give me TRUTH asked in SportsCycling · 1 decade ago

Why is it against the law (in Australia) to not wear a bicycle helmet when riding?

Does the same law apply where you are?

Update:

haha nice point on natural selection. i think something like wearing a helemt should be personal choice.

Why don't we just lock ourselves inside and never leave home? look how many pedestrians die from being hit on the side walk ?

theres no evidence to show that cycling is more dangerous than walking or running.

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  • 1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    Because by displaying the good taste to live in Australia demonstrates qualities that are worth preserving.

    Anyway this is how it happened.

    During the late eighties the Australian Federal Government put pressure on the states to standardise a whole range of traffic laws this included things like; facilitating the interstate demerit point drivers licensing system, the .05 Blood Alcohol limit, speed limits and compulsory bicycle helmet laws.

    The pressure was the withholding of federal road funding unless these changes were implemented by a certain date.

    Prior to these changes bicycle related deaths in Australia averaged in the order of 80-100 per year. After the changes they dropped to 35-40 per year and have remain fairly steady at this level since then. (Footnote: Australia has about 10% the population of the U.S., which in 2006 had a death rate of 771).

    Australia was the first country in the world to introduce mandatory helmet rules and due largely to these figures was closely followed by New Zealand.

    Then entered the very vocal Anti helmet lobby. Using statistics mostly obtained from Western Australia (Australian state with the smallest population density) they were able to put together a convincing enough case that helmets were not that effective. They went on to credit most of the improvements to other changes and blaming mandatory helmet laws for massive drops in bicycle movements. This pretty much killed off introduction in many other countries.

    In the state I live the helmet laws were introduced over several years. There was a long period of voluntary compliance followed by a period with a fine or purchase option. (You could pay the fine or buy a helmet). Even now (15 years later) the laws are not policed strictly. My observation was that it only deterred the once in a very long while cyclist.

    If you happen to be unfortunate enough to require the services of the emergency department or indeed the coroner’s office, then you can be sure that data will be collected. Trama registers and coroner’s reports are then compiled. Usually these reports include information like head injuries and if a helmet was worn. This is best be summed up by an excerpt from this article compiled from coroner’s reports.

    http://www.australiancyclist.com.au/article.aspx?a...

    “Helmet use was also identified as a contributing factor to cycling deaths with about one-third of cyclists wearing a helmet dying of head injuries, while about half of those not wearing a helmet died of head injuries. Despite the oft-repeated and mostly unsubstantiated claims that mandatory helmet use is associated with a loss of civil liberties and decreases bicycle usage, there is now clear and consistent evidence that helmets reduce the incidence and severity of head and neck injuries.”

    While I respect the fact that there are people whose greatest contribution to the human species, would be to remove themselves from the gene pool. I would prefer that they didn’t do this, community service, whilst cycling. It deters others from taking the up activity. There are simply not enough cyclist as it is.

    I fully agree with the anti helmet lobby when they say safety is improved with more cyclists and better education. I also agree that the health benefits far out weigh the risks of riding without a helmet. I’ll probably also agree with them that there are less children cycling these days. The cause probably has more to do with fear of abduction and paedophilia, than bike helmets though. (There are a lot less children walking these days also)

    Try this very long link for more info on helmet laws throughout the world. (And heaps of other info)

    http://www.helmets.org/mandator.htm

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    P.s. Probably need to clarify that Western Australia is the forth largest state in population, but by far the largest in area. Hence lowest population density.

    The point being that it has a large ratio of rural to city cyclists. Therefore a higher ratio of highway speed motor vehicle v bicycle accidents. Helmets are not as effective in highway speed accidents.

  • 1 decade ago

    Nanny state aside, where I live a state financial crisis spawned helmet laws for motorcycles and bicycles. A significant amount of money was saved by the reduced number of emergency paramedic runs and helicopter medivac flights due to severe head trauma. If you want to take risks, that's fine. The local government should still provide the same emergency medical care and transport that anyone else would get, but you should bear some financial responsibility if you didn't take the most elementary of precautions.

    HTH, and I fully expect some flame back from this post.

  • 1 decade ago

    Strong marketing from the helmet industry. Bike helmets are designed to protect in low speed falls, not auto collision, yet popular perception is the helmets provide a useful level of protection in these higher energy crashes.

    It's much like the perception of some that sidewalks/pavements are a safer place to cycle when all the crash statistics show a very different conclusion.

  • 1 decade ago

    Common sense ? 99.99% of serious riders in my area wear a helmet everytime they get on their bike. I went down many years ago, and the only part of me that did'nt hurt was my head ! Some people look at the helmet issue the wrong way.

    In this area (California) adults don't have to wear a helmet. Kids do. But alot don't. And a bored cop can give them a ticket if she / he wants. Fine is something like $20

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  • 1 decade ago

    The same reason that there are laws about wearing your seatbelt and in many places about wearing a helmet when on a motorcycle. Not all people have a sense of self preservation, so the laws are made to ensure that public safety is of utmost concern!

    Personally, I think that Darwin's law of natural selection should apply, and those who choose not to should sign an aggreement saying that they waive their right to be on life support if ever in an accident!

  • McG
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    If, in your area -- no matter the country -- there is a helmet law, you can thank the same people who made laws that you wear a seatbelt in a car and that children stay strapped in a car seat while traveling in that car.

    OK. Before you beat me with this -- I wear a seat belt (before it was a law), my kids came home from the hospital at birth in a car seat and used that car seat until it was safe for them to be in a seatbelt (before there was a law), AND I wear my cycling helmet when I ride (and there is no law here -- yet).

    I just happen to think that legislators that make said laws are weenies of the nanny state. We do not need laws to save us from ourselves. If I think it is a good idea to wear my helmet, and I get my head saved in a bump -- good. I try to avoid the head bumps at all costs to begin with, so I hope the chances are nil. (Cars have airbags now -- dang I haven't used them either, and really hope I don't.)

    Helmet - no helmet debates will go on in bicycle circles for a long time. I feel it should be left to ones personal intellect to decide to wear a helmet. They crash and the injury could have been prevented with a helmet (and they didn't wear one), I feel for them but go on. If folks in todays society don't know that there are helmets and personal safety items available for themselves and their children.... Yeah we need natural selection.

    One more time out loud in the direction of the law makers:

    We DON'T need laws to save us from ourselves!!!!

  • 1 decade ago

    I don't know many Aussies, so this is speculation, but two possibilities leap to mind.

    1. Australia is run by communists.

    2. Aussies are too dim to wear helmets on their own.

  • jp
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    its safer to wear a helmet

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