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Policy statement


Melbourne bikes still plagued by helmet law

Despite the Victoria State Government subsidising the sale of helmets from city convenience stores and two vending machines, the Melbourne bike hire scheme remains in trouble. Average daily usage of the bikes has increased to just 183 journeys.

Melbourne's scheme lags far behind those in overseas cities. About 140 cities have introduced shared bikes; only Melbourne and Brisbane have compulsory helmet laws.

Dublin City Council's bike share scheme also has 450 bicycles. Launched last September, it now averages 3020 trips a day. Dublin councillor Andrew Montague, interviewed recently on bicycle blog about the success of Dublin's scheme, said more than 1 million trips had been taken on Dublin's 450 existing bicycles without a fatality, despite helmets being optional. So the chance of having an accident on these cycles is less than one in 1 million. "The chances of you having a heart attack or having diabetes are very high," Councillor Montague said. "By encouraging people to cycle we are tackling the truly dangerous factors."

He said Melbourne needed to remove its compulsory laws to succeed. "It's clearly not working now [in Melbourne]," he said.

Each helmet made available by the State costs the user AUD 5 and the public AUD 8 in subsidies. The hire scheme itself is costing taxpayers AUD 5.5 million over 4 years.

Mon 29 Nov 2010

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