Now i know it is smart to wear a helmet riding down Portrush Rd in heavy traffic, or tearing down from Mt Lofty on a race bike, but if i want to ride down to the local deli on my old school pushy or roll up and down Rundle St letting latte sipping hipsters admire my flowing locks, then i believe it should be ok to go sans helm. After riding all over Europe last summer i grew accustomed to riding with no helmet, and i never felt my life was in grave danger. If the roads of London became too scary i just got off and walked my bike till things calmed down or i could find another (quieter) route. I think minors should be made to wear helmets, but as a adult member of a free society i am quite capable of deciding when and when not to take my helmet on a ride. This topic has probably surfaced quite a bit on these forums but it needs to be discussed again as a progression for change.
Replies are closed for this discussion.
Same arguement applies to seatbelts. People drive all around the USA without them and don't feel in danger. Your perception of acceptable risk may or may not be accurate.
I guess the question is of course a person's right to decide for themselves what acceptable risk is. There is also society's right to impose laws to protect someone (eg seatbelts) which are often done because society needs to pick up the tab for the injuries etc.
Part of the problem is, no one really knows if the laws have improved things and if Australia has a better situation than other countries - it comes down to statistics.
As for the statistics, well my job is statistics. The are lies, damn lies, statistics and then graphs. They need to be very, very carefully analysed before proceeding.
I haven't done this, so I'm not sure. 'Common sense' tells me helmets should save lives, but common sense doesn't always work.
Good luck in your quest to get this changed, I suspect it is a quest that will keep you occupied for some years.
Everyone really needs to get out of their heads that helmets 'save' lives. No helmet manufacturer or politician will tell you this. They are designed to 'reduce' injury in certain circumstances... thats all.... and at this task, they work well.
So yes, where the calculated risk is slight (eg in the park, on the beach etc) you shouldn't be forced to wear one.. no more so than if you were walking, running, etc....
The other thing people need to get out of their heads, is the thought that a politician will repeal such a law.....
Easy answer for you would be not to wear your helmet and gamble on the chance of not being hit with a fine. With the relatively low number of police cars on the roads your chances are pretty good. And when you do get hit with the fine you can think of it as a deposit for if ever you find yourself in hospital at the tax payer's expense!
Personally I think it is a good law. People have the choice to break the law if they want, at their own risk - financially or otherwise. And some do. I did it recently after driving all the way out to Kapunda and leaving my helmet at home. So instead of doing a road trip around the 75km triangle I had planned, I did about 5km on the road, and then took my MTB up dirt roads to improve my chances of not being 'pinged'.
But also a good law for the safety reasons. It develops a good habit in kids that will hopefully stay with them for life. And if they think the feel of fresh air through their hair is worth the risk of brain damage/death later in life, then that's their choice.
Last time we discussed it was here
The issue I have with your comment
as a adult member of a free society i am quite capable of deciding when and when not to take my helmet on a ride.
is the old adage that no man is an island. If you make the wrong decision then society as a whole bears the cost of your rehabilitation. So society as a whole, in my opinion, has some right to have input to your decision to ride without a helmet.
There are other issues you will see in that link above such as the vexed question of whether, overall helmets save lives and whether relaxing MHLs (mandatory helmet laws) would increase cyclist participation.
What has been demonstrated in the NT is that helmet laws can be repealed or exemptions added with beneficial effects. A trial repeal needs to be run in other states for at least a few years.
The NT has no issues with safety and for australia very high use of bike transport by many people.
There is a big difference between this style of riding.
And sports cycling where one commits ones self to take additional risks to save a few seconds - the interesting thing is that when you don't have the helmet on you will tend to ride more conservatively. While someone believing themselves safe with a helmet on will feel at liberty to take greater risks. Some will assert a helmet saved them after their falls but unfortunately there are also times it does nothing but deceive the rider.
What I always think about when this debate comes around is where do you stop with these types of laws. So helmet laws are there to improve safety and reduce chance of injury / death. Think of how many other laws could be created along the same lines. Perhaps if all pedestrians (and probably cyclists) were made to wear fluro yellow clothing we could reduce a bit of injury and death. There are countless other examples but I believe as a society we need to decide if we are going down the 'protect everybody from themselves' path or not. And if we are going down that path, how far do we go and by what criteria do we assess the value of these laws.
Its all about risk assesment. What would be a better thing to do rather than create laws is provide people with accurate statistics and information so they can make there own assesments of the risk.
Great point Michael. When these helmet laws were introduced back in 1992 as a blanket solution to protect the general population from hurting themselves, Adelaide and especially the city area was a different place. Moving forward we need to find a balance between encouraging people to ride bikes and their safety. Dedicated bicycle lanes, slowing down motor vehicles, and revised helmet laws within certain areas such as the city, it's parklands, and along certain corridors such as the river Torrens linear bike path, would go a long way to encourage more people to get on two wheels and move their legs in a circular motion propelling them forward into the future!!
What about workplace safety laws?
Don't people always have the choice not to work?
I had two decent prangs as a helmetless kid, once I was 50m from home and I hit a gravel patch, put me in hospital with concussion. The second time I was on my brand new 3 speed xmas present bike and didn't notice the road had turned a bit while I hadn't. In both incidents the outcome would have been better if I had been forced to wear a helmet. Lucky I have a thick skull. The low speed spills I have had as a helmeted adult make me grateful for a good helmet on my noggin. It really doesn't take much you know, if you fall on your head at 10 km/h you would be glad to wear a hard hat. Bike paths especially feature sharp gravelly corners to trap the unwary. I've seen it happen to others often enough!
Now if the SA government had an army of 10,000 retirees with brooms and batons and phones to help rigorously police the standard of the state's cycle infrastructure, you may have a case for no helmets, perhaps.
I recently came off of my bike, and I now have 11 stitches above my left eyebrow. The helmet shows clear dents above my temple, and I also have a temporal lobe contusion on my brain. Imagine what would have happened if I wasn't wearing a helmet.
I too prefer no helmet, as it is cooler and more free, but I now have the sobering experience of a helmet saving my life. So it's all safety for my noggin' from now on!