Sue heads for Court, helmets case, down under

Steady rider
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Sue heads for Court, helmets case, down under

Postby Steady rider » 21 Sep 2009, 7:28pm

Sue Abbott, a cyclist from New South Wales, Australia, wants to ride her bike without having to wear a helmet. See her pedalling along for freedom.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YLoPA_I6SL8.

Other information of interest:
http://www.cycle-helmets.com/canada-hel ... ssment.doc
http://tiny.cc/0FdZR

Ellieb
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Re: Sue heads for Court, helmets case, down under

Postby Ellieb » 21 Sep 2009, 8:27pm

Judging by table 1 in the Canada paper, they must be doing an awful lot of cycling in Canada compared to the UK: In the UK the ratio of average miles driven copmared to cycled is about 1:300. Even allowing for a difference when using the measurement of hours of use, in Canada the ratio appears to be 1:7. What an active lot they are :D

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Re: Sue heads for Court, helmets case, down under

Postby downfader » 22 Sep 2009, 9:55am

Just watched the video and feel for any Australian really that has been told off for this. It could be argued that since it is your body it should be your choice, I dont see how it affects other people physically or safety wise.

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Re: Sue heads for Court, helmets case, down under

Postby Tony » 26 Sep 2009, 4:58am

Australia is a nice and clear case: after compulsion, cycling down, injury rates up.

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Cunobelin
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Re: Sue heads for Court, helmets case, down under

Postby Cunobelin » 26 Sep 2009, 7:06am

Tony wrote:Australia is a nice and clear case: after compulsion, cycling down, injury rates up.



Its actually worse than that!

The conveniently forgotten fact is that the helmet compulsion was brought in during a wholesale road safety campaign including a clampdown on drunk driving, speeding, unlicensed and unroadworthy vehicles and baddriving in general.

There should have been a net improvement in the safety for all road users that (should) have been reflected in a decreased accident rate.

So assuming that this is the case the negative effect of helmet compulsion is even greater!

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Re: Sue heads for Court, helmets case, down under

Postby Steady rider » 26 Sep 2009, 9:07am

for more infomation on Australia, see

World Transport Policy & Practice
Volume 12, No. 2, 2006

The case against bicycle helmets and
legislation

http://www.eco-logica.co.uk/pdf/WTPP12.3.pdf

Reports from Australia in the early 1990's misled the pubic and doctors into believeing they provided a substantial benefit. Erke and Elvik 2007 (ref 1) stated: “There is evidence of increased accident risk per cycling-km for cyclists wearing a helmet. In Australia and New Zealand the increase is estimated to be around 14 per cent.” Clarke 2007 (ref 2) lists two possible advantages of helmets compared to 13 possible disadvantages. Of the 13 disadvantages, 11 could tend to increase the accident rate compared to one advantage tending to reduce the accident rate.

The 1991 petition, 28 May, to the Victorian Parlaiment included
"The humble petition of the undersigned citizens of Australia respectfully showeth:
That your petitioners are gravely concerned that the introduction of the bicycle helmet wearing mandatory regulation has the effect of increasing the risk of having an accident by the combined reasons of 1 to 7 as listed:"
see
http://tex.parliament.vic.gov.au/bin/te ... 991+%29%0a

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Re: Sue heads for Court, helmets case, down under

Postby gilesjuk » 27 Sep 2009, 12:44pm

So why do we think cycling becomes less popular?

Once a helmet is needed do people think it is less safe? or is it the inconvenience?

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Re: Sue heads for Court, helmets case, down under

Postby tali42 » 27 Sep 2009, 3:02pm

gilesjuk wrote:So why do we think cycling becomes less popular?

Once a helmet is needed do people think it is less safe? or is it the inconvenience?


I'd say it is both.

Perceived safety

Bicycle helmets are safety equipment intended to mitigate against serious brain injury, they have no other purpose (for on road cycling). If the government makes cyclists use them and I see almost every cyclist using them, then on road cycling must be an activity with a high risk of head injury, resulting from accidents (this tallies well with my intuative understanding of the road environment, drilled into me from childhood). Therefore, to ensure I don't have a bicycle accident, I'll go one better than wearing a helmet... I won't cycle on the road.

Inconvenience

They made my head hot and sweaty in warmer weather.
They made my head itch on longer rides.
The straps chafed at my shaven face on morning commutes.
Good ones (the ones that might mitigate the heat issue and provide more protection if you do hit your head) aren't cheap.
They're a nuisance when utility cycling, you have to figure out what you do with it while you pop into a shop.

Of course, once the government has passed a law saying you have to wear one for your own safety all this is counted as frivilous nonsence. After all, ignorant people will say, would you rather have a sweaty head or have your brains spilled all over the pavement?

Growing up in Australia, I didn't think much about all this. If I questioned helmet laws, it was only to the extent that, sometimes when I got the bike out to ride ~1mile to a shop or to visit a friend on quiet roads, I'd get the helmet out, and think, this is BS. Of course, I still wore it. Now I have the freedom to choose, and I'll miss this freedom if I return to Oz.

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Re: Sue heads for Court, helmets case, down under

Postby yakdiver » 27 Sep 2009, 4:14pm

They made my head hot and sweaty in warmer weather.
They made my head itch on longer rides.
The straps chafed at my shaven face on morning commutes.

I have never heard of a tour of France rider moaning and they ride at a much high pace than we do.
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Re: Sue heads for Court, helmets case, down under

Postby tali42 » 27 Sep 2009, 4:42pm

numbnuts wrote:I have never heard of a tour of France rider moaning and they ride at a much high pace than we do.


The tour de France is about as relevant to utility cycling (what the lady Sue was doing in the video) as F1 racing is to mum driving the kids to school.

No doubt the elite riders have top of the line helmets, costing in excess £100. I can assure you that sweat was an issue for me, with a middle or the range Specialized helmet, even with short cropped hair.

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Re: Sue heads for Court, helmets case, down under

Postby yakdiver » 27 Sep 2009, 6:13pm

I have a fifty quid helmet and shoulder length hair, I really do think that the sweaty head excuse has had its day, why don’t you say I’m just not going to wear one end of story.
The way I see it in a nanny state we live in helmets will become law like it or not, and I’m old enough to remember when motor cyclist law on helmets came in and everybody said I’m not going to wear them, I’ll pack up riding.
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Re: Sue heads for Court, helmets case, down under

Postby tali42 » 27 Sep 2009, 7:31pm

numbnuts wrote:I have a fifty quid helmet and shoulder length hair, I really do think that the sweaty head excuse has had its day, why don’t you say I’m just not going to wear one end of story.


I can assure you that in an Australian summer, with temperatures daily over 30C and often over 35C, the sweaty head is not a figment of my imagination.

You might as well say that you're going to wear one, end of story. :D

The way I see it in a nanny state we live in helmets will become law like it or not, and I’m old enough to remember when motor cyclist law on helmets came in and everybody said I’m not going to wear them, I’ll pack up riding.


Well, it has been nearly 20 years since Australia got the ball rolling. Yet, it hasn't caught on much. AFAIK, only NZ and parts of Canada require adults to wear helmets. Australia looks quite lonely in requiring adults to wear helmets. And some of us will fight any attempts to bring in stupid laws tooth and nail.

The question of if motorcycling helmets reduced motorcycling is not comparable. Motorcycling is not a physical activity that has the benefit of prolonging life on average. Not being a physical activity, there are fewer heat issues, and the helmet is built to a far greater standard. And even with their helmets, motorcyclists are killed on the roads in far greater numbers, although I doubt that they have that much more exposure in terms of hours than cyclists.

If we truely are living in a nanny state, then motorcycling itself should probably be banned before cycle helmets mandated. After all, it is about 3X more dangerous than cycling, even with helmets: http://www.ukwheels.com/accidents.asp. I have no issue with motorcycling, but if we live in a society that will ban or restrict any activity with a high risk than some arbitrary level, shouldn't everyone fight for the right to make a choice in such matters.

As long as motorcyclists are allowed on the road, I should be allowed to choose not to wear a helmet, accepting that this raises my level of risk slightly, but far less than the 3X risk I would take riding a motorcycle with a helmet.

Once such laws are brought in, they're very hard to get rid of or worm around, as I suspect Sue will learn very shortly.

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Re: Sue heads for Court, helmets case, down under

Postby Steady rider » 27 Sep 2009, 7:57pm

numbnuts » Sun Sep 27, 2009 5:13 pm wrote
"I’m old enough to remember when motor cyclist law on helmets came in and everybody said I’m not going to wear them, I’ll pack up riding."

I wonder if you or others can say what percentage of motorcyclist wore helmets before the UK law came in, any reference? to the change in the wearing rate?

In Victoria prior to bicycle helmet legislation the percentage wearing helmets increased, 26% in 1987, 27.4% in 1988, 32.5% in 1989, 35.9% in 1990. About 36% of cyclists wore helmets before their law, meaning they tried to force 64% into wearing one.

After the legislation, 36% fewer people cycled and about 65% (1991) wore helmets. Taking a sample size of 100 cyclists, pre law, 36 wearing a helmet, if no law and wearing rate may still increase, could have been 40 wearing them by 1991. With the law, 64 cycled and about 42 wore a helmet. The figures show 6 extra cyclist wore a helmet and 36 fewer cycled.

The published accident figures show safety of children cycling was reduced in Victoria and NSW, Robinson 1996 reports provide the figures, Table 3 and 5. Helmet laws for cyclists are not a smart approach but governments do seem very smart at times. About 35% of UK cyclists wear helmets, meaning about 65% could be subject to reductions in fair accident compensation.

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Re: Sue heads for Court, helmets case, down under

Postby Steady rider » 27 Sep 2009, 8:47pm

I wrote "About 35% of UK cyclists wear helmets," correction, this is for built up roads, not a general wearing rate, see

http://www.trl.co.uk/online_store/repor ... n_2008.htm

For the UK, roughly 12 million children, 10 million may have bikes, if 36% discouraged from cycling by a helmet law, roughly 3.6 million could be discouraged from cycling if the outcome was similar to Australia.

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Re: Sue heads for Court, helmets case, down under

Postby yakdiver » 28 Sep 2009, 9:41am

I can assure you that in an Australian summer, with temperatures daily over 30C and often over 35C, the sweaty head is not a figment of my imagination.

sorry I lived in Australia for 3 years so I do know how hot it gets there :mrgreen:
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