Cycling Health slams skewed helmet reporting
10 October 2005
Cycling Health slams skewed helmet reporting on bicycle accidents.
The group, formed in 2002, advocates safe cycling practices and repeal of the mandatory helmet law.
Founder member Graeme Trass is scathing of the usual media practice of reporting when helmets are not worn and not mentioning helmets where they are worn, especially in fatal accidents.
Trass says this type of reporting misrepresents the effectiveness of helmet use as protection and can lead people to assume helmets will save them in vehicle related crashes. The facts do not support this and may be putting cyclists at risk by assuming helmets make them impregnable.
Continued over emphasis on helmet use as a cure all for cycling accident fatalities and injuries means investigation of other more effective methods is sidelined.
The helmet law has failed in its objective and the only measurable result has been a decline in commuter cycling. This has had a negative effect on health particularly among the young plus they are also missing out on vital road user experience for later driving says Trass.
Discussions are currently underway with national media groups to correct this omission and a formal complaint to the Press council may eventuate if the misrepresentation is not fixed.
Trass also points to the legacy of deserted school bike racks and deserted cycle lanes as stark witness to the misguided helmet regulation.