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Dump harmful helmet law, say cyclists

13 December 2006

Dump harmful helmet law, say cyclists

Cycling advocates are calling for the bicycle helmet law to be dumped, after a Massey University study has found the law acts as a deterrent for some cyclists.

Cycling Health Inc spokesperson Graeme Trass says, "Well-meaning people believe the helmet law keeps cyclists safe. However, the evidence in New Zealand and overseas shows it discourages cycling and harms the overall health of the population."

According to the study by Massey researcher Kane Hopkins, women and young people in particular said they avoided cycling because of the effect on their hair-styles.

Mr Trass says, "The law has failed to do what it was meant to do; that is, make cycling safer."

"The helmet regulation should be dumped. Cycling 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.

“LTNZ says that the number of cyclist head injuries has decreased by around 20 percent 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.”

Cycling Health Inc campaigns for safety programmes that work: promotion of cycling, traffic calming, education of drivers and cyclists, and safer cycling facilities.

ENDS

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