Friday, March 19, 2010

What can a helmet guarantee?

(the new emerging Sydney Cyclist!)

A Standard Helmet label quotes the following, and boasts AS/NZS 2063:
- lightweight protective helmet NOT intended for use in motor sports or by motor cyclists
- can be damaged and rendered ineffective by petroleum, petro-products, cleaning agents, paints, adhesives etc. (what exactly does etc entail?) without damage being visible to user
- when not in use, avoid leaving helmets sitting in sun or enclosed spaces such as cars for prolonged periods of time (rules out Australia or perhaps we're supposed to keep them refrigerated)
- heat damaged helmets will have random disfigured areas where the texture will appear bubbly or uneven
- if damaged, your helmet should be destroyed and replaced immediately
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AS/NZS 2063 is the Australian and New Zealand mandatory standard, designed by Standards Australia and enforced by the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC). It is interesting to note that there are no mandatory standards for headform AA, a common head size for the under 4 years olds - perhaps this is why relevant bodies are silent on the issue of cycling with young children. When questioned, the Roads & Traffic Authority (RTA) admitted they had no policy on cycling with young children.

The helmet label implies significant fragility. It would appear that the helmet is an 'anatomy modifying' device that is not only temperature and chemical sensitive but also etc sensitive which further implies an extremely broad sensitivity.

Basically in a nutshell, it cannot reassure because...it cannot reassure.

I refuse to compromise on seeking a repeal of our mandatory helmet laws. Bicycle helmets should be a matter of choice no matter what type of bicycle you ride.

Consequently, whether you ride road bikes or european bikes, the issue of whether to don a helmet or not should be your decision and yours alone - it's a question of civil rights and anti-discrimination.

10 comments:

  1. Hi Sue,

    Completely agree but getting the law changed in one go might be difficult, but not impossible though, given how useless most of our politicians are. They bang on about such laws being important because they 'care about us more than we do' apparently... it annoys the hell out of me. There are many other examples of such laws which, sadly, only ever get 'ratcheted up' when the next pollie comes along to 'save us from ourselves'...

    You should come up with a 'helmetless' bingo card - with all the different comments on the bingo card that are used against us as 'reasons' why helmets are important. When you get a full board, yell 'bingo!' :)

    Just for fun.

    Do you have a copy of the AS/NZS 2063 at all? I note that the (government) Standards Australia site requires any citizen to purchase the damn thing. I'd love to know what is really in it. I wonder if they also use the word etc.

    Cheers,

    Dr Paul Martin
    MBBS, FANZCA

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  2. hey paul,
    i will endeavour to get a copy to you soon - reviewing the standard is one of my plans for next week!

    looks like the nsw law society journal are going to do a story on my matter in the may edition

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  3. Could you maybe post a link to the law society journal when you are published Sue? It will be particular interest to me.

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  4. Please note that:

    Australian Standards are protected by copyright and may not be copied; and
    Standards Australia is not the government.

    You can view the Standard for free in most public libraries.

    AS/NZS 2063:2008
    Bicycle helmets
    is available for purchase here...
    http://infostore.saiglobal.com/store/Details.aspx?ProductID=1067176

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  5. Thank you, sfberglund, and whilst we're aware that Standards Australia is not 'government' and that Standards Australia design voluntary standards for on-selling, we are also aware that the ACCC has dictated that AS/NZS 2063 is a mandatory standard for bicycle helmets that is enforceable. As mentioned before there are some headforms do not have enforceable standards, for instance headform size AA

    ...and Paul, not all libraries carry copies of the Standard, but Standards Australia informed me that all State Libraries do

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  6. Sue & sfberglund,

    Thank you for the information. It was my mistake. I glanced at the URL and thought I saw GOV but in actual fact, it is ORG.

    I'll pop into the state library tomorrow and have look-see. By 'copyright', surely I can make my own personal copy for personal use provided I do not distribute or sell it (like all my journal articles I copy for review later - which is perfectly legitimate)?

    Regards,

    Dr Paul Martin
    MBBS, FANZCA

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  7. Edward, I've just realised if the Law Society Journal does publish an article on me, I won't be allowed to post a link but I understand the LSJ can be found in libraries

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  8. I noticed in your blog that you would like to see the AS2063. I am currently studying Engineering at Uni. Due to the nature of the course I have access to all of the Australian Standards. If you email me on luke086@hotmail.com i.e luke zero eight six I can forward it to you. Or send me your address and I will gladly post it to you. I too do not wear a helmet and the other day received a 143 dollar fine. It has trebled since my last fine! I do not think they have any plans to abolish the laws. I think that it is ridiculous that it is enforced. Cheers Luke

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