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Cycle Helmet Safety Regulations Questioned



The Minister of Transport Safety, the Hon. Harry Duynhoven, yesterday questioned NZ's compulsory helmet wearing legislation. The Minister was addressing a transport forum and questioned whether the compulsory helmet wearing legislation was working against government's aim of increasing the number of cyclists.

The Cycling Advocates Network (CAN) supports the Minister's stance.

CAN co-chairperson Axel Wilke says, "CAN has been calling for an objective review of the law for a number of years. To date, central government transport authorities have yet to provide research analysing the effect of the law".

"The merits of wearing a cycle helmet have not been conclusively proven either way in research worldwide. While we fully support anyone choosing voluntarily to wear a helmet, we are concerned about the wider effects the mandatory law has had," says Wilke.

"If the Government is keen to promote cycling for its health, safety, economic and environmental benefits, then a law that results in a 20% - 25% reduction in the number of cyclists would not appear to be the right way to go about it. Instead it sends a message that cycling is inherently dangerous, which it isn't."

CAN would prefer that the considerable money spent on helmet enforcement and
promotion was spent on programmes with more tangible cycling safety
benefits, such as driver/cyclist training, better cycle facilities and most importantly, speed reduction in urban areas.

Ministry of Transport accident data has shown that 1 in 1,000 cycles are involved in injury accidents compared to 3 in 1,000 cars.


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