03 August 2010

Bike Helmet Protest in Melbourne

Melbourne Helmet Demonstration 09
I had a brilliant week in Melbourne as a guest of the State of Design Festival. Loads of interviews and events that all culminated with my keynote speech on the Saturday.

There was, however, an event on the Saturday morning - July 26, 2010 - that was extremely interesting to be a part of. A group of citizens, rallied together by filmmaker and bicycle advocate Mike Rubbo, decided to go for a bicycle ride together on Melbourne's new bike share system bikes. A splendid idea. Melbourne's bike share system is shiny new, although unlike most cities in the world with a bike share programme, only 70-odd people are using them each day. In Dublin, by contrast, there are over 30,000 subscribers. Not to mention the cracking successes in Paris, Barcelona, Seville and most of the over 100 cities with such systems.

So, a group of people, many of them Copenhagenize.com readers, fancy a bike ride. Sounds lovely enough. They met up at the bike racks at Melbourne University. Hired the bikes without a problem. Now the tricky bit is that you can rent a bike spontaneously - the whole point of such systems - but you then have to figure out how to get a bike helmet. The State of Victoria, like all Australian states (not Northern Territory... they repealed their all-ages helmet law when they saw cycling levels fall drastically) has an all-ages mandatory bike helmet law.
Melbourne Helmet Demonstration 06
The bike ride was a demonstration to point out that a bike share system won't work with a helmet law and that Australia's failed helmet laws should be reconsidered.

I arrived at about 09:40, together with my son, Felix. After greeting some of the people I noticed two Melbourne bicycle cops lingering nearby. Speaking in low tones, eying the 'mob'. They had been there since 09:00, waiting for this 'demonstration' to kick off. Seriously. Two city employees lingering, doing nothing, for an hour because some people had announced they were going for a bike ride. Mike Rubbo had generated some good pre-press about the ride. Like this from the ABC and this article in The Age newspaper.

It included this poll, which signals a sea change in public opinion in Australia:
Should public-bike scheme users be excused from wearing helmets?
Yes... 71%
No.... 29%
Total votes: 13885

Melbourne Helmet Demonstration 22
Felix and I took a bunch of photos but this shot really sums it up for me. Mike Rubbo on the left, Dr Paul Martin on the right and an ominous-looking police officer keeping an eye on us all. Dr Martin is from Brisbane and flew down for the ride. He recently recieved a ticket for cycling without a helmet in Queensland and is intent on fighting it, following in the footsteps of Sue Abbott, from New South Wales. They were all wearing badges from The European Cyclists Federation's Ask Me Why I Cycle Without a Helmet campaign. Mike Rubbo also did a film about the bike share system in the days up to the protest.

(it was actually Felix, aged 8, who took this shot, which makes this dad proud, but that's another story...)

Melbourne Helmet Demonstration 02 Melbourne Helmet Demonstration 07
There were loads of cameras and journalists present during the whole event. People going for bike rides must be big news in Australia. After Mike Rubbo did the talking to the press the group was off.

Melbourne Helmet Demonstration 11 Melbourne Helmet Demonstration 08 Melbourne Helmet Demonstration 10
All in all, it was a frightfully well-dressed demonstration and with the exception of the recent Velo-City Global conference in Copenhagen and conferences in La Rochelle and Lleida, Catalunya, I hadn't before been with such a large group of well-informed people who knew their science about helmets and who were so passionate about promoting cycling.

Melbourne Helmet Demonstration 25_1 Melbourne Helmet Demonstration 04
Here is one of the bike racks for the bike share bikes and here's Felix joining the press corps to document the event. It was great to have him along to witness this little slice of democracy. I explained the whole situation to him as neutral as possible.

What from I understand the University of Melbourne grounds were private property so the police - and camera crews - tagged along as the group rode away.

Melbourne Helmet Demonstration 16 Melbourne Helmet Demonstration 19
As soon as the group hit the mean streets of Melbourne, the police moved in. Three bicycle cops and three (!) police cars were in action to tackle the 20+ well-dressed people on bicycles. Comical.

After some discussion the police informed the group that they wouldn't be ticketed but if they decided to continue riding, they would be. Six or seven of the group set off.
Melbourne Helmet Demonstration 17
And enjoyed it!

Melbourne Helmet Demonstration 14 Melbourne Helmet Demonstration 15
They were all ticketed accordingly. The fine for cycling without a helmet in Melbourne is a whopping $160. Not exactly encouraging people to cycle, now is it. Fining them for contributing to lower pollution levels, better public health, etc etc. is hardly the way to build the foundations of a bicycle culture. In contrast, Sydney is experiencing a greater boom in cycling, despite having less infrastructure, largely because they don't bother punishing cyclists for riding bicycles without helmets.

Melbourne Helmet Demonstration 23 Melbourne Helmet Demonstration 24
After the evildoers were duly punished, we all walked our bikes for the rest of the short route. One chap was straddling his bicycle and was told to dismount. Straddling bicycles is, apparently, illegal.

Melbourne Helmet Demonstration 18 Melbourne Helmet Demonstration 21
After the formalities were complete and the route was completed, the bikes were returned and we retired to a local café for a coffee. Pleased with the results, pleased that a debate, hopefully and finally, has been launched in this country. Hopeful that the work of so many Australians may finally reach a greater audience. Dr Dorothy Robinson, Prof. Piet de Jong, Chris Gilliam, Bill Curnow, et al.

Melbourne Helmet Demonstration 25
There's always room for a spot of Cycle Chic, even when protesting. At left is Jenny from Auckland Cycle Chic and at right is Saskia from Cycle Chic Sundays - Sydney. Both made the trip to Melbourne to hear my talk. Which was wonderful!

At the end of the day it's a David v Goliath challenge, but this was an excellent start.

Now it's interesting to see what Vancouver does or doesn't do with their impending bike share system.

47 comments:

BB said...

I'm from Western Australia. As mentioned we have the bike helmet laws as well. I can't tell you how annoying it is. I'm not anti-helmets, I would just like, as an adult, to be able to assess the situation for myself. Sometimes I would wear one (maybe when the route involved busy, fast moving traffic lanes). But a good deal of my riding is on quiet roads or bike paths. I usually don't bother and risk the fine. Freedom of choice, please!

Dave said...

@bb,

I don't think anyone here is anti-helmets, they are anti-compulsory-helmets. Its all about people making their own choice for an activity that is no more risky than driving a car, jogging or playing football.

Given they choice, I'll continue wearing a helmet when racing or mountain biking, but not for going to the shops or cafe.

Anonymous said...

Just a correction. I believe there are only 70 being hired per week, not per day.

Another issue is that all the bicycle stations are within walking distance of each other.

Anonymous said...

Seatbelts in cars should be optional too. They aren't necessary 99% of the time.

Also, let's make smoke alarms optional for all buildings. There aren't fires THAT often.

Stop being imbeciles. I agree that providing public bikes without helmets is ridiculous, but if you're an aging hipster cycling up Sydney Road dinking your kid on the handlebars and neither of you wearing a helmet, you're truly stupid.

Harry Chung said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

i agree with the person who posted at 15:26

since when did you ride bikes to look cool?

bicyclemamy said...

so let me get this straight. Australia has a bike share program, but when you use the bikes and don't happen to have a helmet in your pocket, you get a ticket for $160?!

wow! good luck with that....

Anonymous said...

Good coverage although the embarrassingly low usage is perhaps the very best protest, so long as the news reports that the 5.5 million spent on the nice looking scheme has been pretty much wasted so far. At least with the Northern Territories opting out of the compulsion law some comparison can be made over car usage, air quality, injuries and fitness etc.
Mark Garrett, Bristol UK

Andrew said...

Anonymous posting @15:29, not even brave enough to put your name next to yourr ridiculous comment. While not wearing a helmet endangers you and you alone, not installing a fire alarm may endanger not only you but your neighbours and so on. Not that difficult to understand is it? Seatbelts? Every car comes with them, you don't have to buy it separately if you want to rent a car, right? Two - there is a little bit of a speed difference between cycling and riding a car - if you go on an MTB downhill race - wear a lid, as you would in a race car.

Mikael - well done. Hope the message gets through.

bentguy said...

Yeah, how will it turn out here in Vancouver? Well we are all holding our breath. We are currently in the middle of our annual bike-hate-a-thon with cops out ticketing for everything from the non-wearing of helmets to not actually putting your foot on the ground at a stop sign even when you have a green signal at a cyclist controlled light. Oh yeah, it's summer. The good news is that I see more and more cyclists not wearing helmets and boy have the motorists noticed as the letters to the editor and cranky old men on call in shows confirms. New bike lanes are going in (that really riles them) and the word "Bixi" (as well as the word "repeal" --- helmet law that is) seems to be on everyone's tongue these days. I just hope we can get it all sorted by 2012 when Velo-City Global comes to town or we may look a wee bit foolish.

lagatta à montréal said...

Mikael, you and wifealicious should be proud of your son - that is a beautifully composed photo!

Bentguy, I hope you can make changes in this helmet silliness!

Now, if I were touring in the mountains of BC, yes, I'd be wearing a helmet and all sorts of gear. But these silly laws apply to people puttering in cities, towns and villages, in dedicated cycle lanes or quiet roads.

For some reason, the helmet cranks here are concentrated in the English-speaking media and in particular the Montreal Gazette - which does have good cycling reporters at its Green Life blog, though they can have helmet (but not helmet compulsion) eruptions.

There is an anti-bicycle streak among rightwing tabliod-type media in French as well, but it is not centred on helmets, more on "get out of my way loser" stuff one often hears among ... losers. La Presse, the mainstream paper in French, has an excellent bicycle blogger online who doesn't wear a helmet as she cycles in town.

If not, VeloCity will have to take refuge in Montréal, as the first AIDS conference did many years ago...

Anonymous said...

In New Zealand it is also illegal to ride a bike without a helmet. Oddly enough, if you do dare to go out helmet-less then it is the general public who seem to give you a hard time rather than the police. I have been glared at by many and even yelled at by some...

J. Dickens said...

This sounds like a really great idea. I had no idea that was happening in Melbourne.

Michael said...

Dear Lagatta, it's strange and wonderful the way things connect. Clicking on your name, I came across you blog of course and on it discovered a fantastic film on Melbourne street life made by Clarence Dickerson Jnr in 2008.

It proved, as those who love Melbourne know and this includes Mikael, that its a city with great flair and ingenuity. How strange then it is that Bike share should be dying in such a place, killed by the nannyism of the helmet law. It seems like another place entirely

Anyway, thanks to you, I've listed the people credited at the end of that film, obviously influential in Melbourne, with the idea of tracking them down, getting them to see my gloomy report on the bike share situation, and then urge them to action in defense of the city they love.
I can't imagine they are happy to see Bike share in trouble.

I've asked Nick Low, the persuasive spokesperson at the end of, the film Melbourne Bike Share in Trouble, to help me find them. So thanks, Lagatta. One thing does lead to another in very good ways.

Mike Rubbo

BB said...

@Anon 15:29 - I have nursed patients who have head injuries from being a motorist involved in a MVA. Individuals involved in motorsports wear a helmet. Should this apply to "utility" motorists? When you back out of the driveway to head to the mall, do you put a helmet on? Probably not. That's your choice. "Utility" cyclists travelling at a third of the speed do not have that choice in my state.

Oh, as an aside, if you feel the need to address others as "imbeciles" or "stupid" in a polite, public forum, it might be good form to at least introduce yourself.

faith said...

I ride every day in Melbourne and many cyclists around here (Brunswick)choose not to wear helmets. I think cyclists should have the right to choose.

Motor vehicle drivers and passengers suffer serious head injuries despite airbags but its not compulsory for them and I think there is some credence to the theory that helmets can encourage some riders to take more risks.

Harvey said...

Well done Mikael for reporting on the dire situation we have in Melbourne.

We suffer from a nanny state government with clueless bureaucrats making decisions. How many of them have tried the bike share? They might realise that such sturdy bikes are no danger at the gentle pace they encourage.

Instead, officials regurgitate the usual lies ("helmets save lives"), expecting to get away with it from a misinformed and disinterested public.

The helmet zealots are stubborn though, ignoring public support to exempt bike share from the helmet law. Unless these bikes are exempt, this scheme will fail.

Hopefully people will learn the lesson before a similar scheme can be set up in Brisbane or Sydney.

yewenyi said...

This is an interesting study analysing the health impact of bicycle helmets in Melbourne form the hospital and other records.

http://www.monash.edu.au/muarc/reports/muarc076.html

Anonymous said...

Acquired brain injury is so hot right now! I say keep riding without helmets people, ride your freedoms straight into oncoming traffic, do it! Never mind if your friends and family dont want to dedicate the next 40 years of their lives to feeding and bathing a vegetable, im sure they had no other plans, and if they did, they will happily forego their dreams in support of your right to choose! High cost on the already over stretched public health system you say? No cost is too high when we're talking freedoms! Assert your rights kids! You are all beautiful and unique.

Greg said...

Take a look at the link M mentioned above:

http://www.ecf.com/3675_1

and look in particular at the results of helmet promotion:

http://www.onestreet.org/images/stories/pdf/Helmet_law_outcomes_summary.pdf

It's not pretty. For whatever reason (risk compensation, bad design, no one really knows) the only thing that compulsory helmet laws are really good at is stopping people from cycling.

That's the reality. Deal.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the excellent synopsis, Mikael.

All we want is the choice to wear a bicycle helmet, particularly given their questionable efficacy (just read the journals) & there definite detrimental effect on cycling for transport.

For some they would like to wear them all the time - that is perfectly OK. For others, they'd prefer to not wear them at all - that should be OK. For others, they'd like to make the choice depending on the situation - they don't have that choice at the moment.

What we are against is mandatory helmet legislation.

Cheers,

Paul Martin
Brisbane, Australia

mike said...

I live in Berkeley, Ca. Helmet law for 15 years and younger. Should be for everyone. Several local towns have compulsory for everyone. The hospital visits for bicycle injuries are related to helmet use. Cost to the public for uninsured injured riders is very high.
The idiots now ride fixed gear-brakeless bikes while
talking on cell phones and smoking. I think riding without a helmet is ok if you sign your ORGAN DONOR CARD. So sign the card and ride on knowing your lungs and other usable parts will go on beyond your shortened life.

Duane said...

Good to see the protest from an inside perspective, quite dissapointed to have missed it.

However I feel that the protest has largely fallen on deaf ears, the mainstream TV news outlets distorted the message to the simple argument: "Not wearing helmets makes cycling safer", which is easliy refuted. Not to mention it had to compete with federal politics for air time.

It has managed to sway Andrew Bolt though, so who am I to say all is lost :)

Anonymous said...

This is really a sad commentary on Western civilisation. Bicycling is about the most benign activity one can engage in on clean, safe, smooth Australian streets. Imagine being in Manila or Beijing or Rio or Nairobi and reading this story in the paper. "Crazy white people have nothing better to do than to fine people $160 for not saving the planet while properly equipped." It's beyond absurd. It's sad.

Harvey said...

to the misinformed anonymous who believes that:
High cost on the already over stretched public health system

You really need to educate yourself a bit more on this topic. That was the rubbish people claimed before the helmet law. Now now have plenty of evidence to know it is not true.

Far from saving on health costs, the helmet law is increasing health costs to society.

WAKE UP!

It is because of ignorants like you that we still have a helmet law, increasing health costs for everybody. And now preventing the Melbourne bike share from being used.

check this about the real health impact

or this from a health specialist

or this from somebody who believed in helmet law

or this for a full evaluation

Did you know that helmets provide minimal protection?
The slogan "Helmets save lives" is a lie

I bet you don't know that helmets are not even designed to protect against brain injury

BG said...

This is a genuine question for Melbourners: in normal, non-protest-day life, is the helmet law ever enforced?

Here in the US, bike laws are pretty much never enforced; my city's bike task force has actually tried to convince the police department to step up enforcement of the most dangerous behavior (riding against the flow of traffic), but we were told that they just don't have time to bother with it. In reality, the only time police will enforce a bike law is when they want a pretext to harass poor and minority citizens: http://tinyurl.com/bikesyikes

lagatta à montréal said...

Mike, I'm glad about that serendipity!

As you can see, it isn't my personal blog, it is a cyclists' association here that I joined in ... 1975.

Bixi could never have been successful here in Montréal with such ridiculous legislation - which damages public health, of course, by discouraging cycling (that is the intent of such laws in the first place).

We still have a long way to go in terms of infrastructures and drivers' attitudes to Copenhagenize or Amsterdamize though...

Yokota Fritz said...

I'm amused by the tinfoil hat brigade who really truly believe that biking without a helmet (a) will lead to instant death and/or disabling injury for all involved and (b) has a measurable impact on public health costs. Next thing you know, we'll hear rumors that biking is part of a clever internationalist communist plot to take over the world. Ah well.

Melbourne Cyclist said...

My one problem with this protest is that I didn't hear about it until it was over!!! I must've been under a rock or something, which sucks, because I would've loved to have been there.

I mostly wear a helmet when I ride here, because I have too much else going on in my life right now to fight a helmet fine like Sue did (Sue rocks!), but I have taken to wearing my nice warm beanie instead on cold mornings, along my no-police-here route to work. Maybe I'll pluck up the courage to start breaking the law a bit more as the year goes on :-) I've certainly got a whole load of facts I could merrily spew at them as to why I was choosing not to wear a helmet after all - thanks to all here!

All I want is for people to have the choice, and for the gov't to admit that helmets won't do as much for cyclists' safety as improved infrastructure, better driver education, and more respect all round. But then helmet laws are the cheapest option.

Oh, and in answer to the question about policing helmet use - to be honest, I really don't think it gets policed that much here. Last I heard there were only five dedicated cycle cops, and I think most police don't see the point in wasting time enforcing this law. Could be wrong, but in my experience the only time I've seen cyclists told off by police was during one of the "cycling crackdowns" where they were telling people off for riding on the pavements (in areas without any other safe options...), but not dishing out fines provided they got off and walked.

sherwood said...

I commute - around 30 miles a day. I always wear a helmet
However I own and run a business and take the cheques into the bank on the bike
Helmets are real light and with all the buzz going on around me I have sometimes cycled a mile and suddenly realised I have forgotten to put the helmet on -
A law making cycle helmets
mandatory is stupid - there is more evidence that pedestrians and motorists should wear helmets than cyclists
I am 73 years and entitled to forget

Ryan said...

Apparently Vancouver cops will target anything:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X3mv7U55Zc4&playnext=1&videos=cK1zNybi-do

Peter said...

Someone always raises the question of seat belts. I do not wear a seat belt for 4 months of the year and I do this with impunity as I am driving a tractor. These bikes, particularly in regard to how they are used relative to other forms of bicycle use, are the effective equivalent and should not attract that questionable law to begin with.

Anonymous said...

BG of US, Unfortunately our police in the state of Victoria are really obsessed with bike helmet laws and enforce them regularly. Some years there are over 20,000 fines metered out in a city of 3.5 million (and relatively very few cyclists). Like the commenter from New Zealand said, people in the street will also heckle you if you ride sans helmet. I've lived in a number of other places in the world and sometimes I just forget when I'm peddling out for a litre of milk and have had people say the most outrageous things to me.

Clearly a more pressing traffic issue in our streets is that of speeding cars but very few people heckle car drivers when they are engaged in breaking the law, and I would fancy your chances of successfully speeding without fine over riding a bike without a lid.

I do take your comment about the targeting of minorities too. I changed my mind about helmets and the enforcement of helmet laws, and almost got arrested myself in the bargain, when I witnessed a teenage boy on a bike being detained by two police officers. This was around 8 years ago in an area that was suffering from a wave of herion addiction (Footscray, outside the railway station for those of you who know Melbourne). The police pulled over the boy who was riding slowly along the footpath (sidewalk) with a beach towel on the carrier as he did not have a helmet. He was returning home from the local pool where someone had stolen his helmet. At the same time a young women was in the process of being beaten up across the road by a male, and drug dealing was occurring all around us. I intervened and loudly insisted that the officers enforce real crime. After a bit of discussion, the boy was cautioned rather than fined and I feel lucky to have escaped without a public disorder fine too. The reversal of the helmet compulsion in another area of Australia (Northern Territory) came after it was revealed that indigenous children were the group most likely to be fined for not wearing helmets and some were imprisoned for non-payment of helmet fines.
Pen of Melbourne

Anonymous said...

Mike, sorry I forgot to say... Thanks for your film. It's brilliant. Congratulations to all of the protesters too.

I couldn't make it to the protest for health reasons. If there is to be an organised refusal to pay the fines, there may be folks like myself who would be prepared to support people in other ways in their protest. Is there a site I could go to?

Pen of Melbourne

Ian said...

I choose to cycle with a helmet in the UK althoug I concur that the wearing of a helmet has not been shown to be of any benefit and the two times I've been hit by a car it made precisely no difference to the outcome. Too be honest it kind of keeps my head warm :-)

Compulsory use really sucks, especially when there is evidence to suggest that for very serious accidents helmets can contribute to rotational forces and spinal injury or death.

It really is a bad law you have there - good luck with the campaign!!!

Emilie said...

If helmets are there to prevent acquired brain damage, why aren't car drivers made to wear them? Many people with ABD have this as a result of car accident, not a cycling accident. And why are the inverse effects of not cycling not taken into account in the health picture? The cost of obesity is much, much higher and presents a very real risk to many more people. Helmet wearing should be down to individual choice just as over-eating is.

Anonymous said...

--
yewenyi said...

This is an interesting study analysing the health impact of bicycle helmets in Melbourne form the hospital and other records.

http://www.monash.edu.au/muarc/reports/muarc076.html
--

This study is mentioned in passing here:
http://www.cyclehelmets.org/papers/c2004.pdf

"Another evaluation
(Carr et al. 1995) was also problematic because it analyzed numbers of head injuries (rather than percentages with
head injury) making it impossible to distinguish between reductions due to reduced cycling and those due to increased
helmet wearing."

It's an elementary error, and to have made it suggests to me that Carr et al. are more interested in finding evidence that accords with their preconception that helmets are effective than in ascertaining that they really do work in real-world situations.

If you remember ( :-) ) to factor in reductions in numbers of people cycling, you see no improvement in head injury rates, which is probably the strongest evidence that helmets are not terribly effective against serious head injuries.

Dermot

Harvey said...

Pen said ...

The police pulled over the boy who was riding slowly along the footpath (sidewalk) with a beach towel on the carrier as he did not have a helmet. He was returning home from the local pool where someone had stolen his helmet. At the same time a young women was in the process of being beaten up across the road by a male, and drug dealing was occurring all around us. I intervened and loudly insisted that the officers enforce real crime.

How scary. When will this idiocy stop?

Cops have lost track of reality. Wasting their time harassing cyclists while neglecting their real job! I can't believe they are told that targetting cyclist is more important than reducing crime.

How stupid can people be?

Adrienne Johnson said...

For many years I have thought the helmet laws in Australia and Canada and various other places were placed there simply as a means of providing politicians with an opportunity to pass laws "for the greater good" without really thinking about it while gaining a very visible means of showing how effective they are at passing laws.

I have changed my thinking on this recently. I now feel that these laws were passed be people who really do not like bicycles and the people who ride them. As long as these stupid laws are in effect, the powers that be need do nothing to improve roads or enforce laws or protect the vulnerable. No money need be spent on infrastructure or traffic calming. They can use increased car congestion, increased competition for parking and increased air pollution to successful argue for more money being poured into their districts to make more roads which "creates more jobs"....

But you know, if everyone wore helmets there would be and 85% decrease in the number of people willing to leave their homes to vote for new representatives : )

spiderleggreen said...

It makes me very happy that my city's(Minneapolis) bike sharing program, Nice Ride, isn't hobbled by bike helmet laws. There is a strong helmet-first advocacy here, but they don't seem to be making too big of a deal about the lack of helmets on bike-share riders. I see the bike-sharing program as subversively undermining the argument for helmet-first bike riding.

Alisdair said...

@BB and Dave

I agree that people want to make their own decisions about wearing a bike helmet.

@Anonymous

The stations are close together but that's not too much of a problem because the person hiring them is supposed to change them every 30 minutes to have them not cost any more.

People often put seat belts and bike helmets in the same argument. Racing car drivers wear helmets but we don't on our own roads. They also wear fire resistant jumpsuits. These things do make driving safer but there is a point where people can agree to some things and not to others.

I always wear a helmet when I ride a bike. I was also at the bike protest. I also wore a helmet.

@Michael

I'm not sure that the bike share really is dying. There are a lot of ways you can look at this but the program was initiated in Winter for a start. Then it wasn't entirely well set up, for instance, there were originally no maps of where to dock the bikes. On top of that I haven't seen any statistics of bike use so I'm not sure. Someone mentioned 70 are used a week. Well, it's 70 more than were used. It's a great alternative, elsewhere you have to pay around $60 a day to hire a bike so it's good that it's so accessible to people in the city.

@Harvey

As per the laws, I agree there's a bit of a nanny state, but the law is often made to cover the lowest common denominator. Unforunately, and many will disagree because of the educated audience, but some people need some common sense laws in place. I agree J-walking is illegal, but most of us do it when its safe. Unfortunately not everyone has the common sense to know when it's safe and when it's not. Sometimes it's easier just to have a blanket law.

I really am not sure about it all. I always wear a helmet but that's my choice. I understand that people don't always use one and although I don't think it's as safe as if they were wearing one that's ok too. Imagine if the only cars available were the safest ones. If someone wants to buy a car for their safety features that should be their choice, but at the same time, the government should have laws that keep car manufacturing safe.

I guess I'm undecided but understand why people feel the way they do about helmets.

Alisdair said...

@BB and Dave

I agree that people want to make their own decisions about wearing a bike helmet.

@Anonymous

The stations are close together but that's not too much of a problem because the person hiring them is supposed to change them every 30 minutes to have them not cost any more.

People often put seat belts and bike helmets in the same argument. Racing car drivers wear helmets but we don't on our own roads. They also wear fire resistant jumpsuits. These things do make driving safer but there is a point where people can agree to some things and not to others.

I always wear a helmet when I ride a bike. I was also at the bike protest. I also wore a helmet.

@Michael

I'm not sure that the bike share really is dying. There are a lot of ways you can look at this but the program was initiated in Winter for a start. Then it wasn't entirely well set up, for instance, there were originally no maps of where to dock the bikes. On top of that I haven't seen any statistics of bike use so I'm not sure. Someone mentioned 70 are used a week. Well, it's 70 more than were used. It's a great alternative, elsewhere you have to pay around $60 a day to hire a bike so it's good that it's so accessible to people in the city.

@Harvey

As per the laws, I agree there's a bit of a nanny state, but the law is often made to cover the lowest common denominator. Unforunately, and many will disagree because of the educated audience, but some people need some common sense laws in place. I agree J-walking is illegal, but most of us do it when its safe. Unfortunately not everyone has the common sense to know when it's safe and when it's not. Sometimes it's easier just to have a blanket law.

I really am not sure about it all. I always wear a helmet but that's my choice. I understand that people don't always use one and although I don't think it's as safe as if they were wearing one that's ok too. Imagine if the only cars available were the safest ones. If someone wants to buy a car for their safety features that should be their choice, but at the same time, the government should have laws that keep car manufacturing safe.

I guess I'm undecided but understand why people feel the way they do about helmets.

Alisdair said...

@BB and Dave

I agree that people want to make their own decisions about wearing a bike helmet.

@Anonymous

The stations are close together but that's not too much of a problem because the person hiring them is supposed to change them every 30 minutes to have them not cost any more.

People often put seat belts and bike helmets in the same argument. Racing car drivers wear helmets but we don't on our own roads. They also wear fire resistant jumpsuits. These things do make driving safer but there is a point where people can agree to some things and not to others.

I always wear a helmet when I ride a bike. I was also at the bike protest. I also wore a helmet.

@Michael

I'm not sure that the bike share really is dying. There are a lot of ways you can look at this but the program was initiated in Winter for a start. Then it wasn't entirely well set up, for instance, there were originally no maps of where to dock the bikes. On top of that I haven't seen any statistics of bike use so I'm not sure. Someone mentioned 70 are used a week. Well, it's 70 more than were used. It's a great alternative, elsewhere you have to pay around $60 a day to hire a bike so it's good that it's so accessible to people in the city.

@Harvey

As per the laws, I agree there's a bit of a nanny state, but the law is often made to cover the lowest common denominator. Unforunately, and many will disagree because of the educated audience, but some people need some common sense laws in place. I agree J-walking is illegal, but most of us do it when its safe. Unfortunately not everyone has the common sense to know when it's safe and when it's not. Sometimes it's easier just to have a blanket law.

I really am not sure about it all. I always wear a helmet but that's my choice. I understand that people don't always use one and although I don't think it's as safe as if they were wearing one that's ok too. Imagine if the only cars available were the safest ones.

Alisdair said...

@BB and Dave

I agree that people want to make their own decisions about wearing a bike helmet.

@Anonymous

The stations are close together but that's not too much of a problem because the person hiring them is supposed to change them every 30 minutes to have them not cost any more.

People often put seat belts and bike helmets in the same argument. Racing car drivers wear helmets but we don't on our own roads. They also wear fire resistant jumpsuits. These things do make driving safer but there is a point where people can agree to some things and not to others.

I always wear a helmet when I ride a bike. I was also at the bike protest. I also wore a helmet.

@Michael

I'm not sure that the bike share really is dying. There are a lot of ways you can look at this but the program was initiated in Winter for a start. Then it wasn't entirely well set up, for instance, there were originally no maps of where to dock the bikes. On top of that I haven't seen any statistics of bike use so I'm not sure. Someone mentioned 70 are used a week. Well, it's 70 more than were used. It's a great alternative, elsewhere you have to pay around $60 a day to hire a bike so it's good that it's so accessible to people in the city.

Marty said...

Sadly in our Australian towns, the motor vehicle still reigns supreme. Unfortunately motor vehicles and helmet-less cyclists don't mix.

I totally agree that helmets suck, and I had an excellent time blazing around CPH last month on the back of a tredly without a helmet.

For Australians though, there needs to be a deeper paradigm shift, than just erecting a bunch of blue bike racks. We must banish the motor car from our town centres and reclaim these spaces for pedestrians and cyclists. This is going to involve some serious campaigning, town planning, logistical innovation, and (ugh) enlisting the support of politicians and local councillors.

The protest was a great start, but the nation will need to be reconditioned on a deeper level.

I hope you're picking up what I'm puttin down.

Marty

stephen said...

The mandatory helmet law is unfair and un-justified and the police are now using it to raise revenue by harassing and booking people who are in absolutely no danger. I saw 2 women on a path in Adelaide getting booked the other day. I suppose it could be justified if they were bicycle couriers or such racing around thru busy streets, But these people were just cruising along at no more risk than the pedestrians on that same path, and copping a fine. It's sad that the police have found that bludgeoning the innocent is a better source of revenue than catching criminals, it's speed cameras, bicycle helmets, jay walking, next thing you know it will be for not tying your shoe laces.!

At the next election whenever that is now you will now be able to vote against mandatory bicycle helmet laws.
Goto the LDP (Liberal Democratic Party) policy section titled victimless crimes.
I don't agree with every policy they have but that one alone is enough for me.

Anonymous said...

I just got fined while leaving my house and was on the bike path along the beach. Is there any way of disputed it? I just moved to Melb and didn't realize it was so high..otherwise I would of given a fake name...