Chink in Australia's helmet law?

Discussion in 'Technical Chat' started by Tony Raven, Oct 23, 2010.

  1. Tony Raven

    Tony Raven Guest

    There has been a long running legal battle in Australia by Sue Abbott
    who was fined for cycling without a cycle helmet. She fought the case on
    the grounds that a helmet could increase her chance of a head injury
    and, having reviewed the evidence, the judge concluded:

    "Having read all the material, I think I would fall down on your side of
    the ledger. I frankly don’t think there is anything advantageous and
    there may well be a disadvantage in situations to have a helmet – and it
    seems to me that it’s one of those areas where it ought to be a matter
    of choice."

    He then found that she had "an honestly held and not unreasonable belief
    as to the danger associated with the use of a helmet by cyclists" and
    quashed her conviction even though he found the case proven that she had
    broken the law by not wearing one.

    Tony Raven, Oct 23, 2010
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  2. Tony Raven

    Phil W Lee Guest

    Since this was at appeal, presumably it sets a legal precedent.
    If so, it is more in the nature of a complete collapse of the law than
    a chink.

    Is there anywhere now other than NZ with a functioning helmet law?
    Phil W Lee, Oct 23, 2010
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  3. Tony Raven

    Simon Mason Guest

    Spain outside of towns and Finland, IIRC.

    Reminds me of this.
    Simon Mason, Oct 23, 2010
  4. Tony Raven

    Peter Parry Guest

    It was not in a court of record but simply a New South Wales district
    judge (equivalent to a county court judge in the UK) hearing an appeal
    in an inferior court from a minor sentence in a magistrates court. It
    has no more significance in law than a case heard in the UK in a
    county court on the small claim track.

    Inferior courts in Australia only have the power to decide on matters
    where parliament grants them the power to do so, they cannot change
    law or establish precedent.
    Peter Parry, Oct 23, 2010
  5. Not if Menorca is anything to go by. On recent trip there, where I
    wore a helmet the whole time, the others I was with who all wear helmets
    in the UK went bare headed past numerous Police officers without a comment.

    Majorca earlier in the year was the same.

    Chris Gerhard, Oct 23, 2010
  6. In uk.rec.cycling.moderated on Sat, 23 Oct 2010 15:05:41 +0100
    I dunno how much of a one it does set although there was a lot of
    angst over it from the usual suspects.

    I dunno a judge can *overturn* statue law. They have wriggle room to
    fiddle with sentences and such, but that's about it.

    It is highly unlikely any other judge will do the same thing.

    I'm using mine less and less, I've decided I'll cop the fine if I get
    one. I haven't quite got up the guts to turn up at work without it,
    but that may come.

    Zebee Johnstone, Oct 24, 2010
  7. Tony Raven

    martynh Guest

    It seems from the report that the decision hinged on the particular
    appellant's belief that a helmet would do them more harm than good
    (plus the judgment that this belief was not unreasonable). Although I
    almost never wear a helmet (except in Australia) I couldn't honestly
    swear that I believe this: life is too short to keep up with all the
    literature (even if I were better qualified to assess it) when the
    case against helmet use in overall public-health terms is so
    compelling. Even apart from the fact that they are a pain in the neck,
    metaphorically and otherwise.

    But what I really like least about wearing a helmet, when the law
    requires it, is that willy-nilly I become a propagandist for their use
    (and of course for the proposition that cycling is dangerous): you
    look just as smug wearing one with gritted teeth as you do wearing one
    out of conviction, or just plain selfishness ("stuff the
    externalities, I'm going to protect my head").
    martynh, Oct 24, 2010
  8. Tony Raven

    Simon Mason Guest

    I was reading that in Finland, helmet use is compulsory but there is no fine
    if caught, so I'm not sure how that works.
    Simon Mason, Oct 24, 2010
  9. Tony Raven

    Tony Raven Guest

    The Fins IME are always extremely pragmatic.

    Tony Raven, Oct 24, 2010
  10. Tony Raven

    Owen Dunn Guest

    I see a great need for helmets marked `STUPID FOAM HAT' or `THE LAW IS
    AN ASS' to counter such accidental propaganda.

    Owen Dunn, Oct 26, 2010
  11. Tony Raven

    D.M. Procida Guest

    Judging by my experience at least, that doesn't seem to be the case.

    D.M. Procida, Oct 27, 2010
  12. Tony Raven

    POHB Guest

    Isle of Wight recently made helmets for kids mandatory IIRC
    POHB, Nov 3, 2010
  13. I didn't realise it had its own parliament!

    I think the council does have a policy of compulsory helmets for cycle
    training. Is that what you are getting confused with?
    Andy Leighton, Nov 3, 2010
  14. Tony Raven

    Nigel Cliffe Guest

    I'd guessed that POHB might have meant Jersey, which does have its own
    parliament and recently passed a helmet law for children.

    - Nigel
    Nigel Cliffe, Nov 3, 2010
  15. Tony Raven

    Nigel Cliffe Guest

    I'd guessed that POHB might have meant Jersey, which does have its own
    parliament and recently passed a helmet law for children.

    - Nigel
    Nigel Cliffe, Nov 3, 2010
  16. Tony Raven

    Matt B Guest

    Not just children - anyone under 18!
    Matt B, Nov 3, 2010
  17. Tony Raven

    Alex Potter Guest

    When you get to my age, children is anyone under 40. :)
    Alex Potter, Nov 3, 2010
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