The Roads Minister surprises no one by ruling out the relaxation of the Mandatory Helmet Law for any Bike Share scheme.... 

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I like the idea of a cyclists party, even while I'm not hugely optimistic of a big membership.  The slogan "its not sport, its transport" really says it all for me.  Of course in Australia that leaves about 90% of current cyclists (pure guesstimate) elsewhere.  I'm someone who makes no secret that the most important thing for me is freedom to choose whether or not to wear a helmet, and an end to the punishment of what I consider normal people on bikes.  I have never for a minute thought however, that this would usher in a golden age of Dutch style cycling in Australia by itself.  The end of MHLs is what I regard as a necessary, but not a sufficient condition of widespread uptake of the bicycle for day to day transport. As such, it would have to be a central non-negotiable policy of the cyclists party.

Hands up for president/chairperson 

Great idea, I'd join up even if I'm not allowed to vote!

+1 what Alan said regarding MHL. Its not the only issue to resolve in Australia but it'd certainly be the cheapest thing to start with. 

BIKESydney It would probably be worth following this up with Government representatives by pointing out that the safety record of bikeshare schemes such as the London one have operated extremely successfully with no helmet laws.

A recent Freedom of information request into the safety of the London scheme resulted in the following stats.

After 19.5 million trips , there were no 'life- changing' injuries and no fatalities. In other words there was no brain injury, no brain damage and no deaths in an environment similar to Sydney without helmet laws.

I don't know why this has not had a greater impact . After 19.5 million trips nobody needed to wear a helmet to protect against 'catastrophic' brain injury. To put this in perspective,  if you took two trips a day on the bikeshare bikes you would need to cycle from  the time of the stone-age cave paintings(25,000BC) till today and still not have needed  a helmet - not even once.

Why do all those safety experts writing papers about helmets not wish to study the amazing safety of this scheme to find out what it is that makes it safe ? I would love to know myself,  because then we would have some really useful information.  It is not even infrastructure,  because London's is not much better than Sydney. 

Here's the link to the London FOI request

BikeSydney has enough to do as it is.

Maybe that's for BikeSydney to decide

Jake Olivier, the statistician behind the cited study, has published a lot of papers on the helmet issue - every one of them pro-helmet. For me it is clear that for him his personal opinion comes first, and he is using data in a way to support his personal opinion.

For his publication list, see here:

By the way, what Mr. Gay does NOT mention is that there are also several studies on helmet laws which are decidedly ANTI-helmet, carried out by the University of Sydney. See for example here:

Or maybe his opinion was formed by looking at the data?

Possible, but unlikely. I really doubt that it's possible that for a statistician every data set supports his personal opinion.

For example, every child knows that the helmet law reduced the number of cyclists. Not for Mr. Olivier: he "re-analyzed" the data and came to the opposite conlusion, to find that the number of cyclists actually increased (see here: Oh, he forgot to mention that in all other countries the number of cyclists increased by huge percentages. And oh, in all his other papers he forgot to take into account the various health benefits of cycling. And oh, oh, oh, etc.etc.

lies, damn lies, and statistics


I think you have missed the point. Perhaps you need to reread the article and Chris Rissel's study that Mr Oliver's study disagrees with (like the Rissel's former one which was retracted).

I think what Mr. Olivier doesn't understand is the following: Yes, wearing a helmet reduces the risk of being injured for an individual cyclist. But that does NOT imply that mandatory helmet laws have an overall health benefit for a country.

They claim that Australian helmet laws prevent some 400 head injuries per year. According to this way of reasoning, we must immediately make cycling illegal - by this way preventing the remaining 400 head injuries as well.

We can also forbid walking, skiing, riding, etc.etc. - each of this measures will prevent injuries. So a country where every kind of sports and transportation is forbidden is a perfectly healty country. Is it?


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