MHL is back on the agenda!

The Bicycle Network recently released the results of their survey into community opinions and perceptions around mandatory helmet laws.

With nearly 20,000 respondents, the results are interesting;

  • 41.7% of survey respondents believe Australia’s current MHL should remain
  • 17.6% believe that bicycle helmets should never be mandatory and;
  • 40.7% believe that helmets should only be mandatory in certain circumstances

As a result, they have released the following policy recommendation for Victoria and New South Wales;

Australia’s MHL will be relaxed with a five-year trial permitting people over the age of 17 to ride on footpaths and cycle paths without a helmet.

The fact that nearly 60% of respondents believe in some form of relaxation surprised us and we have decided to undertake a survey review to gather the opinions of South Australians.

Over the next couple of weeks, we will engage with some of our road safety colleagues here in SA to give some consideration to what our methodology might look like. So stay tuned…

PS: Contrary to recent misleading media reports, Bike SA does not support the Bicycle Network recommendation. Bike SA does however support a South Australian review to gain community opinions on the issue.

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3 Comments. Leave new

So disappointing that Bike SA comes out with this statement of not supporting the largest review in Australia on this topic, as well as the large amount of scientific evidence about the topic. How much more do you need? Instead, let’s discuss this some more, let’s do nothing a little longer. Very very disappointing to see this come from an organisation that says it promotes cycling in our state. Won’t be renewing my membership 🙁

Reply

Public opinion should not be the main driver cycle safety laws. Rigorous analysis of cycling injuries with and without helmets plus a study of factors that motivate cycle commuting in other countries.
Australia has a high participation rate in sports and recreational cycling where helmets are accepted as necessary. We have a very low participation rate in commuting and shopping cycling both for adults and children compared to many contries with comparable living standards.
Optional helmets are one factor but separated bike lanes and wider dual use footpaths are obvious factors encouraging cycling in cities with high cycle commuter participation. Large scale secure bike parking at “park and ride” train and bus stations and safe cycle routes to all schools would be a big step to encourage more cycling.

Reply

So disappointing that Bike SA comes out with this statement that they want to consider a review of community opinion of the helmet laws given the large amount of scientific evidence about the topic. How much more do you need? Bicycle helmets save lives. Very very disappointing to see this come from an organisation that says it promotes safe cycling in our state.

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