Petition to reform helmet laws in Australia and new Zealand

Freestyle Cyclists Australia and New Zealand have a petition going on the home page of their website. The petition calls for the reform of mandatory helmet laws in both countries, to promote and increase cycling. Although information about this petition has already been put on the helmetless riders forum, I'm posting it here to reach a wider audience.

This petition is not about the performance of helmets in a given situation. Nor does it concern an individuals preference for wearing a helmet when cycling. It is about whether people who choose to ride without a helmet should be fined for doing so. The law currently imposes a fine for riding without a helmet on all roads, off-road bike trails, parks, National Parks and footpaths. Reform would include removal of the law in any of those places.

This is an opportunity for those who prefer to wear a helmet to support those who sometimes or always do not. It will free up Police from the job of fining cyclists to concentrate on more important road safety issues. Furthermore, if the repeal of the law results in more cyclists, this will increase demand for cycling infrastructure and contribute to a diverse cycling culture in this country.

The Freestyle Cyclists petition has already attracted over 1000 signatures and is growing into an important movement in this country. The recent launch of the campaign in Melbourne included speakers from the ACT, NSW, Queensland and Victoria. The group will be campaigning everywhere until the State laws are changed.

To support this petition go to http://www.freestylecyclists.org/

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Good initiative.

If you want to support the campaign, not only can you sign up at http://www.freestylecyclists.org but you can also order small cards for dropping into bike baskets, and bumper stickers just perfect for your top tube (or elsewhere...)


If you want to stay in touch with the campaign there are email options when you subscribe, let's get together and get rid of this harmful law!

Is signing it twice cheating?

Sure is - but getting your friends to sign up is great! 


The petition won't allow multiple signups from a single email address, and it verifies each email address - you have to receive an email and click on a link before your registration is counted.


Also consider a donation to put advertisements on TV. We are currently planning a campaign in Perth and Fremantle to support the Mayor of Fremantle's call for a trial exemption there.  Watch this space for the link once we get our donations page set up.  See the ads at http://www.freestylecyclists.org/freestyle.nsf/index/video  This is your chance to make change happen!

I strongly urge all members of the Sydney Cyclist community to sign up to this important petition to reform our helmet laws.

 

These laws discourage cycling among those that don't associate themselves as being cyclists and the sad fact is that this means we're missing out on the public health benefits that bicycles could be bringing to our society.  These benefits outweigh the risks many times over; this is because cycling is a very safe activity whereas leading a sedentary lifestyle is extremely dangerous.  To ride a bike (with or without a helmet) is a much better outcome for the individual and for society than not riding a bike at all.  Sadly, too many people are choosing to not ride a bike at all because they find the helmet laws discouraging.

 

Remember as well that we're part of a group of people who are *so* enthusiastic about cycling that we go to the effort to sign up to a forum like Sydney Cyclist and invest our time engaging in these forums and reading these posts.  We're the minority and we're the tenatious few who won't be deterred by the minor inconvenience of putting a platic lid on our heads and who won't be put off by the perception that cycling is more dangerous than it actually is.

 

Signing this petition will help send a clear message to the politicians that the time is right to reform these laws so that everyday cycling can properly flourish across Australia and New Zealand and so the public health of our respective nations can be transformed by active lifestyle choices.

16,000 deaths and $13.8 billion per year in costs in Australia from inactivity

35 cyclist deaths per year (2009)

Cyclist deaths might have been slightly higher if a few had not been wearing helmets, but even a politician should be able to see that inactivity is a much bigger problem than a few cyclists not wearing helmets.

Should add death & destruction from motor vehicles to that too. Every cycling trip is one fewer car trip.

Martin, I think that even for the most dyed in the wool MHL supporters, the argument from the public health perspective can't be ignored.  Its also a compelling argument for those who aren't really interested in cycling itself.

Yes, yes it can be ignored.

Australia rocks in life expectancy, far higher than The Netherlands or Denmark and we do it more cheaply. Yes, yes they smoke more than we do, but then not smoking appears to be a contributing factor to being obese.

Is there something a bit strange in your logic, Si? You seem to be saying that because another country (Netherlands) has a lower life expectancy than us then we shouldn't be implementing measures which would help solve our obesity and lifestyle-disease epidemic?

I don't think you've backed up your argument very well. What makes you think that the public-health-benefit to removing helmet laws can be ignored?

Oh what great fun another helmet discussion / argument.

He is saying the perspective can be ignored, not that it should be ignored.

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