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  1. 1

    Nik Dow

    Thanks for hitting all the nails on the head.

    Does helmet law applied to bikeshare produce an overall negative impact? The commonly quoted figure for benefit vs risk of riding a bike is 20:1, so if only a few percent of potential cycle trips are deterred by helmet law, the health effects overall are negative.

    In the case of bikeshare, it couldn’t be clearer that this threshold is well exceeded. Both the Australian schemes are performing at levels far below comparable schemes in other countries, some of which are mentioned in the article.

    On this single ground, an exemption from helmet law for the bike shares is worthwhile, and that’s before you consider the more direct benefits of bikeshare in increased mobility, decreased congestion, decreased pollution and contributing to “safety in numbers” which makes all cyclists safer when there are more cyclists on the roads.

    I have discussed this with the former Parliamentary Secretary for Transport in Victoria, Ed O’Donohue, who was responsible for the cycling part of the portfolio. He agreed with the health outcomes, but maintains that helmet law is not the reason for the low numbers using bikeshare. In Brisbane, a different set of excuses is used.

    The free helmets on Melbourne’s share bikes are a tacit admission that helmet law is at least relevant to take-up of the scheme. Most have of these helmets have already evaporated (presumed stolen).

    The City of Sydney has called the bullshit and has said that they won’t introduce a bikeshare unless their State exempts it from helmet law. Why waste money?

    Behind this wilfull stupidity lies the unwillingness to admit that helmet laws have any effect on cycling numbers, and the fear that giving an exemption to share bikes will be the thin end of the wedge.

  2. 2

    Paul Murphy

    Why have the compulsory helmet law discussion another day Dr Stoneham? Lets have the discussion today. It is the very reason Bike-sharing has completely flopped in Australia. The reality is, its Nanny Staters like Dr Stoneham that killed bike-sharing in Australia. Every other country in the world had the sense to ignore people like Dr Stoneham and treat their citizens like adults. END COMPULSORY HELMET LAWS NOW!


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