In discussions of how cycling could be encouraged in Australia, the fact that we (like New Zealand) require absolutely everyone to wear a helmet is seen as a major disincentive. But is it the biggest factor?
Picture by Bill S
Cycling is great: it keeps you fit, it doesn’t pollute the environment, and it doesn’t require a lot of expensive gear (though you can totally go there if you want to). At The Conversation, Chris Rissel notes that while the absolute number of cyclists in Australia has risen in the last quarter-century, the proportion of us cycling has dropped. He identifies three key factors: a lack of decent infrastructure for cyclists, the Aussie obsession with motoring, and the fact that we’re forced to wear helmets, which represent something extra to carry around (or leave attached to the bike to get stolen).
The helmet rule is annoying, but I’m massively unco-ordinated and I need protection so I can’t say it’s the main reason I don’t cycle as much as I should. (That would be my fear of traffic and the relative lack of bike paths in my area.) What’s your take?
Expand on your thoughts in the comments (but keep it civil: rival claims from cyclists about how drivers are psychos and drivers about how cyclists always flout the law won’t get us anywhere).
Australian cycling boom? Nope – it’s a myth [The Conversation]