Should Queensland’s New Bike Helmet Laws Apply To All Australians?

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Should Queensland’s New Bike Helmet Laws Apply To All Australians?


The Queensland government has announced it will amend bicycle helmet laws to allow exemptions for riders with ‘religious headwear’, such as turbans. The decision was made following the recent court case of a Brisbane Sikh who successfully contested a $100 fine for not wearing a helmet. This got us to thinking — if it’s legal to ride without a helmet on religious grounds, shouldn’t it be legal for everybody?

Bike helmet picture from Shutterstock

Don’t get us wrong: we think all cyclists should wear helmets for their own safety, especially when riding through busy city streets. But should you be forced to do so by police? It seems somewhat unfair to have different laws for different community groups. Perhaps a blanket relaxing of the rules would be a more sensible way to go.

For starters, this could actually get more people out on their bikes and free up road congestion. As we have noted before, the proportion of people regularly cycling in Australia has dropped in recent years, with the fact they’re forced to wear a helmet cited as one of the key reasons. (i.e. — It’s something extra you need to carry around or attack to your bike and risk getting stolen).

Making the wearing of helmets non-compulsory would naturally lead to more injuries nationwide, but the same could be said for plenty of legal activities, such as rock fishing and the consumption of alcohol. (Then again, a recent study from the University of NSW found that people who ride without helmets are more likely to ignore traffic rules and to ride drunk, so maybe it isn’t such a good idea after all.)

Would you get on your bike more if you didn’t have to wear a helmet? Or is this something that should be limited to idiots and turban wearers? Tell us your take in the comments section below.

Comments

    • So long a all medical insurance on their part is wavered…

      I really don’t get this argument though, seat belts, motorbike helmets and bike helmets have all potentially saved my life, I’ve certainly gotten my moneys worth out of them.

      • I don’t agree – if you’re not wearing a seat belt in a car crash you still get to claim from the TAC…

        The helmet argument is more relevant for those people doing a quick dash around the corner to see a mate/have a drink/pick up some milk. Many people shy away from riding because the helmet is bulky to carry/looks bad/messes up hair/etc.

        Removing the fines for no helmets, but still encouraging their use is the answer. There is study after study showing that roads become safer for cyclists as cyclist numbers grow. Victorian helmet laws keep more people off bikes than almost any other reason.

        • Drivers are supposed to ensure safety belts are worn and are liable for a fine if a passenger is not wearing one, Drivers receive training and have to pass some form of test.. (not that you’d know it.)

          I believe that TAC does not pay for unregistered/unlicensed people, part of your registration payment is insurance for injuries in accidents.

          I’m not persuaded that I should pay any part of a medical bill for someone who does not look after their head. Especially when the reasons included “messing up hair” or “looks bad”.

        • The problem here is human nature v’s the cost to society. While no doubt some people will still wear helmets, I believe the majority would not if they could get away with it. Humans are basically an apathetic and lazy bunch and will cut corners where they can. If given the option, most will go without. This is exactly the same reason for fines for not wearing car seat belts. Seat belts were standard in cars years before they became compulsory which was only done so to reduce the number of injuries being racked up every year. Sure we don’t want to become a “Nanny State” but I’m a firm believer that the fines are one of the few ways to get people to wear helmets. I’ll always wear one regardless but observation shows that even with fines there are quite a few who go without.

        • The helmet argument is more relevant for those people doing a quick dash around the corner to see a mate/have a drink/pick up some milk.” I don’t see how? It takes about 2 seconds to put your helmet on and if you leave it with your bike you don’t have to go looking for it.

    • I, too, would still wear a helmet. But fining behavior that we don’t approve of is not the answer. People who don’t want to wear a helmet pay taxes too, and should be given the freedom to do what they like.

      Those who argue that all insurance should be waived; why stop at cyclists with no helmets? Cycling is riskier than traveling by public transport; how about we just stop insuring anyone who rides a bike? Or anyone who goes scuba diving? Or swimming at the beach? Or leaving the house…

      • Cycling in itself is legal, as is scuba diving, swimming at the beach, and leaving the house. Cycling without a helmet however, is illegal. That’s why insurance shouldn’t cover you if you’re not wearing a helmet. Just like how insurers won’t pay you out if you crash your car while drink driving. Seems pretty obvious to me.

        • Cycling without a helmet however, is illegal. That’s why insurance shouldn’t cover you if you’re not wearing a helmet.
          Should insurance cover Queensland Sikhs riding without helmets? Taking this line of argument (we shouldn’t pay for people doing silly things) to its logical end means we stop health cover for those who are overweight or injured while under the influence of alcohol.
          If helmet laws were relaxed (for everyone, not just religious people) I would imagine that most people just off to the shop for milk or going round the corner to a mates place would not bother. However, most people if riding on a busy road probably would. This would lead to an overall increase in the health of our community.

  • “Then again, a recent study from the University of NSW found that people who ride without helmets are more likely to ignore traffic rules and to ride drunk, so maybe it isn’t such a good idea after all.”

    I’m pretty sure all that indicates is that irresponsible people will break more than one law at a time. Bicycle helmets don’t magically impart responsibility. Reversing the obligatory helmet law wouldn’t suddenly cause cyclists to start getting drunk and riding down old ladies.

    • A very good point. It’s a very common correlation-causation error- usually made by irresponsible journalists looking for a headline; as the scientists will always note this in the ‘Confounding Variables’ section of the paper.
      It’s the same thing with the story about “kids who eat breakfast do better at school”
      It wasn’t the breakfast that was doing it, it was the fact that the kids who didn’t eat breakfast were more likely to be from lower socioeconomic families; and have poorer acess to proper resources from the parents.

  • I’m in two minds about this issue. but I strongly believe that all should wear a helmet for safety reasons, no matter what their faith is. The other thing I have a problem with this is that the legal side of things becomes a little blurred I think. If you hit a person not wearing a helmet and they are left with medical or health condition. Normally they can sue for the costs and ongoing costs of that but if the injury or ongoing health issue could have been avoided by wearing a helmet and proven then what????

    • What if they’re wearing a helmet and you hit them in the legs and leave them paralyzed? Wearing a helmet isnt going to magically protect a cyclist from vehicular damage, in fact helmets only prevent one very specific form of damage, that being blunt force impact trauma. Even in a helmet if the force of the impact is high, the secondary impact of your brain against the inside of your skull can still be more than enough to kill you. All of this is still ignoring the important point that, regardless of whether a cyclist is wearing a helmet or not, it’s still illegal to hit someone with your car and you’re liable for any damage you do to another person/property with said vehicle

  • This might sound a bit wrong, but if they are going to argue their religion over their own personal safety, then maybe we should let them ride without a helmet, on the condition that they receive no financial assistance due to injuries that could have been reduced/prevented by them wearing a helmet.

    As for me, its a no brainer, helmet = protected (at least semi-protected) head, the laws should stay as they are, keep it compulsory for everyone.

    • For those of faith (as opposed to myself as one of little faith ie none) then the argument could then be given that seatbelts are not required, as their god will protect them? I do not think that this would be upheld as an argument for that.

      I do not know anything about the Sikh religion, and so make no judgement against it. However religion needs to be kept between your ears and if it conflicts with societies rules then society wins. And that goes for collanders as well.

        • Maybe some smart person can invent a turban style helmet? lol make some big bucks…
          But i think is a bit silly that because of religious views that common law is waived. Maybe i’ll just wear a turban now when riding?

        • I see a business opportunity. Design a helmet to fit over a turban. Problem solved! Speaking of inappropriate helmet use, city cycle bike share in Brisbane provides helmets. In many instances they don’t fit, don’t adjust etc.Not good! I am more at risk of yellow blindness when it flops around over my field of vision. That should suffice and save me $100 fine.Safety issue.

    • I don’t get the argument that cyclists who choose to ride without a helmet don’t get their medical costs covered/subsidised.

      If I get drunk and stoned, fail to wear a seatbelt and then wrap my car around a pole, I still get TAC support.

      It’s an absurd argument that unhelmeted cyclists should forgo medical coverage, as if it would become a drain on the health system. Car crashes accounted for $18 billion in costs in 2006, which was 1.7% of GDP!

      Let cyclists ride without helmets if that’s what they want. It’s drivers we need to wrap in cotton.

  • When I cycle to work, I wear a helmet. When I cycle to the farmers market along the river, not even close to the roads I don’t wear a helmet.

    I think the laws should be relaxed.

    • Unfortunately for you, the rest of your soft, squishy body is still uncovered.

      So the odds of you surviving an incident with a car going more than 50kms/hr are still pretty damn low.

    • Agreed. Riding around a park, why do I need a helmet.
      Anyone who doesn’t wear one on a proper road is mad. But we never wore them as kids because I grew up in a village that saw fewer than 2 cars an hour…and even then people drove slowly generally as it was tiny.

      In Japan you ride on the footpath and I never saw anyone getting hit nor did I hit anyone while I rode…… I would prefer safer riding and no helmets here..as it is I’m never willing to ride on a road with our crazy traffic so I won’t ever ride. If I could ride without a helmet on the footpath and the occasional back street etc I would actually ride.

  • we should stop giving religion free passes period. otherwise get over it and if in public wear a helmet they provide a large safety benefit, no one cares if you think it looks stupid or gives you hat hair, or means you cant wear a turban most people hate you for simply slowing traffic never mind the helmet

    • Sikh do not belive in cutting their hair (Kesh) in respect and devotion to god. To cut your hair is like incest to a Sikh, so no it’s not as easy as “Hey just take your Turban off or get a haircut.” The hair is never cut can you imagine taking a turban off and having 3-4ft of hair to manage whilst riding a bike. Sure the kids would be fine but an adult?

        • this. If I say I believe in magical fairies that tell me not to wear a helmet do I get a free pass too? No? But my fairies are just as likely to exist as the all the imaginary gods your religion made up.

  • I think there could be some leeway.

    On paths and roads less than fifty km/hr and you are traveling at <15km/hr then a helmet isn’t necessary anything faster and a helmet is required.

    I wear mine to work but when I go down to the park which is 300m away I usually skip it.

  • Should you wear a helmet? Yes.
    Would I wear a helmet? Yes.
    Do I think other people should have to wear a helmet? Don’t care as long as I’m exempt from liability if wearing a helmet could have avoided injuries caused by a hypothetical accident. If I’m still liable, yes they should.

    • The liability question is an interesting one. Europe has great respect for more vulnerable road users, who are protected by law known as ‘strict liability’. Basically the more dangerous your vehicle, the more liability you attract if you hurt someone.

      The controversial part of strict liability is that regardless of culpability, the least vulnerable party in a collision carries the liability. In this concept, pedestrians carry no liability, cyclists some, cars more, trucks most.

      The whole idea encourages safer behaviour on the roads – if a pedestrian listening to music steps out in front of me on my bike, it’s my fault if I hit her. If I change lanes without signalling on my bike and get hit by a car, it’s the drivers fault…

      • Which in my opinion is an idiotic concept. If a pedestrian steps onto the road in front of a car, that’s their damn fault (assuming they were jaywalking and not appropriately crossing the road) and they should be liable for their stupid mistake.

        Now I’m not saying that we should just assume we have the right to drive around carelessly, but seriously people need to take responsibility for their actions sometimes.

        If I go ahead and try to cross a rail crossing with the gates down and I get hit by a train, no ones going to blame the train, and they shouldn’t. Same should go for pedestrians crossing when they shouldn’t. I’m sorry but that’s the harsh reality. No one blames trams when pedestrians walk in front of them.

    • What if your religion demanded that you had to sacrifice a child every Sunday… Do we bend and change the laws then? Anyone can start a religion if they have enough followers…

  • Never understood why religions get so much leeway in the first place? Their places of worship don’t even pay taxes for Christ’s sake! (Pun intended) The amount of brain trauma accidents has dropped since the law was brought in, that’s a fact pure and simple. As ‘Si’ mentions they should have to pay for their own liability when they do come a cropper..!

    • It’s not actually clear if brain injuries have reduced since the introduction of mandatory helmet laws (MHL). Helmets work within a narrow range of force, and only in particular falls, so should not be seen as an ultimate solution to all brain injuries related from cycling falls.

      MHLs are shown to discourage the use of cycling as a viable transport method through creating a culture of fear and danger. If we legislate MHLs we are telling the public that cycling is a dangerous transport method – when in fact the likelihood of serious head injury is higher in an australian car passenger compared to a cyclist per km travelled. Although any death is one too many, the rate of death to cyclist has not changed since MHLs were introduced and varies between 26 and 57 per year in comparison to the ~1000 motorist deaths per year. We should also remember that over 90% of cyclists deaths involve the motorist being at fault. Within that group over 90% of deaths involve traffic moving at over 50kmh – well outside the effective speed range of a bicycle helmet. Perhaps we should be looking at the perpetrator not the victim?

      Whilst all of the globe, except Australia and New Zealand, don’t have MHLs we are able to use Australia as unique study on the effects of MHLs. Wearing helmets whilst cycling have shown to increase risk taking in the form of risk compensation, and drivers passing helmeted cyclists more closely. The failure of bike share programs in Melbourne and Brisbane to gain traction is unprecedented across the world, with all other bike share programs being a roaring success and illustrating the practical problem of MHLs. In regards to health, recent studies put the additional life years gained through cycling compared to increased chance of injury or death at a 77:1 ratio! Research into the economics of increased use of cycling as a transport mode is also extensive.

      The inclusion of MHL in Australia has significant disadvantages to participation which I argue outweigh the potential reduction in harm to individuals that a helmet may offer.

      • mvlin20, contrary to what you say it is abundantly clear that helmets have dramatically reduced the number and severity of head injuries. You go on to say that “in fact the likelihood of serious head injury is higher in an australian car passenger compared to a cyclist per km travelled”. That is patently ridiculous. OK, here is some anecdotal evidence: my group of friends are mostly medical professionals and many of them (not me) are into wearing lycra. Three of them have had serious closed head injuries, despite wearing helmets and lycra. None of their collisions involved cars (just riding along and suddenly the bowl of porridge hits the ground). Two required surgery, one didn’t. Luckily they all survived. None of them have had a head injury while riding in a car, despite travelling hundreds of times the distance they do on a bike. I don’t personally know anyone who has had a serious head injury from any other method apart from bike riding. I conclude that riding a bike is bloody dangerous, and you’d be insane not to avail yourself of any available protection.

      • I don’t buy that argument. The exact same one could be made for air travel. That requires you to consider that any flight could end in a crash that you are unlikely to survive with their mandatory safety demonstrations, but the number of passengers each year goes up.

        And is your ratio saying that you have a 23% chance of a drastic reduction in life expectancy through injury, versus a 77% chance of a mild increase through improved health? That’s a helluva dice roll. What’s the outcome if you just walk to the bus/ train stop?

  • Silly me – I thought a turban was to stop God seeing your head. And a bike helmet would do the same thing quite well.
    Turban-compatible bike helmets? OK – but what about nuns wearing wimples?

  • Are you asking us if – because one group now has permission to be recklessly, stupidly dangerous and increase taxpayer costs from resulting injuries – we should all receive that permission? No – a question in reply involving the Harbour Bridge and jumping springs to mind.

  • The problem all started when cyclists (of all ages and abilities) were forced to share the road with cars, trucks, buses, etc. I stopped riding my bike when this rule came in. Also the fact that I could not find a helmet that was “Turban” friendly didn’t help either.

    I remember the days when I used to be able to ride my bike on the footpath as a kid. It was “safer”.

    There is no doubt that helmets provide more safety against head trauma than a turban could ever do. And I for one, would not ride my bike on the road with cars, trucks & buses without a helmet.

    In my opinion, the solution is to provide “safer”, decidated riding lanes throughout Metro Sydney. That way, you won’t need to rely on your helmet to protect you. More people would likely take up cycling with this, rather than just relaxing the helmet rule without providing the safe riding lanes.

    • There is no “because we have X we can abandon Y” You HAVE to have x AND y. You might as well say just because we have dedicated driving lanes means we don’t have to wear seat belts.

    • The problem all started when cyclists (of all ages and abilities) were forced to share the road with cars, trucks, buses, etc.

      Incorrect. Children under 12 years old are allowed to ride on footpaths, as are any adults supervising them.

  • You guys need to Man up. I used to ride my bike before the helmet laws were introduced. A bike helmet isn’t going to save your melon if a car runs straight over it. I only think that children should be make to wear a helmet as they are still learning to ride and balance on the bike. I stopped riding my bike when it became law to wear a helmet as I didn’t like to look like a retard. Also if you are so worried about your safety then wear a motorcycle helmet instead because like I said a car will still squish your head if you are wearing anything less…eg a push bike helmet.

    • Riiiight, because being a man is all about taking unnecessary risks and worrying about what you look like with a helmet on. You’re the one who needs to man up princess. Of course a cycling helmet isn’t going to help in the extremely unlikely event of a car actually running over your head, but it obviously helps in the far more common scenarios of coming off your bike and hitting your head on something.

      • Lol if anyone is a princess it’s you. Reasons being you are too scared to ride a bike without a helmet and because you don’t have the skill to ride a bike because you are worried about coming off your bike and hitting your head on something. So stop being a handbag and get some training wheels.

        • Do you wear a seatbelt when you drive a car? Because according to your logic that would make you a princess too, princess. Reasons being you are too scared to drive a car without a seatbelt and don’t have the skill to drive a car because you are worried about crashing your car and hitting something. So stop being a handbag and walk everywhere.

          • So? Vehicle airbags also don’t protect you from all forms of accidents, and in some situations can even cause severe injuries, but the fact is that more often than not, they reduce more harm than they cause. I would take limited protection over no protection any day.

            Imagine I was standing in front of you with a brick and I told you I was going to hit you on the head with it, and there was no way for you to avoid it. But before I do I give you the option of either wearing a bike helmet or not. I bet you would choose to wear the helmet. I rest my case.

          • You can’t compare a high speed car accident with airbags being used to falling off a bike. That’s like comparing apples and oranges. Also I don’t know about you but I can’t ever recall going for a bike ride and it being anything like being hit in the head with a brick, you must be doing it wrong.

          • You’re right, the consequences of coming off a bike at high speed could potentially be worse than a car accident with airbags, given that you only have a helmet for protection rather than 2 tonnes of metal around you. Sounds like another argument for wearing a helmet to me.

            I’ve never been in a serious cycling accident either, but that doesn’t mean that if I were to come off my bike at high speed for whatever reason and hit my head on the ground, that the impact wouldn’t be similar to being hit in the head with a brick. Don’t be an obtuse idiot, do you really need everything spelled out for you?

          • Maybe you should have a read of the following and you might learn some things you were not aware of in regards to bike helmets:

            https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21819836

            You do realise your linked site argues that bike safety laws are a mass conspiracy perpetuated by a shadowy conglomeration that includes: foam manufacturers, the Labour Party, the oil industry, pharmaceutical companies, doctors(!), surgeons (!!), hospitals (!!!), the police, and “The Government transport department” (given there’s several, I guess you just pick your local one?).

            I mean, if nothing else, the Labour Party? Really? They can be an effective and key part of this secret conspiracy when they can’t get the most basic of media reforms up and running? Seriously!?

  • This is a sad day. And I definitely do not think this should spread to the rest of Australia.

    Australia is a geopolitical region. The people within it are governed by law, for their welfare and protection. It is not a culturo-religious region, governed by religion, although it of course contains different cultural and religious groups.

    Any religious activity should be conducted within the confines of the law, not law being re-defined for religion. While respect for religious beliefs is important, adherence to law is paramount. The law protects the greater democratic community, whereas religion only applies to the self selected few.

    I am a doctor working in ICU, I have seen too many road traumas. So my choice is clear. However, there is a silver-lining. Politically incorrect as it sounds, when some states in the USA got rid of helmet laws (for motorbikes), the availability of donor organs increased dramatically.

    Whether you choose to wear a helmet or not, be it short distance rides (personally I think the rate of accident is proportional the length of the ride, but then so is the discomfort of having to wear helmets – short ride = less accident = less helmet discomfort/inconvenience); be it low speed rides (you cannot stop another car from crashing into you at 60kph no matter how slow you ride), all free thinking citizens can choose to do as they please, and wear the consequences.

    • It might seem logical, but think about what you’re saying here. You just asked all of the religious folk to put their societal law above the laws of their assorted gods. That just doesn’t make any sense. Even to a non-religious person,

      I’d also say helmet inconvenience increases with the shortening of the journey, because it takes the same amount of effort to use, regardless of the lesser risk.

      • Australia is secular state. I don’t think it’s debatable whether societal law or religious beliefs should regulate its citizens.

        As for wearing of helmets, please do as you please, as long as you are prepared to wear the consequences.

        In fact, one’s preparation to wear the consequences isn’t even relevant. The state will make you wear the consequences regardless. And rightly so.

  • If cyclists want to take their safety into their own hands – no worries.
    I think it’s should be codified that if the cyclists end up with a head / brain injury as a result of an accident with a vehicle that they acknowledged the dangers of not wearing a helmet and the driver should be not held responsible for their injuries.

  • i ride with a helmet all the time. fallen off enough times both on road and off to know its a good idea, the rest of the body hurts but not the head thankfully

    • How many times have you fallen on your head though? I’m curious because I never have. Maybe I’m just lucky, but my helmet has been of no use whatsoever, it’s always my arms and legs that are hurt when I’ve crashed. I know my experience doesn’t apply to everyone, but still, my experience shows my helmet to be an annoyance with no benefits.

      • So will you be happy if you actually do hit your head when you fall off? If a helmet only saves you from severe head trauma once in your life, then I’d say all the years of being annoyed by having to wear one would be worth it.

  • I’m so tempted to wade into this, facts flying left and right, but this is really a far more complex debate than can be addressed in a paragraph or two. For anyone who’s willing to learn some of the background into cycle helmets and compulsory helmet laws, then a few minutes spent reading may give you a better understanding of the claims and counter-claims. Here are a couple of sites that do a pretty good job –
    http://www.cyclehelmets.org/
    http://www.nohelmetlaw.org.uk/ (no guesses as to which side this site is on)

    One thing I will say is that the helmet law is clearly not robustly enforced (many helmetless cyclists cycle past police with no consequences). Whatever the reason for this (police having other priorities is the most likely), the impression given to kids growing up is that the presence of a law saying “do/don’t do X” is no guide to the consequences of their actions, so the deterrent effect of laws in general is weakened in their eyes.

  • From my experience as a volunteer firefighter, I can’t stress enough how important safety apparatuses truly are!

    People who neglect helmets are only fooling themselves. If you want to ride without a helmet; then go ahead but don’t blame emergency services when your ignorance costs you your life.

      • I think they’re saying that as someone who sometimes has to see and deal with people with horrific burn injuries, they have some sympathy for the Queensland paramedics who will now have to cope with an increase in seeing and dealing horrific head injuries. Not so much trolling as empathy.

          • Definitely not trolling because firefighters don’t always do “just fighting fires”, firefighters also deal with the occasional car crash.

            Unfortunately, some crashes involve cyclists who were unfortunate to have been at the wrong place at the wrong time, or got hit from behind by a car.

  • I’m concerned about laws being changed to accommodate religious groups. I think a cohesive society is based on consistent treatment of everyone under the law. I also think kids would ride bike more if they didn’t have to wear helmets, so they should have just relaxed the helmet law.

  • Great article, have been talking with some friends about this very idea.
    Adults should be allowed to ride without a helmet, would get more people riding bikes.

  • Helmets are not required here in the NT.

    Personally I think it should be a matter of choice. Except you pay your own hospital bill if head injured without a helmet…

  • I have dreadlocks that have not been able to fit inside a bike helmet for over 2 years so I have been riding without a helmet. I wonder if I can use the argument that I am Rastafarian? Either way, it shouldn’t be a legal requirement to wear one. I physically cant use one without shaving my head, and even if I did I would have to stop riding because the helmet would mess up my hair if it were short…

    • I had lovely, thick, butt-length dreadlocks for six years and still managed to religiously ride my n+1 bikes – sure, I had to find a helmet that was big enough and ventilated enough to fit my head (I had to wear XL – I wear a SM now) but I preferred to fork out for a good, safe, light, breezy helmet and keep doing what I love rather than make excuses for my hair for six years. My hair is short now, I still wear a helmet, because I don’t give a flying …. if it messes up my hair – I would rather fall off my bike with my head protected than be precious about someone seeing me with helmet hair.

  • If you don’t wear a helmet for your own safety and get killed, your organs should be harvested to help others. Stupidity gets you killed, doesn’t mean you can’t do something useful with your life.

  • That’s ridiculous – nobody is forcing them to ride a bike. If they can’t comply with the road safety laws required to ride a bike, don’t ride one.

    • The cost of public transport, owning a car and keeping healthy is what forces me to ride a bike. The only other choice I have to get to work is to walk 6 km, which Is what I usually have to do when I am forced to (attempt) take public transport on rainy days. Riding a bike really is the only option for a lot of people most of the time.

  • Wearing a full face helmet at all times should be enforced, especially while driving or riding a bike or walking or sleeping or anything. The helmets should be fitted with air purifiers and emergency services broadcast comms. U.V protective visors would be mandatory and subtle allergy and blood type flags out the top could be enforced.

    Highly reflective materials or bright lights attached would ensure high visibility and neck and limb protective restraint attachments could be introduced soon after as compulsory to ensure 100 percent human survival in this dangerous world where you aren’t allowed to die for any reason ever because it’s expensive and will only remind us of our own mortality.

  • If the adults of the rest of the world can manage to ride bicycles without helmets, and without killing themselves or all walking around with catastrophic brain injuries, why are Australians so incapable of this amazing feat?

    • They can’t – there are lots of cyclists killed and injured in countries where wearing helmets is optional. Where did you hear otherwise?
      My best friend received a head injury in his late teens from a cycle crash without a helmet. He went from being a star academic and sportsman to having a pretty shit life. A helmet would have 100% prevented this.
      I always wear a cycle helmet, and have used it on a couple of occasions.
      Unless you think your life would be unchanged by brain damage, then wearing a helmet is a ‘no brainer’
      Part 2: I’m concerned about religious groups placing beliefs above the law (when they conflict) e.g. polygamy. Religious exemptions are a slippery slope that just encourage the dangerous view that religion takes priority.

    • The rest of the world still manages to get brain injuries and have people dying from coming off their bikes without helmets – whatever gave you the idea that they didn’t?

  • Sikh’s have exemptions for all sort of head wear related rules. Such as entry into casinos, pubs and clubs that do not allow you to wear hats.

    Although, I have a Sikh friend who wears a cap over his turban when out and about so not sure why a bike helmet is a problem when they come in rather large sizes.

  • Religious groups get tax breaks unfairly so why not let them get past laws too!?Why do we give so much reverence to religions? It’s an affront to secular citizens like myself.

  • absolutely ridiculous..

    Does this mean I will be allowed to stone my wife to death if she commits adultery if I claim religious grounds to do so?

    unlike mental illness or physical disability, Religion is a CHOICE. It’s not like the man did not have alternative methods of transport available.

    This country needs to ammend the constitution to read;
    “No law shall be circumvented or exempted due to religious grounds.”

    If you wish to practice a religion in your own private life, more power to you. Religion has done/does do great things for our society however it should never lead to people being exempt from the Law.

    NO ONE should be exempt from the Law.
    Not lawmakers, Not Judges, not Law Enforcement officers, Not Minority Groups. Not Majority Groups. Not religious Groups.No one. PERIOD.

  • There are some pertinent points that need to be considered:

    1. Legislation is not law. This is because what is legal, is often unlawful, and what is lawful, is often illegal. Check out the so-called Australian Constitution… “Whereas the people of New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Queensland, and Tasmania, humbly relying on the blessing of Almighty God…” …you only receive the blessing of Almighty God when you do the right (lawful) thing, as found in His Word (The Holy Bible).

    2. Her Majesty’s Coronation Oath of 1953 reinforces this reality, since her allegiance is to Almighty God. For example, the Archbishop at the Coronation asked, “Will you to the utmost of your power maintain the Laws of God and the true profession of the Gospel? …” and the about to be crowned Queen responded with, “All this I promise to do.”

    3. Clearly, and logically, the Laws of Almighty God are superior to any legislation.

    4. ANZAC Day, is celebrated on 25th April, with prayers offered to whom? Historically, the Christian influence is undeniable.

    5. Pick any legislation you like. Study its form. Notice how it actually applies to ‘Persons’ and ‘Corporations’? It does not apply to men, women, boys or girls.

    6. The legal duty of, for instance, ‘Persons’ is to abide by legislation. But ‘Persons’ are not real. They are, in fact, ‘legal fictions’.

    It is assumed (by the government and establishment) you have at least one ‘Person’, and that as (the apparent) guarantor (or authorised representative or authorised agent), the man (or woman, boy or girl) is obligated according to the legislation.

    Of course, that is not quite the truth of things.

    7. However, as evidenced by the ANZACs fighting for Freedom, and as recognised by Almighty God and His Only begotten Son (the Holy Bible is a good read, especially when studied objectively), you the man (et al) have Freedom of choice.

    8. If you have not agreed to submit to legislation (by word, deed, or in writing), why would legislation apply to you? Think of the six essential conditions to enable a lawful contract:

    Agreement – where one party makes an offer and the other accepts it.
    Consideration – where one party gives something in exchange for something from the other party.
    Intention – where both parties intend to abide by the contract.
    Capacity – where both parties are mentally capable of understanding the contract.
    Genuine consent – where both parties agree to the contract of their own free will.
    Lawful – where all parts of the contract are lawful (though this point is often incorrectly substituted for legality/legal).

    Even if you have submitted to legislation in the past, you can choose to change your mind (especially when you now realise the deception(s) made against you, let alone your ‘Person’).

    In other words, do you agree with the legislation? If so, and if you abide by the rules, what consideration is due to you? Do you intend to contract such with the Parliament? Do you have the capacity to appreciate all aspects of this arrangement? Is your consent genuine? That is, you are not compelled, are you? Is it lawful? If it is lawful, we will be able to find this rule or ‘legislation’ in the Holy Bible, won’t we?

    If someone insists that you are obliged to obey legislation, watch carefully what happens when you declare, “I do not consent, I protest, I am under duress.” You may need to say this three times. The reaction may be amusing to you (to say the least).

    Or, ask the ‘officer’ if he or she has “sworn allegiance to Her Majesty”. More amusement.

    At all times (likewise for everyone else), you are obliged to lawfully be peaceful in all your dealings.

    9. Black’s Law Dictionary 6th edition (1990) defines religion as “a [human’s] relation to Divinity, to reverence, worship, obedience, and submission to mandates and precepts of supernatural or superior beings.”

    Is legislation to be worshipped? Almighty God has something serious to say about that, and you can find His stand in the Ten Commandments. Take particular note of Exodus 20:1-17.

    10. SInce truly, we are all equal before Almighty God, and even He gives us the Free Will to choose, whereupon the ANZAC’s and the Queen agree, why would anyone want to modify their behaviour according to any legislation that does not actually apply to them? Do the right thing, for Freedom.

    • You are deluded dude. Legislation doesn’t require your consent.
      You are a great example of someone who devoutly believes that their religious views supercede the nation’s laws. Unlikely to be an issue for most of your life, but it you get involved in criminality or get sued for something, you are in for mind-blowing reality check.
      You haven’t mentioned democracy, but another view that many people share is that living in a democracy grants endless freedom, e.g. can choose which laws to obey and which not to. A view usually held by younger people.

      • @karmadillo

        1. Can you kindly point out to each and everyone of us the specific information provided by me that you know beyond all shadow of doubt to be incorrect? References would be appreciated.

        2. Your knowledge certainly appears lacking. May I suggest a read of ‘Your Will Be Done’ by Arthur A. Chresby (Ninth Edition, 1988). Chresby was a research analyst in Constitutional Law for some 53 years. He was also a Federal Member for Griffith in the House of Representatives (Australia).

        Once you’ve read ‘Your Will Be Done’ which is quoted on the cover as a “…A simple, non-technical, beginner’s book of the true legal functions of the Queen, Governor-General, State Governors, Parliament, Parliamentarians, and the People.” we may then move forward with further study.

        3. If you recall the reference from Black’s Law Dictionary, a so-called Democracy or Secular society is in deed and practise a religious one. Even pagan or secular societies have a religious basis.

        Simply because of those adherents’ “…relation to Divinity, to reverence, worship, obedience, and submission to mandates and precepts of supernatural or superior beings.”

        In other words, every regime is a religious one.

        Hence the importance of religious freedom.

        This Freedom is one the ANZAC’s also fought and won… ‘For God, King and Country”. History records such and posters were published with those very words.

        4. Democracy is a scam. Australia (the land mass so-named with people living within it) is supposed to enjoy a Constitutional Monarchy (hence the relevance of the monarch). Hopefully, you may read ‘Your Will Be Done’ which is published here:

        http://www.ourconstitution.org/your_will.php

        However, something did happen in the 1930’s. It was the time of the so-called Great Depression.

        Economies crashed.

        Countries (or their supposed governments) around the world became bankrupted, and were convinced by those with global power and monetary clout to deceive their various peoples by ending the old regimes and beginning new ones as corporations with similar or identical names.

        From about the 1930’s (some earlier, even from the 1860’s) societies around the world that were utilising true Law fell gradually into the fictional world of corporate policy.

        Australia (the corporation) is listed on the United States Security Exchange Commission. Search (via EDGAR) for Commonwealth of Australia. The search below shows the business address of Australia (the corporation) to be co-located with the Australian embassy in Washington DC:

        http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/805157/000134100410001939/0001341004-10-001939-index.htm

        You may note the filing date is for 2010.

        This fact poses many more questions.

        For example, you’ll find other supposed States (of Australia), Provinces (of Canada), and other Countries (including Fiji and New Zealand amongst many others).

        Though they may have been recognised States, Provinces, or Countries in times past, they are now simply corporations.

        5. What is now referred to as legislation is nothing more than corporate (public) policy.

        Like policies, legislation can change.

        True Law never changes.

        True Law is found in the Bible.

        It is superior to any and all legislation or policy.

        True Law remains reliable as a result.

        6. There is much more to this.

        I do ask though, that you assume less, and make an effort to learn the truth of things.

        For Freedom.

  • I ride regularly and have never worn a helmet in WA since they introduced that law. I ride drunk cause I have lost my licence and ignore traffic rules because they are not practical when on a bicycle. I even used the not wearing a helmet for religious reasons about ten years ago. Cops thought it was hilarious and let me off.

  • Religion or not, the law is meant to be abided by all people who wish to live in Australia or those who already live here. Now Religion is not an excuse to not where a helmet or to even get ones license wearing a berka and show it as a form of identification. The Government is accommodating enough but to let anyone not wear a safety helmet is ridiculous and even worse to make it LAW!!!!.

  • Most fatal and serious accidents on bicycles involve cars. The simple solution to this problem is to make it compulsory to wear a helmet if you are on your bike, on a public road. If you stick to the sidewalk(which is perfectly legal in QLD) and dismount when crossing roads, there’s no real reason to wear a helmet, and the inconvenience of having to dismount any time you’re on asphalt would hopefully encourage faster or riskier riders to elect to wear a helmet.
    It would be nice to take a relaxing cycle on the waterfront, or to pick up some groceries without having to worry about my helmet.

  • It should be noted the difference between Lycra wearing speed cyclists and someone out for a quiet Sunday ride. I have not had a bike accident in the last 25 years, and I’m over 40 and I ride every weekend . Everyone used to ride when I was young, and now the only thing I see locally are kids riding those little skate scooters without helmets. I say no helmets over 16 to18 years.

  • The problem here is in an effort to appease certain religions, they end up discriminating against other religions and non-religious people.

    As others have stated either everyone has to wear one by law or no one does. If no one has to wear one, then not wearing one means waiving certain remuneration in cases of head trauma/death when a helmet would have reduced/eliminated the injury. (If the case of seatbelts is not treated the same way then it should be changed, but they should always be compulsory).

    Bike riders should also be licensed and registered the same way cars/motorbikes are, no open road riding (or footpath riding, unless its a supervised young kid on a trike), they should be paying TAC fees as well (although i think they are obscenely high atm, TAC spending too much money on ads that seem to have no effect, and some that probably actually cause accidents like that optical illusion intersection one).

  • I think it’s a pretty reasonable law which protects people and will ultimately save our health-care system money. If we want to have affordable national healthcare, we have to be willing to have a few slightly inconvenient laws which help protect us.

    Also it’s just not that hard to wear a helmet- a simple way to save yourself from a fairly likely injury (over the whole time you ride a bike, it’s very likely that at some point you will have a crash).

  • I don’t mind people not wearing a helmet… the hospitals are crying out for organ donors! (and for the religious types, it just aids natural selection).

    One would hope helmets would aid our healthcare, but my experiences with our healthcare system is that it’s hopelessly inefficient so I doubt helmets will solve that issue.

    Regardless of laws or religion you won’t catch me without my helmet strapped on though, especially since the last 2 look like someone has taken to them with a ball-peen hammer! Thankfully they copped it and not my head… (and yes i did end up with broken ribs and collarbone, but my head was all good!)

  • Helmets are inconveinient, I cannot count the amount of times friends have borrowed my helmet, it has been stolen, or been broken (straps, buckle ect.) Now I am forced to ride without a helmet or walk. So I ride and get fined $110, I don think they are nessecary and be required by law, it should be personal choice to wear one or not

    Also why is it always getting hit by a car? Ive never been hit by a car but crashed due to my own error plenty of times.

  • I had a helmet exemption for motorbikes before the bicycle helmet law came out,they took away our exemption & said if you cant wear a helmet, then you cannot by law ride a bike & said to go & find another form of transport .So why has this reasoning changed?For all the people who seem hell bent on picking at people who chose to not wear a helmet .Get a life & let your fellow countryman,human, citizen express there own freedoms, why are you so all upset about other people doing what you dont. Just learn to get on with people, without stripping them down for your own pleasure.Its disgusting let them, or me be,I dont recall hurting anyone else when i didn`t wear a helmet.

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