Cycling in Sydney Australia
I haven't had a lot of time to digest this report yet, but am interested in the collective wisdom of SC.
In essence,. the report says:
I guess the part that for me is missing is the bit about what constitutes an acceptable injury rate. Sounds like a strange thing to say (we should target zero!), but in reality life carries risks, and kids are going to get injured. Any discussion of this is absolutely missing from the report; indeed it is taken as given that this injury rate is dreadful, but there are no comparisons points (eg with other countries), nor discussion on why the rate has not changed, even as safety regulations (pool fences, soft fall surfaces,in-car child restraints) have tightened.
Pertinent to the above, there is, of course, no mention of the dreaded risk compensation; that pesky (and empirically demonstrable) behaviour that tends to negate safety improvements, and in fact neatly explains the above (for example, I read somewhere (no citation, sorry) that putting soft-fall surfaces under kids climbing equipment caused the kids to climb higher, as they felt less scared of falling).
The authors also seem utterly amazed that accidents are the leading cause of death and injury to children, something to me that seems, well, kind of obvious.
I guess reading this it's clear that the authors have been drinking deeply of the 'safety industry' kool-aid, as this passage on bicycles shows:
'Road transport-related injuries were more common among children aged 11-16 years than the younger age groups, particularly for children being injured as a pedal cyclist or a motorcyclist. Injuries following road transport incidents are some of the most common injuries experienced by young people worldwide . Injury prevention measures aimed at reducing injuries to pedal cyclists include introducing environmental changes, such as traffic calming methods like speed bumps to slow vehicle speed, creating mechanisms to separate pedal cyclists from vehicles, such as cycle pathways, and increasing a child’s road safety knowledge and traffic skills. Helmet use during cycling was not able to be examined in the current study, however previous research has found a protective effect of helmet wearing if a crash occurs while cycling for both head and facial injuries [63-65].'
What reports do they cite? Two utterly discredited (and old) TRT studies, and one from our friends Grzebieta and Oliver. (Helmets don't protect from facial injuries. Just think about the absurdity of that claim for a moment.). Still, at least they make the point about protected cycle facilities first, which i suppose is an improvement!
There are no specific recommendations in this report other than a call for a national child injury prevention strategy, so not sure where this will go. I'm very happy that someone has done this research, as it is good to have these statistics. But I worry this becomes the platform for yet more restrictive and counter-productive safety interventions that end up restricting physical activity amongst kids even more.
>The authors also seem utterly amazed that accidents are the leading cause of death and injury to children, something to me that seems, well, kind of obvious.
Glad I'm not the only Australian who thought that the extra strength kool-aid these people had drunk had clouded their judgement and caused them to make ludicrous pronouncements.
If only the poor little dears stayed inside staring at their iPads all day then they'd likely survive childhood accident free (apart from being maimed in car crashes - which is just a sad fact of life) and then go on to die horrible early deaths from the terrible health complications of obesity (sorry forgive me is that fat shaming?).
The helmet fluff isn't all that strident - but these authors likely have a black and white world view and wouldn't accept that there are any negative consequences of helmet compulsion - or any child injury prevention strategies they may promote.
As a one time member of the Rural Males above the age of 16 group, I'm not surprised by the higher mortality rate. We used to do some pretty stupid stuff, and medical services weren't highly accessible.