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Perth mayor backs calls for law relaxation

The Lord Mayor of Perth has now joined Sydney, Adelaide and Fremantle in Australia in calling for at least partial repeal of the helmet law to give a proposed bike hire scheme a chance of success. A city-wide bicycle-hire scheme is being considered as part of the City of Perth's draft cycle plan.

Perth Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi admitted that similar schemes in Australia's Eastern States had been held back by compulsory helmet legislation and said she supported a relaxing of the law in WA.

"People should have a choice - it should be up to them whether or not they want to wear a helmet," she said. "From a hiring perspective, I think we could perhaps have people sign a disclaimer to say they have made this choice not to wear a helmet and take responsibility for it. While I think people who are riding fast through traffic on major roads should probably wear a helmet, people who are just enjoying a leisurely bike ride should be able to ride with the wind in their hair if they choose."

"What the Melbourne and Brisbane examples show is that helmets can be a deterrent", she continued. "For hygiene reasons companies there had to provide a hairnet to wear under the helmet as well as the helmet itself and that just becomes cumbersome."

Ms Scaffidi said the cycle plan aimed to double the number of cyclists in the city by 2016 and treble them by 2029. "We want to make cycling more visible and more available," she said. "We want to take cycling from a recreational or sporting activity to an integral part of everyday city life."

Thu 7 Jun 2012

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