Awkward but understandable – no helmet …

From the “West Australian” Inside Cover 28-29 Jan 2012

Like a growing number of people, we like to get out on our bicycle.

So we can understand that Transport Minister Troy Buswell and his partner, Fremantle MP Adele Carles, would have enjoyed cruising about in Freo on their bicycles on Australia Day evening.

But we can’t understand why they would have done so without helmets.

A South Fremantle resident told us yesterday that she saw the pair twice during the course of the evening.

She said that on the second occasion she could not help herself, and asked: “Excuse me, Mr Buswell, where’s your bike helmet?”

“He said ‘at home’ and rode off, ” she said.

We checked with police yesterday and were told that Section 222 (2) of the Road Traffic Code referred to wearing helmets on bicycles.

In a nutshell, the law states that an individual must wear an approved protective helmet, securely fastened, when riding on the road or any path.

The penalty for not doing so was $50, we were told.

Naturally we went to the pair for an explanation.

Ms Carles gave us a brief statement: “Yes, I was cycling in Freo without a helmet, as I occasionally do on the cycle path, although I always insist that children wear them.”

Mr Buswell’s bugle sent us a statement confirming he, too, had not worn a helmet.

And from the man himself: “It was unwise not to wear a helmet for the short ride down to watch the fireworks on Australia Day.

“Obviously it’s compulsory to wear a helmet while riding a bike, and there’s no excuse for not doing so.

“In recognition of the fact this offence carries a $50 penalty, I’ll donate $100 to the charity of IC’s choice.

“And I will obviously be more vigilant about wearing a helmet in future.”

And below is the mail I sent to Troy a couple of days ago

Hi, Troy,

Nice to hear (from the papers) that you continue to cycle on a regular basis (and in good company). Cycling as an expression of personal freedom.

If we work from the assumption that the best thing for Cycling Safety is more people riding bicycles, then the compulsory wearing of helmets (which clearly reduce cycling participation) is not a useful law. In a recently published Australian survey, 22% of people asked indicated that they would cycle more if they would not have to wear a helmet. 32% of the respondents did not support mandatory helmet legislation. That is a big chunk of voters….

http://www.healthpromotion.org.au/journal/journal-downloads/article/1-hpja/426-the-possible-effect-on-frequency-of-cycling-if-mandatory-bicycle-helmet-legislation-was-repealed-in-sydney-australia-a-cross-sectional-survey

We actually know what is required to get more people on their bikes…. http://vimeo.com/22590356.

Of course, being in the public spotlight your options are somewhat reduced…..  keep cycling .

Regards,

Heinrich Benz

Bicycle Transport Alliance

About Heinrich

Promoting everyday cycling