Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Facts v Profits

An 'evidence-based' approach in the helmet debate has been expediently masked by a 'marketing-based' one. Unquestionably the current reality of cycling safety is commercial, yet Australian politicians have willingly ingested all the spin so conveniently provided by marketers, and then regurgitated 'it' into a mandatory helmet law as though 'it' were fact. Inevitably this approach has fostered a commercial climate that has singularly maximised profits for helmet manufacturers and promoters, concurrently minimising benefits for Australians and Australia as a country.

How many more internationally peer reviewed studies, articles, reports, statistics will it take before our unretractable government concedes the current law is misconceived?

The suppression of adverse findings in helmet safety, and the repeated failure to demonstrate the efficacy and claimed benefits of helmets, ought to prompt our politicians to discard the mandatory nature of the helmet mantra. But it has been not easy to persuade our politicians that a meticulous scientific evaluation process is so much more preferable than the anecdotal and common sense approach, so easily manipulated by powerful stakeholders.

Facts gathered to date on MHLs show that the greatest benefit and least risk to us require MHLs to be repealed but this does not equate with the case for profits, and given that we, the Australian community, can hardly be thought of as powerful stakeholders (except for at election time - our one and only true moment of democracy), our true needs will remain languishing on the sidelines until we do something about it.

When will we reject the self-serving logic that is the language of profits, and when will we insist upon the implementation of the facts?...and further when are we going to reclaim responsibility and autonomy for our own lives? - in fact when are we going to 'grow-up'?

1 comment:

  1. Great Report, Sue. You communicate the feeling of th place so well. Mike