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

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

Postby Xplora » Mon Jan 14, 2013 9:11 pm

wilddemon wrote:I honestly thought it was pro or anti MHL thread, not "freedom" thread, whatever you might think that is.

It is. There are reasons for each side of the fence existing. If you don't think that forcing the population of riders to wear a helmet regardless of your personal preference is wrong, why not force them to have licences as well? Eye tests? Ban lycra? Ban bike weights under 12kgs? Mandatory cycling caps? I can put together a sensible sounding argument for all those things as well as helmets. Civil freedoms are important in Australia 2013. People spent the last 1000 years dying to keep those freedoms. Why give your freedom away so cheaply? Will you only get upset when you can't ride comfortably anymore because you're forced to wear a Campy cycling cap everywhere?
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by BNA » Mon Jan 14, 2013 9:14 pm

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

Postby Mulger bill » Mon Jan 14, 2013 9:14 pm

This thread is about discussing whether MHLs are a good thing, both from the personal freedom perspective and whether they have actually had a negative societal impact.

Changing the law will not change my behaviour one iota, where I now choose to ride bare, I will continue to do so. Everywhere else will see me in a lid.
My kids have never had a choice. They WILL wear a helmet in my vision and I'm pretty sure they do everywhere else. The fact that they are 17 and 20yo these days is immaterial. My dictatorial act has hopefully thought them to think rather than blindly obey (everyone but me :P )
...whatever the road rules, self-preservation is the absolute priority for a cyclist when mixing it with motorised traffic.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby human909 » Mon Jan 14, 2013 9:19 pm

wilddemon wrote:Yeah sorry, its all a bit convenient for me.

I honestly thought it was pro or anti MHL thread, not "freedom" thread, whatever you might think that is.


And I honestly thought that it would be obvious to most that those like myself who are "anti MHL" are simply fighting for the FREEDOM to choose what to wear on our heads while cycling. Many of us will continue wearing our helmets cycling regardless of the laws! :wink:
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby wilddemon » Tue Jan 15, 2013 6:20 am

human909 wrote:And I honestly thought that it would be obvious to most that those like myself who are "anti MHL" are simply fighting for the FREEDOM to choose what to wear on our heads while cycling. Many of us will continue wearing our helmets cycling regardless of the laws! :wink:


Fight the good fight. I will continue to wear my helmet regardless of the outcome.

Note: can't help thinking about Monty Python: "we will fight for your right to have babies!"
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby Mulger bill » Tue Jan 15, 2013 7:11 am

Paraphrasis much?

Yet another one who seems to think that dropping MHLs will see helmets banned. Sad really.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby human909 » Tue Jan 15, 2013 7:58 am

wilddemon wrote:
human909 wrote:And I honestly thought that it would be obvious to most that those like myself who are "anti MHL" are simply fighting for the FREEDOM to choose what to wear on our heads while cycling. Many of us will continue wearing our helmets cycling regardless of the laws! :wink:


Fight the good fight. I will continue to wear my helmet regardless of the outcome.

Note: can't help thinking about Monty Python: "we will fight for your right to have babies!"


As far as I see it I am fighting for the improvement and advancement of cycling in Australia. I see that as a cause worthy of fighting for. I believe that we should encourage and make cycling accessible to all Australians. That we shouldn't be discouraging cycling by exaggerating the safety risks. We should be promoting cycling to everyone, not just those wanting to be enthusiasts!

In contrast you seem to be against it simply because YOU are happy wearing a helmet. That seems a little self centred to me.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby wilddemon » Tue Jan 15, 2013 8:57 am

human909 wrote:In contrast you seem to be against it simply because YOU are happy wearing a helmet. That seems a little self centred to me.


Eh? What are you telling me that I am against?
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby wilddemon » Tue Jan 15, 2013 9:04 am

Mulger bill wrote:Paraphrasis much?

Yet another one who seems to think that dropping MHLs will see helmets banned. Sad really.


Yeah? who said that they think dropping MHLs will see helmets banned? Interpretis much?
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby il padrone » Thu Jan 17, 2013 4:31 pm

WOW! I did not realise that the push to get mandatory helmet laws introduced began so early - the RACS lobbying parliament in 1978

The RACS claimed in 1978 that cyclists should wear helmets, but provided no evidence of efficacy. Dr Trinca said:

“We could perhaps worry a little less about and take a little less time in proving what is precisely right according to all standards … As doctors we are impatient. We cannot wait for 2 or 3 years” evaluation.”
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby DavidS » Thu Jan 17, 2013 5:50 pm

human909 wrote:As far as I see it I am fighting for the improvement and advancement of cycling in Australia. I see that as a cause worthy of fighting for. I believe that we should encourage and make cycling accessible to all Australians. That we shouldn't be discouraging cycling by exaggerating the safety risks. We should be promoting cycling to everyone, not just those wanting to be enthusiasts!

In contrast you seem to be against it simply because YOU are happy wearing a helmet. That seems a little self centred to me.


Couldn't have said it better myself. Does anyone seriously claim that MHLs don't discourage cycling? Just look at our failing bike share schemes for proof. As for kids wearing a helmet, I don't agree that cycling is so unsafe anyone should be forced to wear helmets. The truth is that if I had a choice, given I cycle as transport and do not race or the like, I would not own a helmet. If I had a young child I would talk to them about whether they should wear a helmet but I would not enforce wearing of helmets (other parents may think differently, that is their right, I'm just saying what I would do - for what it is worth my daughter is now 18, rarely rides her bike, but never wears a helmet when she does and I'm not going to enforce what I consider a silly law). I had the same argument with my sister in law recently, she was all for helmet laws because of her perception that cycling is so dangerous. It just isn't. When I pointed out that half of all head injuries in Australia are suffered by occupants of cars yet they don't have to wear helmets it made no difference. The helmet laws give off a very distorted impression of how dangerous cycling is. There are a lot of us here who remember growing up without helmet laws, back in the days when cars handled worse and had 4 wheel drum brakes. The number of fatalities on the roads has dropped a lot since then but there has been no drop which can be correlated with the helmet laws, cycling deaths have trended with other road deaths.

When a bicycle has the same acceleration and momentum of a car then I'll accept comparisons between seat belt laws and lumps of foam on cyclists' heads. When bicycle helmets are mandated to be the same as motorcycle helmets then I'll accept comparisons between cycling and motorbike helmets. Otherwise you are not comparing like with like.

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

Postby Percrime » Thu Jan 17, 2013 10:57 pm

I,m not sure about this but I think that wearing a motorcycle helmet on a bicycle would actually be illegal
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby Xplora » Fri Jan 18, 2013 7:05 am

Percrime wrote:I,m not sure about this but I think that wearing a motorcycle helmet on a bicycle would actually be illegal

That would definitely ruin your aero tuck :shock:
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby outnabike » Fri Jan 18, 2013 7:11 am

il padrone wrote:WOW! I did not realise that the push to get mandatory helmet laws introduced began so early - the RACS lobbying parliament in 1978

The RACS claimed in 1978 that cyclists should wear helmets, but provided no evidence of efficacy. Dr Trinca said:

“We could perhaps worry a little less about and take a little less time in proving what is precisely right according to all standards … As doctors we are impatient. We cannot wait for 2 or 3 years” evaluation.”


Hi il padrone,I have never seen that ste before but various clips from it.
You started with a WOW! , And I can see why, we have a video of a bloke talking about expanding the Irish bike share to 5000 bikes from 450. His method of promoting his scheme is using Melbourne's failed bike share as an example of why not to promote helmets. Head injuries have not been an issue and folk can wear a helmet if they want.

One wonders what cycling clubs in Holland would make of the thought to make helmets compulsory. Videos of the duchies all getting around with out Lycra in there daily lives is interesting too.

I found the bit about "Headway" sponsoring the scientific data in Australia interesting, in that I use one of their early helmets and it has that label. :D It is excellent for screwing cameras to, and you can play footy with it without damaging it. The foam is non-crushable and definitely drop proof. It should last another 30 years or so. It is also fairly heavy which can make the back of the neck ache on long trips. I keep it for sentimental purposes to show others what was foisted on the unsuspecting public as a safety item.
If I ever get booked with it on, I will ask the governing bodies to supply me a new authorised replacement. I mean early model cars are still on the road and they would not pass safety tests like modern cars would they?
I don't see any thing wrong with people making their own decision, and having the right to wear helmets at their own discretion. Just my opinion though. :D
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby DavidS » Fri Jan 18, 2013 12:18 pm

Nice video here: http://tedxtalks.ted.com/video/TEDxCopenhagen-Mikael-Colville

Let's stop discouraging cycling, let's fight against the notion that cycling is so dangerous we need legislation to force us to wear a helmet, MHLs have not made cycling safer and should be repealed.

Just had to add this quote from Danish urban planner Mikael Colville-Andersen:
You are the fattest country in the world, you should be encouraging cycling, not convincing people it's dangerous.


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

Postby simonn » Fri Jan 18, 2013 1:23 pm

DavidS wrote:Just had to add this quote from Danish urban planner Mikael Colville-Andersen:
You are the fattest country in the world, you should be encouraging cycling, not convincing people it's dangerous.



Meh. I just don't see a bunch of fat bogans jumping on bicycles because they do not have to wear a helmet.

The only thing that has consistently encouraged cycling worldwide is better cycle facilities.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby il padrone » Fri Jan 18, 2013 1:48 pm

simonn wrote:Meh. I just don't see a bunch of fat bogans jumping on bicycles because they do not have to wear a helmet.

The only thing that has consistently encouraged cycling worldwide is better cycle facilities.

Agreed. Cycling facilities would certainly help. The question is what constitutes good cycling facilities?

Our road authorities and councils are still trapped in the idea of segregation. This involves retro-fitting circuitous cycle routes and shared paths that take us "around the houses" while the route on the regular road (that you could drive in your car) is much shorter, going from point to point. In some other parts of the world the idea of cycle facilities is dealt with to favour the cyclist over the motor vehicle driver.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby outnabike » Fri Jan 18, 2013 3:21 pm

simonn wrote:
DavidS wrote:Just had to add this quote from Danish urban planner Mikael Colville-Andersen:
You are the fattest country in the world, you should be encouraging cycling, not convincing people it's dangerous.



Meh. I just don't see a bunch of fat bogans jumping on bicycles because they do not have to wear a helmet.

The only thing that's has consistently encouraged cycling worldwide is better cycle facilities.



I think that's very well said, then when they join a forum to see what's going on in cycling , you can say "welcome fat bogan "
They will warm to that, and we will have a nice friendly atmosphere, soon the fat bogans will join you on the shared pathways, what fun.
Far dinkum, don;t you reckon persons new to cycling read thes threads?
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby il padrone » Fri Jan 18, 2013 3:49 pm

Fair point outnabike. While I tend to the other extreme, I have several friends who are rather a bit on the large size and they are regular, long-standing and very enthusiastic cyclists who have and continue to do many, often lengthy, cycle-tours.

"You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar"
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby casual_cyclist » Fri Jan 18, 2013 5:56 pm

DavidS wrote:Just had to add this quote from Danish urban planner Mikael Colville-Andersen:
You are the fattest country in the world, you should be encouraging cycling, not convincing people it's dangerous.

Wow! So he hasn't heard of Nauru then? I know Australia is getting fatter but Nauru has an overweight and obese rate of 94.5%. The rate for Australia is estimated to be 63% (reference).

Have you heard of the "French Paradox"? It has about as much credibility as the meme "Australia is the fattest country in the world". I found a great definition of the "French Paradox" here: http://mecheshier.hubpages.com/hub/Obesity-Facts-Around-the-World

French men and women are remarkably slim and have an amazing healthy glow. But their diet overflows with cream filled pastries, rich cream sauces, and quality wines and cheeses. Why are they not overweight? This is what is called the French Paradox.


Well, considering almost 40% of French people are overweight and obese (according to the OECD), I would say they are not "remarkably slim". What happened? Did they stop riding their bikes? :roll:

DavidS wrote:Let's stop discouraging cycling, let's fight against the notion that cycling is so dangerous we need legislation to force us to wear a helmet, MHLs have not made cycling safer and should be repealed.


Back on topic, is there any evidence that people equate mandatory helmet laws with cycling being dangerous?
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby il padrone » Fri Jan 18, 2013 6:09 pm

casual_cyclist wrote:
DavidS wrote:Let's stop discouraging cycling, let's fight against the notion that cycling is so dangerous we need legislation to force us to wear a helmet, MHLs have not made cycling safer and should be repealed.


Back on topic, is there any evidence that people equate mandatory helmet laws with cycling being dangerous?

Talk to a few people (cyclists or non-cyclists) about the MHL and the idea of riding without one - I did last night.

The danger was written all through their comments - "the traffic is so much worse nowadays than back in the 70s", "you might hit a bump/have a blow-out and fall off", "you had a fall last week/month/year", "you can't tell what other riders might do on the bike paths", "I won't trust the traffic, it just takes one fall". It was a diabolical suggestion to make - in our little group, two of us suggested helmet use should be left to personal choice; four could not believe that we could suggest such a dangerous idea. This from very experienced cyclists.

Just one fall - yes it's so very dangerous. I reckon that mandatory PFD law should be on the RACS's agenda next :twisted: That's the trouble with drowning I guess - you drown.... or you don't. There's no half-measures, not so much in the way of damaged bodies for the RACS to fret about.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby Howzat » Fri Jan 18, 2013 11:20 pm

il padrone wrote: two of us suggested helmet use should be left to personal choice


Perceptions of danger aside, I'll pick up on this "personal choice" note.

Skipping the helmet can't be a purely personal choice - not as long others are picking up the bill for for health care, rehabilitation, compo, ambulance services, legal costs, hospitals, funerals, counsellors, loss of income, and everything that may accompany a serious accident. And those services are part of the country, communities, and families we've built.

So what others may find objectionable about the "personal choice" to ride without a lid is that that choice raises net costs, in the aggregate, for everyone else.

We don't wrap everyone in bubble wrap, but we do, as a country, expect people to wear a helmet when riding a bike. Why? We think this is a modest element of personal responsibility to reduce risk and control costs for everyone else.

So explain why we all should pay more because someone else makes a choice to not take personal responsibility?
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby Mulger bill » Fri Jan 18, 2013 11:35 pm

Howzat wrote:So explain why we all should pay more because someone else makes a choice to not take personal responsibility?


Wot? Like the binge drinkers? The smokers? The rock fishermen? The moto riders in shorts and thongs?

Why some and not others? Why do other, commonly not as well off as ours countries not have a problem with this?

Where do we draw the line? I'm sure that there is some activity that YOU pursue that has a potential risk to the budget surplus, would you be happy with further regulation of this activity that you personally as a participant feel to be onerous and detrimental to your enjoyment of this hypothetical activity?
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby il padrone » Fri Jan 18, 2013 11:51 pm

Howzat wrote:Skipping the helmet can't be a purely personal choice

Sorry mate, I take umbrage at someone telling me I do not have a choice. Yes it can be a personal choice.

It is for just about anything else people choose to do in their lives. Happily as a general rule our health care system is not 'conditional' - I don't want to live in any society where this is the case.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby Percrime » Sat Jan 19, 2013 7:38 am

I agree. Just a little bit down that path lies penalising people for a poor choice of genes. Howsat has a recessive gene for heart desease and through bad choice of parents has two copies of that gene. Exactly why should I with my much better choice of parents...subsidise his health care in future years? How fair is that? He should be taxed. It should be a user paid system and he is going to cost more to treat than me.









No I,m not serious. But you will hear this suggestion again. And the people who make it will be serious. Its the next step after penalising people for their lifestyle choices.
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Re: Mandatory Helmet Laws & stuff (Was One & ONLY Helmet Thr

Postby Biffidus » Sat Jan 19, 2013 7:53 am

Howzat wrote:So explain why we all should pay more because someone else makes a choice to not take personal responsibility?

The suggestion through most of this thread is that society wouldn't pay more if a MHL was repealed as helmets discourage cycling and don't work as advertised:
  • MHL discourages cycling, discourages exercise and the associated health benefits which in turn increases health costs to society due to obesity.
  • MHL discourages cycling, encourages driving which increases pollution and the cost of road maintenance.
  • The evidence that helmets actually reduce typical cyclist head injuries is largely anecdotal.
  • Helmets may actually worsen the injuries from certain types of head impact.
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