Our new television advertisements will begin airing in Brisbane, Australia, over the next few weeks, starting on Channel Go this evening from 19:30.
The purpose of the ads is to highlight just how isolated Australia and New Zealand are with respect to their all-age mandatory bicycle helmet laws – being the only two countries in the world to have such laws and enforce them.
Many good ideas have spread rapidly from Australia (for example seatbelts, black box flight recorders and so on), yet the countries with the highest cycling rates in the world know that forcing all cyclists to wear a bicycle helmets at all times while riding *any* bicycle is counterproductive. It is about the cheapest and laziest thing that a Government could do in the name of ‘cycling safety’, particularly considering it hasn’t improved cyclist safety at all!
The Northern Territory realised that this law was flawed and, soon after their introduction, added exemptions for adults on footpath & cyclepaths. They enjoy a higher rate of cycling – particularly for transport, not sport – and yet have a safety record which is no different to the rest of the country. There are more exemptions in the law for seatbelt use (or non-use) than for bicycle helmets (paying pedicab passengers being the only common exemption across states). We don’t even have an exemption for our crippled public bike hire schemes in Melbourne & Brisbane, despite calls from a prominent cycling journalist for a rethink. Suggestions to the previous Queensland Government of even a trial exemption for bike share were ignored.
It’s time for change.