Federal government abandons compulsory helmets policy

The Federal Government instigated in 1989 the nationwide policy of compulsion to wear a helmet, by offering ‘black spot’ funding for roads to the states and territories. All complied by 1992.

In 2009, CRAG made a comprehensive submission to the Prime Minister calling for the Government’s policy on helmets to be based on sound evidence of their efficacy. We (CRAG) said that the prime need was to protect the brain, the main site of fatal and disabling head injury, but that research had shown a potential for helmets to aggravate it.

We also pointed out that cycling declined sharply after helmets became compulsory. Benefits of the exercise for health were lost, but the risk of serious casualty, including fatal head injury, increased compared to other road users. As the policy had failed to serve its purpose, we called for corrective action.

The PM did not directly reply to our submission. Instead, the Federal Government quietly abandoned the policy later in 2009, stating in a letter to CRAG:

“Please note that helmet wearing policies are entirely determined at a state and territory government level and not linked to federally administered black spot funding”.

Despite being the instigator of this policy, the federal government has now disowned it, and refuses to take responsibility to fix it.

The federal government remains responsible for the mandatory standard for helmets. It is supposed to guarantee the efficacy and safety of helmets, but it does not. The standard does not contain a test for rotational acceleration, that would assess whether helmets can aggravate brain injury.

We in CRAG are working to press the Federal Government on the mandatory standard.

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2 thoughts on “Federal government abandons compulsory helmets policy”

  1. Bicycle helmet laws make cycling dangerous by reducing the effect of safety in numbers and increasing risk compensation. pushbike helmet laws put a lot of people off cycling and reduce cycling hours, which is bad for public health and the environment and leads to less demand for better, safer conditions for cycling.
    Pushbike helmet laws reduce the quality of life in many ways.

    Bicycle helmet laws have been a disaster for bike share schemes, utility cycling, tourism, the economy, health, safety, civil liberty, democracy, freedom, and the environment.
    Bicycle helmet laws make bike share schemes unworkable, causing them to fail, like the one in Auckland. Attempts to set up bike share schemes in Porirua and Palmerston North in the 1990s floundered due to the helmet law. The pushbike helmet law has robbed us big time!
    THE HELMET LADY pushed for the push bike helmet law in NZ.
    Pushbike helmet laws have caused bike share schemes in Melbourne and Brisbane to perform poorly. Their performance is less than 10 percent compared to bike share schemes in countries or states without a helmet law.
    The only reason these bike share schemes are surviving is because they are funded by the taxpayer or ratepayer.
    The mandatory bicycle helmet laws in Australia and New Zealand have been a tremendous victory for the FATHER OF LIES over the last 20 or more years.
    Pushbike helmet laws have been a political success but they are an ABJECT FAILURE in every other way. SCRAP THIS EVIL LAW!

    Israel, Mexico city and Dallas, Texas have repealed their pushbike helmet laws so that their bike share schemes can succeed.

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