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Old May 27th, 2013, 05:52 PM   #1
NordikNerd
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Bike helmet - no need for mandatory use?

In Sweden bike helmets are required and compulsory for all bicyclists under the age of 15.

If you're older it's not needed.

I'm an avid bicyclist but I have never used a bike helmet. I don't think we have to introduce a new law either. Moped/scooter drivers have to use a helmet but not bicyclists.

I'm thinking about buying a helmet anyway, because it feels rather unpleasant to not have anykind of protection when cycling downhill, but I don't need it on a straight road.

I know that bicycle helmets are mandatory in Australia for some reason. What do you think about making it illegal not wearing one ?
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Old May 27th, 2013, 06:08 PM   #2
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I don't see the need when you are only biking in a flat urban area. I guess it would be sensible and advisable to use helmets when you go into the mountains. But to make it mandatory? No, I would not be in favour of that.
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Old May 27th, 2013, 06:16 PM   #3
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IMO they shouldn't be mandatory when riding on dedicated separate bike lanes where only bike traffic and pedestrians are allowed.

They should be mandatory when riding with car traffic, or on general purpose roads - after all, they might allow for faster speeds than a bike lane due to steeper gradients - mountain roads, etc., and with speeds exceeding 30km/h helmets are a life-saver.
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Old May 27th, 2013, 06:22 PM   #4
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Too complicated in my opinion. There are stretches that are dedicated and then there are stretches that aren't. On the same route.
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Old May 27th, 2013, 06:50 PM   #5
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Personal liability. Let's not ask the government to legislate everything, shall we?
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Old May 27th, 2013, 06:55 PM   #6
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How Undutch!
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Old May 27th, 2013, 06:56 PM   #7
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Yep, we don't need a nanny state mandating helmets.

I do think they should stimulate using helmets for young children and senior citizens, especially with the rise of e-bikes.

If you look at Dutch bicycle fatality rates, you'll see senior citizens are overrepresented.

Out of the 200 bicycle fatalities in 2012, 140 are over the age of 60 and 4 are under the age of 12.
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Old May 27th, 2013, 07:00 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ikops View Post
Too complicated in my opinion. There are stretches that are dedicated and then there are stretches that aren't. On the same route.
That could be resolved with some signage. E.g. if the majority of the route is separated, there can be a sign that allows no-helmet riding on the whole route, even on the non-dedicated stretches, if the route as a whole is considered safe enough.

Basically the two opposing approaches would be - general prohibition, with signs allowing no-helmet riding on specific bike paths, or general permission on bike paths, with signs on some routes prohibiting it.

NL is more of an exception in this regard. So about the right solution would be general prohibition with sign-permissions in most parts of the world, general permission with sign-prohibition in NL, Denmark, etc. And only for bike paths.

In any case, I think that when bike lanes / signage are missing altogether, and riders are sharing the road with general traffic, helmets should be mandatory. In general, most provincial automobile roads, even with lack of traffic, are too steep and curvy to be biked on without a helmet due to the speeds that can be reached. Besides, when sharing the road as a regular vehicle, the responsibility for your safety becomes shared among all participants in traffic, so SOME regulation is needed. Some leeway might be left to the local town authority here for towns with traffic volumes light enough to ensure safe biking on public car roads with no helmet. Sure, that might create confusion for people crossing multiple towns, but for anyone that's on a 30+ km. trip with a bike and not on a bike lane, not taking a helmet with you is down right irresponsible.

Last edited by kozelet; May 27th, 2013 at 07:09 PM.
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Old May 27th, 2013, 07:52 PM   #9
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It's actually said by some people, which is even backed up by some research that helmets actually make bicycling less safe.

- Bicyclist with helmets have a false sense of security.
- Mandatory helmets means less bicycles on the road, and that means that car drivers pay less attention to bicycles. More bicycles = safer, because cars have to pay attention to them.
- Car drivers are less careful with cyclist with helmets. Basically the same thing as the 1st point but then from an another perspective, actually making it a 1+1=3 situation.

Just google bicycle helmet paradox to find some more articles about this.
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Old May 27th, 2013, 07:55 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisZwolle View Post
Yep, we don't need a nanny state mandating helmets.

I do think they should stimulate using helmets for young children and senior citizens, especially with the rise of e-bikes.

If you look at Dutch bicycle fatality rates, you'll see senior citizens are overrepresented.

Out of the 200 bicycle fatalities in 2012, 140 are over the age of 60 and 4 are under the age of 12.
Senior citizens should consider tricycles imo. That way they can stay safe without having to compromise on mobility.

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Old May 27th, 2013, 08:20 PM   #11
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The moment helmets become mandatory we will surely have a revolution in the Netherlands. Out of the question. Not only for adults, but also for kids and for the elderly.

Last edited by erka; May 27th, 2013 at 08:41 PM.
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Old May 27th, 2013, 08:39 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Momo1435 View Post
It's actually said by some people, which is even backed up by some research that helmets actually make bicycling less safe.

- Bicyclist with helmets have a false sense of security.
- Mandatory helmets means less bicycles on the road, and that means that car drivers pay less attention to bicycles. More bicycles = safer, because cars have to pay attention to them.
- Car drivers are less careful with cyclist with helmets. Basically the same thing as the 1st point but then from an another perspective, actually making it a 1+1=3 situation.

Just google bicycle helmet paradox to find some more articles about this.
Yes, according to this article bicycle helmets "cost you your one shot at true love". It's cognitive dissonance and you know it.

IMO any bike helmet legislation needs to aim at encouraging the use of helmets and increasing the share of helmeted riders - not outright eliminating the non-helmeted ones, everywhere. Once a certain critical mass has been achieved, the fashion-based prejudices about helmets will be diminished, and that will only further increase their usage. I just can't take any "fashion" arguments here - fashion changes, so we should be proactive about changing it, not cringe to existing fashion dogmas.
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Old May 27th, 2013, 08:43 PM   #13
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You see an increasing trend that very young children do wear helmets. Amateur racers almost always wear helmets.
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Old May 27th, 2013, 08:51 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kozelet View Post
Yes, according to this article bicycle helmets "cost you your one shot at true love". It's cognitive dissonance and you know it.

IMO any bike helmet legislation needs to aim at encouraging the use of helmets and increasing the share of helmeted riders - not outright eliminating the non-helmeted ones, everywhere. Once a certain critical mass has been achieved, the fashion-based prejudices about helmets will be diminished, and that will only further increase their usage. I just can't take any "fashion" arguments here - fashion changes, so we should be proactive about changing it, not cringe to existing fashion dogmas.
Fashion has nothing to do with it for me. It's a purely practical concern: where the **** am I supposed to put it after I park my bicycle? I don't wanna carry that thing around with me all the time.
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Old May 27th, 2013, 09:13 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slagathor View Post
Fashion has nothing to do with it for me. It's a purely practical concern: where the **** am I supposed to put it after I park my bicycle? I don't wanna carry that thing around with me all the time.
Sensible concern. But higher usage will trigger demand - if helmet usage were high enough, there would be locking mechanisms for helmets on offer to lock it to the bike. The only problem would be rent-a-bike - though I don't think that for the general usage of a rent-a-bike, and considering where they are offered, you'd really need a helmet at all.

A good start would be wearing a helmet on longer journeys, and from there on adjusting its usage as you grow more comfortable with it. If you can get people to just own a helmet in the first place, and use it from time to time, that would be a very good way of making initial progress on the issue. Once they stop being scared of the damn thing, they may find it a habit of getting one on, even when going for groceries.
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Old May 27th, 2013, 09:51 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kozelet View Post
Sensible concern. But higher usage will trigger demand - if helmet usage were high enough, there would be locking mechanisms for helmets on offer to lock it to the bike.
Yeah right. You have a lot more faith in society than I do. Even then I can foresee a lot of problems with broken lockers, having to bring your own lock, helmets getting stolen or the lockers being placed annoyingly out of your way.

And if your helmet does get stolen, you get to walk home or risk a fine for cycling without a helmet. Woooonderful.

Quote:
A good start would be wearing a helmet on longer journeys, and from there on adjusting its usage as you grow more comfortable with it. If you can get people to just own a helmet in the first place, and use it from time to time, that would be a very good way of making initial progress on the issue. Once they stop being scared of the damn thing, they may find it a habit of getting one on, even when going for groceries.
The bicycle is a means of quick local transport. Hop on to the office or the supermarket. It's a pretty big leap from that kind of lifestyle to the handful of people (usually senior citizens, ironically) who actually use the bicycle for longer journeys. Longer journeys also typically take place on the safest bicycle paths in the country: those separated from the road and paved with asphalt. What's the point of a helmet then?
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Old May 27th, 2013, 10:09 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NordikNerd View Post
What do you think about making it illegal not wearing one ?
I think it is a great way to get people to NOT ride bikes.
More reading on the issue from one of the leading authorities on the issue: http://www.copenhagenize.com/2012/07...s-against.html
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Old May 28th, 2013, 02:42 AM   #18
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Here in Brazil is mandatory but police doesn't control. Those who commute do use helmets.
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Old May 28th, 2013, 04:11 AM   #19
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Helmets should be compulsory for cycling.
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Old May 28th, 2013, 04:51 AM   #20
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Quote:
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Helmets should be compulsory for cycling.
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