Senator David Leyonhjelm – Liberal
While I endorse the committee view that a consistent and comprehensive
national data set should be established and this data would inform any
evaluation of the outcomes of cycling safety programs and enable a cost-benefit
assessment of MHL to be undertaken, I wish to make some further comments and
some concrete recommendations.
During the course of the hearing, and based on available data, it became
clear MHL have undermined cycling participation rates. Attempts to argue to the
contrary, especially given evidence from around the world, were not at all
It was also impossible to ignore both the more relaxed approach to MHL
taken in the Northern Territory and the recommendations of Queensland's
Transport, Housing and Local Government Committee (discussed in the committee's
I anticipate a cost benefit study would show the impact of MHL to be
negative, given the low prevalence of cyclist head injury (notwithstanding the
seriousness of individual TBI cases) and the negative effects of the policy.
I also maintain, in the absence of compelling evidence demonstrating a
substantial social benefit, there should be a bias in favour of individual
choice and responsibility. It is especially not the role of government to
protect individuals against the consequences of their own choices when the
risks are small, foreseeable and borne personally.
In terms of recommendations, I endorse those from the Queensland
inquiry, with minor modifications, as follows:
- Cyclists aged 16 years and over should be exempted from the mandatory
helmet road rule when riding in parks, on footpaths and shared/cycle paths and
on roads with a speed limit of 50 km/hr or less.
As part of this recommendation (and tied to the collection of a
comprehensive data set), this should be accompanied by a 24 month evaluation
process that includes baseline measurements and data collection so that a
reliable assessment can be made which measures the effect and notes any
At the conclusion of this evaluation, and subject to its findings, I
recommend also exempting cyclists under 16 years from an obligation to wear
helmets, while making clear to parents that their responsibility to their
children should include serious consideration of wearing one.
Senator David Leyonhjelm
Liberal Democratic Party
Navigation: Previous Page | Contents | Next Page