This weekend a mass of bicyclists took to the streets of Melbourne to protest Australia’s regressive bike helmet mandate. They were, of course, riding helmet-free. The fine for doing so is an absurd $200.00 AU.
Organized by the group Freestyle Cyclists, the protest ride drew immediate media local media attention, which was then magnified across the globe.
As many bike commuters know, Australia is one of only three nations in the world that require bicycle helmets. And as most also understand, mandating helmets means less people will ride, period.
The reasons for this are many, but chief among them is the inconvenience, the fear of penalty, and the increased perception of cycling as an inherently dangerous activity that forcing helmet use creates.