10 May 2012

Good news from Western Australia.

Posted by Mike Rubbo

It seems like WA might be the first southern state to bring in a bike helmet exemption  for certain situations.

This article in the West Australian explains the push.

Under the trial, helmets would be optional for adults cycling on separated cycleways, dual-use paths and roads where the maximum speed is 50km/h or less.

This blog takes great pride in being the first to bring the news that the Mayor of Fremantle, Brad Pettitt supported an exemption .

Here you see Brad going public with his controversial plan. At that point it was targeted at enabling a bike share to work.  This should still be a key goal and a reason for urgency.

It’s both essential and  inevitable that Australia embraces public bikes since they are proven turbo charger of utility cycling.

It’s the public bikes of London, of Paris, of New York ( very soon) which entice non riders to discover what superb transportation is the humble situp bike for many short trips.

Naysayers predicted that London’ s public bikes would be a failure . But so successful have they been,  that they helped re elect Tory Mayor of London.  Boris Johnson.

He’s the  guy who brought them in, and who’s just now been re elected in large part because the public loves Boris Bikes, bucking a trend to labor one might add.

I hope that our Premier in NSW, Barry O’Farrell,  takes note that he’s on the wrong side of history when he disparages bikes as transport, when he talks about ripping out Clover Moore’s new separated bikeways.

She’s  Sydney’s Mayor and one of the few visionaries in the country when it comes to bikes as transport

Mr O’Farrell would do well to take  a leaf from  Boris’s  book, encouraging not only separated paths,  but a bike share scheme for Sydney as well.

Clover Moore would love to bring public bikes to Sydney  but she knows that our comp. helmet laws would doom it to limp along,   as they have Melbourne’s scheme.

This brings us  back full circle to the West and the hope that they succeed and show the rest of Australia the way.

In the meantime, for the fearful pollie, it’s comforting to know that the Northern Territories has had a partial helmet exemption for many yea rs with no ill  effects.

I went up to have a look. here’s my report.

For Much much more, visit Chris Gillham’s blog

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2 Responses to “Good news from Western Australia.”

  1. Helmets are not compulsory in Montréal except if you are under 12 but are strongly “encouraged” by bike shops and our friendly neighborhood police. I’d say about 50% of cyclists wear them: every “Lycra Cyclist” (but very few professional bike messengers), older people, children of course, and (I’m in this category) those who like to make a “fashion statement”. I wear a “Yakkay Cambridge” helmet that looks very much like a horse-riding cap. I find another advantage to it: people (especially women) stop me to chat.



  2. That’s really encouraging news, Mike! Let’s hope sense prevails elsewhere.

    And although our London mayor Boris Johnson occasionally cycles and was incumbent when the bike scheme here was launched, his record on safety for cyclists on our roads is rather tarnished.

    His primary aim has been ”smoothing traffic flow’, mainly for the benefit of motorised vehicles.



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