04, 2012 9:02 pm

Evo6point5 wrote:I think there are so many other factors outside of mhl that affect cycling rates that a narrow focus/debate will never provide all of the answers.

Supportive infrastructure etc which is different in all cities etc all affects the ease and attractiveness of cycling. I have friends who don't ride to work because they don't want to ride in major roads without cycle paths. A the same time, Perth just revamped the major city road, st George's terrace, with no cycle lane. This says something about the cities willingness to embrace cycling as a legitimate inner city transport option.

I think that when you look at overall health within Australia as well, the increase in lethargy within society is another major factor totally unrelated to mhl. Kids play video games these days instead of playing outside until its dark.

I don't think any of those speaking against MHLs on here would disagree with you about these points. They are all part of an overall campaign required to boost cycle use. It's simply that getting rid of the helmet law will make increased cycle use through these other things significantly easier to achieve.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby damhooligan » Sun Nov 04, 2012 10:10 pm

ldrcycles wrote:
DavidS wrote: MHLs discourage utility cycling


I have a single speed Repco cruiser i got from the tip and use to get shopping from the nearby supermarket (which i would say fits the term "utility cycling") and i keep an $18 Big W helmet in the basket so i just throw it on when i head out. If there is any kind of cycling where a helmet is NOT going to be a problem i would say it is "utility cycling" where you are going little more than jogging pace and wouldn't work up a sweat in a month of sundays. Just saying.


When people ride for recreation they ride fast speeds and are likely to already choose to wear a helmet .
So for this type of riding a helmet does not discourage riding as much.

However for utilty where speeds are lower and the inconvenience of the helmet is higher
The impact is larger.

You can see this is cycling numbers.
Most cyclists are recreational riders.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby human909 » Sun Nov 04, 2012 10:34 pm

damhooligan wrote:You can see this is cycling numbers.
Most cyclists are recreational riders.


Additionally in Europe helmet wearing is much more common among recreational riders than utility riders.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby mikesbytes » Mon Nov 05, 2012 7:22 am

simonn wrote:
il padrone wrote:What happened in 1991??

Image
From Charting Transport


Relaxation of tariffs on imported cars? There was much bigger rise in car journeys than could have been accounted for by just cyclists moving to cars.

Image

Image


Isn't that interesting, people using public transport fell between 1991 and 1996. What caused that?
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