Sunday, June 13, 2010

Bicycle Helmets & Bicycle Skills Do Not Go Hand-in-Hand (contrary to popular opinion)

(Bicycles patiently waiting opposite the Carlisle Hotel, Newtown)
My niece sent me the following link re the Melbourne Bike share programme...

...OMG! - what a load of uninformed and ignorant baloney re helmets (!!) evidenced by the statement "If you don't own a helmet, you probably don't have the basic skills to ride in heavy traffic"

I don't own a helmet yet I have been cycling around the globe for the past 46 years (sans helmets, trainer wheels, high-vis-vests, 'Uncle Tom Cobbely & all') and I passionately believe that mandatory helmet laws ought to be a question of civil liberties!

Now before I get bombarded with invitations to pay for my own medical bills, please remember that our health system does not work on a 'personal liability' basis, hence our willingness to care for people with needs even when they smoke, over-eat, over drink, and even ride bicycles with helmets on (SUPER RISKY)!

Melbourne's bike-share programme has been set up to fail - why else would the tender have been granted to a car club?"

...God knows who Wade Wallace is but he sounds tiresome!!


  1. And it gets worse. "Certainly not everyone who does own a helmet is qualified to ride in traffic, but it's a massive first step in the right direction". So just the fact of spending money on a polystyrene helmet automatically adds to your skills. Unbelievable.

    This is a great idea that will be a total failure for the reasons that so many of the people who comment have pointed out. It could be used by office workers to get between meeting across the city, tourists and so many others but it won't because the requirement that you wear a helmet means that you cannot be spontaneous. The consequence of its failure can already be predicted. It will be another argument against spending money on alternatives to cars in cities.

  2. I've just been reading some of the comments. The mind boggles. Instead of acknowledging the elephant in the room, people are seriously suggesting hairnets, surgeon's caps and folding helmets. Have a look at the picture:

    It looks like one of those bad folding paper Christmas decorations. And are all of those sharp pieces of plastic pointing into your head supposed to provide safety?

    If people wish to wear hairnets and Christmas decorations, that is their choice which I respect. But please don't impose it on me.

  3. Sue, funny that you should come across an article that claims that un-helmeted cyclists don't have the skills to ride with vehicles.

    Because I came across an article that said the exact opposite. The writer said that if you are so tough that you ride without a helmet, then you don't have any regard for your own safety, thus you shouldn't be given any safe bicycle infrastructure to help improve your safety. Actually that was paraphrased, here is his exact words:

    Politically, though, helmetless riders appear frivolous and reckless. So even if you think it’s a personal choice, there is (like it or not) a wider responsibility. And fundamentally, I couldn’t personally argue for more bike lanes and safer infrastructure while not practicing helmet-wearing. If you’re tough enough to ride without a helmet, you don’t need bike lanes either.

    Here is my response to this ridiculous article:

    The link to the original article is in the first paragraph too.


  4. Personally, I rather like that Wade Wallace is concerned for tourists;

    "Tourists will likely be one of the biggest users of the bikes and the helmet requirement could be the simple decision maker on whether or not to bother."

    Seems that Mr. Wallace has not taken into account that in the majority of countries around the world people are not required to wear a helmet. The thought that they can't act on impulse and see the city of Melbourne because they don't have a helmet probably would most likely seem somewhat ludicrous to them. I don't think he meant it to be understood this way but I think many may not bother if it were imposed.

  5. Edward, I agree with you - why should we be forced to wear hairnets and Christmas decorations? - I couldn't believe the pictures when I looked at them - PL-leeeeese, who are they kidding?!!

    (also June edition of LSJ has article on me and defence of necessity in District Court - email me if you want to chat about it - infoatvirtualgypsiesdotcomdotau)

    James, I'm completely 'gobsmacked'!! - I liked your response though!!

    Pip, Mr Wade Wallace seems to have taken only Mr Wade Wallace into account - in summary, he is most unhelpful!

  6. Whenever there is a news article regarding cycling in Vancouver, BC, the first thing people say is un-helmeted riders should pay for their own health care.
    They never say this though when people smoke, over-eat (51% of all Canadians are obese), drive recklessly and so on.

    No one in Montreal even thought of helmets when they rolled out Bixi (of course Quebec does not have a helmet law), until the head of the trauma unit at the McGill University suggested they give people helmets.
    In credit to those who operate Bixi they rejected the idea.
    They worried about giving out used helmets.

    This quote is from last year:
    "As well, there's the issue of hygiene, and cleaning sweaty helmets for the next customer, Ayotte said.
    "No other bike-sharing service offers helmets," he said."