The Mandatory Bicycle helmet law was in the news this week with the release of a study by Professor Chris Rissel from Sydney University. This comes after the protest organized by Mike Rubbo about the Melbourne Bike share scheme, and that these bikes shouldn't require a Bike helmet ,and is the only bike share scheme requiring a helmet to use.
Australia Was the first country to implement a mandatory helmet for all age bicycle use in the early 1990's with New Zealand following because our National standards legislation are the same. There are several studies that show that mandatory helmet laws have a negative impact on overall bicycle use.
Just recently on a 'traffic talk-back' segment on Louise Maher's Drive program on 666 ABC radio Canberra, Superintendent Mark Colbran made an opening statement after a recent blitz at the ANU on people not wearing a Bicycle Helmet. 'Riding a bike is a dangerous activity and that a helmet will safe your life'. This kind of 'scare mongering' is one of the main reasons why Australia has one of the lowest overall bike share of trips in the world.
If you looked at a graph on obesity rates, then this graph would be reversed with Australia and the USA leading the way with obesity rates. While there are several factors relating to obesity like diet and physical activity, there is clear evidence that countries with little active transport have higher obesity rates.
Those that enforced the law here in Australia didn't have the foresight on the negative impact and scare campaigns on bicycle use in Australia.
Many people in this country still don't understand the difference between recreational cycling and urban bicycle use and are usually those people who don't cycle at all. Many people still use there cars to go short distances like the local shops and schools. This generation is lost in my opinion and with the lowest rates of cycling amongst school children it doesn't look any better. So until the next spike in oil prices there may be a change but there is the push for electric cars which will not solve congestion and the construction of more and more roads and car parks.
|The Racing cyclist (Helmet & Lycra)|
Father riding with children in Amsterdam (no helmets and
everyday clothing ).......... Dangerous! I don't think so.