Monday, September 6, 2010
Oh! Australia is such a contradictory and confusing place!
We're wedded to our helmet laws, yet we dispense with them when it comes to advertising as the Rocks.com photo above reveals! No sign of a helmet to sell the Rocks & Spring - only the harbour, a bicycle and a pretty woman. Clearly a 'stack hat' wouldn't cut it!!
...scratch the surface and Australian helmet believers actually reveal themselves to be not only scarily fanatical, but happy to run with the lack of evidence to prove their 'helmets-save-lives' mantra.
But I want to know how come they (helmet believers) won't let me use their 'lack of evidence tactic' to prove my position - surely it's flexible enough to go both ways?
I briefly appeared on the "7PM Project" (6:35 mins into video clip) last Friday night - & what an interesting exercise that was, to say the least - utterly invaluable, I think!?!!
Naturally many of the 'usual suspect' questions were asked - you know the ones such as:
* is it a hair thing?
* how come you're not above the law?
* why shouldn't you pay for your own medical bills?
...except for the one pertaining to seatbelt which was omitted!
Notwithstanding, these Qs are necessary to master because they're always asked and may be the useful ones to win the hearts and minds of the voting folk.
Prima facie neither the audience nor panel members were fully acquainted with Professor Rissel's 2010 peer reviewed article which appeared in the "Journal of the Australasian College of Road Safety" (p.50). If they had been, the 'same-old-same-old' questions would have been redundant.
In fact it would be interesting to discover what they actually have read that makes them such experts?
Could it be the much touted 'Government / RTA / DV Experts (private crash investigation company)' sponsored UNSW 2009 "Pedal & Motor Cycle Helmet Perfromance Study", whose very framework, in its call for participation, appears to support government mandatory helmet policy?
...and further does anyone know if the study is finished yet and if it is, where it can be found? If it isn't, can completion actually be guaranteed before the end of the year when the UNSW School of Risk & Safety Sciences closes for good?
Notwithstanding these questions and whatever the conclusions &/or expert opinion, some 'hearts and minds' are beyond 'winning over'!!! - as evidenced in the following 'email excerpt'!!!:
"...how dare you go on national TV and encourage people not to wear helmets. Children watch television and listen to people like you. If one child comes off their bike and suffer from head injury I hope you hear about it and realize the "good" you've done. Just because you don't like wearing a helmet? Maybe you should stop wearing seat belts next. Also lets get rid of safety guards on power tools. Wake up and think about cyclists that aren't you."
Oh boy! - maybe it would be easier just to relocate to the Netherlands now rather than later?!
After all, are we ever going to achieve the cultural capital necessary for a diverse and inclusive cycling culture?