Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Bicycle helmet laws supersede civil liberties

(Photos: Querida David - "Choice Wheels")

Civil liberties are civil liberties no matter how you look at them!

Hence the commercial practices of helmet promoters should never have been allowed to supersede the rule of law in Australia.

It is not the conflicting evidence of helmets and their properties that is the challenge but our blinkered willingness to ignore the underlying issues surrounding academic & expert evidence, underpinned by a fatuous willingness to acquiesce with dodgy commercial strategies. When these very same promotional tactics were suggested for motorists, they were buried immediately.

Years were spent familiarising us with the notion of safety in bicycle helmets WELL BEFORE legislation was introduced.

Yet how ethically correct was that?

If bicycle helmets were the instant 'protective salvo' so rigorously claimed, why weren't laws enacted the minute this fact was discovered?

Why did governments wait so long to protect us?

...and also...

Why did governments not see fit to protect motorists too when studies revealed that motorists could also be protected by soft-shell helmets?

Nothing adds up!...everything's confusing!

Notwithstanding it would appear that in view of mandatory bicycle helmet laws, Australian civil liberties have been indefinitely suspended.



  1. "choice" is a very popular buzz word with politicians whereas civil liberties seem to be unfashionable. I believe we should be emphasizing our need for choice in this matter as this is the language they seem to understand at this time.

  2. Hi Kathy,

    You're right - but it does seems sad though that the notion of 'civil liberties' has become so utterly reviled

  3. Hi Sue,

    I just managed to watch your interview on the 7pm Project. I thought you did a great job particularly given the short time made available to you.

    One thing that I hear all the time is the argument that because I was wearing a helmet when I fell off my bike, it prevented injury. Indeed the presenter threw that one at you. As I recall he went so far as to say that he would be brain damaged had it not been for his helmet. The fact is we do not know unless we replicate the accident exactly but without a helmet. That type of anecdotal evidence really is useless without a proper controlled experiment. There are also an equal number of tragic deaths of cyclists who were wearing a helmet at the time.

    What puzzles me though is that the presenter's affliction of falling off his bike on to his head "many times" only seems to affect people in this country. You would have seen the Youtube video of the Dutch cyclists falling over on an icy road. Those who actually hit the ground fell squarely on their backsides. I still do not understand how it is possible to fall off a bike directly on to your head. I also do not understand how it is possible to fall off so many times.

    I find the whole thing strange because we do not live in isolation. We can view pictures and films of places across the world via the Internet. There are countless cycling related sites, many of which are littered with pictures of people in normal clothes, riding normal bikes without helmets (my current favourite is and yet we seem incapable. It all goes to show how strong and successful the marketing has been.

  4. Hi Edward,

    I've been desperately trying to track down this film. I remember seeing it a while ago but it wasn't on YouTube and I can't find it there.

    I remember it vividly. The cyclists all came from the top-right of the frame and were negotiating a 90-degree left hand turn, viewed from a nearby building. There were sound effects to make it more humourous.

    It neatly illustrated how most people (ie. non-competitive sport) on a bicycle would fall over.

    If you can find the link (I think it was a European website) can you post it here?


    Paul Martin
    Brisbane, Australia

  5. Hi Edward & Paul,

    I'd love to see that video too!!!

    ...and it never ceases to amaze me how so many people feel I ought to be impressed by their 'I-fall-off-my-bike-all-the-time' stories!!!

    To me that just points to the fact that they're "RUBBISH" at cycling!!!!!!

  6. Found it:

  7. This one is better:

    The youtube version has a heavy metal song over the top of it.

  8. Well done Edward! Great find. That's the one.