This add series was aired by a friend on TV in Brisbane recently. :-)
QLD recently had change of government the original nanny state party is gone so there is now a good chance that there could be a change to the helmet laws either to an NT style exemption or complete exemption for all adults.

It is remarkable that at time when we are about to be hit with a CO2 tax and with all the public concern over global warming and the huge burden on the health system of sedentary lifestyle diseases that the most efficient and healthy form of transport has been and is still being discouraged by helmet laws. As a result of this law the predominant type of riders remaining on our roads seem to be lycra wearing men on racers - this would tend to suggest that repealing this law would result in a huge increase in the number of other people riding especially women (the NT has the highest participation of women riders of any state - it is also the only region with a bicycle helmet exemption for adults ).

At the same time there is a lack of any statistical evidence of effacicy of helmet laws in fact their failure and large deterrent effect on cycling is both used as...
- so why are we still burdened with this counter productive nanny state law.

Even though 1500 people die in car accidents yearly car drivers are not forced to wear helmets, in fact the government takes our tax and gives it away to incompetent car companies who cant balance their books. !

The government's bias is clear, in your car it's air-conditioned comfort but ride a bike and you get will get fined if you refuse to wear a sweat box on your head even at low speed or offroad.

The Labor governments poor judgment and steadfast refusal to admit their bias is obvious - it is simply appalling that this law not only results in thousands of innocent people being fined every year, which is at best a waste of police time and resources. It also deters thousands more from cycling in favour of motor cars which are one of the primary sources of pollution including not just C02 but other toxins which can cause health problems for people living near roads. Motor vehicles are also responsible for the great majority of pedestrians killed each year and over 90% of cyclist fatalities.

Whether you personally prefer to wear a helmet or not please show your support for reform and support the right of others to choose for themselves.

Tags: helmets

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"Every time there's a discussion of cycling safety the helmet crowd emerge" IMHO that should be anti-helmet crowd :)

I seem to recall a recent discussion about the safety of listening to music while riding that never mentioned helmets and another two threads about bicycle lanes and where to ride on the road, don't think they had any mention of helmets either, several other discussions about cyclists interaction with buses have occurred, don't recall those being steered into a discussion about helmets  so could you explain what you mean by "Every time"?

You've got a cool name by the way

This one is my favourite

Lock them all up and throw the key away! LOL

Hi Paul thanks for the video.
It's pretty clear based on these random Q&A that if they bought in mandatory helmet laws they could reduce bike usage and make riding more dangerous just like our helmet laws have been doing for years.

Our nanny state paranoia based helmet laws create a very effective negative feedback loop which discourages bike usage. Our laws are not just ridiculous but lead to many thousands of innocent people being treated like criminals - the law takes away our right to make even the most trivial of decisions.

Helmet laws are a clear case of intrusive government interference discouraging a healthy activity and even making it more dangerous.

Certainly the video is an interesting statement.

SO if you have cycled since you were a toddler and live in a city where it is faster to cycle and never worn a helmet before you will wonder why you would need a helmet.

So if you have never worn a helmet you will be hesitant to start.

This seems a very strong argument for MHL

There seems to be some thoughts that cycling in Holland is safer.

Looking at the video the majority of bikes had mudguards.

Perhaps in the interests of safety and increasing the number of cyclists you should be demanding the introduction of mandatory mudguard laws.

This way people could ride their bike and not get the road grime and dust all over themselves.

This will stop people giving up cycling because they get dirty.

Having cycled near Morphetville race course early in the morning I will state that shit on the road makes cycling unpleasant

All those oil residues on the road must cause cancer.

Perhaps Lance Armstrong got cancer from riding without mudguards and excessive exposure to road grime?

I believe this argument is at least as credible as any other argument put forward so far.

While you may believe that I am being quite silly this only show your own stupidity and backward thinking.

After all at one time you would have been considered silly for thinking the world was not flat.

Or is sarcasm just the lowest form of wit?

Hi Don,

"Perhaps in the interests of safety and increasing the number of cyclists you should be demanding the introduction of mandatory mudguard laws."

I did the better option, I started a business importing bikes that had them on as standard.  



Hi Murray

Your quick estimate is in the right ballpark, the Netherlands apparently have less than half the number of deaths per KM travelled by Bike compared to Australia - so it's pretty clear that there is far more to bicycle safety than forcing the entire population to wear helmets.

Given thousands die or are hospitalised each year to inactivity disorders and the huge costs of such diseases on the health system the benefits of getting more people on bikes is overall positive even with the small risk. 37 deaths may sound like alot but take a look this page and it gives you some perspective - we have for example over 300 people drown every year but even that is a drop in the bucket.

Here is a link to the ABS leading causes of death.

It's pretty obvious that if we discourage bike exercise we will loose many more in other ways when you make an opportunity cost analysis.

Any legislation that discourages bike riding may appear to save lives but that is simply dishonest accounting, for example 

Discouraging bike usage while favouring driving may lead to more pedestrian deaths like this.

We have ~180 pedestrians killed each year in Australia and over 1000 driver/passenger vehicle deaths.

While some here point out that some people who are discouraged from riding by helmet laws may walk instead what good does that do it has even higher risk !.
Driving a car also has risk especially to other people - why would you encourage other people to take a mode of transport which causes more harm to either them selves or others including cyclists, people walking and the very environment which we all depend on.
When you add it up we should support all forms of cycling helmet or not. This site is supposed to be about encouraging cycling - but unfortunately some here still seem to think laws which discourage it are good !

Your quick estimate is in the right ballpark, the Netherlands apparently have less than half the number of deaths per KM travelled by Bike compared to Australia - so it's pretty clear that there is far more to bicycle safety than forcing the entire population to wear helmets.

Is anyone really disputing that Dutch style infrastructure would lower deaths by accident?  I  was actually surprised that the Dutch and Australian death rates  were so close. I would have thought the amazing efforts the Dutch have made with infrastructure and safety would have had more impact. 

So according to that document I had the numbers are roughly:

Driving in Australia: 0.4 deaths per 100 million km

Cycling in Australia: 2-3 deaths per 100 million km

Cycling in Netherlands: 1.1 deaths per 100 million km.

Cycling in UK: 3.6 deaths per 100 million km

Cycling: US: 5.8 deaths per 100 million km

(See for those last three)

Two things interest me about this:  

(1) Australia does better than the UK and US.  That would suggest to me that MHLs do help.  It would be interesting to know how many of the Dutch deaths would have been avoided if the person had been wearing a helmet.

(2) If we could achieve the absolutely remarkable progress in Australia of getting Dutch style cycling infrastructure then we would still be asking drivers to double or triple their chance of dying from an accident when they switch from driving to cycling. 

Of course there are many other factors particularly the health related ones.


Hi Murray Thanks for the statistics figures.

It is really disappointing that anyone would condemn free choice and endorse sanctions against thousands of people and discourage many from cycling with no evidence and for such tiny risk.

Extrapolating 5 deaths per 100 million km you would need to ride 20 million km to reach a 50% risk of death. That is a distance of riding around Australia over 1000 times. !

This business with mandatory helmet laws is nit picking over the top government interference in a perfectly safe activity - it's utterly ridiculous that we deny free choice and torment and persecute thousands of people over such a tiny risk and and with no evidence to support it either while effective measures like infrastructure get far less attention. !

Based on the most minor of risks and given that you don't even need to show evidence of effect you could invent all sorts of laws to torment people. If you ignored all negatives you can support almost anything which is what proponents of mandatory bike helmet laws are doing.

In the bigger picture the earth - we worry about pollution and global warming - car companies worry about profits and political parties seem desperate to cling to power even if it means selling out to the highest bidders.

Every car sold results in hundreds of tonnes of CO2 and other pollutants into the atmosphere (~7000kg/pa). - pollutants affect other drivers, road users and nearby areas.

We should be rewarding people who ride helmet or not they save themselves money, keep healthy and are not poisoning the rest of us. It's pretty clear the government are in bed with the car & oil companies. 

If say 5% of journeys by bike/vs car represents ~5% reduction in car/oil/tyres sales in the 4.7 billion AUD  motor dollar industry that is a ~235 million downsize !. Therefore Industry and union lobby groups donate many thousands to political parties who keep such counter productive laws in place - and those parties will continue to keep helmet laws in place as long as they can keep deceiving us.

So Keep your helmet on but leave me and others free to make our own choices please.

Hi Michael,

According to a new report by GB Road Safety Minister,  GB is safer than Netherlands too.

See :

It's all about statistics. Here's one.

Aus road death toll =  1,292 road deaths in 2011 (lowest since 1946) (Includes 40 or so cyclists )

By 2020, it may be halved, sounds good. Until you compare it with firearms deaths (711) in 1986 (highest).

If it's truly about safety, it would be logical for MHL to be applied to motorists and pedestrians, Even if it worked 5% of the time, that's 60 lives saved just last year. Also by extension possibly to elderly folks. Look up the statistics of this demographic if you are inclined, you'll might be surprised. 

Statistically and from a nett health policy, MHL is a failed policy, and used by other countries as an shining example of what not to do. Why then do some people here fervently think it's a good, if not great idea? I think it's a case of being used to it. MHL *was probably implemented* about safety, and putting the onus on the cyclists. For those who have grown up with and are used to, do not feel uncomfortable with and  feel safer with the helmet, or ride a 'head forward style bike" or want to look like their fav TdF rider, or have been "saved" (or know someone who has been) of course they would think everyone should wear one "in case" - It's like buying accident insurance. Like I wear gloves, covered shoes, covered eyewear on my rides for example. 

Am I zealot just to support removal of MHL? No, there are many other stupid laws like paltry $140 fines for the "offence" of dooring cyclists and causing actual cyclist deaths (with or without a helmet), the A Meter Matters which never gets passed into law, getting drivers to understand cyclists are human beings with families too etc that are a higher priority.

But perhaps that's because I do ride, with or without a helmet, perhaps what we fail to consider is those that don't ride due to MHL, should your preference stop or indeed criminalise them? 

In the end of the day, the MHL safety statistics are ambiguous. If they were in anyway solid and indisputable, the MHL lobby groups would have long ago plastered them all over the place and we would not be having a discussion and all the other first world countries would have followed suit and applied it to their shared bike schemes.

Instead, here in NSW, to counter the lack of statistics, we have radio ads paid by the state govt telling you you can fall on a ride to the shops and suffer serious head injury. Is a helmet a guarantee when that happens? We all know that's not true. So putting 2 and 2 together we have a radio ad that implies that cycling is possibly the most dangerous of means to get to the shops. With or without a helmet. All thanks to NSW state govt for using my funds supporting MHL.

What does removal of MHL really means to you could really be a more pertinent question, you can still choose to wear a helmet after all.

Yes, put me down on the side that think MHL is a good thing. I think some of the arguements being proffered  againts MHL are so ridiculous they must be the result of falling of a bike without a bike helmet. 


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