(Photos: paying passengers on a Rickshaw Revolution cab waiting for me to hop in too)
Bicycle helmet law in Australia is fragmented, uncertain and inconsistent.
Take New South Wales for instance; among other things, regulation 256 provides that:
A passenger on a bicycle that is moving, or is stationary but not parked, must wear an approved bicycle helmet securely fitted and fastened on the passenger’s head unless the passenger is:
(a) a paying passenger on a three or four-wheeled bicycle, or
(b) exempt from wearing a bicycle helmet under another law of this jurisdiction
What I would like to respectfully submit for the umpteenth time to all The Honourables and Their Honours out there is that this particular section raises many questions ...
('once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more')
... here they are again:
(1) Why is it SAFER to be a paying passenger rather than a non-paying passenger?
(2) Why is it SAFER to be a paying passenger rather than a rider of the same bicycle?
(3) Why is it MORE DANGEROUS to be a non-paying passenger rather than a paying passenger?
(4) Why is it MORE DANGEROUS to be a rider of the same bicycle than a paying passenger?
These questions scream inconsistency, and cause a lot of us to waste a lot of time thinking about them including bike-cabbies and the bike-cab industry (oh! & if you're in Newcastle anytime soon, do yourself a favour a take one of these wonderful Rickshaw Revolution cabs - great fun, very reasonable and an amazing way to see Newcastle - magic!!!).
In fact bike-cab industry cabbies are convinced there is no logic to be found in a regulation that allows for paying passengers to use bicycles in an unhelmeted capacity when riders or non-paying passenger on the same bicycle are deemed illegal.
It is patently obvious that it is not reasonable any of us should be constrained by helmet law and forced to wear helmets when there are already enshrined legal exemptions for people riding bicycles without helmets in Australia, protected only because of the corporate arrangements they have entered into. In and of itself, this provision for paying passengers reveals that safety was never the cornerstone of regulation 256 after all.
Clearly a state regulation that allows people with money to buy their way out of legally-imposed infringements by legal-exchange-of-tender exemptions when the rest of us find ourselves up against fierce state legal systems should we dare to use bicycles either as riders or non-paying passengers in an unhelmeted capacity is untenable.
Helmet law stinks (#helmetlawstinks)