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

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

Postby high_tea » Mon Nov 19, 2012 8:22 am

Comedian wrote:
ColinOldnCranky wrote:
Xplora wrote:[Do you get anyone asking about learning the road rules specific for bikes, Colin? Or if they need a speedo to ensure they don't break the speed limit?

I dont' understand what this means. Over many years people have asked me a lot but mostl just on the two issues I mentioned.

I think I agree with most of what you say. I assume the first point is about driver awareness being raised as cycling is normalised at some critical mass of riders. And hence reduced risk.


In my opinion you're not being asked about helmets because they know it's not negotiable.

The people put off by the helmets wouldn't have even have gotten to asking.

But that just begs the question.
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by BNA » Mon Nov 19, 2012 8:41 am

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

Postby Xplora » Mon Nov 19, 2012 8:41 am

Comedian wrote:
ColinOldnCranky wrote:
Xplora wrote:[Do you get anyone asking about learning the road rules specific for bikes, Colin? Or if they need a speedo to ensure they don't break the speed limit?

I dont' understand what this means. Over many years people have asked me a lot but mostl just on the two issues I mentioned.

I think I agree with most of what you say. I assume the first point is about driver awareness being raised as cycling is normalised at some critical mass of riders. And hence reduced risk.


In my opinion you're not being asked about helmets because they know it's not negotiable.

The people put off by the helmets wouldn't have even have gotten to asking.

^^^ Yep, this one. If you are put off by laws, you won't participate, especially when driving appears to be more attractive as a transport option. My comments about speedometers and learning about bike specific rules (no indicating for left turns for example) were simply to demonstrate that laws are not something that a potential cycle commuter is going to consider. They have bigger fish to fry, and if they intend on breaking the speed limit on a bike, it's not going to come up early in the riding career. :lol: The MHL is part of the fabric, a fabric that is cycle unfriendly.

Yes, critical mass of riders does improve safety. Not all areas will be popular for cycling. Sydney's Hills area isn't particularly conducive to riding - long runs between suburbs, lots of hills funnily enough... but inner city with bike paths might make it easier. We have to encourage these areas to grow cycling as much as possible, because it has knock on effects throughout the network. Consider the F3 past Sydney... three people side by side at 95kmh hold up HUNDREDS of cars. This can go on for hours as well. Less cars driving within the CBD makes it easier for cars going past the CBD.

I am guessing that GoogleMaps will quietly revolutionize cycling, because there are usually TONS of great routes if you know the backstreets and little paths to stay away from the main roads. I mapped Toongabbie shops to Baulkham Hills shops and it's both incredibly direct and almost totally off the main roads... I wouldn't think to go the way it took me because of 25 years driving in the area. Lots of people want to go to these shops. A few bike trailers here and there, a can of HTFU or two, and you create a groundswell of change. I saw a trailer in ToysRus for 100 bucks, that's enough space for a weekly shop in my family.

Hightea, this is precisely the point... MHL blocks out cycling for a significant chunk of the population, for a number of reasons, by abnormalising riding and these people won't change because their choices are taken away. How many times have you been protected by your seatbelt? Me, 2-3 times over 32 years in cars. A seatbelt really is something I can leave off, and have a good understanding of the risk involved. If you never have an accident, the seatbelt doesn't mean anything. In the same way, a helmet is so unlikely to be needed that most people don't realise that its not necessary for most casual riding. But they think to themselves "oh crap, there is a law, I must wear my helmet/seatbelt" and misunderstand that these protections are there to stop you from PERMANENT DISABLEMENT in an accident. I don't want to reduce such an injury - I don't want to have the accident in the first place. But it reveals a deeply flawed understanding of crashes for most people, that the mandated protection is going to stop you going to hospital. It doesn't. And (my point) if you were afraid of going to hospital on a bike, then you SHOULD be afraid of the same result in a car. The same people who say the road is too dangerous for a bicycle are the same people who don't appreciate the severity of accidents in a car. The road is too dangerous for a car as well, and the likelihood of hospitalisation for a car accident is about the same.
But abnormalising cycling takes away this basic logic. And as a result, a bunch of people just won't cycle because they have been indoctrinated into believing that riding is dangerous.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby human909 » Mon Nov 19, 2012 12:42 pm

ColinOldnCranky wrote:The two biggies are end-of-trip facilities and traffic separation issues.


"End of trip facilities" are a bit of a pet peeve of mine. They are a massive red herring regarding encouraging widespread adoption of cycling.

They, along with secure storage, are high priorities amongst cycling enthusiasts. However they are inconsequential with encouraging non cycling enthusiasts towards utility cycling. Cycling enthusiasts have excessively expensive equipment along with riding unrealistic distances. Both these attributes are not ones likely to be found amongst anything but a small minority of the population. A quick observation of cycling culture overseas shows that neither of these two items are significant in areas where cycling is common.

This is just another difference that so many cycling enthusiasts don't seem to understand or don't seem to care about.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby jules21 » Mon Nov 19, 2012 1:25 pm

human909 wrote: Cycling enthusiasts have excessively expensive equipment along with riding unrealistic distances. Both these attributes are not ones likely to be found amongst anything but a small minority of the population. A quick observation of cycling culture overseas shows that neither of these two items are significant in areas where cycling is common.

i think you're missing the point, that australian cities have greater sprawl than many of the 'poster child' cycling cities overseas. for the most part, people don't choose the length of their commute.

secondly, shower and change facilities are a big issue in australia. you may get away without these facilities in northern europe, but not in australia. the climates are very different.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby il padrone » Mon Nov 19, 2012 1:35 pm

jules21 wrote:secondly, shower and change facilities are a big issue in australia. you may get away without these facilities in northern europe, but not in australia. the climates are very different.

Yeah, life's so very easy for cyclists in northern Europe eh?

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Oh the hot weather :o . OK. So why is it that the NT has 4.2% of people commuting by bike, compared to about 1.5% for Victoria ??

jules21 wrote:that australian cities have greater sprawl than many of the 'poster child' cycling cities overseas.

Ah, I see. That must explain all the local mothers, driving their kids <1km to school (and mostly turning around to drive back home). And all the folks driving 2-4kms to the local railway station's hugely over-congested car park while the bike racks on the platform remain under-utilised (but I use them at times - security is fine).

Yes, I see.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby jules21 » Mon Nov 19, 2012 2:15 pm

il padrone wrote:Oh the hot weather :o . So why is it that the NT has 4.2% of people commuting by bike, compared to about 1.5% for Victoria ??

over the limit? :)
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby Xplora » Mon Nov 19, 2012 2:22 pm

Regarding the heat, I get sweaty when I have stopped riding, not from riding.... you'll get more sweaty walking from A to B, windchill is awesome.

I don't think most people would expect to ride 20kms, but many could realistically ride 2kms to a train station. It certainly would reduce the enormous living costs for people who need a train, can't really justify or afford a car, and don't want to live 500m from the train station :lol: You know... most people who work.

Jules, be careful...
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby jules21 » Mon Nov 19, 2012 2:24 pm

Xplora wrote:Regarding the heat, I get sweaty when I have stopped riding, not from riding.... you'll get more sweaty walking from A to B, windchill is awesome.

the windchill is actually evaporating sweat more than preventing it. when you stop, it's no longer evaporating it so it will collect on your body.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby human909 » Mon Nov 19, 2012 3:52 pm

jules21 wrote:i think you're missing the point, that australian cities have greater sprawl than many of the 'poster child' cycling cities overseas.

I am well aware of the sprawl of Australian cities. And as I've said numerous times expecting the mainstream population to commute those long distances is laughable. Why is that concept so difficult to understand?

That said London and Paris have pretty massive sprawls.

jules21 wrote:for the most part, people don't choose the length of their commute.

Absolutely people do choose the length of their commute! But most people in Australia seem to perform their job search etc based on a distance a car travels.

jules21 wrote:secondly, shower and change facilities are a big issue in australia. you may get away without these facilities in northern europe, but not in australia. the climates are very different.

Oh the, we are so different argument again. :roll:

(And all this is not even considering that 'end of trip facilities' are pretty much non workable for a workplace where a significant proportion ride.)
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby ColinOldnCranky » Mon Nov 19, 2012 4:28 pm

human909 wrote:"End of trip facilities" are a bit of a pet peeve of mine. They are a massive red herring regarding encouraging widespread adoption of cycling.


What? you are kidding. Right?

Or you are misunderstanding the term end-of-trip facilities - generally showers and some form of clothes hanging/storage. (And yes, bike storage is a lesser issue than either of those two.)
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby il padrone » Mon Nov 19, 2012 4:38 pm

ColinOldnCranky wrote:
human909 wrote:"End of trip facilities" are a bit of a pet peeve of mine. They are a massive red herring regarding encouraging widespread adoption of cycling.



What? you are kidding. Right?

Unless you are specifically not referring to work commuters.

Dutch commuter cyclsts
Image



Australian commuter cyclists
Image



Dutch racing cyclists
Image


Which group do the Aussie commuters seem to resemble most? Is this really the way to build mass cycle use for transport? Methinks not.

Oh, and BTW, in Melbourne it is certainly the case that the vast bulk of our commuter cycling traffic is coming out of the northern suburbs, up the bay from the beach suburbs, or across the bridge from Footscray and the west. All of these are suburbs with not too many more hills than the Netherlands (and generally less headwinds).
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby jules21 » Mon Nov 19, 2012 4:44 pm

il padrone wrote:Which group do the Aussie commuters seem to resemble most? Is this really the way to build mass cycle use for transport? Methinks not.

what do you mean by "this"? the lycra-clad commuters? if so, i don't understand how they're holding back cycle commuting, unless they are somehow discouraging others who wouldn't want to dress in lycra. if you're concerned that "ordinary" riders are underrepresented as commuters, then by my thinking, they're letting the side down, not the carbon brigade. forgive me if that's not your point, but i've heard it before from others and it defies logic.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby il padrone » Mon Nov 19, 2012 4:55 pm

jules21 wrote:the lycra-clad commuters? if so, i don't understand how they're holding back cycle commuting, unless they are somehow discouraging others who wouldn't want to dress in lycra.

You are correct!!

Helmet, lycra, road bike. To many people in Australia (those in cars, walking to/from the station) this is the image they have of cycle commuting. Many of them don't see themselves picking up that baton.

But a more genteel upright road bike, regular clothing, no need for a helmet :shock: ..... they may well be happy to ride this way for 5kms or so, or 2kms to the station.

You have to remember we are talking about the average Joe, not the rabid enthusiast rider. Imagine how many people would drive to work if the social norm was to drive a car with alloy mags, low profile tyres, dropped suspension; and wearing a mandated helmet plus racing gloves, fire-proof suit and strapped in with a full five-point body harness.

Come to think of it.... what a great idea to boost cycling numbers :twisted:
Last edited by il padrone on Mon Nov 19, 2012 5:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby John Lewis » Mon Nov 19, 2012 4:58 pm

Comparing the Dutch commute to the Aussie commute.
What are the distances travelled in the commute?
I suspect the Dutch may only travel a comparatively short distance. If you have to commute a long distance then work clothing may not be as appropriate and end of trip facilities are needed to freshen up, change etc.

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

Postby il padrone » Mon Nov 19, 2012 5:03 pm

John Lewis wrote:I suspect the Dutch may only travel a comparatively short distance. If you have to commute a long distance then work clothing may not be as appropriate and end of trip facilities are needed to freshen up, change etc.


I spoke of distances in a post above. There are many people who drive their cars for very short distances. I think the average trip distance in Melbourne is well below 10kms. These are the commute journeys that need to be replaced with bike journeys.

People keep on raising the same old barriers, when what is needed is a re-evaluation of what matters and small changes by many. Just a 10% drop in traffic on our roads would dramatically relieve congestion levels* for all, and significantly reduce CO2 emissions and fuel consumption.

* We see it when the construction industry has their RDO, and during the school holidays.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby damhooligan » Mon Nov 19, 2012 5:16 pm

jules21 wrote:
il padrone wrote:Which group do the Aussie commuters seem to resemble most? Is this really the way to build mass cycle use for transport? Methinks not.

what do you mean by "this"? the lycra-clad commuters? if so, i don't understand how they're holding back cycle commuting, unless they are somehow discouraging others who wouldn't want to dress in lycra. if you're concerned that "ordinary" riders are underrepresented as commuters, then by my thinking, they're letting the side down, not the carbon brigade. forgive me if that's not your point, but i've heard it before from others and it defies logic.


Not just what they wear, but also the need to go fast.
Hence the need for a shower afterwards.
Hence the need for end of trip facitlties.

I cycle relaxed and slowly, no need for a shower..(wil be different on the way home....)
I use a commuter bike,one that is functional, and not too flash/expensive, so no need for bike storage.
altough it would be appreciated, its not needed, A good lock wil do fine.
Or bike insurance that wil cover theft.

A lot of australian cycling commuters pay a lot of attention to the bike, has to be fast.
the clothing, has to be fast, so that the commute can be fast...
But not enough think, I ride, to get to work.
fast is not needed, but it seems to be soo important for so many cyclists.

And this is clearly what the pictures off IP show, the current image is so that fast is alomst a 'requirement' for todays commuting.
It comes across , that if you want to be part of todays commute, you wil 'need' all the gear.
fancy bike, and clothing, so you can go fast.

This is far from promoting commuting as a viable option for everyone.
For a commute you should only need 1 thing.
A bike.

Unfortunatly , we need 2 things, a bike plus helmet.
the helmet is not promoting cycling as something that suits everyone.
It only suits those that are willing to exept wearing a helmet.

And if people have to wear a helmet, well ... why not wear the rest...
And if we wear the whole outfit, well... why not 'use it' .
if we have to wear a helmet, wich is assosiated with danger and speed, its not strange that our cycling behaviour does change ...
I believe this effect of the helmet is a big cause of how we commute today.
and cant say im happy with that.

I would be happy if we could go back to the basics, the bike.
Just that, the bike.
The dutch have one word to describe the aussie MHL, this word is ;
SCHIJNVEILIGHEID !!
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby jules21 » Mon Nov 19, 2012 5:18 pm

il padrone wrote:Helmet, lycra, road bike. To many people in Australia (those in cars, walking to/from the station) this is the image they have of cycle commuting. Many of them don't see themselves picking up that baton.

i disagree. although this is hard to prove, my impression is (and others have written about it, i'm not the only one) that in australia, motoring is a sign of higher social status. by contrast, cycling traditionally says "i can't afford a car" or "i lost my license". in recent times, we've seen a rebellion against this paradigm by younger members of the middle class in inner suburbs, who have taken to alternative forms of transport, including cycling. i've always interpreted this as a metaphorical middle finger to their materialistic baby boomer parents. but in the outer suburbs, where the hipster movement has yet to catch on, the motor vehicle remains king.

lycra-clad roadies are bucking the lower socio-economic connotations of cycling, by riding bikes and with gear that costs more than many cars ("look at me! i can obviously afford a car, i'm choosing to ride!"). in a sense, this is agreeing with your point. but really, i'd argue it's just a symptom of the broader problem - that cyclists are perceived as a group to take pity on as you cruise past in your luxury automobile (thus the anger when the reality of being stuck in traffic as cyclists do the cruising past, but that's another point..) this is where we differ to northern europeans.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby human909 » Mon Nov 19, 2012 5:23 pm

ColinOldnCranky wrote:What? you are kidding. Right?

Or you are misunderstanding the term end-of-trip facilities - generally showers and some form of clothes hanging/storage. (And yes, bike storage is a lesser issue than either of those two.)


No I am not kidding at all. Showers and clothes hanging/storage is NOT important to most potential commuters making their transport choice. Nor can such facilities practically serve any more that a tiny minority of commuters arriving at any work location. Does it really need to be repeated? This is a desire of cycling enthusiasts, NOT of mainstream commuters.

jules21 wrote:what do you mean by "this"? the lycra-clad commuters? if so, i don't understand how they're holding back cycle commuting, unless they are somehow discouraging others who wouldn't want to dress in lycra.

The needs of lycra-clad commuters are significantly different from the needs of mainstream commuters. Furthermore you are totally kidding yourself if you think the Lycra clad and 10km+ cycle commuters will make up any more than a TINY minority of commuters.

jules21 wrote:if you're concerned that "ordinary" riders are underrepreseted as commuters, then by my thinking, they're letting the side down, not the carbon brigade. forgive me if that's not your point, but i've heard it before from others and it defies logic.

I'm not sure anybody is "letting the side down". But if you think that you will encourage mainstream cycling commuting by focussing on the needs of the enthusiast then you are kidding yourself.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby il padrone » Mon Nov 19, 2012 5:26 pm

Jules I think the low socio-economic status furphy disappeared about 10-15 years ago. Talk to your neighbours, your non-cycling family, work colleagues and friends. My experience is that they are often positive to the idea of riding to work, station shops or pub, but can't see ways past the practical difficulties and social expectations of the decision.

The things that I hear that put them off are:

1. Distance (well we can't do too much about that apart from using multi-mode or moving house),
2. It's too hard (ie. "like all those roadie types flying along - I can't do that"),
3. Have to wear odd clothing and get changed (no facilities, don't want to look goofy), and
4. Have to do other things, collect kids, shopping etc (strangely the dutch have this problem as well, there are ways to deal with it).
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby human909 » Mon Nov 19, 2012 5:31 pm

It seems that many cycling enthusiasts still can't get past their narrow view of cycling. Sure embrace Lycra, speed and $5000 bikes if that is what does it for you. But don't kid yourself or try to convince others that your way of cycle commuting will ever encourage mainstream commuter cycling.

Fortunately in some parts of Australia it isn't like that. Contrast this group to the group shown earlier. :wink:

Image

Also observe that there are FAR FAR more female cyclists. This is mainstream commuter cycling! A group of NORMAL people riding PRACTICAL bikes (that don't need special security), at speeds that won't have them needing showers at their destination.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby il padrone » Mon Nov 19, 2012 5:34 pm

Canning Street bike boulevard near the Dan O'Connell in North Carlton for those who don't know the area. Major cycle commuter route from Melbourne's northern suburbs :wink:
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby jules21 » Mon Nov 19, 2012 5:34 pm

il padrone wrote: Jules I think the low socio-economic status furphy disappeared about 10-15 years ago. Talk to your neighbours, your non-cycling family, work colleagues and friends. My experience is that they are often positive to the idea of riding to work, station shops or pub, but can't see ways past the practical difficulties and social expectations of the decision.

but i don't believe them. talk to the same people about why they bought a 2.5 tonne 4WD, and they'll very convincingly articulate why they need it - the towing capacity, the seating for the kids, the ability to explore areas you can't with a car. no one ever says "i just needed to feel more important than others when i'm next to them in traffic" - yet psychologists are adamant this is a key factor in many such purchases. let's not turn this into a 4wd bashing thread, i'm just using it as an example of why you can't go by what people tell you when discussing social status and its manifestations. people intuitively or subconsciously lie (or are just confused).

il padrone wrote: The things that I hear that put them off are:

1. Distance (well we can't do too much about that apart from multi-mode or moving house,
2. It's too hard (ie. "like all those roadie types flying along - I can't do that"),
3. Have to wear odd clothing and get changed (no facilities, don't want to look goofy), and
4. Have to do other things, collect kids, shopping etc (strangely the dutch have this problem as well, there are ways to deal with it).

i don't doubt these are real factors to. the one i get regularly is "oohhh... you're braver than me, i wouldn't mix it up with car traffic, the way people drive..."
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby human909 » Mon Nov 19, 2012 5:39 pm

Jules you seem to come up with 1000s of obscure reasons why people are not cycling. Yet you deny the effect of MHLs which is a direct restriction on cycling which had direct and measurable effects. It all reeks a little bit of desperation in trying to find arguments to support your opinion.

(Not that I'm claiming that some of your obscure reasons have some effect.)
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby il padrone » Mon Nov 19, 2012 5:47 pm

Yeah, OK Jules, you go and make up your own reasons eh :lol: :lol: :lol:

Meantime many people own motor vehicles and still manage to not use them for every journey. It is not essential to drive.... but make cycling harder, less pleasant and driving (physically easier) becomes the choice. What is needed is to make cycling easier than the drive - in a whole host of ways. This is what the Dutch and other European countries have worked at doing.

Listen to what Hans Brekker, his wife Karla and others have to say about cycling and helmet use on here (from 1:14 on and at intervals through the video)

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

Postby high_tea » Mon Nov 19, 2012 5:56 pm

jules21 wrote:
il padrone wrote: The things that I hear that put them off are:

1. Distance (well we can't do too much about that apart from multi-mode or moving house,
2. It's too hard (ie. "like all those roadie types flying along - I can't do that"),
3. Have to wear odd clothing and get changed (no facilities, don't want to look goofy), and
4. Have to do other things, collect kids, shopping etc (strangely the dutch have this problem as well, there are ways to deal with it).

i don't doubt these are real factors to. the one i get regularly is "oohhh... you're braver than me, i wouldn't mix it up with car traffic, the way people drive..."
[/quote]
I get too far, too skeery and too hot. The same excuses apply to walking IME. Don't count on MHL repeal to change too much. Infrastructure and attitudes will still suck, MHL or no.
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