A filmmaker has produced a 60-second advertisement calling for an end to compulsory cycle helmet laws for adults in Australia.
Geoff McLeod spent $40,000 filming the ad in Italy and has applied to have it broadcast on television. It shows cyclists going about their business - without helmets - on city streets. While he admits helmets are a good thing, he doesn’t believe forcing people over the age of 18 to wear them is.
“It’s the equivalent of telling people who drive cars that they have to gear up like Craig Lowndes (Australian racing car driver), or telling beach goers they have to wear life jackets or surfers to wear headgear," he told news.com.au.
He claims the law, first introduced in 1990, prevents more people riding bikes and has contributed to the obesity rate to more than double. He says as part of the two percent of nations to adopt the law, cycling is failing to thrive. He also believes police could make better use of their time if they didn’t have to patrol parks looking for cyclists to give tickets to. The offence of failing to put on a lid comes with a $100 fine for adults, with children aged 10-16 fined on their third warning.
He cites a lot of the arguments we have recently discussed on BikeRadar, such as the numerous ‘safety in numbers’ studies that have shown cycling becomes safer as more people ride and motorists adapt to this increase.
The advert is clearly a one-sided argument from someone strongly against being forced to wear his helmet, and recent studies have shown the laws haven't had as adverse an effect than McLeod suggests. A report by Queenland's Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety found that while the laws discouraged cycling when it was first introduced, there was little evidence to suggest it continued to do so two decades on. It also argued that current laws are halving the number of head injuries experienced by cyclists and that should the laws be scrapped, there is little evidence to suggest more people would take up cycling as a result.
Check out the video below and let us know what you think.