Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Freedom of choice - why is this a problem?

Not only do mandatory helmet laws infantilise us by removing our personal autonomy, but they simultaneously signal an accelerating trend towards to increased 'state' powers. Regulation 256 clearly increases the possiblitiy of random interference with our human rights, and blatantly contributes to conflicting, confusing and fragmented notions of cycling safety.

Unquestionably our civil liberties have been diminished to foster a commercial climate in order to maximise profits.

Why are we denied the freedom to choose whether to wear a helmet or not and why is the freedom to choose such a challenge for our governments to embrace?


  1. Dear Sue,

    The reason why the Government forces you to wear a polystyrene helmet is obvious. It is to protect you from yourself. Remember that your safety is solely your responsibility and it is achieved by putting on a helmet and wearing a plastic fluorescent yellow jacket.

    Driving a car recklessly and at speed through residential streets takes a lot of concentration. Motorists are very busy and important, so busy in fact that many of them only find time to shave, eat breakfast, apply make up and make important mobile phone calls while they are driving. They should not be expected also to look out for cyclists. If you are hit, your helmet will magically protect you.

    Also, their journey is very important and it is vital that they be able to drive where they want at a respectable speed. For example, they may be doing something important like driving a couple of blocks away to buy a packet of fags and the Sunday paper. As we know, the default speed limit of 50 km/h is all about revenue raising. The fact that so many drivers break the speed limit is merely proof that it is too low.

    Separate cycling infrastructure is of course a silly idea. That would, heaven forbid, potentially have the effect of making some roads narrower by taking away a lane. That is dangerous as we know because it is harder to travel at speed on a narrow road. You would have heard the very sensible calls to remove dangerous large trees from the sides of roads because of the risk they pose to motorists who drive into them. Decent cycling infrastructure might also have the undesirable effect of increasing cyclist numbers. That could lead to motorists getting used to cyclists and learning to watch out for them and other silly things like that.

    Remember also that motorists' driving skills cannot be improved either. We already have a very high standard of driver instruction here. You see young people being taught brilliantly by their dads or uncles, imparting their own prejudices and biases. Requiring people to be taught by professional instructors is nonsense. Just like everyone else, I am a great driver who is perfectly capable of teaching my children how to drive. It's all the other idiots on the road who are the problem.

    The Government is very concerned about your safety. By making you wear a polystyrene hat and encouraging you to wear day-glo jackets, they achieve it. They should be congratulating themselves on a job well done.

  2. And the helmet busybodies are using any opportunity here in the UK to get their pointless views heard. Only yesterday, David Cameron leader of the opposition was criticised for daring to ride his bike without one.

  3. hey coshgirl!

    ...thanks for your comment - I read that article with disbelief - what is it with all these 'helmet busybodies' who think they know best?

    NEVER let Mandatory Helmet Laws (MHLs) happen! strong and continue with your objections to them ALWAYS!! - they would be an outrageous abuse of your civil liberties!

    Remind your government they only have to look to Australia to see what a dismal failure MHLs have turned out to be - don't let them do it!!