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Kiwis To Join protest for Helmet Law Reform

CHOICE BIKING 13 MARCH 2018


Kiwis To Join an Australasian-wide day of protest for Helmet Law Reform


On March 17, New Zealand joins Australia in a day of protest against blanket helmet laws, with a helmet-optional ride in Wellington.

Organised by new advocacy group, Choice Biking, the ride will highlight cycling as a healthy and sustainable form of transport, hindered by blanket helmet legislation.

“Australia, New Zealand – and the UAE are the only countries continuing to penalize a healthy and safe transport, to the detriment of cycling rates and overall cycling safety”, says ride organiser Jeremy Teague.

Choice Biking in NZ, along with Freestyle Cyclists (Australia) are urging their respective governments to join the rest of the civilised cycling world, as Mexico, Israel and Bosnia have done in reforming their helmet laws to allow adults to make case by case decisions on safety.

Much has changed since the law was introduced in 1994: Kiwis now see the ongoing rollout of high quality, European-style separated cycleways, as enjoyed by the overwhelmingly un-helmeted majority of riders worldwide; a slower situp style of cycling is increasingly the default here, but more than anything, mandating helmets has been rejected on an almost universal basis, worldwide.

Here, one in ten Kiwis already ignore the law which is arbitrarily enforced – some conscientious objectors have never been fined - others have paid thousands.
Choice Biking says it’s time to stop penalising the victims of a car-centric society, scaring away would-be riders, and encourage people on bikes to make informed judgements according to cycling style and conditions.

That helmet-induced risk-factoring encourages risky behaviour on the part of both people on bikes and the drivers around them, is reason enough to reform current laws, says ride organizer Jeremy Teague, but also the severe declines in cycling numbers accompanying the laws’ introductions in both Australia and New Zealand, outweighs any arguable benefits in the event of a collision, he adds.

Ultimately numbers of people cycling is the only guarantor of cycling safety, insists Choice Biking, adding that even with New Zealand’s low cycling mode share cycling is a highly life-extending activity, with or without a helmet.
The Wellington ride will tour the cycle paths and waterfront shared paths - conditions similar to the world's safest and helmet free cities, starting from Civic Square and looping past parliament.

The helmet law has been a hot topic in the media, as increasing consideration is given to the bigger picture of cycling safety.

Rides across australia have grown over the years, but March 17 marks a milestone with a pan-Australasian day of protest, against a clearly failed law which is running on borrowed time, Bike Choice declares.

“This is an act of conscientious objection, rather than indulgence”, says Jeremy Teague, “Choice biking is committed to creating a positive cycling environment which will encourage more people to cycle for everyday transport”.

ends

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