I recall Doddsy (I think) putting up a post about not wearing helmets and not conforming to road rules and I joined the brigade of knockers sprouting forth my opinion that we should abide by the laws of the land and set an example to all etc etc etc.
I've spent the last 3 months in Europe and have ridden in 13 countries in that time. Not once did I wear a helmet. Many, many times I rode up footpaths, turned on red lights and rode the wrong way up one way streets. Why? Cos that's what everyone does. Its safe, it encourage people to ride rather than drive. You can hire a bike, ride it where you want to go and leave it in a different hire zone. NO worries about helmets, just ride.
At first I was shocked by this, but quickly I came to realise that it is inherent with a biking, commuting and social culture.
Not saying that this should or could be introduced into our culture (pity!) but when you experience it, it sure makes you think that us and our do-gooding doesn't really help the promotion of the bike as a realisitic form of everyday transport.
Need to think a bit more about this, but thought I'd share that I've had my opinion altered through the experience.
Steve, thanks for publicly acknowledging that cycling in Europe differs from Australia. Some European countries have less cycling collisions per capita, also less vehicle collisions.
From today's Indaily Lives at risk from unsafe car designs
CASR, based at Adelaide University, has called for international safety regulations to be introduced in Australia . . . “If we had a regulation similar to Europe or Japans we would see a reduction in the fatalities and injuries of pedestrians [and cyclists] ,” CASR's Andrew van den Berg told Indaily . . . In one frightening statistic provided by CASR, a vehicle fitted with a steel bull-bar need only be travelling at 30km/h to cause a pedestrian fatality. Earlier this year the federal government moved to introduce minimum pedestrian safety standards for vehicles but halted the consultation phase after strong lobbying from the automotive industry, particularly the manufacturers of bull-bars . . . Of all the claims to the SA Motor Accident Commission, 5.6 per cent are for pedestrian injury but they account for 11.6 per cent of all claims costs for rehabilitation – about $40 million annually.
Discussion posted at http://www.adelaidecyclists.com/group/lookforcyclists/forum/topics/...
I have a bull bar on my 4WD, a very useful thing for protecting my vehicle and it's occupants (which is my primary concern) particularly off road which is why I fitted it. A 2.5 tonne vehicle at 30km/h can kill a pedestrian with or without a bullbar. Hopefully I'll drive it safely and the pedestrians will walk safely and we'll all be fine.
The article you refer to is about pedestrian safety and I fail to see it's relevance to Steve's topic.
Europe differs from Australia, in that it has better design standards for vehicles. If a pedestrian or cyclist is hit in Europe, the injuries will probably be less than if hit in Australia by a Holden Commodore (which has only a 1-star rating). With safer road design and safer vehicle design, perhaps it is safe to cycle in Europe without a helmet.
My understanding is that a vehicle cannot meet 5-star rating for pedestrian and cyclist safety if it has an attached bull-bar. I grew up in the county on a farm. We did not have 4WDs but rather attached wheel chains in winter to drive boggy tracks. We also did not have bull-bars, but drove slowly when in roo country at dawn and dusk.
My understanding is that a vehicle cannot meet 5-star rating for pedestrian and cyclist safety if it has an attached bull-bar.
Actually this isn't correct. The vehicle model is assessed and given the star rating without the bullbar (in both occupant and pedestrian safety tests). Whether a bull bar is fitted afterwards is up to the driver.
Prior to helmet laws coming into effect, i used to regularly descend norton summit, gorge road, greenhill road etc wearing nothing more than a cycling cap on my head.
I wouldn't say it's for everyone, but i don't think it's intrinsically dangerous. descending a hill is only as dangerous as you want to make it.
Don't believe I made any reference at all or use the Europe experience in any way as an example to say that you should descend Lofty or Summit without a helmet! Where did you get that from? I'm predominantly talking about the cyclist specific tracks, city paths and roads which are ideal for slow speed commuting and social cycling.
BTW the cycling phenomenon is much wider spread than Denmark and Holland. In fact, I think they are poor examples because they are too far removed from our city. However, Milan, London, Vienna, Paris and many others have high numbers of vehicular traffic and still manage to provide safe cycling facilities.