Groups of bike riders will choose to pedal ‘helmet free’ in protest of Australia’s mandatory helmet laws this weekend on Saturday 16 March.
The ‘Freestyle Cyclists’ Helmet Optional Rides’ will be held in Melbourne, Perth, Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide. Freestyle Cyclists will be aiming to highlight the importance of bike riding and the effects of Australia's mandatory helmet laws.
In all Australian states and territories (excluding Northern Territory), it is currently mandatory for people to wear a helmet whenever and wherever they ride a bike.
In October 2018, Bicycle Network called for Australia’s helmet laws to be relaxed with a five-year trial permitting people over the age of 17 to ride on footpaths and off-road cycle paths without a helmet.
The recommendation was the result of a 14-month review which involved a deep analysis of academic literature as well as consideration of expert and public opinion.
At the time, Bicycle Network CEO Craig Richards said that with bike riding languishing in Australia, it was time to rethink our helmet policy.
“Australia is one of only two countries in the world with fully enforced mandatory helmet law. The number of people who ride a bike isn’t increasing and there has been no decrease in the number of bike rider fatalities. It’s clear that our bike policies aren’t working, so it’s important that we review everything,” Mr Richards said.
“Our recommendation is to give people the freedom to choose if they wear a helmet in low-risk circumstances because that’s what bike riding is ultimately all about – freedom.”
“60% of bike riders called for change. They don’t believe they need someone to tell them whether to wear a helmet when they’re going down the beach or going for a slow Sunday pedal on a bike path.”
Times and locations of helmet optional rides on Saturday 16 March
- Melbourne: 11.00am outside Park Street Dining, 815 Nicholson St, Carlton North
- Sydney: 10.15am for a pre-ride briefing and brunch at Newington Armory, Olympic Park
- Brisbane: 11.00am at Kurilpa Point Park, South Brisbane
- Adelaide: 2.00pm gathering for 2.30pm start on the steps of Parliament House, corner of North Terrace and King William Road
- Perth: 10.00am at the First Contact Sculpture, Elizabeth Quay, The Esplanade, Perth