Kidsafe Victoria today said today that the move to dilute Victorian helmet safety legislation by a fringe cycling group was ill-considered and should not be supported.
President of Kidsafe Victoria, Robert Caulfield, said “Helmet legislation in Victoria is based on solid research and is particularly important with the increasing number of cyclists and vehicles on the road.”
Statistics from the Victorian Injury Surveillance Unit show a non-significant change in arm fracture hospital admission rates, compared with a significant decrease of 67% in brain (intracranial injury) hospital admission rates, since the introduction of mandatory helmet laws in 1990.
Mr Caulfield said: “This indicates that helmet wearing in children has had a beneficial effect in reducing serious brain injury.”
Mr Caulfield likened the impact of making helmet wearing non mandatory to the impact of making seat belt wearing optional in motor vehicles.
Mr Caulfield said “Cycling, like any other road use, is dangerous; it is important that as adults we role model safe and appropriate behaviours for our children, which includes wearing a helmet when riding a bicycle.”
“The proposed stunt to break the law by riding without helmets undermines the efforts of every parent who is educating their children about their own safety by wearing a helmet.”
Mr Caufield noted that the visible growth of cycling and its increasing popularity demonstrated that mandatory helmet laws were not negatively affecting cyclist numbers.
*Selling over 1.3 million bikes in 2010, the Australian bicycle industry is now showing clear signs of returning to its record levels of 2007. These figures represent a 12 per cent increase from the previous year and a 67 per cent increase from 2001. * Source: Cycling Promotion Fund
“Kidsafe Victoria, together with the medical profession, road safety agencies and Government, has been a strong supporter and will continue be a strong supporter of the compulsory helmet legislation in Victoria and nationally, as it has been shown to saves lives and reduce brain injuries,” said Mr Caulfield