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134,000 New Zealanders defy helmet law

Over the past 16 years, around 134,000 New Zealanders - about 3% of the population - have been fined for cycling without a helmet. In the context that fewer than 2% of road trips in New Zealand are by bike, that suggests that a high level of dislike for the law and one that is increasing.

In the 12 months to 30 June 2009, police issued almost 10,000 infringement notices to people cycling without a helmet. In the previous 12 months, 8,457 notices were issued and in the year before that 6,800.

Several New Zealand groups support a review of the helmet law, including the Cycling Advocates Network, which believes it puts people off using bikes.

A study from Macquarie University in Sydney found compulsory helmet use discouraged people from cycling. It said savings from treating fewer head injuries paled in comparison to costs incurred by decreases in cycling.

Based on Herald on Sunday, 17 January 2010

Sun 17 Jan 2010

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