If these bike lovers were in New Zealand or Australia they would be breaking the law.
Forcing people to wear helmets, discourages them from riding. Helmets give the illusion that riding a bike is dangerous. The compulsory helmet law is having the effect of presenting the wrong message.
There are some of types of cycling for which wearing a helmet should be mandatory. Those types of cycling are also the ones that require specific clothing. But there are people who might ride a bike for short, local trips if there was some choice about whether a helmet was necessary. With more of these wheeled pedestrian types out and about, it would provide more impetus to develop a safe bicycling network. This normalised version of cycling would help to spread a different story; that riding a bike is easy, safe and accessible.
If you would like to see more people riding bikes, you can join Freedom Cyclists in their bid to reform the Compulsory Helmet Laws of New Zealand and Australia.
Repealing helmet laws will give people a choice, and remove the barrier for those occasions when a person decides to ride without a helmet.
Discouraging cycling is bad for public health because the health benefits of cycling outweigh the risks by a large factorâ€”including when not wearing a helmet.
On a related matter, a Christchurch entrepreneur has recently undertaken to set up a bike rental scheme in the city. It is a replica of the Auckland Nextbike scheme that was a temporary fixture on the Auckland transport landscape.
It is safe to say that the scheme will struggle in Christchurch just like it did in Auckland. Bike sharing schemes and a compulsory helmet law are like water and oil; they don’t mix. For a story of what a successful bike sharing programme looks like then you can read this article in the New York Times, aptly entitled, â€˜To Encourage Biking, Cities Lose the Helmets’.
Pushing helmets really kills cycling and bike-sharing in particular because it promotes a sense of danger that just isn’t justified â€” in fact, cycling has many health benefits.
Well that’s according to Piet de Jong, a professor in the department of applied finance and actuarial studies at Macquarie University in Sydney. He concludes that the benefits may outweigh the risks by 20 to 1.
Cycling. It’s as easy as walking, but fasterâ€¦.