Saturday, April 17, 2010

Q&A with the World & Australia

Unfortunately for Australia, the success of Velibe in Paris is not going to be aped by Bixi in Melbourne nor City-cycle in Brisbane until we repeal our Mandatory Helmet Laws.

Stubbornly we cling to anecdotal notions that helmets save lives, protect cyclists, and essentially are the first and last word in cycling safety. However abundant evidence points to the contrary, and our human frailites refuse to acknowledge our mistake.

For twenty years we have known this 'mistake', but as with our reticence to absorb the evidence against smoking, front & side sleeping positions for babies, and the perils of vioxx (just to mention a few) we don't want to face the 'public health music' yet!

It is clear to the world that Australian mandatory helmet laws are...

* inconsistent

* uncertain

* fragmented

* largely unenforced

It is clear to the world that they fulfill no coherent guiding policy, and continue to ignore compelling evidence that the acceleration of the rotation of the brain is a greater risk for a 'rider of a bicycle' wearing a helmet involved in an accident than for a 'rider of a bicycle' not wearing a helmet involved in an accident.

It is clear to the world that the priorities of MHLs do not consider wider public policy issues, particularly those pertaining to:

* obesity, the killer of Australians

* public health

* catastrophic climate change

* Australian children


The questions the world asks Austalia today are:

* Why is 'bicycle helmet wearing' a criminal issue?

* Why isn't 'bicycle helmet wearing' a health issue?


How do we answer the world?


  1. You know what?

    When the bike hire schemes roll out, I'd like to see 1000 volunteers take to the streets, claiming one bike each and then cycle around the city without helmets for 30 minutes - the 'free' period :) - drop them off and then go home.

    I'd like to see them try and police that!


    Dr Paul Martin
    Brisbane, Australia

  2. Go, Paul!!! Perfect!!! Organise it!!! - save me a bike!!!