Stop Fining Healthy Transport
Saturday 18 March, Melbourne
Freestyle Cyclists speaks for everyday transport cycling. We are holding a helmet optional ride in Melbourne in support of helmet choice. The ride will be on Saturday 18th March, starting outside the Green Park Cafe, 815 Nicholson Street Carlton North at 11am.
Alan Todd, President Freestyle Cyclists said: “The bicycle is internationally recognised as a healthy and sustainable form of transport. Everyone agrees that we have healthier people and more liveable cities if we leave the car at home and use a bike instead. But if you do this in Australia, and don’t wear a crash helmet, you will be fined”.
In most countries people are free to attend to everyday activities by bike, dressed in everyday clothing. Freestyle Cyclists wants Australia to join the rest of the world, and move beyond helmet fines.
“Riding a bike is a safe activity when carried out at sensible speeds in decent conditions. A crash helmet for all occasions is overkill. The practice of fining people for this healthy and benign activity makes no sense”, Mr Todd added.
“Internationally bike helmet laws have been almost universally rejected. It is seen that these laws prevent the uptake of cycling while offering no significant safety benefit”.
Bikes account for 5% to 50% of trips in many European cities and towns. Australia is still stuck on the 1% it has been at for twenty five years. Public bike share schemes flourish in Europe and the United States, while Australia plays host to the dud failures in Melbourne and Brisbane, thanks to our helmet laws.
Health and transport experts openly acknowledge that the Australian experiment in mandatory helmets has been a failure. A Queensland Parliamentary Enquiry recommended in 2014 that a two year trial exemption be put in place for adult cyclists in low speed environments.
The Northern Territory has long since wound back helmet requirements, and allows adults choice, and in 2016 a Senate Enquiry found insufficient evidence to support claims that helmet laws had improved cycling safety.
“Unfortunately our politicians ignore the evidence, and continue with their heads in the sand. In Victoria the Minister for Roads Luke Donnellan refuses to meet with us, and has insisted there will be no discussion of helmets in the current review of Victoria’s cycling strategy”.
The police are instructed to carry out blitzes and random fining of cyclists, often against their better judgement. They would much rather use their time and resources more productively than in punishing ordinary people for a healthy activity.
“It’s time to say enough. Stop fining healthy transport”, Mr Todd added.
For further information on Freestyle Cyclists Inc and the ride, contact:
Alan Todd – president Freestyle Cyclists Inc 0400 502 325
Troy Parsons – member, 0421 135 336