My two-pennyworth regarding the compulsory helmet issue:
1. Adults no longer need to be compelled to wear helmets, both for nanny-state reasons and because helmets are now so well accepted that we all would wear one when conditions required it, ie for me, that means everything except jumping on my folder to go up to the local shops on back roads and footpaths. It is my practice never to wear the helmet or other cycling clothes on my folder, never ride the folder on main roads (or at any speed, but that’s my problem). When I’m old enough for an electric bike for longer local but still off-main road journeys I’ll probably join other civil disobedients in abandoning the helmet as well as the lyrca. By then, enforcement will probably have reached the level of attention given to lights, if not bells and whistles.
2. Urban speed limits and their enforcement (know anyone who got a ticket for driving at 55 on a 50 street in Brisbane?): we have the most aggressive urban road environment in the developed world, from what I’ve seen and read. Give me Italy any day. There are baby steps toward reducing limits, induced by the Mayor’s bike hire scheme. I hope and expect that these steps will be followed by more of them, and by the time a couple of generations have passed we will have slowed down to the rest of the world.
3. I have my doubts about whether the CBD’s 40 limit will be enough to persuade otherwise non-cyclists to brave the limited number of speed limited streets. Too many private cars still use the CBD and there is no intention to remove any more parking spaces or car parks, so car clogging will remain.
4. Until attitudes have moved further in our favour, until urban speed limits are actually down toward a level safe for peds, cyclists and car occupants, my view is that a little civil disobedience is enough to slowly grow the perception that one doesn’t have to dress funny and wear funny hats to ride a bike.
Even if some of us might believe it is time for change, I don’t think there is any point in annoying members who have strong views from personal experience and other anecdotes (much more telling and persuasive than scientific evidence in either direction), well founded or not, by taking a strong anti-helmet stance. This is the role for a purpose formed group – a Helmet-law Defiance BUG perhaps.