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"Dump harmful helmet law!" say cyclists

"Dump harmful helmet law!" say cyclists.

Cycling Health supporter granted exemption.

Cycling Health member Patrick Morgan has been granted an exemption from the mandatory bicycle helmet requirement. In 2003 he applied for an exemption on “reasonable grounds”, as permitted in the helmet regulation. The Director of Land Transport declined his application. This decision was upheld by the District Court on appeal. Mr Morgan then applied for an exemption on medical grounds, and was recently granted an exemption by the Director of Land Transport.

Mr. Morgan said, "Well-meaning people believe the helmet law keeps bicyclists safe. However, the evidence in New Zealand and overseas shows it discourages cycling and harms the overall health of the population."

The Land Transport Safety Authority (LTSA) has the power to issue exemptions on a case by case basis for religious or medical reasons or on other reasonable grounds. Car drivers and pedestrians are not required to wear helmets despite research suggesting they should provide similar or greater protection than for bicyclists, as the LTSA have acknowledged.

Cycling Health spokesperson Oliver Thompson said, "The law has failed to do what it was meant to do; that is, make bicycling safer." "The law should be repealed. Bicycling is a safe and healthy activity which doesn't need special safety equipment. In the Netherlands, nearly everyone cycles; people see no need for special safety equipment. All the New Zealand bicycle helmet law has achieved is to make a fun, healthy and convenient transport mode less comfortable and seemingly more dangerous."

Internationally the medical profession knows that bicyclists live longer than average, and the vast majority of bicyclists around the world do not wear helmets

The LTSA is fond of pointing out that the number of bicyclist head injuries has decreased by around 20% but they fail to mention that the trend before the law was for reducing injuries and that has continued without any measurable impact of the law.

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