I know AC has had no shortage of robust debates on the issue of compulsory helment-wearing on Bikes ;)
But I can't resist adding another element ... a recent post by Alan Davies on his "The Melbourne Urbanist" blog lays out the issues quite well in a balanced way I think:
It really is a complex enough issue that it's amenable to applying political ideas like classic views on liberty vs the state, i.e. what constraints on our behaviour the state is justified in imposing, even if in the name of the common good.
As Alan points out, opponents of the law will always bring out the examples of themselves or someone near & dear to them either being saved in their opinion from serious injury through wearing a helmet, or receiving a head injury when they weren't wearing one.
The aspect of compulsory helmets as a symbolic behaviour is a good one though - if adults didn't wear helmets, would it encourage a generally more conservative approach to riding in general - i.e. wear helmets if you see cycling as a sport, but if just riding to the corner shops do it safely and within your skills as a rider?
Personally an element of the debate that I believe is always overlooked is that in the European countries with much higher cycling rates and where helmets aren't compulsory (Netherlands, Denmark, Germany), there is a much higher level of training of kids on bike safety, how to ride on the roads etc, as an organised community & state activity.
Maybe such a foundation of training for kids, as well as much better cycling infrastructure, are the two things we should be trying to bring about as foundations for removing the compulsory bike helmet law?
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