Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Helmet Hoodwink

We have been duped! Helmets were never intended to keep us safe but to remove us from the roads.

Politicians needed a strategy to do this and mandating helmets was the perfect solution. Naturally the Bicycle organisations were only too happy to come on board with this plan because they too were pretty keen to clear the roads of utility cyclists and 'Big Helmet' had undertaken to provide sponsorship should this law come into effect - the perfect symbiotic relationship. So happy chappies all round - roads cleared up, and enough of a 'helmet-target audience' to satisfy the avaricious needs of 'Big Helmet'.

But climate change, the price of oil, traffic congestion, urban gridlocks, and even our general well-being have conspired to undermine that cynical plan. No longer will cyclists be deterred from using their own roads. Horror stories delivered hysterically by Police ministers, ED specialists and Bicycle NSW are falling upon deaf ears. We do not believe claims that 150% of all patients seen in the ED are cyclists, we do not believe that the road is a 'jungle out there' and we do not believe that motorists are 'devils incarnate'.

We do believe governments have a role to play in the provision of cycling infrastructure, in the provision of education and in fulfillment of global obligations. We know that such action will improve the urban landscape immensely and provide far more satisfactory experiences for all concerned even beyond our shores.

To continue with the customary scare tactics to keep us 'in check' would only be irresponsible, costly, and an abuse of our civil and political liberties. Government's tacit committment to the oil industry has been revealed, and we now know that helmets were never intended to protect us but to deter us.

We have been hood-winked long enough - but enough is enough; so Mr Rudd and Ms Kenneally, we're finally facing the reality as it is and your current cycling road safety plan won't wash any longer - we're back!, and loving it!!


  1. Hey Sue, totally agree with you. I've been riding happily helmet free in the UK for over 35 years. Sadly there's a strong campaign in the media to force cyclists to wear helmets here. I really fear that compulsion is around the corner. Like yourself, I will happily break the law if it ever gets introduced. What we need is respect from motorists/pedestrians and decent facilities - not a piece of plastic coated polystyrene on our heads! You know, a woman was killed in London last month in a collision with a motorbike while wearing a helmet. Yet the first thing her parents mentioned when interviewed was that helmets should be compulsory! I mean if a helmet doesn't help you in a slow collision with a motorbike, how can it protect you against a car or truck?

  2. Thanks for your post - you are so right with your observations - people say to me all the time 'what if you're hit by a truck?' - as you mention we need 'respect' and 'facilities', and no ridiculous 'piece of plastic coated polystyrene' can ever be the first and last words on bicycle safety - basically helmet laws are a cheap and cynical cop out by governments

    interestingly here in australia, given that it is the law and generally people here are very law abiding, cycling accident statistics never clarify whether the victim was wearing a helmet or not - we can assume that means they were - so much for protecting us!

    we recently had a cycling death in town, and when i asked a local cop if the cyclist had been wearing a helmet, he said with some exasperation, 'that's totally irrelevant' to which i replied i couldn't agree with him more but that his position was not reflected in law with us being forced to wear them and him being forced to enforce that we 'irrelevantly' do!

    thanks again for your comment - very supportive!

  3. You're welcome for the support. The media hype seems unfortunately to be working on the non-cycling general public, and I have been asked several times 'where is my helmet'. I agree too that forcing cyclists to wear helmets makes cycling look much more dangerous than it is - which has the effect of actually deterring people from cycling in the first place. You couldn't have thought of a better way to put people off if you tried. Maybe the oil industry and motor companies are behind the whole cycle helmets farce? Just a thought... In the UK, we are also growing up with a generation of obese kids, many of whom will never get on a bike 'because it's too dangerous'. And why is it deemed so - because of cars grrrrr

  4. I think you are definitely on the 'money' with your thought that the oil industry and motor companies are behind the whole helmet 'rubbish' - and governments are complicit having been successfully 'schmoozed' by "Big Helmet"!