[messengers] The effects of "Enforcing" mandatory helmet laws in Australia

Date: 22 Mar 2010 22:13:22 +0100
From: Michael Dodd <mikeydodds@xxxxxxxxx>

Hey fellas, was having a discussion last night with some people of how
mandatory helmet laws effected cycling in Aussie land.

The reality is that cycling numbers didn't drop until they started enforcing
mandatory helmet laws.

Below are some stats of cycling numbers after they started enforcing these
helmet laws.


Victoria: Total bicycle use by children aged 5-18 decreased by 36 per cent
from May/June 1990 to May/June 1991. There were further decreases to
May/June 1992, with teenage cycling in Melbourne showing by then a 46 per
cent decrease from pre-law levels.

South Australia: The Office of Road Safety, in reporting its evaluation of
helmet legislation, said "Due to the disparate nature of the results from
different sources, it is not possible to be conclusive about the effect of
the requirement to wear bicycle helmets on the number of cyclists." The
report noted that Harrison's (1994) study of school children showed a 38 per
cent decline in cycling from September 1988 to March 1994. This is likely to
under-estimate the decline due to the helmets law because cycling is more
popular in March than September in southern Australia. A review of this
report may be found here <http://www.pcug.org.au/%7Epsvansch/crag>.


 Western Australia: A 1992 survey commented that the numbers of children
cycling to primary schools and numbers of recreational cyclists declined
from 1991 to February 1992. A 1993 survey presents limited data which show
some decline in numbers of WA children cycling to school. Its limited
observations of "commuter" cyclists indicate an increase in numbers after
the helmet law, but a decline of over 50 per cent for cyclists classed as
recreational. Data from automatic counter surveys conducted by Main Roads
showed a decline of 38 per cent from October-December 1991 to
October-December 1992 in cyclists crossing the Narrows and Causeway bridges
on Sundays. I obtained from Main Roads similar data for weekdays. These also
showed sharp declines.

ACT: Automatic counters on bicycle paths registered declines from 1991 to a
similar period in 1992 of about one third on weekdays and about half at

In Queensland and the Northern Territory, surveys were done by other
organisations. The Royal Automobile Club of Queensland conducted surveys,
mainly of cycling to schools, which showed a decline of 22 per cent from
1990 to 1991. Owing to changes in the survey conditions, however, the real
decline probably exceeded 30 per cent - and it occurred before the law was

The Road Safety Council of the Northern Territory did surveys which showed
there was little change just after the law in the numbers of children
cycling to primary schools, but a decline of 17 per cent by the following
year. Numbers cycling to secondary schools declined by 36 per cent soon
after the law and were down 39 per cent within a year."

heres the link http://www.cycle-helmets.com/helmet_analysis.html