06 December 2008

Australian Helmet Hurdle

From the always entertaining Yehuda Moon comic strip.

There has been recent confirmation that Velib-type bicycle hire will be available in London from 2010, as you can read here and here.

The main hindrance in some regions to implementation of bike share programmes is helmet laws or helmet culture.

Regading Australia, it's been assumed that no Australian city or municipality will adopt a bike hire scheme because of national mandatory helmet laws as you can read here and here.

Infection is cited as one reason why mandatory helmets create a health/legal obstacle for bike hire schemes.

However, Israel has had a national all-age mandatory helmet law for the past six months.

Despite this, Tel Aviv is adopting a Velib-type bike hire scheme. It's interesting to read this May 2008 story about the clash between Israel's bike helmet law and bike hire plans.

In addition, sources at city hall in Tel Aviv said that the mandatory helmet law recently passed by the Knesset dealt a "serious blow" to the project and will hinder its success. According to Tiomkin, residents will be reluctant to rent a helmet previously worn by dozens of others. The law, which was passed despite the strong objections of public transportation advocacy groups, will go into effect at the end of the month. It requires all cyclists to wear a helmet or face a fine.

A possible solution can be found toward the end of this story, published last month in Israel.

"The municipality is also hoping for an amendment to the helmets law in the near future, which will require the use of helmets only when using sports bicycles off urban roads."

It's fascinating that in Israel it seems they're effectively pushing to repeal the helmet law so they can have a bike hire scheme, whereas in Australia (the fattest nation on earth with a carbon trading scheme possible from 2010) it seems the helmet law will prevail over the bike hire scheme.

Thanks to Chris in Western Australia for the rundown.

And while we're in Australia, there is an interesting article on the Civil Liberties Australia website written by Colin Clarke of the British Cyclists Federation - CTC.
There is a .pdf to download and read on the page or you can get it here.


Anonymous said...

I find it hilarious, that in Muslim countries a helmet law would be unthinkable. However, in Christian, and apparently in Jewish countries, it is seen as a natural step in progressive politics.


Adrienne said...

From my POV, helmet laws are a way of passing the buck. Instead of creating environments that negate the need for 'safety' equipment, the powers that be force laws on the public in an attempt to fill in the gaps that poor planning has created. If you wear a helmet, it will compensate for all of the potholes, lack of bike lanes and poor driver education found in so many places.

Adrian said...

Thanks for the background on this issue. As a racing cyclist I seen enough stacks to know the benefits of helmets, but as an urban everyday cyclist I agree that the law is passing the buck (or risks) onto cyclists rather than dealing with the high speed/aggro car culture that we've created. I hope to see the laws change.

czyk said...

In Belarus in the near future plan to oblige bicyclists to carry helmets and light-reflecting waistcoats.

Fonk said...

Pretty lame, indeed. I'm all for helmet usage, but don't think it should be forced. Same thing with seatbelts in cars. Encourage people to be safe, minimizing their chanve for injury or death? Great, go for it. Forcing them to do so? Not cool. Everyone takes personal responsibility for their own safety, and the government should stay out of it. My two cents...

Andy B from Jersey said...

A mandatory adult bicycle helmet laws is like mandating the wearing of bullet proof vests as a means of gun control!

Just a thought.

Anonymous said...

czyk, can you give some link about this plan in Belarus? It would be useful to spread this information, because Belarus is considered as a pariah and dictatorship. If country like this sobliges helmets, who wants to join its company in Europe then?

njh said...

The Victorian state government has presented its 5th transport plan (since their election in 1999), and it's got a pathetic additional $800k/yr over the current one. In the mean time, there are plans to build an additional 100km of freeways.

sam said...

thanks for the link to the best cartoon strip ever ever! yehuda moon is my hero