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.
Replies are closed for this discussion.
Any police officer who cannot make a decision to refuse an order to enforce a law they believe is wrong is nothing more than a hired thug.
The police are not there to decide whether to enforce a law, or if a law is wrong or not, that is what our politicians and courts are there for. The police are charged with upholding the law, end of. If we are to allow our police to decide what they choose to enforce then they risk becoming hired thugs, I'll happily stay with the status quo as I believe our boys (and girls) in blue are doing a bloody good job in difficult circumstances.
Would you put a 12 year old child in jail who could not pay a fine !
Police are expected to show some discretion when upholding the law we expect it from them especially given the myriad of stupid law's government seem to come up with.
So yes if they do things like this >>>>
and this >>
and this >>
Then yes they are acting more like hired thugs than police - it is an unfortunate position they find themselves in but it is up to them to make that choice.
Having read this debate with some amusment I thought I would put my 2 cents worth in. No matter what speed anybody is doing on a bike whether they be child, man or woman if you fall on your head more damage will occur without a helmet on your head than if you were wearing one. This fact can not be argued, a bare head will sustain more injury if unprotected as against a head that has some form of protection, whether that be a helmet or a pillow strapped to your noggin. If you dont want to wear a helmet because you feel you look funny or a worried about helmet hair then I suggest that your priorities are a little bit out of whack, surely self preservation should be your highest priority. The government makes laws that we as people that live in a society must (should) obey, whether that be helmet laws, speeding laws, seatbelt laws, occ health and safety laws or no smoking laws. On a building site there are certain laws that require you at times to wear hard hats, ear muffs, high vis shirts, safety boots, safety glasses etc etc, these laws are there to protect you not to make a fashion statement. At home in your own workshop you can wear thongs, smoke near petrol, not wear ear muffs etc etc and the risk of injury is going to be high. You can also ride your bike in your back yard without a helmet but if you fall off the risk of a head injury is going to be higher. I guess what I am trying to say is that in all parts of our lives there are laws regarding what we can or cant do, some we agree with others we dont but on the whole they are there so that we can all live happily (reasonably) together and stay reasonably safe. The police are there to enforce these laws, that is their job and it is not up to them as individuals to decided whether these laws are just or not, if they dont like that then dont become a police person. If you dont want to wear a helmet dont ride a bike, dont want to wear a seatbelt, then dont get in a car, dont want to wear safety boots, then stay off a building site. In other words the law says wear a helmet, GET OVER IT, its just a helmet.
I agree that we should all obey laws that Parliament introduces. That doesn't mean we cannot question them though.
I don't think many people would disagree about the risk of injury being lower if you are wearing a helmet. The extent of the reduction of that risk might be a matter for debate though.
The problem is that the helmet law had other unintended consequences, particularly a significant reduction in numbers of cyclists with no corresponding fall in rates of head injury. That negative consequence needs to be weighed against any positives flowing from compulsory helmet wearing.
I think the negatives have outweighed any perceived positives. That is the position of the European Cyclists Federation and a number of other cycling bodies around the world. Indeed, Australia is cited as an example of the negative consequences of introducing a helmet law.
By all means, encourage helmet use but the Government mandated wearing of them I think has been a mistake.
the helmet law had other unintended consequences, particularly a significant reduction in numbers of cyclists with no corresponding fall in rates of head injury
This is often quoted, there seems to be some confusion between co-incidence and cause here. I have no doubt cycling rates have dropped, particularly amongst the youger riders, one look at a primary school bike rack will show that.
However just because something happened at the same time doesn't mean one caused the other. At the same time riding rates dropped off , what happened to walking, running and other physical activity ? it's all dropped off, therefore it cant be because of MHL's.
MHL's are not stopping people hopping on a bike. The fact that many people are lazy is enough to stop them getting on a bike, or walking to the shop.
MHL's aren't going to protect all riders either , especially if they are unfortunate enough to hit a car. However if the fact that one life is saved because the rider wore a helmet , when they may have otherwise not worn a helmet, then that's good enough for me.
Statistically the number of bike riders as a percentage of the population dipped just after the MHL was introduced but it is now far above the pre MHL levels.
It has not recovered by % ratio it is only by population growth which is a pretty poor outcome. !
Had the ongoing recovery trend had continued we would have double the number of cyclists we presently have. The NT is a good example of what happens with a helmet law exemption for those 17+ , they have ~3* the participation rate we have here in SA and the most balanced mix of male female riders of any state.
Correcting the primary cause of people not riding more is easy STOP persecuting them and taking away their right to choose.
Don't you realise how intollerant and counterproductive this law is ?. People who support this law are like members of a religious cult who discriminate and covet the use of the bicycle for their members exclusive usage - we may as well bring in burka laws for women next they can only support that one by ignoring civil rights too.
However if the fact that one life is saved because the rider wore a helmet , when they may have otherwise not worn a helmet, then that's good enough for me.
Well there is plenty of nonsense in this thread.
The vast majority of cyclist fatalities in Australia are on the roads in accidents involving motor vehicles. There is no doubt that banning cyclists from the roads would result in fewer cyclist deaths. And from what I have seen many cyclists are MAMILs who only ride for recreation not utility, they can easily take their recreation off the roads to the gym or some other form of leisure. Also from the comments and spite I see aired in the media, banning bicycles would have a fair degree of public support (the silent majority could be bought to bear). So how does that work for you? More than one life would be saved - which is good enough for me. What an excellent basis for public policy.
As to the drop in cyclist numbers post MHLs - did any of you even experience the effect? I did in two different places. The number of cyclists plummeted - there were no sports cyclists where I was living, just utility cyclists going to the local shops in small towns - these people simply stopped cycling as soon as the police started targeting them.
There certainly is plenty of nonsense in this thread, certainly people quoting statistics without knowing how to interpret them, people assuming cause and effect etc.
AT no point did I state public policy should be based on my opinion. However my opinion is there is nothing wrong with MHL's. Your opinion is different and I don't have a problem with that either, the difference is that you (and others in this thread) believe public policy should match your opinion.
Also if you cant see the difference between enforcing the mandatory use of safety equipment and outright banning of activities such as bike riding , then feel free to drive around without your seatbelt on.
Ah, the old seat belt furphy. Talking about misuse of statistics. Have you bothered to inform yourself as to the statistics regarding seat belt use and their effect on overall road safety? Not just vehicle occupant safety? Here is some reading for you to consider. Statistics can be used to both baffle with BS, and to provide insights which at first blush are not obvious:-
I believe that public policy should be based on valid evidence. Not anecdotes or "save the kiddies" rhetoric. Why bother with the straw man?
Tim you have your opinion, I have mine.
Back to the "Valid" evidence argument, I agree statistics can be used to prove all sorts of rubbish, and the major problem is that there is significant enough population differences between countries that studies don't readily lend themselves to be used across borders.
There never will be anyway to validly prove the efficacy either way, so personally I think the best option is to mandate for safety equipment.
My total riding experience without helmets vastly outweighs my riding experience with (I spent much more time on a bike as a kid than I have as an adult), and in my one serious accident I wasn't wearing a helmet, but it wouldn't have made any difference either as I landed on my chin. But as an adult I would always choose to wear a helmet now.