Compulsory helmets

With the compulsory helmets law recently making the news again http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/08/16/2983587.htm

I thought it would be interesting to set up a poll to capture people’s attitudes to helmets and if you think they should be compulsory

What is your view on the compulsory helmet law?

View Results

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And if you have any thoughts on the law please feel free to leave a comment

  
        
          

Comments

  1. Ride2Wk says:

    If helmets were not compulsory I would not normally wear a helmet. The risk is a head injury on a bike is not much different to that of a head injury in a car or walking on the streets. But how many of you wear your helmet in the car or when walking?

    There are some times when I would wear a helmet such as on the MTB (because I’m not that good on loose dirt!) and perhaps if I was riding in a large bunch with riders I don’t know.

    The problem with Mandatory Helmet Laws is they give people the impression that cycling is more dangerous than it really is and it puts many people off cycling. Especially parents not letting their kids cycle to school like I did in the 70s. As an ex-Sydney commuter cyclist from 83-91, I learnt how to watch everybody on the road constantly and be prepared to avoid crashes by recognising when someone was even thinking of doing something.

    I also use a rear view mirror constantly so I always know what is coming behind and whether I can verge right around a sudden obstacle (like a car door) or not without having to take time to check. I find the mirror is more important to my safety than a helmet will ever be.

    I still use my original 1991 helmet – I’ve never hit the stupid esky lid on anything!

  2. Keane says:

    Interesting very recent article:
    http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/wellbeing/head-case-20100915-15cs8.html

    I wear a helmet as I am mixing it with Sydney motorists, some of them are a bit crazy. I also want to demonstrate to the other motorists that I have some regard for my own safety. If that means sticking some expensive foam on my head, then so be it.

    Having said that, the only crashes I have had is in races (too many to count in 20 years). I have had a few close calls with cycle commuters who clearly did not have a grasp of the most basic skills. But nothing else in about 250,000 kms.

    I am no longer of the view that helmets should be compulsory – for most people, it is a relatively safe activity. Since helmet wearing became compulsory I believe that they have become an excuse for poor cycling skills and motorists taking unecessary risks when cyclists are about.

    By the way, I really enjoy this site – it motivated me to do the Canberra 2-day Tour after an 18-year absence. Had a great weekend.

  3. Ben C says:

    I think it’s all well and good for people to not want to wear helmets. However I’m not convinced that they should expect the community to wear the costs of supporting them for the rest of their lives should the (almost) worst case scenario occur and they have a brain injury and require expensive medical treatment, rehabilitation and carers. So perhaps the laws should be changed to say that people who don’t wear helmets will indemnify the community against future costs if they happen to come off and survive but have a serious injury. Harsh? Perhaps but that’s really the underlying reason for the current laws isnt it?

  4. Russ Hawking says:

    In 2010 a survey of bicycle injuries was completed in Melbourne, (compulsory helmets), and a comparablle US city, (non compulsory helmets). The survey results and conclusions were published in the Melbourne Age newspaper. The results were that there was effectively no difference in the rate and severity of injuries to cycllists on the two sides of the survey. The conclusions were – 1, that there is statistically no value in having compulsory bicycle helmet laws, and 2. the compolsory helmet laws where they exist should be repealed.
    What the survey did not cover was the negatiove effects of compulsory bicycle helmet laws, of which there are many – prime among them being the compelling evidence that compulsory bicycle laws have caused a substantial drop in people using bicycles, (and losing the substantial health advantages therefrom.
    The obvious question is – why are our politicians so blind, stupid and/or negligent, in not repealing compulsory bicycle helmet laws? The answer is voter laziness. A recent survey found that 47% of respondents actually believed in compulsory bicycle helmet laws. They could not have had a sound reason for their opinion, they simply were unaware of the evidence, or perhaps confused their responsibilities as parents and the state’s responsibilty to adults, (first treat them like adults).
    Of course politicians would be encouraged by 47%. The fact that it is bad law obviously doesn’t bother them. We expect very little from our politicians and they rarely dissappoint us.

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