New Zealand cycling advocacy group Cycling Health advocates safe cycling practices in New Zealand. In this press release, they criticize skewed helmet reporting by the news media.
Founder member Graeme Trass is scathing of the usual media practice of reporting when helmets are not worn and not mentioning helmets where they are worn, especially in fatal accidents.
Trass says this type of reporting misrepresents the effectiveness of helmet use as protection and can lead people to assume helmets will save them in vehicle related crashes. The facts do not support this and may be putting cyclists at risk by assuming helmets make them impregnable.
Continued over emphasis on helmet use as a cure all for cycling accident fatalities and injuries means investigation of other more effective methods is sidelined.
The helmet law has failed in its objective and the only measurable result has been a decline in commuter cycling. This has had a negative effect on health particularly among the young plus they are also missing out on vital road user experience for later driving says Trass.
Discussions are currently underway with national media groups to correct this omission and a formal complaint to the Press council may eventuate if the misrepresentation is not fixed.
Trass also points to the legacy of deserted school bike racks and deserted cycle lanes as stark witness to the misguided helmet regulation.
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>This has had a negative effect on health particularly among the young plus they are also missing out on vital road user experience for later driving says Trass.<
Right. Because every young person will grow up to drive. The only reason I got my license (at age 18) was so I could drive my boyfriend's 1942 Ford flatbed that he fixed up. Driving sucks. Also, I am not under the impression that my life will be saved because I use a helmet. I just don't want to be remembered as one of those cyclists who wasn't wearing a helmet when some idiot "didn't see me" and killed me, though the newspaper wouldn't say the motorist killed me; they would somehow put the blame on me.