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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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.
Thanks Mike, I understand your point here. I was hoping to find more support for my cause on this forum but have come up against a wall of opposition so maybe I should chuck in the towel, chuck on my helmet and concede defeat!!
Thanks for a great discussion everybody :)
If you find you are banging your head against a wall you should definitely put on a helmet.
A "free society" bears looking into as well. Who pays for brain trauma? Our public hospital and welfare systems funded by you, me, and all the other taxpayers. I would imagine it's cost effective to mandate helmet wearing. People who don't wish to wear helmets could be asked to sign waivers to idemnify the public health system? Oh, and made to sign their organ donor cards.
just tax the miners! :) thanks for getting involved in this debate. My heading was perhaps a little grand... perhaps it should have read "Helmet Laws Stifle City Riders".
And whilst they are getting the non-helmet wearers to sign waivers they could also get the smokers, heavy drinkers, drug users, those that don't exercise regularly, etc, etc to sign as well.
Yeah and car drivers - they should have to sign waivers - huge drain on the public health system. I love the hoary old chestnuts, up there with "brains splattered on the pavement". :-/
Why do people automatically assume that if someone advocates that helmets should be optional then no-one would ever wear them? A survey that Spartacus created about this some months ago indicated that around 99% of members would still wear their helmets irrespective of whether they were mandated or not - including those who are not in favour of MHLs.
I think the argument is about choice - not a black and white "yes" or "no" - is it not?
Would it be a free society if our obsession with automobiles didn't make cycling dangerous?
Probably not, people wouldn't be allowed to live like pigs, we would need to re establish our road hierachy and restrict irresponsible and unnecessarry automobile use.
Still, we are a lot like sheep and if they invested in adequate infrastructure cycling in Australia would be a lot safer.
Copying and pasting from a previous helmet discussion.
Meanwhile some quotes from Roger Geller the bicycle coordinator from the City of Portland,portland introduced the bicycle bill which requires a minimum of 1% of total highway funding to go to cycling infrastructure.
"A major bonus for the city is the statistic that shows, in a city of many bridges it is the bike traffic that is expanding, while car numbers remain the same. This means our bridges are still operating as well today for cars as they did 20 years ago - thats huge for a growing city trying to manage transportation." Safety wise portlands figures are encouraging, with the number of cycling injuries and incidents holding steady despite more cyclists being on the road. Cyclists today are four times safer than they were 10 years ago."
Cyclists in Portland "are four times safer than they were 10 years ago"
Has Australia and our pursuit of personal safety been this successful?
I believe mandatory helmet wearing is a good thing, and if the laws changed I would continue to wear one, however ...
... I also believe that the most important part of cycling safety is awareness. There could be a case to argue saying that repealing helmet laws would encourage more people to ride. More people riding means more awareness, and by my logic more awareness means a safer commute for me.