Showing posts with label helmet laws. Show all posts
Showing posts with label helmet laws. Show all posts

03 November 2012

Australian Cycling Levels Pre/Post Helmet Law


Cycling levels in Australia. As we all know, helmet promotion followed by helmet laws were a bad thing.

Chris has gathered a fantastic detailed list of travel surveys in Australia over at his www.cycle-helmets.com website.

As though we needed more proof of the negative effect of helmet promotion and legislation, but hey. It's a great list.

07 July 2012

Open Letter to Danish MPs Against Helmet Law Proposal

FRB Hospital Bike
Last year, a proposal for bicycle helmet legislation was tabled here in Denmark. Copenhagenize Design Co. and Bicycle Innovation Lab promptly gathered a list of experts and we sent an open letter to all the members of the Danish parliament - and to the Danish press.

The bicycle helmet law was defeated! Rationality prevailed. Here is the letter we wrote to the papers and to every MP in the parliament.

The letter is also online here, on the Copenhagenize Consulting website.


Experts: Vote no to the mandatory bike helmet proposal and strengthen public health!
Danish experts in traffic, mobility and cycling recommend that all members of the Danish Parliament vote NO to the proposed bicycle helmet law.

You should vote NO to mandatory bicycle helmets in Denmark because:

- Denmark is the world's safest bicycle nation, along with The Netherlands.

- Cycling levels are falling and mandatory helmet laws further reduce the number of cyclists. We need MORE cyclists, not fewer.

- It will harm Denmark's leading role and international brand as a bicycle-friendly nation.

- Documentation for the effectiveness of bicycle helmets is, at best, doubtful and countered by numerous scientific articles around the world.

Copenhagenize Design Company and Bicycle Innovation Lab have teamed up to contact the country's leading experts in traffic, mobility and cylcing and get them to join our declaration. Their names can be found at the end of this letter. 


Why vote no?
Many European countries have already rejected bicycle helmet law proposals. Among them are the UK, France, Italy, Poland, Switzerland and Norway. The reason is that there isn't any conclusive scientific evidence that a helmet law will benefit the public health.


In addition, there isn't one single place in the world where bicycle helmet usage has reduced the number of serious head injuries. The worst thing about a helmet law is that we risk having fewer people choose the bicycle. A catastrofe for a society that is plagued by lifestyle diseases, rising obesity and children that don't get enough exercise. We have to INCREASE cycling levels.

Even the European Council for Ministers of Transport have made it clear:

"... even the official promotion of helmets may have negative consequences for bicycle use. If the importance of wearing a helmet is stressed, the implied message is that cycling is extraordinary dangerous. The report on cycling shows, however, that refraining from bicycle use has far greater negative consequences for health than increasing bicycle use without the wearing of helmets. To prevent helmets having a negative effect on the use of bicycles, the best approach is to leave the promotion to the manufacturers and shopkeepers".
European Council of Ministers of Transport - National Policies to Promote Cycling - 2004

We say no to bicycle helmet legislation in Denmar and our conclusion is the same as the European Cyclists Federation, the Danish Cyclists Federation, as well as cycling organisations in Holland, UK, Germany, France, Belgium, Ireland, etc.

FACTS ABOUT BICYCLE HELMETS

- A bicycle helmet isn't even designed to protect the head against life-threatening impacts. It is designed - and tested - to protect the head against non-life threatening injuries in solo accidents under 20 km/h. A helmet isn't designed to help in situations where a cyclist is hit by a car or truck. Promotion of helmets - not to mention a law - has a very serious consequence: people stop cycling. We've seen it all over the world. Between 20-40% have been scared off their bikes and that impacts the public health. 

The advantages of cycling daily are 20 times greater than the marginal risk of hitting your head. 

When we are dealing with something as important at the public health and sustainable transport forms, the documentation has to be watertight. We don't think it is regarding the proposal of making helmets mandatory for children under 15.

Denmark is the world's safest bicycle nation, along with the Netherlands. The number of head injuries keeps falling in Denmark and has done so since the 1960s, apart from minor, short-term periods. This is due to better infrastructure, traffic safety intiatives, the "safety in numbers" principle and people paying better attention. Daily cycling prevents a long line of illnesses and can extend life by up to seven years. We shouldn't risk having fewer cyclists - and certainly not children.


What is the state of cycling in Denmark right now?

The number of cycled kilometres in Denmark has fallen by 30% since the beginning of the 1990s. If Danes still cycled that extra 30% we could save at least 2880 lives a year. (Source: Lars Bo Andersen, Professor. University of Southern Denmark). Instead of working towards increasing cycling levels, we see a proposal that will ruin our bicycle culture.


The number of cyclists continues to fall in Denmark. Copenhagen is actually the only city in the western world where cycling levels have fallen over the past few years. We need to increase these levels. We can't do it with helmet legislation, but by creating better and safer conditions for the nation's cyclists.

Harming Denmark's strongest international brand

Bicycle helmets are basically misunderstood treatment of symptoms. We should, instead, discuss what kind of cities we wish to live in. If we wish to do something positive for safety, health and the environment we should arrange our cities so that they are safe for pedestrians and cyclists and we should give these groups first priority in our planning. The European Parliament doesn't want to legislate helmets but instead recommends 30 km/h zones as a solution. Another example is the 8-80 Cities concept - which means that cities should be designed for people from 8-80 years old - so that they can move around their city safely.


Among the cycling organisations in Europe, the new Danish law proposal has been met with stunned amazement. The proposal is in sharp contrast to the image of Denmark as a role model for cycling and it can harm our unique brand as a cycling nation. Cycling in Denmark creates jobs and export potential. These are put at risk when you don't understand the international consequences of the unfortunate messages we send.

It is through testing, experimenting and playful desire that Denmark wears the jersey as one of the world's best cycling nations - not through legislation and restrictions. Therefore, all the experts signing this letter encourage the members of Parliament to vote NO to the proposal about helmet legislation for children under 15.

What can you do instead?

An effective strategy for saving lives and preventing injuries is lowering the speed limit to 30 km/h in densely populated areas. This is in place in over 100 European cities. We would experience a fall in killed and serious injured cyclists and pedestrians AND motorists between 25-40% THAT is effective lawmaking.


Traffic calming in cities and better, wider and safer bicycle infrastructure have the same positive effect and we encourage you to propose and support such plans.


We are at your disposal

Each of the experts who have signed this letter can expand on why a bicycle helmet law is a bad idea based on our individual expertise. We are at your disposal if you want to know more. Feel free to contact us. We can also recommend international experts through our networks.
 

Best regards:

Mikael Colville-Andersen - CEO – Copenhagenize Design Co.
Lasse Schelde - Head of Project – Bicycle Innovation Lab
Professor, dr.med.,Lars Bo Andersen - University of Southern Denmark

Claus Hyldahl - Doctor in Orthopedic Surgery - Lægernes Test Center
Thomas Krag - Mobility adviser and former head of the Danish Cyclists Federation

Malene Freudendal-Pedersen – Asst Professor - Institute of Environment, Society and Spatial Change (MOSPUS)
Anne-Katrine Braadgaard Harders - Civil engineer and Ph.D student - DTU/AAU
Lise Drewes Nielsen - Professor -

Institute of Environment, Society and Spatial Change (MOSPUS)
Christer Ljungberg, CEO, Trivector. Expert in sustainable transport. Sweden.



One of our colleagues who signed the letter is Prof. Lars Bo Andersen from the University of Southern Denmark. He added a letter of his own to the open letter. The pdf of his letter, in Danish, is viewable here.

But we thought it relevant to translate his text;

Recommendation of a No vote on the bicycle helmet law proposal

By Professor Lars Bo Andersen, University of Southern Denmark

I have researched cycling and health over the past two decades and have published more articles and papers about the health benefits of cycling as transport than any other researcher in the world.

Mortality among cyclists is 30% lower than among those in the population who transport themselves through passive transport. Today, such a large percentage of the population cycles that this reduction in mortality results in a significant number of lives saved.

- According to Danmarks Statistik the cycling levels fell 30% between 1980-2000.
- This fall means that the total mortality (within the same age and gender) has risen by 4.8%.
- Roughly 60,000 people die each year in Denmark and the actual reduction in cycling equals 2880 deaths.
- This is in relation to the fact that only 30 cyclists died in traffic in 2011.

If a bicycle helmet law causes a fall in cycling levels, as it is expected to do, it will be cause a great deal of damage in the health of the Danish people.

Best regards
Lars Bo Andersen


Brilliant. Thanks, Lars. 

If you're wondering which individual was behind this proposal (and it's always an individual) it's Andreas Steenberg, from the political party Radikale. In email exchanges with him it is clear that he hasn't bothered looking at the science, the risks and the negative effect on public health. He is just as uninformed as Pia Olsen Dyhr from the Socialist People's Party who was bikeslapped here on the blog a couple of years ago.

04 July 2012

Helmet Law Proposed in Denmark

Barcelona Felix et Lulu Bikes
And so the nightmare that summarises the Culture of Fear reaches the shores of Denmark. Two political parties announced yesterday that they will push for a bicycle helmet law for under 16s.

A proposal was defeated in the Danish Parliament back in 2009, when rationality was still something politicians possessed, apparently. Danish readers can check out Cykelhjelm.org for a crash course in knowledge.

The Radical Left and the Socialist Peoples' Party are behind the proposal. The traffic "safety" spokesman for The Radical Left - Jan Johansen - said to Danish Broadcasting:

"We are of the opinion that we must make our children as safe as possible when they are in the traffic".

What the Radical Left and the Socialist Peoples' Party AREN'T doing is making our streets safe.

They are NOT proposing to follow in the footsteps of over 80 European cities and creating 30 km/h zones in densely populated areas or proposing traffic calming measures in our cities.

They are NOT proposing motoring helmets, despite evidence that they would be a good idea.

They are not listening to warnings regarding bike helmet promotion or laws. Nor are they worried about the warnings from Sweden regarding children and reduced cycling.

They are NOT telling us how they will keep children safe on playgrounds or in cars - where the risk of head injury is higher.

They are NOT proposing restrictions or penalities on parents who transport their children inside of cars, what with the higher levels of microparticles than on the bike lanes that run parallel.

Etc. Etc.


The Radical Left are about as informed about helmets as the Socialist Peoples' Party are. We posted about the gaffes made by Pia Olsen Dyhr a couple of years ago. Little has changed in their lack of respect for science or just basic facts.


Here's what happened in Sweden when helmets started being promoted and then legislated. It's the same thing that happened in so many regions that have been subject to the same anti-cycling wave. We wrote about this graph here a few years ago and there is more on this graph in Swedish here.

The sad fact is that Copenhagen is the only city in the western world where cycling levels are falling. We're now at 35%, according to the City of Copenhagen. Before bike helmet promotion started in January 2008 we were at 37%. We predicted this back in January 2009.

Our only bicycle advocacy group, the Danish Cyclists' Federation (DCF) are now busy telling the press that they are against the law. This has been their position for some time, but that hasn't stopped them from projecting their personal fear of cycling onto the population at large through intense helmet promotion, together with their rich and equally uninformed uncle, Rodet for Sikker Panik (Danish Road "Safety" Council).

It's tragi-comic to see how they now have to employ all the arguments that the rest of Europe uses to fight against helmet promotion and legislation. But it's an organisation without any scientific staff - unlike the cyclist federations in so many other countries.

They have made their bed and now they must lie in it. They Culture of Fear regarding cycling in Denmark is their work, along with the Road "Safety" Council, so this development is, indirectly, their fault. Without their pornographic obsession with helmets, we wouldn't be here today.

I wonder where this will lead. Can the European Cyclists Federation help? As they have done in so many other countries that have defeated helmet laws?

Cross your fingers.

12 December 2011

Minority Report at US Border

Standoff
A very good friend of mine sent me this description of a journey he took from Vancouver to Seattle. He had to clear US Customs and Immigration at the train station in Vancouver, before boarding the train.

At the Amtrak train station in Vancouver, I was passing through the US border inspection with my bike.


At the lineup control:


Guard 1: "Where's your helmet?"
Me: "It's at home."
G1: "Why don't you have it?"
Me: "I won't be needing it on this trip."
G1: "Why not?"
Me: "Because it won't be necessary for my type of biking."
G1: "So, you plan on breaking the law?"
Me: "Ummm... what law?"


... then I'm waved over the inspection desk ...


Guard 2: "Where are you going?"
Me: "Seattle"
G2: "Where's your helmet?"
Me: "I didn't bring it."
G2: "You ride without one?"
Me: "Depends on the situation."
G2: "Are you aware that it's the law in the state of Washington?" (Ed: It's not, he's wrong)
Me: "I wasn't aware of this."
G2: "So, you were planning to break the law on purpose?"
Me: "I had no intention of doing so."
G2: "Do you think I should let you in to my country knowing that you intend on breaking the law?"
Me: "Ummm... I assume 'no?'"
G2: "Don't assume; the answer is NO. How do I know you aren't going to commit other crimes?"
Me: "I understand. So what is your decision?"
G2: "I'm going to let you thorough on the condition that upon arrival you purchase a helmet. If you are cited for biking without a helmet, I will know because I'm going to check your file later today. If that's the case, you will have trouble entering the US again."
Me: "Thank you, I'll buy a helmet."


So, all in all, I boarded the train scared, rattled and angry. I didn't know how to handle myself and I never expected anything like it. I wondered if he was bluffing, but I wasn't going to risk anything seeing as I need to re-enter the US on other business throughout the year. Upon arrival, I went to a LBS to consider a helmet and the store guy said at least half of his friends have been cited for not having a helmet--but he doesn't use one if he can help it. There are plenty of painted bike lanes everywhere. I bought a helmet. But I felt more than ever that my side of the planet needs serious help.


So. It begs the question. Do US Border Police harass every motorist entering the country?

"I can see on your speedometer than your car is capable of exceeding US and State speed limits."
"Um. Yes."
"Are you aware that exceeding the speed limit is the law?"
"Really?"
"Do you think I should let you in to my country knowing that you are driving a car capable of breaking the speed limit?"

Do they check their files later in the day? Nah.

This is police stupidity. Ignoring the Bull so blatantly that it hurts. On their website the tagline is "Securing America's Borders..." Yeah, right.

Together with Chicago's ridiculous new pedestrian flags this week, I too, wonder how liveable cities free of automotive tyranny will ever gain purchase in some regions. Sigh.

05 December 2011

Repeal Helmet Laws to Boost Cycling

Melbourne Helmet Demonstration 24
A new paper is out from Prof. Chris Rissell at the Sydney School of Public Health at the U of Sydney. Repealing Australia's archaeic helmet laws, and following the example of Israel and Mexico City - would cause a massive boom in cycling levels.

Here's the summary of the paper:


Helmets OFF to legislation
Cycling levels in Sydney could more than double if laws forcing cyclists to wear helmets were repealed, according to a new research published today in the Health Promotion Journal of Australia.

One in five adults surveyed in Sydney said they would ride a bicycle more if they did not have to wear a helmet, according co-author Professor Chris Rissel from the School of Public Health, at the University of Sydney.

Researchers involved in ‘The possible effect on frequency of cycling if mandatory bicycle helmet legislation was repealed in Sydney, Australia: a cross sectional survey’ interviewed 600 hundred Sydney adults to identify preferences for wearing bicycle helmets.

People who ride occasionally and younger people were most likely to say they would ride more if they didn’t have to wear a helmet, but significantly, one in five people who hadn’t ridden a bicycle in the last year also said they would ride more,” says Professor Rissel.

Professor Rissel says that the NSW state government’s targets to increase cycling could be easily achieved by repealing bicycle helmet legislation without spending millions of dollars on new bicycle paths.

Occasional riders and those people who don’t see themselves as a ‘cyclist’ represents a large number of people. Even if only half or a quarter of these people did actually start riding, it would more than double the number of people cycling now,” Professor Rissel says.

The research also found that almost half of the respondents said they would never ride without a helmet. While more than 14 percent said “all the time”, and over 30 percent said “some of the time”, the rest were unsure.

Support for mandatory helmet wearing was low among people already cycling according to Professor Rissel.

Overall, one third of respondents did not support mandatory helmet legislation. There was an inverse association between riding frequency and support of the helmet legislation, with those not riding in the past year most likely to support helmet legislation, and more frequent riders less likely to support it,” he says.

Professor Rissel said that lots of people would still wear a helmet, but removing the legal requirement to wear a helmet would encourage more people to just hop on a bike.

“Public bicycle share schemes around the world where helmets are not required to been worn have shown how safe cycling really is,” says Professor Rissel.

There have now been over six million users of the ‘Boris bikes’ in London and distances cycled total over 10 million kilometres with few serious injuries. In the first three months the accident rate was estimated to be 0.002 percent.

There are similar observations from other schemes. The bike share schemes in Brisbane and Melbourne are operating at 10 percent of comparable international schemes because of helmet legislation.

Results:
One in five (22.6%, 95% CI 18.8-26.4%) respondents said they would cycle more if they did not have to wear a helmet, particularly occasional cyclists (40.4% of those who had cycled in the past week and 33.1% of those who had cycled in the past month).
Almost half  (47.6%) of respondents said they would never ride without a helmet, 14.4% said ‘all the time’, 30.4% said ‘some of the time’ and the rest were not sure.
One third (32.7%, 95% CI 28.5-37.0%) of respondents did not support mandatory helmet legislation.

Here's the link to the paper:
The possible effect on frequency of cycling if mandatory bicycle helmet legislation was repealed in Sydney, Australia: a cross sectional survey - Chris Rissel and Li Ming Wen.



19 November 2011

Australia's Helmet Laws


Laughed out loud more than once.

17 February 2011

Australian Call For Motoring Helmets


Click for larger, readable version. Opens in new window.

One of our readers in Australia, Peter, sent us this article written in 1989 by Alan A. Parker. It's an interesting backward glance to the days when Australia were debating mandatory helmet laws.

The latter half of the article is interesting. In it, the author discusses motoring helmets and, indeed, calls for them. I found this bit to be enlightening:

"There is an embarassing silence from the police and the police unions about their willingness to enforce bicycle helmet laws but, in the closing days of 1987, they went public with the proposal that motorists should wear helmets which they regard as a worthwhile change in the law that they are prepared to enforce."

Hadn't heard that one before. That the police went public backing motoring helmets. A little piece of the puzzle falls into place.
Helmets for Motorists - bilisthjelm
Our article from back in May 2009 about Australian motoring helmets - "The World's First" - produced by Davies Craig was greeted with chuckles at first. Until we started looking into it and discovering that motoring helmets have been taken seriously, as we wrote about later.

But the question of WHY Davies Craig would start producing them has remained vague. We were aware of studies showing the benefits of motoring helmets from the late 1990's but Davies Craig were selling theirs in the late 1980's. A company wouldn't invest in a product like this unless there was a good reason. So it's interesting to learn that motoring helmets were on the agenda and that the police, at least for a while, were backing their use.

Davies Craig, on the box, say that they had spent 3 years developing the motoring helmet so the subject must have been topical for a while.

With that, said, the author questions self-enforcement of helmet laws. He was, it must said, correct. Over 20 years later, the police in most Australian cities may ticket cyclists for riding without, but it's not a priority by all accounts and often it is the exception. Except in Melbourne where urban cyclists are constantly hunted down like vermin.

The author calls for equality, saying that bicycle helmets are perfect for car occupants and he even proposes making them a standard feature in new cars:

"The design rules for all new cars should be changed so that all new cars come with a complement of bicycle helmets with built-in clips to conveniently store them, on the back seat or under the dashboard, so as to minimise the inconvenience to motor vehicle users."

He also hits the bullseye when he writes that:
"It is very difficult to take politicians and car driving safety experts seriously when they know so little about head injuries that they don't wear a bicycle helmet in their own cars. I have been wearing a bicycle helmet for ten years because it protects me yet I have never seen any of the hundred or so big-mouthed helmet advocates, who don't ride bicycles, wear a helmet in their car. I wonder why?

Perhaps the Cain government should set an example and have all MPs and government drivers wear helmets?"


The big-mouthed helmet advocates are still out there and still driving without helmets so little has changed on that front apart from the names and faces.

In all the time we've been writing about the issue of motoring helmets I have never heard any good excuse why we shouldn't promote them. From anyone. Even the cycling helmet advocates avoid the issue like the plague.

Even though the issue of motoring helmets could be the singlemost potent weapon in the bicycle advocacy arsenal.

09 December 2010

Free Fremantle


Every damn city should have a mayor with a bicycle vision - and a sense of rationality - like Brad Pettitt. Mayor of Fremantle, Australia. Another film by Mike Rubbo. Can I vote for this guy?

[I'm going to politely refrain from taking the piss out of lazy bikes (e-bikes) in this post.]

28 November 2010

Bike Share Battlin' - Dublin v Melbourne


Mike Rubbo get's stuck into the bike share issue once again. This time comparing Dublin's amazingly sucessful Dublin Bikes with Melbourne's suffering Melbourne Bike Share.

17 September 2010

Darwin - Australia's Cycling Paradise


Here's an interesting film by Mike Rubbo, documentarist turned bicycle advocate, who traveled north to Darwin, Northern Territory to explore the territory's unique bike helmet excemption law.

The Northern Territory mandated helmet use along with the rest of the country in the 1990's. Like the rest of the nation, they saw cycling levels drop. In an attempt to get people to ride again, they repealed - or rather adjusted - the law and allowed for helmet-free cycling on footpaths and bike paths.

The result? It's in the film and in Mike's post over at his SitUp-Cycle.com blog.

It's been 20-odd years since I was last in Darwin. Maybe I could find a travel agency specialising in Rationality Destinations and get me a ticket to the 'top end's' bicycle paradise.

13 September 2010

The Church of Sit Up Cycling

SF CM 09 Nun
A resident of Vancouver, Canada has started a new church. The Church of Sit Up Cycling. Cycling 'enthusiasts' have long exhibited a passion for their hobby or sport that resembles religious observance. Now the realm of worship has come to the aesthetic art and act of regular citizens riding upright bicycles. We like this theological uprighteousness.

Reverend James Twowheeler is the 'nom de plume' of the church's founder. As stated on the church's website:

Wearing their normal work and play clothes is an essential religious practice of members of the Church of Sit-Up Cycling. This may or may not include wearing plastic hats.

Believers wholly endorse the use of such accident-preventing safety measures as lights, bells, height, strict compliance with traffic signals, a leisurely pace and the use of dedicated cycling streets and lanes.


Reverend Twowheeler discovered a potential loophole in British Columbia's Motor Vehicle Act. British Columbia is one of the few places in the world that has all-ages mandatory helmet laws but there are exemptions from the law. Among them:

3 The following persons are exempt from the requirement under section 184 of the Act to wear a bicycle safety helmet:
- a person for whom the wearing of a helmet would interfere with an essential religious practice;

Among the individuals who could claim this exemption are Sikhs. And now, perhaps, the Church of the Sit Up Cycling.

It's all good fun and tongue in cheek. An attempt to separate regular citizens from the enthusiasts. Cycling in regular clothes and all that.

Tall bike Nun
Funny idea, but it made me think back to a similar idea here in Denmark - and quite possibly elsewhere.

Copenhagen Lads is a fan group who support F.C. Copenhagen. A few years back they put in a serious application to the Danish Ministry of Ecclesiastical Affairs in order to have their fan group recognized as an official faith. Well, there was a certain irony to the application, but they gave it a shot. They ended up featuring prominently in theologist Povl Götke's book From Buddha to Beckham – Karisma and Suggestion in Spot and Religion. There is also a Maradonian Church / Iglesia Maradoniana with 100,000 members in 60 countries who worship the Argentine footballer Diego Maradona - of questionable Hand of God fame.


Their application made it past the first firewall protecting the application from crackpots but it was eventually rejected because they failed to describe some concrete criteria like wedding rituals and suchlike. Another recognized religion in Denmark is Forn Sidr, which is the pagan faith of the ancient Danes and the Vikings - The Asa faith.

Anyway... The Church of Sit Up Cycling? Why not? Reverend Twowheeler is of the opinion that since;

"I've been unable to come up a list of recognized religions in BC, this loophole seems wide enough to drive a truck through. Indeed the government seems most keen that citizens workship in whatever way they want". As per this website.

All praise the Sit Up Bicycle. I'm eagerly awaiting my annointment.

Feel free to brainstorm in the comments about what kind of rituals the Church could integrate into their dogma.

The Church of Sit Up Cycling has a website, a Facebook group and a Twitter account.

The Onion has an amusing article about Fictionology.

19 August 2010

Rational Editorial from The Edmonton Sun

What a surprising - and welcome - editorial in the Canadian newspaper The Edmonton Sun, entitled Bike Helmet Law Premature.

Is rationality the new fear-mongering?

"We live in the age of the “easy answer,” of belief dominating fact, because everyone has an outlet for expression, no matter how hideously uninformed they may be.

It’s a real problem when it comes to respecting the balance between individual liberties and public safety and civility.

When the nature of a debate has become so muddied by personal and special interests, it’s usually a good time to step away from it and assess reality. A proposal for an adult bike helmet law in Alberta is one such example.

Much of what we learned about bike helmets growing up is no longer true. Accepted standards for helmet construction have changed multiple times, and even some of those certified by national safety bodies have failed miserably in testing to protect their wearers.

So we don’t really know which helmets to trust. One independent study showed the most common design of modern moulded helmet might actually be contributing to head injuries, due to the hard outer shell compressing the inner foam lining more quickly on impact than it takes for the lining to absorb the head’s impact.

It’s easy for the pro-helmet side of the debate to point to grotesque statistics, like the fact that there are about 70,000 bicyclist head injuries in North America every year. But as one U.K. statistician pointed out, you’re as likely as a pedestrian to be killed in a road accident as you are if you’re a cyclist.

There are a lot of injuries to cyclists, and there are lots of accidents between them and other vehicles. But very few of them actually result in fatalities.

So, as much as safety experts would like to follow the modern trend of framing civil liberties debates as simple black-and-white issues — witness the plethora of half-truths and outright lies associated with the anti-smoking industry, for example — the bike helmet issue is not resolved.

Comparisons with seat-belt laws are not apt. The reality is that mandatory belt laws are demonstrated to lower fatality rates in every jurisdiction in which they’ve been introduced. The same cannot be said of bicycle helmets.

Were they able to concretely provide some evidence not only that helmet laws work but that helmet standards are sufficient, this wouldn’t be a debate. The fact that it is means the word “mandatory” should come off the table."

Via: Editorial from The Edmonton Sun.
More information about Canadian helmet laws.

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.

06 May 2010

Copenhagenize Quiz Winner(s)!


Disclaimer: The photo does not depict the winners of the quiz. :-)

Thanks to everyone who took part in the Copenhagenize Quiz yesterday. A thrilling battle for a messenger bag from Cykelhjelm.org.

The correct answers are as follows:
Which year did Sweden begin bike helmet promotion?
1988

Which year did Sweden pass a helmet law for under 15's?
2005

To be honest, I've discovered I'm crap at hosting quizzes. The first question is good enough, but the second one is a bit unclear. They passed the law in 2004 and it went into effect in 2005.

Should have been clearer. Sorry. I'll be flexible in choosing the winners. And here they are:

Kim - 1988/2005 (even though he changed his mind later in the comments... :-) )
Crispy Kale: 1988/2004 (benefit of the doubt due to my badly-formulated quiz question)
@brumcyclist: 1988/2005


What you three lucky readers need to do is send me an email at copenhagenize [at] gmail [dot] com with WINNER! in the subject field and your full names and addresses. I'll get a messenger bag shipped off to you quicksmart.

For more reading on child helmet laws and their destructive nature, here's a good page to click on to.

30 April 2010

Mexico City Repeals Bike Helmet Law

Reforma Sunday Family Crowd
When it rains, it pours. A little while ago I blogged about how there appears to be a growing resistance against bike helmet laws around the world. Then I got word from my network of a couple more developments.

Mexico City repealed their bike helmet law back in February 2010.

Let's face it, it wasn't much of a law since there was little enforcement and it was, essentially, unenforceable. Back in 2008 there was a bicycle count including over 26,000 cyclists and 93% of them didn't feel the need to wear a helmet.

The main reason for the push to repeal the helmet law was the upcoming implementation of the city's bike share system, Ecobici.

The Institute for Transportation and Development Policy [ITDP] were instrumental in getting the law repealed but there was also support from within the city government.

Back in December I blogged about how the helmet law in Israel was up for repeal, as well. From what I've heard the lobbying was successful and adults are no longer forced to wear helmets. Any more info on this is appreciated.

Basically, the helmet law in both places stood in the way of bike sharing programmes that would serve to encourage more people to cycle. Programmes which have been successful in achieving this goal in Paris and Lyon and 24 other French cities, as well as Barcelona and Seville and other Catalonian/Spanish cities and many places around the world.

The Australian Helmet Hurdle regarding bike share programmes is well-known. Nevertheless, there are still crazy ideas floating around in that country like making cheap helmets available at corner shops so that if you spontaneously want to grab a public bike for a short trip somewhere, you'll have to first piss all over that spontaneity and go into a shop to buy a cheap helmet.

In short... Got a helmet law? Don't bother with bike share programmes until you repeal it.

Reforma Sunday Quatro Amigas

27 April 2010

Growing Resistance to Helmet Laws?

Do I dare say that there is a growing resistance to helmet laws? It would seem so. There is more media attention of late on the subject.

And then there's this quote:
"We are the safest and healthiest human beings who ever lived, and yet irrational fear is growing, with deadly consequences — such as the 1,595 Americans killed when they made the mistake of switching from planes to cars after September 11. In part, this irrationality is caused by those — politicians, activists, and the media — who promote fear for their own gain."
Dan Gardner, Canadian author of "Risk"

Here's a few bits and pieces from around the world:

English Bay: Loggishness
Here's an article from MetroNews in Vancouver.
Nanny-state helmet law may hurt cycling - by Derek Moscato - 26 April 2010
Brad Kilburn can’t be thrilled to be an outlaw in British Columbia. But the avid cyclist has become exactly that since last year.

Kilburn, you see, no longer wears a helmet while riding his bike. The Richmond resident, who has commuted to work by bicycle for the last 26 years, has come to the realization that mandatory helmet laws are actually bad for cyclists and Metro Vancouver’s cycling environment.

“It’s too bad well-intentioned individuals have harmed cycling advocacy by forcing riders to wear helmets,” he told me. Kilburn also maintains the same law is hampering Vancouver’s attempt to set up a bike sharing program.

He’s not alone in his assessment of helmet laws as more hindrance than help. In 2007, Saskatoon’s city council rejected a bylaw that would require bikers to wear helmets. One councillor wisely cited Canada’s obesity epidemic as a reason to distance the city from punitive measures that would discourage folks to get on a two-wheeler.

This is not to say that cyclists shouldn’t wear helmets. Most should — especially children, and those who ride in heavy traffic. But forcing riders to wear head protection in every circumstance has had the effect of killing any spontaneity and enjoyment from cycling.

Not only do helmets give some riders a false sense of security, they also send a message to motorists that cyclists are somehow better protected — and less vulnerable — in the case of a collision.

Sadly, the law is symptomatic of the nanny-state mentality that is so pervasive today.

Last September, Colin Clarke, a bike safety expert and former coach with the British Cycling Federation, published a detailed report entitled “Evaluating bicycle helmet use and legislation in Canada.”

According to his report, “helmet law effects in Canada appear to have resulted in the public being fined, subject to police involvement, loss of cycling health benefits and a reduction in civil liberties, as well as additional accidents and longer hospital stays for head injury.”

Canada, his research concludes, should emulate the cycling culture of the Netherlands, where helmet laws are unnecessary because of “good cycling facilities or wide on-road cycle lanes that avoid high speed and heavy vehicle traffic.”

Sadly, the sensibility that exists in Holland and even Saskatoon has yet to prevail in B.C. And that means cyclists like Kilburn will have to continue riding on the wrong side of the local law.


Derek previously wrote an article about how the province's helmet laws were a hindrance to Vancouver's plans for a bike share system.


Meanwhile, Down Under, Sue Abbott continues to push for, at the very least, a debate about Australia's restrictive helmet laws. Here she is with her MLA George Souris in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly, with a copy of the European Cyclists Federation campaign brochure "Ask me why I cycle without a helmet".

Sue, you may recall, was ticketed for riding without a helmet and decided to fight the ticket. The first judge ruled against her, but when she took it to the next judicial level, the judge quashed her conviction. While the appeal was dimissed, she is no longer a criminal, doesn't have to pay the fine and her unexpected half-victory is important.

I first blogged about Sue here, then here, then here.

BoyBikeSummer
Cycling at the summer house in Sweden.

Meanwhile, back in Europe, a Swedish politician, MP Camilla Lindberg has proposed a motion to the Swedish parliament - Riksdagen - for repealing that country's child helmet laws on moral grounds. A bold and brave move as well as a necessary one in The Age of Obesity.
Thanks to Erik from Ecoprofile for the Swedish link.

28 December 2009

No Helmets for Urban Cyclists in Israel


Tel Aviv Cyclists, by Thomas Schlijper.

Last year Israel implemented an all ages helmet law for it's citizens, despite the fact that helmet laws appear to becoming less popular over the past couple of years.

The Ministerial Committee for Legislation has now decided to support a bill that would modify the law to exclude adults cycling in urban areas from being forced to wear a helmet, The Jerusalem Post reports.

Israeli Coalition to support helmet-less bike riding within cities

The Ministerial Committee for Legislation threw its support on Sunday behind a bill which would remove the requirement for adults to wear a helmet while riding a bicycle in the city.

The bill, sponsored by MK Sheli Yehimovich (Labor) repeals part of the Helmet Law which was passed last year. Instead of requiring a helmet for intra-city riding, Yehimovich's bill would leave that decision up to the adult rider. Children, those riding off-road or those biking between cities would still be required to wear a helmet.

"Riding a bike in communities and especially in cities significantly reduces traffic congestion, parking difficulties, air pollution and accidents. Requiring helmets drove many people away from their bikes and back to their cars because of the hassle of wearing a helmet and carrying it around," the MK said in a statement.

"In Paris and other European cities, there are wonderful programs which provide bikes for transport and no one requires a helmet there. Tel Aviv has also signed a contract to station 2,000 bikes around the city but the project has been held up because of the Helmet Law. Moreover, the law is unenforceable and the police have said they do not plan to even attempt to enforce it," she added.


The bill hasn't passed just yet. There are three votes in the Knesset to come. Nevertheless there are signs that rationality is returning to our species.

The problem that helmet laws pose for bike share programmes is not new. Australia is pondering what to do with this contradictory mix. Mike Rubbo, the documentary filmmaker, tries to get to the bottom of it at his blog. We've posted about Israel and Australia previously regarding helmets and bike share.

Spain is one of the only other countries to distinguish between city and countryside. Spain implemented an all-ages helmet law in 2004. It doesn't, however, apply in the following situations:
- cyclists riding in towns and cities
- cycling during periods of extreme heat
- cycling up steep hills
- professional cyclists

Besides that, the law is rarely enforced.Source.

Hungary has, in their recent amendments to the Highway Code included a helmet detail regarding speed limits.

If you're cycling outside of cities and want to ride 50 km/h or more, you can do so if you wear a helmet. If you don't wear it, you're only allowed to ride 40 km/h. Source: this post, in the comments.

Strangely, when viewing the Jerusalem Post article, there was an advert under the article that read:
Pedal Power: Learn the basics of biking with pro-advice, confidence-building drills, and a training plan developed by Cooking Light expert Gin Miller (Cooking Light)

Nothing to do with this post, but it's just humourous.

06 November 2009

Sue, Mr Rubbo and Australian Bixis


Some of you may remember Sue Abbott, the Australian woman fighting her ticket for cycling with a helmet. The Australian documentary filmmaker Mike Rubbo made a film about her getting ready for court, which we blogged here.

Mr Rubbo made a film following Sue on the day she showed up in court, which you can see above. She lost her case, which wasn't really a surprise, but the judge didn't really take her position seriously, which really is his job. Sue has now decided to appeal, taking her battle for bicycling freedom to the next level.

Good luck to her. We haven't had bicycle 'activists' in Denmark for many years but we certainly used to and anyone fighting to ride a bicycle as they see fit gets our respect. Not least because it's also about questioning society's tendency to ignore the problem - the automobile.


Mr Rubbo was also present at a bicycle conference in Melbourne where a bike share programme was presented. With this film he explores the problems of implementing a bike share programme in a city with mandatory helmet laws. The woman interviewed calls it a 'vexing problem' and she proposes making cheap helmets available FOR SALE at convenience stores and fast food outlets that are open late.

Basically, you want a bike. Before - or after - you get a bike the idea is that you go to a shop or fast food joint somewhere [hopefully] nearby and buy a cheap helmet. Then off you go.

Kind of defeats the purpose of ease of use and accessibility. Making helmets available for borrowing doesn't work due to the issue of sanitation. Lice and happy-sounding skin diseases like Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus are among the reasons that make sharing helmets undesirable in such schemes. There is no cost efficient way to sanitize helmets in bike share programmes. Australian authorities have known this for ages and don't really know how to tackle the problem. Buying a helmet for a short trip from A to B seems a bit far-fetched.

We'll see how things turn out in Melbourne.

17 September 2009

Fear of Cycling 03 - Helmet Promotion Campaigns

Third installment by sociologist Dave Horton, from Lancaster University, as a guest writer. Dave has written a brilliant assessment of Fear of Cycling in an essay and we're well pleased that he fancies the idea of a collaboration. We'll be presenting Dave's essay in five parts.

Fear Mongering for Profit
Fear of Cycling -
Helmet Promotion Campaigns - by Dave Horton - Part 03 of 05


Like road safety education, campaigns to promote the wearing of cycle helmets effectively construct cycling as a dangerous practice about which to be fearful. Such campaigns, and calls for legislation to make cycle helmets compulsory, have increased over the last decade. In 2004, a Private Members’ Bill was tabled in the UK Parliament, to make it an offence for adults to allow children under the age of 16 to cycle unless wearing a helmet. Also in 2004, the influential British Medical Association, in a policy turnaround, voted to campaign for helmets to be made compulsory for all cyclists (for comprehensive detail on these developments, and debates around cycle helmets in general, see The Bicycle Helmet Research Foundation).

Helmet promotion, especially to children, has become an established part of the UK road safety industry. In 2005, Lancashire County Council’s road safety team ran a ‘Saint or Sinner?’ tour, with anyone cycling without a helmet deemed sinful; sinners were given the opportunity to repent by pledging to ‘mend their ways’, and always wear a helmet when cycling (Lancaster and Morecambe Citizen 2005).

Helmet promotion is hugely controversial among UK cycling organisations (Hallett 2005). The 2004 Parliamentary Bill was unanimously opposed by the cycling establishment, with every major cycling organisation and magazine rejecting helmet compulsion (Cycle 2004). The groups opposing the Bill included CTC (formerly The Cyclists’ Touring Club, and the UK's largest cycling organisation), London Cycling Campaign, the Cycle Campaign Network, the Bicycle Association, the Association of Cycle Traders, British Cycling, Sustrans and the National Cycling Strategy Board. These groups are not all anti-helmet, but argue for the individual’s right to choose. This section cannot hope to do justice to the various arguments for and against (the imposition of) helmets, which can anyway be found elsewhere, but key issues include:

- Efficacy at the individual level. Does wearing a helmet reduce or increase the risk of sustaining a head injury? Here there are three relevant concerns. First, the technical capacities of helmets, which are designed only to resist low-speed impacts, and only then if correctly fitted (Walker 2005). Second, the concept of risk compensation which suggests that both cyclists wearing helmets and motorists in their vicinity possibly take less care (Walker 2007), which therefore increases the likelihood of collision; in implicit recognition of the existence of risk compensation, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents in its leaflet, Cycle Helmets, feels it necessary to caution ‘Remember: Helmets do not prevent accidents … So be just as careful’ (RoSPA n.d.). Third, the greater size of the head, and so increased probabilities of impact, resulting from wearing a helmet;

- Efficacy at the aggregate level. Do helmet promotion campaigns make cycling more or less safe, overall? There is evidence that cycling levels decline when helmets are promoted and collapse when they become compulsory (Liggett et al 2004, 12). Australia, the first country to make cycle helmets compulsory, witnessed a post-compulsion fall in levels of cycling of between 15 and 40 per cent (Adams 1995, 146). According to ‘the Mole’ (2004, 5), in Melbourne 'compulsion reduced the number of child cyclists by 42% and adults by 29%'. Because cycling tends to be safest where there are many cyclists (Jacobsen 2003), and most dangerous in places with few cyclists, and because helmet promotion campaigns reduce the overall numbers of cyclists, helmet promotion increases the risk of cycling. The relationship between increased cycling and increased safety appears to be confirmed by the experiences of the Netherlands and Denmark, which have high levels of cycling, very low rates of helmet wearing, and low rates of death and serious injury among cyclists;

* Equity. Mayer Hillman (1993) claims that cyclists are at lower risk of head injury than motorists, pedestrians and children at play, yet none of those groups is encouraged to wear helmets (see also Kennedy 1996). Risk theorist John Adams suggests that equitable application of the logic applied to cycle helmet promotion would result in ‘a world in which everyone is compelled to look like a Michelin man dressed as an American football player’ (1995, 146)!

This should be sufficient detail to indicate why the issue of cycle helmets creates so much interest and controversy among health promotion and accident prevention experts, as well as cyclists. But in the context of my overall argument, my chief point here is to note how helmet promotion campaigns play on people’s existing fear of cycling, and contribute to the reproduction and magnification of that fear. One recent UK Government campaign demonstrates my claim in a particularly vivid way.

In 2004 the UK Department for Transport launched ‘Cyclesense’, a multi-media ‘teenage cycle safety’ campaign centred on a series of images of skull x-rays and helmets, which is now taken offline. Various captions accompany the different images of the helmet-wearing skulls.

The script alongside x-ray 01 reads: ‘It’s no joke: cycling is a fun, convenient and healthy way to get around - but if you don’t follow basic safety guidelines the results could be very unfunny’

It continues that ‘in 2001 nearly 3000 cyclists between 12 - 16 were killed or injured on the roads. If you want to protect yourself you must take your cycle safety seriously'.

The text accompanying x-ray 02, a helmeted and apparently laughing skull, reads: 'It's no laughing matter’, before insisting ‘Get yourself a helmet. No joking - in a study of admissions to an A&E Department nearly 50% of injuries suffered by cyclists were to the head and face’. Elsewhere on the Cyclesense website, on the ‘Protection’ page, the text reads: ‘If you like your face and head the way it is, then wear a helmet!’.

These captions make clear the central and over-riding message of the campaign; if you want to cycle and keep your skull intact, you must wear a helmet. The campaign portrays cycling as dangerous, and instils fear.

The CTC responded angrily to the images. A rare letter to all members from CTC Director, Kevin Mayne (2004), set out potential consequences of the imagery; children could be frightened from cycling, and their parents and teachers might feel reluctant to let them cycle.

Mayne writes: ‘CTC believes [these images] will do huge damage to the perception of cycling as a safe, enjoyable, healthy activity’; and such campaigns ‘raise unfounded anxiety about the “dangers” of cycling, and are known to drive down cycle use’.

Against the context of broad governmental support for cycling, Mayne’s tone becomes incredulous:

"Images which link cycling with X-rays of skulls can only mean one thing - if you cycle you will end up hospitalised or dead. What sort of message is that to give to young people? … The last thing the Government should be doing is frightening children into NOT cycling!" (Mayne 2004, original emphasis)

Of most relevance here is that every call for cyclists to wear, or be forced to wear, helmets demands the association of cycling with danger, and thus the production of fear of cycling. Whilst I am happy to align myself with CTC's position, my wider point is that the promotion of cycle helmets is just one more way in which a fear of cycling is constructed.

People with experience in the politics of cycling might realise how controversial are calls for cyclists to don helmets, but the majority of people in societies such as the UK are much more likely to take such campaigns at face value, and to be surprised by those of us who adopt a more sceptical line (although scientific research into how different audiences receive helmet promotion campaigns is clearly required).

In other words, even in this, the most contentious of areas, constructions of cycling as a dangerous practice, and thus the production of fear of cycling, proceeds for the most part in a remarkably insidious way.

References:
- Adams, J. (1995) Risk (London and New York: Routledge).
- Cycle (2004) ‘Helmet law stalls’, Cycle, June/July, 12.
- Hallett, R. (2005) ‘Who Needs Helmets?’, Cycling Weekly, February 19th, 28-9.
Hillman, M. (1993) Cycle Helmets: The Case For and Against (London: Policy Studies Institute).
- Jacobsen, P. (2003) ‘Safety in Numbers: More Walkers and Bicyclists, Safer Walking and Bicycling’, Injury Prevention, 9: 205-9.
- Kennedy, A. (1996) ‘The pattern of injury in fatal cycle accidents and the possible benefits of cycle helmets’, British Journal of Sports Medicine, 30: 130-133.
- Lancaster and Morecambe Citizen (2005) ‘Saints and sinners ride smart’, Wednesday 1st June, 17.
- Liggett, P., A. Cook and K. Mayne (2004) 'CTC and helmets', in Cycle, April/May, 12.
- Mayne, K. (2004) 'This is not another circular: Act now before taxpayers' money is used to damage the future of cycling', letter to CTC members, (Godalming, Surrey: CTC).
- RoSPA (n.d.) Cycle Helmets, Birmingham: The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents.
- The Mole (2004) 'Ear to the Ground', A to B, 41: 3-6.
- Walker, B. (2005) ‘Heads Up’, Cycle, June/July, 42-5.
- Walker, I. (2007) 'Drivers overtaking bicyclists: Objective data on the effects of riding position, helmet use, vehicle type and apparent gender', Accident Analysis and Prevention, 39, 417-425.


Series:
Fear of Cycling - Part 01 - Introduction
Fear of Cycling - Part 02 - Constructing Fear of Cycling / Road Safety 'Education'
Fear of Cycling - Part 03 - Helmet Promotion Campaigns
Fear of Cycling - Part 04 - New Cycling Spaces
Fear of Cycling - Part 05 - Making Cycling Strange

Dave Horton is a sociologist and lover of all things cycling. He is part of the Cycling and Society Research Group, which has pioneered a ‘cultural turn’ in cycling studies and which holds an annual symposium in the UK. Dave works at Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University, on the project ‘Understanding Walking and Cycling’. He tries to do, to write about, and to promote all kinds of cycling, because cycling is essentially good.

15 September 2009

Australian Cyclist Prepares for Court


I wrote about Sue Abbott recently. She's the Australian woman who was ticketed for cycling without a helmet and who decided to tackle it in court.

Now it turns out that Mike Rubbo, the Australian documentarist, has hooked up with Sue to document her case. I remember studying Rubbo's films at film school, in particular Waiting for Fidel (1974).

The film, above, is the first installment in a series about Sue. Mike, the cycling documentarist, has his own blog, too. Situp Cycle.