Cycling IS good for our health and the environment. Helmets DO protect riders. In Victoria you can be fined $146 riding without a helmet.
Andrew Bolt in Melbourne’s Herald-Sun observes:
Andrew finds Victorian nanny-state policies offensive.
The Crikey health blog asks why Sydney is so slack about cycling and cites a recent research paper:
• In 2006, of all Australian capital cities, Sydney had the lowest percentage of trips to work by bike and the lowest percentage of the population who were regular cyclists.
• Melbourne has: twice the amount of journey-to-work cycling; three times the rate of growth in cycling; proportionally more cycling for commuting purposes; better cycling advocacy; and spends roughly three times more per capita on cycling.
• Commuter cycling is much higher in some European countries than in Australia: for example, an average of 27%, 19% and 10% respectively of commuters in Holland, Denmark and Germany cycle to work. In contrast, only 0.7% of commuters in Sydney cycle to work.
• With roughly double the amount of investment per capita, San Francisco has demonstrated that cycling levels can be increased with an appropriate mix of investment, government commitment and policy options. Sydney has lower levels of cycling than San Francisco, arguably a city of comparable topography.
A higher government commitment to cycling in the shape of greater expenditure on cycle-friendly policies and infrastructure appears to be the bottom line.
For Melbourne’s helmet problem this comment on Andrew’s article is practical:
“I hope it has been thought by others but surely basing the racks alongside motel and back packers residences is one way to enable riders to get to hire bikes and helmets together. I can not comment on the worth of helmets, I know I wear one when on the bike, prefer not to but I do have some excellent bike tracks to ride on. Think I would stay with kids wearing them but could be convinced otherwise.”
More carrots and less sticks in social policies generally?