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NSW is a Fine State

azsthj's picture

By azsthj - Posted on 24 May 2016

NB: Originally posted elsewhere on the Global Riders Network and appears via syndication.

Some interesting statistics in this Guardian Article:

DudeistPriest's picture

And down here in the ACT we are taking a different approach:

hawkeye's picture

on that article, especially on the tradeoff between the limited protection they offer and the adverse impact on community-wide health from inactivity driven diseases.

So now we have professors of health at 3 separate Australian universities of repute coming to this view and challenging assumptions about helmet policy effectiveness after looking at the evidence critically.

Change will never happen in NSW while Druncan Gay is Minister for Motor Vehicles.

Mojo Ridin's picture

“Three cyclists had been fined for riding a bicycle “furiously”, while six had been fined for riding “recklessly”.”

Let’s hope they’re not applying these rules in the bush or we’re all in trouble.

fairy1's picture

I'm still happy with most of the NSW laws and fine increases, I don't have reflectors or a bell so I may get fined at some stage, we'll see.

So, the ACT hears that helmets work in low speed impacts and want to make low speed areas helmet free........right....... Will be a ten million dollar study no doubt then some genius will get wind of these new-fangled MIPS helmets so they will conduct another ten million dollar study.

hawkeye's picture

I think what they're hearing is that helmets are of limited usefulness, and the side-effects of making them compulsory on overall comunity health have been much worse the small savings in head injuries.

What's the point in saving small numbers of people from a very minor risk at low speeds when the preventive measure turns off hundreds of thousands from participating in a healthy activity that improves their lives?

This is the story the evidence is telling and is why the idea (universal helmet compulsion) has failed to travel further than NZ. Its a tale of unintended consequences.

What we do is very different of course. I wouldn't dream of starting a mtb or road training ride without a lid.

DudeistPriest's picture

I guess a few head injuries here and there isn't that important, except maybe to those who have to suffer through them.

hawkeye's picture

for heart attacks, diabetes, female infertility...

fairy1's picture

I guess hipsters may be saved by the cushioning on the Sennheiser headphones if they fall from their fixie.

People are worried about what they look like they can just get something like a YAKKAY, they'll no doubt ditch the helmet for a silly looking "on trend" hat anyway.

I'd imagine that not wearing a helmet could change the way you crash, I'm not saying you'd choose to land on your head if you have a helmet but I think you'd could do more damage to the rest of your body trying to keep your noggin' off the ground.
I have cracked a few XC lids and damaged a couple of DH helmets bad enough to bin them and I do consciously turn my head to try and take a hit to the side of the helmet rather than the face, a couple of crashes I haven't really had an option though.

Wearing knee pads changes the way that bike/skateboarders crash by a lot while people without do all sorts of adjustments to keep their knees from contacting the ground.

I making blanket statements about helmets is pretty crazy but I'd feel more comfortable riding with no helmet riding XC over not wearing on on a bike path. Stray dogs/kids, packs of fat roadies riding like they are in Tour de France, I'm happy to look off trend but if people want to ride without helmets I'm fine with that.

staffe's picture

I went and did a bit of googling to find out what was happening back home after I left 1996 when everyone rode their bikes everywhere w/o helmets.

Sweden have seen a decline in cycle use since the stats started 1988 but an increase in helmet use. In 2005 a law was introduced that stipulated mandatory use for kids under 15 (they must have thought the older ones had already ruined their brains so what's the point?) Since the introduction of that law there is not a statistically significant decline in cycle use that can be attributed to the introduction of that law - recall that the decline had gone on for many years before the law was passed.

I personally do not subscribe to the point of view that helmets is an inhibitor to cycle use and I fully agree with points being made that when you are being hit by a garbage truck that helmet is of very little use.

I see the real inhibitor the lack of infrastructure to safely use a bike to get around. As a kid I rode my bike everywhere but my kids do not as I would not let them out on the streets around the northern beaches on bikes. Until such time there is adequately safe infrastructure the only ones riding to work are people like us who furiously ride to and from work wearing a helmet and with a pissy little audible device hidden somewhere on the bike so we are compliant with rules that can only classified as utterly retarded.

Slowpup's picture

Darwin made a pretty good argument against the protectionist aims of the nanny state.

I think most of us are MTB'ers because we feel that we are able to take responsibility for the consequences of our actions.

Our chosen "play" helps us develop strategies we apply in other areas of our lives. Take away the opportunity for us to push our limits in play and we will whither in other areas.

hawkeye's picture

Participation rates in the Northern Territory have roughly quadrupled in the immediate aftermath of relaxing helmet laws in the manner suggested for the ACT.

There, the purpose was to put a brake on the numbers of indigenous youth ending up in the criminal justice system for non-payment of fines that were being dished out as a result of discriminatory policing of soft targwts.

The unexpected side effect (increase in numbers) has caught researchers' attention.

Who knows, maybe we'll wake up to what the rest of the world has already figured out from watching what's happened to us over the last 25 years.

hawkeye's picture

Cycling in an alternate universe, where riders are treated with respect.

fairy1's picture

No flashing bike lights and the front lights have to have a beam pattern that doesn't piss off oncoming drivers/cyclists/walkers, I like the Germans.

DudeistPriest's picture

Berlin also has a defined environmental zone and only vehicles meeting certain exhaust emission standards may drive in this area. I'm guessing this would also impact on the number of people who choose to ride.

Carlosdjakal's picture
hawkeye's picture

We'll be over there for a few weeks in October visiting our eldest.

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