LETTER: Helmets not the cure for Victoria’s cyclists’ woes

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Regarding two ill-informed letters about cycling in recent weeks, I have a different side.

First of all, cyclist infrastructure does not lead to more infractions, poorly designed roads do. There is no law stating you have to ride on cycling infrastructure where it’s present. Furthermore, if people are riding on sidewalks and crosswalks clearly they don’t feel safe on the road, or making certain maneuvers. We obviously need better cycling infrastructure to make the legal option also the safe and convenient one.

Cycling needs to become an easy, accessible mode of transportation for the masses if we want to reduce congestion, wasted space and save the climate, people’s health and well-being. So why do people feel the need to wear a piece of foam that has a moderate chance of protecting your head in the very unlikely event it’s hit? And why does the auto industry fund these devices? Because it makes cycling less convenient, appealing, and makes it look unsafe. This person that totaled the car that hit them – in this situation, a helmet was useful. But these accidents are few and far between.

If we make our streets better for cycling, this will not only make cycling more convenient but reduce car speeds, reducing the harm to all in a collision. And regarding the cost inflicted on our healthcare system, the savings of having an active, healthy population are far greater.

If you are road biking, mountain biking or riding on dangerous roads then maybe a helmet is a good idea. But if you’re just casually going to work, school, the grocery store or your friend’s place, a helmet’s an unnecessary burden. Well-designed infrastructure will make it safer. Mandatory helmet laws make cycling less casual and less accessible to the masses. A message to fellow bicycle users: Let’s follow the rules whenever possible. Yield when you have to, and thank others that do for you.

Our reputation is important, an angry minority is watching. Let’s set a positive tone for a wonderful mode of transport.

Finn Kreischer

Victoria

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