The Benefits of the Bicycle

As first-world countries face an obesity epidemic with serious repercussions for health, the consumption of fossil fuels threatens the global climate, and petrol prices rise, more and more individuals and governments are waking up to the potential of cycling to change how we travel, live, and work, for the better.  Research in a diverse range of countries has shown that gentle cycling (in regular clothes, no need for lycra or an expensive carbon-fibre bike) several times a week can greatly reduce one’s risk of cardiovascular disease and obesity, and strengthen the immune system. A major study of  British commuters found that cyclists were almost half as likely to die over a five year period (of all causes combined) than non-cyclists. People doing their shopping by bicycle have been found to boost their local economy by spending significantly more per week on shopping trips than motorists. And less air pollution due to traffic means fewer health problems even for non-cyclists! There is enormous scope for cycling to flourish in Australia, but it’s held back by a lack of political will, negative social attitudes, and legislative impediments. Freestyle Cyclists seeks to change this so everyone can enjoy the benefits of the bicycle.

Next Ride

Melbourne: Freestyle Cyclists Annual ride and get together. 10:30 for 11:00 at 815 Nicholson St. Nth. Carlton, outside Park Dining on the Capital City Trail, 23rd March 2024.  Bring a friend. We will ride to the Abbotsford Convent, where there is lots to eat and drink.

We will ride the Capital City Trail. The ride is 29km and there are opportunities to get off at railway stations along the way. There will be coffee and lunch stops available.
RSVP 0481 372 956
Bikefun Listing:

Infrastructure for Confidence and Real Safety

On most Australian roads cyclists are treated as an afterthought, with bike “facilities” being nothing more than a strip of paint sandwiched between parked cars and fast-moving traffic.  Bike riders shouldn’t have to dodge randomly-opening car doors or mix with heavy traffic that can inflict serious injuries. Around 30% of Australians are interested in cycling, but don’t feel confident to do so.  The unfortunate irony is that cycling is actually very safe, and good for you. Dedicated infrastructure is the best way make cycling even safer, and remove the fear that deters many people from riding. It’s often claimed that cycling is impractical in Australia due to large distances, but over one-quarter of commuter journeys in Australia are less than 5km. The lack of infrastructure is what makes cycling impractical and unappealing – and this lack of infrastructure is not inevitable – it’s due entirely to a lack of political vision. Separate bikes from cars on busy roads and watch cycling become more and more popular as a way of getting about.  In local streets, reduce speeds limits and make streets safer for everyone.

Helmet Laws Discourage Cycling

Around one in five Australians cite helmet laws as the main reason they don’t ride a bike. The false impression that cycling is dangerous (fostered in part by helmet laws) contributes to the other major factor that stops people riding – fear. Riding a bike is good for your health and saves the community money – that’s true whether or not you wear a helmet. A wealth of evidence shows that the introduction and enforcement of helmet laws reduces cycling participation. The loss of health benefits from discouraging cycling alone outweighs any benefit from mandating helmets, and that’s before you factor in all the other benefits of cycling. Promotion of mandatory helmet use diverts attention away from the best way of making cycling safer (dedicated infrastructure), and reduces safety in numbers for the remaining cyclists.  Helmet laws discourage and punish an activity which benefits society. They also impose financial penalties which have a disproportionate impact on low-income earners and ethnic minorities. As such they are an injustice which must be overturned in the interests of better health and a fairer society.

Crowdfunding court costs

Freestyle Cyclists and Upright Bicycle Riders of Australia invite you to contribute to our crowdfunding campaign to raise money to cover fines and court costs for any of our members who take a helmet fine to court. Please donate at gofundme, and help us make bicycle riding normal in Australia again. Thank you for your support.

Join Freestyle Cyclists Inc

If you would like to be more involved, you can become a member of Freestyle Cyclists Inc, the not-for-profit incorporated governing body of Freestyle Cyclists. Membership costs $10 per year, and gets you an invite to our general meetings.  Click here to join.
member login

Sign the Petition for Helmet Law Reform

Show my name on this website
An email will be sent to you to confirm this address, to ensure the integrity of your registration.
Send me an occasional email if something really important is happening.
Comments are subject to moderation
See who has signed

How to get a helmet exemption in Victoria

You now only need a doctors certificate… read more

MHL Repeal

Helmets Worsen Concussions

This is a guest post by Chris Gillham, who maintains, a rich repository of facts…