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  1. #1
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    Oz Helmet laws prevent bike riding

    I came across this article recently and I thought it might be good to create a discussion on it.

    Australia's helmet law disaster | Institute of Public Affairs Australia

  2. #2
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    Im glad of MHL's they saved my head from smacking in to the road when I was taken out by an suv which decided to do a left turn from a right hand lane whilst speeding in a 25 Kmh.

  3. #3
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    I remember wearing a dorky stackhat when I was a young'un riding to school and that was in the early 80's! But helmets have come a long way sice then and they look cool now too.

    If its all about individual freedom then why don't we follow these other countrys with other laws such as not wearing motorbike helmets ( there's nothing like freedom like the wind in your hair at 100+ km!) or seat belts or the right to bear arms! Poeple may think that we are a nanny country but face it people are D'heads and do stupid **** all the time, I say don't make it mandtory and let natural selection ween them out.

  4. #4
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    I used to think the same way ... let people choose to ride helmetless and let Darwin decide. But then we have to pay for all the vegetables on life support who don't depart the gene pool at the time of accident.

    I think the answer for those who dont want to mess up their hair is the invisible helmet:
    http://www.hovding.com/en/how/

    Otherwise if the helmetless rider is a part of "The Shire" ... feel free to assist with sterilization.

  5. #5
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    I would say that the article does not address MTB'ers or recreational road cyclists, who are at reasonable risk of injury due either to terrain or speed, but those traveling on good paths at relatively low speeds.

    The majority of non-riders referred to would probably not ride anyway even if helmets were not mandatory. The main argument seems to be about health benefits. Cycling can't be the only healthy pastime available to the masses. Most people I know who bought a bike because they felt they ought to or it might be good for their health rode it a few times and that's about it. I don't think the helmet had anything to do with it. You'll have ridden a bike when you were a kid, helmet or not. You'll know if you actually like riding for the sake of it - and if you don't you may as well jog or do some other activity for which safety gear is not mandated.

    FWIW the article reads to me like a personal opinion backed up by selected examples, not something to be taken seriously but something intended to persuade uncritical readers. But I am atypically cynical.

    I can't be bothered searching libraries for statistics from foreign countries etc. and making a judgement for myself. I'd say without any basis that at low speeds on cycling paths removed from traffic, or on footpaths, that helmets aren't really going to make much difference. But in most other cases it would seem prudent.

    Now...moofish...what do *you* think?

  6. #6
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    Well, from memory (unless it has been damaged) I have broken three helmets, and I only ride XC. So that tells you two things, first is obvious, I fall off a lot! Second, I am a fan of helmets!

    Besides, where would I mount my helmet light??

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by nuclear_powered View Post
    I used to think the same way ... let people choose to ride helmetless and let Darwin decide. But then we have to pay for all the vegetables on life support who don't depart the gene pool at the time of accident.
    This. But if they decide not to ride with a helmet, they forfeit any financial support when they suffer any traumatic brain injury. Informed consent

  8. #8
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    The problem with bicycle helmet statistics is data is hard to collect.

    Take motorcycle accidents. Insurance companies, law enforcement, DMV's, and emergency rooms all track accident data, so it is easy to analyze helmet vs non-helmet injuries. Many bike accidents are not reported to the police, nor does it always mean a trip to the hospital.

    This is an important concept as well: almost all motorcycle injuries are serious, requiring a trip to the hospital. I am going to guess there are fewer bicycle injuries requiring medical attention.

    So while I always ride with a helmet, and I strongly encourage all riders to do the same, it is hard to argue for a mandatory law when statistically it will probably not make a difference.

  9. #9
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    What do I think? Well I wear a helmet and I would wear a helmet on the trail law or no law. My head is on the edge of being useless now any more hits to the head and it could stop working. I believe that MHLs are a total breach of your rights, if you want to be dangerous to yourself while not endangering others go for it.That added danger may make you more careful.The article does state that most cyclists would still volunteer to wear them as they understand the dangers.The Darwins theory thing I do agree with I would rather pay to keep a vegetable alive than see that idiot (even if made to wear a helmet he will still be an idiot) do something later that will hurt someone else on the road or workplace.If the stats are correct and they dont prevent any head trauma then there is NO reason to make them mandatory.Also these laws only apply to the road.So are not relevant to off road use.If I had a bike hire business I would hate the MHL.The fact that so few other countries have MHLs says how much they really are needed.Mcbain did the laws save your head really? So if they werent mandatory you wouldnt wear one? Well that puts you in the Darwin camp.Also in Oz have you tried to buy a full face helmet?Until very recently full face helmets were illegal.They were not available for a very long time because of the laws.If a helmet needs a compliance sticker a government dept. is getting money for it.If you break the victimless law you will get fined and the government gets the money.This is indirect taxation and governmental empire building.It is a breach of your rights and wastes the time of leos.The only one benefitting is the government.Not cyclists, so who is the law written for?

  10. #10
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    Just remember this was not a discussion of the pros and cons of helmets only the laws that say on the ROAD you must wear one. I also feel that parents should make their kids wear them.I am a parent and my kids wear them, but again law or no law I would make them wear one road or trail.The kids of irresponsible parents should be protected by law and allowing them to do dangerous stuff without the correct protection is child abuse so they are.If someone did get a brain injury I think their friends and relatives would volunteer to wear one without needing a law.When I started this thread I was still thinking about the issue but I can see no real reason for the laws now at all.

  11. #11
    Clyde on a mission!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shalom View Post
    This. But if they decide not to ride with a helmet, they forfeit any financial support when they suffer any traumatic brain injury. Informed consent
    With that line of thinking where does it stop? Do smokers also forfeit support? What about overweight people, they could have stayed in shape, so no help for them either? People living in smog filled cities, too bad, should have moved to a healthier environment? People that don't get enough calcium in their diet and have brittle bones? Kids with a too inactive life style getting injured due to lack of a trained balance and coordination? Or how about mountain bikers that gets injured because they didn't wear a full motorcycle body armor?

    I believe that if you want to pursue that route it's better to have it connected to the health insurance payment. For example, I get a lower premium on my car insurance if I fit an alarm to my car. Same deal could apply to health insurance. You can ride without a helmet if you like, but you'll get a discount on the insurance if you promise to wear a helmet when biking. Gives you the freedom to choose, but you get to pay extra if you like taking extra risks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shalom View Post
    This. But if they decide not to ride with a helmet, they forfeit any financial support when they suffer any traumatic brain injury. Informed consent
    so you agree to the same condition when you drive a car without wearing a helmet? Mandatory helmets in cars would have a far more significant impact on injury rates than it does for bikes.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sandrenseren View Post
    I believe that if you want to pursue that route it's better to have it connected to the health insurance payment. For example, I get a lower premium on my car insurance if I fit an alarm to my car. Same deal could apply to health insurance. You can ride without a helmet if you like, but you'll get a discount on the insurance if you promise to wear a helmet when biking. Gives you the freedom to choose, but you get to pay extra if you like taking extra risks.
    I agree with you. But how many people have health insurance? I know I do, and enjoy the benefits of living a healthy life, with a lower premium due to not smoking etc.

    If that were the case, health insurance should be compulsory, which would severely reduce the load on the public health system. This could free up those funds for targeted drives for enhancing exercise rates, etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tubby74 View Post
    so you agree to the same condition when you drive a car without wearing a helmet? Mandatory helmets in cars would have a far more significant impact on injury rates than it does for bikes.
    Possibly before the advent of airbags. But the drive for car manufacturers to make safer and safer cars has reduced the significance of your statement maybe? I am not sure. I have not seen any stats regarding TBI in motor vehicle incidents, so I do not know.

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    Helmets saved my head on a few occasions...

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluedogmedia View Post
    Helmets saved my head on a few occasions...
    Helmets saved mine too, mostly off-road. Then I would never go for a serious road ride without one because I fear the crazy drivers around Sydney.
    But on a proper cycle path like along the South bank in Melbourne, it does not make sense to make that mandatory and it always stopped me from using the city bikes...

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chopliker View Post
    I remember wearing a dorky stackhat when I was a young'un riding to school and that was in the early 80's! But helmets have come a long way sice then and they look cool now too.

    If its all about individual freedom then why don't we follow these other countrys with other laws such as not wearing motorbike helmets ( there's nothing like freedom like the wind in your hair at 100+ km!) or seat belts or the right to bear arms! Poeple may think that we are a nanny country but face it people are D'heads and do stupid **** all the time, I say don't make it mandtory and let natural selection ween them out.
    I agree with all youve said here bar that ''helmets look cool now'' there is not one helmet on the market that looks cool or even ok bar full face jobs..
    I own fox flux's, Urge's, 661 recons, mate they all look so stupid its not funny, yes i still wear em for most of the time, but gee people look like muppets in em, id rather look like a muppet than have brain damage, but im waiting for the day a slim line nice lid is made, if we can get men to the moon surely we can make a helmet that looks ok....cheers
    Dont ever let the truth get in the way of a funny story....

  18. #18
    fan of maple syrup
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tone's L'axeman View Post
    ... if we can get men to the moon surely we can make a helmet that looks ok.
    At least the former of these was an actual, quantifiable goal. The latter is entirely subjective.

    In my opinion, most FFs all look alike (but still great in their alike-ness), and all of today's XC lids and AM lids (read: XC lids with minor, largely innefectual modifications to make AM riders feel like they're wearing a more hardcore lid than a wimpy XC rider) all look fantastic compared to a Stackhat.

    Horses for courses I guess.

    As for the topic at hand, for a different perspective: I'm currently holidaying in Bali, where I would estimate close to half the occupants of motorcycles (of which there are an insane amount compared to Australia) are helmetless. This is the same as Vietnam and Thailand from what I've seen, and I'm guessing most SE Asian countries. The Balinese are a beautiful, peaceful and happy people on the whole, and seem totally unfazed about most things that we Westerners fuss and obsess over. They also seem unfazed about the potential head injuries they'd sustain if they had an accident. I'm assuming they know the risks, and are happy with their choice. Heck, they seem happy about most things (except perhaps drunken, Bintang-singlet-wearin pisshead Aussies who I desperately try not to associate with)

    However, in all the aforementioned countries, I also frequently see entire helmetless families on the one motorcycle. Sub-teens, toddlers, even younger ... sandwiched between mum & dad and on the bars, mixing it with cars, trucks & buses.

    I know in most cases a motorcycle is the only form of transport they can afford, and public transport is nearly non-existent, so its just how it is. But the part of me that sees a fresh "Motorcyclist obliterated by car" YouTube clip every week or so, obviously filmed in a county like this or similar, just hopes its not one of these families that are victims.

    I'd much rather it be the drunken, Bintang-singlet-wearin piss head Aussies.

  19. #19
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    LOL on the news, brisbane city cycles, 5000 helmets missing!

    Persoanlyl I think FF's look silly, they serve a purpose, but you look daft wearing one...

    I always wear them, have done since late 91 feel wrong not to now, I am forever seeing people not wearing them, I don't think dropping the laws would really make much difference, the people that don't wear them won't either way and the people that don't cycle because of the helmet laws, are they really going to ride much anyway?

  20. #20
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    Having laws is one thing. Enforcing them is another.
    I always wear mine (661 recon), and don't care how it looks. And I'm sure that others care even less.

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    This map is interesting: Road Fatalities 2011 - Google Maps

    21 December,2011
    Last Updated by roadsafetyenquiries-oic on Dec 28, 2011
    At about 3.10 pm a cyclist travelling south along the footpah lost control, fell from his bicycle and hit his head on the ground sustaining critical injuries. The cyclist later died in hospital on the 23rd.


    Perhaps a helmet may have saved his life? Although he may have been wearing one; it does not say.

  22. #22
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    without helmet laws i would probably, as a kid, not worn one coz they were seen as goofy. i'd also be dead now. the helmet laws attacked that stigma which they would otherwise have always suffered from.

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