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Put a lid on it

3 April, 2012

In an exclusive behind-the-scenes investigation, Emma Clark lifts the lid on Australian bike helmets.

They mightn’t always look particularly fashionable and they can mess with your hairdo in minutes, but there’s much more to a bike helmet than meets the eye.

Styles might be subtly changing for the better, but the stringent standards all helmets sold in Australia must meet still remain the most comprehensive in the world.

Ride On decided to take a closer look at what lies behind those standards, and in the process uncovered a fascinating insight into the stringent manufacturing tests our helmets must pass.

In the lab

Samples from each helmet’s manufacturing batch are rigorously tested before hitting the shelves, and every helmet sold in Australia must carry a sticker or label on it certifying it meets standard AS/NZ 2063:2008.

Helmet testing is carried out by independent accredited testing laboratories, with four helmets tested per manufacturing batch. The helmets complete seven main tests each, under ambient temperature, high temperature, cold temperature and while immersed in water.

All the tests are done on the one helmet in each temperature situation, which simulates the multiple types of impact and wear that a helmet will experience in a crash.

First, the helmet is checked to ensure that it offers sufficient peripheral vision on both sides, plus 25mm of clearance above the eyes. Then it is placed on a dummy head and subjected to a heavy force for at least 15 seconds to ensure that it stays stable on the head.

The helmet is then fitted on another dummy head with an inbuilt sensor and dropped from 1.5 metres onto a flat steel surface. The sensor measures the amount of acceleration that is transferred from the impact site through to the head. This tests how the helmet will stand up to a normal accident where it is subjected to hitting a flat object, such as the road or a car door.

The next test is unique to the Australian standards. After the helmet has been through the impact test, it is fitted to another dummy head with a sensor. A pointed aluminium anvil is dropped from one metre onto particular points of the helmet to simulate the helmet hitting a kerb or an angular projection from a car. The anvil cannot contact the surface of the dummy head – meaning that it shouldn’t penetrate right through the helmet – or it is an instant failure.

The next test involves another helmeted dummy head, this time subjecting the straps under the chin to a suspended mass of 2kg for 30 seconds. This ensures that the helmet remains on the top of your head during an accident and the straps don’t stretch, allowing the helmet to slip off.

For helmets with a peak or visor, the peak is subjected to a load of 2kg for 30 seconds to ensure that it will not become dislodged in an impact and injure the rider.

In order to meet our standards, the helmets must also include a form of ventilation and be sold with a brochure or label with visual instructions on the safe use of the helmet.

Additionally, each helmet must be printed with a note showing the registered name and address of the manufacturer and/or Australian agent, the shell and liner construction materials, the model and brand designation, helmet size and the month and year of manufacture.

An identifying mark or sticker from an accredited body certifying compliance with the Australian standard should also be visible on the helmet, along with safety instructions.

 

Setting the standard

“The AS/NZ 2063:2008 standard includes a couple of additional tests compared to the US CPSC or Snell standards”, Jim Brady, Rosebank Product Manager, told Ride On.

Rosebank has been a leading bike helmet manufacturer since producing the eponymous orange Stackhat immortalised in 80s classic film BMX Bandits.

“Our tests include batch testing, which involves testing four sample helmets from each manufacturing batch in order to maintain consistency during the entire manufacturing run. This also allows testers to easily identify a faulty batch instead of having to recall an entire product line.

“The other difference between the Australian and other standards is the anvil test, where a pointed anvil is dropped onto the helmet to simulate the helmet hitting a kerb or car.”

The Snell system, used in the US, tests helmets bought from retail outlets in the field, whereas the CPSC system involves almost no market surveillance.

“Snell buys helmets in the market and then informs the manufacturer if any do not meet their standard, potentially requiring a recall at some point,” said Jim.

Because there is no agreed international standard for helmets, major manufacturers such as Giro and Bell can only sell certain models from their existing international ranges that meet our standards, although ranges can also be adapted and changed if there is enough demand in the Australian market.

Suppliers and manufacturers must organise for their helmets to be tested through specialist independent laboratories. It can be an expensive procedure when you combine the cost of four samples from every batch with the freight of the samples and the testing costs.

But it is also very expensive to flaunt the regulations. Australian suppliers caught selling non-compliant helmets face fines of up to $220,000 for an individual, or $1.1 million for a business, plus product recalls.

Helmets that are bought overseas or online may technically be compliant with Australian standards, but if they do not come with a sticker or label stating compliance with AS/NZ 2063:2008, the wearer could be fined.

When to replace

Any helmet that has suffered impact in a crash or been dropped should be replaced, as it could have sustained cracks or dints that will compromise its performance, and these aren’t always visible. Check your helmet regularly for any signs of damage, including cracks in the surface or worn and frayed straps.

Ultraviolet light from the sun can also decay the helmet and lead to crumbling foam and cracks, so replace your helmet at least every three years.

 

What to spend

Helmets can cost anywhere between $15 and $350, but spending more does not necessarily mean you are getting a safer helmet. All helmets sold in Australia must comply with the standards, including the very cheapest.

“If a helmet is certified to AS/NZS 2063: 2008, you can be confident that it will offer a good level of protection”, says Jim.

Spending a bit more on a helmet can be better value, though. More expensive helmets almost always look better and offer other benefits like greater ventilation, comfort and style. They may also last longer because they are usually in-mould construction, where the polycarbonate shell is fused to the polystyrene foam, instead of the shell being glued or taped to the foam, as in some cheaper helmets.

 

What’s hot

From ultra-lightweight models with more ventilation holes than helmet to funky skater-style ones with custom artwork, helmet design has come a long way in recent years.

Innovative materials and styles mean that the days of fluoro polystyrene sweat boxes that we wore as kids are thankfully over.

“There is a trend towards lighter weight helmets in the road category,” says Jim. “For mountain biking, many new models are featuring a smoother profile with more rear coverage, taking on a slightly more skate-style look.

“More and more companies are ranging simple commuter styles for everyday use. In terms of construction, more helmets than ever are made using in-mould (or fused) production techniques, and many have multiple shell pieces with less exposed expanded polystyrene foam visible.”

The right fit

It is estimated that 75 per cent of riders don’t wear their helmet correctly. It is not uncommon to see riders wearing their helmet at a scarily jaunty angle, with dangling straps, and even sometimes, yes it’s true, on backwards. No matter how stringently a helmet has been tested, it will only work if it is worn correctly.

Wearing a hat under your helmet or tying up your hair will affect the fit, so be sure to re-adjust it every time you ride.

Getting the right-sized helmet in the first place is the most important step. Most manufacturers produce small, medium or large sized models fitted with a sizing ring, which tightens like a band around your head.

Place the helmet on your head and adjust the ring. The helmet should fit snuggly and touch the head all the way around, without feeling too tight.

It should sit level and flat on your head and low on your forehead, with about two finger-widths above your eyebrow. Push the helmet from side to side and back to front. If the helmet shifts noticeably, adjust the sizing ring or choose a different size of helmet.

Once you are happy that the helmet fits, you can fine-tune the straps. Adjust the side straps so they meet in a ‘Y’ just below and in front of your ear. You may need to loosen the side glides and lengthen either the front or rear strap. Centre the buckle under the chin and tighten the straps. The chin strap should be snug against the chin so that when you open your mouth wide you feel the helmet pull down slightly.

64 Comments leave one →
  1. Max Woolcock permalink
    3 April, 2012 9:21 pm

    I’m surprised that the above article mentions wearing a hat (or cap) under a helmet. My understanding is that hats or caps tend to make the helmet slip in an accident. Additionally, caps with a central button may be a problem when the helmet is struck, with the impact being concentrated on the button, resulting in severe injury to the skull.

    • Arfy permalink
      11 April, 2012 7:19 pm

      I wear a cycling cap under my helmet when it’s raining to keep the rain off of my glasses, and a headwarmer in winter. I doubt very much a properly fitted helmet will move more excessively just because I have an extra layer under it. But in saying that, has anyone actually tested this common situation?

      • 12 April, 2012 12:53 pm

        Any proper Roady must have several caps in their kit. The proper caps are readily available in bike shops etc. featuring trade teams both modern and retro and do not have a top button. Helmets do not slip and caps soak up sweat leading to longer helmet lining life.
        They are optional in hot weather but if reversed they keep the sun off the back of your neck. and naturally they help to keep rain off your lovely Salice sunnies.

    • Phil C. permalink
      13 April, 2012 12:09 am

      As the other guys say caps under the helmet are a must for comfort, mopping up sweat, cooler in summer (really, try it on a hot day) and cutting wind on your scalp in winter.
      Cycling caps are dirt cheap ( $10 – $15), are unlined cotton with a short peak and no top button.
      The only problems are that the visor stiffens and flips up after they have been washed a few times (check old cycling photos and you will see they always have the visor flipped up).
      All this means that after, maybe, 20 km they can get pretty wet on a warm day. Easily fixed, just take a spare in your bag or back pocket.
      What surprises me is that so few people now use them. They were quite common before compulsory helmets.
      Incidentally, helmet hair looks almost fashionable after wearing a cap.

      • SBH permalink
        16 April, 2012 10:06 am

        It’s a ‘peak’ Phil. A visor covers and protects the face and eyes. A peak (as in peaked cap) doesn’t mean a point it means a part of a hat or cap that projects outwards and is usually worn over the eyes.

  2. David Kernebone permalink
    4 April, 2012 10:49 am

    Hi,

    Thanks for the informative article.
    The sticker (standard AS/NZ 2063:2008) has come off from the inside of my helmet. The helmet is about 1 year old and was purchased from a local bike shop in Mildura, VIC. Is this a problem in regard to the helmet still being legal?

    • 11 April, 2012 12:16 pm

      Hi David

      As far as I can tell, having the sticker on the inside of the helmet is a legal provision only when the helmet is sold, not when it is being worn, so your helmet should be fine.

      • Geoff permalink
        11 April, 2012 8:34 pm

        Until you want to enter an event where they check the helmet to see if it has a sticker. Here in the ACT its a case of no sticker, no ride.

      • PeterT permalink
        12 April, 2012 8:22 am

        @geoff. ACT actually allows for any global standard to be used. Yes, helmet still need a sticker but it doesn’t have to be AS/NZS2063.

      • David permalink
        12 April, 2012 11:17 am

        “In all Road events conducted by Cycling Australia and its affiliates, subject to rules below, helmets must meet the requirements of the Australian Standards Association AS/NZ 2063.

        There are only two cases for exemption to the wearing of helmets compliant with AS/NZ 2063.

        In any International event where overseas or professionally contracted riders with a UCI registered team are competing, these cyclists must wear a helmet that meets the requirements of the Australian Standards Association AS/NZ 2063; or can be identified as a UCI approved helmet or an equivalent Standard Type Approval of another country.

        In all Track, Mountain bike Cross Country or Road events conducted in fully sterile conditions by Cycling Australia and its affiliates, helmets must meet the requirements of the Australian Standards Association AS/NZ 2063; or can be identified as a UCI approved helmet or an equivalent Standard Type Approval of another country.

        Where a cycling event is conducted under fully sterile conditions – track racing, closed circuit road or criterium circuits, off-road MTB XC – the application of AS/NZ 2063 does not strictly apply.

        Nevertheless, the wearing of a helmet with either an Australian or international standards approval remains a mandatory requirement. It is important to note that a ‘rolling road closure’ is not considered to be ‘sterile conditions’ as the supervision of police or local road & traffic authority is still required. However, CA would encourage all participants to use a common AS/NZ approved helmet for all cycling disciplines.

        An exemption may be sought for UCI calendar events where international and pro-contract riders wearing helmets approved in other countries, may be worn. The helmet standards recognised by the UCI include EN1078 (Europe), ANSI and SNELL (USA).

        The use of helmets which do not comply with Australian & New Zealand Standards on Australian Roads is covered under Special Events Legislation, and while this process may vary slightly from state to state, essentially all states have a process for the approval of helmets which do not comply with AS/NZ 2063.”

      • PeterT permalink
        12 April, 2012 2:42 pm

        @Geoff.
        ACT Road Rules Handbook : Helmet Standards : Protective bicycle helmets must meet Australian Standards and must display
        either an AS 2063:1996 or a label confirming it is approved and certified to
        Snell Standard 1995.
        Reference Page 101 of http://www.tams.act.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0011/244874/2012_ACT_Road_Rules_Handbook.pdf

      • PeterT permalink
        12 April, 2012 3:03 pm

        @David,
        You missed out the part where you cut and paste come from “The review included reference to the Australian Road Rules, liaison with the
        respective road and traffic authorities of NSW, Victoria and South Australia and a number of bike helmet importers. Liaison also took place with Standards Australia and SI Global.”
        Reference : http://www.act.cycling.org.au/site/Cycling/ACT/downloads/new/documents/Regs/050811%20Helmets.pdf

        Now, one wonders whose interests would SI Global, Standards Australia and the helmet companies beholden to the Australia-only standards be spruiking ?

    • 9 August, 2012 10:29 am

      People claim helmets must save lives but did you read the standards they are subjected to ? How pathetic can they be ?
      Straps and visors are subjected to a MASSIVE 2kg weight for 30 seconds??
      An ALUMINIUM anvil being dropped on it??
      A simple drop of a dummy head (only) onto a flat steel surface from 1.5 metres ??
      The tests are supposed to sound very scientific and rigorous but are they really?
      How tightly are the helmets strapped onto the dummy heads?? I bet the dummies couldn’t breathe through the tests!!!

      None of these tests reflect real situations ?? !!

      I know cyclists that believe that a bit of polystyrene makes them invincible and they ride accordingly because they are wearing a helmet!! But not neccessarily always tight enough to prevent them being dislodged in a fall . . .

      Mandatory helmet laws are simply window dressing to make money for helmet retailer/manufacturers and by the governments to prevent more people taking casual cycling trips and force better bicycle infrastructure.

      If you feel safe wearing a helmet and you think it provides excellent protection – good for you but don’t preach to me that I am unsafe when I ride helmetless. After reading the Aust standards for helmets I am even more committed to fighting mandatory helmet laws!!

      Join freestylecyclists.org

  3. Phillip permalink
    11 April, 2012 5:42 pm

    The Australian Standard tests whether the helmet works when I am standing stationary and fall (1.5m) to the ground. It doesn’t test what happens if I have an accident on a bicycle that is actually moving with a non-zero velocity.

    So, what happens if I have an accident wearing an Australian Standard helmet in the real situation where the bicycle is actually moving?

    Will it help? This review gives some insight. http://bicycleaustralia.org/helmets.php

  4. Colin Clarke permalink
    11 April, 2012 5:55 pm

    New Zealand Medical Journal recently published “Evaluation of New Zealand’s bicycle helmet law” that does not show a benefit from helmet laws.
    BICYCLE HELMETS: A SCIENTIFIC EVALUATION by Curnow also indicates no benefit and also details the lack of testing for rotational aspects.

  5. Armando Ruddiger McGillacuddy permalink
    11 April, 2012 8:46 pm

    I would like to go riding with the girl in the pictures.

  6. Danny permalink
    11 April, 2012 9:46 pm

    What a joke this report is. Australia has some of the most ridiculous and draconian laws in the world when it comes to bike helmets. Repeal helmet laws.

    • 12 April, 2012 12:57 pm

      Helmets are not necessary when riding in the Melbourne CBD. I recently used RACV hire bikes to see the Worlds and felt very safe in traffic. The feral pedestrians are the problem and they should wear helmets, be registered and get fined for using ‘phones.

    • 29 May, 2012 12:18 pm

      My old helmet certainly is a joke now – it has a massive dent and fractured foam – I wear a helmet voluntarily because it is safer, the same as i used a seat belt before they were compulsory

  7. PeterT permalink
    12 April, 2012 8:17 am

    Very interesting write up, I don’t suppose there’s any data on how much safer this Australia only standard (NZ for example allows any global standard to be used, Cycling Australia applies for exemptions to allow any global standards to be used in pro races) are compared to the other global standards in real world application?

  8. 12 April, 2012 8:32 am

    Danny, you obviously haven’t fallen off a bike. I fell while mountain biking and landed on my face and without my helmet (a new one that I had bought the day before) I certainly would have broken my nose and my cheak bone. It was the best $150 spent in a long time. So get off your high horse and think about safety for once.

    • Phillip permalink
      12 April, 2012 8:51 am

      Jacky, I guess you’ve never ridden in, well, ANY other country either? In the rest of the world cycling is seen a safe utilitarian activity, where people dress for their destinations and generally arrive safely.

      Only in Australia is cycling seen as an unsafe sporting activity, where the Police and media continually drum into us that wearing a helmet will make us safer, and back that with ridiculous onerous fines, for non-compliance.

      What’s more interesting is that organisations such as Bicycle Victoria fully support this message of fear, which is more about getting the crumbs of Government investment, than truly representing the best case scenario for cycling Victorians. In the UK in 2006, during an attempt by helmet manufacturers and their lobbyists to get helmet law mandated, EVERY cycling organisation lined up MOST STRONGLY OPPOSING helmet laws. They simply pointed to the negative impact on cycling in Australia. The proposed legislation was soon dropped.

      Yes, there are times when wearing a helmet could be advantageous. But surely the cost to society and general health from every Australian believing that cycling = dangerous is much higher.

      • 12 April, 2012 9:54 am

        Phillip, My post was about the safety that helmets provide not the laws that mandate them. I dont agree with fines for not wearing a helmet, I think that riders should be able to make their own decision but should be informed about their choice and we should definitely impose a high standard on the products that are made available in australia. I first started wearing a helmet before the law came in because I thought it made sense and I would still wear one if the law changed.

        I also ride a scooter but there is no way that I would ride without a helmet in a country that doesn’t have helmet laws. Would you?

      • Phillip permalink
        12 April, 2012 10:22 am

        Jacky, there’s no reply button available to your response. So, I have to reply to myself…

        It seems we agree entirely. Individual choice in the matter is what is relevant, and important.

        I used to ride group races, in several countries. In groups, I always used a helmet. Though, in several accidents, I have never hit my head.

        On the way to work, in a suit or otherwise, I never used a helmet. And I would never ride to work if I had to wear one. This continues today.

        Would I ride a motor scooter without a helmet? Well, yes I have ridden my PX200 without a helmet, but only at an appropriate time. Would I do it all the time, in every situation? No.

        The crux of the problem affecting general utilitarian cycling in Victoria (Australia) is that CYCLING MUST BE perceived as DANGEROUS. Otherwise, what reason could there be to wear a helmet. If it wasn’t dangerous, why mandate a helmet? This perception issue needs to be corrected if the general population is to participate. The answer is easy, but getting a political party to own the reversal of the legislation will be next to impossible.

      • 12 April, 2012 11:19 am

        Sounds like we are in full agreement. Cycling should be promoted as a safe activity. Scaremongering doesn’t provide any value. You are a brave person to ride any scooter without a helmet anywhere but it is your choice to make. The legislation is not as important as its enforcement. There are plenty of laws that exist but are not enforced but I agree that it is not in the interest of any political party to change helmet laws

      • Chris permalink
        12 April, 2012 12:49 pm

        ah the same ol’ argument about helmet laws. Here’s my five cents worth…

        Other countries in the world have better cycling infrastructure and tougher laws that punish dangerous drivers who like to put cyclists at risk. So yes in other countries helmets aren’t required as much. Ask most Australian drivers and they don’t have much respect for cyclists (just ask Shane Warne re: st kild road incident! Or ask any driver who has to drive down Beach Rd). Cyclists aren’t protected as much here. Having been involved in an accident with a car myself, trust me when I say its very hard to prosecute a driver if you don’t have witnesses willing to testify! And that can be hard if you’re involved in an accident of the magnitude that actually requires a helmet’s protection and you’re lying unconscious on the road.

        Regardless of the effectiveness of helmets, I know that if I had a choice between wearing a piece of foam on my head that “might” prevent me from becoming a vegetable/dead in the event of an accident or not, I know what choice I’d make!!

        Why is it law to wear a helmet? Well let’s say we chose not to wear a helmet (or a seat-belt) then why should the tax-payer help subsidise your recovery & rehab in hospital? Why should your ir-responsible action take away a bed from another patient who deserves it more and hasn’t been too lazy to do the right thing?

        What’s the real issue with wearing a helmet? Is it the inconvenience? Or it that it’s uncomfortable? Looks ugly? People say this about all laws! People complain about having to turn off their mobile phone while debarking from aeroplanes in the event of fuel ignition, and while there’s been no reported cases ever of explosion or issue with this and even Myth Busters has de-bunked this myth, the airline industry insists on this restriction. Why? Well just in case we are wrong. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

        I remember seat belts used to have the same argument. We’ve moved on from this, so let’s move on from this with helmets. At least until Australia catches with the rest of the world with better bike facilities and it’s regulations.

      • Phillip permalink
        12 April, 2012 1:29 pm

        Chris, why can’t we move on? Well the answer is two fold. I’ll present the most trivial one first.

        Until a cycle helmet is fashionable day wear in the office or on the street, there is no way that a large number of the population would be interested in working or shopping after riding.

        As a simple anecdotal example; I’ve a normal hairstyle, with short back and sides, yet after no more than 10 minutes in a helmet (about how long it would currently take me to cycle to work) I’m no longer “work presentable”. Hence, I don’t ride to work. I have lived in Germany and UK for many years, and rode 700m to the train daily (multi-modal transport), on the way to work. Something I could never do in Australia.

        The less trivial, and more insidious issue is the understanding, the scenario, the environment that CYCLING IS DANGEROUS. This core message is something that everyone who discusses cycling in Australia comes back to, and often the result is “wear a helmet”.

        The pretence that cycling is dangerous is something that is entirely wrong. This pretence keeps mothers from allowing their children to ride to school. The pretence of danger keeps women (who may be by nature more risk adverse – off topic) away from cycling generally. The pretence of danger could also attract “aggressive” people who want to “live dangerously” and hence we find sports cycling an outlet for this.

        I”m a PBP Ancien (look it up), and have ridden in many countries, but only in Australia have I been whacked on the head by another passing cyclist and yelled at “put a lid on it”… true! Australian cyclists are, in my opinion, more aggressive, more driven, more surly, than their peers in other locations. But, linking this to mandatory helmet laws is drawing a long bow, perhaps?

        But, anyway the pretence of danger is the corner that we’ve been painted into, in order to support the mandatory nature of helmet usage here in Australia. If the continual reinforcement of the pretence of danger is removed by the media, Government, and hence Police, then there will simply be more people on their bikes, because they feel safe (remember it is not dangerous), and through their real numbers it will become safe.

        However the admission that cycling is safe is something that seems to be an impossible goal to achieve, so long as there are vested interests in the status quo.

      • Chris permalink
        12 April, 2012 3:43 pm

        Remember motorcyclists where helmets too and end up with messy hair. I’m sure seltbelts also ruin nicely ironed 100% cotton shirts too. No one has run away screaming from me with my helmet hair, especially after I run some water through it.

        You maybe right Phillip about the perception, but I personally haven’t noticed any specific negative view of the dangerousness of cycling to be honest. Certainly no more than motorcycles or in fact any form of transport (how many people are nervous of flying and don’t go on holidays?).

        The media always makes things seem worse than they are! Of course they do, that’s how they get viewers/readers/listeners. Sensationalism makes for good news. Never let the truth get in the way of a good story :-)

        I think you maybe over-complicating this issue. Could it be just that accidents sometimes happen? Wouldn’t you prefer to wear a helmet in case it might save your life if by the small chance something might happen? You could be the safest rider out there but you can’t always predict what other road users will do. And its not a dangerous message, just a fact of life, unless you live under a rock.

    • Danny permalink
      12 April, 2012 6:40 pm

      At jackyjacob, after over 20 years of competitive cycle racing and coaching I have seen no evidence that recreational cyclists, particularly on bike paths, need to wear helmets. I also try not to base my cycling ability on the number of times that I have fallen off, as I try and stay upright as a rule. As for the high horse comment, I dont trust horses and would definately wear a helmet.

      • Karen permalink
        12 April, 2012 10:24 pm

        @Danny, I have some evidence for you. Speaking of horses and bike paths, last December I was out riding my bike on a bike path and was kicked by a horse! If it wasn’t for my helmet I probably would not be here. The horse kicked me in the hip and I hit the bike path head first. I was knocked out, taken to hospital by ambulance. I only spent one night in hospital for observation. The helmet is for the unexpected accident. The horses were not normally on the bike path but due to flooding they couldn’t take the normal route crossing the river. Does it really matter that you have to wear a helmet? Put a helmet on…it could save your life. It saved mine :0)

      • Danny permalink
        13 April, 2012 5:58 pm

        Dont ride close to horses is the moral to this story. FFS it would seem pretty obvious that a horse would be startled by a bike. As for taxes, as Peter pointed out, that argument is just plain stupid.

      • Geoff permalink
        13 April, 2012 6:19 pm

        Geez Danny – you certainly make judgemental comments. Must be great to know everything – perhaps you hit your head a few too many times when you weren’t wearing a helmet – or maybe you are just plain stupid FFS.

      • Danny permalink
        13 April, 2012 6:33 pm

        Geoff that is a typcial lurker comment. Add some value.

      • 13 April, 2012 7:05 pm

        Hi Danny. Lets leave the emotional side behind and get down to some facts. Five minutes of research on the net has led me to the following:
        As many as 74% to 85% of bicycle-related head injuries could be prevented if bike riders were to wear protective helmets. An average of 140,000 head injuries per year are attributed to children and adolescents in bicycle accidents.18, 19

        18 Thompson, R. S., Rivara, F. P., & Thompson, D. C. (1989) A Case-Control Study of the Effectiveness of Bicycle Safety Helmets. New England Journal of Medicine, 320: 1361-1367.

        19 Sosin, D.M., Sacks, J.J., & Webb, K.W.(1996) Pediatric Injuries and Deaths from Bicycling in the United States. Pediatrics, 98(5): 868-870.

        The critical point to note in relation to Traumatic Brain Injuries is the cost to the survivor.
        Although the largest group of TBI survivors are young adults in their prime working years, many survivors, particularly those with a severe TBI, do not return to work. Estimates vary widely, ranging from a low of 12.5% to as high as 80% who do not return to work. The ability to return to work is highly correlated to the post-acute functional limitations of the survivor.12, 13
        In a national survey in Canada, 66% of TBI survivors living in the community reported an ongoing need for assistance with some activities of daily living,75% were not working, and 90% reported limitations or dissatisfaction with social integration.11

        11 Dawson, D. R. & Chipman, M. (1995) The Disablement Experienced by Traumatically Brain-Injured Adults Living in the Community. Brain Injury, 9(4): 339-353.

        12 Greenspan, A. I., Wrigley, J. M., Kresnow, M., Branche-Dorsey, C. & Fine, P. R. (1996) Factors Influencing Failure to Return to Work Due to Traumatic Brain Injury. Brain Injury, 10(3): 207-218.

        13 Ip, R. Y., Dornan, J. & Schentag, C. (1995) Traumatic Brain Injury: Factors Predicting Return to Work or School. Brain Injury, 9(5): 517-532.

        Even if the likelihood of suffering a Traumatic Brain Injury when not wearing a helmet could be proved to be low (which is doubtful), are you really prepared to risk the worst case outcome because you want to feel the wind in your hair.

        Source: http://www.caregiver.org/caregiver/jsp/content_node.jsp?nodeid=441

        If that is not enough try reading a research paper from the QUT

        http://eprints.qut.edu.au/41798/1/Monograph_5.pdf

      • Danny permalink
        16 April, 2012 6:42 pm

        All these papers show is that children should wear helmets. I have no doubt that helmets do in fact protect the head however 5 more minutes of research observing the helmet users would show that people that wear them dont even wear them appropriately. The papers dont change anything. If people are that concerned about injury I would probably suggest not riding a bike at all and certainly not in traffic on the road in Australia. Bike paths, no helmet, sunshine that would be heaven. But we can keep dreamin I guess.

      • Geoff permalink
        13 April, 2012 7:28 pm

        No worries Danny – 1 added the comment about the ‘no sticker, no ride’ policy in ACT cycle events and 2 invited you to prove yet again that you are too judgemental for your own good which you duly did. Now if you could add some value to the discussion instead of belittling other people, that’d be great. Thanks.

      • PeterT permalink
        13 April, 2012 9:51 am

        @Karen, You could easily be a pedestrian on that path and a horse could have kicked you, either in your head or sent you into a fall that led to your head to a kerb. Will you now be pressing for MHL for all pedestrians? – it could save a life. By the way, don’t look up the annual statistics of elderly or child falls and that have led to brain injuries or death, you could find it’s a lot more than cyclists annually and may lead you to another natural conclusion. Or even more interesting the lives that could be potentially be saved from the 1400 motoring deaths annually if they had a helmet on, It is certain more than 1 a year.
        But let’s bring this topic back to what it is, it’s not about the many non-merits of MHL, by all means put a helmet on,you’ll find that no one will say you should not have that choice to do so. This article is meant to be a justification of the stringent AS/NZ 2063 standard that to date, I have not found any evidence it works any better and leads to far higher costs. Have a think about that, you may want to ask why and whose interests are being served (ie whose pockets are being lined) if not yours, or, alternatively you could take the position that the AS/NZ standards helmet saved your life that a SNELL or EU standard would not have, be a poster girl for the standard (maybe line your pocket) and press for the rest of the world to apply this superior standard. Win-win :)

      • 13 April, 2012 10:00 am

        Danny, I feel that I am a safe rider but accidents do happen that are out of our control, as Karen mentioned. I have ridden on bike paths where pedestrians have suddenly stepped out in front of me and I have had to react quickly. I am happy for you not to wear a helmet at all but if you had an accident and fell off and hit your head and ended up in hospital do you think that it is fair for my taxes to pay for your medical care just because you didn’t want to wear a helmet?

      • PeterT permalink
        13 April, 2012 10:47 am

        @jackyjacob.
        I see your point, I really do.
        I,too, am trying to get my taxes removed from medical care for smokers, drinkers, drug users, injuries caused by people speeding, jaywalking, obesity, heart disease due to peoples choices of sedentary lifestyle, bad dietary choices, skin cancer for people who don’t SSS, bush walkers who choose to bush walk, all extreme sports (list to be determined) abortions / treatment of STDs for people who choose not to use condoms. And can you imagine the savings if we all didn’t have to pay for the Baby Bonus and lifetime of Centrelink payments to those that did not agree on or prepare for the child in advance? In fact, let me know when you create a political manifesto along these lines, I am certain more than a few MHL proponents who will want to sign up. The next natural step is to apply MHL for the whole population all the time and no medical care will ever need to be paid for head injuries! Now that’ll be fair don’t you think? So really, the only real question, which, by the way, is the point of THIS article, is will the stringent AS/NZ 2063 Australia only standard be good enough?

      • 13 April, 2012 11:05 am

        PeterT. Choice is a great thing and we have and will continue to embrace it in our country. We as a society support peoples choices even when the consequences are not desirable. But I like you are a little sick and tired of the arguments around wearing a helmet or not. Anything protecting your head when an accident occurs must be a good thing, regardless of the look or the bad hair that it causes. Are our standards high enough? If we test at a higher level than other countries then I think that it is a good thing. Why cant we be a leader? I think that we led the world with seatbelts laws too. Lets just get over it and move on to more important things.

  9. Veloaficionado permalink
    12 April, 2012 8:48 am

    “Rosebank has been a leading bike helmet manufacturer since producing the *eponymous* orange Stackhat immortalised in 80s classic film BMX Bandits.”

    What does “eponymous” mean?

    Does it mean what you meant it to mean?

    Who is the technical editor of the website? Who is the sub-editor?

  10. John Holstein permalink
    12 April, 2012 11:16 am

    I too am surprised at the advice to wear something under the helmet. It was my belief the Australian Standards were negated when something was placed between the head and helmet.
    I am also aware of the button issue on some caps. They may also be attached to the cap with a pin which may cause further injury.
    Also, hard peaked caps are stiffened with a piece of plastic, which if struck at the right angle can be forced back onto the head & result in a scalping.
    The rest of the argument against mandatory helmet Laws is not about safety, but generall about freedom of choice. Of course a helmet won’t prevent injury in every case, no safety device will, but it may be the difference between a headache & something far worse. I’ll take my chances with a helmet every time.

  11. Declan permalink
    12 April, 2012 12:04 pm

    I’ve worn a helmet for nearly four decades and it’s as natural as buckling up a seat in a car. It keeps me safer I believe, yet so far I’ve not had any bangs or scratches on my helmet to have a good example to say “See, that could have been my head”. However, I have doubts about the wisdom of making it compulsory. Look at the number of young adults who just won’t wear a helmet and either avoid cycling or else flout the law. For so many reasons, IMO, it’s more important to get people on to bicycles than it is to have a Barney about compulsory helmets.

  12. 12 April, 2012 12:05 pm

    Alan Parker OAM •
    The only other group that needs protection is car drivers which was recommended in the 1973 edition AS2063 of the Australian Bicycle Helmet Standard. And then dumped in later editions for no good reason apart frpm predjudice,

    In Australia their is now a separate Racing Cyclist Helmet and they are used in all the races I have watched on telly. In the early days there some real rubbish helmets produced .

    As the Cycling representative on the Australian Helmet Standards committee I produced a dodgy helmet and strapped it on my head and said to meeting watch this helmet fail.My demo was to do a head butt and the helmet rolled along the centre of the Table. And pointed to a member of the committee and said your organsization tested this heap of Junk. He said he would sue me. After the noisy talk that followed the chairman said to that test company member. “We do not let any SAA member threaten people we proceed by consensus. Go and phone your CEO to confirm that legal threats are out of order. If you or he is not prepared to accept that you will no longer be a member of this committee”

    When he came back he applogised. I was written to suggestng please a new representative . The new one I asked had a PHD and did the same demo to the SAA Director.
    Who needed no convincing at all.

  13. 13 April, 2012 7:31 pm

    All, Lets leave the emotion behind and get down to some facts. After 5 minutes on the net I have found the following research.

    “As many as 74% to 85% of bicycle-related head injuries could be prevented if bike riders were to wear protective helmets. An average of 140,000 head injuries per year are attributed to children and adolescents in bicycle accidents.(18), (19)

    The critical point to note in relation to Traumatic Brain Injuries is the cost to the survivor.
    Although the largest group of TBI survivors are young adults in their prime working years, many survivors, particularly those with a severe TBI, do not return to work. Estimates vary widely, ranging from a low of 12.5% to as high as 80% who do not return to work. The ability to return to work is highly correlated to the post-acute functional limitations of the survivor.12, 13
    In a national survey in Canada, 66% of TBI survivors living in the community reported an ongoing need for assistance with some activities of daily living,75% were not working, and 90% reported limitations or dissatisfaction with social integration.(11)
    Even if the likelihood of suffering a Traumatic Brain Injury when not wearing a helmet could be proved to be low (which is doubtful), are you really prepared to risk the worst case outcome because you want to feel the wind in your hair

    Reference:
    18 Thompson, R. S., Rivara, F. P., & Thompson, D. C. (1989) A Case-Control Study of the Effectiveness of Bicycle Safety Helmets. New England Journal of Medicine, 320: 1361-1367.
    19 Sosin, D.M., Sacks, J.J., & Webb, K.W.(1996) Pediatric Injuries and Deaths from Bicycling in the United States. Pediatrics, 98(5): 868-870.
    11 Dawson, D. R. & Chipman, M. (1995) The Disablement Experienced by Traumatically Brain-Injured Adults Living in the Community. Brain Injury, 9(4): 339-353.
    12 Greenspan, A. I., Wrigley, J. M., Kresnow, M., Branche-Dorsey, C. & Fine, P. R. (1996) Factors Influencing Failure to Return to Work Due to Traumatic Brain Injury. Brain Injury, 10(3): 207-218.
    13 Ip, R. Y., Dornan, J. & Schentag, C. (1995) Traumatic Brain Injury: Factors Predicting Return to Work or School. Brain Injury, 9(5): 517-532.
    Source: http://www.caregiver.org/caregiver/jsp/content_node.jsp?nodeid=441

    • Phillip permalink
      13 April, 2012 8:00 pm

      Yes, that’s the trouble with statistics. A quick look around reveals over 2,000,000 TBI every year in the USA alone. 28% from car accidents. I’m afraid in the overall scheme of things, cycling doesn’t even rate a mention.

      I’ll take the wind in my hair any day, when I’m cruising along a cycle path or out with family.

      • Chris permalink
        15 April, 2012 12:22 pm

        Phillip, lucky for you. Not everyone lives on an actual cycle path with their family. A cycle path with soft edges the whole way to their destination that they can use exclusively.

        With regards to your lack of USA TBI statistics comment, well helmets are not required by law over there (for adults), so that’s probably why they don’t have any for cycling!

      • Chris permalink
        15 April, 2012 12:51 pm

        … or more specifically a lack of TBI statistics comparing cyclists who did and did not wear a helmet?

    • Colin Clarke permalink
      16 April, 2012 6:20 pm

      http://www.cyclehelmets.org/1131.html
      Explains about the 85% claim, it has been downgraded over recent years.

      Cycling has reduced in the USA
      Download 2006YouthParticipationInSelectedSportsWithComparisons.pdf

      The 140,000 head injuries, from about 60 million kids in the USA, one per 400 roughly, most not severe injuries. In 2008 there were 12.4 road deaths per 100,000 people or 124 per million people. In total 37261 people died on the roads . For bicyclists the total was 716, including 95 below 16 years of age (approximately 1.5 per million population —lower than the rate for all cyclists, 2.4 per million population).

      In 1990 approximately 10% of 2-19 year age group were overweight, by 2000 this had increased to about 14.8% and by 2005 increased again to about 16.3%. In 2006, total road deaths were 42642, including 773 cyclists. For the death of each cyclist there are approximately 120,000 obese people and 46,000 with diabetes.

  14. Colin Clarke permalink
    13 April, 2012 10:48 pm

    Cycle helmets tend to have a higher accident rate and a higher impact rate than a bare head and this counters the expected benefits.

    See http://www.cycle-helmets.com/head-helmet.doc

    Research findings suggest an increase in accidents has occurred due to wearing helmets. Link below, page 28 of report, Erke and Elvik 2007 stated: “There is evidence of increased accident risk per cycling-km for cyclists wearing a helmet. In Australia and New Zealand the increase is estimated to be around 14 per cent.”

    http://www.toi.no/getfile.php/Publikasjoner/T%D8I%20rapporter/2007/889-2007/889-2007-nett.pdf

  15. Phillip permalink
    15 April, 2012 6:11 pm

    Interesting point of view from the European cycling Czar.

    “The position of the European Cyclists’ Federation is very clear: we do not really see scientific evidence to ask authorities to promote helmets or to make helmet laws,” Bernhard Ensink tells me on the phone from his office in Brussels, Belgium. Ensink is secretary general of the ECF and series director of the federation’s Velo-city cycle planning conference series. His main message to … politicians of all stripes is as follows: “Stop dangerizing cycling through helmet promotions and helmet laws because there is not the scientific evidence that this is good for society.”

    http://vancouver.openfile.ca/vancouver/text/safety-file-bike-helmet-headaches

  16. 17 April, 2012 2:02 pm

    Excuse me for being rather blunt, but after having studied helmet design and testing for the last 20 years, I would be tempted to say that most of this article is “bs”. As far as I am aware, the penetration test was phased out years ago, which is why we now get helmets that can split on impact in part due to the foam being up to 300% stiffer than specified in the following study by the then Federal Office of Road Safety, “Motorcycle and Bicycle Protective Helmets; Requirements Resulting from A Post Crash Study and Experimental Research” (Corner, et al, 1987). http://www.infrastructure.gov.au/roads/safety/publications/1987/pdf/Mcycle_Helm_1.pdf. Read the introduction, and then pages 39 and 40.

    The test headform used is “non anthropomorphic” (non human-like), and artificially crushes hard foam as it has no artificial skin, and no neck structure which “inbends”. The CR55 study requested this be replaced in 1987, but it never was. There is also no test for the real cause of serious head injury and death – rotational acceleration – in which the brain is twisted violently around in the cranium causing the condition known as “diffuse axonal injury”. One of the other excuses used for introducing the helmet law was that the Ministry had photos of helmets that had “protected the wearer after being run over by a vehicle”. There is no test for this, and has never been one. There are also no suitably ventilated full face cycle helmets available here, which discriminates against cyclists.

    Go to the internet, key in “The fall of bike share”, “A message to Melbourne from Dublin Bikes”, Helmet Freedom.org., and cyclehelmets.org to read and see the truth about helmets and design.

    Now think about what you’ve seen.

    • Colin Clarke permalink
      17 April, 2012 6:05 pm

      Helmet laws have lots of issues eg

      Robinson 1996 report, Table 2 shows data for children in NSW. The equivalent number of injuries for pre law level of number of cyclists increased from 1310 (384 head + 926 other injuries) in 1991 to 2083 (488 head + 1595 other injuries) in 1993. For NSW the helmet laws discouraged cycling and reduced children’s safety. The increased injury rate was 59%, from 1310 to 2083.
      Robinson DL; Head injuries and bicycle helmet laws; Accid Anal Prev, 28, 4: p 463-475, 1996 http://www.cycle-helmets.com/robinson-head-injuries.pdf

      http://www.sustrans.org.uk/about-sustra … egislation

      The UK’s National Children’s Bureau (NCB) provided a detailed review in 2005 stating “the case for helmets is far from sound”, “the benefits of helmets need further investigation before even a policy supporting promotion can be unequivocally supported” and “the case has not yet been convincingly made for compulsory use or promotion of cycle helmets.”

      Erke and Elvik 2007 stated: “There is evidence of increased accident risk per cycling-km for cyclists wearing a helmet. In Australia and New Zealand, the increase is estimated to be around 14 per cent.”

      Assessment of Australia’s Bicycle Helmet Laws, refer ‘Mandatory’ can have unanticipated consequences – Civil Liberties Australia web site, 25 Nov. 2008. Providing details of the effects of the legal requirement to wear cycle helmets.
      http://www.cla.asn.au/Article/081125Bik … Policy.pdf

      In 2008 Curnow concluded, “Compulsion to wear a bicycle helmet is detrimental to public health in Australia but, to maintain the status quo, authorities have obfuscated evidence that shows this” and “Cycling declined after the helmet laws by an estimated 40% for children, with loss of the benefits of the exercise
      for health. As serious casualties declined by less, the risks to cyclists, including death by head injury, increased.” A link to the paper is at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18481926 ,

      Tin Tin S, Injuries to pedal cyclists on New Zealand roads, 1988-2007, Tin Tin et al. BMC Public Health 2010, 10:655 http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2458/10/655

      It reports – Results

      “The highest rate of cycling injuries was observed among the 5-14 year olds (Figure 1). In this age group, from 1996-99 to 2003-07, there was a substantial increase in injury risk from crashes not involving a motor vehicle. However, this trend was not observed when analyses

      were restricted to those with serious injuries. Males had a higher rate of collision and other injuries compared to females (Figure 2).”

      Fig 1 shows a major increase in the accident rate for 5-14 age group, almost doubling the rate. Road safety improved in NZ from 1990 – 2009, roughly 50%+ reduction. Therefore a fall in serious cyclist injuries would be expected.

      It reports- Discussion

      “Of particular concern are children and adolescents who have experienced the greatest increase in the risk of cycling injuries despite a substantial decline in the amount of cycling over the past two decades.”

      Table 1 in their report details the cyclist accident rate per million hours, 25.6 in 1988-91, 30.7 in 2003-07.

      It appears that most of the increase in risk was to children. This outcome appears very similar to Victoria and New South Wales in both reducing safety for children and discouraging them from cycling.
      See also
      http://www.cycle-helmets.com/nz-clarke-2012.pdf

      The Case against bicycle helmets and legislation, VeloCity cycling conference, Munich 2007. A detailed report presented at the world’s leading cycling conference providing details showing how helmet use and legislation has reduced both health and safety in general terms.

      http://www.ta.org.br/site/Banco/7manuais/colin_clarke_cycle_helmet.pdf

      The Netherlands has the safest cycling conditions, without helmet laws.

  17. Gonzo permalink
    18 April, 2012 9:03 am

    Have one decent fall and, assuming you recover, you’ll never ride again without your helmet. With correct fit re-checked each time. It becomes as automatic as putting your seat belt on every time you get iinto a car.
    And on caps under helmets, the bald heads among us need them for sun protection as well as the extra comfort and helmet life extension mentioned by others above.

    • Phillip permalink
      18 April, 2012 12:47 pm

      Gonzo

      Yeah had a few falls, but one decent one that I’ll relate here. I was descending a “closed” mountain road one afternoon with some friends. At times doing over 60kmh, but not always.

      On one corner I was surprised by a tourist bus (not a completely closed road). I monetarily locked up my rear brake, and when it unlocked I high-sided the bike, and then I became airborne. When I hit the road, I was head-first on my back heading directly for a perfectly formed concrete storm drain.

      This is pretty much a the scenario where a helmet makes perfect sense.

      After the accident, I had a fairly significant gash and partial scalping in my head needing quite a few stitches to sew it all together again. At the same time my back hit the other corner of the curb, and damaged the T4 vertebrae. Miscellaneous other loss of skin, and a helicopter ride later…

      What should you take from this personal anecdote?
      1. The human scull evolved to protect our brains from Neanderthals (and their ilk) wielding rocks and clubs. It is generally strong enough to protect us in bicycle accidents (cosmetic damage excepted), particularly those where speeds are less than (say) 30kmh.
      2. A helmet doesn’t protect the most sensitive part of the body being the spine. Now, some 10 years after the accident, my spine injury lingers.
      3. Chose a helmet when racing, as racing (in any sport) is generally a dangerous activity.

      Another anecdote. Last year, a friend had an accident on a bike path, whilst wearing a helmet. When his head hit the road the helmet caught on the ground and twisted his head around, damaged his neck. Six months of rehabilitation later, he could mostly walk, but not ride again.

      What should you take from this personal anecdote?
      1. Not getting a cut scalp is a good thing. But, not getting a damaged spine would be a much better thing. Protecting your head, at the expense of spinal damage, is a very bad thing.

      These are only personal anecdotes. But they lead me to be convinced that helmets are certainly optional, and possibly even detrimental to safety. However, the international evidence supports my views.

  18. 19 April, 2012 12:29 pm

    Bicycle helmets should not be sold without a warning of the risks of wearing them:
    1. Increased risk of having an accident
    2. Increased risk of head hitting in an accident
    3. Increased risk of severe brain injury due to rotational acceleration
    4. Increased risk of neck injuries
    http://crag.asn.au/?p=391
    If you believe that these increased risks are worth the protection from a piece of polystyrene, then wear one.

    Such a dangerous device should never have been made compulsory, especially considering that the risk of accidents and injuries increased after the helmet law.
    http://crag.asn.au/?p=474

    It doesn’t matter how often Australians fall of their bikes and believe their “helmet” saved them. The helmet law has made cycling more dangerous and should be repealed.

  19. Phillip permalink
    3 May, 2012 4:50 pm

    The Health Impact of Mandatory Bicycle Helmet Laws

    http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1368064

    Piet De Jong
    Macquarie University – Department of Applied Finance and Actuarial Studies

    Risk Analysis, 2012

    Abstract:
    This article seeks to answer the question whether mandatory bicycle helmet laws deliver a net societal health benefit. The question is addressed using a simple model. The model recognizes a single health benefit — reduced head injuries, and a single health cost — increased morbidity due to foregone exercise from reduced cycling. Using estimates suggested in the literature of the effectiveness of helmets, the health benefits of cycling, head injury rates, and reductions in cycling, leads to the following conclusions. In jurisdiction where cycling is relatively unsafe, helmets will do little to make it safer and a helmet law, under relatively extreme assumptions may make a small positive contribution to net societal health. The model serves to focus the mandatory bicycle helmet law debate on overall health.

  20. Colin Clarke permalink
    4 May, 2012 6:02 pm

    http://ipa.org.au/publications/2019/australia's-helmet-law-disaster

    Provides some interesting comments. World Transport Policy & Practice Volume 12, No. 2, 2006
    The case against bicycle helmets and legislation
    http://www.eco-logica.co.uk/pdf/WTPP12.3.pdf

    The Case against bicycle helmets and legislation, VeloCity cycling conference, Munich 2007. A detailed report presented at the world’s leading cycling conference providing details showing how helmet use and legislation has reduced both health and safety in general terms. http://www.nationaler-radverkehrsplan.de/eu-bund-laender/eu/velocity/schedule.phtml

    Assessment of Australia’s Bicycle Helmet Laws, refer ‘Mandatory’ can have unanticipated consequences – Civil Liberties Australia web site, 25 Nov. 2008. Providing details of the effects of the legal requirement to wear cycle helmets. http://www.cla.asn.au/Article/081125BikesHelmetPolicy.pdf

  21. 9 May, 2012 7:25 pm

    What a load of junk. It’s one thing for Bicycle Network Victoria to support the mandatory helmets law, but to constantly be spruiking this kind of junk. If cycling is to become an accepted, everyday form of transport, then mandatory helmet laws need to go. I understand a desire to increase cyclists’s safety, but surely the right of citizens to choose for themselves when and where to wear a helmet is their own business. Thousands of people are killed and suffer horrific injuries every year in cars on Australian roads, yet motorists are not compelled to wear helmets or have roll-cages etc fitted into their cars. Governments even let unroadworthy 50 year old tin boxes drive around, endangering everyone. If this is acceptable, then riding a human-powered, relatively slow machine should be fine without the need to wear a helmet. Why is it that Australia is one of only a handful of nations that have these laws? The world’s leading cycling nations (that is, everyday cycling, not just racing and hobby cycling that BNV seems so keen on) have no helmet laws.

    Furthermore, some will counter that “yeah well thats like cigarettes, I want to smoke when and where I want without these big taxes and restrictions bla bla bla”. Well actually, it’s tottaly different. Every cigarette is a harmful, toxic item that damages everyone’s health and causes BILLIONS of dollars of un-necessary health care every year. Cycling without a helmet is NOT unhealthy to yourself or others and does NOT cause billions or even millions of dollars of un-necessary health care. Its time to repeal these ridiculous laws that have done no good for cycling in Melbourne. Or I guess we could just let people sit around in their cars for hours every day in the toxic traffic, getting fat…

  22. 9 August, 2012 11:48 am

    Helmets are $8.95 in Big W and although they they comply, I challenge anyone to tell me that they are safe!!

  23. Bob permalink
    14 November, 2012 5:41 pm

    A recent example that I think says it all…
    http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/cyclist-fighting-for-life-after-being-hit-by-semi-20121112-297ds.html

    • Phillip permalink
      14 November, 2012 7:27 pm

      Bob, yes agree with you totally. Wearing a helmet had absolutely no bearing on this accident, and that The Age bothered to print the hyperbole by an untrained witness “that helmet saved him”, is unbelievable. Clearly there is an agenda afoot here.

      A spokesperson Ambulance Victoria for was quoted “the cyclist has injuries to his chest, abdomen and pelvis”. Now unless that cyclist was wearing one of those new helmets with “magical protective powers”, the fact his helmet was lying crushed on the roadside says only that it failed in its duty to remain attached to his head during the accident, or was cut away by the paramedics attending to his injuries.

      It is no wonder Australian’s continue to delude themselves that helmets are the panacea for cycle safety, when reports like this continue to exist in our mainstream media.

      Let’s just hope that that cyclist with chest, abdomen and pelvis injuries is doing ok, and that he can get back on his feet.

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