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  1. #1
    bike whisperer Kimmo's Avatar
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    Helmet law reform campaign

    Australia was the first country to insist on mandatory bike helmets in 1990, falsely creating the impression that cycling is significantly more dangerous than walking, thus discouraging cycle use, thus making our nation unhealthier and actually making cycling more dangerous by reducing the number of cyclists on our roads. The process behind the legislation was negligent and driven purely by mere political considerations, as detailed here: http://crag.asn.au/?p=2046

    If I'm a cyclist of only average ability at hazard-avoidance (I'm not), and I ride an hour a day (I don't), I can expect to ride for 3500 years before being killed. So naturally, the government has to dictate my risk management for me... the only reason I'd wear a helmet is to avoid fines, but as with most such examples of poorly-advised state nannying, I vehemently refuse. I also refuse to pay the fines, and I'm prepared to go to jail for it.

    Unsurprisingly, it turns out I'm not the only one utterly fed up with being harassed and persecuted by cops for riding a bike with more sense than most (the general attitude in this country regarding this subject takes the law as gospel and sees helmetless riders as having some sort of death wish, despite the entire rest of the world... I'm so bloody sick of it). Thankfully, after 22 years of this damn balderdash, folks who agree with me are finally starting to organise: http://helmetfreedom.org/

    You can sign a petition here: http://www.freestylecyclists.org/fre...s?opendocument

  2. #2
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    We have the same idiocy here in New Zealand. My helmet is uncomfortable, and is half broken anyway, but I have to put the stupid thing on to avoid being pulled over by bored cops.

    There's nothing quite like the feeling of the wind through your hair (or scalp ) on a bicycle. Signed it.

  3. #3
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Personally, I like wearing my helmets. I wore one all the time when I cycled in Canada and Europe, so it was only natural for me to wear one in Australia too.

    I have a collection of decent quality, comfortable helmets in colours I like. If you shop around a bit, you could probably find something you like as well.

  4. #4
    Aluminium Crusader :-)
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    Ha! I dare you to post your comments on the Bicycle Victoria site, if you haven't already .Then duck for cover. There are lots of safety police over there.

    https://www.bicyclenetwork.com.au/forums/index.php

    I'm also happy to wear a helmet, but i guess it is a big drawback if the law has resulted in a lot more slobs.

    In my opinion, helmets are worth wearing, even if the only thing they do is prevent is gravel rash on your head and upper face, but if the compulsory law means that someone won't ride, or exercise at all, then, well.,...I dunno. Perhaps the law could be scrapped, and if it was, I bet that, because the wearing of them has become so entrenched, most would keep wearing them, especially on the road.

    I ride in competitive situations (races and big training bunches), often with over 60 riders, and train on busy roads, so I don't mind wearing one. I've crashed a few times, breaking 2 helmets, so, who knows what woulda happened had I not been wearing one? I won't jump the conclusion that the "helmet saved my life", or "saved me from being a vegetable", like a lot of people do, because it's hard to know.

    I'd prefer not to get into a debate, but.....

    I'm not up to date with all the research, but the last i heard was that they may not prevent brain injuries (especially in very high impact situations, but they were never designed to withstand severe impact from heavy vehicles), but will reduce the chance of skull fractures and having chunks taken out of your head.

    I hated the helmet law when it came in, and I virtually kicked and screamed like a little kid. I just couldn't get used to wearing one, especially on warm days. Mind you, the early foam offerings weren't great. Only to avoid a possible fine, i started wearing an old-style, padded leather helmet. Sure enough, and about 9 months later, I was hit pretty hard by a car, and as I went rolling and rolling down the road, in what seemed like slow motion (as usual ), I kept saying to myself: "uh oh, I'm gunna hit my head. I'm gunna hit my head. I'm gunna hit my head." Luckily, it was my arse that stopped me tumbling, right on the edge of the concrete gutter. I had a swollen cheek for a week. I looked like one of those baboons with the big butt cheeks. Ha. I wore a helmet all the time after that. I guess they still bother me a bit on hot days, but I'm so used to it.

    I've often wondered why there isn't more heavy duty helmets made, which are somewhere in between (weight wise, at least) a cycling helmet and a motorbike helmet. Sure, I wouldn't wear one, but some of the more safety conscious might.
    Last edited by 531Aussie; 12-02-12 at 08:15 AM. Reason: my original post was meant for another universe

  5. #5
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 531Aussie View Post
    but if the compulsory law means that someone won't ride, or exercise at all
    I had a coworker who didn't like the idea of wearing a helmet if she rode a bicycle ... it would mess up her hair. So she walked a lot instead. The helmet law didn't prevent her from exercising, just gave her an excuse to not try cycling, which I suspect she wasn't all that enthusiastic about anyway.

    If people really want to exercise, they'll find something they like doing. If they don't really want to exercise, they'll find all sorts of excuses to avoid it. Even if there were no law about helmets (i.e. as is the situation in Canada), their saddle will be too uncomfortable, or they won't like riding where there are cars, or cycling will make them all sweaty and they don't like being sweaty ... or something ..

  6. #6
    Senior Member trescojones's Avatar
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    people also get lots of head injuries in car accidents, but would governments legislate to force drivers to wear helmets?
    I have had stacks in bunches and in the dirt too, Im glad I was wearing one, but when Im climmbing something big on the road I do think taking it off would be better

  7. #7
    Senior Member
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    As a person with a brain injury, I choose to wear a helmet every time I get on my bike.
    I've been mostly very left wing politically and normally hate govt. interference in my life, but on this
    issue I choose to now conform. I wont bore you with the symptoms etc I suffer but I would suggest you
    wear a helmet no matter how much you dislike them (and I really dislike them). It only takes one knock......

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    If people really want to exercise, they'll find something they like doing. If they don't really want to exercise, they'll find all sorts of excuses to avoid it. Even if there were no law about helmets (i.e. as is the situation in Canada), their saddle will be too uncomfortable, or they won't like riding where there are cars, or cycling will make them all sweaty and they don't like being sweaty ... or something ..
    Personally, I hate to exercise - and I doubt that I'd ever do so over an extended period of time. But I enjoy bicycling since it's a convenient way for me to get places. So I end up getting lots of exercise but I doubt that I'd find any other physical activity as a substitute if bicycling were unavailable. And I note that countries where there's lots of routine daily bicycling (such as Denmark and the Netherlands) have far lower obesity rates than countries where bicycling is rarer and mainly considered only for sport/recreation (such as Australia, New Zealand, and the US).

    Mandatory helmet laws are particularly discouraging to the short distance, multi-destination trips associated with utility transportation cycling where the helmet is removed at each stop and must be stored and/or secured somehow. For such bike trips the helmet is frequently the only cycling-specific item needed besides the bike itself - i.e. normal street clothing is worn and it's very convenient to just hop on the bike and go. OTOH, the sport rider frequently has a whole slew of items in his cycling 'uniform', so adding a helmet to it isn't adding any significant burden.

    The other major issue with mandatory helmet laws is their effect on public bike-sharing programs. These programs have been much less successful in Melbourne and other cities with helmet laws than elsewhere in the world. People walking by one of the public bike stands are unlikely to be carrying a helmet around with them so they're less likely to take advantage of the bikes even if they would otherwise like to do so. And providing a helmet with each of the public bikes presents some problems since the helmet should be sanitized between uses and also needs to fit each user properly.

  9. #9
    Junior Member avalon7's Avatar
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    Well it's a bit more friendly around here than it is on the Australian BNA forum. I once mentioned freedom of choice and that I had seen a couple of cyclists not wearing helmets in my local area and opened myself up to a torrent of criticism and hostility.

  10. #10
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by avalon7 View Post
    Well it's a bit more friendly around here than it is on the Australian BNA forum. I once mentioned freedom of choice and that I had seen a couple of cyclists not wearing helmets in my local area and opened myself up to a torrent of criticism and hostility.
    Try The helmet thread. In its third or fourth incarnation, and only 208 pages long, this time around. Enough criticism and hostility there to suit all tastes; but also some interesting information, if you look hard enough.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  11. #11
    Aluminium Crusader :-)
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    Quote Originally Posted by avalon7 View Post
    Well it's a bit more friendly around here than it is on the Australian BNA forum. I once mentioned freedom of choice and that I had seen a couple of cyclists not wearing helmets in my local area and opened myself up to a torrent of criticism and hostility.
    Hee hee! Yeah, they're shockers over there. A bunch of geeky, over-the-top, politically correct do-gooders, trying to save the world through stickler-like application of every teeny little road law they can find their 4,000 page road law books that they all have next to their computers. And barely any of them can ride, either

    Don't dare say anything that's slightly unlawful, even in jest, or you'll cop it
    Last edited by 531Aussie; 05-02-13 at 05:49 AM.

  12. #12
    Junior Member avalon7's Avatar
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    I also questioned why a gay cyclist was looking for a gay cycling club, because I didn't understand why it mattered, and most people no longer care too much about other's sexual preferences. It had a few responses from others who had the same question and the moderators put a stop to the discussion. Nothing said, in my opinion, was offensive.
    I didn't realise Australian cyclist's were so uptight about everything, or maybe they're more Internet nerd than cyclist.

  13. #13
    Senior Member trescojones's Avatar
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    i wouldnt play down genuine tragedy and misfortune, but sometimes it seems like we all had to compensate for the idiocy of a few. At least helmets with a lot of good ventilation have been around for a while. When the law first came in there werent for some time.

  14. #14
    Junior Member avalon7's Avatar
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    I've only lived in Australia for seven years and although I owned a helmet before, I very rarely wore it. I admit I have become use to wearing one now and would probably choose to do so most of the time but still feel it should be a personal choice thing. I live in a small country town without much traffic and it does put me off riding when I might only be going a short distance to the local post office etc.

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