Our recent polls have been a bit one-sidedly negative or positive, but this month we’re going to risk something a bit more controversial. And, what could be more controversial than… yep, you guessed it: helmets.
Well, not helmets per se, but mandatory helmet laws. Most (but not all) people agree that in the case of a crash a helmet will reduce the risk of head injury, but the issue gets a lot muddier when trying to look at the bigger picture of whether mandatory use increases or decreases cycling safety overall. Those who support compulsory use of helmets tend to focus on helmets’ effectiveness in a crash, while those opposed tend to focus on the laws’ deterrent effect on cycling, and the overwhelming health benefits of cycling regardless of helmet use. Making a rational judgement on the issue isn’t as simple as one might hope, because the research is divided by what is studied, and how.
Although the issue has been around for many decades (and shows no sign of resolving itself any time soon), recently there has been increasing attention given to it locally. Recent Australian research (and the ensuing back and forth), the difficulties faced by both CityCycle and Melbourne Bike Share, the occasional notable change of tune, and the increasing number of Australian groups campaigning against the laws have led to recent calls in Sydney and Melbourne to review and modify the laws.
In September last year CBD BUG held a members’ debate on the merits of the law but since then we’ve had a year of CityCycle in operation, the state government’s report into the law, and some more time to consider the issues. So, we want to know what you think:
Should helmets always be legally required when cycling?
- No, it's more important to remove obstacles to cycling (71%, 144 Votes)
- Only in some circumstances e.g. when cycling on roads, but not when on paths (14%, 28 Votes)
- Yes, the safety benefits are too great to allow people to choose not to wear them (15%, 33 Votes)
Total Voters: 204
As always feel free to make additional comments below, just keep them constructive and civilised!