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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Great feedback Daniel, sounds like your helmet saved your noggin for sure. I would love to hear more details regarding this crash as I am trying to avoid blanket solutions to more particular issues. My point is I would like to be able to choose to wear a helmet or not wear a helmet depending on the type of riding, and the location of my riding. If I want to ride casually around the city and it's parklands or along the Torrens linear park or perhaps along one of the bike paths down the beach, I believe that as a grown adult capable of making reasonable decisions, I don't need to be forced to wear a helmet.
You don't need to be forced to wear a helmet, Will - just choose not to. Ride where you want, with wind through your hair. But the price you pay for that is a fine if you get caught, because whether you like it or not, we all live in a society where laws are made that our consciences are asked to obey, and not all of those laws suit everybody, all of the time. Your other option is to accept an imperfect world in which we can't have what we want all the time, and pay a few bucks and wear a helmet on your head. Is it really that big a deal to wear a bit of foam on your head to the shops? I personally wear a helmet and apart from the 2 seconds it takes to physically put it on my head, I am completely unaware I'm wearing it - and that's because I choose for it to be a non-issue. If its really that important to you - enough to call for global law change - then like others, I encourage you to stand for parliament or go through the formal processes to have the law changed, rather than just rehash the same old arguments on a cycling forum.
Brilliantly said Belinda.
I'm not sure that basing a determination of when you should and shouldn't wear a helmet based on a relatively small number of anecdotes is a useful activity.
You can think through most of these examples yourself.
It is obvious that riding on bike paths should reduce accidents with cars (a common cause of accidents). However, if we change the law to 'you don't need a helmet on a bike path' - what about the roadies flying down the veloway doing 50kph? (Or myself doing a lot less than that.) Clearly this falls into the more dangerous category.
If we changed it to 'you don't need a helmet on a bike path if your going less than 15kph', well that's just getting silly!
Also most people ride on a road to get to a bike path.
I think we need a simple 'it's compulsory' or 'it's not'. I'm not sure which, but I do believe it needs to be consistent.
The issue regarding minors in interesting, but it could lead to all riders around 16 (or 18) having to carry proof of age if they want to ride without a helmet!
Your augment is competently hypocritical and poorly constructed because.
"I think minors should be made to wear helmet" Why?????
If riding withour a helmet is safe it is safe.
It is not safe for some and dangerous for others.
If if cycling is dangerous.
It then seems bizarre to suggest that it is only dangerous for certain cyclists.
".......... i never felt my life was in grave danger
........... If the roads of London became too scary i
".... 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."
I believe you are fully entitled to ride without a helmet, as you must be a person of exceptional ability. You psychically foresee trouble, so accurately, you always manage to avoid it, so never need a helmet! Or when you feel things are safe .. .., you have again looked into the future, and foreseen accurately, there will be no trouble,and again is safe riding without a helmet!. You get it right every time!
I know of no other human being who has this ability to look into the future . My fellow cyclists, all at one time or other, have encountered the unexpected - drivers pulling out; turning right carelessly; just not seeing them.
The other issue, is how far liberty extends. General principle: I can do what I please, as long as it affects only me. Should your psychic abilities fail you one day - and a driver unexpectedly crash into you - it will affect others : family, friends, etc. Also us who pay the Medicare levy and CTP insurance. Who have to shell out extra, to treat road injuries that were preventable!
Great comments Mike. Therefore we need to make the city more bike friendly. Adelaide can become the City of Bikes! Those Copenhagen bike lanes were a great idea. The problem was they put them only on Sturt St. I can't remember ever riding down Sturt St in the city in my life. I will always wear a helmet commuting at speed down a busy road with parked cars and the like, and no I'm not a future seeing person of exceptional ability or anything, but if I want to amble along a bike path or cafe strip in the city then I don't believe I need a helmet.
There is, apparently, arguable evidence that more people cycle where helmets are not mandatory. I wonder if there is an associated increase in cycling head trauma?
It would be lovely to be allowed to, say, not wear helmets below a certain speed, so you can do your local shopping or pub run sans helmet. The problem is, once you give society an inch it will try to take a mile.
And how then do you tell your kids they need to wear one for safety?
A more useful approach might be to look at helmet design. Maybe industrial designers could come up with some funky helmet options that make helmet wearing less of an issue?
Really liking this feedback Simon.
You say "There is, apparently, arguable evidence that more people cycle where helmets are not mandatory. I wonder if there is an associated increase in cycling head trauma?"
The answer is "no, there isn't". That's the point. And it's not just about infrastructure. London and Paris illustrate that.
Fair comment - there are other helmet designs around eg in Europe.
What have currently, is dictated by Australian Standards presumably.
Will - You might like to read Dostoevsky's book "Crime and Punishment", as it has a lot to do with your question.
The main character Raskolnikov, is so poor, he is pondering the ethics of murder and theft. Specifically whether he, a student about to do great things and in need of cash - need be constrained from murdering an old widow who just hoards the money and has no use for it herself. Need he be constrained, Just because murder is illegal, and against the Ten Commandments?
He decides, humanity consists of two classes of people. There are ordinary ones; and occasionally great men like Napoleon, geniuses who do great things. The laws are designed to apply to the ordinary folk. But for the great men - the laws really impede them making progress - so they shouldn't apply.
The student, who thinks himself of the latter, kills the old lady, and steals her money. He nearly gets away with it. But he finds he still needs his friends, and hadnt counted on how his crime, would distort those relationships. He might feel justified himself. But when he starts to explain to others, he soon finds out they're horrified. So he loses friendships, pals, family, and so on. He can no longer speak to them, for fear he'll give himself away. They think he has gone weird and is beyond their reach.
Yes helmets came up before -- yes teh same old bun fight -- but I bet no one mentioned Dostoevsky!
Eventually the law breaker gets punished, with 25 years in Siberia.