Thursday, September 27, 2012

Our right to choose wind in our hair

(Photos: 'Our girl' Princess Mary, Clean Technica)

Fair Go for all cyclists – move over, Sport of Cycling, the road’s for sharing!

Fed up with bicycle helmet laws that have dogged Australia and New Zealand for the past 20 years, utility cyclists across the Antipodes are taking matters into their own hands.

The Melbourne-based ‘Freestyle Cyclists’ are acting upon their successful web petition for removal of bicycle helmet compulsion and are launching a national campaign for law reform on Saturday 6 October 2012 in East Brunswick. Widely acclaimed Professor Chris Rissel from the Faculty of Public Health at the University of Sydney will address the crowd, and will highlight the fact that helmet laws discourage cycling even though health benefits from cycling far outweigh actual risks. Other speakers will include Councillor Jackie Fristacky from the City of Yarra, independent film-maker Geoff McLeod from Queensland, and cycling activist Sue Abbott from NSW.

“Following the presentations” said Mr Alan Todd, Campaign Launch Co-organiser, “a number of us will stage a demonstration of civil disobedience by riding our bicycles along the nearby Merri Creek bike track unhelmeted!”

“Victoria became the first place in the world to enact bicycle helmet laws and then, regrettably the rest of Australia jumped on the band-wagon without even waiting for an evaluation of the effects of the legislation!” explained Mr Todd.

“All in all after 2 decades, give or take a few states in the US and a few provinces in Canada, we are pretty much on our own in the world with bicycle helmet laws – and you know why...because they simply don’t work.”

Studies have shown that helmets do not make the cyclist safer – in fact the risk of head injury per km cycled showed no measurable change after helmet laws were introduced, whilst the risks of other injuries actually went up. Immediately after helmet laws came in, numbers of Australians and New Zealanders cycling dropped dramatically, particularly amongst women and teenagers. To date despite years of cycling promotion by governments and public health agencies, participation in cycling of all kinds is less per head of population than it was in 1986, and 1 in 5 Australians report that they are put off riding a bike by helmet requirements.

“It’s high time we ditched this petty, irksome and pointless barrier, and Freestyle Cyclists intend to coordinate the groundswell of public bike-love so that we can get them (bicycles) dusted off, out of the garage and onto the roads,” exclaimed Mr Todd.


Media Contact - for more information, images or interviews please contact:

Alan Todd, Campaign Launch Co-Organiser, +61 400 502 325, alanunderscoretoddatwestnetdotcomdotau

Sue Abbott, Cycling Activist, +61 418 237 021, infoatbettercorridorsdotorg

Geoff McLeod, +61 438 808 345, geoffmatsputnikfilmsdotcomdotau

What: Freestyle Cyclists’ National Campaign Launch
When: Saturday 6 October 2012
Where: CERES Community Environment Park, Cnr Roberts & Stewarts Sts, EAST BRUNSWICK
Time: 1pm

Further Info: Visit Freestyle Cyclists website for more information
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