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Compliance with West Australian helmet law declining

In 2009, 1913 adults and 446 youths were fined for not wearing cycle helmets in Western Australia, up from 1503 adults and 286 youths in 2008.

But police say that the number of cyclists caught bareheaded is much higher, with officers only able to issue cautions to children under 16 and others let off with a warning.

Despite saying that he always wore his helmet and encouraged their use, Cyclists' Action Group WA President Bruce Robinson believed that the state's public health would improve if police stopped enforcing the law. "The disincentive to physical activity ... dramatically outweighs any slight benefits from helmet legislation", he said.

An average of 884 cyclists per year were hospitalised after crashes between 2004 and 2008. [BHRF comment: Before law enforcement, the average was 640 per year.]

No cyclists died on the state's roads in 2009; in 2008 two died, one of whom was wearing a helmet and one who wasn't.

West Australian, 21 January 2010

Thu 21 Jan 2010

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