Sue Abbot did it and so a precedent has been set for the rest of us who strongly believe that bicycle helmets should be a choice and not a law to stand up for our rights in the Magistrates Court!
I am interested to know if others have taken their fines to court, what the outcomes were and any advise to those of us who will continue to cycle without helmets risk the fine and who will not pay the fine.

 Steve Jay mentioned in a separate discussion "Every freedom comes at a cost. Ours will require an awful lot of everyday cyclists getting active and risking fines or arrest, just as any campaign in history. It will require charismatic true believers who come from middle Australia".

It will also require our stories of not rolling over and taking this to be shared.

"Choice not Law"
Let's keep spreading the message!


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My cycling is mainly on road. Whether a helmet is going to save me if I have a collision with a car is debatable. If there were paths or roads where motor vehicles were banned then maybe riding without a helmet would be safe. As it is however there are too many idiots behind the wheel of cars. I guess I'm saying one hat does'nt fit all.
What is your basic objection to wearing a helmet? Is it because you don't like it or are you simply reacting to being obliged to wear it? I've heard many arguments for and against helmets and the people to ask are the paramedics who scrape accident victims off the road - the four I have canvassed on the subject have all been in favour of helmets and believe they should be compulsory. Any MC readers see accident victims on a regular basis? what are your views? I ride regularly at 30-45kmh and would not dream of going without a helmet. Sure fight the system, waste your money on fines etc, but don't encourage others to break the law.
One of my main objections to helmets (and I am talking about helmets for everyday commuter/recreational cycling as opposed to sport cycling) is that it perpetuates this idea that cycling is dangerous, that we are vulnerable road users (keep in mind many cyclist only use cycle paths) and that every accident you have involving your bike is going to result in a head injury. I object to not being able to jump on my bike to take the quiet street down to the shop to pick up provisions with the worry that I could get a $146 fine. I object to the fact that MHL do discourage cycling across the whole which means that there are more unnecessary trips/jouney's made in cars (the list is extensive to the disadvantages of this) . And yes I do disagree with it not being a choice. If the type of cycling that you do increases your risk of being involved in an accident and you feel safer with one then continue to wear your helmet, no one is stopping you. With the type of cycling I do ( which I believe will be the same for many cyclist on the road/cycle paths already and for potential cyclists) the risks are VERY low. Cycling is a safe and healthy activity and should be promoted as such.
Rebeka wrote:
"One of my main objections to helmets (and I am talking about helmets for everyday commuter/recreational cycling as opposed to sport cycling) is that it perpetuates this idea that cycling is dangerous, that we are vulnerable road users (keep in mind many cyclist only use cycle paths) and that every accident you have involving your bike is going to result in a head injury."

IMO cycling on road is dangerous. It's the idiots behind the wheel that you need to be aware of. If you have ever been hit by a car(I have), or even forced off the road you are glad that you have a helmet.
I sorta equate the argument about helmets to be the same as seat belts when they were made compulsory. Some people simply refuse to wear them and the usual argument is that they are uncomfortable. The statistics showing that they save lives is ignored. ditto with helmets.
Cycling is dangerous and we are vulnerable road users! Even on the bike track; I see so many inexperienced riders who are a danger to themselves and others going too fast, barely in control. Have you never misjudged a corner? Had a dog run at you & take you by surprise? Had the afore-mentioned idiot come at you? Ridden on moss-slippery boards? I've seen severely injured riders on the bike track, just out for a casual ride, carried off in an ambulance.
Many accidents do involve the head, as inertia of the mass of the head often makes it hard to control even at fairly slow speeds once we lose control. Yes it is often a hassle to get rigged up just to duck around to the shops, but how else can the laws cover the circumstances in which an accident is a higher risk except by total coverage of all cycling circumstances. I disagree that helmet laws discourage riding, where is your evidence for this? You may well be at low risk of an incident happening, but a proportion of incidents have very serious consequences and this includes head injuries - in my view this justifies compulsory helmets.
I've hit my head more often slipping over while jogging, than I have while riding my bike.

Sample size of one, but should I wear a helmet just to keep myself safe?
Despite being a glib comment, I'll bother replying to this: Hitting your head while jogging is only marginally more dangerous than falling over a step or some similar situation - you are travelling at a relatively slow speed & falling only from a height as high as you are tall, and you can use all of your reflexes to protect and cover yourself; on a bike you are often travelling a hell of a lot faster, you may impact an object travelling rapidly the other way (ie. a car), you have restricted movement in deploying your limbs to protect yourself & it may happen with no action or mistake by yourself & thus no (fraction of a second) warning to react (ie if you are hit from behind). It is a rather silly comparison - wearing a helmet is less about the risk of something happening (low while riding and even lower while jogging) and more about the potential seriousness of the consequences (low from a fall jogging but potentially very severe from a fall riding). Do a little reading about risk analysis, & by all means wear your helmet jogging if you think you will keep falling over.
A-ha... but in my example, I have hit my head more often while jogging. So, on my analysis of my sample size of one, I should be wearing one.

As far as severity goes, I take your point. However, joggers are one of the pedestrian groups that do disproportionately-frequently get hit by cars. So again. Wear a helmet.

Actually, no, scratch that. Ban jogging.

And don't assume I haven't done my research. I have. Been following it for years. I've come to the conclusion that it's equally easy to argue either way, and that most of it is inconclusive. However, I am of the firm opinion that helmets are a(n easy excuse of a) barrier for many people to take up cycling as transport. And that includes the BlueBikes.

(Oh... FWIW, I had lunch with a mate on the lawn at the State Library. Counted 12 BlueBikes going past. All of which had helmeted riders. There could have been more, because it wasn't what I was focusing on).
A site you may be interested in reading is this http://www.cyclehelmets.org
Cycling is not dangerous, in and of itself. Cycle journeys, as under-counted as they are, are as important as crash numbers because without the number of journeys undertaken, the number of crashes reaching the statisticians in hospital emergency wards can't be seen as a crash rate.

A recent UK study found that there is 4000 cycling years between fatalities. Based on Australia's appalling lack of cycle journey statistics I was still able to calculate a 600 year figure in an afternoon's googling. This is a similar figure to roster hours between industrial accidents, and works by adding all the time of all average journeys and dividing this sum by the number of fatal crashes. Given the UK has better recording of cycle journeys, but that Australia has a worse road culture, I figure my workings are probably about right.

So, if you were to ride the Australian average of 8km/day, every day for the next 600 years, you're odds on to be killed on the last trip. That's 600 rider years between fatalities. Cycling is not dangerous.

OK, it "has dangers", but a helmet doesn't reduce your exposure to those dangers and doesn't reduce non-cranial injuries. Assertive cycling, as per Forrester, will make you safer than any helmet, and it's a better kind of safety - preventative safety.

To back up my claims, my experience is 25 years (on and off) involved in grass roots cycle campaigning, 31 years driving experience and 36 years in-traffic cycling experience involving 2 on-road accidents, both of which were the motorists fault, both were pre helmet mandation and both were made less serious by riding assertively than they might have otherwise been. The only time a helmet ever "saved my life" was clowning around on a mountainbike, I still broke my collarbone. This sort of history is quite common for most long time transport cyclists.
Sue argued that wearing a helmet could increase the risk of difuse axonal injuries. This argument is likely to be less succesful with the updated Australian Standard for helmets.
There needs to be a stronger, more general argument, made from formal research (instead of my bodging), developed along the lines of safety measured in cycling years between fatalities. Updating helmet standards are less likely to erode arguments based on a low crash rate and civil freedom.

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