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Fremantle joins calls for no helmets trial

The city of Fremantle in Western Australia has called for a two-year trial whereby helmet use would be optional for adults in most circumstances. Sydney asked for a similar change to its helmet law last year.

The aim of Fremantle is to boost cycling and it wants to give its proposed bike-share project a chance of succeeding. Fremantle MP Adele Carles and Fremantle mayor Brad Pettitt are behind the move, which would need to be approved by the State Government.

Ms Carles said anecdotal evidence suggested that many more people would consider riding if helmet laws were revised. "Research has shown that compulsory bike helmet laws do little to improve cycling safety and act as a disincentive to people taking up cycling as a daily means of transportation," she said. "Many potential cyclists are missing out on the health benefits of this activity while our roads are increasingly getting congested. Safety can be addressed in other ways such as dedicated bike lanes and reducing suburban traffic speeds."

In January, Ms Carles and her then-partner Transport Minister Troy Buswell caused controversy when they were spotted riding around in Fremantle not wearing helmets.

Mayor Dr Pettitt said he was keen to start the trial this year. "We are expecting this proposed trial will see cycling numbers jump in Fremantle, especially among women," he said.

Meanwhile a poll in the West Australian newspaper suggests that 56% of people would like to see the helmet law repealed.

Fri 11 May 2012

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