For me, Jack Zagorski’s bike helmet thoughts posted on the Premier of Victoria’s web page are sane, considered and worth passing on:
“The other day I was in Federation Square enjoying a coffee and idly watching the bicycles queued up at the Melbourne Bike Share station.
During the whole time I was there, approximately one hour, despite the fact that the day was clear and sunny, not one bike was rented.
It occurs to me that the main blockage to the effective use of these bikes is the need for a rider to have a helmet. Unlike all other such schemes around the world, including the newly opened one in London, Riders in Melbourne are required to wear a helmet when they ride their bike.
Perhaps we should reconsider the helmet law in relation to the Melbourne Bike Share.
These bikes are very distinctive in colour and shape and they may only be used in a very restricted area.
Traffic in Melbourne city is no more dangerous than traffic in any other large city so riders are in no greater threat of death or injury than in any other major city.
If an exception was made to the helmet law for riders of Melbourne Bike Share bicycles being used within the Bike Share region it would not have to become a precedent for riders of any other bicycles.
In this way, tourists, visitors from overseas and casual riders with the city area could make effective use of a great idea which is being killed because of the requirement to wear a helmet. Please pass this idea on to the Minister for Transport and to Vic Roads.”
From the comments on this article – largely supporting the idea – it seems the only places that enforce a helmet law for adult cyclists are Australia, New Zealand and a handful of Canadian provinces.
An August poll on ‘Should public-bike scheme users be excused from wearing helmets?’ showed strong support for what happens in the rest of the world (!)
Total votes: 13885
Accidents do happen but isn’t it up to us to make our own choices and decisions?