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Health expert calls for repeal of Australian bike helmet laws

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Health expert calls for repeal of Australian bike helmet laws

Old 08-15-10, 05:19 PM
  #1  
azesty
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Health expert calls for repeal of Australian bike helmet laws

A public health expert has called for laws making the wearing of bike helmets compulsory to be repealed, to encourage more people to ride bikes.

Australia became the first country to make riding without a helmet illegal in 1991.

Associate Professor Chris Rissel, from Sydney University's School of Public Health, says the greatest drop in head injuries was in the 80s - before the laws were introduced - because of road safety campaigns and speed controls.

He says the number of head injuries has remained steady since then, creating a case to overturn the helmet law.

"What it does is it puts people off cycling and makes people think that cycling's a dangerous activity, even though it's a really healthy thing to do and it increases people's physical activity," he said.

"And you're seeing things like in the Melbourne bike hire scheme - it's not working as well as it has in the rest of the world because people don't walk around with a helmet just in case.

"You've got helmets creating a barrier to cycling, particularly spontaneous, short-trip cycling.

"People who ride short trips down to the shops, or ride in parks or just going along quiet streets. Their risks are very, very low."

https://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2...16/2983587.htm
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Old 08-15-10, 05:31 PM
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I gotta say, in the larger context in which this article's perspective is coming from - I agree with it. I grew up riding bikes every day with a neighborhood full of kids. We all had paper routes too and our bikes were our money makers - all 22 bucks a week. None of us ever wore helmets.

Don't get me wrong - as an adult now I choose to wear a helmet when I'm really pushing it out in traffic during my commute. But when I take my grocery getter to the store, most times I don't wear one.

The main thing is he has statistics on his side since that helmet law was implemented, and the spontaneity of getting on a bike however one chooses is a freedom and right I think all should possess.
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Old 08-15-10, 05:31 PM
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Originally Posted by azesty View Post
A public health expert has called for laws making the wearing of bike helmets compulsory to be repealed, to encourage more people to ride bikes.

Australia became the first country to make riding without a helmet illegal in 1991.

Associate Professor Chris Rissel, from Sydney University's School of Public Health, says the greatest drop in head injuries was in the 80s - before the laws were introduced - because of road safety campaigns and speed controls.

He says the number of head injuries has remained steady since then, creating a case to overturn the helmet law.

"What it does is it puts people off cycling and makes people think that cycling's a dangerous activity, even though it's a really healthy thing to do and it increases people's physical activity," he said.

"And you're seeing things like in the Melbourne bike hire scheme - it's not working as well as it has in the rest of the world because people don't walk around with a helmet just in case.

"You've got helmets creating a barrier to cycling, particularly spontaneous, short-trip cycling.

"People who ride short trips down to the shops, or ride in parks or just going along quiet streets. Their risks are very, very low."

https://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2...16/2983587.htm

Take this to A&S otherwise you might start a war here. My opinion is that the "official" is full of it.. When you have actually witnessed or experienced a bicycling related brain injury your perspective on helmets being optional changes completely. Will a helmet prevent all brain injuries? Of course not; however, if it improves your odds of not having a brain injury from a fall then they should be mandated.
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Old 08-15-10, 05:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Sirrus Rider View Post
Take this to A&S otherwise you might start a war here.
+1
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Old 08-15-10, 05:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Sirrus Rider View Post
Take this to A&S otherwise you might start a war here. My opinion is that the "official" is full of it.. When you have actually witnessed or experienced a bicycling related brain injury your perspective on helmets being optional changes completely. Will a helmet prevent all brain injuries? Of course not; however, if it improves your odds of not having a brain injury from a fall then they should be mandated.
Hmm, I didn't think of the past history with this subject, you're right, although I don't think a war has to happen if respect is given to both sides. I am a helmet wearer myself the vast majority of times, but as I pointed out, there are few casual times when I don't wear one. So by default, I can currently see both sides of the story. And with a memory back to childhood, I can remember a time when this entire subject was nonexistent. That doesn't make it right or wrong though. It was just a time of being free as kids on bikes and free from this debate.
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Old 08-15-10, 05:51 PM
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Originally Posted by akohekohe View Post
+1
Yeah, I'm more of an archive member with those debates. I've read them and they can lead to nowhere. I agree. Plus, this kind of debate won't help my mechanical skills continue to grow or offer commuting tips for my commitment and biking lifestyle one bit.
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Old 08-15-10, 05:59 PM
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You may as well try to convince people that Jesus or Buddha was or wasn't the Dude. Helmet beliefs are an article of faith, not reason!
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Old 08-15-10, 06:48 PM
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Originally Posted by whatsmyname View Post
You may as well try to convince people that Jesus or Buddha was or wasn't the Dude. Helmet beliefs are an article of faith, not reason!
This, on both sides.
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Old 08-15-10, 06:56 PM
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"Experts" should never be cited in the absence of expert resources, most particularly in this case the statistics that supposedly support the claim that helmet laws have done nothing to reduce head injuries. I'm actually not a hard-core absolutist about helmets, but I simply can't stand these sorts of hand-waving applications of statistics where one can't even get a handle on the original data in order to make an informed evaluation.

Oh, and +1 to A&S for this sort of topic.
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Old 08-15-10, 07:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Sirrus Rider View Post
Take this to A&S otherwise you might start a war here. My opinion is that the "official" is full of it.. When you have actually witnessed or experienced a bicycling related brain injury your perspective on helmets being optional changes completely. Will a helmet prevent all brain injuries? Of course not; however, if it improves your odds of not having a brain injury from a fall then they should be mandated.
So who died and appointed you hall monitor?

I truly believe that, nearly 2 years ago, my collarbone-shattering accident could well have been a 'vegetative' event without the helmet; nevertheless, I stopped wearing my own last month, and no longer demand it of my kids.

That's MY choice, not yours -- so mandate THIS.
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Old 08-15-10, 07:49 PM
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Originally Posted by DX-MAN View Post
So who died and appointed you hall monitor?

I truly believe that, nearly 2 years ago, my collarbone-shattering accident could well have been a 'vegetative' event without the helmet; nevertheless, I stopped wearing my own last month, and no longer demand it of my kids.

That's MY choice, not yours -- so mandate THIS.
I like the way that, the moment this thread moved to A&S, it elicited such a nasty and insulting response. I mean, seriously, "mandate THIS?" Are we in middle school? The post doesn't even provide any justification for this point of view (I can think of plenty), just an invitation to a fight.

But I suppose this is just another dead horse...
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Old 08-15-10, 07:52 PM
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Originally Posted by whatsmyname View Post
You may as well try to convince people that Jesus or Buddha was or wasn't the Dude. Helmet beliefs are an article of faith, not reason!
except this argument centers on the removal of choice. Helmeteers seek to remove that choice because they believe what they feel is the right choice.

Should the right of choice be removed? Is the argument that supports that right to be removed, strong enough to justify the removal?

Last edited by closetbiker; 08-15-10 at 08:02 PM.
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Old 08-15-10, 10:10 PM
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It doesn't matter in the slightest. No-one in the history of Teh Internet has ever changed their mind about helmets or any associated aspect on the basis of a thread like this. It's an exercise in futility trying to discuss it.

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Old 08-15-10, 10:47 PM
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Old 08-16-10, 02:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Sirrus Rider View Post
however, if it improves your odds of not having a brain injury from a fall then they should be mandated.
So you are in favor of higher rates of heart disease and obesity.



Is your business selling diet books or are you a heart surgeon?
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Old 08-16-10, 03:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Sirrus Rider View Post
Will a helmet prevent all brain injuries? Of course not; however, if it improves your odds of not having a brain injury from a fall then they should be mandated.
I'm really interested in this perspective, especially from an American. I had thought that Americans generally were in favour of freedom of choice. So, how far should we go in insisting that people protect themselves from risk, however small? For example, were we to ban cyclists from using the roads we wouldn't prevent all cycling-related deaths. But it would improve your odds of not having a brain injury due to a cycling accident. So should it be mandated? Pedestrians are as likely to suffer head injuries as are cyclists. Assuming helmets would reduce the number of those injuries, should helmets be mandatory for pedestrians? Being obese as a child carries risks of poor health and reduced life-expectancy into adult life. Removing fat kids from their parents and placing them in state-run care homes would reduce their risk of degenerative disease. Should it be mandatory?
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Old 08-16-10, 05:18 AM
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Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
I'm really interested in this perspective, especially from an American. I had thought that Americans generally were in favour of freedom of choice.
We are in favor of choice as long as your choice is to do it my way.
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Old 08-16-10, 06:32 AM
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If you feel the need to wear one or that your kid needs to by all means do so. If you want to wear a pink tutu ...hey that's your choice. Please stop trying to be my mother. My mom had 5 boys and we all rode bikes ,and still do so some 50 years later. , and guess what. with an accumulated 200 years plus we have managed to get by not wearing a helmet all the time. Every five years someone else gets some brain fart and decides what THEY feel YOU or I need to do. THANK YOU, but I think I can figure it out by now.
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Old 08-16-10, 07:55 AM
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Originally Posted by dmac49 View Post
Every five years someone else gets some brain fart and decides what THEY feel YOU or I need to do. THANK YOU, but I think I can figure it out by now.
Isn't it like every 5 minutes now?
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Old 08-16-10, 08:17 AM
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Originally Posted by dmac49 View Post
If you feel the need to wear one or that your kid needs to by all means do so. If you want to wear a pink tutu ...hey that's your choice. Please stop trying to be my mother...
... and that was what sparked and drove our helmet law in BC; a mother (who doesn't ride a bike because she thinks it's "too dangerous") who was worried about her son riding his bike to school and wanted him to wear a helmet.

He didn't want to, so she went to local council to ask them to pass a law so everybody had to. Turned down, she went to the provincial government to have an all ages law passed, kept at it and eventually was successful.
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Old 08-16-10, 08:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Sirrus Rider View Post
Take this to A&S otherwise you might start a war here. My opinion is that the "official" is full of it.. When you have actually witnessed or experienced a bicycling related brain injury your perspective on helmets being optional changes completely. Will a helmet prevent all brain injuries? Of course not; however, if it improves your odds of not having a brain injury from a fall then they should be mandated.
I have witnessed and experienced...didn't change my perspective one bit. Sorry.
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Old 08-16-10, 08:21 AM
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Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
I'm really interested in this perspective, especially from an American. I had thought that Americans generally were in favour of freedom of choice. So, how far should we go in insisting that people protect themselves from risk, however small? For example, were we to ban cyclists from using the roads we wouldn't prevent all cycling-related deaths. But it would improve your odds of not having a brain injury due to a cycling accident. So should it be mandated? Pedestrians are as likely to suffer head injuries as are cyclists. Assuming helmets would reduce the number of those injuries, should helmets be mandatory for pedestrians? Being obese as a child carries risks of poor health and reduced life-expectancy into adult life. Removing fat kids from their parents and placing them in state-run care homes would reduce their risk of degenerative disease. Should it be mandatory?
Sadly, these days way too many Americans seem to be soft little wussies who are not only afraid of their own shadows, but think there should be laws to ensure that everyone else shares in their misery and handicaps.
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Old 08-16-10, 08:21 AM
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Originally Posted by whatsmyname View Post
It doesn't matter in the slightest. No-one in the history of Teh Internet has ever changed their mind about helmets or any associated aspect on the basis of a thread like this. It's an exercise in futility trying to discuss it.

Not true! I used to be in the mandatory-helmet-law camp because the usefulness of helmets just seemed obvious. Then the results from mandatory helmet law locales started coming out, and caused me to question just how useful helmets really are.

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Old 08-16-10, 08:21 AM
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One of the most interesting things about the media coverage of the call for a repeal of Australia's helmet law isn't the call itself, but rather that it's getting coverage.

There's always been objections to the law, but it's never been covered. For some reason, now it is.

It'd be surprising if the government gives the idea any serious consideration because it has invested so much into claiming that the law is needed. To back track is to admit they may have been wrong all these years.
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Old 08-16-10, 08:27 AM
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Originally Posted by whatsmyname View Post
... No-one in the history of Teh Internet has ever changed their mind about helmets or any associated aspect on the basis of a thread like this...
I had my mind changed and witnessed others who have as well.

The great thing about the internet is that it provides access to information one may not have had otherwise.

That's a good thing
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