Looking North/Northwest for more thoughts on compulsory helmet laws: A few interesting snippets recently appeared on the blog of former Vancouver, BC City Councillor (and too many other civic contributions to list) Gordon Price:
Liberal policy chair differs with his government.
From The Province:
The mandatory helmet law is even being questioned by those close to the premier.
Ted Dixon, the BC Liberal Party Policy Chair, told The Province Monday he is speaking out personally about the mandatory helmet law, adding he thinks it could be a topic of debate for the next election.
“We need to bring the responsibility back to the individual who is riding the bike,” he said. “My personal view is the individual is best able to assess the risk.”
Dixon said he hopes the law is reviewed and ultimately changed, noting that in Australia a mandatory bike-helmet law resulted in people shying away from bikes.
The position of the B.C. Cycling Coalition:
Helmet Education – Encouraging the use of helmets through evidence-based education that accurately reflects the risk of cycling in different circumstances. Helmet marketing campaigns that exaggerate the risk of cycling and thus discourage people from cycling should be avoided.
Helmet Choice – As many jurisdictions which have implemented comprehensive crash reduction measures have cycling fatality rates dramatically lower than BC and also very low rates of helmet usage, we recommend allowing adults choice regarding helmet use by eliminating the mandatory helmet requirement for adult cyclists. This will enable enforcement resources to be focused on collision reduction and facilitate the successful introduction of bike share systems.
From Alaska Dispatch:
More than 20 years ago, G.B. Rodgers examined 8 million cases of injury or death to cyclists in the U.S over 15 years and concluded there was no evidence that helmets reduced head injury or fatalities. That injury survey remains the largest ever done.
Not only did it lead Rodgers to conclude helmets don’t work, according to the Bicycle Helmet Research Foundation, it also led him to conclude “that helmeted riders were more likely to be killed.” The foundation is not some anti-helmet crazed, personal-liberty organization. The foundation’s website sets out good arguments both for and against helmets. The foundation claims to have been “established to provide a resource of best-available factual information and to challenge evidence and policies that do not stand up to scrutiny.” …
What Anchorage ought to be doing, if it cares about its children, is encouraging them to get out and ride. What Anchorage ought to be doing, if it cares about its children, is designing safe routes to schools, playgrounds, ball fields and other activity areas. And what Anchorage ought to be doing, if it cares about its children, is dumping a do-gooder law that discourages kids from riding a bike.
Nate was born and raised at the intersection of Seattle’s Central District and Capitol Hill neighborhoods. He earned his BA in History from Western Washington University but it was a summer in New York City that sparked a passion for urban planning, livability, development and transportation issues. He volunteered with the Downtown Renaissance Network in Bellingham and Futurewise (back when it was still 1000 Friends of Washington) in Seattle. He has worked for Downtown Seattle’s Metropolitan Improvement District (MID), the Seattle Monorail Project and since 2004, as a consultant for housing and health care non-profits, mortgage and commercial real estate companies, hospitality and aviation brands as well as government and consumer technology businesses. He is a former member of the Uptown Alliance where he briefly served as the Co-Chair of the Transportation Committee (in reality, more of an understudy to D. John Coney). An employee of Great City Nate is also a former board member and one of the organizations earliest volunteers. He has also served on the executive committee of the Leschi Community Council. He is a cycle commuter, occasional bus rider and resident of Eastlake.