Welcome to Netrider ... Connecting Riders!

Interested in talking motorbikes with a terrific community of riders?
Signup (it's quick and free) to join the discussions and access the full suite of tools and information that Netrider has to offer.

Protesting cyclists to make Merri, their hair blowin' in the wind - The Age

Discussion in 'The Pub' started by Sir Ride Alot, Sep 27, 2012.

  1. Protesting cyclists to make Merri, their hair blowin' in the wind
    Date September 27, 2012 Vince Chadwick

    VICTORIA was first in the world to make bike helmets compulsory, but now a small but determined group of cyclists want to ride like it's 1989. Bareheaded.

    The Freestyle Cyclists, with fewer than a dozen core members but hundreds of supporters, are planning an act of civil disobedience next month with a helmet-free ride along Merri Creek. The group's petition has attracted more than 600 signatures, calling for bike helmets to be made optional in Australia and New Zealand.

    The group's spokesman, Alan Todd, said helmets gave cyclists a false sense of security and provided only limited protection in an accident.

    Before the ride on October 6, supporters will gather at CERES Community Environment Park in East Brunswick to hear from Chris Rissel, a professor of public health at the University of Sydney.

    He says mountain bikers and others are capable of deciding for themselves what kind of cycling requires a helmet.

    ''It's hurting the people who might ride but don't,'' he said, ''and they are exactly the people we want to get more active.''

    Raquel Fajardo, 27, just wants to feel the wind in her hair. She wears a helmet only to avoid a fine and says making helmets optional would help cycling shed its dangerous image.

    Helmets became compulsory in Victoria on July 1, 1990, and cyclists without a helmet today risk a $176 fine.

    VicRoads' director of road user safety, James Holgate, said a 1999 review found helmets reduced head and brain injuries by 88 per cent and injuries to upper and mid-facial areas by 65 per cent.

    ''Helmets are designed so that the foam material they are made from spreads the force of an impact and absorbs the energy, greatly reducing the risk and severity of head injury in the instance of a crash,'' he said.

    The head of neurosurgery at The Alfred hospital, Professor Jeffrey Rosenfeld, said dumping compulsory helmets would be a retrograde step.

    ''I'm the one who sits at the hospital looking after the victims of road trauma,'' he said. ''There are many cyclists among them, and I can't help but think that if they weren't wearing helmets their injuries would be significantly worse.'' He said the idea that compulsory helmets dissuaded people from healthy exercise was ''specious'' and he called the October 6 ride a publicity stunt and a bad example.

    Several studies were pending on the effectiveness of helmets in preventing more subtle brain injuries, but they indisputably protected the skull in an accident.

    However, a study published last year by Norway's Institute of Transport Economics found previous research had been biased towards older stack-hats and that modern soft-shell helmets offered less protection.

    City of Yarra councillor Jackie Fristacky, who will attend the rally but will not ride for fear of a fine, said mandatory helmets were largely to blame for the sluggish take-up of Melbourne's public bike scheme.

    She said in Dublin and Montreal helmets remained obligatory on the outskirts but not in the centre where speed limits were usually lower. Figures from the Transport Accident Commission show that in the past decade 57 cyclists were killed in Melbourne, compared with 40 in rural Victoria.

    Victoria Police were aware of the planned helmet-free ride. A spokesman said police respected people's right to protest lawfully but would monitor the situation, taking action ''when appropriate''.

    Poll: Should cyclists be free to not wear helmets?
    Yes 56%
    No 44%
    Total votes: 8038.

    Poll closed 27 Sep, 2012
    Disclaimer: These polls are not scientific and reflect the opinion only of visitors who have chosen to participate.

    Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/p...in-the-wind-20120926-26lk6.html#ixzz27eyRhxli
  2. How hard is it to just wear a helmet and not ride like a spanner?
  3. Is that what civil disobedience is? I don't even own a pushy helmet. Is that civil war?
  4. Stories like this make me wonder just how many people you need to break a law simultaneously for Police to go from arresting to "monitoring".
  5. Therein lies the catchphrase.
    Protest lawfully...
    Taking helmet off breaks the law...
  6. Who cares?
  7. Good on 'em!
  8. 44% of the people who responded to that poll are nosy beige cardigan twats who should mind their own business.
  9. Great idea
    Hope it works , its pretty dumb law.
  10. Yup. Good on 'em for sure.
  11. Im going to protest 'lawfully' about the slow speed limits in this country by speeding...
  12. I am protesting on the inside
  13. its the only way to make those point to point renta bike things work.
  14. It may be a good thing in that it will send a message to the safety industry saying it has gone too far. I’m all for it.
  15. Isn't it the same thing (more or less) as us resisting mandatory ATGATT?

    At the end of the day, if a cyclist decides not to wear a helmet, they are the person who will be negatively effected by that decision.

    Reminds me of one of Boris's articles (very hazy recollection here), along the lines of "Gear helps prevent injury, but it's not as effective as just not crashing"
  16. We also have to wear a helmet but ours have stringent regulations to meet. They don't have to wear anything else and most don't. Lycra protects nothing

    I'm pretty in to my cycling and personally have no issues with having to have a helmet on and honestly can't say I've ever really seen people pulled up for not wearing one either...around local streets its probably not a concern but when commuting I'd always wear one, witnessed and experiences some useless bastards on the road inc others on pushies
  17. The less beige the better. Good on them, fight the power.
  18. Fixed.
  19. Great that they're doing that.

    I personally had a hard time not forgetting to put my helmet on when I was new down here. Really hate having to wear the helmet in winter, my frozen ears let me know that a woollen hat makes so much more sense...
  20. ...Wear a beanie under your helmet?