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.
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Regards protecting people from cars above 60kmph you may find this interesting.
The reason we have less bike infrastructure than some other places is because helmet laws reduce the number of people riding - if you support helmet laws you are basically excluding thousands of people from riding who would demand more cycle ways and wider roads with bike lanes - instead many of those people are driving cars making it even more dangerous for the remaining cyclists.
So helmet law supporters are actually making the roads more dangerous for both themselves and other people in quite a number of way. Our safety record as a result is worse than many places without such counter-productive laws.
So, if youre riding along on a busy road with a 80km/hr speed limit and then you turn into a quiet road with a 60km/hr limit you can take your helmet off? You still have to lug your helmet with you so you might as well keep it on your head.
Will M, stirring a pot?
Based on previous threads on this site most members are quite convinced that skulls are little more than egg shells, cycling is quite dangerous and without a helmet you are highly likely to end up with a serious brain injury (aka cereal through a straw).
It still amazes me that whilst the Aust Standard for cycling helmets is a drop from 2 metres, pretty much the exact same is the natural ability of the human skull. Clearly, having a buffer for that same skull does seem prudent, one must wonder as to the logic. Yes, tangling with >1 tonne of motor vehicle is detrimental to one's body. Still, a helmet will have little bearing upon actual survival. But then that's just my opinion... It is a topic well worth calm rational discussion, after all we are a bit of an oddity with our mandatory helmet laws and argument exists that they dissuade people from cycling.
i'm reasonably happy with laws being relaxed, as long as the person who chooses to excercise this right also excercises the right to be removed from any public funded medical/legal help, if an incident did unfortunately happen.
Simon that is certainly a strong case for alcohol prohibition also.
Your not a prohibitionist though are you ?
Anyone could reasonable argue those who drink should loose any right to compensation if they have health issues, alcohol addiction, cause injury to themselves or others while intoxicated. Anyway you get the jist of the argument - almost any do gooder - wowser legislation could be based on that it would be like living in concentration camp by the time they were finished !.
But Yes as you noticed we all have unfortunately or fortunately (depending who you ask) been conscripted into public health schemes with little choice.
What I would like to suggest though is that we should be able to do exactly what you suggest - opt out and instead any person could present their medical health and lifestyle to a private insurance company and get insurance based on actual risk that way instead (or simply DIY your own trust fund much like super- or a savings account).
Given that regular bike riders are relatively healthy(at least the ones who don't ride recklessly and think the roads are some kind of bicycle race track) and long lived (helmet or not) they would probably find their premiums lower than general population. !
For the remainder of the population their premiums would increase as they would no longer be subsidised by the healthier people riding bikes.
Simon you may not realise just how right you are. :-)
Repealing the law will lower our government health expenditure but only if they can't opt out yes you would have to pay their expenses but overall not an issue since they are overall lower than average.
Everyone wins in this situation especially those who would not otherwise have been riding.
But if cyclists could opt out by choice as you suggest they would save thousands of $ or could get a higher grade of private cover for the same amount based on good health.
Bike riders win twice no helmet laws and saving $$. The general population would probably only pay a little more initially until healthier fitter people worked out they could leave the system and go private. Eventually for the remaining chronically unfit or unhealthy people on the public system the Medicare premiums would eventually rise quite allot.
FYI Some further reading on cost of chronic health problems. >>
It's so odd the government spend a fortune trying to get people to get fit then they shoot themselves in the foot by discouraging one of the most beneficial activities possible where people get exercise without even trying.
Surely any reasonably prudent person would come to the conclusion, without the need to refer to literature or other data, that helmets have the potential to save your life in the event of crashing? It really is illogical and a lack of common-sense to suggest otherwise.
Bike crashes can occur anywhere at any speed and seriously injure the cyclist: try running at just 15km/h (slow for cycling, right?) towards a wall and then head-butt it without a helmet. You wouldn't do it, would you? Why not? Because it's a no-brainer (pun intended) of the potential consequences.
I do not agree with the suggestion that hundreds (or was it thousands?) of people do not take up cycling because they would have to wear a helmet. Cycling can be expensive and maybe that is more a factor, but the compulsory requirement to wear helmets as a factor? Really?
Some of you have mentioned that after many years of cycling without helmets you've never suffered any head trauma. I am very pleased that is the case but there is a very talented teenage female cyclist who is only alive today (and back on her bike) because her helmet saved her life last year and that is an irrebuttable fact. My point here is that if you choose to roll the dice and ride without a helmet, you only have to lose once and it is forever.
To suggest to others "go ahead, ride without a helmet if you're prepared to pay the fine" completely misses the point that helmets have potential to save your life.
Road safety is everybody's responsibilty.
Thanks for your input Gary.
You might like to take your argument a little further and argue for mandatory helmet use when playing footy (http://www.news.com.au/national/football-match-knock-kills-young-wa...), or people going down stairs may be required to wear a helmet (http://www.news.com.au/breaking-news/woman-dies-after-falling-down-...). The world if full of dangerous activities and it sometimes has to be accepted that accidents happen. There has to be a balance between safety and freedom. If Adelaide city council reduced city speed limits to 40kph and added a whole bunch of dedicated bike lanes, Then I think riding a pushbike in one of these bike lanes at less then 15kph without a helmet should be allowed.
The role of government vs personal accountability should be balanced.
Forest and trees?
The relative risk of all cause mortality related to the incremental inhalation of particulate matter less than 2.5 µm was 1.002. The corresponding mortality attributable fraction was 0.002, leading to an estimated 0.13 expected annual number of deaths from air pollution in the Bicing population. The relative risk of road traffic crashes for the Bicing population compared with car users was 1.0007, with an associated attributable fraction of 0.0007, resulting in 0.03 extra deaths per year from road traffic incidents in the Bicing population. As a result, 52.15 deaths would have been expected each year, but because cycling was used as a typical means of transport, the number of annual deaths was reduced by 12.28 to 39.87 (table 2⇓). (http://www.bmj.com/content/343/bmj.d4521)
The risk from inhaling pollution whilst cycling in city traffic far outweighs the risk of injury due to an accident - not just serious head injury which helmets are meant to mitigate - but all types of injury.
A prudent person would come to the conclusion that wearing a gas mask and mandating the wearing of gas masks by the cycling population would be even more sensible than wearing a helmet.
Do you use an air filter whilst cycling?
The risk from inhaling pollution whilst cycling in city traffic far outweighs the risk of serious life threatening injury due to an accident - not just serious head injury which helmets are meant to mitigate - but all types of serious life threatening injury.
Couldn't edit this, but I thought I should before a pedant gets hold of it.
There are clear links that helmet laws discourage cycling this is from data gatherd from our own country.
You also seem unaware that thousands of people are fined each year over 20000 each year which is certainly an indication that thousands of people would like to ride without a helmet - yet as law abiding people many will simply drive or walk instead to avoid any confrontation with the law.
Repealing helmet laws does not mean that helmets are ineffective or bad, it simply means that cyclists should have the choice to decide for themselves when they need to wear a helmet.
Naturally for the risk adverse such as yourself we would recommend wearing a helmet while walking
and even for soccer !
but we respect your right to choose won't you respect ours. ?
I found the comment in the article on soccer helmets interesting
"Those who believe he is merely a shrewd businessman see him as a con artist, a classic demagogue interested only in instilling fear in soccer moms and dads, creating a need, then selling the faux remedy. "
It is interesting the crafty helmet salesmen succeed in Australia - not within the car industry of course you cant beat such a large group but they found an easy target bike riders in Australia a reasonably wealthy and relatively isolated country where rather than try and sell helmets to bike riders in the usual fassion they managed to convince the government that all bike users (Essentially a minority group) should be forced to wear them under threat of sanctions. :-(
For someone who states there are "clear links that helmet laws discourage cycling", how about showing that data. All I've seen so far is a heap of links to tangental stories.