Safety hysteria

A friend mentioned to me recently that they’d seen with horror a mutual friend biking to work at around 10 a.m. with “no helmet and no safety vest!” I said I thought that quite reasonable, our mutual friend is from a place where neither are used.

“But she has to cross Evans Bay Parade”! came the exclamation. Well yes. And pedestrians manage it every day without hi-viz vests and helmets.

Where is this safety hysteria coming from? Of course bike riding carries attendant dangers. Everything does, standing upright included.* But as with everything, when biking one adjusts one’s actions to suit the conditions. So why the panic?

The more people who ride for transport the sooner we can see this from a calm, rational perspective, and the sooner we can get past this hysteria. Bring on the revolution!

*’Trip and fall’ is high on the ACC list as a cause of injury.


One thought on “Safety hysteria

  1. When Norway was contemplating introducing helmet compulsion it looked at New Zealand and rejected the proposal.

    It turns out that helmet laws tend to ‘dangerfy’ cycling and some give up, or are deterred from cycling.

    There’s a lively debate about whether flimsy polystyrene cycle helmets even work, so it’s fair to ask if compulsion is justified, given the many health benefits of cycling.

    And mandatory high-vis? By this logic every vehicle should be painted fluoro pink or yellow.

    Pedal on,


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