A focus on helmet legislation detracts from concerns about cycling infrastructure and safety
Opponents of helmet legislation often argue that mandatory bicycle helmet legislation (MHL) is the primary impediment to an increase in cycling.1 The public debate regarding MHL recently flared up with the Leyonhjelm Senate inquiry2 and the Australian Capital Territory proposing a relaxation of their MHL in low speed areas.3 As there are numerous health and social benefits to cycling, such arguments need to be evaluated with rigour against the highest quality evidence available.
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- 2. Parliament of Australia. Senate Economics References Committee. Inquiry into personal choice and community impacts. Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia, 2015. http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Economics/Personal_choice (accessed Feb 2016).
- 3. Australian Capital Territory Government. Road Safety Action Plan 2016–2020. Canberra: ACT, 2016 (ISBN 0-642-60406-1). https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/2712610/MIN-2016-000402-005-Att-2-ACT-Road-Safety-Action.pdf (accessed Feb 2016).
- 4. Smith N, Milthorpe F. An observational survey of law compliance and helmet wearing by bicyclists in New South Wales — 1993. Sydney: NSW Roads and Traffic Authority, 1993. http://www.rms.nsw.gov.au/documents/roads/bicycles/bicycles-law-compliance-helmet-use-nsw-1993.pdf (accessed Feb 2016).
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- 6. Marshall J, White M. Evaluation of the compulsory helmet wearing legislation for bicyclists in South Australia. Adelaide: South Australian Department of Transport, 1994. (Office of Road Safety Report Series 8/94.) https://www.bicyclenetwork.com.au/media/vanilla_content/files/SA%20Helmet%20eval%201994%20SA%20Marshall.pdf
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- 8. Heathcote B, Maisey G. Bicycle use and attitudes to the helmet wearing law. Perth: Traffic Board of Western Australia, 1994. (Rep. No. TB94-1.) http://www.cycle-helmets.com/wa-heathcote-1994.pdf (accessed May 2016).
- 9. Department of Infrastructure and Transport. Walking, riding and access to public transport. Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia, 2012. https://infrastructure.gov.au/infrastructure/pab/active_transport/files/active_travel_discussion.pdf (accessed Feb 2016).
- 10. National Heart Foundation of Australia. Riding a bike for transport: 2011 survey findings. Melbourne: NHFA, 2011. http://heartfoundation.org.au/images/uploads/publications/Cycling-Survey-2011-Riding-a-Bike-for-Transport.pdf (accessed Feb 2016).
- 11. Robinson DL. No clear evidence from countries that have enforced the wearing of helmets. BMJ 2006; 332: 722-725.
- 12. Stichting Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek Verkeersveiligheid. Mobility of persons. The Hague: SWOV, 2010. https://www.swov.nl/UK/Research/cijfers/Toelichting-gegevensbronnen/Personenmobiliteit-UK.html (accessed Feb 2016).
- 13. Dennis J, Potter B, Ramsay T, Zarychanksi R. The effects of provincial bicycle helmet legislation on helmet use and bicycle ridership in Canada. Inj Prev 2010; 16: 219-224.
- 14. Hedt BL, Pagano M. Health indicators: eliminating bias from convenience sampling estimators. Stat Med 2011; 30: 560-568.
- 15. Olivier J, Walter SR, Grzebieta R. Long term bicycle related head injury trends for New South Wales, Australia following mandatory helmet legislation. Accid Anal Prev 2013; 50: 1128-1134.
- 16. Haworth N, Schramm A. The safety of bicycles being overtaken by cars: what do we know and what do we need to know? Proceedings of the Australasian Road Safety Research, Policing and Education Conference; 2014 Nov 12–14; Melbourne. http://arsrpe.acrs.org.au/index.cfm?action=main.paper&id=2934 (accessed Apr 2016).
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