Friday, June 27, 2014

Anywhere but Australia #cheltenham actually

At the hands of Australian dogma and Australian ignorance, I am required by Australian law to wear an Australian bicycle helmet whenever I sit on a bicycle in Australia, moving or stationary (but not parked see reg 256 (2) - hmmm that's funny, don't remember too many helmets in 'Spin Classes' - or are those bicycles 'parked' rather than 'stationary'?).

Notwithstanding, bicycle helmet compulsion has a rapidly diminishing social licence when you consider that other cities have looked at introducing helmet regulation, then looked at Australia and the complete market failure helmet law has become for us, then laughed 'BAHAHAHAHAHA', and then thought to themselves 'nup, we're not going there.'

Taipei is a case in point.

They considered bicycle helmet law, but were keen to roll out a bike-share programme and bid for (and win) the 2016 Velo-City conference, so they wisely decided against it using the oodles of evidence available, underpinned by the biggest global case-study ("Australia & Helmet Laws").

So why don't we in Australia get that helmet laws have been a rubbish idea?

Helmet promotion is the answer ...

... and even in 'helmet-law-free' Britain and despite their oh-so eminent leading neuro-surgeon (Mr Henry Marsh) and his recent views that bicycle helmets are useless, we've still had to witness the distasteful spectre of 'Think-Tanks' and 'Road Safety Campaigners' go into a 'Witches-of-Salem-Overdrive' in the name of helmets ...

... which just makes me want to scream, 'Ahem, he's a neuro-surgeon and you're a ...????"

Naturally NewsCorp has weighed in with their version (me below far right!);

... reporting on Mr Marsh's 'helmets-r-useless' position, then issuing a warning that a lot of people aren't going to be happy with him, and then finishing off with 'looney-tune' view of me (and for the record, NewsCorp, I'm not a New South Welshman; I'm a New South Welshwoman ... sheeesh ... 'can't be that hard') ...

... and for the record, everybody, bicycle helmet laws are useless and sexist ... whatever your hairstyle (or mine)!


  1. Hope this isn't a double post. Firefox/Pale Moon seems to have eaten my first attempt.

    Facts and logic seem to have no effect on the foam hat crowd.

    I saw an article recently where the helmeteers used a study on injury rates in cities that have implemented bike shares to show that bike shares need to promote helmets, because the rate of head injuries is up to 50% from 42%.

    Of course, the study they're citing for proof actually shows that cyclist injury rates in cities with bike shares are down, across the board.

    1. Great to hear from you, Greyryder! ... and what you say is completely true - isn't it exhausting how the helmeteers insist upon obfuscation, deception and/or hysteria to prove their non-existent point?!

    2. "Facts and logic seem to have no effect on the foam hat crowd."

      Yes, it's strange, isn't it? You suspect that some deeper psychological forces must be at work beneath the ostensible desire to make people safer.

      From what I've seen of it the compulsion enthusiasts in Britain at any rate fall into two classes - apart, of course, from the manufacturers whose obvious and understandable motive is to sell helmets. On the one hand you have the emphatically non-cycling Daily Mail-reading fatties like Mrs. Angie Lee of the charity BHIT, who are evidently troubled by cyclists in some way that they can't quite explain - their nonconformity; their independence; their good health; their ability to go places that moor cars can't; their failure to pay "Road Tax" - and would like to burden them with every restriction that human ingenuity can think of: And on the other you have the people who do cycle - often quite a lot in fact - but who regard themselves as "Real Cyclists", with pricey sporting bikes and lots of state-of-the-art kit, looking down on mere utility cyclists like ourselves as no more than part-timers who should really be taking the whole thing more seriously, and who should dress "properly" as they would put it; the helmet being an indispensable part of correct cycling dress.

      Anyway, I say sod them both indiscriminately.

    3. Abso-bloomin-bloody-lutely, John, I say it with you ... 'sod them both indiscriminately' !!!!!!

  2. And not just Taipei, Sue. In 2013 a raft of ammendments to Spain’s road traffic regulations was put before parliament, and one of these would have extended Spain’s all-ages compulsory-helmets law – which currently doesn’t apply in urban areas – to the entire country. It looked as though the change would go through automatically (the Spanish transport minister is notoriously friendly with the motoring lobby) but in the end an energetic campaign by the part-time volunteers of ConBici, the country’s utility-cycling organisation, managed to get the proposal dropped.

    Of far more weight than ConBici’s protests, however, were the representations from several cities like Seville and Barcelona which have set up successful bike-hire schemes in recent years, and which had no wish to see them destroyed Australian-style by the necessity for their potential users to carry helmets around with them “just in case”.

    So more bike-hire schemes, please! Not only are they a good idea in themselves, they also give us a bit of added protection against those whose mission in life is to protect us from our own fecklessness and bad judgement.

    PS. Apologies if this comes up twice: Firefox seems to be having a bad day.

    1. Greatstuff again, John, and I'm with you all the way with 'more bike-hire schemes' - when they're implemented into cities without helmet compulsion, they work wonders.

      Unsurprisingly, the Melbourne and Brisbane bike-hire schemes have been dismal failures ...

      ... but hey is it any wonder with our daft helmet law Down Under?!