For those who have not seen this on FB


The following points are intended to assist people who may want to make submissions to the Senate Inquiry into Personal Choice and Community Impacts.

The State Governments were very quick to pass Mandatory Helmet Legislation when it was a pre-requisite for obtaining Federal Government Road funding.

It is astonishing that the negative effects of helmet legislation were never evaluated after implementation. It is even more astonishing that no Government has ever conceded that there were any negative consequences to these laws.

The following is a list of unintended consequences of MHL. You can include as many of these as you like in your submissions.

- Reduction in cycling with a resulting decline in public health
- Increased risk of accident per cyclist
- Loss of civil liberty
- Decrease in safety because there were fewer cyclists - the 'safety
in numbers effect'
- Loss of enjoyment of cycling because of discomfort, 
inconvenience, overheating, perspiration, ruined hairstyles
- Increased risk taking among helmet wearing populations
- Reduction in care taken by drivers around helmeted cyclists
- Failure of the Melbourne and Brisbane Bikeshare programs
Sydney Bikeshare unable to start
- Helmets create a dangerous image of cycling which puts people
off riding
- Police resources diverted to punishing cyclists
- The real safety issues for cyclists were sidelined as 'helmets'
became the only solution
- Decreased demand for safe cycling infrastructure 
- Cost of helmets
- Loss of autonomy and independence in children and teenagers,
may include a decline in youth mental and physical health
- Increase in congestion, pollution, greenhouse gas and loss of 
urban amenity

Submissions close 24 August 2015

Submission deadline Inquiry term of reference

5 October 2015

Bicycle helmet laws (term d)

Please contact the committee secretariat on (02) 6277 3025 if you have any questions about this inquiry.

Committee Secretariat contact:

Senate Standing Committees on Economics
PO Box 6100
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

I would add, building a whole generation of drivers who, due to the perceived danger of cycling, have not ridden on the roads and do not know how to drive around bike riders safely or have the empathy as they cannot see people who ride as fellow human beings.

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Replies to This Discussion

That's a good summary list.

It is astonishing that, 20 years after, state governments still refuse to acknowledge the negative consequences of this law. The rest of the world has shunned this law. Whenever there is an attempt to introduce a helmet law, Australia is quoted as an example of what NOT to do.

Meanwhile, bureaucrats from our state government serve us the same trite nonsense whenever the issue is brought up: "(polystyrene hats) protect against x% of head injuries". Nobody is fooled, but the pretense of safety lingers.

Instead of acknowledging they made a mistake, "road safety" bureaucrats waste more tax payers money on low-grade academics to publish "studies" claiming that the helmet law has not reduced cycling. They then use those "studies" to deny the negative consequences of this law.

Good to see a federal inquiry opened to hear about the unintended consequences of this law. There is plenty to talk about.

So I finally got around to doing this. Note that the submission deadline for submissions relating to bicycle helmets is now the 5th October, so you've got a few more days to put something in.

If you are interested in reading my Dyson Hayden-esque 14 page diatribe on the subject, it's attached below.

Some interesting submissions, of you poke around. Lots about bicycle helmets; some really well thought arguments from a range of individuals explaining why MHL is a bad idea, and the usual drivel about 'bike riders all end up with serious head injuries that cost lots to treat' drivel from the medical and sadly a lot of cycling 'advocay' organisations...


Where did you get the 5th October reference Dan ? 

EDIT : Pfft: found it

Cycling Clubs submissions are pretty weak IMO - they need to use the Helmets regardless of the law, it's part of Cycling Australia rules. 

And Medical folks.. they aren't biased, they'll recommend helmets for drivers/passengers, elderly, use of ladders and when drinking alcohol.

Hey Dan that is a really great submission. It is well thought out, particularly well structured and logically argued. What a reference list too. How long did you take over that ? It is one of the best submissions I've seen and hopefully it will give them plenty to reflect on.

Took about three hours, I guess. The arguments and references I honed in years of debate on this site, mostly with Tim Churches. I'm still sad that all those threads got deleted. Years of work down the pan...

I'm considering doing another one, a kind of rebuttal to the RACS one - you know the doctors who try to make out that repealing helmet laws would cost billions. Even better would be to find a doctor willing to put his name on it too, kind of to make the point that RACS do not speak for the whole medical profession...

A rebuttal would be really good. Also Dan, consider speaking to the Inquiry when they come to Sydney. That will give you a chance to talk some of those issues through. For example, all the scaremongering about brain injury amounts to almost nothing when you consider how rare it is. The New York Bikeshare has not had 1 case of it or a death so a lot of the complicated statistics put up by people like Olivier and Grzbieta are not needed when you consider very simple facts.

If you want to speak to the Inquiry ( and I think you have an excellent grasp of the topic) you have to contact them. They have not put up the dates for the Sydney hearings yet.

What a great submission Dan.  I would certainly encourage you to do a second submission, or appendix to the current one, specifically rebutting RACS and UNSW stuff.  Did you ask to speak to the committee?

I think they are only having the one hearing on bike helmets, which is the day in Melbourne on the 16th. So they are not going to invite many people to present to them.  You would have been selected because of the range and quality of your submission.  I don't know if the Senate can assist you in travelling down, but otherwise, I think they have teleconferencing facilities.  After all the work you have done honing your arguments against some pretty obstinate opposition, I think you would be an absolute must to present to the enquiry.

I got a call today from the inquiry, asking if I could speak to the committee at the public hearings. I didn't specifically say I wanted to or was able to, so I don't know why they selected me, or if they just invite everyone.

Initially I said I couldn't, as I'm on holiday with the family on the Sunshine Coast, and the hearings are in Melbourne. But I've since reconsidered, and asked them if I can take part. Hopefully there's still a slot available for me.

Most exciting!


Dan, I'm pretty sure you were contacted because your submission was outstanding and demonstrated a really good grasp of the issues and the research. If you can make it I think that would be really good.

I was also contacted yesterday, I believe because of my personal story about being gaoled 20 years ago. I've said I would attend although I'm very nervous as I'm not a good speaker in public.

If you come I'm looking forward to meeting you.


Loss of freedom and consorting with hardened criminals as a direct result of contravening MHL ?

What absolute insanity.


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